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Old 25-04-2012, 14:14   #1
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What heavy weather gear you carry?

My new boat which the builder still hasn't finished (we're getting close) has been designed as a comfortable meduim to heavy displacement cutter rigged sloop. We (wife and I) plan to head off from Australia to the Med via South Africa departing early May 2013 around the top of Oz. We're not overly experienced but both of us have some ocean miles under our belt and I have completed my yachtmaster. We intend to wait for weather windows although we will be prepared for anything. At the momemt the storm gear I'm planning is a storm jib, a standard drogue and a Jordan series drogue. I was amazed last month to find a production boat that crossed the Pacific without dedicated storm sails and with only 2 reef points in the main, although they did have a standard drogue which I noted wasn't rigged ready to go.

Is this normal?

Just wondering, what does everyone else carry?
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Old 25-04-2012, 15:41   #2
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Re: What heavy weather gear you carry?

Consider a Jorden Drogue and bridle sized for your yacht. IMO it only needs to be rigged and ready if impending weather warrants it. We rigged closed fairleads at the stern to keep the bridle under control if the pitching gets bad and to lead to heavy cleats. You need to rig this solid.


We also carried a storm tri-sail with dedicated track.

Your best bit of safety gear is a Iridium satphone mounted at the chart table with external antenna and with XGATE so that you can get weather updates as needed on your schedule.

Critical to have tethers, lifevests, and jacklines.
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Old 25-04-2012, 17:30   #3
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Re: What heavy weather gear you carry?

Hi,

I am afraid nothing is 'normal'. And you will not be sailing other people boats nor using their skills. You must think about your particular journey, your boat, your weather challenges and pitfalls, and your set of skills.

Heavy weather gear can range from nill to a substantial kit but would start the preparations elsewhere. If you have read the book 'Heavy Weather Sailing' (if you have not, do!) then you may have noticed that no matter what gear one carries or not a time may come that you get entangled in a wx system that is out of season, out of forecasts but unfortunately on your track. Then, if you have read this book (which I recommend ;-)), you may have noticed that in a case like this what actually saves the boat and her crew are the very basic properties of the boat: having a strong boat with adequate stability, bomb-proof hatches, small windows, well secured batteries (and fridgelids), reliable bilge pumps ... OK, enough said, by now I am sure you got my drift: Start with getting the boat heavy-weather sail/survival -able.

Then again, to possibly avoid having to rely on your boat's seaworthiness (or its lack) the next thing that comes to mind is making sure your sailing skills, your preparation and your mental and physical stamina are up to the job (the job being surviving a major wx mishap and saving the boat and her crew from irreparable damage). Unfortunately, there is no other way to get storm sailing skills than sailing thru some storms. But this should not distract from trying to sail as many miles in as many types of weather as possible and exposing oneself to as many heavy weather challenges as one can actually pack into the preparation period. The above relates to all crew, not just the skipper. Remember that if you are the driver then someone will have to run the business when you are trying to get some rest - a good storm can last in excess of 48 hours. Build your physical and mental strength and sail in 'strong' conditions as much as you can. Get ready for the worse.

And now that you ask about the gear ... we carried:
- deck security lines, harnesses, lifejackets,
- ropes (from NZ replaced by seabrake drogue),
- storm jib (fron NZ supplemented with a trysail),
- spare tiller,
- foullies.

I will also add that our boat has a substantial dodger and the cockpit is fully wrapped - this includes an "all-weather" canvas roof which I believe immensely lessens the stress that bad weather puts on the crew.

I can recommend goretex foullies and hi-tech mid and base layers - being dry and warm thru the whole experience keeps the spirits high and the body in good condition for longer.

PS Do not draw too much confidence from Pacific cruising stories. Indian Ocean is a way different pair of shoes with very boisterous trade winds at times, complex landfall in RSA and then you want to sail the long stretch of Southern Atlantic and cross the dolldrums too - it IS a different adventure from sailing the Pacific pond.

Okidoki. My two cents.

Cheers,
b.
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Old 25-04-2012, 20:06   #4
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Re: What heavy weather gear you carry?

Not there yet but this is what I intend to get for the boat we are aiming for:

Triple reefing main
Storm staysail
Possibly a Hurricane staysail
Jacklines up both sides as far inboard as possible
Inflatible PFD for each person with integral harness
Floating handheld VHF for each PFD
Handheld directional antennae for a handheld
Dodger
Windvane - Who wants to steer in those conditions, and any reasonably priced autopilot won't cut it.
Probably a sea anchor
Possibly a drogue
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Old 25-04-2012, 22:30   #5
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When we got ready to go to Mexico (Pacific does have some bad storms too) we had time to go out & see how he boat handled different weather with different set ups. We had a storm sail made for out inner forestay & did trial runs using it-but it turned out our boat did best using forereaching with the main only-which we used in a storm with good result. It's essential to take the time to see how your boat handles.

There are,of course, staples that are a must such as PFD's with,crotch strap, strobe & tethers, foulies are your personal gear. MOM system of some sort or the new locator beacons would be great. Boat gear that may not have been mentioned are like super strong D rings to hook up your tethers, Making sure all the gear is ready to go and you feel confident using it I'm hood conditions prepares you for when you need to use it when conditions are not so good.

Enjoy your new boat! Fair winds & calm seas. Gloria
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Old 25-04-2012, 23:08   #6
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Re: What heavy weather gear you carry?

Storm jib, galerider drogue, storm anchor.

Other gear people have listed, such as jacklines & foulies, we consider normal gear, not heavy weather gear.
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Old 26-04-2012, 02:34   #7
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Re: What heavy weather gear you carry?

Although only mentioned once or twice above, I won't leave home with a Storm Tri-sail, preferably on it's own track and halyard.

Yes, many are happy with a deep reefed main but as I take a belt and braces approach, I see the tri-sail as back up for the day the main is unusable for whatever reason.
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Old 26-04-2012, 03:06   #8
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Re: What heavy weather gear you carry?

We hit an out of season cyclone in the Arabian Sea (north Indian Ocean) and had pretty ***** weather for 3 days: 40-50 knots, gusting 60? It continued to peg the needle in the gusts so I can only guess.

Two things I learned. Know how to heave to. This is real important and you need to know that it will work on your boat. Not all boats heave to well. I found heaving to early prevented me from "heaving" as well.

The other thing is keep eating. It is easy to get hungry without realizing it b/c it is too difficult to make food down below. Your energy levels, alertness and general spirits drop insidiously - you don't even notice it. This leads to bad decisions or just despair. When you have done all you can to get the boat right, eat!

Keep us posted and I hope you get away from land soon. I know you have been waiting a LONG time!

Cheers.

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Old 26-04-2012, 05:43   #9
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Re: What heavy weather gear you carry?

Don't forget the chafing gear, so that drogue will stay attached to the boat.
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Old 26-04-2012, 06:19   #10
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Re: What heavy weather gear you carry?

We also inserted a small waterproof strobe light inside the cover of each inflatable PFD and clipped it to the inflator hose.
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Old 26-04-2012, 06:39   #11
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Re: What heavy weather gear you carry?

Dhillen: I like your comment about eating once all is made secure.Of course not greasey foods but I find peanutbutter works a treat esp. if too busy or things are already rough; smear on some bread , no cooking involved,keeps forever,lotsa long lasting nutrition and it stays down!
Probaly should mention rest also,often there is a "high" in the early stages of a prolonged blow but when the early elation passes there comes the inevitable drop in energy and enthusiasm just as conditions worsen. I believe the most experienced member onboard should consider resting (sleeping?) once all is secured so as to be fresh later on when the poop starts hitting the impeller.
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Old 26-04-2012, 06:40   #12
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Re: What heavy weather gear you carry?

First a triple reefed main with reefing lines threaded. We have single line reefing and it works for us. Next a drogue to slow down the boat and maintain control. Finally a storm jib for the situation where you have to go to weather in a real blow. In crossing the pacific from Mexico to Japan we never used any of them. Crossing from Japan to Hong Kong we used the third reef when we got hit with 50-55 knots for a couple of hours. I was able to hand steer until the wind moderated to 40-45 knots after which the autopilot could handle things. The good thing about the third reef is that reefing is something you practice all the time. If the wind held up for much longer I would have tried to deploy the drogue or run under bare poles. The drogue and stormsail have never been deployed so we'd be figuring things out as we go. We should really practice using them more.
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Old 26-04-2012, 07:52   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dhillen
We hit an out of season cyclone in the Arabian Sea (north Indian Ocean) and had pretty ***** weather for 3 days: 40-50 knots, gusting 60? It continued to peg the needle in the gusts so I can only guess.

Two things I learned. Know how to heave to. This is real important and you need to know that it will work on your boat. Not all boats heave to well. I found heaving to early prevented me from "heaving" as well.

The other thing is keep eating. It is easy to get hungry without realizing it...
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+1 on heaving to. In a storm, It makes it a totally different & better scene. Most hand steer in a storm so it wears you down. Gives you time to rest a bit.

+1 on food. I tried to have something warm in the thermos to eat. It made the cold & wet bearable. I would make a thick soup & put it in a preheated thermos and it would stay hot for a long time. We hit 3 days of squalls that made it tough to get time to do anything so the Peanut butter & jelly worked wonderful when the hot food ran out.

I think people talk about foulies since they are so important. We have a good dodger & enclosure but the wind blew the rain horizontal & so hard it blew in where it overlapped. So we were wet & cold. I had air force arctic thermals underneath which kept me warm. Females, especially need to have more layers to keep warm- at least I did. Still loved it & would be back out now if I could!! Best Wishes!
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