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Old 18-05-2015, 19:00   #166
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Re: 2015 Another bad year in the Azores..?

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Originally Posted by neilpride View Post
The Marina at Las Palmas in the night is tricky as hell, the entrance is to narrow and obscured sometimes by Tankers and heavy shiping anchored in the entrance of the comercial port, then you got billions of lights , i mean you can see clear the entrance when you are there , done that a couple of times and is not funny, but i agree with you, every skipper need to have the skills for night arrivals no matter what...
It is tricky.

I will contest and say that every skipper should up first get the skills NOT to have to enter at night. They call it landfall planning I think. Sure like bread one may be forced to enter at night so night piloting skills are of great help.

It is also, as others noted, another harbour. Missy is said to be in Tazacorte, La Palma. Las Palmas is where we are (also Canary Islands) and then there is also Palma (de Mallorca).

And for those of us who fully discern the geography of our islands, there is also Maspalomas. Oh brave be the sailor who mixes up these names. ;-) Parfume from Jean Paul Gaultier guaranteed.

Cheers,
b.
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Old 18-05-2015, 19:10   #167
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Re: 2015 Another bad year in the Azores..?

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Originally Posted by Interzone View Post
MarkJ -- you are hitting on a key part of what I'm trying to understand. I certainly don't want to sound like I'm Monday morning quarterbacking, but is it really as simple as making sure you don't head out a few weeks early/late as you are planning major crossings and then choosing the safest possible route? .
Yes it is as simple as going at the exact correct time.

That particular passage has a very narrow window. Some passages are fine for months. Others have such definitive start and end points. "Be south of Finistere whi 15 October" or whatever.

Would you go around Cape Horn in the middle of winter? Of course not. But when is the right time to go?

I am leaving the Caribbean to go to New York in the next few days. Not a month ago, nor two weeks ago. Why? Because its before the correct season. This last week has been great weather... But look how close it is the "mid may to mid June".

Don't be early, dont be late. is that difficult?

Mark
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Old 18-05-2015, 19:24   #168
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Re: 2015 Another bad year in the Azores..?

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Yes, you do misunderstand. Never go into an unfamiliar landfall in dark.
Wait out side.

I always do.

Often my landfalls are at night. I slow down or hove to untill daylight. If its your own port you know intimately then go in. But never, ever, ever have I been into a new landfall port at night.




Mark
You should re read my post (second one). Sometimes that is impossible or imprudent. And for well lit large commercial harbours there is zero reason for this to be the case. Your own practise, maybe, but neither necessary in most cases or warranted. What if you were suddenly FORCED to do so? Having done so in a calm, routine manner many many times and having that as a basic skill, as it frankly ought to be, you would find it no problem. I fully agree that there are circumstances where standing off until light is necessary and entering at night close to suicidal. For example I have stood off many an atoll in the Pacific until dawn for obvious reasons. But a well marked harbour in Europe? Really? Gosh.
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Old 18-05-2015, 19:28   #169
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Re: 2015 Another bad year in the Azores..?

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It is tricky.

I will contest and say that every skipper should up first get the skills NOT to have to enter at night. They call it landfall planning I think. Sure like bread one may be forced to enter at night so night piloting skills are of great help.

It is also, as others noted, another harbour. Missy is said to be in Tazacorte, La Palma. Las Palmas is where we are (also Canary Islands) and then there is also Palma (de Mallorca).

And for those of us who fully discern the geography of our islands, there is also Maspalomas. Oh brave be the sailor who mixes up these names. ;-) Parfume from Jean Paul Gaultier guaranteed.

Cheers,
b.
Well it's early where I am and I'm a little hazy. However, sorry, it's a basic skill. There are of course some harbours where it is prudent to stand off. Most properly charted ones… not necessary. And I have not sailed into this particular harbour, but from what I can see it looks easy as walking.
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Old 18-05-2015, 19:37   #170
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Re: 2015 Another bad year in the Azores..?

I know what you mean, muckle flugga, if theres a gale predicted before dawn you may think it prudent to get in at night.
Its never happened to me but it could. In extenuating circumstances you do what you think is the best option open. But let me reiterate: it aint happened to me.

Cruising is not a set of rules (I am just replying to a thread where I say there is a set of rules). You are the skipper and you are the only one who can weigh the factors as you see them. But if the weather is fair stay putside. If its stormy hiw can you get into a harbour anyway? If you are escaping a dangerous situation you gotta take your chances...
Can you berth in strong winds at night in an unfamiliar port? Stuffed if I can! So I will look at other options first. If its a hurricane just about to blow my butt to kingdom come then I would do whatever it takes to get to a nice dry bar
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Old 18-05-2015, 19:47   #171
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Re: 2015 Another bad year in the Azores..?

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I know what you mean, if theres a gale predicted before dawn you may think it prudent to get in at night.
Its never happened to me but it could. In extenuating circumstances you do what you think is the best option open. But let me reiterate: it aint happened to me.

Cruising is not a set of rules (I am just replying to a thread where I say there is a set of rules). You are the skipper and you are the only one who can weigh the factors as you see them. But of the weather is fair stay putside. If its stormy hiw can you get into a harbour anyway? If you are escaping a dangerous situation you gotta take your chances...
Can you berth in strong winds at night in an unfamiliar port? Stuffed if I can! So I will look at other options first. If its a hurricane just about to blow my butt to kingdom come then I would do whatever it takes to get to a nice dry bar
Yes. I can, and so can you if you need to. But I did not suggest that you enter a port in dangerous circumstances and you need not invoke them. Strawman I am afraid. For example the Rodel case I used I got the Force 10 imminent warning around 10pm. I looked at what might be safe refuges in such a storm and the poll an tighmall was the only thing I had a hope of getting to. The low tide was at 1am. If i had stayed in the Minch in an F10 (which did come up bloody suddenly and before dawn, first beginning just as I was laying the hook) in a contrary tide in the boat I was in I would have been killed. No choice. Even if it was completely unlit, as it was. Not a single light, even in the hotel building, which was closed at the time. It turned out to be amazingly bombproof and for 3 days I watched the foam come over the 70 foot high hill in the middle of the trio, hanging on the hook in a millpond. I would not have done this in the case of such a harbour except in extremis, but the comfortableness I had with entering harbours and anchorages at night helped hugely in that instance! But in high latitudes this kind of thing is fairly common: you are near a port of refuge, coastal sailing at night, perhaps just after dark perhaps 9pm, and you have warning of an imminent system. These are not always predictable in their track, even today, and particularly in highly stochastic latitudes like the 50s and above. You may have 3 or 4 hours to get to refuge. If you cannot make it in that time perhaps try to stay at sea, and for sure some ports are unnaproachable in bad weather, but what if you are on a 500 mile long lee shore? Further, what if you have a casualty onboard and no helicopter assistance available? Etc etc.

Entering a well marked, well charted harbour at night is, or ought to be, a basic skill and people who sail with skippers must trust them to be able to do so, if it suddenly becomes necessary. The best way to become thoroughly comfortable with doing that, is to just do it. Never has it provided a problem for me in more than three decades sailing. Skills such as that ought to be taught as basic. When I have worked for the OYT we have practised close tacking up narrow rivers into urban areas with teenage scouts in a 50 ton steel boat. They seemed to be able to handle it, day or night.
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Old 18-05-2015, 20:10   #172
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Re: 2015 Another bad year in the Azores..?

What a difference a couple of weeks makes. I'm trying to route my virtual Volvo 65 raceboat from Newport to Lisbon, and I'm having trouble finding enough wind, except for a bit of a northerly off Portugal.
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Old 18-05-2015, 20:49   #173
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Re: 2015 Another bad year in the Azores..?

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That's what's so scary to me: that a competent skipper, sailing a safe and solid Lagoon 400 S2 with his family and taking what he undoubtedly considered to be acceptable risks for an enjoyable and safe adventure with his family, could end up in such an unthinkable catastrophe.
What is so unthinkable about this tragedy? Stuff happens. Sad but true. Catamarans can and do capsize and when they do they stay that way.

As you also have seen well built mono-hulls get rolled in survival weather as well. That is what it was out there.
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Old 18-05-2015, 20:49   #174
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Re: 2015 Another bad year in the Azores..?

How is it so different coming into a well lit and charted harbor at night vs day? You follow the lights and verify their position with radar overlay. Watch for other boats and anything else. Heck, you can usually see lit marks at night a lot easier than day. We've done Miami, Ft Lauderdale, Charleston and Lake Worth while feeling just fine. Also, a lot less recreational traffic to worry about at 3am.

Now something like the Bahamas, Mexico or others, I would wait miles off shore until the sun was just right.

And no, I wouldn't do Las Palmas at night either...that place is busy with cargo ships.

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Old 18-05-2015, 21:07   #175
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Re: 2015 Another bad year in the Azores..?

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How is it so different coming into a well lit and charted harbor at night vs day? You follow the lights and verify their position with radar overlay. Watch for other boats and anything else. Heck, you can usually see lit marks at night a lot easier than day. We've done Miami, Ft Lauderdale, Charleston and Lake Worth while feeling just fine. Also, a lot less recreational traffic to worry about at 3am.

Now something like the Bahamas, Mexico or others, I would wait miles off shore until the sun was just right.

And no, I wouldn't do Las Palmas at night either...that place is busy with cargo ships.

Matt
Well, the first part of your post I agree with, very much, but doesn't *quite* match up to the last sentence. After all, cargo ships have AIS and in any case don't enter such a harbour at 20 knots! Those anchored are, well, anchored.
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Old 18-05-2015, 21:15   #176
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Re: 2015 Another bad year in the Azores..?

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What is so unthinkable about this tragedy? Stuff happens. Sad but true. Catamarans can and do capsize and when they do they stay that way.

As you also have seen well built mono-hulls get rolled in survival weather as well. That is what it was out there.
Rolled is better than permanently inverted, by and large, though cats can and have provided survival space for extended periods in the inverted position. But I agree with your general sentiment. The problem is not that there is such weather or sea conditions, the problem is that people are contemplating taking their families global sailing in light boats thinking that there WON'T be, that it is, as you quote the previous poster, "unthinkable". Even with the best weather predictive tech, in the stochastic zones particularly at the interface of the tropics and the temperate latitudes, most of the models fail. Frankly gribs can be at best misleading and at worst next to useless from the Cook Islands to Tonga, for example, much of the season. Same goes for the interzone in the Tasman, as well, and the Azores zone as well. EXPECT to be hit by many tons of water moving in a smooth manner with devastating energy akin to being hit by a train. When I was doing a stint as a dive boat captain in the Atlantic tropics a number of years back, I saw a bulk ore carrier come into port for emergency repairs. It had a double skin, and amidships, a 30 foot by 10 foot area of the outer plating had been punched through by a single, smooth faced wave. Expect to be in a boat crush threatening, pitchpole risk sea. If you don't, you are kidding yourself along and should not be doing this. Particularly not with children. I am not saying families should not sail. They should. They should just EXPECT this kind of event. If they do, they have a far better likelihood of survival and that expectation will guide their choice of boat, and of ocean gear, season, route and sailing zone.

It is the lack of such expectation, THAT is the problem.
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Old 18-05-2015, 21:19   #177
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Re: 2015 Another bad year in the Azores..?

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They should just EXPECT this kind of event. If they do, they have a far better likelihood of survival and that expectation will guide their choice of boat, and of ocean gear.

It is the lack of such expectation, THAT is the problem
I can certainly agree with this.
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Old 18-05-2015, 21:28   #178
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Re: 2015 Another bad year in the Azores..?

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Rolled is better than permanently inverted, by and large, though cats can and have provided survival space for extended periods in the inverted position. But I agree with your general sentiment. The problem is not that there is such weather or sea conditions, the problem is that people are contemplating taking their families global sailing in light boats thinking that there WON'T be, that it is, as you quote the previous poster, "unthinkable". Even with the best weather predictive tech, in the stochastic zones particularly at the interface of the tropics and the temperate latitudes, most of the models fail. Frankly gribs can be at best misleading and at worst next to useless from the Cook Islands to Tonga, for example, much of the season. Same goes for the interzone in the Tasman, as well, and the Azores zone as well. EXPECT to be hit by many tons of water moving in a smooth manner with devastating energy akin to being hit by a train. When I was doing a stint as a dive boat captain in the Atlantic tropics a number of years back, I saw a bulk ore carrier come into port for emergency repairs. It had a double skin, and amidships, a 30 foot by 10 foot area of the outer plating had been punched through by a single, smooth faced wave. Expect to be in a boat crush threatening, pitchpole risk sea. If you don't, you are kidding yourself along and should not be doing this. Particularly not with children. I am not saying families should not sail. They should. They should just EXPECT this kind of event. If they do, they have a far better likelihood of survival and that expectation will guide their choice of boat, and of ocean gear, season, route and sailing zone.

It is the lack of such expectation, THAT is the problem.
Brilliant!! thats exactly the problem,, such expectations ... sooner or later bad weather happen...
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Old 19-05-2015, 03:56   #179
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Re: 2015 Another bad year in the Azores..?

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Brilliant!! thats exactly the problem,, such expectations ... sooner or later bad weather happen...
and because you sail mono, you will be fine, happily rolling your boat inside breakers. Tanker gets ripped apart however your yacht is better than that !

I would not be that confident. Tends to bring bad luck.
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Old 19-05-2015, 04:56   #180
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Re: 2015 Another bad year in the Azores..?

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It seems to me that with 50k wind a small storm jib would have helped to control the boat and would diminish rolling and capsize possibility, specially if they were not running dead downwind.

I would like to hear comments about sailors with experience sailing on 50k winds and storm conditions. Anyway what I surely would not have done was to be on that place on the first days of may.
We've just been in 24 hours of a F9 in the North Sea.

We were running downwind under reefed headsail alone, which generally works very well on my boat. The center of effort is far forward and this stabilizes the boat. You want drive as far forward and drag as far aft (drogue) as possible for stability.

I have been in even worse conditions like this before (once four or five hours running in 50+ knots of wind, for example), but we had trouble on this passage. We were caught by a large breaking sea and got knocked down. Mast did not touch the water -- thank God for the conservative stability curves of my boat -- but we went over at least 60 degrees, with green water down the unfortunately open companionway, and other carnage.

The issue in such conditions is always the steepness, not the height of the waves. A breaking wave can ruin your whole day whether it's 6 meters high or 15 meters. The main thing is that it is much harder to pitchpole a boat than to roll it -- simple geometry -- so you don't want to get caught by one of those on your beam, or even on your quarter, as we did.

The first thing which is important is to stay under control. If the boat gets going too fast, the rudder loses its effectiveness and you can broach out of control, which can put you beam-on to the seas and set up to get rolled.

Second thing after that is to steer actively so that the really big seas, especially the breaking ones, are taken squarely on the stern, where your boat can best absorb them.

What happened to us was that one crew was at the helm, who is a superb sailor, highly experienced and a Yachtmaster Ocean, but with no experience with powerful hydraulic autopilots like mine. I failed in my duty as captain to anticipate this and instruct him to switch off the pilot and hand steer when a big breaking sea approaches. He believed that the pilot was infallible and left it on; plus we had a little too much sail up. So we got whacked from the port side quarter with tons of green water dumped on the boat, and went over. Fortunately everyone was in lifejackets and tethered, so the consequences were relatively minor, but we were rattled.

Later we encountered more and more seas like this, but with active steering to go straight down the front face of them, with sail further reduced, we had no further problems. After 24 hours the storm piped down and we had a lovely sail the last day on to Helgoland, in sunshine and a F4. The cocktails we had when we got in were among the sweetest I've ever tasted.



One testimony to the remarkable ability of the stern of your boat to rise over even large and steep seas is the fact that we had my dinghy in davits during this whole episode, a heavy Avon RIB with mounted 25 horsepower outboard. No green water ever got into the dinghy and there was no problem at all with the dinghy or davits. The stern has much more buoyancy than the bow, which is one of several reasons why you might prefer to use a drogue rather than parachute anchor, and meet the seas from the stern rather than the bow.
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