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Old 19-05-2015, 05:08   #181
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Re: 2015 Another bad year in the Azores..?

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Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
. . . Can you berth in strong winds at night in an unfamiliar port? Stuffed if I can! So I will look at other options first.
I certainly can, and I'm sure you can, too. It's not berthing which is the problem; this is trivial compared to other aspects of such a situation.

The only question is whether you can get through the entrance in the given conditions. Some ports with entrance bars (not the kind you drink in ) can't be approached in certain kinds of weather. Some ports can't be entered in strong onshore winds.

Once in, berthing is trivial -- just do what you have to. Pick a leeward quay or pontoon and just let yourself get blown onto it. Or approach the quay bows-first and get a line on.
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Old 19-05-2015, 06:17   #182
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Re: 2015 Another bad year in the Azores..?

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Originally Posted by arsenelupiga View Post
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.
I am not sure if you were referring to my comment regarding the "tanker" [bulk ore carrier]… however I do consider a well curved monohull design with lowish freeboard to be quite obviously less vulnerable to side or stern striking smooth waves than any high, flat, boxy surface. It is the case that modern Cats like the Lagoon 400 as well as very angular trendy monohulls such as the larger Hanse's with their dizzying freeboard, are much more vulnerable to the kinds of forces I was referring to which damaged the large steel ship than are lowish freeboard, highly angular monohulls. This is really just physics and is not debatable. However of course you are right that NO boat is invulnerable, and this was certainly part of what I intended.

On a side note, it should be realised that the wave which took out some 300 square feet or so of steel plating on that big ship may not have destroyed a yacht of 30 feet or so even if the yacht had been precisely where the metal face was at the moment of impact. This is because the very reason it managed to destroy and shear the welds on that plating was because the ship was so large, that it did not significantly move at the point of the strike itself. The whole remained essentially laterally immobile, at least at the moment of strike. This means that the energy release curve into the steel plating would have been nearly vertical. ALL the wave's energy of many hundreds or thousands of tons of fast moving water would have been unloaded almost instantly into the plating area in question.

The same could not be said of a 30 foot vessel which occupied the same space. That vessel may have been utterly destroyed, but actually may have fared better than the steel, even if that vessel had been GRP or the like. The reason for this is that at the point of strike, the boat would have been rolled over and over and driven hundreds of meters downrange within the wave chaos itself, all of which takes time and therefore dissipates the actualisation of potential energy into the smaller hull. Thus comparatively little of the wave's actual energy would have been unloaded into the hull, and certainly nothing like the quantity and most importantly (formally) the power of the energy release that befell the bulk carrier. Much of that energy would have been dissipated as the small yacht was moved downrange, and much of it would simply have moved straight through the hull and back into the sea, in an unorganised fashion. All this would mean the curve of energy release vis a vis the small boat would be very much less steep than that in the case of the same wave vs the bulk carrier. This is also known as the ping pong ball principle. Storms have sunk the largest steel ships… but likely no simple ocean storm in the history of the world would or could sink a pingpong ball. The ball is too light and too small, and its shape too round and good at dissipating energy to ever receive sufficient gradient of energy release to pop and sink it.

This should not make anyone overconfident, but it should serve to remind that bigger is not always better. It is unequivocally the case, however, that rounder or more angular and lower relative to the size of the boat is better vis a vis the likelihood of damage from initial wave strike. This is one reason at least I feel less than easy about the ever increasing modern trend to massive flat areas of really often VERY thin fiberglass to appease the twin market deities of "wow factor belowdecks" and "lightness of build" (cruiser/racer idea). A high freeboard, boxy structure is inherently more vulnerable to severe damage by simple wave energy. Dem's da breaks.
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Old 19-05-2015, 06:49   #183
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Re: 2015 Another bad year in the Azores..?

I totally agree what you are saying. I am also quite fluid in fluid dynamics.

It is concern large boxy boats vs lean, mono or cat, landing lots of water on top.

But it is also my view that every shape and design has its pluses and minuses. And any design excels in some conditions and fails in others.

Being aware of your boat characteristics, learn behaviour, one can devise best possible strategy for given conditions to optimise chances.

Confused seas are worst for cats.

Overall less area, longer waterline, less openings, safer. But less joy factor as well. So, balance of risk/joy everyone may have it differently.

thats my approach at least.
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Old 19-05-2015, 07:21   #184
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Re: 2015 Another bad year in the Azores..?

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Originally Posted by Polux View Post
I'm having a hard time understanding the abandonment of this boat.

First let me say I in no way am being critical. I wasn't there and I'm sure there are circumstances I do not know about. Those same circumstances may have also made me push the big red buttton.


The boat seems to be sailing well, not listing and seems to be taking the waves nicely, rising as it should. They apparently have a drogue (or similar) out, slowing the boat. All the crew readily jump in the water to be picked up indicating that, if injured, the injuries are not incapacitating. While there are breaking waves, there don't seem to be that many and the wave period appears to be longish.

Have they made any public statements? I can't find any on the net.

I believe that at the point of the rescue, the storm had moved past them and they were in the aft quadrants (please correct if I'm wrong)
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Old 19-05-2015, 07:24   #185
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Re: 2015 Another bad year in the Azores..?

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Originally Posted by arsenelupiga View Post
I totally agree what you are saying. I am also quite fluid in fluid dynamics.

It is concern large boxy boats vs lean, mono or cat, landing lots of water on top.

But it is also my view that every shape and design has its pluses and minuses. And any design excels in some conditions and fails in others.

Being aware of your boat characteristics, learn behaviour, one can devise best possible strategy for given conditions to optimise chances.

Confused seas are worst for cats.

Overall less area, longer waterline, less openings, safer. But less joy factor as well. So, balance of risk/joy everyone may have it differently.

thats my approach at least.
That is entirely reasonable and correct. I remember once considering buying an old Bowman 48 (during the financial crisis) and just LOVED the lines of her. Belowdecks… totally bomb proof sea boat, never farther than a forearm from a handhold and no big space to be flung across… but also no big space to be enjoyed! And how much time, relatively speaking, does one spend in violent conditions. As it happens I spend a fair amount but that is on a variety of boats and because I'm paid to. On my own boat too… but the majority is on the hook somewhere here or there. Believe me I have been glad about the extraordinary strength of my hull when I've been in a bad one 1000 miles from anywhere… but I've also been glad of her airy saloon. Yes, of course, a compromise. Just don't try breaking ice with a thin skin eh? I know you wouldn't and I know we agree.
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Old 19-05-2015, 07:31   #186
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Re: 2015 Another bad year in the Azores..?

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Originally Posted by carstenb View Post
I'm having a hard time understanding the abandonment of this boat.

First let me say I in no way am being critical. I wasn't there and I'm sure there are circumstances I do not know about. Those same circumstances may have also made me push the big red buttton.


The boat seems to be sailing well, not listing and seems to be taking the waves nicely, rising as it should. They apparently have a drogue (or similar) out, slowing the boat. All the crew readily jump in the water to be picked up indicating that, if injured, the injuries are not incapacitating. While there are breaking waves, there don't seem to be that many and the wave period appears to be longish.

Have they made any public statements? I can't find any on the net.

I believe that at the point of the rescue, the storm had moved past them and they were in the aft quadrants (please correct if I'm wrong)
It may have been something we are unaware of. Medical emergency perhaps? But you appear to be right, and I consider looking at her that she is fully seaworthy. It certainly would not have been the first vessel abandoned that was entirely seaworthy. For example:

Yacht abandoned at sea washes up after months adrift | Coffs Coast Advocate

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Old 19-05-2015, 07:35   #187
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Re: 2015 Another bad year in the Azores..?

Hiding in harbors at night in moderate weather with a bad weather expected in short order work really well for me, but each in their own, im accustomed to sail overnight and use harbors or ports at night, sometimes the saying hove to and stay well offshore and wait until daylight dont work, thats why skills are need it in the dark, take this as a example, Brittany to Oporto Portugal, after a decent Biscay croosing you get a WX severe gale warning in few hours , you are 40 miles from Finisterre, and you have La coruna or Baiona to your right, is blowing 30 plus allready and expected to be more ,,right there is where you need to take the 2 options , putting miles from the shore in the dark in really hard conditions with shipping traffic nearby or bite the bullet , pull the pedal to the metal and reach the harbour and calm dock,,,im sure that night i take the correct decisin, since that night the wind speed reach 50 knts in gusts,,,....but like i say, each i their own...
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Old 19-05-2015, 07:38   #188
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Re: 2015 Another bad year in the Azores..?

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Originally Posted by carstenb View Post
I'm having a hard time understanding the abandonment of this boat.

First let me say I in no way am being critical. I wasn't there and I'm sure there are circumstances I do not know about. Those same circumstances may have also made me push the big red buttton.


The boat seems to be sailing well, not listing and seems to be taking the waves nicely, rising as it should. They apparently have a drogue (or similar) out, slowing the boat. All the crew readily jump in the water to be picked up indicating that, if injured, the injuries are not incapacitating. While there are breaking waves, there don't seem to be that many and the wave period appears to be longish.

Have they made any public statements? I can't find any on the net.

I believe that at the point of the rescue, the storm had moved past them and they were in the aft quadrants (please correct if I'm wrong)

As far i know, that swan capsize previously, with the mast standing Lol, so we dont know what kind of damaged suffer ..... but dont take my words for granted i just read the report in a spanish frum....
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Old 19-05-2015, 08:14   #189
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Re: 2015 Another bad year in the Azores..?

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Originally Posted by neilpride View Post
Hiding in harbors at night in moderate weather with a bad weather expected in short order work really well for me, but each in their own, im accustomed to sail overnight and use harbors or ports at night, sometimes the saying hove to and stay well offshore and wait until daylight dont work, thats why skills are need it in the dark, take this as a example, Brittany to Oporto Portugal, after a decent Biscay croosing you get a WX severe gale warning in few hours , you are 40 miles from Finisterre, and you have La coruna or Baiona to your right, is blowing 30 plus allready and expected to be more ,,right there is where you need to take the 2 options , putting miles from the shore in the dark in really hard conditions with shipping traffic nearby or bite the bullet , pull the pedal to the metal and reach the harbour and calm dock,,,im sure that night i take the correct decisin, since that night the wind speed reach 50 knts in gusts,,,....but like i say, each i their own...
Nice example. Have been in similar situation in those waters more than once. Very realistic. I would make straight for La Coruna no questions asked. Heading out to sea off the Cabo del Muerte, which gets lashed like a whipping post by the Southern ends of those systems every few days in the equinoctal and winter periods, would be a BAD choice. Staying out in the focus of the Biscay reflecting parabola hobbyhorsing on the continental shelf… no thanks! Heading down the coast towards Oporto? Too far, lee shore, and the Rias are a tough and dangerous entry in a Westerly gale. Coruna? No problems. Entry at night? No issues at all.

Plus has one of the best South American (Ecuadorian I think?) meat restaurants in the known universe… wood fired wood plattered wine selected superbness!
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Old 19-05-2015, 08:43   #190
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Re: 2015 Another bad year in the Azores..?

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Originally Posted by carstenb View Post
I'm having a hard time understanding the abandonment of this boat.

First let me say I in no way am being critical. I wasn't there and I'm sure there are circumstances I do not know about. Those same circumstances may have also made me push the big red buttton.


The boat seems to be sailing well, not listing and seems to be taking the waves nicely, rising as it should. They apparently have a drogue (or similar) out, slowing the boat. All the crew readily jump in the water to be picked up indicating that, if injured, the injuries are not incapacitating. While there are breaking waves, there don't seem to be that many and the wave period appears to be longish.

Have they made any public statements? I can't find any on the net.

I believe that at the point of the rescue, the storm had moved past them and they were in the aft quadrants (please correct if I'm wrong)
Carsten,

I have now reviewed the video again and considered. There is an almost right angle cross sea of nearly equal size to the main sea. This will mean that keeping the boat lengthwise to the dominant wave train will be almost meaningless. Every 45 minutes to 1.5 hours that boat will be knocked down. It will survive, almost certainly, and continue to sail, but the areas of fully chaotic white breaking sea are in the order of 10,000 square meters in the larger instances visible in this short clip. This almost certainly means that there are significantly larger and more dangerous areas from time to time. The mean height of these waves is somewhat difficult to estimate, but I would suggest no less than 6 meters, and in some cases significantly more. As the cross sea meets when they are in the angle being swept, this will suddenly steepen and rise to a foaming mass of 11 or 12 meters. It is these occasional collective crests that are fearful, and I am certain that whatever autohelm they had is not functional, as the third person jumps into the water and the yacht gamely and quickly comes about (as if to come and get them!). Given that they apparently had no functional self steering kit remaining, they were constantly fighting the wheel to keep her downrange, as evidenced by her instant course change once abandoned. (Though this last also does strongly indicate that the steering gear was in working order). A crew of three such as this may simply not have the strength to keep going in short watches continuously at the helm. They may feel that they are collapsing from exhaustion and this alone would be threatening to life and breath, not to mention the fact that each time they lose it, the boat risks being rolled, or possibly even pitchpoled. Even in these decreasing seas such events are quite possible, even likely. Actually it is my experience that some of the BIGGEST and most dangerous waves appear as if out of nowhere in the declining phase of severe weather such as this. I feel that on balance and in truth, very sadly, this crew may have felt they had no choice but accept help when it was offered. They had another yacht standing by. This alone suggests that there was a serious problem with the crew. Exhaustion in these circumstances is not a trivial issue. This is why short handing the likes of the North Atlantic can be unwise. Even three as are on this boat would be rapidly exhausted in these conditions. If they had had extra crew, but particularly younger ones, likely they would still be sailing their boat homeward!

In absence of other information at this point, it is my judgement that this abandonment was most likely due to under crewing for a tough passage. Three should normally be ok, so I don't consider this a judgement failure on their part, but in this instance it may have been insufficient for their nerves and health status. We will see.

[N.B. I do NOT suggest using autohelm in such circumstances, but it would be odd not to when abandoning, and it would, in short bursts of use, make shorthanded helming in such conditions significantly easier.]
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Old 19-05-2015, 08:51   #191
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Re: 2015 Another bad year in the Azores..?

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Originally Posted by hasse_A View Post
I say, it's really not that bad. Going against the wind these boats do not need an atopilot or wind vane. Lock the rudder and with a little slack in main the boat will sail just fine by itself. I have done this numerous times in our boat even if we got autopilot and a vane.
Confirmed.

OEs and all other kosters sail upwind without need for AP or windvane.

BTW Missy was not sailing upwind.

b.
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Old 19-05-2015, 08:52   #192
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Re: 2015 Another bad year in the Azores..?

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Carsten,

I have now reviewed the video again and considered. There is an almost right angle cross sea of nearly equal size to the main sea. This will mean that keeping the boat lengthwise to the dominant wave train will be almost meaningless. Every 45 minutes to 1.5 hours that boat will be knocked down. It will survive, almost certainly, and continue to sail, but the areas of fully chaotic white breaking sea are in the order of 10,000 square meters in the larger instances visible in this short clip. This almost certainly means that there are significantly larger and more dangerous areas from time to time. The mean height of these waves is somewhat difficult to estimate, but I would suggest no less than 6 meters, and in some cases significantly more. As the cross sea meets when they are in the angle being swept, this will suddenly steepen and rise to a foaming mass of 11 or 12 meters. It is these occasional collective crests that are fearful, and I am certain that whatever autohelm they had is not functional, as the second person jumps into the water and the yacht gamely and immediately rounds up (as if to come and get her!). Apart from anything else, to an already exhausted crew, each event and the tension of constant vigilance in such conditions will be harrowing. The fact that the man left first bespeaks injury or heart trouble or similar. I feel sure that this older couple would not have had it that way except for such a reason. Given that they apparently had no functional self steering kit remaining, they were constantly fighting the wheel to keep her downrange, as evidenced by her instant round once abandoned. An old couple like this simple does not have the strength to keep going in short watches continuously at the helm. They would collapse from exhaustion and this alone would be threatening to life and breath in older people such as these, not to mention the fact that each time they lose it, the boat risks being rolled, or possibly even pitchpoled. Even in these decreasing seas such events are quite possible, even likely. Actually it is my experience that some of the BIGGEST and most dangerous waves appear as if out of nowhere in the declining phase of severe weather such as this. I feel that on balance and in truth, very sadly, this crew may have had no choice but accept help when it was offered. They had another yacht standing by. This alone suggests that there was a serious problem with the crew. Exhaustion in these circumstances is not a trivial issue. This is why short handing the likes of the North Atlantic can be unwise. If they had had two extra crew, particularly younger ones, likely they would still be sailing their boat homeward!

In absence of other information at this point, it is my judgement that this abandonment was most likely due to under crewing for a tough passage.
Indeed, you may very well be right. As I said, I'm in no way critizing, since I wasn't there. Seems that the drogue should have canceled out many of the self-steering issues.

Having done it. Hand steering in gale force to storm for a couple of hours is exhausting and doing it watch on watch for 24 hours is paralyzing.
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Old 19-05-2015, 09:14   #193
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Re: 2015 Another bad year in the Azores..?

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Indeed, you may very well be right. As I said, I'm in no way critizing, since I wasn't there. Seems that the drogue should have canceled out many of the self-steering issues.

Having done it. Hand steering in gale force to storm for a couple of hours is exhausting and doing it watch on watch for 24 hours is paralyzing.
Yes. By the way, I was mistaken in my original post. I had not noted that there were three not two, and I am now thinking three men, not a couple. Somewhat hard to tell in those jackets! But I edited my original and your quoted copy is somewhere in the middle of the edit!
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Old 19-05-2015, 09:17   #194
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Re: 2015 Another bad year in the Azores..?

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Indeed, you may very well be right. As I said, I'm in no way critizing, since I wasn't there. Seems that the drogue should have canceled out many of the self-steering issues.

Having done it. Hand steering in gale force to storm for a couple of hours is exhausting and doing it watch on watch for 24 hours is paralyzing.
As to the effect of the drogue… not necessarily. The effect of that cross sea as they are on the up face underneath a double or triple crest would overpower drogue, rudder and man all at once. I have had that happen a good number of times. Sounds like a freight train crashing, then everything goes weird and white and deaf, and you "wake up" lying along the rails on the sidedeck with a pain in your ribs from the harness… not fun. Nor is being upside down in your bunk belowdecks, wondering if she'll come back up. Sleeping in those conditions is not very effective.
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Old 19-05-2015, 09:37   #195
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Re: 2015 Another bad year in the Azores..?

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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.
Nice story and curious and lovely Helgoland isn't it? One of my favorite wee spots. Anyhow, well written and eloquent as usual. Not much to add at all, just that it should be remembered that the added buoyancy at the stern is what can drive a pitchpole if the bow gets buried in a steep trough while on the surf. In your boat much less likely, but in the pizza pie shaped modern designs with very fine entry, zero flare or overhang, so no reserve buoyancy, and wide, inviting buttocks, getting driven into the sea like a tent peg is significantly more likely, as the stern massively outguns the bow, with its arrow like point buried in the sea… Just a note your discussion of pitchpoling and stern buoyancy made me think to make.
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