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Old 28-05-2009, 06:27   #16
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Learn how and practice heaving to in various wind/sea conditions.

The ability to heave to can make the all the difference when a storm arrives and you need/want rest. Most boats can take more weather than we can..


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Old 28-05-2009, 08:11   #17
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Do yourself a favor, don't do like I did and take your maiden voyage into what turns out to be a Force 10 storm... Mind you, it was only forecast to be SCA but it didn't stay that way. I did, however, learn a helluva lot about my boat, crew and myself.

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Old 28-05-2009, 09:27   #18
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Avoidance: Winds & Waves

A variant on the "avoidance" and "its the waves that matter" themes in the thread ... don't know your experience level so no offence if this seems basic to you:

Part of avoidance is to understand how wind and current interact, so you can stay out of bad wave action when winds are high.

Avoid wind against tide situations when you can (creates short, sharp chop). Give major headlands a wider berth than normal (accelerate winds, and often concentrate currents). Know your area / read the cruising guides, and when possible time your passages e.g. so you go through the worst areas at slack water. Read the charts, and anticipate worse wave action around marked rips and anywhere the water shallows rapidly. Avoid confused currents.

When safe to do so, travel downwind of land, islands, sandbanks, etc to take some heat out of the sea conditions. I hove to one night in Storm 10 behind well lit rocks, with safe bearings etc. While it was a fierce storm (wave tops ripped off by the wind), it was calm for the conditions. With more reliable forecasts, you can often avoid such situations today.

And give lee shores plenty of room. You loose options as you close the shore, particularly if seas kick up as it shallows.

In heavy weather avoid bars you are unfamiliar with, particularly when coming in from the seaward side as you often will not see how bad it really is until you are almost committed to crossing. Time your tides.

Good passage planning and tactics makes a huge difference in marginal conditions. But do not push things too hard, too soon. Regardless of how much we think we know (the sea can be a cruel teacher), there is always a point when discretion is far better than valour. Particularly if we / our crew are susceptible to motion sickness.

One sick, scared or miserable person makes for a pretty miserable ship.

Talk to your crew; keep them informed and reassured. As needed, give firm, clear instructions on matters of safety of person and the ship.

Put in a trip report by VHF. Wear the right gear. Carry the right gear. Stow carefully. Tie on. Anticipate problems. Enjoy the ride.

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