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Old 25-05-2009, 03:53   #1
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Heavy Weather Sailing

Hi there. New to sailing. Could someone please point me in the right direction for any previous threads regarding the do's and dont's of heavy weather sailing. I guess that one should not go out in the first place but inevitably these things can and do happen.
I did search but too many threads came up without being specifically what I'm looking for.
Great site and thanks for any advice.
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Old 25-05-2009, 04:05   #2
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Hi there phatch,

Most importantly: Get good weather reports.

When that is not enough - this is very recommended reading:


Title:
Storm Tactics Handbook: Modern Methods of Heaving-To for Survival in Extreme Conditions
Author:
Lin and Larry Pardey
Published:
Pardey Books
ISBN:
0964603667
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Old 25-05-2009, 04:35   #3
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Thanks a lot - will do.
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Old 25-05-2009, 05:23   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phatch View Post
...I guess that one should not go out in the first place...
Actually, you should go out on purpose. Work you way up to it, but after you're comfortable sailing in brisk breezes, my advice would be to grab a few good crew, go out in 25-35 kts and practice reefing, sailing on all points of sail, and heaving to. Knowing your boat's handling characteristics in a bit of a blow will make you a lot more comfortable when that first gale finds you.

Did you try the Google search? It's specific to Cruisers Forum and does a much better job than the big "SEARCH" button. You can find it in the small "Search" pull down menu in the nav bar, upper right on the page. Plug in search terms like "storm tactics", "heavy weather", "heaving to", "drogue", "parachute", "gale sail". After reading a few threads, you'll come up with some more keywords for refining your search.

Adlard Cole's book on heavy weather sailing is an interesting read, also.
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Old 25-05-2009, 07:14   #5
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Thanks Hud - Will do.
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Old 25-05-2009, 10:58   #6
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While all of the suggestions are good, keep in mind that there are degrees of heavy weather. Some of the references deal more with what some would call 'survival' storms. While this is interesting, it is not something that you are likely to be involved with with any degree of prudence and luck. On the other hand there is the everyday problem of plain ol' stinky weather such as frontal passages and squall lines. These are almost unavoidable particularly if you do any cruising. As Hud suggests experience in gradually worse weather is the best teacher and over time you will get the experience whether you like it or not. A reference I found both useful and somewhat comforting is a video called "Sailing in Heavy Weather". I'm attaching an Amazon link so you can see what I'm referring to but they claim to be out of stock. Just google the title and you can find other sources.

Rich

Amazon.com: Sailing in Heavy Weather: Sailing in Heavy Weather: Music
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Old 25-05-2009, 12:19   #7
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Phatch,
With your 24' boat, you will remark that "heavy weather" begins much earlier than with larger yachts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hud3 View Post
go out in 25-35 kts and practice reefing, sailing on all points of sail, and heaving to.
The wind isn't the most important factor. The sea state (wave height, wave length, directional spread, etc.) has a huge influence. Sometimes, what would just be a strong breeze (Beaufort 6) with the corresponding 3-6' waves can put you in trouble when it is compounded by a short swell made still shorter and higher by the adverse tidal stream.

For your first practice sessions, begin with looking over the breakwater, to make sure it's safe to go out.

Alain
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Old 25-05-2009, 12:40   #8
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As others have mentioned, practice and skills are extremely important. You are really not qualified to be out at sea if you don't have some skill at handling heavy weather.

But it should also be mentioned that the NUMBER ONE heavy weather technique is to avoid it in the first place. That's not a joke. Avoiding dangerous weather is a matter of being constantly aware of the weather, knowing how to get weather data and studying it diligently, and understanding what it means, understanding how weather develops, and planning your passages in a way to avoid getting caught out, to the extent possible.

If you're doing coastal sailing where you're always within a few hours of shelter, there are extremely few cases of really dangerous weather which you cannot avoid with the above techniques.
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Old 25-05-2009, 21:17   #9
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I wrote a short article on storm management that you might find helpful. If you would like to check it out, you can go to:

STROM MANAGEMENT FOR CRUISERS
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Old 26-05-2009, 00:01   #10
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Thanks all.
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Old 26-05-2009, 02:43   #11
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Quote:
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Phatch,
With your 24' boat, you will remark that "heavy weather" begins much earlier than with larger yachts.


Alain
It's not the size of the ship...it's the motion of the ocean.
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Old 26-05-2009, 05:30   #12
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Hi Phatch, when you are beating into a breeze and it feels over powered, let the air out of the main by putting the traveler down the track [but keep it sheeted in]. still over powered? reduce headsail. still getting hammered ? reef mainsail . Having said all that ,its best to reef before you go out! if you know its fresh, say 15-20 knts

Regards Jim
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Old 26-05-2009, 05:39   #13
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Thanks a lot, Paul.
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Old 28-05-2009, 02:16   #14
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Hi Phatch, when you are beating into a breeze and it feels over powered, let the air out of the main by putting the traveler down the track [but keep it sheeted in]. still over powered? reduce headsail. still getting hammered ? reef mainsail . Having said all that ,its best to reef before you go out! if you know its fresh, say 15-20 knts.
Good advice.

But experiment (which is why you need to go out in moderate heavy weather). Some of us have learned, on account of balance, to reef the main first, and jib second. Does a better job of reducing pressure on the rudder for some boats and sail plans. You NEED to find out what works on yours.
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Old 28-05-2009, 02:36   #15
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Hi Phatch,
Just remember, what ever falls on the cabin sole, leave it there, if it is rolling back an forth, put it away somewhere. Take your bunk mattress and throw it down on the cabin sole for sleep, or take a couple of life jackets and roll them up and put them under the leading edge of your mattress. Eat ginger candy to keep away the seasick, focus on the horizon and look for the lee of an island to get behind. No Coffee or sugary drinks. Soda crackers can help your stomach, but so can Ritz and they taste better. Tie down all the loose stuff on deck before it gets too rough or it is really dangerous to do after it gets rough. Oh yeah and shorten your sails.
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