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Old 07-09-2016, 14:45   #31
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Re: Late Season Sailing in Northern Europe

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Originally Posted by rockDAWG View Post
Hahaaa, that is interesting. I do the same thing. But I only follow the weather just about 10 days before the trip. In this case, I am not familiar with the water in Europe, I guess 4 weeks is not enough
As you can see from this:

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This is the kind of crap which is now rolling through a couple days apart.

The season is actually already over up there. My advice is not to do this trip. Live to fight another day.

High latitudes out of season -- not a good idea.


Someone on here advised you to sail down into the Western Approaches, at the end of your weather window. This:

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Is a typical Western Approaches weather event in this season. This would be survival conditions, if you found yourself there. The hellishness of the sea conditions in this are hard to describe. You would have 12 -- 14 meter breaking seas generated by the gale blowing all the way across from Newfoundland, meeting F9 or F10 winds from 90 degrees off. Sweet Jesus. Your Jordan Drogue already won't help you in that.
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Old 08-09-2016, 04:28   #32
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Re: Late Season Sailing in Northern Europe

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
As you can see from this:

Attachment 130809

This is the kind of crap which is now rolling through a couple days apart.

The season is actually already over up there. My advice is not to do this trip. Live to fight another day.

High latitudes out of season -- not a good idea.


Someone on here advised you to sail down into the Western Approaches, at the end of your weather window. This:

Attachment 130810

Is a typical Western Approaches weather event in this season. This would be survival conditions, if you found yourself there. The hellishness of the sea conditions in this are hard to describe. You would have 12 -- 14 meter breaking seas generated by the gale blowing all the way across from Newfoundland, meeting F9 or F10 winds from 90 degrees off. Sweet Jesus. Your Jordan Drogue already won't help you in that.
Sorry, but this sounds simply as fear mongering to me.

Here is my info on the strongest winds in this same depression at the same moment:
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Thus, F7 with significant wave height of less than 5m. This is really far off F9/F10 winds with waves of 12-14m. In theory, that should be manageable for a 59 ft boat.

Now, I will readily admit that I would not want to be caught in that depression. First, because experience suggests that gribs tend to underestimate wind strength by about 20%. I would thus assume that I would get 40-50 kts at that point instead of 35 kts, thus rather F8 or perhaps even F9. Second, because the depression could strengthen beyond model expectations, which would imply the possibility of F10. Third, because the winds are coming exactly from the wrong direction. And fourth, because there might be current or seabed effects which could make things much harder than suggested.

But let's bear in mind that this specific depression has been forecasted to be there for at least two days (I checked the weather in this area since the start of this thread). You would need to be particularly incompetent or unlucky to encounter the worst of that depression.
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Old 08-09-2016, 04:39   #33
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Re: Late Season Sailing in Northern Europe

And also, I would like to point out the following:
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This is exactly the same depression, about 18 hours later. Now we have a prediction of F8 with waves of 9m. In reality, this might become F10/F11 with truly dangerous waves. Does the route through the Faroes look better than going straight to Ireland? I doubt it ...

The reality is that any place between Iceland and a line running through Stavanger (Norway), Edinburgh (Scotland) and Northern Ireland is potentially dangerous at this time of the year. My a priori is that the faster you get south, the better. But in the end, what the best option will prove to be, will depend on the weather forecasts at the time of departure.
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Old 08-09-2016, 05:52   #34
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Re: Late Season Sailing in Northern Europe

Quote:
Originally Posted by Numawan View Post
And also, I would like to point out the following:
Attachment 130834

This is exactly the same depression, about 18 hours later. Now we have a prediction of F8 with waves of 9m. In reality, this might become F10/F11 with truly dangerous waves. Does the route through the Faroes look better than going straight to Ireland? I doubt it ...

The reality is that any place between Iceland and a line running through Stavanger (Norway), Edinburgh (Scotland) and Northern Ireland is potentially dangerous at this time of the year. My a priori is that the faster you get south, the better. But in the end, what the best option will prove to be, will depend on the weather forecasts at the time of departure.
If I'm reading you right, you've come full circle to agreeing with me.

GFS model GRIBS will reliably give you one Beaufort force less than reality, and can easily be wrong by another Beaufort force. So when you do your planning -- if GFS says Force 7, you need to be ready for Force 9.

Force 9 downwind in someplace like the English Channel, or the Western Part of the North Sea, is generally not life-threatening, but in the Western Approaches, all the energy gets concentrated from the thousands of miles of fetch, and even F8 can give you a really dangerous breaking sea state, and F9 may be survival conditions. Particularly when you have an intense cyclone like in the GRIB I posted, where the wind has turned compared to the prevailing weather.


One thing I have to disagree with is "further South, the better". Look at the energy pattern I posted earlier with significant wave heights. The area to the West of the British Isles out to about 300 miles is a particularly nasty zone of huge accumulated wave energy. You just DO NOT want to go through or be in that zone outside of a reliable weather window, unless you're planning to sell the movie rights to what may easily turn into a harrowing survival situation.


Ask any local sailors. You hear about the North Sea and Biscay only because people sail there all year. No one sails in the Western Approaches out of season (and out of a weather window), or practically no one, because it is so dangerous. North Sea and Biscay are nothing compared to the Western Approaches out of season. You have to go to the Southern Ocean to find comparable sea states.


I've had my a** kicked in the (more dangerous Eastern part of the) North Sea in a F9, when a F8 was predicted. Having been in waves big enough to becalm you in the trough, and having been knocked down in a strong 54' boat -- never again will I put myself in such a situation. It's not worth it. Fools rush in where . . . High latitudes have to be treated with due respect.
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Old 08-09-2016, 06:03   #35
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Re: Late Season Sailing in Northern Europe

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. . .Does the route through the Faroes look better than going straight to Ireland? I doubt it ....
The route through the Faroes looks better for one simple reason -- you can get to a safe port without ever being committed to being out to sea, outside of a secure weather window. It's as simple as that. You cannot get to a safe port in Ireland in three days, and no weather window is really valid for three days. If you set out towards Ireland with a two or three day window, you may be whacked by the next nasty depression either off a terrifying lee shore (Western Scotland) or in the middle of the Western Approaches, when that window expires. In fact, that is even likely, seeing how the weather is working at the moment.

You only need to reach the lee of the British Isles, and you're home free. Unlike the West coast of Scotland, The Eastern coasts of Scotland and England are not really dangerous in any weather other than a big Nor'easter, and you're never more than a day or half a day from a secure port anyway.


You might do Ireland anyway, if you had a period of really settled weather, with the jet stream way off somewhere else. Such as you might find in June or July. But the elephants are already marching, as we write this.
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Old 08-09-2016, 08:05   #36
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Re: Late Season Sailing in Northern Europe

I know its out of the projected route and it will be no sleigh ride but how about Iceland to Newfoundland to the Azores? At this time of year it seems a much safer route than going over to Iceland and down to the Irish Sea. At least you will be going with the prevailing winds.

Edit: That is if you must go at this time of year.
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Old 08-09-2016, 08:32   #37
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Re: Late Season Sailing in Northern Europe

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You might do Ireland anyway, if you had a period of really settled weather, with the jet stream way off somewhere else. Such as you might find in June or July. But the elephants are already marching, as we write this.
Two things.

First, I didn't challenge your view that this is a difficult stretch of water. In fact, I am pretty sure that wave heights during winter times are higher in this part of the North Atlantic than in the Southern Ocean. Read that somewhere ...

Second, I agree that it is not likely at this time of the year to find a period of sufficiently settled weather to cross comfortably from Iceland to Ireland.

There are in fact only two options. One is to start the passage with a depression passing well to your south. Then you have 1-2 days of relatively quiet. After 3-4 days, you have advanced sufficiently far south that the next depression passes well to your north. You need to be really lucky to have such a scenario play out.

The other option is to chose the depression you are going to face. Ideally, you want to face that depression around the third day of your passage. You would have already sailed about 500 NM from Iceland, and you would have about 300 NM left to your destination. You are still very far from any lee shore, but you can reach your final destination in 1-2 days. And of course, you should chose a depression that is not looking too nasty. Something like this for example:
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In this case, the next depression is forecasted to come 2 days after this mild front has passed. Plenty of time to get in a safe place. That is the kind of window I would target.
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Old 08-09-2016, 08:36   #38
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Re: Late Season Sailing in Northern Europe

Once you approach the UK you will be dealing with tides against wind situations . Whilst an F7/8 may not sound much in a 59 foot yacht add wind over tide in the Irish Sea or Western Approaches with the long fetch Dockhead has explained will make life really ghastly if you try to beat into it. Indeed I am willing to bet you can't.

However, time for some good news. This trip is going to take some weeks, hopping between harbours for shelter. So by late October early November there are periods of Easterlies coming off Europe. Conditions will be calm very cold with clear skies and bright sunshine. The UK clocks change late October and the days short by then but good progress could be made down the English Channel and Biscay in these conditions all be it at the cost of some diesel.
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Old 08-09-2016, 08:50   #39
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Re: Late Season Sailing in Northern Europe

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I know its out of the projected route and it will be no sleigh ride but how about Iceland to Newfoundland to the Azores? At this time of year it seems a much safer route than going over to Iceland and down to the Irish Sea. At least you will be going with the prevailing winds.

Edit: That is if you must go at this time of year.
I thought about that awhile ago. In fact the boat will be in Nuuk, Greenland so sailing to NewFoundland is more logical than to Iceland. Although sailing from Nuuk to Newfoundland is still hard in October. This distance is far shorter actually (400 nm less) to Gibraltar.
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Old 08-09-2016, 09:03   #40
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Re: Late Season Sailing in Northern Europe

I am not convinced ...
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Old 08-09-2016, 10:01   #41
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Re: Late Season Sailing in Northern Europe

The one thing that I would do if you must make this trip is to pay for a professional private weather forecast each from the likes of Chris Tibbs or Simon Keeling. Having someone back home interpret what the jet stream is doing for the Iceland to UK route would be very valuable and give you perhaps 48 hours notice if things are going to turn nasty.

Once on the UK main land then less important and you can pick up the excellent weather forecasts and make your own call from the safety of a secure harbour before venturing out.

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Old 08-09-2016, 10:12   #42
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Re: Late Season Sailing in Northern Europe

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Originally Posted by Pete7 View Post
Once you approach the UK you will be dealing with tides against wind situations . Whilst an F7/8 may not sound much in a 59 foot yacht add wind over tide in the Irish Sea or Western Approaches with the long fetch Dockhead has explained will make life really ghastly if you try to beat into it. Indeed I am willing to bet you can't.

However, time for some good news. This trip is going to take some weeks, hopping between harbours for shelter. So by late October early November there are periods of Easterlies coming off Europe. Conditions will be calm very cold with clear skies and bright sunshine. The UK clocks change late October and the days short by then but good progress could be made down the English Channel and Biscay in these conditions all be it at the cost of some diesel.
Indeed.

Once you have made the lee of the British Isles, there isn't any more existential threat to your life. You can actually get all the way to Gib from Scapa Flow by day sails on calm days. It will be tedious and time-consuming, but safe. You can make longer passages according to what windows you get, but the point is you will no longer be forced to be at sea while a depression rolls through.

Actually maybe not even tedious -- there are wonderful places along the whole route, which would be no burden at all to be stormbound in.

The worst of it would probably be the English Channel, simply because in October and November you get a Westerly flow 85% of the time. But you can criss-cross the Channel to avoid tacking. This is a very easy problem compared to surviving above 60N.
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Old 08-09-2016, 10:29   #43
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Re: Late Season Sailing in Northern Europe

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The one thing that I would do if you must make this trip is to pay for a professional private weather forecast each from the likes of Chris Tibbs or Simon Keeling. Having someone back home interpret what the jet stream is doing for the Iceland to UK route would be very valuable and give you perhaps 48 hours notice if things are going to turn nasty.

Once on the UK main land then less important and you can pick up the excellent weather forecasts and make your own call from the safety of a secure harbour before venturing out.

Pete
Thanks the names, Pete. I will check them out of their formal training, experience and sailing ground expertise. I must admit, I didn't have much good experience with the weather routers in the past when we used those high profile weather routers in the U.S and Caribbean sea.

In this particular vovage, I am not familiar with the high latitude European water, it is prudent to hear what they have to say.

Thanks again.
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Old 08-09-2016, 10:42   #44
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Re: Late Season Sailing in Northern Europe

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Two things.

First, I didn't challenge your view that this is a difficult stretch of water. In fact, I am pretty sure that wave heights during winter times are higher in this part of the North Atlantic than in the Southern Ocean. Read that somewhere ...

Second, I agree that it is not likely at this time of the year to find a period of sufficiently settled weather to cross comfortably from Iceland to Ireland.

There are in fact only two options. One is to start the passage with a depression passing well to your south. Then you have 1-2 days of relatively quiet. After 3-4 days, you have advanced sufficiently far south that the next depression passes well to your north. You need to be really lucky to have such a scenario play out.

The other option is to chose the depression you are going to face. Ideally, you want to face that depression around the third day of your passage. You would have already sailed about 500 NM from Iceland, and you would have about 300 NM left to your destination. You are still very far from any lee shore, but you can reach your final destination in 1-2 days. And of course, you should chose a depression that is not looking too nasty. Something like this for example:
Attachment 130835

In this case, the next depression is forecasted to come 2 days after this mild front has passed. Plenty of time to get in a safe place. That is the kind of window I would target.
Sure, if you have five or six days without survival weather, you'll be fine sailing to Ireland. Seven or eight days, and the OP can sail down into the Western Approaches as you suggested, before turning E. Aim for that weak depression - by all means.

The problem is what looks like a weak depression 3 or 4 days ahead, may be a Force 10 or even hurricane force, by the time it gets to you.

You cannot get far enough South to get out of danger - hurricane force winds occur in these waters as far South as 50N, with no more than 2-3 days warning.

Do not leave Iceland in October headed anywhere, but where you can be in a safe port in no more than three days. Ask anyone who sails up here. Deliberately sailing out of Iceland into the Western Approaches beyond any possible weather forecast, in October -- absolute madness.

Sent from my D6633 using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
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Old 09-09-2016, 13:14   #45
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Re: Late Season Sailing in Northern Europe

Ok.... Gentlemen and Captains. Thanks for all input and helpful civilized discussion. I appreciate your effort and time. More importantly it gave me an opportunity to learn how other to approach the SAME problem.

Our decision has not made yet. I know what I would do based on my own limits and desire, but I am not the owner. I hope by Sept 14, we will have a decision.

Thanks again, Almighty Captains. If I am in this voyage, I will post my inReach track link.

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