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Old 06-05-2016, 11:50   #16
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Re: Sea State vs Boat Size (what are you comfortable with)

Much will be determined by your experience and comfort needs.
I was on a ship in a typhoon, in the S China Sea. Somewhere above 50' seas and swells and amazed to see a sailing junk, fishing.
Cats and trihulls are more comfortable in many conditions, but don't seem to handle really big waves. Over the years I have read many reports of them being found upside down, sometimes with crew.
This year I have seen a couple crew rescues (on tv) from what appeared to be functional sailboats. Mast standing, etc.

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Old 06-05-2016, 12:17   #17
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Re: Sea State vs Boat Size (what are you comfortable with)

I would say weight has more to do with it. I worked on 60 ft yawl built for speed, lt fiberglass composite and took seas like a pig. Wicked uneasy- but also worked on a 45 foot steel rig standby vessel. Took the same seas the 60 footer would of made a roller coaster of- and made them into a easy riding steamer.

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Old 06-05-2016, 14:51   #18
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Re: Sea State vs Boat Size (what are you comfortable with)

Entirely determined by sea state and wave period relative to length.
I've been totally comfortable in a 9.5m catamaran sailing into 5m swells which would have caused us to slow down my workday ride, a 15000 ton ship, to avoid excessive pitching and pounding.
I once rode out a storm in a classic 45 Ft keelboat, drinking wine and vacuuming the cabin while race yachts in the same storm were sinking, abandoned and damaged a few dozen miles north.
The most uncomfortable ride ever, in 40 years at sea, was in a small square rigger going into a wind against tide chop in "sheltered waters".
I've felt safe and comfortable in oil rig tenders in some horrendous storms, and totally unsafe in much larger bulk carriers.
Remember that all yachts are miniscule vessels compared to ships.
The sub 30 Ft Jesters were reportably fine for Atlantic crossings.

Two of the worst ships at sea were both fishing vessels. A north sea trawler and a converted Japanese longliner.
Refreshed my belief that all commercial fisherpersons are crazy.
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Old 06-05-2016, 15:46   #19
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Re: Sea State vs Boat Size (what are you comfortable with)

Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
On the 22ftr in a December Biscay storm I was grateful for every wave that broke over.. the warmth was wonderful..
Heheheheheheheeeee !!!!!!

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Old 06-05-2016, 16:05   #20
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Re: Sea State vs Boat Size (what are you comfortable with)

Safe and comfortable can certainly be 2 different issues. Sailed my old 45 in all kinds of weather, with a couple of Pacific crossings without ever feeling "unsafe" but often less than comfortable. Good reason for me to avoid high lattitudes (North or South) Lots of other places to see and lots of time and decent weather to get there.

Now that I am down to a 25, lumpy weather certainly creates a bit more "motion" as it were, but with an overbuilt standing rig, small cockpit with additional scuppers in the transom, and the boat buttoned up for weather, I have yet to feel unsafe. Of course I also have zero problem waiting a week or so for a good weather window to make a passage that can go pear shaped in a hurry. Most dangerous things on a boat are a wristwatch and a calendar. If I have the sea room, heaving to for a day or so for things to lay down never bothers me either.

Friend coming back from several years in the Med got caught in an off season storm in the mid Atlantic in a well found 50' alum mono. Ended up heaving to for several days and spent his time on the SSB touching bases with vessels in the area (mostly for moral support). Skipper replied to one of his calls and asked his vessel size and what he was doing. My buddy gave him his particulars and the other boat started laughing. My buddies sense of humor was slightly less than normal so he angrily requested to know "what the hell is so funny?" The other vessel's reply " Captain, I am on a 900' tanker about 75 miles south of you, and I am doing the same damn thing!"

Size matters, but not so much as the condition and set up of the vessel, or the skill and experience of the Capt and crew. Lord thy ocean is so large, and my boat is so small.
"It seemed like a good idea at the time"
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Old 06-05-2016, 16:38   #21
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Re: Sea State vs Boat Size (what are you comfortable with)

I will answer like Stu did-
24 foot boat (mine), 10 ft @ 8 sec, sailing upwind, 16 kts wind, night, fog, boat speed 4 kts. This was a learning experience so I keep going for 4 hours before turning back. Comfortable? Are you crazy? I felt safe, that the boat wasn't being harmed and we were in no danger but I would not choose to sail in conditions like this by choice again. These waves were steep, high, fast moving but not breaking. We sometimes jumped off the backside of swells but I don't think we took any green water on deck. Once going downwind it seemed smooth even though the waves built to 11 feet @ 13 sec. Sailing upwind into 3-5 foot steep chop with large whitecaps is when it seems roughest and wettest. I have noticed that small boats (mine) lift to waves while larger boats (40+ feet) have those same waves come onboard.
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Old 06-05-2016, 18:17   #22
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Re: Sea State vs Boat Size (what are you comfortable with)

From a technical point of view the 2 key and measurable parameters in assessing a Vessel's "comfort level" in a given state of heavy weather are:

1 G-Forces at helm station
2 Reserve Buoyancy when decks are awash .

When Tank Testing we measure those 2 items with various sensors at the 'Critical' wave period of 0.9 to 1.2 x the LOA of the exact model.

Both static and underway at various speeds with wave period adjusted to be maintained within the critical zone.

Very telling..... but psychologically, what the crew can handle... is another matter.

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