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Old 28-06-2013, 20:22   #241
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Back to thunderstorms off south Florida. I'm currently watching a beautiful lightening show off of West Palm. I'm closer to Boca but eying the storm closely. Got a radio and iPhone in the microwave and took one reef out of the main.
Cold air just hit and wind gen is screaming; time to close the ports I guess. Dead calm to 20 knots in one minute. Weeeeee
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Old 28-06-2013, 22:35   #242
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Lots of lightening so I aimed to avoid the stronger cells of the storm. Ended up with barely enough rain to rinse the sails and most of the wind on the nose. From the VHF 16 calls some others didn't do as well though. But for the grace of God...
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Old 29-06-2013, 00:25   #243
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Re: Thunderstorm While Coastal Cruising. What do you do?

Dockhead said:

"One little nit to pick with you -- you wrote "As I was leaving Venice, FL, there was a thunder-laden cloud (don't know if it was actually a significant storm or not) to the south of me." How can you not know if something is a significant storm or not? Don't you check the weather before going out? It is absolutely essential to know whether there are significant storms ..."

I didn't say I was leaving Venice BY BOAT. I wa driving. It's really easy to make assumptions that aren't valid ...
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Old 29-06-2013, 02:15   #244
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Re: Thunderstorm While Coastal Cruising. What do you do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
I'm sorry, but this is simply false.

The wind alone, unless it's a tornado, cannot rip up your rigging or bring your mast down. It cannot hurt or kill anyone. Unless, of course, you have done something stupid with your sails, as I said (but doing something stupid with your sails can kill you at 20 knots of wind, too, even 10).

"Something stupid with your sails" means getting caught in a 50 knot blast with the main sheeted in and all plain sail up and then failing to blow the sheets before getting knocked down, getting into an unintentional gybe which decapitates you or your crew, and so forth. It only takes a tiny bit of very basic seamanship to avoid any significant danger from the wind resulting from a t-storm. An irrational fear of strong wind will not do anything to enhance your safety; on the contrary, it will lead to incorrect judgements, and panic, and further irrational ideas. This "tiny bit of very basic seamanship" is well within the reach of any beginner who is even slightly willing to learn anything -- you don't have to be a salt-encrusted circumnavigator.

The nature of non-frontal t-storms is not "all different". On the contrary, they are all more or less the same, and all arise from the same cause -- convection and moisture. Some elementary knowledge of weather is a really good thing for any sailor to know. A good place to start on t-storms:

http://www.weatheranswer.com/public/Thunderstorm.pdf

Types of Thunderstorms: single cell, multicell clusters, multicell lines and supercells

Single Cell Thunderstorms: also known as pulse thunderstorms

Ordinary non-frontal thunderstorms last 20 - 30 minutes and rarely have wind over 50 knots. They are made up of cells of storm activity; sometimes consist of just one cell. "Severe thunderstorms" have somewhat stronger winds, but do not last longer than that. But the more severe a t-storm is, the more predictable it is. T-storms which "come out of nowhere" are almost always single-cell t-storms. "Supercells", the really dangerous kind of t-storm, are exceptionally rare (one out thousands or tens of thousands of t-storms) and are tracked for hours as they form. Tornadoes come from supercells. "Derechos" are the most severe storm which is not either a tornado or a tropical rotating storm, but they are exceptionally rare and cannot be formed over water. They are large-scale weather events which do not "come out of nowhere".


Notice that we talk about "non-frontal t-storms". This is important. Storms generated by major frontal systems are very different and are incomparably more dangerous at sea, and none of what I wrote applies. The difference for us is that while you can never be sure of avoiding a heat-generated non-frontal t-storm, while sailing along a coast, especially in the sub-tropics, where they are unpredictable and can happen almost every day in the summer, there is never any reason to be out as a major frontal system passes over, unless you are somewhere days from land. Dealing with a major frontal system and the storms these generate would be a very different conversation.

"
Originally Posted by Rakuflames
The wind itself CAN hurt the boat. It can rip up your rigging; it can rip up your sails. It can bring the mast down, which can hurt or kill people and leave a pole in the water that can then sink your boat.

I'm sorry, but this is simply false.

The wind alone, unless it's a tornado, cannot rip up your rigging or bring your mast down. It cannot hurt or kill anyone. Unless, of course, you have done something stupid with your sails, as I said (but doing something stupid with your sails can kill you at 20 knots of wind, too, even 10)."

You know, I don't think it's "false." You followed that statements by all sorts of exceptions that would make it true in some circumstance. I didn't say these storms would *always* do damage, but they can do damage, and sometimes it can be serious. That would usually be from some combination of failed equipment and/or level of sailing skills, but that's a far cry from "impossible."

I think maybe what you meant is that it wouldn't happen *to you* given your level of experience and knowledge, and the state of your equipment, but unless we're all going to be timid all our lives and only sail in exceptionally sheltered waters (a good plan for learning the basics IMO), a number of people here, including me, could get caught in a storm fierce enough that we ... don't do something "stupid" but make mistakes that more experienced sailors would not have made. To me that's not stupidity. It's the fact that skills exist on a continuum even when he or she is actively working to learn all they can.

That is why this thread started. It was started by a less experienced sailor looking for information on how to handle a potentially difficult situation (and what is difficult for one person will be "old hat" to another.)

I have great respect for you, but to say that bad things can't happen in coastal Florida storms could lead newer sailors right into a peck of trouble.
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Old 29-06-2013, 03:48   #245
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Originally Posted by amytom View Post
Lots of lightening so I aimed to avoid the stronger cells of the storm. Ended up with barely enough rain to rinse the sails and most of the wind on the nose. From the VHF 16 calls some others didn't do as well though. But for the grace of God...
Hope you made it to a snug harbor, more boomers this morning....
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Old 29-06-2013, 04:35   #246
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17 miles out from Ft Pierce on a nice beam reach at 6.5kt. I can see the storms behind me and the swell is definitely picking up. I'm looking forward to the ditch at this point, and a cup of joe.
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Old 29-06-2013, 10:34   #247
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Re: Thunderstorm While Coastal Cruising. What do you do?

sorry Raku. Dockhead is perfectly correct. Wind, in and of itself, will not harm your boat. Of course if your boat is improperly maintained, then wind can bring down your mast. If you don't know how to sail, wind can give you major problems.

The waves generated by the wind CAN harm your boat, as can a lee shore. And many other things as well.

If we are to help those asking, we need to be concise. Blandly saying, wind can bring down you mast, wreck your rigging etc. is a statement in need of some serious modifiers.





Quote:
Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
"
Originally Posted by Rakuflames
The wind itself CAN hurt the boat. It can rip up your rigging; it can rip up your sails. It can bring the mast down, which can hurt or kill people and leave a pole in the water that can then sink your boat.

I'm sorry, but this is simply false.

The wind alone, unless it's a tornado, cannot rip up your rigging or bring your mast down. It cannot hurt or kill anyone. Unless, of course, you have done something stupid with your sails, as I said (but doing something stupid with your sails can kill you at 20 knots of wind, too, even 10)."

You know, I don't think it's "false." You followed that statements by all sorts of exceptions that would make it true in some circumstance. I didn't say these storms would *always* do damage, but they can do damage, and sometimes it can be serious. That would usually be from some combination of failed equipment and/or level of sailing skills, but that's a far cry from "impossible."

I think maybe what you meant is that it wouldn't happen *to you* given your level of experience and knowledge, and the state of your equipment, but unless we're all going to be timid all our lives and only sail in exceptionally sheltered waters (a good plan for learning the basics IMO), a number of people here, including me, could get caught in a storm fierce enough that we ... don't do something "stupid" but make mistakes that more experienced sailors would not have made. To me that's not stupidity. It's the fact that skills exist on a continuum even when he or she is actively working to learn all they can.

That is why this thread started. It was started by a less experienced sailor looking for information on how to handle a potentially difficult situation (and what is difficult for one person will be "old hat" to another.)

I have great respect for you, but to say that bad things can't happen in coastal Florida storms could lead newer sailors right into a peck of trouble.
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Old 29-06-2013, 13:27   #248
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Re: Thunderstorm While Coastal Cruising. What do you do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by amytom View Post
17 miles out from Ft Pierce on a nice beam reach at 6.5kt. I can see the storms behind me and the swell is definitely picking up. I'm looking forward to the ditch at this point, and a cup of joe.
Well I hope you made it because there is a lot of stuff happening today for sure. It is not "Summer Pattern" though. It is front related. And it is crossing the whole central part of the state. You may be OK where you are.........for another couple of hours.

NWS radar image loop of Composite Reflectivity from Tampa Bay Area, FL
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Old 29-06-2013, 17:10   #249
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Just got back from a 1/2 day sail playing dodge the thunderstorm.... Ended up 4 miles off the coast to get away and it was still blowing hard.

Like Therapy said not the normal summer boomers.

Carstenb.... Well said
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Old 29-06-2013, 18:14   #250
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Right but also normal. You go early and check the forecast when coastal. Read the synopsis. Reef when you see the cloud cover.
Plus side is that the past week on mid atlantic has had unreal sunsets. Some real nasty cells but that's summer sailing on this coast.
I got soaked 4 times a day ago. The trade off the sailing was fabulous.
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Old 29-06-2013, 20:31   #251
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Re: Thunderstorm While Coastal Cruising. What do you do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by carstenb View Post
sorry Raku. Dockhead is perfectly correct. Wind, in and of itself, will not harm your boat. Of course if your boat is improperly maintained, then wind can bring down your mast. If you don't know how to sail, wind can give you major problems.

The waves generated by the wind CAN harm your boat, as can a lee shore. And many other things as well.

If we are to help those asking, we need to be concise. Blandly saying, wind can bring down you mast, wreck your rigging etc. is a statement in need of some serious modifiers.

"sorry Raku. Dockhead is perfectly correct. Wind, in and of itself, will not harm your boat. Of course if your boat is improperly maintained, then wind can bring down your mast. If you don't know how to sail, wind can give you major problems."

Look at the emphasized part above, Carsten. That is *exactly* what I just said.

A friend of mine raced today and had to take a DNF after a turnbuckle gave way and left a shroud dangling. The winds were up a little but not extreme, so I chalk it up to maintenance. They had line to secure it with.

What is the state of his other turnbuckles? Presumably he will check them all now, but if he had been caught in more of a blow and more than one had given -- he might have lost his mast.

I know someone else who chose to race in 20 mph winds (I was on his boat, shortly after I first started learning to sail). I asked him if we were going to reef, and he said, "No -- and that's why we're going to win." Well, we didn't win. We didn't finish the race, because a gust blew out most of the foot of his sail at the boom. That was a combination of poor maintenance (the sail was old and well past its prime) and lack of knowledge.

There's nothing inconsistent here, and nothing wrong in what I said. I hope this isn't going to turn into a big bickerfest.
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Old 29-06-2013, 20:33   #252
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Re: Thunderstorm While Coastal Cruising. What do you do?

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Just got back from a 1/2 day sail playing dodge the thunderstorm.... Ended up 4 miles off the coast to get away and it was still blowing hard.

Like Therapy said not the normal summer boomers.

Carstenb.... Well said

And it's also what I said. But I've followed up with real-life examples.
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Old 30-06-2013, 07:23   #253
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pirate Re: Thunderstorm While Coastal Cruising. What do you do?



I'll have a Dark and Stormy please.
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Old 30-06-2013, 17:32   #254
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Well I hope you made it because there is a lot of stuff happening today for sure. It is not "Summer Pattern" though. It is front related. And it is crossing the whole central part of the state. You may be OK where you are.........for another couple of hours.

NWS radar image loop of Composite Reflectivity from Tampa Bay Area, FL
Yep sitting at home now. Trip up the ditch was quite wet and sometimes gusty but my PDQ road it out in comfort. Sitting inside driving by remote controlled autopilot while sipping iced tea. Only had to go outside to reef.
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Old 01-07-2013, 16:30   #255
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Re: Thunderstorm While Coastal Cruising. What do you do?

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Yep sitting at home now. Trip up the ditch was quite wet and sometimes gusty but my PDQ road it out in comfort. Sitting inside driving by remote controlled autopilot while sipping iced tea. Only had to go outside to reef.
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