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Old 17-06-2013, 06:11   #46
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Re: Thunderstorm while coastal cruising. What do you do?

folks do not realize there are reasons to not tow your dinghy behind boat....lol...flying and disappearing dinks happen. tie to the boat on deck and be done with it....sailing thru lightning storms is part of sailing florida. it happens. dump main, furl roller jib and jkeep on at about 60 mles off shore, where the damn things end...they dont happen 50 miles off florida---is easy..and dont worry about pointing your boat in a storm----lol---you will learn that sailing florida is done with foulies for you and jib only for boat.
when the haze starts to happen around you in florida, that is first clue as to the location of the coming event....first haze blocks out stars, and winds if any are flukey and omnidirectional. then clouds begin to form--right over your head....then you are inside it--- so, if you are desirous of only sailing in florida's sunny daylight, go to marina as soon as you feel flukey winds and see haze building at the horizons to center of your field of vision....only a small overhead spot of starry night may be your only warning if you missed the flukey light breezes....
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Old 17-06-2013, 06:23   #47
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Nothing 'pounces' from nowhere
Well it seems so when one gets no warning, or only 30 seconds. Yes, of course one is over canvassed. Often unreasonable to strike all sail at sunset just avoid a midnight squall. Not uncommon to be sailing along in the dark, light breezes, squalls known to be nearby. To wallow about with two reefs and no headsail would be silly. That's why the boat should always be ready for the unexpected. Everything stowed properly below, for a start. And the boat should be comfortable, controllable, in knockdown conditions. It going to happen to anyone who is not a complete Wilting Willie.

I've had violent wind seem to come from above out of clear starry skies. Direction uncertain. You tell me what sense or instrument would foretell of that? None of mine did. Ya, sure the WX forecast gave some hints, but that is the case most days for 8 months straight.
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Old 17-06-2013, 06:31   #48
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Re: Thunderstorm while coastal cruising. What do you do?

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And the boat should be comfortable, controllable, in knockdown conditions.
perhaps we have different definitions, to me a knockdown is spreaders in the water. I find few few boats and even fewer crew, that are "comfortable, controllable" in such situations, Many boats disgorge the contents of cabinets, etc, crew get chucked around, crashing into furniture and hurting themselves etc.

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Often unreasonable to strike all sail at sunset just avoid a midnight squall.
Not unreasonable to strike 'some sail' at sunset especially if lightly crewed, Yes we have all had the unexpected wind, but as a general comment T-storms can be seen tracked, reviewed on weather information, etc. You then sail appropriate to the boat, the conditions and the crew.

Its thats no sails( or minimum sails) and an engine and thats what you want , then thats what you do!!!.

Not saying you will never find yourself in a position where you have to reef under pressure, but you should strive to avoid that by good seamanship. The best cruises are ones where "nothing happened"


dave
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Old 17-06-2013, 06:37   #49
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Re: Thunderstorm while coastal cruising. What do you do?

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Raku, my comment above was limited to the non-use of the engine.

Dockhead and many others have described how to handle these situations under sail. That's sailing. Hell, Daddle goes looking for them. What he's after is 20+ knots. Fast is fun as they say.

Most of us probably aren't that adventurous, or confident, or even capable but it's skill-building to learn to deal with the weather. Scary as they are knockdowns are not a death sentence.

On edit, reading Dave's comment reminded me that only my last two boats even had an engine. And electronics? Where do ya put 'em if ya don't have a microwave? The religious way to handle this deal is to make that last physical check of spectacles, testicles, wallet, and watch.
1) Knockdowns can indeed be a death sentence. You can incur a head injury, impalement, or go overboard. If on a multihull and you flip, you could also get trapped beneath the boat and drown.

2) If you get struck by lightning your engine electronics could fry, crew could be injured. It happened to me (engine). Diesels don't need electronics to run, but they do need them to start. Although sailboats can still make port without an engine, few have the skill to safely negotiate rows of slips under sail and sometimes it's impossible based on the layout.

If you choose to put your balls on the line you might not like the consequences.

As to coastal sailors deciding whether to head out, we use the excellent weather forecasting apps and websites. Wunderground.com and Intellicast have great apps and give hour-by-hour percent probabilities. If it's below 40% probability we go, if 60% plus we try to avoid going, and 50% might swing either way. In any event, having those apps on a smartphone or tablet with wireless broadband access is a great coastal accessory and lets you watch the Doppler radar to augment your "weather eye". That's GREAT info to have, and has allowed us to see the storms move in before they're locally visible, and make port just before they arrive.
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Old 17-06-2013, 06:43   #50
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Re: Thunderstorm while coastal cruising. What do you do?

+ 1 SailFastTri, Likewise, where I have the time and power ( like not deliveries) , I try and avoid aggressive active T-Storm areas, Sometimes it works others it doesn't

dave
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Old 17-06-2013, 06:51   #51
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Re: Thunderstorm while coastal cruising. What do you do?

Was tied safely up to a dock next to a cruise ship in Fort lauderdale waterway having a late lunch ,probably didn't even notice any wind increase when a heavy gust and multiple blasts from the horn of a cruise ship gets me on deck and into the teeth of a full gale,my stern line is now free because the cruise ship has snapped off the massive piling we are both tied to,my bow and spring lines are holding my 35' steel sloop to the dock at a crazy angle so I jump ashore with another line to secure my stern.
Then it really starts to blow! It was like being in a prolonged explosion , all I could do was crouch on the dock as the air turned white and filled with lawn furniture from the balconies of the surrounding condos and the deck chairs of the cruise ship astern. the roar was deafening but the worst was over in a minute and the rain ended shortly afterward and the sun even came out. A multi-srory boarding ladder was blown off the upper deck of the cruise ship and crushed the dock right behind me. I never even heard the impact or saw it fly overhead. My shirtless torso was covered with welts from hail that were still visible 3 days later.
I have experienced a number severe gales lying ahull in the North Atlantic but this event (thunderstorm?) in Florida probably barely made the evening news, severe T-storms are a fact of life in Fla.
So dear reader, if you have read this far, you must by now recognize that just shortening sail,"popping spinnakers", or any such cavalier approaches are not even remotely feasible; when the sky conditions noted in photo above ,threaten to blow the oysters off the rocks, its time to get EVERYTHING below and start your motor.

Fair Winds to All---Mike
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Old 17-06-2013, 07:00   #52
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Re: Thunderstorm while coastal cruising. What do you do?

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
I agree, I prefer to run wind wind from the stern quarter though , (a) its takes me out of the path and (b) the boat is more stable
Indeed, and that is exactly was what I was advocating.
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Old 17-06-2013, 07:11   #53
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Re: Thunderstorm while coastal cruising. What do you do?

Man, oh, frickin man. You pirates and wenches aaaarrrhhh shiverin' me timbers! Wiltin' me willie! Layin' me balls on the line!

Wind n seas!
Sailin' at night! WOT?
Impaled on the tiller!
Sunk by a whale!
Rogue waves like street gangs!!!!!

Think I'll head over to We$t marine fer some new LARGER dock lines, buy that new book, The Wussification of Modern Motorsailors, then head back to the club bar, and catch somethin on the Golf Channel.

Whew! Wot a day!
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Old 17-06-2013, 07:21   #54
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Re: Thunderstorm while coastal cruising. What do you do?

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Think I'll head over to We$t marine fer some new LARGER dock lines, buy that new book, The Wussification of Modern Motorsailors, then head back to the club bar, and catch somethin on the Golf Channel.
See Randy Savage, for enlightenment !!!

dave
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Old 17-06-2013, 07:46   #55
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Re: Thunderstorm while coastal cruising. What do you do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrohr View Post
Was tied safely up to a dock next to a cruise ship in Fort lauderdale waterway having a late lunch ,probably didn't even notice any wind increase when a heavy gust and multiple blasts from the horn of a cruise ship gets me on deck and into the teeth of a full gale,my stern line is now free because the cruise ship has snapped off the massive piling we are both tied to,my bow and spring lines are holding my 35' steel sloop to the dock at a crazy angle so I jump ashore with another line to secure my stern.
Then it really starts to blow! It was like being in a prolonged explosion , all I could do was crouch on the dock as the air turned white and filled with lawn furniture from the balconies of the surrounding condos and the deck chairs of the cruise ship astern. the roar was deafening but the worst was over in a minute and the rain ended shortly afterward and the sun even came out. A multi-srory boarding ladder was blown off the upper deck of the cruise ship and crushed the dock right behind me. I never even heard the impact or saw it fly overhead. My shirtless torso was covered with welts from hail that were still visible 3 days later.
I have experienced a number severe gales lying ahull in the North Atlantic but this event (thunderstorm?) in Florida probably barely made the evening news, severe T-storms are a fact of life in Fla.
So dear reader, if you have read this far, you must by now recognize that just shortening sail,"popping spinnakers", or any such cavalier approaches are not even remotely feasible; when the sky conditions noted in photo above ,threaten to blow the oysters off the rocks, its time to get EVERYTHING below and start your motor.

Fair Winds to All---Mike
A "full gale"? I think you're referring to the wind strength, not to the type of weather. "Full gales" -- talking about the type of weather -- don't come out of nowhere; they come with well-formed frontal systems.

"Severe t-storms" of the ordinary, heat-generated kind (I'm excluding rare uber-storms like derechos and supercells) can be violent, but they are short-term, localized phenomena. Every sailor should learn at least a little about weather: Thunderstorm - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Severe t-storms" can be fearsome and horrible in confined waters or at the dock, but they are not dangerous at sea. Running off works well even on very small boats. This is because wind is a much less threatening phenomenon than sea state. A dangerous sea state takes a lot of energy spread out over a large area and over a long period of time to generate.
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Old 17-06-2013, 07:46   #56
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Re: Thunderstorm while coastal cruising. What do you do?

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But if you do make a bit of a mistake and get hit by something harder than you expect just SLOWLY take your actions: Depower, furl, reef and/or drop.
Newby question, but... how do I depower? with full sails up, large genoa out etc.
Head into the wind until genoa start to flap? Or release mainsheet first?
Release the mainsheet and drop the main (I usually have the hallyard nicely prepared for a quick "release clutch - 1-2-3-4 quick drop main into the bag").
Then furl the flapping genoa?

I was caught with full mainsail out in a 40kn gust - it took off the clew in 2 sec
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Old 17-06-2013, 07:49   #57
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Re: Thunderstorm while coastal cruising. What do you do?

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Originally Posted by Blue Crab View Post
The Wussification of Modern Motorsailors, then head back to the club bar, and catch somethin on the Golf Channel.
Yes I agree.

In the tropics you can get 20 squalls in a day (and some at night do arrive out of nowhere!) for me to reef before each one, or during each one, would be a total daily energy expend enough to make me more unsafe than seamanlike.

Even 10 squalls per day.

Even 5 squalls and run off course for half an hour... at 6 knots x 30 mins x 5 thats an extra 15 nms per day.

But each skipper will find a way that works best for himself, his boat and local conditions.


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Old 17-06-2013, 07:57   #58
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Re: Thunderstorm while coastal cruising. What do you do?

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Originally Posted by SVI View Post
Newby question, but... how do I depower? with full sails up, large genoa out etc.
Head into the wind until genoa start to flap?
Release the mainsheet and drop the main (I usually have the hallyard nicely prepared for a quick "release clutch - 1-2-3-4 quick drop main into the bag").
Then furl the flapping genoa?
A very important question.

Generally, do NOT head into the wind. If you are overstressed on a freer point of sail, then heading up will make everything terrifyingly worse.*

First thing, do the usual stuff like drop the traveller. Is it worthwhile flattening the sail? Depends on how overpowered you are and what point of sail. Sometimes flattening the sail is as good as a whole reef.

If you know that's not going to be enough, then put on the vang and slack the mainsheet, then Head OFF, but not too close to DDW (don't risk a gybe). Chances are, a given amount of sail which is too much close hauled will be just right or even too little downwind. Head off, get settled into your new course, notice how much under control everything suddenly became, and count to 10 until you feel calm.

Then start getting sail down. The headsail, of course, is easy. The main will depend on what reefing system you have. If you have a type that requires you to be right head to the wind, then you can take in some headsail (not too much, or you'll get killer weather helm), scandalize the main somehow, then head up again.


* The exception will be if you're close-hauled AND have a main which can't be reefed unless you're head to the wind. In this case, you might have to let your main flog a bit while you're getting around to where you can reef. On most boats, I'd put the vang on and slack the mainsheet until the main stops drawing, then come around head to the wind. Having the engine on may increase the security of this maneuver. Flogging in a strong wind is very harmful to your sails, so this should be a last resort.
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Old 17-06-2013, 08:06   #59
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Re: Thunderstorm while coastal cruising. What do you do?

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If you know that's not going to be enough, then put on the vang and slack the mainsheet, then Head OFF, but not too close to DDW (don't risk a gybe). Chances are, a given amount of sail which is too much close hauled will be just right or even too little downwind. Head off, get settled into your new course, notice how much under control everything suddenly became, and count to 10 until you feel calm.
I would suggest that to depower on that point of sail , release the traveller and open the leech ( not too much,dont allow the top to blow around teh mast, for several reasons) you will chafe on the spreaders but it will allow some wind out of the sail.

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Old 17-06-2013, 08:09   #60
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Re: Thunderstorm while coastal cruising. What do you do?

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Yes I agree.

In the tropics you can get 20 squalls in a day (and some at night do arrive out of nowhere!) for me to reef before each one, or during each one, would be a total daily energy expend enough to make me more unsafe than seamanlike.

Even 10 squalls per day.

Even 5 squalls and run off course for half an hour... at 6 knots x 30 mins x 5 thats an extra 15 nms per day.

But each skipper will find a way that works best for himself, his boat and local conditions.
My experience is that in the tropics, I am sailing DW, or DW anyway, often with a good trade wind up the wazooo. Hence Im already 'running off', yet I can get 50-60 knots in a line squall or T-Storm. Thats a lot of additional sail pressure with all the normal trade wind sail up. Hence I tend to sail mainly on headsail, which is easily reefed and only a hanky of main ( which I can ignore). I still need to reef the headsail though.

Dave
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