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Old 17-06-2013, 09:13   #76
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Re: Thunderstorm while coastal cruising. What do you do?

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
Nothing 'pounces' from nowhere, There is always plenty of time to reef or sail conservatively , as you see the conditions develop, reefing in a gail is poor seamanship. ( yes its a skill , but so is getting into a life-raft).

People , especially go faster merchants , tend to carry too much sail, yet even after reefing , the boat is still close to hull speed. You are not racing, there is nothing to be accomplished by pushing the boat ,yourself or your luck, Your goal is to have an enjoyable cruise and arrive in one piece with everyone and everything intact.

IN my club racing is described as go-out->shout-> break things-> write cheques-> drink -> go-out......

I would agree with MarkJ, many squalls and T_storms can be avoided, radar is useful to track them.

I find it hard to beleive one poster who said T-storm caused a knockdown, never seen it, ( not what I regard as a knockdown), it only happens to the over canvassed.



No they are not, but they are entirely avoidable where seas arnt big, knockdowns can result in serious equipment damage, crew injuries and general dis-commotion . Avoid them , certainly dont get complacent about them ( and try not to expose SWMBO to one ok).

dave

Sorry, not true. They can form up very rapidly and be quite fierce, quite quickly. They can also move at 60 mph and be on top of you in no time.

They simply are not entirely avoidable. Maybe where you are, but not in south Florida in the summer. No way.

As Zeehag said, there are signs that it might happen earlier in the day, but they could form anywhere within 100 miles of where you've noticed the possibility. They can come up fast and hard. I've only been sailing six years and I've experienced it twice here.

We're not talking about fronts that are predicted days in advance. People who go out unprepared for that are just numbskulls, like the four football players whose shallow water fishing boat flipped 60 miles out into the Gulf. Only one survived, but all the sailors had known for 3 days that that weather was coming.
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Old 17-06-2013, 09:16   #77
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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

Yes, one mistake my friend made was to run with the storm behind him, with him out front. I think he was just glad to be alive at that point, but I also wonder -- if I had been through what he had just been through, very nearly knocked off the boat -- I think that could really addle your brain.

These discussions may not be of much use for those who have been through it many times, but I've been through three rough scenarios. That's not much at all. It's all very useful to me, although I will sift through the information for what applies to my skills and my boat. So I don't mean to appear combative, but I know for my boat and me, turning the engine on and knowing it will be there if I need it is a good thing.
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Old 17-06-2013, 09:18   #78
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Re: Thunderstorm While Coastal Cruising. What do you do?

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As Zeehag said, there are signs that it might happen earlier in the day, but they could form anywhere within 100 miles of where you've noticed the possibility. They can come up fast and hard. I've only been sailing six years and I've experienced it twice here.
Nor was I , I was describing the symptoms, like drop in temperature, light winds just before teh downburst etc. I need 2 mins to reef, thats about all.

and yes everyone has got caught napping and had to reef in string winds.

But again , you may get little warning, but Ive always got "some" warning

dave
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Old 17-06-2013, 09:18   #79
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Re: Thunderstorm While Coastal Cruising. What do you do?

The only part of t/s that hasn't been discussed here which offers a good clue to the less experienced sailor is to be aware of what a roll cloud looks like --Google on them if you haven't seen them-- the characteristic roll is an indication of extremely turbulent air. When you first see it and determine it is coming your way, that's the time to get the main down, and you may want to change down headsail to a smaller one (or roll one up), as well, as the squall approaches. Getting caught suddenly or unexpectedly by a t/s indicates you haven't been keeping a careful watch. As Zeehag and Rakuflames indicated, there are subtler precursors that you will note as you pay more attention. Increase in humidity is one, tiny little ripples on the water, another. In daylight, squalls are viewable a LONG WAY off, and of course, if you have radar, you can use it to track them.

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Old 17-06-2013, 09:21   #80
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Re: Thunderstorm while coastal cruising. What do you do?

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Nah, I realize it won't. Bringing her down from JAX, we were in the rain every leg of the trip. It was actually a welcome change from the heat, we didn't mind it at all.

I suppose my biggest concern is the lightning. The rain isn't bothersome, the wind can be dealt with in a variety of ways mentioned here, but getting struck kindof freaks me out, especially since 30-some percent of strikes happen in FL.

Yeah, it's true, but lightning is so weird. They usd to think it always went for the highest thing.

And when the highest thing is a lightning rod on the tallest building on the planet, as the Empire State Building was for a long time, and certainly much higher than anything around it, that may be true.

But lightning is actually so random that it's hard to predict what it will hit. A couple of years ago two women were walking on Clearwater Beach with lightning near by. There were also tall hotels nearby, but they got struck.

Who knows why?

As someone said some time ago, unless you're ready to have it fry, disconnect the elctronics. But it's amazing how many sailboats DON'T get struck by lightning.

I'm more concerned about wind, wave (esp. confused waves) and lee shore.

There are most definitely days when I would say 'dang, it's raning. Stupid Bimini!'
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Old 17-06-2013, 09:22   #81
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Re: Thunderstorm while coastal cruising. What do you do?

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Fair enough I wasn't necessarily trying to indicate that other areas are less prone, just that the risk of being struck in FL is high.

I don't remember where I read that stat (BoatUS maybe?), but my initial thought was that it was true simply because of the higher concentration of sailors combined with the FL weather patterns.

It's because we have so many thunderstorms.
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Old 17-06-2013, 09:22   #82
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Re: Thunderstorm While Coastal Cruising. What do you do?

I've shortened sail and run from them lot of times. The other thing I've done, on numerous occasions while sailing the Mississippi Sound and Mobile Bay, is to just drop all the sails, throw out the anchor, go below, and let it pass over.

They never last long.
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Old 17-06-2013, 09:23   #83
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Re: Thunderstorm while coastal cruising. What do you do?

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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....

Once again, it's just not true. Storms form along the coast (and inland even more) all the time here, and they can be pretty fierce.
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Old 17-06-2013, 09:24   #84
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Re: Thunderstorm While Coastal Cruising. What do you do?

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Originally Posted by daddle View Post
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.

Lots of cautious sailors routinely reef at night.
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Old 17-06-2013, 09:26   #85
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Re: Thunderstorm While Coastal Cruising. What do you do?

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Originally Posted by advocate777 View Post
........................ I see those thunderstorms developing inland florida and they tend to head west .............. these are those thunderstorm cells that develop inland and them move out to the ocean. .....................
I'm with you on all of your post, but I believe you accidently tossed in "west" above when you intended "east", correct? Though the afternoon thunderstorms in the Ft. Lauderdale to Miami area are usually headed east, (toward the ocean as advocate777 states) the strongest winds, just before the rain are more often from the east, but not reliably so.
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Old 17-06-2013, 09:26   #86
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Re: Thunderstorm while coastal cruising. What do you do?

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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.

As for #2, it's called "towing insurance." Problem solved.

Sail yourself as far as you can, put the hook down and dial the phone.
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Old 17-06-2013, 09:28   #87
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Re: Thunderstorm While Coastal Cruising. What do you do?

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As for #2, it's called "towing insurance." Problem solved.

Sail yourself as far as you can, put the hook down and dial the phone.
Whats Towing insurance, my local fisherman just laugh if I ask them to help me!. is it the AA??

maybe its my 'trusty' Seagull OB.

dave
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Old 17-06-2013, 09:28   #88
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Re: Thunderstorm while coastal cruising. What do you do?

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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
Any chance you were hit by a waterspout? they're -0 on the 0 - 5 scale, maybe 70 mph, but SPINNING wind. They don't last long, they can be completely invisible in rain.
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Old 17-06-2013, 09:30   #89
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Re: Thunderstorm while coastal cruising. What do you do?

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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!

I have a better idea.

Let's just pass a law stating that no one can take their boat out on the water until they've had 30 years experience. Then there will be no one left to sneer at, though ...
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Old 17-06-2013, 09:31   #90
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Re: Thunderstorm while coastal cruising. What do you do?

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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.

I think it might have been a waterspout.
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