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Old 17-06-2013, 09:34   #91
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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? 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

Oh boy, you need to practice that. you need to practice getting your boat into the right angle so the headsail helps you as you pull it in instead of fighting you. You need to make sure you have an EXCELLENT reefing system and that you can handle it by yourself.

You need to know how to keep yourself safe while you're standing on the cabintop if that's part of your reefing system. As I said, my friend tethered himself to the mast by clipping the tether on, wrapping it around the mast, and then cliipping it to his vest again -- and it saved his life.

Do these drills in calm waters and moderate winds until it's second nature.

I always take the main down first because it's the one most likely to knock you down.
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Old 17-06-2013, 09:34   #92
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Re: Thunderstorm while coastal cruising. What do you do?

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Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
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.
Squalls can form relatively quickly but not without being evident and may generate winds of 60 knots locally but I have never, ever, heard of a squall itself moving at 60 mph in 60+ years of sailing and 20+ years sailing the west coast of Florida.



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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.
The four football players were in a 20' fishing boat that flooded and overturned because, in an effort to retrive their anchor, they attached the rode to their relatively low transome and powered away from the anchor at high speed, which, when the rode tightened up, pulled the transome under water. (They were not in a storm although they later had to endure one while attempting to remain with the over-turned hull of the boat.) Had they simply bouyed the anchor rode and made for shore they would have been okay.

Relying on your engine rather than sailing skills may work, but even absent rough seas which usually don't have time to build with squalls, a boat, and particularly a fat little duck like a Hunter 31, can be thrown about so much without a sail to stabilize her that sediment in one's fuel tank can easily obstruct one's filter(s) and stall one's engine. Then, absent sail, one is merely floatsome, at the will of the wind, and likely being thrown around so much that taking any action will become near impossible. The good news is that a squall will tend to move past one relatively quickly, before one can be driven ashore unless one is really close ashore to begin with which one should not be if sailing/powering on the reciprocal of the course of the squall, eh?
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Old 17-06-2013, 09:41   #93
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Re: Thunderstorm while coastal cruising. What do you do?

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I can go you one better, Dave. My own high-flying gymnast 15 year old beautiful baby daughter was killed as a passenger in a car about the same time as Mr Savage passed out and died a couple of years ago. Which part of Randy's phoney career will enlighten me, sir?

I wasn't afraid of much prior to Jen's death. Now the Devil herself steps aside. Thunderstorms along a Fl beach?

Like this discussion which started as a sail down the beach on a beautiful day, some folks have turned it into gale winds and such. I know some of you are serious blue water folks, and I respect you for it. The day sailing marina yotties, not so much.

Don't bother *flaming* me folks. It's time to take another break from CF. I'll check back in after I get a new boat. Ummm ... boat shopping with cash in hand ... what a concept.

I am so terribly sorry for your loss. I can't even imagine how I would get through something like that.

but as for the sailing, YOU may be spectacularly prepared for handling all thunderstorms, no matter how strong, but there ARE people here who need this information and I'm going to ask you nicely to stop stomping on the thread. There's no point to it for you, so why not just pass it by? For some of us, it's very helpful.
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Old 17-06-2013, 09:42   #94
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Re: Thunderstorm while coastal cruising. What do you do?

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I can go you one better, Dave. My own high-flying gymnast 15 year old beautiful baby daughter was killed as a passenger in a car about the same time as Mr Savage passed out and died a couple of years ago. Which part of Randy's phoney career will enlighten me, sir?

I wasn't afraid of much prior to Jen's death. Now the Devil herself steps aside. Thunderstorms along a Fl beach?

Like this discussion which started as a sail down the beach on a beautiful day, some folks have turned it into gale winds and such. I know some of you are serious blue water folks, and I respect you for it. The day sailing marina yotties, not so much.

Don't bother *flaming* me folks. It's time to take another break from CF. I'll check back in after I get a new boat. Ummm ... boat shopping with cash in hand ... what a concept.

OOOOOHHHHHH happy hunting!!!
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Old 17-06-2013, 09:46   #95
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Re: Thunderstorm While Coastal Cruising. What do you do?

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Blue Crab, Ill certainly not trade those types of comparisons with you and condolences on your very painful loss.

I was merely drawing attention to the "macho" types that sail through anything, Thats fine sailed with lots of them, Also ended up in a mother of an offshore storm because one of them had the view that he ( and the boat and the crew) could handle anything. It didn't turn out to be true.

prudence has its place. We ( most of us) do this stuff for fun.

dave

I think to some (more experienced than me) those storms ARE fun. If they don't have crew barfing all over the place so that they have to figure out how to wash the deck off on top of everything else (turns out barf is slippery!)

Not only do I want to keep me and crew safe, I don't want to damage the boat. Having only been in three significant storms, I still have a lot to think about, and I've thought about things in new ways here and gathered more thoughts that I will consider when applying to my boat and my skills.

I am incredibly grateful to everyone who is contributing here.
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Old 17-06-2013, 09:48   #96
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Re: Thunderstorm While Coastal Cruising. What do you do?

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Originally Posted by CaptForce View Post
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.
Depends upon which coast you're on. During the summer months in Florida, Squalls tend to form over inland bodies of water (the Everglades, Lake Okeechobee, the Caloosahatchie River, the Peace River, Pine Island Sound et al) and move off-shore in the evening as the land cools more rapidly than the sea, creating Land Breezes. On travels to/from Key West south of Cape Romano, one can see them forming up over the Everglades with their evil little anvil heads late in the day and begin their relentless march westward once the sun sets, usually hitting between 2100 and 2200 depending upon how far off shore one is. We've had as many as 5 on the scope at one time within 24 miles and had to thread through them which can be pretty interesting late a night when one is tired.
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Old 17-06-2013, 09:50   #97
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Re: Thunderstorm While Coastal Cruising. What do you do?

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
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

And the outflow -- that cold wind that suddenly comes out of nowhere, but toward the storm. That's what those storms do -- cycle cold air down to the warm surface. That's what causes the weather. If you're in the outflow, you are already IN the storm. You may just stay on the edge of it, but you probably can't sail away from it.

Feel that wind, it's time to reef THEN.

I've seen these storms grow at a fantastic rate, and I've seen two storms that were five miles apart suddenly merge into one. A couple of weeks ago I watched three small ones turn into one big one (that was over land and it may be more common over land, drawing from the land's warmth).

But that's a point, too. The water isn't all THAT warm here right now, but the summer Katrina formed, the Gulf measured at 93º F. By the time it's that warm, it really doesn't matter if the storm is over land or sea -- it has plenty of energy to draw from.
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Old 17-06-2013, 11:34   #98
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Re: Thunderstorm While Coastal Cruising. What do you do?

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Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
Depends upon which coast you're on. During the summer months in Florida, Squalls tend to form over inland bodies of water (the Everglades, Lake Okeechobee, the Caloosahatchie River, the Peace River, Pine Island Sound et al) and move off-shore...............
You're absolutely right, but notice that when you read my post, that you quoted, and the OP that I was responding to; we were both talking about the distance between Port Everglades and Governors Cut. All correct observations on your part!
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Old 17-06-2013, 11:59   #99
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Re: Thunderstorm While Coastal Cruising. What do you do?

Timely that this thread would come up today. I received this in an email alert a little while ago:
Severe Thunderstorm Watch
Statement as of 1:15 PM EDT on June 17, 2013

The NWS Storm Prediction Center has issued a

* Severe Thunderstorm Watch for portions of
Connecticut
Massachusetts
southern New Hampshire
eastern New York
Rhode Island
southern Vermont
coastal waters

* effective this Monday afternoon and evening from 115 PM until
900 PM EDT.

* Primary threats include...
several damaging wind gusts to 70 mph possible
several large hail events to 1.5 inches in diameter possible

I've posted over a thousand times on this board and always attack the idea not the writer -- BUT: Anyone who wants to head out into that kind of stuff, deliberately, IMHO is a completely irresponsible idiot. (Edit: Excluding those who get caught by accident.)

As for those who are so (over) confident can they can handle it when they encounter severe squalls; there are many instances of sailors deaths in thunderstorms and line-squalls that could be found (in Google and Bing) if you just wanted to spend the time looking.
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Old 17-06-2013, 12:46   #100
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Re: Thunderstorm while coastal cruising. What do you do?

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Actually, on occasion they can be survival situations, and it is *completely* possible to sail one's boat with the engine running in neutral. It's like a safety net for someone just learning to tightrope walk. Of course, I can't speak for everyone, but speaking solely for myself, just because I turn the engine on doesn't mean I put it in gear. It does mean I made sure the engine will be there if I need it.
While the engines installed in most sailboats are intended for marine use, there are some limitations.

Engines pump oil under pressure UP to the top of the various engine parts, then rely on gravity to pull the oil back DOWN to the pan, to repeat the cycle. This only happens properly when up is up and down is down.

Extended periods of sailing with the motor running (in gear or not) with enough wind to heel the boat, means extended periods of improper oiling. An engine heeled for long periods will mean un-oiled pockets, as well as pools formed. Uneven cooling (heating) is the result, and damage is not far off.

A 30 minute T'storm is an eternity for your engine parts that are without oil. I grew up in S.Fl., and those babies can be brutal, but they are a fact of life.


Even when they form quickly and locally, they offer lots of warning to buy sea room, reef down, batten down, and enjoy the ride! If you are sailing in Florida in the Summer you will have to be comfortable that your boat can handle them.



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Old 17-06-2013, 12:48   #101
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Re: Thunderstorm While Coastal Cruising. What do you do?

SailfastTri,

Often, one finds oneself out there long before any warnings are made available. What I believe the OP was interested in was how to better handle his vessel when that happens, and has received some good advice.

Furthermore, since the squall season is long, most people, I would think, who wanted to deliver their boat from anchorage or port to port would simply leave as early as they could, anyway, and IMO, that does not make them irresponsible idiots, more people who are willing to accept a risk.

If you get the 70 knot winds, with gusts to 100, however, unplanned, the cautions to be aware of subtle changes in what you see, and not-so-subtle ones as well, have great validity for trying to deal well with the developing situation.

Dockhead, HyLyte, Rakuflames, Zeehag, and even I have supported early preparedness, and that seems to be a consistent part of this thread, so where are you getting this idea of folks intentionally going out when its an extreme warning? In any event, "screaming" in bold type at the folks who are not seated near their computers must be a waste of time?

Ann
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Old 17-06-2013, 12:50   #102
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Re: Thunderstorm While Coastal Cruising. What do you do?

Well said, Custom 30!

Ann
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Old 17-06-2013, 13:16   #103
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Re: Thunderstorm While Coastal Cruising. What do you do?

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Originally Posted by advocate777 View Post

(...)

What is you tactic to keep your boat and crew safe?

(...)
1) start praying (works whether you are religious or not ;-),
2) try to sail away from the cloud,
3) back to 1),.

b.
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Old 17-06-2013, 13:55   #104
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Re: Thunderstorm While Coastal Cruising. What do you do?

isn't a thunderstorm when it is time to get out the deck brush and soap?



and put in a reef just in case?
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Old 17-06-2013, 14:25   #105
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Re: Thunderstorm While Coastal Cruising. What do you do?

I have posted a few comments here, but I have not answered the, "What would you do?", question; however, the east coast of Florida is my home and I am familiar with Ft. Lauderdale, having grown up there. As it turns out, although my boat is larger, my boat is a wide beam, shallow draft, full keel cruiser like Advocate777's. I have the freedom of choice that allows me not to venture out among storm fronts and other predictably forecast bad weather systems, but I have had my share of the typical afternoon thunderstorms that dot the Florida coast mostly in the summer. Here is what I've done repeatedly. First, I start my engine and casually put away my sails while Nancie is motoring at our normal cruising speed toward our planned destination. With the exception of entering an inlet,- we don't maneuver into shore during a thunderstorm. I know the storm is comming because I see it and one axiom that I've found to be considering as truth while out on the water,-

"If you see it and it wasn't there before; then, it's comming at you."

I furl my Genoa first, simply because it's more difficult in higher winds. Also, I know my roller furling system furls best on a port tack, so we make that adjustment. I also find my system furls best with the beginings of a flutter, but still some wind in the sail. Next, I drop my main with a heading directly into the wind. The sheet is shortened at the helm and my main always falls like a rock and will sit on my bimini top while I put a few lines around the rolled pocket in the bottom of the foot. We keep our distance offshore and if any waves pick up I usually head into the vector sum of wind and waves for those ten minutes of big blast and on for the remaining, usually half hour to hour of storm. I don't need to tend to anything on the deck, because if I'm off the coast, I have already made everything secure by the same custom I use I all high wind situations. I have not included my mizzen, but it's just a after action and far less of an issue. Afterwards, it's a new chapter in what can still be a beautiful day! It's been my experience that my activity usually results in very little, if any, progress toward my destination during the thunderstorm and I'm not troubled by that.
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