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View Poll Results: The biggest waves you're experienced at sea?
1 to 4 feet 2 1.55%
5 to 9 feet 20 15.50%
10 to 14 feet 29 22.48%
15 -19 feet 21 16.28%
20 - 24 feet 17 13.18%
Above 25 feet 40 31.01%
Voters: 129. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 29-05-2008, 18:15   #16
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Seventy-five feet; oh wait, was the movie The Perfect Storm. I wasn't in that movie. Nor was I in that storm. Scratch that.

Jay White
S/V Dove
1962 Pearson Triton, #318
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Old 29-05-2008, 18:48   #17
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6 to 8 foot following seas, with 22 knots of wind ( constant) for 30 some odd hours from Cape fear to the St Johns River exhilerating ride! Fun!

Beating into 12 to 14 foot seas with an occassional larger rogue in the gulf stream on the way to Bermuda was the worst ride of my life, wet and exhausting. We could only do one hour shifts through the nights. I slept on the cockpit floor, in full gear, like a wet dog because the cabin was so stinky and stuffy. Once we took one over the bow that momentarily flooded the cockpit, I woke up shook it off like a dog and went back to sleep.

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Old 29-05-2008, 18:53   #18
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Waves large enough to stuff the bow of a ship. I don't remember how large they were.

Life begins where land ends.
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Old 29-05-2008, 18:59   #19
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I don't know the exact height, but I would guess 5-9 off the coast of New England for a few hours getting back to port... it wasn't raining and was a fun fun ride!
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Old 29-05-2008, 19:01   #20
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Short Period 15 footers but also some crazy cross seas made for my roughest ride on a beat from Turks & Caicos to the DR.
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Old 29-05-2008, 19:10   #21
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Breaking 20-24' seas off of Tofino, Vancouver Island, BC. We didn't stay out in it any longer than it took to find the nerve to turn around and come back in.

John Davidson
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Old 29-05-2008, 21:27   #22
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Sydney to Hobart

1984. Wind in excess of 60 knots.
Seas in excess of 30 feet.
No backs in the waves because of wind against the East Australian current.

It was not much fun but I never felt in danger. We went well offshore to try to avoid the worst of the effect of wind v current but it was still bad.
You had to pull away across the back of each wave or you got airborne out the back of the waves. When you didn't get it quite right the shudder that went through the boat when you hit the bottom rattled your teeth and every fitting on the boat. The boat was a Lidgard 40 that was a solid as a rock.

It was the same and probably worse in 1998 (read the books) but fortunately I missed out on that little ride south.

Of course a sensible cruiser would not have left port but racing .......
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Old 30-05-2008, 03:08   #23

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Love these stories...

Very similar experience here. I had my outboard quit while checking out the conditions at the mouth of a river with my first boat (23' Kells). The river current quickly pushed me out to sea to battle 16 footers (as reported by the staff at the marina when I got back in). I battled them for the better part of the day to get into a harbor I could sail into, rather than motor into.

I have to be honest.... part of me thought about just sailing her right into the beach and walking home.

I also think it's funny that the worse seas I have encountered were in teh *SMALLEST* boat I ever owned!! ha ha ha
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Old 30-05-2008, 03:15   #24
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Big enough to have 2m over the bow of our tuna boat, while on a boat in Bass Strait. From standing on the bridge 4m off the water I was still looking up. Force 11 according to the skipper. As high as light poles when surfing.
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Old 30-05-2008, 07:35   #25
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Well, I remember repeatedly swearing that I wouldn't go out to sea on anything smaller than 400' after I saw a 378' coast guard cutter getting the snot kicked out of her. Now I want to circumnavigate on a 50' cat. Hmmm. The waves I don't tell my wife about while I was in the Navy: North Atlantic, followed a storm across from Greenland towards England, 5 days of 30' following seas. Actually kind of fun. Had to replenish underway in those same seas. Not so much fun. I measured the crest-trough against the draft markings of the oiler at about 50'. Waves traveling between two ships separated by 100 or so feet are amplified.

We also had quite a number of small storms come through the Carribbean with over 100kt winds. Our anemometers stopped reading at 99kts. The superstructure would hum at any wind speed over 92 kts. The Bermuda Triangle is no mystery to me--none of these were named storms. Also drove through the outskirts of a hurricane. Cracked the superstructure. Another guided missile frigate in that storm lost her bow. Oops. I can only guess at the wave height, but waves were breaking on my bridge, which is 85' high.

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Old 30-05-2008, 08:14   #26
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You have waves and swells and then the wind conditions and of course what size and type of boat were you in when you had to deal with them.

My biggest waves encountered with Shiva, a 36' sloop, were enormous swells of more than 30' and of course very long and accompanied by 10 knot winds. It was like sailing through a landscape of gently rolling hills. This was actually a really enjoyable experience with flying fish coming out of the hills of water streaming across the valleys and re entering another hill. This was in the Atlantic south of Bermuda and north of the Caribbean. Try it you'll like it.

Now the bad stuff was in the Gulf Stream between LI and Bermuda in the Summer after a gale has made its way north riling up the seas. These babies were well over 15' with the occasional 20 footer or more and they were steep and breaking.

This was extremely scary and when one broke in front of us (I don't recall one crashing on our deck)... it sent a wall of water which 2 times swept a harnessed crew member from the cockpit overboard. They were both retrieved. Everyone on board was seasick, but the boat suffered no gear failures. And this was the single thing about this awful experience which gave me hope that we would make it through these conditions. The boat took it all like water off a duck's back, we were only steering, or trying to, to avoid sailing into one these monsters. And we were largely successful. I don't know how well we would have done if it did. I don't want to find out.

All I can say is ICK.
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Old 30-05-2008, 09:02   #27
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30-40' with 50-60 knots in a 28' boat in South China Sea typhoon.

Multiple directions, breaking.

But it only lasted about 3 days.

Having said that: IF it had been a single wave train and non-breaking, I think the open ocean swell is less dangerous and more predictable than the short, steep chop you get in more shallow bodies.
Voyage of Symbiosis:
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Old 30-05-2008, 09:17   #28
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I find it interesting that there is no scale of wave height (swell height), like there is for wind force (Beaufort). I used to surf for years, and one of the things we enjoyed when we bought those Surf magazines, was looking at the the shots of waves with someone on them...but those were pictures of breaking waves on shore. Unless the conditions at sea are really gnarly to cause a wave to break, the vast majority of the time it's really swells of water. In the surfing world we don't call a wave a wave unless it's a breaking wave, but in the boating world a wave can be either a breaking wave or a swell...makes it confusing to me.
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Old 30-05-2008, 10:37   #29
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Have you guys seen this video? A 60 foot rouge wave slams a fishing boat..........
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Old 30-05-2008, 14:02   #30
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Jiffylube, you are right, but it is not the big ocean swells that are the uncomfortable part, it is the smaller waves on top of the big swells. They are usually the things that crest and break an dance all around making it truly nastie. A 6' to 10' wave is not so bad. But have a 6-10ft wave crash down the face of a 30ft monster and it is a whole new horror story.


For God so loved the world..........He didn't send a committee.
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