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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 30-05-2008, 15:38   #31
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Originally Posted by Alan Wheeler View Post
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.
Wheels has a good point there.

It's certainly the smaller waves that form atop the swells that are killers for small boats like our pleasure craft.

For instance... yesterday I had some decent stuff whip up offshore and by the time I was entering Buzzard's Bay, I the boat was out of the water enough to cause the port engine to overheat!

I had been breaking clear of the waves enough that the correct amount of water was not being taken in by the engine's thru hull! Never had that happen before. I was running under genoa and engine power to make as quick a time as possible to a safe harbor as the weather was expected to deteriorate.

Never in all my years have I seen an engine starved for water because the hull spent so much time out of the water!!
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Old 30-05-2008, 15:53   #32
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Never in all my years have I seen an engine starved for water because the hull spent so much time out of the water!!
You probably burned an impeller while you were at it.
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Old 30-05-2008, 16:34   #33
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We got suddenly hit at anchor with about 60 knots from the only direction the anchorage was unprotected. My son happened to be flushing the head in the forepeak at the time, but the boat was pitching so much he couldn't get any flush water.
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Old 30-05-2008, 16:35   #34
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Here on the Chesapeake a 6 to 8 foot chop will humble most sailors of normal sized boats. A half day of that counts as the hardest work I ever did. There is height and there is frequency. 6 to 8 foot chop with a gale on the beam will give you a workout you don't forget. The frequency of 60 feet makes all the difference. It ends up with about 1/2 second of reaction time to correct the helm to avoid a broach. Shallow waters can be the very worst. I've seen but never sailed in 25 ft breakers on Lake Ontario.
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Old 30-05-2008, 18:25   #35
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10 footers on Lake Superior while sailing my Sirius 22. We were wind bound in Tobin Harbor on Isle Royale for two days with 25-30 knots out of the northeast. For guilty pleasure we would hike over to Rock Harbor to watch the daily unloading of the backpackers from the island ferries. They were coming 60+ miles from Michigan with wind and waves on the beam and many of them were a nice lubberly green. By the third day the wind moderated to about 15 knots so we went out to play and ran downwind to Windigo at the other end of the island. The waves while still tall had stretched out a bit and it was quite exciting and a lot of fun.
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Old 30-05-2008, 20:09   #36
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Sully,

I missed you. Did you come in through the sound or go from NJ right past BI to Buzzard's Bay?

We've had some gust winds this past week and I had a great little sail.
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Old 31-05-2008, 01:34   #37
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What do you think is the largest wave/frequency/wind forecast that is still manageable for average cruisers?
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Old 31-05-2008, 01:52   #38
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Anything. The limit is your own courage. It never gets any bigger than a boat can float over. The only thing that can change that is a rogue monster wave that may possibly break on you. Thankfully that is rare, although certainly has happened.
For the average cruiser, you most likely won't be out in anything bigger than your boat can handle. Maybe bigger than you can believe you can, but nothing the boat can't.
From the many experiences I have heard from people, the average high end winds would be 35kts. Anything over 35kts is not so common. And it does depend on where in the world you are. The real issues that can get a sailor in trouble are navigation, running aground for instance, wrong place at wrong tide(I learn't that one big time) and seasickness. There is nothing more debilitating.
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Old 31-05-2008, 03:37   #39
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What do you think is the largest wave/frequency/wind forecast that is still manageable for average cruisers?
Remember that, by definition, one-half of all boats & crew will be below average.

According to the Beaufort Scale, a force 6 Wind, blowing at 22 - 27 Knots, producing waves to 9.9 Feet (3m), is only a “Strong Breeze”.

In North America, winds of Beaufort 6 or 7 (to 33 Kts) result in the issuance of a small craft advisory, with force 8 or 9 winds (to 47 Kts) bringing about a gale warning.
Force 10 or 11 (to 72 Kts) results in a storm warning (or "tropical storm warning" for 8 to 11 if related to a tropical cyclone), and anything to Force 12 a hurricane warning.

Also, remember that winds of 47 Kts are FOUR times as powerful as winds of 33 Kts.
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Old 31-05-2008, 04:48   #40
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Sully,

I missed you. Did you come in through the sound or go from NJ right past BI to Buzzard's Bay?

We've had some gust winds this past week and I had a great little sail.
Sorry I wasn't able to arrange a pop-in. There were a lot of weather windows to make, as I'm sure you're aware. The sailing in the northeast has been FANTASTIC, right??? Small craft advisories have been up, but they have mostly been for wind, and that wind has been in my favor for the trip. Can't complain there!

I went through Hell Gate and up the Sound - best timing that way for weather.

We did stretches from Cape May, NJ to Barnegat, NJ, then all the way to Queens in one day! Great weather for sailing. We then stopped at Port Jeff, where I was going to say hello to another member, but my internet wasn't working well, so I missed him as well and he's right in Port Jeff.

I'm glad you got out to take advantage of the huge winds and kind waves in the sound. The sailing was some of the best I've ever experienced. It's so rare to have flat water and huge winds blasting you along at 7 knots. I was elated.

Again, sorry I missed the visit. The wife wants to make it back soon, so we can work, so I didn't have the freedom to add extra days to the trip.

If you are in Maine at all this summer... please let me know.
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Old 31-05-2008, 04:50   #41
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Large boats have an advantage in heavy weather and how your boat handles weather should be very familiar before beginning a long trip. For a cruising boat small craft warnings should be familiar to travel in and should not really be a problem, but you need to be very safety conscious. The sheet tensions and forces on the boat increase. Injuries from inattentive operation could prove serious. Sailing with gusts above 25 knots is something you should know how to handle. At 30 knots consistent wind the fun goes by the wayside and you should have already shortened sail once if not twice. Learn when to reef early!

At gale warnings I would say you are not out there for fun. It would be because you didn't have adequate forecasts or failed to observe warnings. Sheet tensions increase vastly and moving on deck is dangerous. An accidental gybe to the head would kill you on contact. Fingers caught in a winch drum are gone. Sails can easily be damaged. Adding a reef you forgot to set earlier is a very difficult chore. Sea states become more difficult. Large gusts with too much sail may render the boat totally out of control for periods. The danger from broaching becomes very real. At this point you have minimal sails up yet can be making progress. A man over board rescue is quite difficult and dangerous. You could easily lose sight of someone in the water even if you could perform the maneuver.

If you could not perform a MOB rescue in the conditions you are sailing in then you have failed your responsibility to your crew. This is all supposed to be fun and when it isn't fun you don't need to do this. You should always avoid difficult conditions because you should not be on a schedule. Forcing events to happen with time constraints are the warning signs of trouble ahead. Crew become exhausted in serious weather quickly and normally sound decisions can be exceptionally hard to make under this stress. This is what can lead to injuires. Treating an injured crew member under serious weather conditions now leaves you doubly short handed at a time when you need extra hands. This is how danger leads to disaster. The wind speed numbers don't really tell you the danger as noted by Gord's comparison of wind forces. The best storm tactic is to be some place else!
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Old 31-05-2008, 07:26   #42
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60' rogue wave.
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Old 31-05-2008, 07:38   #43
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Have you guys seen this video? A 60 foot rouge wave slams a fishing boat..........

Um.... WOW!

I hope I never see anything like this.
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Old 31-05-2008, 08:00   #44
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If you could not perform a MOB rescue in the conditions you are sailing in then you have failed your responsibility to your crew.
After reading a lot of MOB threads here and other places, including links to trials and experimentation with real people done by folks more responsible and skilled than myself, I think that if what you say is true then that must be why all the marinas have boats that stay tied up 90% of the time.

I have no illusions about how hard it would be for me to perform a successful MOB recovery (assuming a live person and not just a body drug back on board for dirt burial) and am pretty sure if/when I get my chance to cruise it will not be long before I am in seas that would preclude a successful recovery.

I will not consider that failure of my responsibility.

A simple dark night, 2ft swells, 2ft cross (wind driven) chop and 18 kt breeze would suffice.
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Old 31-05-2008, 11:36   #45
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Looks like a pretty big wave. I would estimate about 50 feet tall.
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