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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 04-06-2008, 01:04   #61
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They don't seem to ever make it ashore. A 50 ft wave would likely destroy the SC beaches. Because of this, are we to assume they are merely cases of constructive interference between various waves and wave trains?
No they don't come ashore. They are two very different waves. A "freak" wave, which can come ashore are created in a very dfferent way. Sometimes they can even be Tsunami events. But the rogue wave giants at sea are very different animals. The most alarming thing about them is that they often travel in a very different direction to the rest of the waves. Often at right angles even. This is why often the stories of sailors being hit by one, the story goes that they are trying to last out a storm hove to. And suddenly they hear a loud roaring noise and over they go. So the wave has actually slammed into, or over, them sideways on.
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Old 04-06-2008, 22:51   #62
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Lodesman,

I never measured it to verify but I was told by an officer that the conning platform (which is the same level) was about 60' over the water. If this is wrong then I apologize for the error. I dont recall any 270s being stationed in Ontario. Have you ever seen one?
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Old 05-06-2008, 02:29   #63
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Aquah0lic,

Can't be certain, but if it's like any of the USCG cutters I've seen, then it has a similar profile to all of the warships I've served in. IIRC the bridge heights from a sampling of them were: 35' (366' DDE/DDH); 37' (440' FFH); 42' (400' DDG)(shown); and around 50' in a 560' oiler. So not saying you're wrong, just that I'd be mighty surprised if the bridge was higher than about 35' in a 270' cutter.
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Old 14-06-2008, 23:14   #64
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In the late 1960s 68 or 69 I was assigned to a coastguard cutter(311ft DE) Navy boat lent to CG for use in the north Atlantic as a radar picket and weather station ship. We were assigned to Bravo station well up north. I was ships surgeon with rank of LT-Commander- We also had several nooa weathermen aboard there job included things like measuring wave heights. We were called into rescue duty- a 45ft motor sailor was in distress- broken rudder smashed ports on sea anchor- in the middle of a nasty august hurricane. We had to go in and out of the storm to extract the crew of five. the waves were awesome. From the pilot station which was way up there on this boat the waves were coming straight at and above us the weather men reported many of them at over 60ft From that wild ride I have acquired great respect for the power of the sea . Every so often boats just disappear- no doubt some meet big waves or rouge waves which with satellite radar have been shown to be much more frequent then previously thought. Ed
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Old 15-06-2008, 12:49   #65
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Greetings all, this is post #1 from cats..paw.

Early November 1992. Steering 120* mag from Norfolk, bound for Virgin Islands in a Searunner 31 tri. We stepped into a worsening 5-day storm, first kicking up the Gulf Stream with opposing winds. Then clocking around blowing harder and harder, leading to 45kn winds steady plus strong gusts, and a whole lot of fetch. Seas: 30 feet, maybe a bit more. 6 foot breakers crisscrossing from 2 directions.

We deployed a 16 foot parachute anchor twice, the first time for 20 hours. The parachute was payed out so it lay in the next crest as we topped ours, and that required 400 feet of rode plus the chute leader plus 70 feet of bridle.

Sweet it was on that chute, riding like a duck on an elevator. The board was up and the rudder tied off so we couldn't back down on it, and the GPS told us that we only lost 2.2 nm in that time. The bridle was led through a pair of big snatch blocks on the ama bow bridle plates, a la Jim Brown. So we pulled them in two feet every couple of hours to adjust any bridle chafe.

We had no windlass, so when the winds dropped down to 25kn we retrieved the whole rig using two winches in series. At the time, it seemed like a whole lot of retrieving, but we'd gotten some rest and could proceed: just keep sailing the boat.
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Old 15-06-2008, 20:16   #66
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CharlieCobra, give me a little time, I did a write up a while ago, see if I can find it.
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Old 15-06-2008, 20:21   #67
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The other fun thing was when I opened the main hatch my ears popped.
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Old 16-06-2008, 17:38   #68
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Found it, apologies for the length of this post

I had just got back from the Noumea race, was unemployed (sacked from Lidgard Rudling), and wanted to get across to Oz to visit a certain young lady. I met this guy who had just bought a Pacific 38, his first boat, knew next to nothing. There was one other on board who had experience (ex crew from Buccaneer), so I offered to sail up and do the nav if he would fly me to Sydney after.
At the time I was sure I knew everything as I had done a few ocean passages by then ( I was 22).
First few days were OK then it went NE and got up to about 40-45 with higher gusts. The boat handled that no problems, no sail and we all went below to wait it out. A few hours later a wall of water hit us and we were upside down and back up before you even had time to think about it.
As it happens a secondary front had gone over us with a ninety degree wind shift and much higher wind speed. As it was way more than I had seen at the time Iím reluctant to guess at wind speed but at the Cape they reported a max gust of 104kn, I would say we had consistent 70ís with gusts. The real problem was the effect the wind shift had on the sea state, two large wave sets at right angles throwing pyramids of water that would collapse under their own weight, Iím fairly sure it was one of these that hit us.
After we came up though I still hadnít clicked that conditions were much worse, so looking at the mess below I offered to go run off and steer while the others cleaned up. My first inkling of real trouble was when I pulled the hatch back, the air going past sucked pressure out of the cabin and my ears popped as in a plane.
I turned her downwind and this heavy old displacement boat took off at about 17kn under bare poles, got to the trough and spun out into a ninety degree knockdown. That was pretty much the story for the next few hours. The rudder would let go when a breaking wave with 5-6 feet of foam got under her and the rudder had no bite. The air/sea interface was very indistinct and at times it felt almost as if we were sinking, with so much air in the water we were down almost to the toerail.
Anyway, after a while the other guy came on deck, we had a quick parley and decided to slow her down. He tied a bucket to a line and tossed it over- it lasted 1.2 nanoseconds. After some trial and error we ended with the #2 genoa and an anchor and chain out the back and things improved considerably. Enough that after watching for maybe half an hour I went below (also the seas were adjusting to the new wind direction).
Down below was a sh!tfight. The stove/oven had jumped the gimbals when we were upside down and was banging around inside the boat. We threw it overboard. The owner had been in a pilot berth, rolled across the overhead and fell on his back across the table as we righted, he was passing blood for a few days. The water was about knee deep and littered with eggs, flour, all sorts of unidentifiable stuff and my nav tables. Most had to be got rid of by hand as it was too thick for the bilge pumps.
By morning it had eased to about 35kn (seemed like a flat calm) and we very carefully started sailing back to Russell, arriving two days later.
The pri*ck never covered my airfare to Sydney saying I hadnít got his boat to Fiji. And he stole my favourite beanie.
I hitched to Auckland, went to the bar at Akarana and got tanked.
Points of interest:
The liferaft and dinghy were never seen having been ripped from the deck. I would never have faith in a raft stowed above deck.
A gimballed stove needs a pin so it wonít fall out if you are upside down.
The dinghy took the pulpit and port lifelines with it, making the return trip more difficult than it would have been otherwise.
Serious problem below with gear flying around, this episode stood me in good stead as I encountered similar conditions some years later on the mighty Cav and suffered zero damage, I had learnt about stowing things below. If people ask me now what I do in bad weather the answer is go below and get in my bunk and itís not a joke. On deck is dangerous. Unless you have a full and skilful crew you must be able set your boat up to look after herself and get below.
On a lighter note later that evening I was getting hungry and remembered we had deep sixed the stove, had a look around and saw that the only food that had survived that we could eat was some liquorice and cans of cold beans. We sh*t and farted our way to Russell.
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Old 17-06-2008, 05:46   #69
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Have been through Cook Strait many times, its fun to go through from the NW entrance when there's been several days of consistent strong southerly (35-45+kts), you easily get 30'+ waves off Karori light where the spring tide can get to 7kts. Of course, when I say it's “fun” - I mean that in a serious sense.

Biggest wave? Dunno, have seen many in different forms, but probably nothing much over 40' (yet). Worst one was a rouge late one night during a 3 day storm. We were laying to (engine off) & the approaching rouge was loud enough to wake us up, the boat took a decent knock & threw me out of my bunk to the other side of the cabin. We took a look outside & the force of the wave had ripped out equipment that was bolted to the deck, also water had gotten inside the wheelhouse (the door was forced open). The real problem was that a few hundred fathom of fishing rope (which was in tied down barrels) had been thrown over the side and was now entangled in the prop. We were now taking these breaking waves (in pitch black darkness) every 2-3 minutes across the deck - while still trying to cut loose all this rope & not get washed over (we don't use life lines) or entangled amongst other loose equipment etc. Thinking about it now, we were probably lucky not to have the wheelhouse windows smashed & take wave after wave of water inside.

The pic below is from us entering the Wellington heads. The waves that day would have been somewhat reasonable (else I wouldn't have bothered with the camera), so were probably over 25'. If you look through the window (top centre), you'll see the Aratika (416' rail ferry) about to plough into the wave that we just surfed off.

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Here's a couple of pic's leaving Wellington heads, note the angle of the horizon (lower right) to the vessel as our stern falls off the wave.

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BTW, these aren't the really big waves, just the normal stuff for NZ.

If you ever make it to the small town of Picton, there's a pub there that has some awesome photo's of the ferries from the old days in the Straits. Unfortunately, I don't remember the name of the pub but there's probably still only a few pubs there - so you should find it OK.
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Old 18-06-2008, 00:49   #70
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Exfishnz, that would have been the Oxley and I can't remember the other. The pubs gone now. In fact both pubs down on the waterfront have all gone. You wouldn't recognise the place now, ti's all apartments and cafe's and has become quite a flash touristy meca. The Crow Tavern is still up by the Nelson square.
The Karori rock is where I got my hammering. It think, once you have experienced that place, everything else becomes much easier. Not easy, that would be foolish to say, but certainly easier.
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Old 18-06-2008, 01:26   #71
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Exfishnz, that would have been the Oxley and I can't remember the other. The pubs gone now. In fact both pubs down on the waterfront have all gone. You wouldn't recognise the place now, ti's all apartments and cafe's and has become quite a flash touristy meca. The Crow Tavern is still up by the Nelson square.
The Karori rock is where I got my hammering. It think, once you have experienced that place, everything else becomes much easier. Not easy, that would be foolish to say, but certainly easier.
Hello Alan, thankyou so much for the update, I'm really sad to hear about the lost of those pubs, but I guess property value is what it is nowadays. I used to visit Picton at least a couple of times a year. Is the Jim Carey boatyard still there? (I once served on a Carey 61').

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once you have experienced that place, everything else becomes much easier.
So very true. Not many cats would want to go through there. Not sure if you've ever crossed the bar's in Westport or Greymouth, but they can be pretty rough. We crossed once in a blow & not 10 mins later a troller had capsized with lost of all hands.

I understand the fishing industry back home has been hamered hard financially. In retrospec, I was probably very lucky to go to sea fulltime at 15 & obtain my first ticket at 18. I did it for nearly 10yrs before jumping the ditch, IMHO: some of the best seamanship experience anyone can get, some of the old salts I served under just had an incredible amount of knowledge & were true men of steel.
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Old 18-06-2008, 03:54   #72
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Hmmm....

I think you guys from NZ ought to just stick to surfing on surfboards. Seems the weather is more suited to it.
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Old 21-06-2008, 08:33   #73
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June Storm 94

Half way between New Zealand and Fiji is a nasty bit of water. Add a weather bomb to the mix and a fleet of yachts heading north to Fiji or Tonga and you end up with a full scale search and rescue operation. I was aboard the RNZ Navy survey ship HMNZS MONOWAI during the 1994 June Storm and saw some big nasty waves in a confused sea. We rescued three crews. I have some photos in the Dashews excellent book on "Heavy Weather Sailing".
Like others have mentioned, it is not the size that matters, focus on the shape. Short steep waves in a confused sea focus my mind. Big ocean swells taller than the yacht and well spaced apart make for a great sail in a nice breeze.
Looking forward to starting our world cruise with the my familly next month with Fiji our first destination from New Zealand. I am now unemployed for the first time since I left school as of two days ago.
Check out Yacht "Blue Heron" if your interested.
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Old 21-06-2008, 20:23   #74
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Is the Jim Carey boatyard still there? (I once served on a Carey 61').
No they have moved. They are now right up the far end near Shakespear
Bay. The pld shed and all those building right long the shoreline are all being bulldozed for shorefront development.
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Half way between New Zealand and Fiji is a nasty bit of water.
It's all around us really. We have the Chatam Rise that Exfish will be familiar with. That can get really nasty. The West Coast, especially the South Islands West Coast and Fiordland. Fiordland and Stewart Island is something else. Now that place would be the ruffest there is. On a calm day you will be experiencing 3m seas and and average day is around 6m and the ruff days are just plain wild. Pete Wedderell has some experience with around there. Anyone that fishes for a living in that area of NZ, I have the greatest respect for. Plus I would suggest that while they may have all the tinnies, they are missing the plastic thingy that holds them all together.
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Old 12-02-2011, 17:00   #75
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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.
-how do you recommend these FC hulls as they are tempting at todays NZ dollar prices,,you a satisfied user or what as i notice few posts rom you and your only 49,,,you now a CLOD or what? its a tossup for me between a 65 GRP and 57 ferro or 40 endeavour or valiant 42 ,,whats your opinion as a motorsailer owner? thanx if still around town
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