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Old 25-10-2012, 06:44   #136
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Re: What is the Smallest Boat That You Would Sail Outside of Coastal Waters?

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Andrew,

I can agree with your points but I guess I was speaking in terms of blue water (i.e. no low water). And I was thinking about doing something BEFORE you broach.

While I've never experienced it, my personal thinking is thatI'm better off running, with warps or a drogue that battling it out with a sea anchor (ala Pardley).

Having said all that, We are planning to start our circumnavigation in about 2-3 years (getting the boat ready now). I'm sincerely hoping that when we get all the way around, I'll be able to say that the worst weather we encountered as gale strength. But I will be ready to handle much worse.
Before conditions become extreme, you may be correct. But you must allow for the differences between a light racing mono and a light cruising mono: the cruising one being way heavier and much weaker. Hence the run before the waves strategy is a valid one, up to the point where the waves travel very fast (oh, just look up the tables for any well developed 20'+ swells ...)

In a word, I am not sure for how long a light cruising mono can take this kind of ride. But if it can, and if her crews are strong and skilled enough to remain alert over the whole time (this IS a big factor) then running before the storm is probably the safest and most comfortable way to survive a bad hit in open water.

However, if you do think of circumnavigating, you might try to envision a 'plan B' (and, why not, a plan C too perhaps) and look for ways of surviving a bad one in cases when you cannot, or do not want to, run. Remember that sailing slow (too slow) before the weather can be devastating - a big wave will flood the cockpit, broach a slow moving boat and probably do some damage to the companionway / washboards. Etc.. So to say, run, but run fast. And if you cannot run fast, think of the alternatives.

It is a pity that most modern boats have long abandoned the sturdiness of the older (too slow, too heavy, too expensive) designs. The older boats can often take plenty of beating hove too or (preferably, in a big storm) - beating, slowly. Not an easy ride in any modern, light, beamy and tall hull!

Doh. C'est la vie. Some are light, some are heavy and it is probably best not to be in the middle of the band if caught in a real bad storm.

Cheers,
b.
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Old 25-10-2012, 06:52   #137
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Re: What is the Smallest Boat That You Would Sail Outside of Coastal Waters?

Barnakiel,

I can only agree. Our boat is a Jeanneau Sun Fast, a racer/cruiser. Through hull mast, heavy duty everything (and I do mean everything!), We plan to avoid rather than challenge nasty weather - but of course, the best laid plans of mice and men......................

Perhaps it's personality, but I think I prefer to run in front and (try) to maintain some sort of control, rather than tossing out the sea anchor and taking a beating. LOL

But we will have a plan B and C and D if at all possible. With today's reasonably (LOL) accurate weather forecasting and the ability to get updates daily, we hope to avoid the really nasty stuff.

Time will tell.

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Old 25-10-2012, 07:11   #138
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Re: What is the Smallest Boat That You Would Sail Outside of Coastal Waters?

It seems the answer to this thread is now 10'!

around the world non-stop in 10ft boat
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Old 25-10-2012, 07:35   #139
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Re: What is the Smallest Boat That You Would Sail Outside of Coastal Waters?

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(...) But we will have a plan B and C and D if at all possible. With today's reasonably (LOL) accurate weather forecasting and the ability to get updates daily, we hope to avoid the really nasty stuff.

Time will tell.

Yep.

Wx info onboard helps a lot: one cannot always dodge systems - the extratropical ones being simply too broad and moving too fast. But one can only make good preparations /planning that go a long way towards getting thru the mess with minimum strain.

b.
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Old 28-10-2012, 12:23   #140
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Re: What is the Smallest Boat That You Would Sail Outside of Coastal Waters?

Sorry, carstenb, I sidetracked myself partly through forgetting what the thread was about: we'd been talking for so long about the relationship between beam and propensity to capsize, that I had started to think that was the topic!

And in that context, I wanted to float a notion I thought worth considering for any prospective deep sea sailor considering factors around capsize. I guess my remarks were not necessarily directed specifically at you or your situation, which I'm not familiar with, but they were prompted by your introducing 'running off' as a possible capsize management strategy.

So, for a more general audience, some of whom might now or in the future be considering "holding their nose and doing it anyway" in relation to a boat they were considering, which seemed to them beamy enough on the waterline (in proportion to length) to make them queasy about capsize:

If such a hypothetical sailor were to console themselves that they could always run off to mitigate their increased tendency towards capsize, I wanted to point out that this is not always possible.

Some, but not all, of the scenarios I painted involved (on the face of it) coastal sailing, but every deep ocean passage begins and ends in coastal sailing, and particularly at the arrival end, the sailor does not get to pick a weather window.

------
So to address your specific question, VERY belatedly:

I've had to run off (very occasionally) but never towing anything. I think that is a very big topic.

Although it's one which I've thought about a lot, I'm not sure I have anything worth saying. So, without really realising what I was doing, I dodged what you asked in favour of what I did felt qualified to say!

I'll have a crack at redeeming myself by trying to sidle back towards the nominal topic of the thread, by observing that the beam to length ratio tends to be higher on smaller boats, so I think this is something to consider carefully when looking at how small to go for offshore sailing.

Exploring the idea by taking this ratio to the logical conclusion, it might help to consider something extremely short, like a Mini Transat: From some angles these look almost as wide as long (OK, I exaggerate !). A good MT would be an absolute blast offshore, I reckon, right up to the point where suddenly it wasn't any fun at all.

Of course it would be a handful, but with experience and skill, judgement and chutzpah, it seems to me that a very active approach to storm sailing would generally carry the day.

However it seems to me that if circumstances dictated switching to a passive approach, such as running off slowly, perhaps with the helm unattended and towing drogue/s -- I personally think this, as Barnakiel intimated, might end in tears.

This has implications not just for tactics, but strategy: where to sail, who to sail with, what time of year etc...

and it has occurred to me more than once that, while analysis is good at dealing with probable outcomes, offshore, the improbable seems to happen fairly regularly.
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Old 28-10-2012, 12:46   #141
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Re: What is the Smallest Boat That You Would Sail Outside of Coastal Waters?

I didn't want to complicate an already stodgy post by introducing another factor

At the risk of stating the obvious, at some point, when trading length for beam, the problem of pitchpole swims into the pool and makes eye contact...

Ultra-short racing boats like the Open 6.5 Mini Transat class seem to me to rely heavily on the dynamic lift under the forefoot (or alongside it, when blast reaching) to keep the bows out of the briny.

Going slow pricks the fragile coccoon of this survival tactic.
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Old 28-10-2012, 12:55   #142
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Re: What is the Smallest Boat That You Would Sail Outside of Coastal Waters?

sailed off long beach, cali , on a 16 hobie in weather--was a gas....wicked fun!!
sailed to catalina from lost angels harbor in a 25 coronado, many times--aint so bad--my son sailed downhill from marina del rey to lost angeles harbor in a jensen wenk 24--he sailed solo for his first sailing adventure. never use snapshackles on your main halyard..........sailing those lil cuties into weather is no fun and is very very wet work. downhill is easy....
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Old 29-10-2012, 14:37   #143
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Re: What is the Smallest Boat That You Would Sail Outside of Coastal Waters?

Well andrew I'm not sure our little discourse was entirely off subject since size of boat does have something to do with beaminess, length etc. So does storm tactics, since the tactics will vary according to the boat you are in.

While certainly not adverse to heaving to, I just don't (intellectually) care for the idea of droping a sea anchor and riding itnout bows to the wind (Pardey choice)

To each their own.
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Old 29-10-2012, 22:03   #144
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Re: What is the Smallest Boat That You Would Sail Outside of Coastal Waters?

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Well andrew I'm not sure our little discourse was entirely off subject since size of boat does have something to do with beaminess, length etc. So does storm tactics, since the tactics will vary according to the boat you are in.
While certainly not adverse to heaving to, I just don't (intellectually) care for the idea of droping a sea anchor and riding itnout bows to the wind (Pardey choice)
To each their own.
Under normal circumstances, it doesn't hold much appeal for me, either, and I don't expect to ever find myself doing it. I certainly hope I won't.

The boats I usually find myself in share few points in common with either of the Pardey boats, so their preference, while it clearly has sound basis in theory backed by much experience, nevertheless comes from a quite different context.

I can however (at least, intellectually) see a few "niche apps" which would seem to me to best be tackled lying bow upwind, in most sailing vessels.

One would be in a lee shore situation with seas too high to make headway by any means, where in most modern vessels I'd fancy my chances better with a maximum-drag device off the bow than off the stern.

A thought experiment which I think is relevant: if there was an opportunity to anchor (to something connected to terra firma) in identical conditions, would the skipper be happier to do that off the stern, or off the bow?

In anything short of a double ender with small cockpit, tiny hatches, and with MASSIVE rudderpost and gudgeons, and a small, heavily raked rudder, I think I know which way round I'd want to be.

The hypothetical ideal lee-shore drag device would provide the same degree of restraint, in terms of weather gauge lost over time, as an anchor, so I think the thought experiment is not unreasonable.

Which leads me to another thought: In the hypothetical situation I raised, unless the lee-shore rises steeply from deep water, I'd also be putting out my best anchor and the all-chain rode. This would be the last line of defence should the drag device fail, or the offing prove to be inadequate in relation to the eventual duration of the blow.

This tactic seems less viable if lying stern-to.

The chain would be further extended with all the suitable sized warp I had, ideally a LOT, and partly or wholly nylon.

The rationale of the long synthetic extension: to lessen the resistance of the bow to being tossed upwards by a wave crest, by introducing stretch inboard of the massive part of the system, and to improve the snubbing capacity, thereby increasing the likely success and endurance of "spontaneous anchoring", once within soundings.

A number of abandoned boats have done exactly that, saving themselves from being wrecked, despite nobody being left aboard to supervise.

It seems a lot of weight pulling the bow down, (I'm not a convert to high tensile, small-gauge chain) but I guess it's a bit lighter in the water than onboard, and most boats carry it well forward in the latter case (for reasons I don't personally find compelling). The extra viscous drag is a fringe benefit, although in proportion to what's needed, probably not significant.

- - - - - -

Going forward in conditions like that, say to tend the anti chafing gear on the drag device warp, seems a major factor in putting people off.

Of course that's a rational response, especially as the bow might get pulled through the green part of the tops, perhaps as much as 6' below the crests. So too is is the daunting prospect of working with heavily loaded gear in such a confined and wave-swept location.

But it can be done, and has been. Focussing on the first issue (because it's easier !):

Provided there are plentiful strong-points, a sailor can leapfrog their way to and from the pointy end, using two short safety lanyards with at least one always connected.
If there are enough hand and footholds, I reckon it's better to think of approaching the journey as though climbing a vertical wall, ie snakebellly fashion, moving only one hand or one foot at a time to the next hold. Less frontal area, and less chance of getting flipped over the lifelines.

Something to think about when laying out the sidedecks.

The gold standard for tiepoints and hand/footholds, IMO, would look something like my sketch. Recessed flush into the deck, and ideally strong enough that you couldn't be certain they'd break if you lifted the yacht using four of them. This means you can use them for pretty much anything. Such as rigging relieving tackles if you need to muscle the drag warp. Or staying a jury rig, or (if more strongly built) attaching a salvage bridle. Or (more mundane) lashing down a dinghy.

For a vessel which rarely ties alongside, they could also substitute for some of the docking cleats, provided they were made maybe twice as strong as I suggest above. (Some expedition yachts have cleats three or four times that strong)

They'd need to be big enough to take the toe of a size 12 seaboot. I'm thinking people with bigger feet can stay aft of the mast, in conditions where these holds would see use.

They'd hold water though, so if decide to make some I'll think about making provision for a snap-on cover, with Treadmaster on it, and an O-ring around the rim, which would remain fitted in 'normal' conditions.

Might be able to use standard inspection port lids...

I'm sorry I keep turning my side of the conversation away from running off, but it's a whole topic in itself, and I don't have a strong instinct (or enough experience) to make a worthwhile contribution, as I've already indicated.

And at the risk of flogging a dead horse, at least in some parts of the world, lee-shore danger zones extend so far offshore as to be a serious factor in ocean passagemaking. It's clear that this is especially true for small boats whose prospects of holding "distance off" under sail/motor, let alone improving it, are much reduced.
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Old 30-10-2012, 06:49   #145
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Re: What is the Smallest Boat That You Would Sail Outside of Coastal Waters?

Interesting thought of turning it around and saying "would you drop the anchor off the stern?" The answer, of course, is generally "no". But we're getting away from blue water. Here there is no lee shore, so running or dropping the sea anchor is a choice.

Not that I've ever tried either, mind you, so I have absolutely zero personal experience. Just a personality (disorder perhaps?) that says better to run that stay and fight.

Regarding tie-downs on a boat - I like your ideas, but unless you are fitting out an expedition ship, it is unlikely that anyone will go to those extremes. I suspect that most RTW's are in the trade wind belt, and that, coupled with todays weather forecasting, means that few will end up in hurricane conditions.

Certainly I don't plan to when I go RTW. And while I will have a survival plan, I don't expect to use it. Being basically a cautious sailor (and a coward), I will respect the weather windows when passage making.

I will probably take Evans Starzingers suggestion and pre-mount tethers the whole way from the cockpit to the bow. Doing it this way means you will have fitted these when the weather is good, and you will to have to worry about how to do it when the sh*t has hit the fan
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Old 30-10-2012, 07:07   #146
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Re: What is the Smallest Boat That You Would Sail Outside of Coastal Waters?

As someone noted above, the boat will tend to stay bow to the WIND (if she will, which is often NOT the case). Pretty impractical on the passage of a storm with its associated front(s) ...

However, it must be mentioned, that in any bad storm, the smallest boat that is the subject of this thread is, simply, doomed, whichever way she goes.

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Old 30-10-2012, 09:03   #147
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Re: What is the Smallest Boat That You Would Sail Outside of Coastal Waters?

Regarding small boats that have bluewater capability and assuming that smaller can also be interpreted as light, I would like to point two boats that are circumnavigating, one in a leisure trip the other on a personal sportive achievement: The A 35 and the Fox 10.20.





http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=_lMP9zqKUAU
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Old 30-10-2012, 14:32   #148
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Re: What is the Smallest Boat That You Would Sail Outside of Coastal Waters?

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As someone noted above, the boat will tend to stay bow to the WIND (if she will, which is often NOT the case). Pretty impractical on the passage of a storm with its associated front(s) ...

However, it must be mentioned, that in any bad storm, the smallest boat that is the subject of this thread is, simply, doomed, whichever way she goes.

b.
Regarding the closing para:

Hmm - I'm not sure that's necessarily the case.

There's what I think of as the "stunt barrel" effect. The answer to the question, "what's the ideal size of barrel to go over the Niagara Falls in" is : the smallest possible. Now of course this suffers from all the deficiencies of any exaggeration, compounded by the perils of oversimplification, but it does draw attention to two important factors.

I recommend a book I recently read called "SWIRLY WORLD SAILS SOUTH"

in which a local sailor who is better known as a rock musician and songwriter (and one of NZ's best, IMO)

sails to the Auckland Islands, in a notorious part of the Southern Ocean, in his 5.4m yacht (in which he'd already crossed the Tasman Sea at least once).

In contrast to other small sailboats, "Swirly World" looks like a proper (if purposeful) sailing proposition.
(I'm thinking of boats significantly smaller than Trekka at 6m, which to me was a very suitable vessel for crossing oceans. The worst sea conditions I've ever experienced, or ever wish to, were in a boat the same length as Trekka.)

Admittedly, Andrew Fagan knows a bit about how to sail. Not many can claim to have won trophies against, say, Russell Coutts, for instance, even in their adolescence)

I've only been to the Aucklands once, on a 52' (28 tonne) steel yacht, built like a tank, with a full keel and a snug rig with 5/8" wire and lots of redundancy.

We had similar conditions to Andrew, and on a couple of occasions our yacht was virtually unmanageable with a crew of six (note that "yacht" is the word for US=sailboat where I come from, this was no show-pony.)

We were forced to run off on the way back, and ended up off the chart which had NZ on it before we could resume our itinerary.

Andrew made it there and back in good shape, with no outside assistance (other than to patch up his motor - which was more liability than asset.
Remarkably, two other vessels arrived during his time down there, and there was a shore party of scientists doing research; generally the only company is sealions and whales.)

For variety, he sailed back by a different route back to his home port, as a result of which he incidentally circumnavigated NZ.
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Old 30-10-2012, 14:53   #149
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Re: What is the Smallest Boat That You Would Sail Outside of Coastal Waters?

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....

...
I will probably take Evans Starzingers suggestion and pre-mount tethers the whole way from the cockpit to the bow. Doing it this way means you will have fitted these when the weather is good, and you will to have to worry about how to do it when the sh*t has hit the fan
Thanks for your (as always) thoughtful comments and good sense.

I hadn't thought of pre-mounted tethers: thanks a lot for retailing Evans' proposal here.

I like the idea in principle, and can see it working well on a boat like theirs with roomy side-decks.

I'm a bit hesitant about the possibility for skiddiness underfoot, though, on a smaller boat where it seems to me they're likely to lie across the side-deck when not actively in use. Even webbing is more skiddy when wet than antiskid decking.

- - - - - -

I'm toying with the notion of a block under the bottom spreader root for a dedicated backup tether, able to stay attached for the entire duration of a manoeuvre (provided there was no need to cross the centreline.)
The tether would consist of a line running from the back of the bowman's harness up over the block and back to the cockpit. A crewmember in the cockpit would keep the line relatively snug (but never anywhere near tight) by snubbing a couple of turns around a winch, keeping the crewman on permanent belay. Obviously crewman has to have a knife.

This will not prevent someone going over the side at extreme heel angles, but it nicely addresses how to quickly and efficiently get them back on board.

I've heard of people using a spare halyard but I don't like that idea quite so much. Apart from needing to be reattached every time you pass the mast, there's a lot of "flick" potential if the crewman does go over the side in a knockdown, while attached to the masthead. (Not many boats have a spare staysl halyard, but this would partly address my second reservation)
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Old 30-10-2012, 15:30   #150
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Deep water: SURROUNDED by "Coastal Waters". No escape possible.

My posts get so long and wordy I fear this point might not have leapt out:

To me, the most challenging thing about blue water sailing is actually the coastal component.

On arrival near your destination, you'll be in a coastal situation, in conditions and at a time not necessarily of your choosing. Andrew Fagan's truly horrible moments (and ours, during our trips to and from the same destination) were when closing land.

On the way, you are likely to skirt bits of land. The "outside of coastal waters" referred to in the thread title, in some parts of the world, includes plenty of islands. Running before a storm in deep water, significant islands can be potential lee shores if the storm lasts longer than expected.

Deep ocean sailing (when well away from ANY land), and the usual coastal cruising during chosen weather windows, are (IMO) both relatively safe by comparison, especially if you choose a small vessel.

I make this point in the hope that people contemplating the tradeoffs of size will not put too much faith in the undoubted capabilities of very small yachts to survive whatever the deep sea can dish up.

I hope they would also consider their limitations when closing a coast.

Lots of people surmount those limitations, but it takes a certain blend of luck, skill, judgment, fortitude and luck. Not to mention luck.

(refer Vigor's "Black Box" theory for how to replenish your supply of luck. Most of us - if I'm at all typical - probably have a residual deficit, built up in our youth)
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