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Old 27-09-2013, 13:00   #1
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Worst Weather Experienced While at Sea?

Just found this video



gave me an idea for a thread.

What is worst weather you've experienced while at sea?
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Old 27-09-2013, 18:10   #2
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Re: Worst weather experienced while at sea?

Cat 2 hurricane in the middle of the Pacific..
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Old 27-09-2013, 18:16   #3
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Rode out Katrina on a large vessel but took the most damage from a microburst.
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Old 27-09-2013, 18:29   #4
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Re: Worst weather experienced while at sea?

At sea? Storm: sustained winds high fifties in knots, gusts "a wee bit" more.
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Old 28-09-2013, 16:00   #5
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Hurricane that came through the Newport-Bermuda race in 1972. Over 90-100 kts according to our wind instrument.
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Old 28-09-2013, 17:02   #6
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Seen plenty of water spouts, but never been hit by one...have friends who have.

At sea for me: 65 knots sustained for 24 hours, gusts to 85 (comfirmed by bouy data). Seas about 25' I think.
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Old 28-09-2013, 22:03   #7
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Re: Worst weather experienced while at sea?

We encounter water spouts similar to these when we were laying hove-to in the gulf of Mexico about 50 miles southeast if entrance to the Mighty Mississippi, off New Orleans, but also had 50 knot blue norther freezing our bottoms at the same time. We were delivering a 50 ton Ketch from the Med.

Actual worst was storm that caught us off the coast of Australia, an unannounced tropical low wedged against a ridge of high pressure - about 70 knots for three days, wind against a strong current. Wrote about it in our Storm tactics Handbook - most difficult story I had to write - cause it was a really bad memory.
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Old 28-09-2013, 22:13   #8
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Re: Worst weather experienced while at sea?

That clown on fore-deck in video was not even wearing a PFD. Dumb or drunk? Maybe both.
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Old 29-09-2013, 04:43   #9
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Re: Worst weather experienced while at sea?

Hurricane force cold front in the gulf of mexico in a 23' sloop. The "no name storm". After our mast went under twice by being thrown by breaking waves we contacted the coasties who said there were 12 boats sunk with people in the water and all their boats were on sar missions. Ive seen bigger breaking waves in the gulfstream during a norther but was in a much larger boat.
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Old 29-09-2013, 06:47   #10
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Re: Worst weather experienced while at sea?

Strongest wind / tallest waves on our aborted passage from Mangareva to the Australs: gusting +60kts, single waves in excess of 30'. Very bad 18 hours, then conditions rapidly easing. I guess it was a Souther Ocean low tracking bit higher than their usual. No damage, but plenty of fear.

Worst sea between Tonga and NZ: tallest waves not taller than 20', short, steep, irregular (areas of breakers interrupted with larger areas of 'flat seas'). Unfortunately, one of them got us as back then we were stupid enough heave to. Plenty of damage, also to skipper's pride.

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Old 29-09-2013, 07:17   #11
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Re: Worst weather experienced while at sea?

30 know winds of San Francisco Bay. I almost spilled my margarita. :-)
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Old 29-09-2013, 11:11   #12
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Re: Worst Weather Experienced While at Sea?

45 knot squalls on the Atlantic; 65 knot squalls on Lake Ontario, as seen on a photo taken on a nearby boat's readout.

Yes, that happens! I actually prefer Atlantic wave action, although those 20 foot high lumps of sea looming over the aft deck require some attitude adjustment.
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Old 29-09-2013, 12:21   #13
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Re: Worst Weather Experienced While at Sea?

Depends on your definition of worst?

400 miles east of Bahamas - 500 miles N of Virgin Islands in unfamiliar sail boat - dead calm and no idea how much diesel was in the tank - late November and calm forecast to last a while

50 miles SE of Cape Mendocino - 45+ knots - very steep breaking waves ina very fast boat that wanted to stuff bow in back of each wave - My brother and I thought it was a fantastic day to sail - the less experienced crew thought they had died and gone to hell

75 miles west of Coos Bay, Oregon - 48 degrees, dense fog, mist, light winds and dozens of big purse seiners circling at 2 AM while we tried to motor thru the area

Straits of Juan de Fuca in early March - west 35 to 40 knots - 10' seas at 6 second period, very steep and breaking - 35 degrees outside and waves continually breaking into the cockpit - cold and miserable

My personal favorite:
Easter Sunday - west of coast of Baja Mexico just north of Isla Cedros headed northbound in Tartan 42 with no autopilot. Had to handsteer every second.

59 degrees, NW 20 - 22 knots and we were motor sailing directly into it

NW 6' swell, SW 6' swell, and NW 3' wind waves

About every five minutes a "haystack" of water would break over the side of the boat and flood the cockpit. I was wearing every bit of cold weather gear and rain gear I owned. Eight hours of this and my brother and I were both exhausted, hypothermic, and pissed off.

None of the above were life threatening - just cold and miserable and enough to make you wish your were at home in front of a warm fire.
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Old 29-09-2013, 13:56   #14
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Re: Worst Weather Experienced While at Sea?

Hurricane Gilbert 1988 left Jamaica, wound up in Caymans "what a long strange trip it was"
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Old 29-09-2013, 13:59   #15
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Re: Worst Weather Experienced While at Sea?

Obviously some "very experienced boater running right into a waterspout" ....NOT
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