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View Poll Results: worst weather - poll
less than 10' seas and up to 30 knot wind 6 12.50%
10-15' seas 30-40 knot wind 9 18.75%
15-20' seas 30-40 knot wind 14 29.17%
20-30' seas 40-50 knot 10 20.83%
something worst that the choices 9 18.75%
something you consider less than choices 0 0%
Voters: 48. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-01-2010, 05:49   #16
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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
...So we think the highest waves and strongest winds may be less dangerous than a less dynamic but more perplexed weather system.

I agree.

A strong front overtook us on a passage from Virginia to BVI, with winds in the 45 kt range. After a day or so, the swells had built to around 24' and the wave period lengthened. We were surfing down the swells at up to 11 knots with just 1/3 of the 110% headsail rolled out. Fantastic sailing!

On the other hand, coming back from Bermuda to Virginia, we were in heavy squalls for three days straight, the last 12 hours being in the Gulf Stream. The winds were 35-40 kts, but varied up to 50 kts in gusts, and from different directions as we sailed through the squalls. Lightning was all around. The seas were only 14-16' max, but were confused and steep. A wave would sometimes come out of nowhere and run the length of the cabin top or try to come into the cockpit. We couldn't use the autopilot due to the crazy yawing induced by the waves.

The physical effort and stress of steering day and night in those conditions made it a very difficult passage. Especially since one crew was injured and couldn't steer, one was very, very seasick and could only steer poorly, and the other was inexperienced in offshore sailing and not very comfortable at the wheel in those conditions.

I'll take the stronger, steady winds and big, regular swells on the quarter any time!

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Old 12-01-2010, 06:56   #17
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Know what you mean. We crossed the Stream from Lauderdale to West End on a beautiful sunny day with winds may 25 -30 kts. But because the winds were northerly it became a really nasty sail with very confused 10-14 ft sea. Fortunately it is a realtively short passage diagonally across the Stream at that point. But we had to pay attention to the steering every second. We were exhausted by the time we got across and sore from fighting the erratic motion of the boat.
During the storm I mentioned in an earlier post one of my objectives was to keep out of the Stream until it blew past us. Even then the crossing was really rough.


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Old 12-01-2010, 06:56   #18
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To and from Viet Nam 2x aboard a destroyer, single screw, I saw a lot. The best day we had wave hundreds of feet high but the crest were at least 10 miles apart. The flying fish were skimming across mirror smooth seas and it was a beautiful blue bird day. The Cpt was running hard and we were having a ball. Cresting a wave the ship would come almost out of the water, then crash burying the bow and putting green water against the glass (I swear I saw fish swimming by) she would shutter then pop out of the ocean settle. Then we would steam down the backside and plow into the base of the next wave burying the boat into it, and start over going up. Wild and fun. I want to thank the taxpayers for that day.

The worst, 0300, lost power somewhere around Wake in 15-18 foot seas, pretty closely packed. I was thrown out of the rack, we were afraid we were gonna roll. Got her up and running again b4 that happened. I slept amidships below the main deck, and I wast thrown out of the rack, so she was on the edge

I also took a 28 foot motor whale boat, 12 to 15 foot seas launched off her, (destroyer), to look for a pilot that had the bad taste to crash off the coast of San Fran (potato patch) at night. I was scared shi+less as was my crew. They sent the ensign with us insofar he was the most expendable, so I knew were in trouble, I but I was in charge as a Coxin. I feel for the pilot to this day, cause we never found any trace, he really pissed me off at the time but that has tempered with time and he left me with a really good story.

Worst day outside the Navy, (worst ever really) was fishing the rigs 75 miles out of Freeport, TX. 65 miles out on a 2x 115 Honda powered center console 26' cat, it started raining so hard it soothed the seas out by filling the trouths. That was the best of the day. We tied of to a rig at about daybreak and the seas built all day. We headed in about 1300-1400 and were beat like a rented mule. Gulf seas, up to 14 ft coming at us from all directions, not off one wave being hit from another direction. Tight, tight, tight. Beer was in the bow chest and I had 2 drunk 30 year olds, one my son in law that would not listen. I reflected how I was going to tell my daughter and grandchildren about losing their daddy and husband at sea. No reasoning with a drunk, ya know.

I would say the poll ignored one part that is the most critical, the sea state. Huge waves and high winds do not always mean bad sea state, but tight compact seas, depending on the size craft you are in can mean lots more. I will take 20 footers with long distance crest to crest way b4 unsettled or compact seas with short scope. That is why the Gulf is such a bitch, as are the Great Lakes.

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Old 12-01-2010, 07:21   #19
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Had a similar experience in Biscay as "Roaring Girl", instead of prop issues we had no bilge pump and we took on water. We did the double reef head and main and sailed to Gijon. Other time off of Africa in 40+ knots we set on a sea anchor until all were rested and minor repairs to roller furling was made. Then we headed down wind with 50% of 130 genny rolled up and made passage on head sail alone.
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Old 12-01-2010, 14:40   #20
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I agree my poll didn't cover all the choices. I fully believe the wind, unless it is very high, by itself is mostly a problem based on where you are (ie. if it is blowing you toward something). To me the wave height itself isn't the problem, it's the frequency. A long slow wave is something to make you sick over time, but isn't all that dangerous. But ones that just keep coming at you just scare the crap out of you! On the other hand gusting winds giving you knock downs, while at the same time having short steep waves is just nasty to me!
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Old 12-01-2010, 15:26   #21
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I chose the 20-30 footers and 40-50 knots wind because I never had anything beating both at the same time.

But every off shore sailor will have had more than 40 knots period. And when you do that for a couple of years, you surely have got some 50+ knot squalls behind you. That's just what lies in the path and I must admit that I liked that better than the no-wind conditions I've been in. First time it happens is a shock of course... you just need to get used to it and the fact that it always starts at night ;-)


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