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Old 18-12-2015, 14:25   #16
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Re: Beam Reach Safe sailing Rough Weather

Heaving to is not a good choice in true breaking wave situations. You will still be subject to being rolled when hove to. Running off dragging drogues, tires or whatever to slow the boat down is the safe way.

We are not talking 10' Waves with a little white cap on top but BIG waves breaking as if on a beach like a surfer would love. Actually 10' waves can even be dangerous if steep enough and breaking because of adverse current or the right bottom. There was that boat that was rolled going inside the South Pylon of the Golden Gate Bridge a few years ago.
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Old 18-12-2015, 14:42   #17
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Re: Beam Reach Safe sailing Rough Weather

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Heaving to is not a good choice in true breaking wave situations. You will still be subject to being rolled when hove to. Running off dragging drogues, tires or whatever to slow the boat down is the safe way.

We are not talking 10' Waves with a little white cap on top but BIG waves breaking as if on a beach like a surfer would love. Actually 10' waves can even be dangerous if steep enough and breaking because of adverse current or the right bottom. There was that boat that was rolled going inside the South Pylon of the Golden Gate Bridge a few years ago.
A 25 foot boat is probably not likely to carry drogues, old tyres or a crap load of line to use for a drogue unless on a serious passage. If running, it's likely to broach just like the Santana 22 under the Golden Gate did in big seas.

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Old 18-12-2015, 15:15   #18
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Re: Beam Reach Safe sailing Rough Weather

And most folks who find themselves beam on to a big breaking wave will round up into it. It's not like they are too hard to spot, even at night if it is not overcast. Keep your harness on!
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Old 18-12-2015, 15:45   #19
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Re: Beam Reach Safe sailing Rough Weather

I try to make this simple. If you want to get the best life insurance against too rough seas, my recommendation would be a Jordan Series Drogue. That's what I would like to have available when seas get too rough for me and my boat.

I have never been in a storm where that would have been needed, so this is based only on lots of reading and real life experiences of other sailors.
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Old 18-12-2015, 15:45   #20
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Re: Beam Reach Safe sailing Rough Weather

One of my most vivid sailing memories is the time we to sailed our 24 foot boat that had a jury rigged damaged mast through gale force winds beam on. Doing 7 knots under a towel sized reefed headsail and with the outboard running at idle speed, we got knocked down at least twice when the seas squared up thanks to wind, tide and geography. It's kind of weird to watch water pouring into the cockpit from both sides of the boat, I can tell you. Although our boat was far from a heavy displacement bluewater cruiser, it was all buttoned up and I was never concerned that it was in any serious danger. As is often said, the boat will take more punishment than the crew.

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Old 18-12-2015, 19:04   #21
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Re: Beam Reach Safe sailing Rough Weather

Unless it’s an extreme heavy displacement (Colin Archer type) boat, while beam-reaching and under adequate sail (storm-jib) the boat will be running fast and react instantaneously to the rudder, i.e. will be perfectly controllable. By observing the approaching breaking wave, it will be You at the tiller to decide each time, whether to head-up to slow-down and let the breaker pass in front of Your bow, or else bear away and flee the breaker by surfing the wavefront at high speed. You will rapidly learn how to avoid the breakers and decide each time which way to go. It’s a very adrenalinic experience.

Do not start the engine. In such circumstances the power of the engine is ridiculously small / completely useless, and you risk the engine to seize since, due to the heavy heeling of the boat, the engine-oil will be splashing around in the engine-sump and not at the right place.
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Old 03-01-2016, 00:15   #22
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Re: Beam Reach Safe sailing Rough Weather

Also bear in mind , that you are going to get waves that double and occasionally triple in size , so even if you are coping with the seas under sail , you need to be on the helm constantly , to turn into the bigger seas , which over time is very tiring . best not to be there if you can avoid it .
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Old 03-01-2016, 10:12   #23
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Re: Beam Reach Safe sailing Rough Weather

Not trying to be snarky or difficult but I just love it when someone says "you shouldn't be out in those conditions". That is a luxury for those who don't go out on ten day passages. Everyone should do as good a job as possible at anticipating foul weather and seas before starting a voyage, but "weather happens" as any one knows who goes out. Any prudent sailor will get the best possible weather forecasts and take in to account the "normal" weather patterns for a route.

We waited three weeks in one port for a weather window and finally had to leave in less than desirable weather before the really bad stuff settled in for the new season. In conditions like those you do have to lay a course that will be as comfortable and safe as possible, and many times, that is a course that is not even close to a rhumb line. One issue is how to avoid the worst attitude to the waves along your route. I would not be very thrilled to be in large seas beam to, so would harden up or bear off and then adjust course later.
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Old 03-01-2016, 12:27   #24
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Re: Beam Reach Safe sailing Rough Weather

For us, the problem has not really been big breaking beam seas, but the confused sea states that prevail with rapidly shifting wind direction and contrary ground swells. The chaotic wave patterns that result mean that one can not set up the boat to ride well in any direction. Horrible motion, knockdowns (and to me that ain't 45 degrees!) and damage ensue.

And after all these years, I still don't know what t he best answer is!

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Old 03-01-2016, 14:59   #25
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Re: Beam Reach Safe sailing Rough Weather

It might be of interest to try a simple activity that can teach you a lot about breaking waves.

Rent a surfboard, and paddle out at a known beach break surfspot in front of a lifeguard.

sit in varying distances to the beach to discover the different behaviors of swell, steep, beginning to break, and breaking top to bottom waves.

sit in various angles to the prevailing waves, for example, head on, and sideways. try the various angles in various distances to learn.

I know its not a yacht in a storm, but it is an educational experience.

The cliff notes go like this:

swell does nothing regardless of your direction to it. you just go up, then down as it passes under you.

steepening waves do nothing until they are quite steep, if you are sideways (beam on) you simply roll. if you are head on, the wave will pass you, but you will "fall off the backside" with a stiff hit to the water surface.

beginning to break waves (top whitewater, steeper face) if you are sideways, you roll. If you are head on, you get carried along, for a little ways or possibly caught and carried into the more violent breaking cycle.

Waves breaking top to bottom, If you are sideways, you either be hit directly with unbelievable force from out and overhead, or possibly picked up, and thrown from the top of the wave into the trough, followed by a violent jet of water and incredibly turbulent "washing machine" type ride and terrible drubbing. If you are head on, the same thing happens.(akin to pitchpole)

and interestingly if you set stationary rope to hold onto while remaining head into or paddle aggressively head into all of these wave types, your chances of staying upright are vastly improved (similar to a sea anchor)

You will also quickly notice how a very very small breaking wave will roll you on the surfboard if you are sideways to it.

Lastly, it is possible to run before the waves. it is called surfing . and it requires a great deal of practice to do, especially in very large confused breaking waves. this involves taking a stern to position to the oncoming wave, and gaining speed down the face before it breaks, steering toward a less violent "shoulder" and away from the breaking peak into relatively safer water again

If you cant swim, don't bother.

Also, stay clear of other people while you are learning on the surfboard
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Old 03-01-2016, 15:37   #26
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Re: Beam Reach Safe sailing Rough Weather

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Originally Posted by exMaggieDrum View Post
Not trying to be snarky or difficult but I just love it when someone says "you shouldn't be out in those conditions". That is a luxury for those who don't go out on ten day passages. Everyone should do as good a job as possible at anticipating foul weather and seas before starting a voyage, but "weather happens" as any one knows who goes out. Any prudent sailor will get the best possible weather forecasts and take in to account the "normal" weather patterns for a route.

We waited three weeks in one port for a weather window and finally had to leave in less than desirable weather before the really bad stuff settled in for the new season. In conditions like those you do have to lay a course that will be as comfortable and safe as possible, and many times, that is a course that is not even close to a rhumb line. One issue is how to avoid the worst attitude to the waves along your route. I would not be very thrilled to be in large seas beam to, so would harden up or bear off and then adjust course later.
That is not snarky. It is hard to hit heavy weather tied to the dock as many that say that are all the time.
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Old 03-01-2016, 15:52   #27
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Re: Beam Reach Safe sailing Rough Weather

before it gets that shitty, find a safe sheltered cove and anchor until it is over. be smart.
if it is always like that, pick your best weather window..
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Old 03-01-2016, 16:14   #28
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Re: Beam Reach Safe sailing Rough Weather

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before it gets that shitty, find a safe sheltered cove and anchor until it is over. be smart.
if it is always like that, pick your best weather window..
If shitty sneaks up on you, that is about the worst thing I can think of.
Finding a sheltered cove, finding being the key word. If you don't know the way in, I would take my chances in deep water. JMHO
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Old 03-01-2016, 17:01   #29
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Re: Beam Reach Safe sailing Rough Weather

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If shitty sneaks up on you, that is about the worst thing I can think of.
Finding a sheltered cove, finding being the key word. If you don't know the way in, I would take my chances in deep water. JMHO
shitty dont sneak.
shitty has advanced warnings and signs obviously placed as it increases in a crescendo manner, as do all storms.
line squalls are a lil different, but ye can still see em coming far enough away to anchor in the lee of an island or shoal inland and figger your best option otherwise.
even t-boomers in gom dont sneak, but initiate as a vague haze building from horizon upwards until no stars are seen, at which time clouds begin to form, and by that time it is too late. lol ask me how i know. them bitches pack some righteous winds. severe is what we were sailing into due to boat owner's magenta line-osis, severe packs to 71 kts. yummmmm. we tried to outrun the extreme one, the day the well blew. we were flying on prefrontals l before extreme front system. wow. all the dolphins in life were with us. by the time we reached st josephs bay the chop in the bay was 4.5 feet.
THEN it got exciting.....
it was a very dark and stormy night......
beam seas are not the option.

sailing down weather for awhile wont usually hurt unless downweather is islands or land masses of some type.
bashing into storm seas sucks massive asphalt.
close to shore is not the option for the big huge boxy seas in shallower water.. btdt, also. donot forget the additional chop of rebounding seas off the landmass and tidal influences.
open ocean, make your heaving to not beam to.
i prefer sailing with(storm seas) them on my quarter. is least rolly and boat still makes way.

ps.. before passage making, make sure you choose emergency hiding places to duck into., that is what we did in gom, and why we ran for st josephs bay when we should have continued to pascagoula. we were just in the prefrontals of that extreme front we knew was headed toward us. as extreme was rated 81-100+ kt winds, we squawked like the chickens we were and ran like stink towards st joseph's.
preplanning will save you a lot of hurt, as you learn what is necessary to learn about each place you choose for alternatives BEFORE you set out on your passage. makes finding a port for the storm a lot easier than blindly feeling thru white out situations in which you have never been. it also allows you to know what is around you, or not-- also, deep water sailors need to know currents and wind directions, prevalent and pre and post storming, so you know where you will be heading when you are too chicken **** to show face in the mayhem around ye. is also excellent to know which direction storms generally go. they travel, not hold still. learn this stuff before you find out by being in one. they do suck.
one must own common sense in order to survive in the real world.
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Old 03-01-2016, 17:56   #30
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Re: Beam Reach Safe sailing Rough Weather

Solid gold here.

I am a believer in forgetting the straight line if the seas are on the beam. A couple of degrees to leeward make an enormous difference in comfort.


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