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Old 10-06-2015, 21:03   #106
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Re: What was your most scariest boating moment.

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Originally Posted by StarryHorizons View Post
I'll add mine in here...

Our first night out of France after picking up our boat, we were in the Bay of Biscay and it was my wife's turn for her first night watch. We were both a bit nervous given the reputation of the Bay, but my wife is a trooper and went on watch so I could head down and get some shut eye.

About 20 minutes after I fall asleep, I hear a loud pounding on the deck with my wife shouting my name. Never before have I leapt out of bed so fast, fearing that something was about to hit us, we were about to hit something, the weather had gotten worse, we were sinking, or a million other things that ran through my head in the 5 seconds it took to dash from the berth to the helm.

Fortunately, it turned out that we had been joined by a pod of dolphins who were lit up as they were swimming through bioluminescence and my wife just wanted to share the experience with me. It was one of the coolest things we saw on our Atlantic crossing, but we both learned a quick lesson in how to call the other on deck!
Good one!

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Old 11-06-2015, 22:25   #107
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Re: What was your most scariest boating moment.

Scariest moment?

when I looked around the boat and all passengers had put on those ugly orange (around the neck) lifejackets without being told to do so. they had the fear of god in their eyes and I thought to myself, 'i guess this is bad. at least if the boat capsizes it will continue to float.' no, it wasn't a sailboat but it was one hell of a scary adventure on Narragansett Bay!

needless to say, the planned meet/greet with my new college roommate swayed him from ever coming on the boat again.....he wasn't too big on boats to begin with!
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Old 12-06-2015, 05:50   #108
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Re: What was your most scariest boating moment.

I have experienced over 30 years some pretty tense moments... but 2 stand out.

The first was up in Maine and I was returning back to my mooring in Shelter Island, NY... a journey of maybe 400 miles. I would go the the Cape Cod Canal and so to cut the passage time I wanted to shoot straight across Gulf of Maine to the canal.. perhaps anchoring in Ptown. The weather did not cooperate and I decided to sail SW along the coast. It was squally and rainy and I had a crew of landlubber friends... one very old fella, a middle aged guy and a strong young 20 something.

Since it was raining they were below and I was huddled under the dodger in my foulies... steering was done by the AP with a waypoint set. The middle aged fella I had met in a navigation class... he was a sort of dilettante... but he did have some book knowledge. I announced to the "crew" that we'd put in for the night a Boothbay and asked him to give me a heading using the plotter to select a waypoint.

A few minutes later he gives me the course to set the AP to and I had to just trim the sail and keep watch. The problem was that he chose a waypoint which was to the north and an entry to a very tricky rock strewn "passage" called Fisherman's passage to navigate in the evening and pouring rain. I didn't realize at first but when I noticed the lighthouse beacon to the south it occurred to me that the course he chose was shorter and more direct by more perilous. But the wind was hard on the nose and heading south... changing the course would have had us pounding over the waves. YUCK. I took the searchlight and looked for the buoys. Finding them was not easy and I kept having visions of sailing hard onto a rock ledge and sinking the boat. Crew was below and oblivious.

I obviously made it through and was able to bear off and finally has more protected waters and a following wind. I sailed into Boothbay, dropped the sails, quickly tied the main... and went below... they were all asleep.

Second tense experience was in the 91 Marion Bermuda race I entered to "test" myself and the boat in the ocean. I had no interest in the race for anything but that. On the second day we hit a full gale in the Gulf Stream. YIKES... the waves were 20' or more... The crew had harnesses of course and we had to hand steer. We had 2 in the cockpit and on one watch our female crew was swept off the boat.. tethered by her harness. We got her quickly aboard. Of course this storm was in the night and so we could barely see a thing... aside from the foam blown off the waves. Everything inside below was a mess... the entire crew was seasick... the boat did fine. That was very tense.. and it lasted all night.
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Old 12-06-2015, 07:51   #109
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Re: What was your most scariest boating moment.

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Originally Posted by JTHAW View Post
I should write a book....In winter 1982-3 my mate and I were returning to the Exuma's from Conception Island, Bahamas, in my 35' IOR design Morgan sloop...sunny day , surfing downwind, blowing 16-23 knots ...boats doing 6-7 knots....we are alone about 15-20 miles from anywhere...I go down the companionway to see 6 inches of water sloshing around the cabin....scared witless..I frantically ripped everything I could think of... up, out, and off to see where in the heck water was coming in????...after 3-4 minutes I got to the lazerette aft hatch...the 8 inch above stern waterline,.. thru hull, ...for the safety, propane box gas escape... was sucking water in as we surfed down 6 foot waves..the ss hose clamp had come off!!!!….SNIP….
Thanks for posting these good examples.

The one about the hose clamp failure, is an especially good example of how a small, insignificant, low cost, boat part can be the cause of a BIG problem.

Sometimes it is the little things that can get ya!
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Old 15-06-2015, 07:58   #110
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Re: What was your most scariest boating moment.

Since the issue of microbursts has come up, the following article that I wrote and that was published in Sail magazine some years ago, might be useful to some members of the group. I'm a scientist and it is based on a talk that I gave at a Naval Architects meeting.



What happens in a microburst and how to handle it.

Allan H. Frey

During sailing season on the Chesapeake Bay, it is not unusual for the weather to be unstable with resulting thunderstorms, microbursts and I’ve even seen funnel clouds.

Encountering a microburst is an emergency situation; the first Pride of Baltimore was lost to one. However, if you understand the nature of the phenomenon, can recognize the early indicators and take appropriate action in a very short time – often that means only seconds – you can come through without damage. Let’s look at what is involved.

A microburst is a dense, rapidly descending column of cold air. When the column nears the surface of the sea it is deflected and flows outward radially like the spokes of a wheel. Research indicates that the column of air forms when raindrops evaporate before they reach the surface, cooling the air in a localized area. The cold air falls rapidly to the ocean surface and its kinetic energy is dissipated as the air spreads out laterally at the surface.

Although microbursts do tend to occur in the unsettled weather that accompanies a depression, they are not necessarily associated with rain. They measure approximately ½ to 2 miles in diameter at the water surface and usually last from about 5 to 15 minutes (Fig.1). The lateral wind velocity of the column of air at the surface tends to be about 25 knots, though velocities as high as 80 knots have been documented. Microbursts can, and often do, occur in thunderstorms and this may well be part of the reason thunderstorms are often so violent. The good news about this type of microburst is that most sailors can recognize an approaching thunderstorm and know how to prepare for it.

The real problems come if a microburst is encountered essentially without warning when the weather seems to be merely unsettled; overcast skies, for example, with moderate wind or possibly occasional light rain. Meeting a microburst under these seemingly benign conditions puts a boat at risk, since the crew neither expects nor understands what is happening and therefore reacts slowly and possibly incorrectly.

Research to date hasn’t defined obvious indicators of an approaching microburst. But even in the absence of obvious signs such as those associated with a thunderstorm, there are a few subtle clues. In addition to the dirty-looking day, you will notice an approaching patch of flattened water that is similar to the flattened water resulting from a thunderstorm’s heavy rainfall flattening the waves. Another indicator is a rapid increase in wind speed, similar to what you would experience in a strong gust, which lasts 30 seconds or more and is considerably colder than the ambient air temperature.

What you do in this emergency situation depends on your point of sail, which part of the microburst is passing over you and which direction it’s approaching from. To illustrate, let’s assume you are on a broad reach on a port tack, and the microburst approaches you from the port beam. Assume that the microburst is 1 mile in diameter, the system is moving at 20 knots, and the center is going to pass over the boat. You would feel a cold wind increasing rapidly from the port side; it would build to maximum strength in approximately 70 seconds and then fall off abruptly. About 40 seconds later a high-velocity wind would strike from the opposite, or starboard, side. The velocity would then taper down over the next 70 seconds, and the wind would return to what it was before the microburst appeared. Whether the wind backs or veers is a primary clue to the location of the microburst’s center and therefore to the wind conditions you can expect.

If you took no action, the boat would most likely be knocked down on its starboard side in a matter of seconds. If the boat didn’t flood, it would come back up about 90 seconds later as the center of the microburst passed over it. Then the boat would be laid flat on its port side - if the sails and boom were still intact.

In this situation you probably wouldn’t have time to drop the sails; you must instantly release the sheets and allow them to run free. When the microburst’s center passes overhead and before the wind starts to fill in from the other side, you must immediately prepare for a gybe. Bring the sheets in so the main and jib are approximately amidships, and then let the sheets run immediately when the wind starts coming from starboard. In about 3 minutes the extreme winds should have passed.

How you should react to the microburst depends, as I have said, on where the microburst is coming from relative to your boat. You can familiarize yourself with the appropriate actions in each case in a few minutes by working with simple models on the kitchen table. Draw an 8-inch diameter circle on a piece of paper to represent the microburst’s location at sea level. Then draw radii from the center of the circle to the periphery with arrows pointing out from the center to represent the microburst’s wind direction at various places. Next, cut out a 1-inch long piece of paper shaped like a boat and use a toothpick as the boom. Now place the model boat on top of the model microburst and slide the circle (the microburst) along under the boat. You can see what will happen, moment by moment, in an encounter with a microburst and how it affects the boat depending on the point of sail.

To simulate the situation described earlier, for example, place the “microburst” to the left of the model boat. Slide it under the boat, its center passing underneath the boat (the microburst would actually pass overhead), and then move it to the right of the boat (Fig. 2).

Or, as another example, put the model boat on a broad reach on port tack and assume the microburst will approach off the port bow parallel to the boat’s course. Then only the left side of the microburst will pass over the boat, and the wind will continually back (Fig. 3).

An encounter with a microburst is a rare event, but it does happen - probably more commonly than an encounter with a waterspout or a severe thunderstorm. If you’re caught out in unsettled weather, you should stay alert to the clues. Then, if you do happen to encounter a microburst, you’ll be able to recognize the fact quickly and to act immediately. If you do, the chances are excellent that you will come through with no damage at all. And you’ll have a darned good sea story to tell.


Fig. 1 Cross-sectional form of a microburst: a) in the atmosphere, b) at the surface of the ocean.


Fig. 2 Moving microburst viewed from above. It is approaching a boat on the port beam (panel 1) passing over (panel 2), and receding on the starboard beam (panel 3). Note the change in wind vector with respect to the boat. The boom will first be forced to starboard. If it is still intact when the center of the microburst is over the boat, it may tend to center because of the apparent wind from the boat’s residual forward motion. As the microburst recedes to starboard, the boom will be forced to port. The large arrows show the microburst’s direction of motion with respect to the boat.



Fig. 3 Moving microburst viewed from above approaching a boat on the port bow (panel 1), passing on the port beam (panel 2), and receding on the port quarter (panel 3). Note the change in wind vector with respect to the boat. The boom will first be forced to the starboard quarter, then abeam on the starboard, and then to the starboard bow. The shrouds, mast and/or gooseneck may break. The large arrows show the direction of motion of the microburst with respect to the boat.
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Old 15-06-2015, 08:31   #111
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Re: What was your most scariest boating moment.

sailing to catalin, two harbors, ithsmus anchorage, approaching yet far enough off to catch some gooood wind-- got caught in a wonderful breeze having fun and laughing with the owner, who went to head.. we all gotta pee occasionally, so as we laughed, i was at helm. we caught a good gust, and on th e way to knockdown, holding tiller to my chest to keep boat from going down, water pouring in thru the galley ports as if no one had ever placed bedding compound there, ever, my friend said "what you doing to my boat , bitch?" to which i could only reply "tryina sink it, bitch!" hell i was standing upright with tiller in my hands and feet resting on opposing cockpit seat...at which point, birdshit rock shadowed the wind which brought us upright with a POP and we could acually steer boat into ithsmus harbor...... was a lil trying just for a second. wasnt terrifying as much as funny hilarious. we laughed for years on that misadventure.
she was standing up and water from head was attacking her-- as water poured into head galley ports... we laughed a long time after that one.
the only scared i ever had involving boating. sailing has been trying to make sure my mom and grandmother didnt know about my childhood injuries on board the eleanor, so i could ccontinue to sail.
grandmother did not approve of my activities.
"LADIES do NOT sail!" was her favorite statement all the while we were learning sailing..
i was a flag team volunteer for formula one, nascar, sports car and other racing events with cars flying by me at over 185 mph-- how could sailing possibly be scary...
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Old 15-06-2015, 15:39   #112
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Re: What was your most scariest boating moment.

Zee,
:-D
Pretty hard to drown at a road race!

Ann
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Old 15-06-2015, 15:51   #113
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Re: What was your most scariest boating moment.

true, dat, ann, but ye can get pretty flat iffn someone decides to wander a lil off track.. was a kick....
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Old 20-06-2015, 17:22   #114
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Re: What was your most scariest boating moment.

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Originally Posted by afrey View Post
Since the issue of microbursts has come up, the following article that I wrote and that was published in Sail magazine some years ago, might be useful to some members of the group. I'm a scientist and it is based on a talk that I gave at a Naval Architects meeting.



What happens in a microburst and how to handle it.

Allan H. Frey

During sailing season on the Chesapeake Bay, it is not unusual for the weather to be unstable with resulting thunderstorms, microbursts and I’ve even seen funnel clouds.

Encountering a microburst is an emergency situation; the first Pride of Baltimore was lost to one. However, if you understand the nature of the phenomenon, can recognize the early indicators and take appropriate action in a very short time – often that means only seconds – you can come through without damage. Let’s look at what is involved.

A microburst is a dense, rapidly descending column of cold air. When the column nears the surface of the sea it is deflected and flows outward radially like the spokes of a wheel. Research indicates that the column of air forms when raindrops evaporate before they reach the surface, cooling the air in a localized area. The cold air falls rapidly to the ocean surface and its kinetic energy is dissipated as the air spreads out laterally at the surface.

Although microbursts do tend to occur in the unsettled weather that accompanies a depression, they are not necessarily associated with rain. They measure approximately ½ to 2 miles in diameter at the water surface and usually last from about 5 to 15 minutes (Fig.1). The lateral wind velocity of the column of air at the surface tends to be about 25 knots, though velocities as high as 80 knots have been documented. Microbursts can, and often do, occur in thunderstorms and this may well be part of the reason thunderstorms are often so violent. The good news about this type of microburst is that most sailors can recognize an approaching thunderstorm and know how to prepare for it.

The real problems come if a microburst is encountered essentially without warning when the weather seems to be merely unsettled; overcast skies, for example, with moderate wind or possibly occasional light rain. Meeting a microburst under these seemingly benign conditions puts a boat at risk, since the crew neither expects nor understands what is happening and therefore reacts slowly and possibly incorrectly.

Research to date hasn’t defined obvious indicators of an approaching microburst. But even in the absence of obvious signs such as those associated with a thunderstorm, there are a few subtle clues. In addition to the dirty-looking day, you will notice an approaching patch of flattened water that is similar to the flattened water resulting from a thunderstorm’s heavy rainfall flattening the waves. Another indicator is a rapid increase in wind speed, similar to what you would experience in a strong gust, which lasts 30 seconds or more and is considerably colder than the ambient air temperature.

What you do in this emergency situation depends on your point of sail, which part of the microburst is passing over you and which direction it’s approaching from. To illustrate, let’s assume you are on a broad reach on a port tack, and the microburst approaches you from the port beam. Assume that the microburst is 1 mile in diameter, the system is moving at 20 knots, and the center is going to pass over the boat. You would feel a cold wind increasing rapidly from the port side; it would build to maximum strength in approximately 70 seconds and then fall off abruptly. About 40 seconds later a high-velocity wind would strike from the opposite, or starboard, side. The velocity would then taper down over the next 70 seconds, and the wind would return to what it was before the microburst appeared. Whether the wind backs or veers is a primary clue to the location of the microburst’s center and therefore to the wind conditions you can expect.

If you took no action, the boat would most likely be knocked down on its starboard side in a matter of seconds. If the boat didn’t flood, it would come back up about 90 seconds later as the center of the microburst passed over it. Then the boat would be laid flat on its port side - if the sails and boom were still intact.

In this situation you probably wouldn’t have time to drop the sails; you must instantly release the sheets and allow them to run free. When the microburst’s center passes overhead and before the wind starts to fill in from the other side, you must immediately prepare for a gybe. Bring the sheets in so the main and jib are approximately amidships, and then let the sheets run immediately when the wind starts coming from starboard. In about 3 minutes the extreme winds should have passed.

How you should react to the microburst depends, as I have said, on where the microburst is coming from relative to your boat. You can familiarize yourself with the appropriate actions in each case in a few minutes by working with simple models on the kitchen table. Draw an 8-inch diameter circle on a piece of paper to represent the microburst’s location at sea level. Then draw radii from the center of the circle to the periphery with arrows pointing out from the center to represent the microburst’s wind direction at various places. Next, cut out a 1-inch long piece of paper shaped like a boat and use a toothpick as the boom. Now place the model boat on top of the model microburst and slide the circle (the microburst) along under the boat. You can see what will happen, moment by moment, in an encounter with a microburst and how it affects the boat depending on the point of sail.

To simulate the situation described earlier, for example, place the “microburst” to the left of the model boat. Slide it under the boat, its center passing underneath the boat (the microburst would actually pass overhead), and then move it to the right of the boat (Fig. 2).

Or, as another example, put the model boat on a broad reach on port tack and assume the microburst will approach off the port bow parallel to the boat’s course. Then only the left side of the microburst will pass over the boat, and the wind will continually back (Fig. 3).

An encounter with a microburst is a rare event, but it does happen - probably more commonly than an encounter with a waterspout or a severe thunderstorm. If you’re caught out in unsettled weather, you should stay alert to the clues. Then, if you do happen to encounter a microburst, you’ll be able to recognize the fact quickly and to act immediately. If you do, the chances are excellent that you will come through with no damage at all. And you’ll have a darned good sea story to tell.


Fig. 1 Cross-sectional form of a microburst: a) in the atmosphere, b) at the surface of the ocean.


Fig. 2 Moving microburst viewed from above. It is approaching a boat on the port beam (panel 1) passing over (panel 2), and receding on the starboard beam (panel 3). Note the change in wind vector with respect to the boat. The boom will first be forced to starboard. If it is still intact when the center of the microburst is over the boat, it may tend to center because of the apparent wind from the boat’s residual forward motion. As the microburst recedes to starboard, the boom will be forced to port. The large arrows show the microburst’s direction of motion with respect to the boat.



Fig. 3 Moving microburst viewed from above approaching a boat on the port bow (panel 1), passing on the port beam (panel 2), and receding on the port quarter (panel 3). Note the change in wind vector with respect to the boat. The boom will first be forced to the starboard quarter, then abeam on the starboard, and then to the starboard bow. The shrouds, mast and/or gooseneck may break. The large arrows show the direction of motion of the microburst with respect to the boat.
Can they happen at night or do they need sun energy ?
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Old 20-06-2015, 19:48   #115
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Re: What was your most scariest boating moment.

I have made several dumb moves that could have wrecked the boat but only one when I thought I might die.

San Francisco Bay during a return sail from Tiburon to San Francisco when dense fog rolled in. Navigating with only a compass and a paper chart on a rental boat, we picked our way from buoy to buoy making sure we stayed outside the shipping channel. Suddenly appearing out of the fog is the stern of a cargo ship dead ahead and very close to us.

Since it was the stern of the ship and we were not in the shipping channel we assumed it was moving away from us until we realized it was moving backwards! We crashed tacked to dodge out of its way and were amazed to watch this ship move backwards at a high rate of speed about 20 yards from us and leaving the shipping channel. In the poor visibility it took awhile before we could see the bow which was being pushed backwards by two tugs.

I assume he must have been disabled and was being pushed out of the channel to avoid being a hazard. Unfortunately he was being pushed to the exact spot we were also trying to stay out of the way of all ship traffic. It was very scary.


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