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Old 12-07-2006, 15:14   #16
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A couple of points.

For the record, the cat I used the parachute on was a 32-footer with a 16-foot max beam, but only something like 13 feet between the centers of the hulls. She would not stay bow into the wind with an 8-foot sea anchor, which I now understand is way too small for this size cat. We subsequently switched the parachute to the stern, and lay to it for more than 24 hours, with waves breaking occasionally over the entire boat. That is one reason I would prefer to set a parachute off the bow. A bridle kept our cat pointed almost dead down wind, making about a knot of leeway in 50+ knots of wind and big seas. Most cats will point into the wind if a bridle is used and the parachute is big enough. I have yet to read a complete account of Richard Woods' experience--does anyone know where there is one? I would not recommend lying ahull in a cat once winds build to gale force. At the very least it would be uncomfortable, and why not use the boat's greater stability when in a fore and aft direction? We have laid ahull in moderate weather (20-30 knots) with no problems. The literature (Heavy Weather Sailing) is so full of ahull monohull boats getting knocked down that I would not use that technique in anything from a gale on up.
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Old 12-07-2006, 22:51   #17
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Talbot is right about lying ahull, it is a safe tactic until the waves start breaking severely. If you have searoom running off can work well. Multihulls have excellent directional stability and control due to the narrow hull form. There is little tendency to broach when running downwind in large swells. You can use this control to avoid the worst breakers. In storm conditions you need to control your speed to keep it a little less than the wave train by reduced sail area or drag device or a combination of both depending on wind speed but still allow the boat to move out when hit by a breaker. With their high bouyancy low drag hull forms that accelarate quickly they will be pushed out ahead of the worst of the breaker lessening the chance of getting pooped. I have read several stories about cats and tris surfing sideways down large swells with centerboards/daggerboards retracted.

I am of the opinion that you should not be sailing at the same speed or faster than the wave train in storm conditions as you could find yourself riding a real monster or sailing off a steep crest and stuffing a couple of bows in the trough.
If you run out of searoom or the crew is tired then you may need to deploy the chute. Michaele has some good insight on using one. Again it's having the dedicated gear, properly sized, and knowing how to deploy it.

Kai, in the conditions that would require using the chute I guess nothing will be easy but a little practice in moderate conditions would let you know what to expect. I have only used mine in practice and have never been in condtions where I would need to use it for real. Retrieval can be a pain in the ass but with luck most of us will never have the experience. There is a well known story of a couple who rounded Cape Horn in a 38 ft Horstman tri and survived a 100 knot storm with a surplus military chute.
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Old 13-07-2006, 00:23   #18
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THanks for that Steve. I would be interested to read the story about the Horstman. Is it in print? One thing I have been very impressed with is the aft bouyancy of the trimaran I have been on. In 10' seas, at no time, did it push the stern. The stern would rise up on the waves regardless of the interval. This is one of the reasons I am so fond of double enders. I hate being pooped. It appears that the trimarans are bouyant enough that this would not be an issue in anything but breaking waves.
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Old 13-07-2006, 09:59   #19
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i heard a very exciting and informative interview on local radio by a well known usvi cat sailor. i'm sorry, his name escapes me at the moment.. he decided to run away from lenny at sea and when the storm continued backwards, he ended up dead center in a hurricane. his tactic was to keep the boat sailing as closehauled as he could get in spite of hurricane force winds and seas and then pointing straight into the wind for the moments he was overwhelmed and stall the boat, then fall back off again just the minimum to continue. he gave huge credit to his crew, who were top caliber racers and his storm sails which he said were so well constructed. he was worried the sails might back and put him in irons, but the helmsmen were very talented and that never happened.
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Old 13-07-2006, 23:46   #20
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Kettlewell.... Here is a link to Richard Woods own account of the story....

http://www.multihullpages.com/eclipse.html
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Old 14-07-2006, 00:22   #21
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On our trek down the U.S. West Coast last May, we experienced 30-35 knot winds routinely with one gust to 42 as the Pacific high was filling in. Of course those strong winds built up some pretty good swells (estimated 10-12 feet). Fortunately, we were going in roughly the same direction as the wind and waves so we simply lowered the main and sailed on only a few feet of the jib unfurled when the going got really nasty.

We successfully completed the trip with the only damage being a torn cover for the mainsail from a jib sheet getting caught in it. We fastidiously followed the reefing table in the owner's manual except once when I mistakenly hoped the evening gale wouldn't require a second reef in the main. By the time I realized that the wind was going to keep building, we had to drop the main completely to recover. We ended up motoring for a few hours until the weather calmed enough to allow putting the main back up.

A few times during the trip, we inadvertently got cross ways to the seas. That resulted in some really violent rolls as the crest of the wave raised one hull while the other was falling into the trough. I do not, therefore, recommend lying a-hull in a catamaran!
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Old 14-07-2006, 03:38   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeannius
Kettlewell.... Here is a link to Richard Woods own account of the story....

http://www.multihullpages.com/eclipse.html
Wow! Thanks for this. I have to say reading it was a real eye-opener. Here's a catamaran yacht designer with decades of offshore experience. Ultimately, he described what were surely Force 11-12 winds and waves commensurate (he admits he underestimated). But, what really struck me is that when the waves hit 20ft (the width of his beam), the game was up. Couldn't heave to, couldn't lie ahull, sea anchor he tied but even after much fiddling he felt the stresses were too dangerous. He couldn't even safely run with the storm.

I'd be interested in the multihullers' thoughts on how he handled the situation.
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Old 14-07-2006, 05:38   #23
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I suspect that the real problem was the design of his parachute - he had an old cargo chute, which he had tried before and I suspect put away wet, the stitching not being designed for salt water, rotted, and when needed in anger, the thing failed. IMHO if he had been secured to a series drogue he may have found it considerably more comfortable - and that is the significant factor, the comfort. He abandoned because of his partner, however, the boat survived without anybody doing anything!
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Old 14-07-2006, 05:47   #24
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Good points, Talbot.

Quote:
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... the boat survived without anybody doing anything!
Alas, as noted above about the boat outlasting the crew - such a common story!
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Old 14-07-2006, 09:19   #25
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I have an enormous chair bound interest in the way people manage to survive these major storms.

Chair bound - cause I like to read about them, not experience them!

I believe in thinking things through and making plans and having the equipment to implement those plans, then when **** happens (as it does), I can put a preplanned response into place while considering what to do next.
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Old 14-07-2006, 12:34   #26
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I don't have any experience of my own but I've done a lot of reading and research on this subject. people have many opinions on what to do when things get uncomfortable heave-to, lie-ahull, or run-down. But what to do when it becomes life threatening? In my opinion of weighing the pros and cons of all the techniques for multi-hulls I'm going to go with a Jordan series drogue from the stern. The JSD seems to produce a slick behind the boat so instances of pooping are limited or non existent. Everything I've read on the JSD has been positive. On the other hand parachute anchors have many negatives and are difficult to deploy, retrieve , and set properly. Here is the JSD web sight the vids are poor quality but are worth watching anyway http://www.jordanseriesdrogue.com/D_2.htm
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Old 14-07-2006, 16:24   #27
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Kai
The Trimaran in question was named Tortuga Too owned by John and Joan Casanova. I believe it is written up in an early issue of Multihulls and Cruising World. I had all the Multihulls issues from 1989 and onward but it was earlier than that. I am sure they could sell you the proper back issue. My recollection is reading it in Cruising World which I have from 1979 onward. I believe this incident happened in the late 1970's. I think they may have written a book about their adventures. With the wonders of the internet the story may even be on the web somewhere.
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Old 14-07-2006, 16:29   #28
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Woods' account

Thanks for the link. I hate to second guess anyone. It is very easy for us to sit here comfortably discussing this, and it is very hard to actually do something when out there in the thick of things. Having said that, and having gone through my own storm experience with a parachute sea anchor, I come up with the following questions: 1. How much rode did they have out and what was it made of? 2. According to most experts a 10-foot chute is too small for that size of boat. A 12- or 15-foot would have performed better. 3. 12mm bridle lines are rather small, but should not have chafed if properly run through flexible PVC tubing (do not split the tubing). You can tape additional layers of PVC over the outside , but I have found one continous length (about 6 feet) of tube works well. I have used this system in countless gales at anchor, several hurricanes, and numerous years at anchor and on moorings--no chafe, ever. The easiest way to rig a bridle is to let out the correct scope (with the line running through the PVC tubing), then tie off a dockline to the anchor rode with a rolling hitch and attach the dockline to the other bow. Let out a bit more scope until a perfect V is formed in front of the boat. Each leg of the V should be about equal to your boat's beam. If you need to let out more scope, let go of the dockline and use another one when you get your scope correct.

In a Force 9-10 gale offshore I felt the loads were no greater than when anchored in similar conditions, which my lines, cleats, etc. have withstood many times.

In any case, I'm glad I wasn't out there to try these things out!
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Old 15-07-2006, 17:07   #29
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Really interesting subject. Seems most contributors information has come from reading about it, which is good. The best thing that I've read on the subject is Drag Device Data Base because it's all first person reports from folks who've actually been through these conditions. Reports are from every type of pleasure boat to commercial fishing boats, and the different gear they used, be it drouge, chute, or whatever. All in all, a very objective view, by those that have actually been there.

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Old 15-07-2006, 17:16   #30
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Forgot to mention in the above post that I actually met someone that had sent a report to DDDB. He was in a 33'-34' cat & had to deploy a chute, which he had pre-rigged. According to him, everything went textbook, and performed as advertised.

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