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Old 11-07-2006, 04:26   #1
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Multihull storm tactics?

Although I will admit to having a prejudice for monohulls, I do find myself from time to time crewing on a big cat. I'd be interested to hear a discussion here of the best heavy weather tactics for a multi.

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Old 11-07-2006, 08:03   #2
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5 Rules for Cruising Sailors (Mono' & Multi'):
1. Try to sail on the top of the water. Do not go near the edges nor bottom of it (these dangerous areas can be recognized by the appearance of ground, buildings, trees, and the like), as it can be much more difficult to sail comfortably there.
2. When one of two bilge pumps fail, the other can always keep you afloat ‘till you reach the wreck-site.
3. Never sail with someone braver than yourself.
4. It’s always better to be ashore, wishing you were out there; than out there, wishing you were ashore.
5. In the ongoing battle between floating fibreglass objects going six knots, and the ground going zero kts - the ground has never lost.
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Old 11-07-2006, 17:35   #3
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Great rules to live by GORD
Not having much experience aboard a multi in weather, I can not give any first hand experience, but I have gleemed from previous conversations here that a series drogue is a must, and a parachute anchor is a must not. Reef early reef often takes on new meaning with a multihull, as they do not spill the wind in the same way as a mono. The one thing I can say from experience is you will not know you are over canvassed until something breaks. Last week, we blew out a spinnaker in 25kts on my friend's tri. We were sailing along at 12-14kts, and everything seemed good. The boat felt like it was in the groove, and was not doing anything that would indicate we were over canvassed. Then, BANG. No more spinnaker. Considering that while we were trying to unwrap the torn sail from the headstay, we were maintaining 10kts under the main and a very small mizzen, I guess it really was time to reduce sail. FWIW, the next thing to go was the mizzen boom at the gooseneck. We have dubbed my friend's boat as "self reefing"
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Old 11-07-2006, 17:54   #4
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Parachute sea anchors

Why do you denigrate parachute sea anchors when you have no experience with them? I have used one numerous times on a 32-foot cruising catamaran. I carry one on my 38-foot monohull, though I have never used it on the mono. In my experience, the parachute brought our cat under control in Force 9-10 offshore conditions, allowing us to leave the boat to tend herself while we rested. The parachute has also been used several times to steady the boat while conducting repairs to the steering system offshore. I believe a parachute sea anchor, properly deployed, is a safe method of dealing with heavy weather on a multihull. In every case I have read of where the sea anchor has failed, it was improperly deployed. The most common scenario is not letting out enough scope (300-400 feet minimum in a Force 9-10).
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Old 11-07-2006, 18:00   #5
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I am not claiming to have the final answer on the subject, however it has been discussed in previous threads, and the reoccuring theme seems to be that the parachute anchor is not a particularly effective piece of storm tackle on a multi. You are correct on my lack of seatime on a multi. I have spent most of my time on monos, and my trimaran is still a few months from launching, but the previous conversations on parachutes would lead me to take a cautious approach at the very least.
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Old 11-07-2006, 19:43   #6
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Never a final word!

I wouldn't trust anyone who claims to have the final word on this subject! Too many variables. That's one caveat I must use--your boat and set up may vary from what I tried. I can't find the negative thread on parachute sea anchors here, but I do know that I have read negative posts other places and they tend to be pure speculation by those who have no experience with parachutes. The Drag Device Data Base book has loads of positive reports on parachute sea anchors. Anyone interested should read that book. It also has a lot on drogues. I too am very interested in the Jordan series drogue. The big problem with it (I am speculating based on my own experiences) is that the boat will be tethered by the stern with the weather breaking over the boat from behind. With modern multihulls this could be disaster--I'm thinking of the sliding patio glass doors that many cats feature. Our cat had a solid door and a small cockpit and we still filled it a few times when riding to a parachute off the stern (not the recommended practice!). It is better to point the bow into really bad stuff--at least on most boats. It is certainly drier and more comfortable, and that is where the windlass will be, which will be very helpful in controlling the parachute and getting it in.
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Old 11-07-2006, 19:52   #7
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I guess it is a matter of who you find credible. You do make some good points, and I am certainly not against any piece of gear that works the way it should. Sounds like your experience was positive.
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Old 11-07-2006, 22:11   #8
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Dang it Scott - Stop denigrating!

Kettlewell - believe me when I tell you that Scott (Kai) really wasn't denigrating anything, but relaying his thoughts on the matter. We ARE allowed to do that sort of thing ya know.
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Old 11-07-2006, 22:32   #9
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From discussions with other cat owners, they were opposed to a parachute because it was so hard to retrieve in questionable weather. 25 knots of wind is not enough to have a chute deployed but is still enough to make it really hard to get the thing back aboard. They were in favor of the series type drogues.

25 knots with the spinnacher up seems rather, ahhhh, ridicules. All the spinnachers that I have seen spec'd are light air sails. 1.5 - maybe 3 oz nylon. They are not going to hold in a 25 knots. I'd bring mine down at 12 knots.

Don't beat into the wind, lot easier to run with it. Yes, ref early. I tend to leave my sails up a little bit longer than most, but they are really heavy sails, on a pretty heavy cat.

Make sure you have a good place to pilot from. I have seen many cats with the helms in the aft part of the cockpit with no bimini, or dodger to keep the weather off. This is VERY uncomfortable. Try to have some protection against the wind. I have had to use a dive mask once, the wind and rain was so high and I couldn't see through the windscreen and had to take it down.

I usually turn both engines on in heavier weather. My normal practice is to run on one engine. In a blow, it is nice to have the power of both screws, it can help in some situations.

Get the Dashaws book on heavy weather sailing. Most of it applies to cats.

Read the weather faxes and stay out of really bad weather! ;-) The cat will love you for it.

Keith
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Old 11-07-2006, 22:46   #10
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Go back in the multihull archives to 2-22-04. There is a dicussion on this subject so I don't have to repeat myself. As far as drogue vs parachute I think they both have their place. My idea of the Jordan Drogue is that it is not ment to stop the boat but to slow it down thus it should always be tied off on the stern. The drogue should allow the boat to acclerate to a degree when hit by a braking wave but keep the boat from surfing down large waves or sailing to fast in high winds. A parachute is always used off the bow and is meant to stop the boat to a large degree. The parachute should be in sync with the boat and wave train ie; on the crests at the same time. The drogue should be out of sync( this may not apply to the Jordan drogue but would to others like the Galerider, Seabrake,etc). I think the parachute may get a bad rap due to improper deployment. This is not something to cobble up at the last minute in the middle of a Force 9 storm. It should be dedicated gear that you have practiced with and know how to deploy properly.
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Old 11-07-2006, 23:36   #11
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presumably a cat won't heave without assistance from a sea anchor - and whether or not to use one seems to be some dispute on whether a sea anchor is safe.

assume lying ahull is not an option either.

is that right?
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Old 11-07-2006, 23:39   #12
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Running downwind on a 47' Piver, we were comfortable with the spinnaker up, but... Oh well. It was an old sail anyway We were surfing down seas as well, so the ride was great.
Thomas, Who? Me? Denigrate?
Steve, I know you have the sea time on a cruising tri to know, so if you say they work, I believe you. The issue of concern would be will it work correctly and easily under the circumstances that it will be required? I guess the reall issue is how rough is rough? We were in sustained 20-25kts. Seas were about 10ft. Not, in my opinion, rough weather for this section of the Pacific.
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Old 12-07-2006, 01:23   #13
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I find it very hard to believe that anybody wants to be pooped by big waves. which is what happens if you go slower than the waves coming up astern.

Although most of my experience is with monohulls, I would have thought that in more severe conditions the vast open space on the back of a Cat is clearly a recipe for disaster.

My 'bad weather' system is, having been through all the reefing I have and decided that forward progress to my destination is no longer an option, I lie a-hull and let the boat take care of herself. This works fine until the waves get really big and start hitting her badly amidships and then I lay out the parachute sea anchor from the bows with it's own warp shackled onto the anchor and considerable quantities of chain and warp fed out, then if possible, the 'snubber', attached to make the 'anchor' hold from closer to midships..

This system has always worked for me and the sea anchor certainly makes the bit of the boat intended to take the brunt of the sea - point in that direction and slow down. With a parachute anchor from the bows it really does make everything seem more bearable.

Having said all that in most cases laying - a-hull normally works fine... Very, very few yachts sink from being overwhelmed by the sea - what normally happens is that 'fear and fatigue' get to the crew and they want out - the boat is then found, after the storm has abated, bobbing about somewhere and absolutely fine - minus the crew.

Most boats are more seaworthy than their crew.

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Old 12-07-2006, 02:10   #14
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Lying ahull in a cat works up until you are in massive breaking waves, when even a cat will be overwhelmed. There is a considerable difference of opinion about cats and parachute anchors. I suspect that the difference is between the very wide french designs where the width helps the effectiveness of the bridle, and the older british designs where there isnt enough width for truly effective operation, and you end up yawing around. Luckily the older british designs are more robust at the stern so able to use a series drogue which I consider to be a much better option anyway.

There was a very good article about a cat in a storm written by Richard Woods when he had to abandon his Eclipse. The boat left to its own devices survived the storm a lot better than the attentions of "salvagers" and has recently been towed into harbour. The story is in the archives here so do a search on eclipse.

This boat was the prototype of a new design by Richard Woods, which he was using for a world cruise. 34 ft, and talked about slowing down to achieve around 12 kts in his crossing of the Atlantic. Rumours are that he is extending this design to about 38 ft for more space for a family.
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Old 12-07-2006, 05:42   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michaele

Most boats are more seaworthy than their crew.

Michael
I absolutely agree with the quoted statement.

I can also attest that lying ahull, at least in a well-found monohull, works better than you'd imagine.

ON another subject, Michael. A friend and me will be in your neck of the woods soon. we're planning to fly into la rochelle for the first leg of a cycling trip through south of france.
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