Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 22-08-2016, 08:56   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Fiji Airways/ Lake Ontario
Boat: Want a B430!
Posts: 635
Images: 2
Kick*** T-Storm, Sodus Bluffs, Lake Ontario

Saturday was typical for August. Hot, chance of t-storms.

As usual, a bunch of boats headed to Chimney Bluffs east of Sodus Bay.

We watched the radar as a storm was coming in; it didn't look bad- everyone agreed some rain, little bit of wind, no big deal- and besides, nobody was going to make it to dock before the rain hit.

As it came in though, it started to appear to be more than rain. As it neared the lake it built into a monster thunderstorm and we knew we were going to get a bit of excitement- but still didn't anticipate much.

A cabin cruiser was headed east, approaching a rocky shoal- there was no doubt that on their current heading they were going to hit. I warned them on the VHF, no answer. Crunch, they hit, we could see the boat lurch as it bounced off hidden rocks. My daughter suggested I get into the inflatable and go save their butts (as I often do) but this time I declined- I told her I wasn't going to leave the boat with some storm approaching, no matter how minor it might be.

Going back in time, when I arrived in my 30 sailboat (10,000 lbs) w/ 33lb Delta I initially dropped anchor in 11ft of water but the anchor landed on stone, so I pulled it, and found a sand/clay area.

Soon after the wind was clocking us around (720 degrees) so I dove on the anchor, which I found to be upright and buried to the shank; however, the chain was 180 degrees from the end of the shank. No big deal, I figured that would hold pretty well.

A friend came alongside (34 ft, 12000 lbs) and rafted. Being unusually lazy, he used 3/8" braid instead of the normal mooring lines he had right there - "lunch hook lines" he said. He didn't drop anchor, as we figured we'd just have a mess to disentangle given the way we were clocking around.

Back to the storm. At first, it was a typical storm. 20 knots, heavy rain. No big deal. We watched our position against other boats and the shore. The thunder and lightning became more frequent. We spun in circles.

Suddenly the rain became a horizontal deluge, with visibility less than 100 feet. And the wind picked up hard. One blast over 40knots put us over 20+ degrees and threw out loose stuff in the cockpit.

That all lasted maybe four minutes. Back to "normal storm". Everything looked fine; we took the opportunity to bring down hammocks and check lines. The Catalina 34 ahead of us with two anchors (one off the stern) had held- we were surprised that, given the load, the stern anchor held.

We didn't expect Round 2. It hit hard and fast. Back to monsoon horizontal rain, white-out conditions and 30+ knots of air. We saw the stern anchor of the Catalina 34 let go before visibility disappeared.

A group of a dozen powerboats rafted immediately offshore lost most of their anchors and started to pivot as a whole.

Another big one hit us, sending the boat heeling over again and ripped a half-empty soda can out of the cupholder. We felt the boats go broadside, and the anchor drag, but then catch. The anchor line was tight as a guitar string. The gas grill was oscillating. Nothing to do now but hold on, since we had no bearings and it wasn't safe on deck.

Finally, that piped down. We could see that the Catalina 34 had dragged anchor and come quite close to us. One Hunter which had anchored 1/4 mile offshore had dragged (luckily out into the lake); anchor had bent and they reported heeling so far the water was up to the hull windows (normally about a meter above water). Later in the day everyone was talking about micro-bursts; an unconfirmed recording of 68mph winds was mentioned.

I had anchored for west wind. After the storm finally subsided I dove on the delta anchor again. It was now set against an east wind, buried hard in clay, with the point under a rock.

The boats weathered without a problem. Amazingly, the tiny lunch lines held. The delta did what it was supposed to do- reset. I do wonder how it would have worked out if we had gotten it into stones. We did not panic- if we blew south, we'd hit boats and step ashore. If we blew west we'd hit rocks and step ashore. If we blew east we might hit rocks, and swim ashore, if we blew to the north we'd be in deeper water. Not everyone on other boats felt relaxed though.

Well, lesson learned. Second T-storm in a week, and the worst one in over a decade. Made it through unscathed.
__________________

__________________
Tetepare is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-08-2016, 11:19   #2
Registered User
 
30yearslater's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Hamlin, NY
Boat: Oday 27
Posts: 187
Re: Kick*** T-Storm, Sodus Bluffs, Lake Ontario

I was midlake enroute from Cobourg to Point Breeze. Saw it coming and prepped everything. I had a battle royal to keep her in the wind. Never heard wind scream through the rigging like that. I put a post in Our Community Forum this website about the ordeal. Glad you made it OK. I can attest that was a real monster.
__________________

__________________
30yearslater is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-08-2016, 13:12   #3
Senior Cruiser
 
Jim Cate's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2008
Location: cruising SW Pacific
Boat: Jon Sayer 1-off 46 ft fract rig sloop strip plank in W Red Cedar
Posts: 10,633
Send a message via Skype™ to Jim Cate
Re: Kick*** T-Storm, Sodus Bluffs, Lake Ontario

TP, glad that you made it through the bad wx.

But seriously, I would NEVER consider allowing another boat to raft alongside with a TS known to be approaching. To me, that is just really bad seamanship. YMMV.

Honestly, would you do it again?

Jim
__________________
Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Aquatic Paradise Qld for a while.
Jim Cate is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 22-08-2016, 13:35   #4
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Cowes (Winter), Baltic (Summer) (the boat!); somewhere in the air (me!)
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 18,306
Re: Kick*** T-Storm, Sodus Bluffs, Lake Ontario

For future reference -- you will find that it is much safer to be out to sea, than lying at anchor, in a short-term weather event like that. Much less to deal with, much less risk. You don't get any kind of dangerous sea state in an event like that, so it's just wind. Run before it with a bit of headsail up, or motor against it to keep your head to wind, and it's over before you know it. All the risk in an event like that is getting blown against something hard. The beauty of being out to sea is that there's nothing hard out there.

Besides that, this kind of T-Storm is usually a land event (caused by convection), and will usually dissipate over open sea.
__________________
Dockhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-08-2016, 13:53   #5
Registered User
 
Mike OReilly's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Good question
Boat: Rafiki 37
Posts: 3,689
Re: Kick*** T-Storm, Sodus Bluffs, Lake Ontario

Congrats on coming through unscathed. We got a small taste of this system down here in the Thousand Islands. I'm very pleased to have missed the bulk of it.

But I'm soooo with Jim on this one. I would never raft if any serious weather was expected. Heck, I only raft during good weather and during the day. Things can change too quickly on the Great Lakes (as you know well). I prefer to break up an raft for the overnight.


Why go fast, when you can go slow
__________________
Why go fast, when you can go slow.
Mike OReilly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-08-2016, 14:25   #6
Registered User
 
30yearslater's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Hamlin, NY
Boat: Oday 27
Posts: 187
Re: Kick*** T-Storm, Sodus Bluffs, Lake Ontario

Besides that, this kind of T-Storm is usually a land event (caused by convection), and will usually dissipate over open sea.

I would agree with you Dockhead on this one point except we are dealing with the Great Lakes. Often, this year in particular, storms gain strength over the Lakes due to heating. Ontario is a frosty 76 degrees which is ridiculously warm. The storms are behaving more like Hurricanes than our usual thunderstorm. Fueled by the warm water, vertical development continues over the water. For those unfamiliar with the area there are several factors that come into play. While our general latitude is about the same as the South of France or Sardinia or the Greek Islands, absent any ocean currents we are at the mercy of any fronts moving down from the Canadian Arctic and up from the Gulf of Mexico. These collisions cause some of the worlds greatest temperature swings. From minus 30F to high 90s. The areas around Lake Ontario regularly post snowfall over 100" per season. They are unlike anywhere in the world. Waves are short interval 4 - 6 second periods at 5 -6 feet height. Often they build rapidly, a matter of minutes, and just as quickly settle to a more reasonable height. This year we are experiencing one of the hottest summers on record with almost 2 dozen days in the mid to upper nineties. What happened Saturday was an anomaly. A very rare occurrence but absolute torture for those coping with it. Just wanted to help you understand the area. Fun most of the time but when the Lakes throw a fit, it is something to behold.
__________________
30yearslater is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-08-2016, 15:05   #7
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Cowes (Winter), Baltic (Summer) (the boat!); somewhere in the air (me!)
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 18,306
Re: Kick*** T-Storm, Sodus Bluffs, Lake Ontario

Quote:
Originally Posted by 30yearslater View Post
Besides that, this kind of T-Storm is usually a land event (caused by convection), and will usually dissipate over open sea.

I would agree with you Dockhead on this one point except we are dealing with the Great Lakes. Often, this year in particular, storms gain strength over the Lakes due to heating. Ontario is a frosty 76 degrees which is ridiculously warm. The storms are behaving more like Hurricanes than our usual thunderstorm. Fueled by the warm water, vertical development continues over the water. For those unfamiliar with the area there are several factors that come into play. While our general latitude is about the same as the South of France or Sardinia or the Greek Islands, absent any ocean currents we are at the mercy of any fronts moving down from the Canadian Arctic and up from the Gulf of Mexico. These collisions cause some of the worlds greatest temperature swings. From minus 30F to high 90s. The areas around Lake Ontario regularly post snowfall over 100" per season. They are unlike anywhere in the world. Waves are short interval 4 - 6 second periods at 5 -6 feet height. Often they build rapidly, a matter of minutes, and just as quickly settle to a more reasonable height. This year we are experiencing one of the hottest summers on record with almost 2 dozen days in the mid to upper nineties. What happened Saturday was an anomaly. A very rare occurrence but absolute torture for those coping with it. Just wanted to help you understand the area. Fun most of the time but when the Lakes throw a fit, it is something to behold.
Thanks -- that's interesting, and beyond my knowledge as I have no experience sailing on the Great Lakes. Does sound nasty.


Still, I think that whatever the particular details of the weather event, being at anchor somewhere near a rocky shore is really not where you want to be, in any short duration weather event. Searoom is life in such a situation, in my experience. Running off is particularly helpful in steep short period waves -- which do exist outside of the Great Lakes (Med and Baltic come to mind). That is because of the violence of the interaction of the boat with such waves, when bashing into them.

Just this month I have sailed the entire length of the Baltic Sea, about 700 miles, tacking against the wind and against the short period seas the Baltic is notorious for. The sea rarely gets up over 4 or 5 meters, even in a F9, but they are almost vertical, and bash your boat like nothing you ever get in the ocean, not even fully developed ocean storm waves. Sometimes I thought my boat was a submarine. A piece of teak railing was smashed off, this was so violent. I am guessing that these sea conditions must be somewhat similar to what you get in the Great Lakes.

The weather up here would be different, however. We do get land effect phenomena like walls of wind between two frontal systems, t-storms, etc., but mostly we are getting the high latitude low pressure systems from across the Atlantic, which rolled through almost incessantly this month, bringing a stubborn SW flow. We started at over 60N; a different latitude from you.
__________________
Dockhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-08-2016, 15:29   #8
Registered User
 
Mike OReilly's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Good question
Boat: Rafiki 37
Posts: 3,689
Re: Kick*** T-Storm, Sodus Bluffs, Lake Ontario

Putting the land to your rudder and heading out to 'sea' is definitely the thing to do when possible. Whenever we've seen one of these black rolling clouds with tendrils that reach down to the water coming at us, we put as much space between us and land as we can.

But as 30yearslater says, sometimes it's not possible. They can come up very fast; sometimes with little warning. Many's the time I've been getting the crap kicked out of me, only to then hear the Environment Canada Weather Warning come over the VHF. "Thanks ... would have been nice to hear BEFORE the white squall landed on me."
__________________
Why go fast, when you can go slow.
Mike OReilly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-08-2016, 19:52   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Fiji Airways/ Lake Ontario
Boat: Want a B430!
Posts: 635
Images: 2
Re: Kick*** T-Storm, Sodus Bluffs, Lake Ontario

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
I would NEVER consider allowing another boat to raft alongside with a TS known to be approaching. To me, that is just really bad seamanship. YMMV.

Well, Jim, that's an interesting thought.

My defense is that it was a bunch of rain until it exploded. Also, in our area if one is overly cautious about T storms, one won't ever go out. Our summers are fraught with what we call pop-up storms that appear out of nowhere; sometimes they're just rain, sometimes a run-of-the-mill Tstorm. Yeah, I'll raft in one of those.

But this one was just rain until it got to the lake. Then it exploded. No NOAA warning, no USCG warning. There was nothing to warn about before it turned into what it did. Not like a nice red line squall where you know to stay in harbor.

Would I rather have been offshore? I don't think so. We did get some protection, as observed from the reports I got from boats only hundreds of meters further out. Of course, that's in hindsight and because the anchor held, like it always held. But if I saw 40+ knots, and a local reported 68mph, there's no saying there might have been higher winds that could have knocked the boat over (my boat is not secured to be knocked over). But that too is in hindsight- nobody expected anything like this.

Would I do "it" again? Yes. Otherwise I might as well stay at the dock. Last week I sailed through a Tstorm. I've weathered a 65+ knot awful Tstorm squall at an anchorage surrounded by cliffs. Last year we raced (well, and abandoned the race) with waterspouts. I've sat at anchor awaiting a predicted severe storm, and watched a tornado go overhead. I've heard of a seche on Main Duck, and a 10 meter wide whirlpool in the same vicinity (where none should ever be.) There will always be the chance weather extreme that isn't predicted or expected.
__________________
Tetepare is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-08-2016, 20:34   #10
Senior Cruiser
 
Jim Cate's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2008
Location: cruising SW Pacific
Boat: Jon Sayer 1-off 46 ft fract rig sloop strip plank in W Red Cedar
Posts: 10,633
Send a message via Skype™ to Jim Cate
Re: Kick*** T-Storm, Sodus Bluffs, Lake Ontario

Quote:
My defense is that it was a bunch of rain until it exploded. Also, in our area if one is overly cautious about T storms, one won't ever go out. Our summers are fraught with what we call pop-up storms that appear out of nowhere; sometimes they're just rain, sometimes a run-of-the-mill Tstorm. Yeah, I'll raft in one of those.
TP, I didn't suggest not going out sailing when T/s are forecast, not at all. I questioned starting a raftup when a known storm (that you could see coming) was nigh. You say that you can't tell in advance whether it will be severe or not, and that correlates with my experience, and that is why I would not allow a raft under those conditions. Both boats (or more) are at risk, especially if lying to one anchor. If the anchor drags (and with more than double the normal loads from a given wind strength that is a reasonable outcome) recovery is complicated by the rafting, and if there are others to leeward, well, too bad for them!

I'm not a big fan of raftups in any case, for I've seen too many of them lead to damage to the participants. Doesn't require a storm either... just a big wake can cause havoc.

Anyhow, it is your call, of course, but my view that it is poor seamanship stands unchanged... and I'm still glad you got away unscathed.

Jim
__________________
Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Aquatic Paradise Qld for a while.
Jim Cate is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 23-08-2016, 10:35   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Jamesville nc
Boat: Sirius 21
Posts: 4
Re: Kick*** T-Storm, Sodus Bluffs, Lake Ontario

In 1972 I was involved in the International Field For The Great Lakes Project on lake Ontario while attending school. We had a 200 ft. converted WWII ship as a research vessel. Went out on Mondays and back to Rochester on Fridays.
The storms were pretty awesome sometimes and one storm put water over the top of the flying bridge that was 65 feet over the water. We ended up putting in at Oswego because of it.
This has nothing to do with sailing but just to verify the severity of the storms on the lake. Pretty amazing storms and I can see why there are ships lost in the great lakes.
I sail the Albemarle sound in eastern N.C. which is pretty shallow and can get rough in a hurry too. It makes the sport interesting.
Glad you guys are safe.
__________________
gsherwood is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-08-2016, 11:36   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 93
Re: Kick*** T-Storm, Sodus Bluffs, Lake Ontario

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
For future reference -- you will find that it is much safer to be out to sea, than lying at anchor, in a short-term weather event like that. Much less to deal with, much less risk. You don't get any kind of dangerous sea state in an event like that, so it's just wind. Run before it with a bit of headsail up, or motor against it to keep your head to wind, and it's over before you know it. All the risk in an event like that is getting blown against something hard. The beauty of being out to sea is that there's nothing hard out there.

Besides that, this kind of T-Storm is usually a land event (caused by convection), and will usually dissipate over open sea.
Dockhead, I admire your comfort at sea. But the Great Lakes are not like the ocean and the techniques of ocean sailing do not necessarily work up here. In the Lakes, you often can't run before the wind because you are very often up against a lee shore. There is always "something hard" to le'ward. The waves can come from from two or more directions at once and are often steep and breaking; 20+ foot breaking waves are common. (This happens because the common weather pattern is strong SW-ly switching rapidly to gale+ NW-ly, creating a cross-hatched wave pattern.) Even the 1,000 foot bulkers avoid lake storms by running along the weather shore or anchoring in bays.
__________________
rhubstuff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-08-2016, 11:39   #13
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Cowes (Winter), Baltic (Summer) (the boat!); somewhere in the air (me!)
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 18,306
Re: Kick*** T-Storm, Sodus Bluffs, Lake Ontario

Quote:
Originally Posted by rhubstuff View Post
Dockhead, I admire your comfort at sea. But the Great Lakes are not like the ocean and the techniques of ocean sailing do not necessarily work up here. In the Lakes, you often can't run before the wind because you are very often up against a lee shore. There is always "something hard" to le'ward. The waves can come from from two or more directions at once and are often steep and breaking; 20+ foot breaking waves are common. (This happens because the common weather pattern is strong SW-ly switching rapidly to gale+ NW-ly, creating a cross-hatched wave pattern.) Even the 1,000 foot bulkers avoid lake storms by running along the weather shore or anchoring in bays.
Yes, I defer to your local knowledge of course. My experience will not be 100% applicable in your specific conditions there.

Still -- the last place I would want to be is at anchor!
__________________
Dockhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-08-2016, 16:19   #14
Registered User
 
oregoncycle's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Hood River
Boat: 1983 Pan Oceanic 38
Posts: 55
Images: 3
Re: Kick*** T-Storm, Sodus Bluffs, Lake Ontario

Learned to sail on Lake Ontario. Raced as a teenager and we were de-masted twice as I sailed on two different sailboats.(I could be bad luck) Hailed from Little Sodas Bay, Fair Haven N.Y. That lake can and has whipped itself into a froth so fast that you go from sunning on the deck to full on fowl weather gear in ten minutes.
__________________
oregoncycle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-08-2016, 10:24   #15
Registered User
 
30yearslater's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Hamlin, NY
Boat: Oday 27
Posts: 187
Re: Kick*** T-Storm, Sodus Bluffs, Lake Ontario

Thank you Canadian people and services. I have been bugging about what the heck that was and what it looked like. Canada's weather folks have radar archived data. Canadian Historical Weather Radar - Ontario - Climate - Environment Canada
Enjoy the show.
__________________

__________________
30yearslater is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
lake ontario, ontario

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Survived Lake Ontario Storm 30yearslater Our Community 44 25-08-2016 10:58
Newport RI to Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard Splendora Powered Boats 7 13-07-2016 17:00
You won't have Chuck to kick around AnchorageGuy Sailor Logs & Cruising Plans 34 09-05-2008 00:07
Rod kick? sailawayjon Deck hardware: Rigging, Sails & Hoisting 2 02-03-2008 12:03
Time to give the motors a kick in the guts. cat man do Engines and Propulsion Systems 26 20-11-2006 10:53


Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 23:31.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.