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Old 14-05-2016, 14:02   #16
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Re: Big storms? Stay aboard or sleep ashore?

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
Last October I got hit by an unusual front of HIGH wind, a half an hour of 40-60 knot winds with higher gusts in an anchorage I've been using for 25 years. My 21 hp engine barely kept me going and I dragged the anchor around for 10 minutes until I slipped into an empty slip.

It was VERY hairy. Flat calm to 3 foot waves with the tops being blown off them. I never saw anything like that before in my life.

You don't wanna be on a boat in an anchorage in those kind of winds or higher. You wanna be up the creek or off the boat.
Here's us in 60kt winds at anchor. The trick is not to drag the anchor. I remember we had hot chocolate and enjoyed the show
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Old 14-05-2016, 14:06   #17
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Re: Big storms? Stay aboard or sleep ashore?

We try to stay out of the way of really big storms. We have been through one of 103 Knots (measured by the met office nearby) and another of 75 knots where we were able to re-anchor twice when another larger boat was dragging slowly towards us, and we decided it was safer to move than risk him moving (badly). We have no insurance, and we are full time liveaboards. We stay and we practice the best seamanship we can muster. If, however, we found ourselves near shore, and in the path of a hurricane, we would probably do it differently. Each case is unique. Sometimes you are caught out.
In the 75 knot storm, many boats were lost and damaged, we escaped unharmed.
Do not under-estimate what it is like maneuvering in those kinds of winds. You cannot see the front of the boat. You cannot see the sea, its below a white layer of spume screaming past you. Your normal RPM for 5 knots will be 2 knots astern if you are lucky enough to balance the ball (keep the wind on the nose) and if you blow off the wind, you need space to accelerate before rounding up again. We are lucky to have 100Hp and a 34" controllable pitch propeller. Going on deck is crazy, best get your hand signals very well understood. Voice is useless, radios useless. I used a mask AND snorkel in cases like this. If you open your mouth it just bellows like a Basset hound with his head out the window of a fast car. Even your eyelids make a farting sound. Never mind crawling or walking uphill to get to the windlass. Then you have to go ahead, while winding chain, and you have no reference points as to speed, not enough and the windlass will burn out, too much and you will blow off....
Our boat is everything to us, so we will fight till the end to save her.
Photos in the 2008 link on our web page.
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Old 14-05-2016, 14:21   #18
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Re: Big storms? Stay aboard or sleep ashore?

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Here's us in 60kt winds at anchor. The trick is not to drag the anchor. I remember we had hot chocolate and enjoyed the show
Yes, you're right. But my system was designed for 40 knots because we generally don't get those kinds of conditions here and I've been sailing here for 35 years! It was a clear, clear day, then ZAP!
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Old 14-05-2016, 14:37   #19
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Re: Big storms? Stay aboard or sleep ashore?

I'd say it depends on how well you can be protected, and I like Hudson's approach. We, too have done both. And I'd like to say that hurricane paths are only informed guesses. We tracked the projected center predictions vs. the actual one, and for that particular storm, they never were closer than about 50 n. mi. That's a long way, in terms of having to get upwind in 45 kn to where the hurricane hole is. And it was a good one: the catamaran went even further up the creek! One of the few times we buoyed an anchor so that others could see where it was. Stripped the boat as much as we could, and waited. Felt relieved that it went elsewhere, and it was only about a week from first warning to all clear. There were no protected marinas there, and only the one hurricane hole.

Another time, one was predicted to track 500 n. mi. north of our location, but the center went over us, our anchorage became a lee shore, and it required use of both the engine and the storm jib and we tacked out to sea, where we hove to, letting it blow us away from land, and let the storm move on. That was a fast moving storm, and so the seas were never great; and again, there was no marina or mangrove creek to leave the boat.

The other time, we had my daughter and her family aboard, and we went into a marina so as to assure their safety.

As to insurance, check your policy, often named storms are not covered. [The job of the insurance company is to make money for the stock holders.] We have sat out sustained 50's, it isn't reassuring, during it, but have done so with and without dragging, on different occasions. Our 45 hp Kubota engine will drive us slowly to windward in 60. But I felt pretty nervous at the time. There was a lot of variation in the holding quality of that bottom (Ila Bay in Port Davey), it is much better at the head of the bay than further down, and some of it is soft mud. I think it is normal to find bottom variations, in a given anchorage, but usually mangrove creeks have good thick mud. Knew some folks who left their bimini up when they went up a mangrove creek, it was 50 plus at the masthead, but the mangroves provided so much protection there was no wind at deck level.

To the OP: There is a Catch 22 here. It is that if you never risk at anchor, how do you learn to trust your gear? It is a comfort to me that this boat can motor to windward in flat water and 60 kn., and to have learned that the previous boat could motor-sail to safety in that speed range; it's also a comfort than we bought boats that were competent to windward--it can be safer. If you never risk, how do you learn?

Ann
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Old 14-05-2016, 14:42   #20
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Re: Big storms? Stay aboard or sleep ashore?

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
Last October I got hit by an unusual front of HIGH wind, a half an hour of 40-60 knot winds with higher gusts in an anchorage I've been using for 25 years. My 21 hp engine barely kept me going and I dragged the anchor around for 10 minutes until I slipped into an empty slip.

It was VERY hairy. Flat calm to 3 foot waves with the tops being blown off them. I never saw anything like that before in my life.

You don't wanna be on a boat in an anchorage in those kind of winds or higher. You wanna be up the creek or off the boat.
You're a brave man, sir! I'd be scared to enter a marina in that much wind. When the wind's blowing the tops off the waves, you sure appreciate the dodger.

FWIW, our sailmaker in Tasmania told us once that in his opinion, most storm jibs are too big. All you need is a tiny scrap of sail, and it will be able to stabilize the boat and move her in the preferred direction. In retrorespect, do you think you could have motorsailed (albeit slowly) to another anchorage?

Ann
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Old 14-05-2016, 14:49   #21
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Re: Big storms? Stay aboard or sleep ashore?

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Originally Posted by sy_gilana View Post
...

Our boat is everything to us, so we will fight till the end to save her.
Photos in the 2008 link on our web page.
That's pretty much as I feel. It's not even about insurance.

Also, so much depends on the circumstances: Is it possible to go to a safer place. Does leaving the boat alone mean a higher probability of its loss, etc.

Had I our boat in NYC during SS sandy, I would have gone up the Hudson 10 miles. That for me was a no brainer, but thousands did something else.

Instead, many pulled their boats and the loss of boats on the hard was substantial, in fact I think greater than in the water.

So clearly everyone has different ideas of risk, but also what the risks are.
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Old 14-05-2016, 14:58   #22
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Re: Big storms? Stay aboard or sleep ashore?

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
You're a brave man, sir! I'd be scared to enter a marina in that much wind. When the wind's blowing the tops off the waves, you sure appreciate the dodger.


Ann

Ann, this is a small anchorage and marina at the north tower of the Golden Gate Bridge. You might remember it as Fort Baker. Presidio Yacht Club. I tuck in there are least once a month.

Here's the full story:

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The forecast was for very high and sustained winds on Saturday afternoon. I had
motored and motorsailed in light winds up to my favorite anchorage at the north
tower of the Golden Gate Bridge on Friday. An hour after I arrived a Hunter 42 came in and anchored close by and directly upwind of us. Since this anchorage is usually deserted, it seemed crowded to me.

They left early on Saturday morning. I kept a “weather eye” on the WX NOAA forecast, which continued to predict the strong winds, but nothing was happening at all until another boat came in at 1400 and dropped his hook directly upwind of us, yet again. Different boat, same stupidity. There is plenty of room in this place for more than one boat, but his location was not conducive my comfort. I kept watch in my cockpit and sure enough about ten minutes later they had dropped back so far that their cockpit was right off our starboard side. It was only then they realized they were dragging. And this was only in normal afternoon winds, maybe 10 knots. Their next move was to motor forward while trying to pick up their anchor, but the skipper wasn’t watching where he was going and motored right over my rode! Good thing they’d had the anchor tip out of the water by then. They then proceeded to motor further upwind, slapped the boat into reverse at four knots and dragged all over the anchorage for twenty minutes. They finally stopped again, dead upwind yet again. The wind continued to build into the high teens with gusts in the 20s. Since they couldn’t light their BBQ, they pulled out about 1530.

At 1600 the promised winds arrived, shrieking through the rigging in the high 20s and building. Since I had designed our anchoring system for 42 knots, I knew I was in for a ride. I started the engine and warmed it up, ready to go. When we started dragging, I knew my only recourse was to head for an empty slip. First I headed directly upwind. The wind by now allowed me very little steerageway, but we made some progress. I recognized that an empty slip dead downwind was NOT the answer, but there was one empty slip on the south side of the marina that was sideways to the building wind, which by now was ripping the tops off the waves in this normally peaceful anchorage even if it is “honkin’ on The Bay right outside. I turned downwind, flipped the fenders over the port side and then crabbed sideways, engine screaming, dragging the anchor and line. I lined up the slip and barreled right on into it, then slammed on the “brakes.” Three great helpers appeared out of nowhere: Ed (who owned the boat in the next downwind slip and had thought I was going to take him out!), Nick (who said he had watched my “shenanigans” from the yacht club bar and thought it was fun to watch!), and Chris (who was working on another boat a few slips down). They were a great help getting me tied up to some really rickety older docks with no cleats to speak of.

We chatted for a while. Nick couldn’t believe I managed to get Aquavite into that slip in those conditions. I didn’t either, but there really was no choice. Ed was thankful for a cup of hot coffee. And it turns out that Chris is working on a-friend–of-a-friend’s new boat, so I’ll get to see him again. Chris and Nick ended up pulling up my anchor rode and chain. As Chris grabbed the anchor shank while Nick was holding the rode, the anchor chain snapped somewhere!!! My birthday present this year is a new 50 foot length of ¼” chain.

Years ago, when we first got Aquavite, “Captain Al Watson” gave me a little black pirates chest with the “Pay it forward” story inside. I have to think that over the years all the times we’ve helped fellow sailors out came back to help us that day, big time.

The adrenaline rush didn’t stop until the next morning. Of course: dead calm.
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Old 14-05-2016, 15:15   #23
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Re: Big storms? Stay aboard or sleep ashore?

Big Storm. Get off the boat.

While I was in Pensacola, we had at least 6 hurricanes from 1996 to 2008.

After you see a cat 3-4 (we had Ivan), you will know. We had an 18' surge in places.

A friend of mine was prepared and had his Tayana 37 pulled. It got knocked off it's stands in the boatyard and since he was a liveaboard, he was SOL

https://www.google.com/#q=pensacola+ivan+photos

Katina passed 180 miles south of Pensacola but the water levels were about like a cat 2 over Pensacola

Katrina's surge was 26' in New Orleans.....and along the Mississippi Gulf Coast from Ocean Springs west to NO
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Old 14-05-2016, 15:16   #24
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Re: Big storms? Stay aboard or sleep ashore?

Tropical storm, if I can find good shelter and holding, I have and would probably stay aboard.

After riding out a Cat 2 (Emily in Carriacou in 2005), Hurricane Cat 1 and above, I will be off the boat (if I can find somewhere ashore safe) after doing the best I can to secure her in a GOOD Hurricane hole.

Either way, to me, the key things are to

Have a good plan and stick to it

Watch the weather, at least daily, if you are cruising in the hurricane season.

In the case of something threatening, make your decision on what you are going to do 48 hours before it is forecasted to happens and do it (if you have the option)
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Old 14-05-2016, 16:34   #25
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Re: Big storms? Stay aboard or sleep ashore?

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...........................
.....................
In the case of something threatening, make your decision on what you are going to do 48 hours before it is forecasted to happens and do it (if you have the option)
I think this is an important message from Triumphant. Following through with the plan means that you will sometimes work very hard in preparation for events that never occur. I spent hours preparing for hurricane Hugo and watched a leaf fall from a tree straight down to the ground as Hugo was causing devastation 200 miles away.

Stay the course. Prepare for the possibility! I've prepared for more events than actual strikes.
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Old 14-05-2016, 17:19   #26
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Re: Big storms? Stay aboard or sleep ashore?

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I think this is an important message from Triumphant. Following through with the plan means that you will sometimes work very hard in preparation for events that never occur. I spent hours preparing for hurricane Hugo and watched a leaf fall from a tree straight down to the ground as Hugo was causing devastation 200 miles away.

Stay the course. Prepare for the possibility! I've prepared for more events than actual strikes.
The dress rehearsals are good practice. If we had not had one this past year, we would not have fared nearly as well in the real thing.
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Old 14-05-2016, 22:49   #27
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Re: Big storms? Stay aboard or sleep ashore?

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
Last October I got hit by an unusual front of HIGH wind, a half an hour of 40-60 knot winds with higher gusts in an anchorage I've been using for 25 years. My 21 hp engine barely kept me going and I dragged the anchor around for 10 minutes until I slipped into an empty slip.

It was VERY hairy. Flat calm to 3 foot waves with the tops being blown off them. I never saw anything like that before in my life.

You don't wanna be on a boat in an anchorage in those kind of winds or higher. You wanna be up the creek or off the boat.
In 60kn the force on a boat with 100ft^2 of windage is about 1500lbs. At 120kn the force is over 6,000lbs. At 150kn it's almost 10,000.

Most boats can't make any headway in winds over 75kn, by 100kn most boats will be doing 2-3kn backwards motoring into the storm.


I have seen the wreckage from a Cat 5 hurricane, I will never voluntarily stay for one. A Cat 1.... I might consider it if I trusted the boat, and felt there was any need.


One of the things that people forget about is that often the first boat in an anchorage to break free happens to snag everyone else's boat on the way to shore. If you get caught by this raft there will be nothing you can do, and in high winds you can't even motor away from it. There is absolutely no gain to being there except to watch it happen.
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Old 15-05-2016, 00:02   #28
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Re: Big storms? Stay aboard or sleep ashore?

Any kind of storm or long lasting gale coming I'd prefer to be as far as possible from a lee shore. Mid of an ocean being ideal to manouver any direction you wish. Leeward of a small steep island being my second choice.. Engine running, clean fuel and fresh filters..

BR Teddy
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Old 15-05-2016, 01:01   #29
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Re: Big storms? Stay aboard or sleep ashore?

Depends on whether you want to meet your maker or not.

Many years ago I stayed aboard in Rickenbacker Marina in Miami when Hurricane Katrina came through - it is a very well protected marina - that was before Katrina was the real Katrina and it was shall we say very unpleasant - the only good thing was the guy next to me had small lines and one of his broke and he hit me hard - I still have a bit of a damaged rub rail where it hit - so in the middle of the storm I was pulling him off and with a bit luck ingenuity and strength I did pull him off

A few weeks later Wilma came through - no way was I staying on board - I was in the marina with a lot of other liveaboards and we hid out in the concrete block showers -

if you stay on board - make sure your will is up to date - and please take out an insurance policy and name me as beneficiary
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Old 15-05-2016, 04:57   #30
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Re: Big storms? Stay aboard or sleep ashore?

The problem with staying aboard is that once you realize it was a mistake there is no way to get ashore.


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