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Old 10-11-2012, 15:20   #46
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Re: Tonga Storm

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Originally Posted by atoll View Post
+1 having a good strong crew that can hand steer and keep the boat moving,when the auto pilot is overpowered,or having to lie a hull due to fatigue will go a long way in preventing knock downs.

failing that if short handed a droge or parachute so you can lay bow to the waves is a usefull bit of kit ,though running off,hand steering with a line on the stern quarter would be my first choice in storm conditions,with breaking waves.
Atoll; Short handed, would your first choice(running off) apply to all the yachts you've sail?
I've heard that if you lie a-hull the weather front will pass you quicker?
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Old 10-11-2012, 15:36   #47
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Re: Tonga Storm

Having read the Pardey's and knowing they are big fans of the "hove to" in stormy weather, what do folks think? I would imagine that you would be less tired and better able to react to issues as they arise instead of being totally focused on steering the boat...
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Old 10-11-2012, 15:52   #48
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Re: Tonga Storm

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Having read the Pardey's and knowing they are big fans of the "hove to" in stormy weather, what do folks think? I would imagine that you would be less tired and better able to react to issues as they arise instead of being totally focused on steering the boat...
Each situation (weather, seastate, hull & rig & sails, crew capabilities, proximity of dangers) has a different range of suitable responses, but heaving to definitely features in a lot of them.

I'm also a fan of heaving to, but I don't necessarily see it working in the majority of boats in true storm conditions (sustained winds in the 50 knot range or higher for several days)

For instance, in any situation which might see detached wavecrests travelling across the boat above the height of the foot of the sails, it's obviously not a winning proposition.

I recommend using it as a routine manoeuvre, experimenting liberally in less severe conditions, and applying any learnings cautiously in more severe conditions.

I think it would be good if more boats would heave to early and concentrate on securing stowage* and watertightness, filling thermoses with soup etc, then (crucially) getting some decent rest in the preparatory phases of deteriorating weather.

Especially weather travelling in a contrary direction. Neither bashing into it nor running before make much sense: it seems almost a no-brainer to try to hunker down while it gets out of your way. And if it turns out to be not so bad, you've lost virtually nothing: you're fresh and in good shape for dealing with the tail end of the system, which can be more testing, if the wind is dropping quicker than the seas.

* ON EDIT: stuff falling out of stowage, and water below, are the two most demoralising (but generally preventable) aspects of hard weather. This was definitely a factor in the couple mentioned in the OP of this thread: the interior of the boat was a total shambles after their roll, and they barricaded themselves into a small space with cushions rescued from the mess. Neither of them want to sail ever again.
I find it helpful when restowing in prep for bad weather to imagine a crane picking up up the boat, hanging it more or less upside down, and giving it a few good shakes. This allows the brain to think rationally about the physics of the situation without getting into the potentially 'scared bunny' territory of a more realistic inversion scenario.

It helps a lot if the boat was designed and fitted out by people who treated a roll as being a realistic possibility rather than something which only happens to those who go looking for trouble.
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Old 10-11-2012, 16:54   #49
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Re: Tonga Storm

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Originally Posted by DumnMad View Post
Atoll; Short handed, would your first choice(running off) apply to all the yachts you've sail?
I've heard that if you lie a-hull the weather front will pass you quicker?
i think andrew gave a pertty good answer to that in his last post,there are so many different scenario's for different hull shapes etc

though i have observed running off the breaking waves tend to catch you less and with less force,and the wind over the deck is slightly less than its true force,plus a bit of speed and sail gives a lot more stability.
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Old 10-11-2012, 17:43   #50
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Re: Tonga Storm

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Hmmm... 40kn and the boat rolled. From all the armchair sailors on the HMS Bounty thread, I thought that was supposed to be a walk in the park.

Maybe an unexpectedly big wave, or too much canvas for conditions combined with other factors ... we'll have to wait and see.
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Old 10-11-2012, 17:54   #51
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Re: Tonga Storm

Last leg of a long voyage. The skipper is probably going over what he should have done. He obviously made a lot of correct decisions to get as far as he did. As many of use know who have done some Sailing, "There for the Grace of God" can often be why we get to be armchair admirals.

For me just another example of why caution is a good maxim out there.
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Old 10-11-2012, 18:50   #52
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Re: Tonga Storm

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(...) I've heard that if you lie a-hull the weather front will pass you quicker?
You can only lay a-hull if the waves are not bad enough to knock you down.

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Old 10-11-2012, 18:55   #53
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Re: Tonga Storm

Not sure anybody mentioned this:

http://www.tbc.school.nz/elearning/l...d/currents.jpg

Good read for sailors wondering why wave action on this passage can be such a mess.

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Old 10-11-2012, 23:33   #54
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Re: Tonga Storm

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Originally Posted by Andrew Troup View Post
stuff falling out of stowage, and water below, are the two most demoralising (but generally preventable) aspects of hard weather.
Yes, a gust heeling the boat hard over is ... kind of fun (in a 'wow, that's rare' sense), and quickly forgotten, unless there's a whole lot of stuff crashing and breaking down below, or water that filled the cockpit then drains into the aft berth through an open port...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Troup View Post
I find it helpful when restowing in prep for bad weather to imagine a crane picking up up the boat, hanging it more or less upside down, and giving it a few good shakes.
I've developed a style that is a bit more conservative -- to weigh anchor with the boat tidy enough for those circumstances, and to try and keep the boat that tidy the whole time at sea.
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Old 11-11-2012, 02:09   #55
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Re: Tonga Storm

Just heard an interview with the couple concerned, now on terra firma on NZ mainland:

They woke up in the night to find they were covered in blood, and had evidently been knocked unconscious.

They reckoned the swells at 12m and say the inside of the boat looked as though a bomb had been let off.
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Old 11-11-2012, 12:54   #56
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Re: Tonga Storm

msponer wrote:

"I've developed a style that is a bit more conservative -- to weigh anchor with the boat tidy enough for those circumstances, and to try and keep the boat that tidy the whole time at sea."

I think I know what you mean: I'm notoriously terrible housekeeper on land (perhaps because houses don't do much for me) and the complete opposite at sea.

But for the sake of a wider audience, a few of whom may not understand how the concept of 'tidiness' needs to be reassessed and reinvented offshore:

The rescued couple who are the subject of this thread have just come ashore with stories of cushions strewn about the boat, and cupboard doors smashed open from the inside by the contents.

Regardless of how terrible the impending weather is expected to be, "Tidying the cushions", ashore, does not imply stuffing them in the cupboards to immobilise and pad the contents .....

Similarly, afloat, it does not mean neatly arranging them on the bunks!

{ I don't intend to cast aspersions at the seamanship of the couple concerned. It's entirely possible they'd done a better job of securing the stowage than I would have.

It's just that their story reminded me of past instances where I'm more familiar with the backstory, where this could not be said.

In one situation, the rich kids sailing around the Pacific on their father's luxury yacht were scornful of the boat's designer, on board as a guest, whom they discovered cutting up spare small cordage in order to lash down things like microwave ovens in preparation for a tropical revolving storm. They accused him of panicking, being an old woman, etc etc. They were particularly scornful of finding cushions inside said microwave after the storm.

What irks me about this is the way their scornfulness endured, even after a taste of what might have happened.

What did happen was bad enough to send Daddy home on the next flight when they next made landfall.

They were smart, capable, confident kids, the younger one was a truly gifted helmsman and a natural athlete... but they were setting unnecessarily low limits on what they could learn - at least in the case of of the older brother, who became the skipper - essentially all because of a humility deficit ..... But that's a distraction from the point I'm trying to make, for which I apologise.}
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Old 11-11-2012, 16:18   #57
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Re: Tonga Storm

I have every thing stowed and locked away, nothing can get thrown anywhere,
Its very easy to get thrown across a boat in bad weather,

But I was quite amazed with 2 feet of water inside the hull, every thing and I do mean every thing was floating all over the place, the cupboards emptied out as the water flowed through them,
Wading through all this crap made it very difficult to get to the pumps, as every thing was submerged, I had to do every thing by feel,

Nice neat boxes of food, Spare parts in plastic bags, pots, pans, knives, Plates, containers, toiletries, dunny paper, clothing, bedding, cushions, fishing gear, spare hoses, maps, personal items, you name it, if it floated, it was, and all in the narrow space where there usually is nothing,

water inside the boat soon turns everything inside to absolute Kaos,

I could not imagine what it would be like inside, if the boat had turned turtle and then back up again,
You would be climbing over mounds of stuff every where,
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Old 12-11-2012, 14:45   #58
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Re: Tonga Storm

My response/ views of the Windigo may open a can of worms (or two). I was not there, so can only rely on the circumstances descibed by the 2 crew in their interviews. Firstly the choice of yacht to cross an ocean was very short sighted. Unless you choose your weather very well, a Beneteau is best left for summer cruising around Croatia. As mentioned earlier in this thread, that weather pattern was developing for some time. I check weather daily (waiting for clear skies here to go fishing while my sailing plans are on hold -5 years of school left for the kids...) and had noticed that low north of NZ before they left Tonga. It was the wrong decision to leave Tonga when they did. From the footage of the yacht (shown on stuff.co.nz), it appeared to come through surprisingly intact to have "rolled". They appear to have lost the bimini cover, but the small outboard, dinghy (fastened onto the foredeck) and sails are all in place. No broken rigging, no broken/bent stanchions or lifelines. It then becomes clear during the interview. One crewmember states "we then "worked out" that we went 360 and waves the height of our mast". They have no recollection of the yacht actually doing that. A yacht that has been knocked down would sustain the damage they experienced. Items will be thrown from cupboards, it would be chaos. Beneteaus as mentioned before are ideal "Charter" boats (note Windigo's website...) and have "easy access" to cutlery and crockery compared to say a Westsail. Things would not be stowed away in the same way you'd expect on a yacht built for the rough. It would've been far worse had the yacht actually turned 360. They make no mention of going on deck to secure sails or other items. They state that they "locked themselves away in a cabin in the stern of the boat, where they attended to each other's injuries". From the footage, the main is securely tied down, and the gib is furled. My guess is that they were motoring with no sails up, got knocked down numerous times which caused a lost rudder and broke a hatch letting water in. A knock down can cause severe injuries (and be fatal) as much as a 360 would cause. I have been in seas off the coast of South Africa with waves topping 15m and 60 knots of wind. We reefed the sails early but kept a steady pace hand steering and never lost control of the boat.
It is a very unfortunate event, and thank goodness both crew were rescued without serious injuries. I understand the yacht was "left to drift" and no further attempts made to salvage it. Sadly I believe many become too complacent with their yachts having cruised in safe harbours with many safe anchorages to run to if need be. One should be prepared for the worst at all times. The best decision they did make however, was to stay with the yacht and not be lured into the "safety" of a life raft. They both mentioned they would not sail again, which is rather unfortunate but a life threatening experience like that could be fully justified.
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Old 12-11-2012, 22:39   #59
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Re: Tonga Storm

DId they manage to sail from the Med to within a few hundred miles of home? If so not bad for a boat that should not have been allowed out of the harbour.

Why he went when he did? Has he been asked that question? Have a look at the boats that wander around the globe. Many would be condemned as unseaworthy by many admirals with much better boats that rarely leave the bay. They had the guts to live the dream, made an error that almost killed them, but lets not forget how close they got.
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