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Old 12-07-2016, 17:37   #16
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Re: Coastal cruising, strong winds and anchoring

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Originally Posted by GILow View Post
............A good diverse range of opinions lends weight to the "it depends" answer I suppose.


At least there does not seem to be any hard and fast rule.
Matt, that's another very goo description of seamanship.

Good luck, and make sure luck plays no part in it.
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Old 12-07-2016, 17:48   #17
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Re: Coastal cruising, strong winds and anchoring

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Jim,

Gaining that experience is the interesting bit. I am increasingly tempted to go out in more and more adverse conditions here at home to test myself and the boat systems and to learn to manage under pressure. But against that is the thought that exposing myself and the boat to unneeded risk is a silly idea. Not to mention the risk to anyone who tries to save me if it all goes pear shaped.

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GILow,
Going out in slightly rougher conditions than you have experienced is not only a logical way to increase your skill and confidence, it is the only way. Take small bites though. Be sure you can chew and swallow before moving on to the next bigger challenge. You can do it. And you will almost certainly run into condition while cruising that are more adverse than you will wish so you should push yourself and you boat a bit now to build up to it. If you can have a more experienced sailor aboard with you that might help you become more open to handling rough weather.


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Old 12-07-2016, 17:55   #18
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Re: Coastal cruising, strong winds and anchoring

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Originally Posted by GILow View Post
Jim,

Gaining that experience is the interesting bit. I am increasingly tempted to go out in more and more adverse conditions here at home to test myself and the boat systems and to learn to manage under pressure. But against that is the thought that exposing myself and the boat to unneeded risk is a silly idea. Not to mention the risk to anyone who tries to save me if it all goes pear shaped.

Matt


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Yep, there is a conflict inherent in sailing: it is much less dangerous to stay ashore, so any sailing is an unneeded risk!

i think the trick is to ramp up in manageable steps, Matt, as much as that is possible. How does this sound: when there is a blow forecast at a convenient time, deliberately go out and anchor in a well protected and well known spot, chosen in advance relative to the f/c. Anchor as your best practice suggests, and see how it goes. Because you are in familiar waters, the stress level will be lower, and should things go pear shaped you will know where to bail to. A couple of iterations, perhaps in increasingly bad f/cs will start the process of garnering experience.

Seriously, if you really have the intention of doing longer range coastal cruising, you really need to do this, or something similar, or you will never enjoy your cruise.

Another thing to consider doing: in an anchorage off a weather shore, and with no hazards astern of you, try shortening up the scope little by little until you actually do drag. You will find what it feels like as she breaks loose, and this will help you avoid unneeded stress when you are below and it is honking. Many boats will assume a "sideways" attitude when dragging, and the change in the boat's motion can be a clue that you need to get up on deck! Of course, with all the great anchor alarms we now have, this sense is less important... but it will make you feel more confident in the instrument!

Anyhow, remember that we all have had to go through the uncertainties of inexperience. A methodical process will ease the learning curve for you and be more productive than mere terror!

Jim
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Old 12-07-2016, 18:10   #19
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Re: Coastal cruising, strong winds and anchoring

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Stuff is normally well forecast on the east coast... however.....
I've been caught once off Gabo northbound and found myself living in 'interesting times' but that was some years ago... hopefully with good wx info from multiple sources these days you will see stuff coming.

Rule #1 If in doubt stay put.
Rule #2 Never second guess yourself and go into ' she'll be right' mode.
Rule #3 Refer rules 1 and 2.

The experience of one of the Pingmobile's sister ships here https://yachtcamomile.co.uk/2013/02/

Thanks Ping, that is a very interesting read, particularly as we plan to be cruising those same shores pretty soon.

A few things for me to learn from that, the first being that even good planning and an apparently generous travel window by experienced sailors were not enough to prevent problems,

Their experience with the bar crossing is why our boat was fitted with a somewhat over-large engine, the original owner got rolled in similar circumstances and decided a bigger engine would have made all the difference. Of course we will never know if he was right.

Interesting to read of their tactical planning, and a reminder to me that I need to be more confident in the ability to water-proof our boat in the event of getting serious water over the top. We have the boards for the companionway but they are buried too deep in the forward locker to be much use in a hurry.

Regarding your rules, they make good sense, and they underpin one decision we reluctantly made a while back when we realised we should not try to squeeze in a circumnavigation of Aus, but instead wait until we had time to do the trip safely with no time pressures.

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Old 12-07-2016, 18:21   #20
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Re: Coastal cruising, strong winds and anchoring

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Originally Posted by Tayana42 View Post
GILow,
Going out in slightly rougher conditions than you have experienced is not only a logical way to increase your skill and confidence, it is the only way. Take small bites though. Be sure you can chew and swallow before moving on to the next bigger challenge. You can do it. And you will almost certainly run into condition while cruising that are more adverse than you will wish so you should push yourself and you boat a bit now to build up to it. If you can have a more experienced sailor aboard with you that might help you become more open to handling rough weather.


S/V B'Shert

There's the rub. Finding an experienced sailor to join me. I don't know any sailors with more experience than me well enough to say "Hi, how would you like to join me out in the Gulf St. V?", next time it is forecast to blow up a stink. And I am not sure it would be right to subject anyone else to the sorts of risks involved. As it is I am happy enough handling the boat in up to 40 knots, but the jump to the 50 - 60 knots is a very big step indeed. I did see one guy who appears to offer training in those sorts of conditions off, I think, somewhere near Cape Horn. But then, that's on a specialised boat setup for the conditions and I am not sure how applicable it would be to our boat.

I think I need to get the ground tackle set up right then look for a forecast strong Northerly with a little bit of Easterly in it. Then if I find I cannot anchor I can dither around in the middle of the Gulf until the winds abate a bit and then use the shelter from the outer harbour breakwater to return to the club.

Not sure exactly what it would prove, but it would build some confidence.


Might wait till summer.

Matt



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Old 12-07-2016, 18:25   #21
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Re: Coastal cruising, strong winds and anchoring

A lot of the east coast inlets do have constantly shifting bars which can be quite shallow,
If you have a large draught, you may not be able to get into them in bad weather,

If you can find a horseshoe bay with protection from the wind, Is usually the best place to be,
Satellite images from Google maps will give you these bays readily if your close in,
You can always drop the pick on the leeside of an island which will keep you out of most of the bad weather,
Plan your trip beforehand and have bays or inlets you can get into, Bad weather only lasts a day or two, So plan around it,
If your a long way offshore, Just run before it,
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Old 12-07-2016, 18:35   #22
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Re: Coastal cruising, strong winds and anchoring

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,
If your a long way offshore, Just run before it,
I suspect this will be our best option much of the time. Mainly because, right or wrong, I feel like our boat is difficult to anchor.
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Old 12-07-2016, 18:46   #23
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Re: Coastal cruising, strong winds and anchoring

Matt, I'm not sure I'd go looking for 50-60 kts. I've never sailed in more than 40-45 with gust to 50 and that was plenty for me. But in those conditions you do think about what you would do in bigger wind and seas. For me on my cutter rigged 42' double ender of 30,000 lbs over 50 knots I'd be motor sailing under staysail alone at 45-55* into the wind or 30-40* off of ddw. You probably already know what strategy you would employ. You know yourself and your boat.


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Old 12-07-2016, 21:26   #24
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Re: Coastal cruising, strong winds and anchoring

Matt,

We've been out once, in 55 plus a long time ago, when a cyclone came over us instead of 500 plus mi north of us. Our previously safe anchorage became a lee shore, and so, out, we went. It was necessary to motor sail [engine plus storm jib, no main] to get out, and once we did, we hove to under storm jib alone. When you have sea room, heaving to really works a treat, but sometimes as noted, it is impossible.

Another time, we were surprised by an 80 kn thunderstorm. We had taken down the headsail, and were at the 2nd reef on the main. The boat and the wind steering handled it okay, but would have been better to have the 3rd reef in. We ran off in pouring rain and barely able to see the bow for the downpour.

If we want to maintain a windward course, we prefer to go under drastically reduced sail, to windward as close as she'll go. It is usually quite slow. As such things go, it has been pretty comfortable (able to sleep on one's off watch).

Running before it can be quite a good option, especially if you get your wind vane up and running. If you're planning to go out in a storm like we've just had, I wouldn't. To me, it's one thing if you get caught out somewhere, and a different thing entirely to go out above 50. I would not voluntarily leave a safe anchorage until it was back down to 30 or even 25, purely for comfort's sake, and then, it better be off the quarter to speed me on my way. The big deal with high winds is that they build big seas and increase the height of swells, plus you have to deal with the "twice the height" seas. It is then you begin to think of the weather gods as mischievous thugs. In strong conditions, everything gets stressed, stuff breaks, it is normal to feel anxious.

However, planning your trip up the East Coast, there are many stopping places pretty close together, and you should not get caught out. We've always left from Eden to Tassie, and returned to there, although if the SE held, we might go on farther sometime. In Eden, you wait for a usable weather window, and there are many places to get out of the weather and go explore if you feel like it. Alan Lucas" Cruising Guide To The New South Wales Coast is accurate and conservative, although you may find a few new marks in places where they didn't used to have them. We actually prefer to anchor in the open roadstead anchorages when travelling so you don't have to fuss with the tides on the barred entrances. Most of them can be rolly at times, and you pick the places you stop, coordinate them with your days runs. We tend to ride weather windows, rather than anchor every night, but that's just I hate to not use a favorable wind. Sometimes rest is more important.

After you've learned what wind strengths and scopes you start to drag at, you'll be able to determine if you need a larger new generation anchor.

I would think you would be better off to not risk going into an unknown marina with tight maneuvering challenges with gusty cross winds. You are going to be safer at anchor and wait for conditions to go into a marina. Only go into a marina when you are certain you can do it safely. It is the hard bits that break boats, even stoutly built boats, like yours.

Ann
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Old 12-07-2016, 21:39   #25
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Re: Coastal cruising, strong winds and anchoring

Personally I think if you are comfortable sailing in 40 knot winds I'd leave it there, why go out in 50 or 60 knots if you don't have to? Yes you would certainly learn something but you might also do some damage to your boat and maybe yourself. If your comfortable in sustained 40 knot winds then you are capable of handling almost all situations and the rest can be learned by reading. Facts are if your coastal cruising or day sailing and watching the weather you would have to be one unlucky sod to run into 50 or 60 knot winds. Most people who circumnavigate never see winds much above 30 or 35 knots sustained.
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Old 12-07-2016, 22:24   #26
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Re: Coastal cruising, strong winds and anchoring

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Originally Posted by GILow View Post
Maybe I need to find a way of testing our anchors in strong winds as soon as it is safe to do so. Our Sarca is a little small I suspect, but the stockless is well, well oversized. Plus I still have the very heavy old CQR ripoff, maybe that could be useful?
I really hate to bring up anchor selection... Seriously I really hate it since it devolves into silliness so quickly but...

1) an undersized Sarca is not going to work.
2) A stock less is just about the least efficient anchor design out there. It is litterly the standard against which all others are measured. A SHHP anchor by definition generates at least four times the holding power at the same weight as a stockless. So if your stockless is oversized compared to modern anchors, it is still likely undersized.
3) CQR originals are notoriously poor holding anchors, the knockoffs are even worse.

Frankly I would be hesitant about trusting your anchors too. My advice is to get rid of all three and buy one modern SHHP anchor that weighs in at the same weight as the three you have removed. Yes you will have a massive anchor, but 45kn won't make you worried anymore.
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Old 12-07-2016, 23:12   #27
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Re: Coastal cruising, strong winds and anchoring

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Hi all,

What do people usually do in such situations? Head for deeper water? Head for a yacht club and book a pen for a few nights? Find a bay that is likely to shelter you from the worst of the forecast wind angles?

Matt
All of the above.
One of the nice things about cruising Australia's east coast is that there are lots of anchorages which are safe in pretty well any weather unlike the west and south coasts which are very deficient in this respect.
However it's very important to be able to get regular weather predictions and for that reason I have a HF radio which allows receipt of weather forecasts from Charleville and Wiluna when I am out of range of the VHF reports from the VMR's.
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Old 13-07-2016, 03:55   #28
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Re: Coastal cruising, strong winds and anchoring

Good reading here, got us talking and thinking, thank you to all for the ideas.

Just as an aside, Stumble, the anchor thing is sorted. Before we leave the Gulf St Vincent we will be buying a new and correctly sized Sarca. I don't know how the boat ended up with an undersized Sarca, but it survived 20 years and 42,000 miles in the South East Pacific with the dear little thing so it was either a brilliant anchor or a very skilled skipper. Perhaps a bit of both with a touch of luck in the mix.

The stockless is the absolute anchor of choice here in Adelaide (sea grass issues) so I will stick with it till we leave, after which I expect it to be useful in some bits of Tasmania before being relegated to the spares department at the bow. Sounds like another vote for getting rid of the fake CQR. This was the consensus last time I asked and it has only been a lack of organisation on my part that has prevented it from turning up on the shelves of the local chandlery.

One of the upshots of this thread and the ideas discussed is that we realise we have not yet got ourselves well sorted on the whole hove-to scenario so that is on the cards to practice.

It sounds like this skill set combined with up to date charts, the icom 802 for weather faxes and a good dose of communicating with the local sailors will keep us safe and comfortable.

Thanks again to all that have responded.

Matt


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Old 13-07-2016, 05:07   #29
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Re: Coastal cruising, strong winds and anchoring

Hi Matt,
I might be able to shed some light on this by sharing some of our experiecnes as we are cruising the North Eastern Coast of Oz at the moment. One of the fundamental things we do is keep a very close eye on the weather reports which determine when and where we sail.
Here in Australia we have a number of very good weather reporting sites that will give you the information you require. The Beurau of Meteroloy site, BOM for short has an excellent section called Meteye which covers the forecasts for all of Australia over a 7 day period. I have found that while I pay attention to the 7 day forecast I am of the opinion that predicting accurate weather after 4 days is pretty difficult and can change markedly. Meteye is a visual representation of the forecast and is easily understood. Meteye also covers wave and swell forecast which are as important as the wind IMO.
I also use Predict wind and compare the two forecasts to guage accuracy. If both align I am reasonably confident of the forecast. Weatherzone, Wind guru and Willy weather are also available.
Coming up the coast we monitor the weather very closely but at times there are blackspots where you just cant get the internet or VHF radio coverage (yes they still exist sadly) but these are now very few and far between safe anchorage.
We have been monitoring a deep low that formed at the bottom of Australia for the past week and also following the visual representatoin on Meteye which forecast high winds in excess of 30 knots over several days. As I type we are berthed at Hamilton Island to get out of the wind and forecast rain. With forecast winds of 30 knots one can expect much higher gusts therefore it was a no brainer to come into safe harbour. Yes there are safe anchorages around but for an extended time I like to get off the boat plus you dont have the concern of anchor watches and changing weather conditions.
Over the years we have set guidlines for safe and comfortable cruising. I stress these are our parameters which work for us. Anything over a forecast 20 knots we dont leave. Anything greater than a 2 metre sea on a 2 metres swell is normally our limit in conjunction with the wind. In saying that and despite our best planning we have been caught out in wind and seas substantially greater than we would have gone out in. You find that you deal with the circumstances at the time. We have been holed up in a bolt hole for 5 days while a blow went through. We knew it was coming and made for anchorage well in advance and sat it out safely and comfortably.
We do have a very good anchor and chain and anchoring technique that works extremley well for this cruising couple. We have sat out 30 knots plus in a snug anchorage with a well set anchor and lots of chain scope out. We use a saying on the boat, the anchor chain is of no use in the locker or if in doubt put more out. Put it all together and practice it and I am sure you will be fine. Hope this is of some assistance.


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Old 13-07-2016, 07:12   #30
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Re: Coastal cruising, strong winds and anchoring

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Originally Posted by GILow View Post
Good reading here, got us talking and thinking, thank you to all for the ideas.

Just as an aside, Stumble, the anchor thing is sorted. Before we leave the Gulf St Vincent we will be buying a new and correctly sized Sarca. I don't know how the boat ended up with an undersized Sarca, but it survived 20 years and 42,000 miles in the South East Pacific with the dear little thing so it was either a brilliant anchor or a very skilled skipper. Perhaps a bit of both with a touch of luck in the mix.

The stockless is the absolute anchor of choice here in Adelaide (sea grass issues) so I will stick with it till we leave, after which I expect it to be useful in some bits of Tasmania before being relegated to the spares department at the bow. Sounds like another vote for getting rid of the fake CQR. This was the consensus last time I asked and it has only been a lack of organisation on my part that has prevented it from turning up on the shelves of the local chandlery.

One of the upshots of this thread and the ideas discussed is that we realise we have not yet got ourselves well sorted on the whole hove-to scenario so that is on the cards to practice.

It sounds like this skill set combined with up to date charts, the icom 802 for weather faxes and a good dose of communicating with the local sailors will keep us safe and comfortable.

Thanks again to all that have responded.

Matt


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There is a company here in Avonsleigh, Vic, that make very good SARCA type Anchors and they are very good,

They do have charts for all their anchors and what tonnage to apply to each one in size,
I will have two of these on mine,
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