Interesting stuff. Always nice to go to the primary sources instead of the reporter's interpretation of the primary source, too.
website is: http://w3g.gkss.de/projects/maxwave/
They have links to various reports, descriptions and analyses of their data. Fascinating. One of the off-shoot projects involves the real time analysis of wave from various stations around the world. Surfers with a death-wish would love this: http://www.wamos.de/
(click on projects for the map of data stations.)
Fornberg's article can be accessed at: http://amath.colorado.edu/faculty/fo...reak_waves.pdf
I cannot even begin to get through Fornberg's math (sorry, my Ph.D. was in an entirely different field. Perhaps some of the engineers around here can help out.), but in the conclusions/appendix, he notes:
"...we note that amplitude, or wave height, is not necessarily the best measure of danger
for a vessel at sea. Wave steepness is also important, since even a small vessel can ride over large, but long seas provided they are not too steep, a situation that often prevails in the Southern Ocean. Wave breaking is another important feature. In their review of model tests, actual capsizes, and mathematical, statistical and engineering analyses, Kirkman & McCurdy (1987) concluded that `As a rule
, we believe, no non-breaking wave is dangerous' for offshore
"Details of the wave shape can also be important in assessing danger
. For example the deep trough, or `hole in the sea', often reported preceding a freak wave, presents a special hazard, as explained by Mallory (1974). When a fast ship meets a freak wave head-on, she first steams downward into the trough, burying her bow. Now the forward part of a ship usually has great buoyancy. So the bow forcefully attempts to rise just as the giant wave breaks on deck
aft of the ship's forward buoyant area. The resulting shear forces on the hull
can cause significant structural damage, usually near the bulkhead between Nos. 1 and 2 hatches."
The Kirkman and McCurdy cite is from the classic CCA book:
Kirkman, K.L. & McCurdy, R. C. 1987 Avoiding capsize
work. In Desirable and Undesirable Characteristics of Offshore
Yachts (ed. J. Rousmaniere), pp. 57-74. Technical Committee of the Cruising Club
of America, Nautical Quarterly Books
, W. W. Norton.