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Old 29-08-2009, 10:19   #1
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Rogue Wave

I hope this is the right area to pose this question. I was wondering what I could do to give me and my little Triton a fighting chance against a rogue wave. I know it's not an everyday occurrence, but it happens often enough to warrant being prepared for one. This question is based on if my radar or I pick it up in enough time to do something about it. For example, would I turn into it with full power or make a diagonal run at it?



Thanks

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Old 29-08-2009, 10:33   #2
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Do you pray - might be the time to start

There are some, very rare, breaking waves that will overwhelm your Triton no matter what you do.

Most everyone agrees your worst move is to be sidways to the wave.

Beyond that there is a lot of disagreement. Some say you are best running away from it and others say forereach into it, and yet others say stop the boat in a 'hove-to' orientation (eg bow about 50 degrees off the wind). The 'experts' violently disagree on which of these is best.

You can read in long detail which I personally think best at Seamanship FAQ 9, 9a & 70 and http://www.bethandevans.com/pdf/HeavyWeather.pdf
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Old 29-08-2009, 10:45   #3
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if it's any consolation...

...the one time I encountered a rogue wave it happened in the middle of the night, without warning, and passed us before we were able to take any action whatsoever. We never saw it coming.

The incident left me with two convictions: first, always use a tether on night watch, even if you're not leaving the cockpit; second, when it comes to boat selection, bigger is better. We were strapped in on an Oyster 48.5 when the wave stood us nearly vertical. I don't want to experience that kind of ride again on anything displacing less than 15 tons.
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Old 29-08-2009, 10:55   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
Do you pray - might be the time to start
Some say you are best running away from it and others say forereach into it, and yet others say stop the boat in a 'hove-to' orientation (eg bow about 50 degrees off the wind). The 'experts' violently disagree on which of these is best.

You can read in long detail which I personally think best at Seamanship FAQ 9, 9a & 70 and http://www.bethandevans.com/pdf/HeavyWeather.pdf
Thanks for the response Evan or Beth

I'm pretty new to sailing, so the term forereach, is that pointing the bow towards it?

Jeff
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Old 29-08-2009, 11:00   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bash View Post
...the one time I encountered a rogue wave it happened in the middle of the night, without warning, and passed us before we were able to take any action whatsoever. We never saw it coming.

The incident left me with two convictions: first, always use a tether on night watch, even if you're not leaving the cockpit; second, when it comes to boat selection, bigger is better. We were strapped in on an Oyster 48.5 when the wave stood us nearly vertical. I don't want to experience that kind of ride again on anything displacing less than 15 tons.
So was your survival by sheer luck? Do you know how your boat was oriented when the wave hit? I personally don't think that having a bigger boat is a defense against a rogue wave. My Triton has a full keel and has an excellent chance of righting itself in a roll, can't say that about a lot of the larger yacht's out there. There is a chance I'm being a little protective of my "small" circumnavigator.

Jeff
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Old 29-08-2009, 11:00   #6
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Few 'modern blue water' boats are as likely to survive a rogue wave as your Triton. She is heavy be small enough to avoid the forces that would likely hog (IIRC) a larger boat.

As mentined, a religions dedication to your teather, as well as a board or two in the companionway will go a long way to survival. I have always felt the deadlights were susceptible but can find no evidence them failing.

Prayer works, don't discount it. Prepare as well as you can, practice good seamanship and pray. There is always the unknown that you can not see coming. Faith is what allows the Sailor to sleep well at night.
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Old 29-08-2009, 11:20   #7
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Old 29-08-2009, 11:23   #8
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Originally Posted by s/v 'Faith' View Post
Few 'modern blue water' boats are as likely to survive a rogue wave as your Triton. She is heavy be small enough to avoid the forces that would likely hog (IIRC) a larger boat.
This is a myth that people with small boats tell themselves. Look at the numbers and stats. Don't get me wrong I would love a Pearson Ariel and I would love to take it out on the ocean I just wouldn't lie to myself by saying that a smaller boat is a safer boat. I am not trying to start anything, I love reading your blog.
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Old 29-08-2009, 11:37   #9
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Larry Pardey has had good success in big seas on a parachute laying at a 45 degree angle or so. I thought his book was well written and would probably pertain to a vessel like yours.

I will say, I have been at sea for 30 years now, the North Pacific and Bearing Sea. In all seasons. I have yet to see a wave I would call a "rouge wave"
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Old 29-08-2009, 11:43   #10
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Originally Posted by TritonSailor View Post
I'm pretty new to sailing, so the term forereach, is that pointing the bow towards it?
Yes, turning up into it, but keeping some way on, not stopping the boat. I prefer to rely on the sails in a storm but some suggest using the motor in this situation. As Bash said you might not get very much warning if this happened at night.

Fore reaching was a quite successful tactic among the fleet caught in the 1998 syndey to hobart storm (http://www.bethandevans.com/pdf/SydneyHobart.pdf) which was the last time a big fleet of boats got caught in a breaking/rogue wave storm.

I honestly would not worry/stress about this too much. It's good to think about, but it is EXTREMELY rare. People will go round the world several times and never see a wave like this. Not enough wind is a much more common problem.
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Old 29-08-2009, 11:49   #11
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It isn't the size of the wave that's the issue, its the height of the breaking water on top. You won't have a problem unless you are out in sustained winds over 40 knots. Thus the best way to deal with rogue waves is stay within 30 degrees of the equator during winter months and between 30 and 45 degrees during summer months--that gives you a lot of ocean to see.
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Old 29-08-2009, 11:55   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
I honestly would not worry/stress about this too much. It's good to think about, but it is EXTREMELY rare. People will go round the world several times and never see a wave like this. Not enough wind is a much more common problem.
I agree with you, but what brought it up was that the History channel was airing the science behind them and all the ships that have encountered them, they just never mentioned how to deal with them

thanks for the help.

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Old 29-08-2009, 12:00   #13
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I saw the same program. If I remember correctly these waves mostly occur in higher lats, under certain conditions?.....i2f
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Old 29-08-2009, 12:01   #14
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Originally Posted by unbusted67 View Post
This is a myth that people with small boats tell themselves. Look at the numbers and stats. Don't get me wrong I would love a Pearson Ariel and I would love to take it out on the ocean I just wouldn't lie to myself by saying that a smaller boat is a safer boat. I am not trying to start anything, I love reading your blog.
I mentioned it because in a number of books that are in every cruisers library, they have mathematically assigned values to different boats. One of those values was the boats ability to right itself in the case of a rollover. Based on the math, the Pearson Triton does a damn good job. It just happens to be small. You have to understand I'm the one in the smaller boat, so I need to develop a healthy confidence in her

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Old 29-08-2009, 12:22   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
Yes, turning up into it, but keeping some way on, not stopping the boat. I prefer to rely on the sails in a storm but some suggest using the motor in this situation. As Bash said you might not get very much warning if this happened at night.

Fore reaching was a quite successful tactic among the fleet caught in the 1998 syndey to hobart storm (http://www.bethandevans.com/pdf/SydneyHobart.pdf) which was the last time a big fleet of boats got caught in a breaking/rogue wave storm...
Forereaching means reducing sail, and coming up to the wind so the boat jogs along slowly and reasonably comfortably to weather.

Heaving-to means setting up the sails and the rudder so that they oppose one another and the boat stops making headway.

The forereaching technique, is to head the bow up, or higher into the wind, as the boat ascends to a wave crest, and then to bear off and control the descent down the back of the wave. The sails are feathered into the wind, as the boat nears a wave crest, where wind velocities are highest. Speed must be controlled as the boat traverses the back side of the wave into the trough, where we risk plowing the bow into the next wave. Care must also be taken not to bear off too much however, because the boat can fall off onto her beam. This up and down steering may sound complicated, but itís a matter of getting a feel for the helm and the boat. After a short while, most helmsmen feel very comfortable. Itís wise to gain such confidence, because steering at night depends more on feel, than it does on sight.

Forereaching can be done with sails or the engine. If the engine is used, keep at least a deeply-reefed main or trysail up to lend lateral stability and motion control. In most boats Iíve sailed, itís possible to balance the sail plan so that the boat actually steers itself on a close reach, which this is. Another advantage of this technique is that the storm conditions pass sooner than when running along with the storm, thus decreasing exposure of the boat and crew.
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