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Old 05-12-2013, 06:46   #16
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Originally Posted by bobconnie View Post
Sometimes it's much better to let the weather dictate the course! I really believe it's better to find the COMFORTABLE course rather then beat myself and the boat up trying to get somewhere! I was taught to make the course comfortable for me and the crew! Cus the boat can take a lot more then I or my crew can take !! My ole daddy taught me take the easy way and never beat things up to get somewhere today unless theres a medical emergency or the vessels in need of help really badly!! Remember haveing a secdule can get ya dead !!
That's my rather unscientific approach as well. Even in gale conditions my heavy displacement cutter is okay, although we'll adjust steering to find a more comfy ride. We'll heave to if it's we're going upwind, but down we'll just find a good angle that's comfy.

Storm force is a different bag of potatoes.
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Old 05-12-2013, 06:58   #17
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Re: Steering In Waves-Weather

it also depends on the body of water on which you´re sailing.
gom and other bodies of water with short wave periods it is a lot different than in pacific ocean where the seas are widely spaced rollers.
atlantic is shorter spaced seas with chop.
each body of water presents a different challenge.
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Old 05-12-2013, 07:53   #18
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Re: Steering In Waves-Weather

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Originally Posted by s/v Beth View Post
I have never heard of the 30% rule, and I think it depends on the type of vessel when to heave to. I would heave to in a bene/hunter/cata sooner than say a BCC of the same waterline length. Confused seas may make me more conservative.
Good rule of thumb- steer towards the way the mast is pointing. Break the rhythm the boat may be having with the waves. And try to keep it flat.
Hi Newt, That 30% "rule" is derived as an approximation of the average beam to boat length ratio; i.e. most sailboats have a maximum beam of about 1/3 the boat length, so it is really more helpful to think in terms of an increased danger of a broach or severe roll when beam seas are equal in height to beam of vessel .

I believe tank tests have shown the above to be accurate,but also Pardey and Steve Colgate have written of this "rule of thumb". Both of these authors have also confirmed the posts of you and others on this thread regarding the difficulty of heaving-to with modern fin keel craft in difficult conditions.
Perhaps others here can weigh in by citing sources , tests, or you tube videos that can elucidate.
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Old 05-12-2013, 10:20   #19
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Re: Steering In Waves-Weather

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This is actually good advice. When the sh*t hits the fan, let the boat go with the weather, don't fight it.
Okay, how?
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Old 05-12-2013, 10:53   #20
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Re: Steering In Waves-Weather

Crack off to weather, flatten the boat some, go for power through the chop. Down wind never sail dead down wind.
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Old 05-12-2013, 10:59   #21
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Re: Steering In Waves-Weather

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Originally Posted by mrohr View Post
Hi Newt, That 30% "rule" is derived as an approximation of the average beam to boat length ratio; i.e. most sailboats have a maximum beam of about 1/3 the boat length, so it is really more helpful to think in terms of an increased danger of a broach or severe roll when beam seas are equal in height to beam of vessel .

I believe tank tests have shown the above to be accurate,but also Pardey and Steve Colgate have written of this "rule of thumb". Both of these authors have also confirmed the posts of you and others on this thread regarding the difficulty of heaving-to with modern fin keel craft in difficult conditions.
Perhaps others here can weigh in by citing sources , tests, or you tube videos that can elucidate.
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Yep, the Pardeys wrote extensively on it... and their boat is more a true full keel (not much forward cutaway) which should heave to better than most. Alot of people think their boats heave to fine because they've tried it in fairly flat water or heavy chop in a bay. many boats will not stay hove to in heavy breaking seas...water just has more force than wind... knocking the bow down with each wave breaking over the boat. Been there done that.
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Old 05-12-2013, 11:06   #22
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pirate Re: Steering In Waves-Weather

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Yep, the Pardeys wrote extensively on it... and their boat is more a true full keel (not much forward cutaway) which should heave to better than most. Alot of people think their boats heave to fine because they've tried it in fairly flat water or heavy chop in a bay. many boats will not stay hove to in heavy breaking seas...water just has more force than wind... knocking the bow down with each wave breaking over the boat. Been there done that.
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Old 05-12-2013, 14:15   #23
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Re: Steering In Waves-Weather

To get our thoughts straight, we probably need to clear up some term and numbers that are being splashed around. And I probably contributed to the confusion by talking about heaving too.
I think the OP asked about steering in "weather" and I kinda assumed that he meant large swells with wind waves on top, often not going the same direction. That is a completely different sea state than 12 foot breaking waves. The former is just uncomfortable, the later a near survival state. Breaking waves beam height demands action, swells I just steer through.
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Old 10-12-2013, 13:52   #24
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Re: Steering In Waves-Weather

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Originally Posted by s/v Beth View Post
Good rule of thumb- steer towards the way the mast is pointing. Break the rhythm the boat may be having with the waves. And try to keep it flat.
When steering into a wave at any angle wouldn't this result in falling back off the wave before you went over the crest and hence never making headway?
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Old 10-12-2013, 13:57   #25
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Re: Steering In Waves-Weather

Yep, that rule is for downwind only... With the wind/waves fwd of the beam, steer up the wave face a bit tighter, steer down the back a bit lower....
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Old 10-12-2013, 14:10   #26
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Re: Steering In Waves-Weather

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Originally Posted by Neptune's Gear View Post
Yep, that rule is for downwind only... With the wind/waves fwd of the beam, steer up the wave face a bit tighter, steer down the back a bit lower....
Yeah...that's what I thought.
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Old 10-12-2013, 14:22   #27
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Re: Steering In Waves-Weather

The OP asked for strategies for steering a sloop in chop and wind, when conditions become uncomfortable.

The 30% rule is for the full height of breaking waves, beam on. Narrower boats the limit is higher around 50% with all boats being rolled at 60%. I agree that it is related to beam, hull shape and harmonics i.e. a boat recovering from a heel one way on one face of a wave may accentuate the opposite heel on the other face of the next wave.

I think the point with breaking waves is to avoid them. Waves are more likely to break in shallower water and when the wave height is < 7 x the wave length. In short when the waves are close and big. The odd ones are twice as big but the chances of breaking on the boat less in open water.

The tactic for breaking waves is to try and meet them head on, thus presenting as small a profile to the wave as possible. This is shown simply by standing side on versus head on in surf, or watching surf boat races. The difficulty with sailing is that if the wind and waves are in the same direction as they usually but not always are, you can’t sail directly into the wind or breaking waves.

Running before them if one could get the speed to stay ahead of the break one might surf ahead of it, but that is unlikely consistently. The waves will be faster than most boats. More likely one can surf with crest of a non breaking wave. The danger with a breaking wave is that it breaks on top of you, filling the cockpit or if one is not dead square the wave tosses the stern around giving a broach or even a roll.

In lesser conditions namely an uncomfortable chop the general rule of taking the wave at an angle is less of a problem for a sail boat as you are tacking. You might handle the wind by reefing or by heading a bit higher.

If the waves are say four m, close and very steep or square, say with wind against tide ( a situation best avoided) it is more tricky because the bow can be thrown off and there is less change in gradient from being at an angle. I prefer to motor head on then.

Downwind. A modest chop is no issue. When the waves are bigger if you are not square to them the stern can be thrown around and that is very difficult to correct. For most boats the waves will be faster than the boat but you can pick up a ride for a while. It seems to me that when at the crest you can steer easily to ride it square but the trick is that it can respond at the crest to the rudder in the opposite way because there is a point where the water flow is reversed over the rudder. The trick is in the timing because the usual rudder movement will make it worse ie putting the wave on the quarter so you broadside down..

On a power boat I have been able to get good rides in effect riding as much as possible largely lengthwise along a crest and matching speed rather than wallowing. It would be harder in a sail boat because of the speed difference.

In any significant chop relative to boat size I prefer not to be beam on because the motion is less comfortable, and as the waves become higher and steeper the rolling becomes greater with loss of wind and speed. Otherwise a beam reach is the fastest and most pleasant sailing.

Most of us won’t hopefully be out in extreme conditions. Then one gets into drogues and parachutes but I don’t think that is what the OP was asking about.
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Old 10-12-2013, 14:44   #28
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Re: Steering In Waves-Weather

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Originally Posted by Jammer Six View Post
I'm interested in strategies for steering a mono-hull sloop in chop and wind.

What are they for steering, both downwind and upwind, when the wind and waves start to make things uncomfortable?
In a chop the key is to avoid going directly into it. If possible plot your course so you never need to steer closer than about 40 degrees to the chop. This will keep you much drier and more comfortable. If you do need to, and the chop is big enough to make you wet, close up everything, motor straight into it to get through it until you can fall off a bit and raise sail. If you have to go upwind for more than 10 minutes, turn around and wait it out. It sucks. Going downwind the chop will through you around a lot, but you should stay dry. If you boat is more modern, the motion can get very uncomfortable. Then it is best to avoid it on the aft quarter if possible.
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Old 10-12-2013, 15:21   #29
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Re: Steering In Waves-Weather

Most of the "science" on wave induced capisize of small boats has been done at the Wolfson test tanks. They have written a number of useful reports, which are on the net. They are worth reading, as there is quite a bit more to things than has been discussed up thread.

Regarding steering in waves:

Downwind try not to launch off the back of a hollow one. Potentially use a drogue if you are having control difficulties.

Upwind keep power on but feather into crests.

Don't reach with big breakers on the beam - change course.
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Old 10-12-2013, 15:42   #30
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Re: Steering In Waves-Weather

OK, first off, hand steering in blue water 15'+ is extremely tiring. Period. Using an autopilot....heh......not just any autopilot will do. Most autopilots are old, pre-2004 do not have a smart corepack. What does this mean?? It means that the autpilot will short circuit or cut out every few minutes, because it is not intelligent, enough to adapt to a rolling side swell. Your vessel rolls back and forth and eventually cuts out.
We see this all the time in the caribe 1500 or salty dawg rally. Side swells kill old auto-pilots. There is not enough discussion on this topic. Of the 50 or so vessels I have delivered, blue water, almost 1/3 of their autopilots crapped out because they could not adapt to side swell. My first question on a new delivery is about the age of the auto-pilot. Just sayin............
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