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Old 04-07-2018, 03:51   #1
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STORM PREPARATION AT SEA

I can't remember if we have a dedicated Thread on Tips for preparing a boat for Heavy Weather Offshore.

Assuming that we will eventually be going down below in a passive mode ;.

This should cover everything from Food to Medical, Shore Liaison, Rigging, Radio Watch and Securitč....etc

When to begin and anything else you can think of.

I'll start with the obvious one:
Keeping the water out!

I close all thru hulls in case the severe movements stress any hidden weaknesses in the plumbing. Toilets, Air cons, anchor wash, Galley and holding tank direct discharge, Main Engine and Generator.

Utility buckets are kept handy.

I can close off my Main Engine and Generator exhaust outlets, This is done to avoid any chance of extreme outside pressures overwhelming the engine's anti siphon system.

All my vents to Fresh water and fuel tank have valves, so they are closed to protect from contamination, but if you just have hoses, I would plug them

Seal all air Intake vents to engine room . I have dense foam plugs cut exactly to fit my 4 vents.

I do keep the bilge pump discharge thru hull valve open, test high water alarm but set bilge pump to manual to better monitor any leakage and avoid frequent activation due to severe rolling.

I bag the fresh air intakes for main engine and generator.

All deck hatches and portholes are torqued down as tight as they will allow.

I also close off delivery valves from Fresh Water Tank, Fuel and holding tanks in case plumbing gets damaged.

Fresh water is kept in jugs to keep crew hydrated, but lifestyle in extreme storm is pretty basic....
You just hold on and try and get some sleep!
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Old 04-07-2018, 04:13   #2
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Re: STORM PREPARATION AT SEA

OK, in no particular order.

Right sails bent on, decks cleared, storm tactics gear ready to deploy, Sails securely lashed to spars if they are staying bent on - stackpacks etc lashed. Everything below fastened down, incl floorboards and fridge/freezer lids. Leecloths ready on sea berths. Crew fed, and further meals prepared if there is time. Position data reported to your preferred land based organisation etc. Forecasts updated, fuel day tanks (if used) full. Bilge pumped, pumps checked (manual and electric) and strum boxes clear. All seacocks that are not required closed. Dorade or other vents closing systems checked. Toilets empty and closed. Course and searoom checked, alternative ports, tactics etc decided on. Rest as many crew as possible before the storm. Lifejackets, harnesses, approriate clothing all ready. Brief crew on safety systems again.
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Old 04-07-2018, 04:14   #3
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Re: STORM PREPARATION AT SEA

Great idea for a thread! I will be following this with interest and will add a chapter to my boat's safety manual.
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Old 04-07-2018, 05:09   #4
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Re: STORM PREPARATION AT SEA

A few random and prehaps less obvious thoughts...

Helmets for crew to protect them from head injuries.

Waterproof enclosure over HF radio of some sort.

Straps over bunk to stop you flying out in a rollover.

Drain waterlift , and close exhaust.

Pot of hot food in presure cooker. Thermos of hot water.

Personel grab bags for all crew with headtorch, warm clothes, snacks and food, medication etc handy to bunk.

Spare warm clothes in dry bags.

Seasickness tablets for those without cast iron stomachs

Double lashings on mainsail if its down. If not a tie the reef points up very securely so the bunt of the sail can't gather water.

Consider storing spinnaker pole below as an emergency mast if the rig is lost. Otherwise lash them securely on deck rather than up the mast.

If the main is down lash the boom securely with separate ropes port and starboard.

Extra diagonal bracing on solar towers and other vunerable bits like boom gallows, dodgers etc.

Consider lashing the chain down somehow, or at least toppling the pile so it doesn't get tangled in a knockdown or rollover.

Unroll and tightly reroll headsail if possible. Spiral wrap a spinnaker halyard around the sail if you don't think it will be used. Roll sheets tightly down to the base.

Run halyards out to better support the mast and cleat off tightly. Lash down all rope tails and coils, even in the cockpit to prevent them being washed overboard and into the prop or rudder. Once had one wash down a cockpit drain and foul the prop..

Properly secure any dangerous goods such as paint and paint thinners, oil lamps with kero inside, and glass chimneys.

Stock up on good books and charge personal music systems. Earplugs might be handy.

Look to avoid seamounts, steep undersea ridges, continental shelfs, adverse currents or eddies.

Check all rigging locknuts or securing split pins. I've heard of rigging screws vibrating loose in extreme winds.
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Old 04-07-2018, 05:38   #5
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pirate Re: STORM PREPARATION AT SEA

I just put on a pair of brown trousers..
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Old 04-07-2018, 05:38   #6
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Re: STORM PREPARATION AT SEA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowpetrel View Post
A few random and prehaps less obvious thoughts...

Helmets for crew to protect them from head injuries.

Waterproof enclosure over HF radio of some sort.

Straps over bunk to stop you flying out in a rollover.

Drain waterlift , and close exhaust.

Pot of hot food in presure cooker. Thermos of hot water.

Personel grab bags for all crew with headtorch, warm clothes, snacks and food, medication etc handy to bunk.

Spare warm clothes in dry bags.

Seasickness tablets for those without cast iron stomachs

Double lashings on mainsail if its down. If not a tie the reef points up very securely so the bunt of the sail can't gather water.

Consider storing spinnaker pole below as an emergency mast if the rig is lost. Otherwise lash them securely on deck rather than up the mast.

If the main is down lash the boom securely with separate ropes port and starboard.

Extra diagonal bracing on solar towers and other vunerable bits like boom gallows, dodgers etc.

Consider lashing the chain down somehow, or at least toppling the pile so it doesn't get tangled in a knockdown or rollover.

Unroll and tightly reroll headsail if possible. Spiral wrap a spinnaker halyard around the sail if you don't think it will be used. Roll sheets tightly down to the base.

Run halyards out to better support the mast and cleat off tightly. Lash down all rope tails and coils, even in the cockpit to prevent them being washed overboard and into the prop or rudder. Once had one wash down a cockpit drain and foul the prop..

Properly secure any dangerous goods such as paint and paint thinners, oil lamps with kero inside, and glass chimneys.

Stock up on good books and charge personal music systems. Earplugs might be handy.

Look to avoid seamounts, steep undersea ridges, continental shelfs, adverse currents or eddies.

Check all rigging locknuts or securing split pins. I've heard of rigging screws vibrating loose in extreme winds.


Outstanding list!

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 04-07-2018, 05:41   #7
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Re: STORM PREPARATION AT SEA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neptune's Gear View Post
OK, in no particular order.

Right sails bent on, decks cleared, storm tactics gear ready to deploy, Sails securely lashed to spars if they are staying bent on - stackpacks etc lashed. Everything below fastened down, incl floorboards and fridge/freezer lids. Leecloths ready on sea berths. Crew fed, and further meals prepared if there is time. Position data reported to your preferred land based organisation etc. Forecasts updated, fuel day tanks (if used) full. Bilge pumped, pumps checked (manual and electric) and strum boxes clear. All seacocks that are not required closed. Dorade or other vents closing systems checked. Toilets empty and closed. Course and searoom checked, alternative ports, tactics etc decided on. Rest as many crew as possible before the storm. Lifejackets, harnesses, approriate clothing all ready. Brief crew on safety systems again.
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Old 04-07-2018, 05:42   #8
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Re: STORM PREPARATION AT SEA

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Originally Posted by Steadman Uhlich View Post


Outstanding list!

Thanks for sharing.
Second that
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Old 04-07-2018, 06:20   #9
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Re: STORM PREPARATION AT SEA

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Second that
Thanks. I will say that I've only done some of the things on that list. But others have been hard won, like when all the coils of ropes got washed off the belaying pins on a a square rigger in a blow. Took a long time to sort out that spaghetti. I have worn helmets at sea as well...

Another thought. A post blow checklist with easy to forget things like,

Start engine, checking its not hydraliced.

Check anchor chain locker (once had it jambed up after a knockdown.

Check for leakage and dry out wet stuff, then fix leaks

Dry, fold and stow storm gear.

Check water tanks and drain sediment/water from fuel tanks. Check watertraps regularly while running.

Check outboard if on deck. We ruined one after it flooded in a knockdown and wasn't flushed for two weeks.
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Old 04-07-2018, 07:07   #10
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Re: STORM PREPARATION AT SEA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowpetrel View Post
Thanks. I will say that I've only done some of the things on that list. But others have been hard won, like when all the coils of ropes got washed off the belaying pins on a a square rigger in a blow. Took a long time to sort out that spaghetti. I have worn helmets at sea as well...

Another thought. A post blow checklist with easy to forget things like,

Start engine, checking its not hydraliced.

Check anchor chain locker (once had it jambed up after a knockdown.

Check for leakage and dry out wet stuff, then fix leaks

Dry, fold and stow storm gear.

Check water tanks and drain sediment/water from fuel tanks. Check watertraps regularly while running.

Check outboard if on deck. We ruined one after it flooded in a knockdown and wasn't flushed for two weeks.
All good points!

I am glad you mentioned wearing a helmet, when conditions get really rough.
I will never forget the example of the head injury to the owner that happened just before the sinking of LA ROSA. He was knocked unconcious and was dazed for some time after that (roll of boat) and consequently not able to respond as he normally would to the critical situation.

And, the recent loss of KAELERIN also had a bloody head injury happen to the captain who was on deck at the helm during the event. Here is what the admiral on KAELERIN wrote:
“I got to the main cabin companionway and saw Jim at the wheel. He had blood covering half of his face. He looked shocked but was steering us down a huge wave. I had a hard time taking this view in as well. I was looking at clear sky where once there had been a full cockpit enclosure. I asked, “Where is the dodger?” and Jim just said, “It’s gone.” He asked me to get on the VHF and put out a MAYDAY call.”

Head injuries can happen in an instant during a storm or high winds or rough seas, and are often debilitating, and at the least can be literally stunning, even to very experienced sailors.
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Old 04-07-2018, 07:51   #11
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Re: STORM PREPARATION AT SEA

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All good points!

I am glad you mentioned wearing a helmet, when conditions get really rough.
I will never forget the example of the head injury to the owner that happened just before the sinking of LA ROSA. He was knocked unconcious and was dazed for some time after that (roll of boat) and consequently not able to respond as he normally would to the critical situation.

And, the recent loss of KAELERIN also had a bloody head injury happen to the captain who was on deck at the helm during the event. Here is what the admiral on KAELERIN wrote:
“I got to the main cabin companionway and saw Jim at the wheel. He had blood covering half of his face. He looked shocked but was steering us down a huge wave. I had a hard time taking this view in as well. I was looking at clear sky where once there had been a full cockpit enclosure. I asked, “Where is the dodger?” and Jim just said, “It’s gone.” He asked me to get on the VHF and put out a MAYDAY call.”

Head injuries can happen in an instant during a storm or high winds or rough seas, and are often debilitating, and at the least can be literally stunning, even to very experienced sailors.
On Kalearin the skipper was sitting forward of the helm on watch and was slapped backward by a boarding wave as the boat went over into the pedestal when the injury occurred. He wasn't at the wheel. I doubt in those conditions any of us would dawn a helmet.
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Old 04-07-2018, 08:31   #12
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Re: STORM PREPARATION AT SEA

Add to the above prior to the prior to list:
-Fully charge the batteries.
-Dog down/secure deck hatches to prevent opening & down flooding.
-Prep & ready food supplies.
-Ready drouge or wraps.
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Old 04-07-2018, 09:07   #13
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Re: STORM PREPARATION AT SEA

Check and clear cockpit drains & scuppers.
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Old 04-07-2018, 09:11   #14
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Re: STORM PREPARATION AT SEA

Good thread!

Want to add to list: Reduce windage, especially aft.

Remove biminis, enclosures, dinghy, outboards hanging on the rails. Everything that can be removed, should.

Try to get rest! Will be hard later.

Once upon a time, we also removed anchors and chains from the locker and deck and stored it in the bilge, if far enough from land to do it safely. This to keep the ends of the boat as light as possible. Today, seems overkill to me.
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Old 04-07-2018, 09:18   #15
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Re: STORM PREPARATION AT SEA

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On Kalearin the skipper was sitting forward of the helm on watch and was slapped backward by a boarding wave as the boat went over into the pedestal when the injury occurred. He wasn't at the wheel. I doubt in those conditions any of us would dawn a helmet.
OK. I was not aware of those details, which were not in the original post by the owner of that boat. Thanks for sharing them here.
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What follows is written in a friendly tone of voice. I am simply sharing my POV, based on a personal experience.

Each experience we have (or read about) is something we can consider.
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Why wear a helmet in a storm?

When I was sailing across the Newfoundland Grand Banks, I was sitting in the cockpit, with my back to the bulkhead next to the companionway (forward of the helm). This is a common thing for sailors to do when in a cockpit as we seek some shelter under a dodger.

A larger than average wave picked up the boat and caused a quick lurch of the boat, rolling it some in a snap roll of sorts, and that literally threw me off the seat and I landed with a loud, hard WHAACK on my head as my head hit the companionway. It happened in an instant. Too fast to grab anything or even to brace or break my fall. I fell hard. The hit to the back of my head literally stunned me. I was not knocked unconcious, but was surprised I was not because of the force. I reached back, expecting to find blood, but only suffered from the stunning hit (and later a lump and soreness). A medical doctor was in the cockpit with me and watched this happen (and he heard the loud WHAACK as my skull hit the solid surface). He immediately wondered if I had a concussion and because we were several days offshore, it would have been a very bad thing to have a serious injury. Luckily I did not. But, it did teach me a lesson I will not forget.

What lesson did I learn?
Primarily it taught me that even though I was wearing full weather gear">foul weather gear, gloves, a good PFD, and had my harness and tether on, and thought I was in a secure seated position, well prepared and sitting safely behind a dodger in the cockpit, I could still be injured by an unexpected motion of the boat. It only takes an instant. That is the nature of an accident.

Is that kind of accident likely to occur?
This thread is about “Storm Preparation.” So, we should be considering what could possibly happen during a storm.
In a storm tossed boat, it is possible and I suspect much more likely that someone may fall, slip, or be struck by rigging (or sails, shackles, boom, sheets, hardware, etc.). In any case, a head injury could be very serious, possibly requiring a medical evacution (and possibly abandonment of the boat).

Was I in a storm? No.
Could it have been worse? Yes.
Would a helmet have helped? Yes.
After my head hit the hard surface, did I wish I had a helmet on before receiving the blow to my head? Yes!
Would I wear a helmet in a storm. Yes.
Would I ridicule anyone who chose to wear a helmet during a storm? No.
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That’s how I see it. You may see and feel things differently. I am sharing this with the hope that it gets others to pause to consider it.
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