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Old 19-01-2014, 18:29   #1
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Storm Tactics for light production boats

Hello all,

I've been reading up on tactics to deal with Storms, etc, but pretty much everything I've read out there seems to relate to heavy, thin beamed 'bluewater' boats.

As many of us are now crossing Oceans in production boats, which are lighter, wider beamed, etc, I was wondering if I could get some advice on how people deal with Storm conditions.

Heaving to, for example seems to be a very hit or miss when it comes to production boats as they are lighter.

Just wondering if anyone could offer advice in this area?

Regards,
Simon
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Old 19-01-2014, 22:02   #2
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Re: Storm Tactics for light production boats

Simonpicard, you wrote, "Heaving to, for example seems to be a very hit or miss when it comes to production boats as they are lighter."

This boat, and the one we had previously, have two problems "heaving to": they tend to fore-reach and sail out of their slick; and the bow tends to get blown down due to the windage from furlers forward.

If we were to go where there are storms, we'd be making up a Jordan Series Drogue. I suggest you Google on that for a topic, and look for articles by people whose hull shape is similar to that of your own boat. (We are a 46' performance cruiser but with a skeg hung balanced rudder. She does not have much boat in the water forward.)

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Old 19-01-2014, 22:14   #3
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Re: Storm Tactics for light production boats

Jordan Series Drogue looks very intersesting.
So that is deployed off the stern or bow?

Just worried about exposing the rudder if off the stern. Wouldn't waves smash into that?

Regards,
Simon
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Old 19-01-2014, 22:17   #4
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Re: Storm Tactics for light production boats

Jordon is deployed off the stern....best method.
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Old 19-01-2014, 23:39   #5
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Re: Storm Tactics for light production boats

And that wouldn't be risky for a deep rudder? Wouldn't you have massive waves smashing into the back of it? What if it catches the wrong angle and flips it?

Wouldn't it be like motoring backwards at a VERY high speed?
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Old 20-01-2014, 05:07   #6
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Re: Storm Tactics for light production boats

I have a parachute sea anchor to deploy off the bow. It wont hurt the rudder. Its not an old fashioned small sea anchor but an 18!foot diameter parachute sea anchor.

And a drogue for the stern if Im heading down wind.

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Old 20-01-2014, 05:35   #7
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Re: Storm Tactics for light production boats

Quote:
Originally Posted by simonpickard View Post
Jordan Series Drogue looks very intersesting.
So that is deployed off the stern or bow?

Just worried about exposing the rudder if off the stern. Wouldn't waves smash into that?

Regards,
Simon
If you deploy a drag device from the bow, then your rudder is at risk from the boat's reverse motion. A Jordan series drogue is deployed from the stern, so you sail forward, without any risk to your rudder.

In general, lighter, wider boats require more active tactics, than heavier, narrower ones. I think running off, if necessary with a drag device, would be the more or less standard tactic for that type of boat, although I think it might be my standard tactic for any kind of boat (there is plenty of controversy on this, however).

I have never sailed a boat which would not heave-to, and I've sailed plenty of Bens and Jenns. Modern boats are probably not as stable hove-to, so heaving-to is perhaps not as effective as a storm tactic. I heave to for lots of purposes, but I've never used it as a storm tactic. I sail in an area with a lot of really tough weather, but have never yet needed a drag device -- running off under a scrap of headsail alone works just fine on my boat in even over 50 knots of wind.


I would suggest not overthinking it. Most people cross oceans in the trade winds regions, where you will practically never encounter survival-type storms as long as you avoid tropical rotating storm seasons. It would be nice to have a Jordan drogue, but I might not even bother with that for something like a Transat via Canaries to the Caribbean. The toughest part of that is the Bay of Biscay. I bet if you check ARC statistics that not one boat has ever deployed a drogue in any ARC -- a drogue isn't even on the list of even recommended, much less requiredsafety equipment in the ARC's rather anal list. Only if you are thinking about crossing oceans in high latitudes would I really start to concentrate on these issues, if I were you, although, of course, it's good to be prepared for anything.
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Old 20-01-2014, 06:40   #8
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pirate Re: Storm Tactics for light production boats

I've heaved to and laid ahull.. never used a drogue... or sea anchor..
Folk talk about the dangers of laying ahull but usually they talk from published statistics.. not from actual experience of their own.
If boats sank that easily the Westsail of 'Perfect Storm' fame and many other abandoned boats would not be found in more or less the state they were abandoned months.. some even years earlier.
If she won't heave to.. I'll fore reach under reduced main only.. and change tacks to maintain/control rate and direction of drift..
I'm talking winds 60+ knots here and big breaking seas... if that gets unmanageable I drop the main, lash the boom to the cabin roof on the windward side and my tiller 1/3rd off centre... then go below and hang on for the ride..
No... I don't know WTF I'm doing.. but so far... so good..
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Old 20-01-2014, 07:38   #9
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Re: Storm Tactics for light production boats

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Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
I've heaved to and laid ahull.. never used a drogue... or sea anchor..
Folk talk about the dangers of laying ahull but usually they talk from published statistics.. not from actual experience of their own.
If boats sank that easily the Westsail of 'Perfect Storm' fame and many other abandoned boats would not be found in more or less the state they were abandoned months.. some even years earlier.
If she won't heave to.. I'll fore reach under reduced main only.. and change tacks to maintain/control rate and direction of drift..
I'm talking winds 60+ knots here and big breaking seas... if that gets unmanageable I drop the main, lash the boom to the cabin roof on the windward side and my tiller 1/3rd off centre... then go below and hang on for the ride..
No... I don't know WTF I'm doing.. but so far... so good..
+1! ^^^^ What He Said^^^^^^
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Old 20-01-2014, 19:28   #10
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Re: Storm Tactics for light production boats

So much depends upon the specific boat you have and the conditions you're in. What works for one won't necessarily work for another. You are right, therefore, to explore a variety of ideas and approaches. Sustained gales call for different tactics than microbursts. On a Chicago-Mac race we once travelled at 8 knots dead downwind with no sails up, for a quick squall on a Pearson 37. Another time, we had gale conditions mid-atlantic for two days, and jogged along under a tightly reefed main taking most of the 20' waves on the quarter, on an Ohlson 38. It worked for us, but it depends upon the boat and the situation.
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Old 20-01-2014, 19:48   #11
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Re: Storm Tactics for light production boats

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No... I don't know WTF I'm doing.. but so far... so good..
So did you invent "ignorance is bliss".
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Old 20-01-2014, 19:53   #12
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Re: Storm Tactics for light production boats

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Originally Posted by simonpickard View Post
Heaving to, for example seems to be a very hit or miss when it comes to production boats as they are lighter.

Simon
You need more practice. Every boat is different. You need find a sweet spot, and the boat will settle down. Don't wait until the last minute to figure it out.
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Old 21-01-2014, 05:32   #13
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Storm Tactics for light production boats

My experience , in the two " survival storms" that dot my sailing career , delivering production boats , it's that heaving to and lying a hull are poor tactics.

Most production boats with little immersed forefoots and significant windage , will lie NOT happily hove to , in any weather worse then you could actually keep sailing. I define hove to as a situation where the boat will remain in the same orientation to allow the crew to go off watch.

My experience is that such boats always either lie too far off the wind , and are effectively ahull, or tack through the wind and sail off on the other tack.

In the one ahull situation , the boat was rolled to about 100 degrees , the batteries broke their mounts, the crew got injured etc etc , not good

Fore reaching is a good tatic , often I've mentioned with the aid of a slow running engine.

Alternatively active downwind tactics are preferred, typically streaming warps. My one experience with series drogues was they slow the boat too much. Modern underwater hydrodynamics mean you have a bigger envelope of control downwind then previously. Hence you don't want to slow below 5-7 knots in my experience.

The biggest issue running off too slow with broad transomed yachts is the risk of the stern being slewed by the boarding wave. So controlled speed downwind is an advantaged, right up to and sometimes surfing speed. ( crew on some winter ocean races to see this at its extreme )

Running downwind has the advantage of reducing the strain on the boat, but tires crew. Also it may keep you in the storm longer then necessary.

The tricky bit is actually after the winds die but the huge seas are still running

The worst case I encountered was big waves running perpendicular up the troughs of even larger waves astern. Getting slapped on two sides was challenging to say the least

Anyone experience that , any strategies ??

Dave
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Old 21-01-2014, 05:46   #14
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pirate Re: Storm Tactics for light production boats

Quote:
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So did you invent "ignorance is bliss".
Naah... just like being the 1st to throw rocks at me...
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Old 21-01-2014, 06:05   #15
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Re: Storm Tactics for light production boats

The downfall of the new wide beamed boats is that the only real alternative in a storm, in my mind is to run off. High free boards and light displacement tend to not heave to safely. The good part of running off is that with a deep spade rudder you have lots of control and can steer around the biggest waves, when you can see them. The downfall is that this method is not passive and if there is just the 2 of you then you both had better be good at the helm. I sailed a modern beamy boat for 2 days in 40-50 knot winds and by the second day the seas were really getting up there. There were 4 of us aboard but only 2 of us could steer in those conditions. (the autopilot could not safely steer the boat) Eventually we were 1 hour on and 1 hour off because we were just whipped and we slept for most of that hour. I decided I never was never going to put myself thru something like that again and purchased a Jordan series drogue because it was a passive system. One size does not fit all so they are made/sized for each individual boat. Unfortunately after getting my butt severally kicked that time I have never been in weather like it since and have never deployed the drogue however there are others on this forum that have and from what I read it did the job it was designed to do. Odds are that you will not run into really bad weather but you asked the question.
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