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Old 02-12-2013, 20:54   #1
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Wave height / Period /Wind speed comfort

We are working toward heading south in the chesapeake this week to the ICW and we have been watching the weather the last few days trying to find a good weather window.

Predictwind is saying that we can expect 10-20 knots and 5 foot waves at 5 second intervals. So, we may wait it out. My concern is that as winter weather is approaching that we may not be getting any better over the next few weeks.

My question to you guys is... what is upper most wave height and period you consider comfortable conditions? What about acceptable conditions?
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Old 03-12-2013, 07:18   #2
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Re: Wave height / Period /Wind speed comfort

You will not have 5' waves in the ICW. The ICW can be traversed in pretty much all weather conditions, although certain long straight stretches of it, like Albemarle sound and alligator river can be uncomfortable.

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Old 03-12-2013, 08:27   #3
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Re: Wave height / Period /Wind speed comfort

Ive always felt that a wave period (in seconds) of 1.33 times the wave height (in feet) generally provides a comfortable ride.
A wave period equal to, or less than, wave height (square waves) will be very uncomfortable.
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:00   #4
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Re: Wave height / Period /Wind speed comfort

Thanks, I've often wondered about that.
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:05   #5
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Re: Wave height / Period /Wind speed comfort

Will also depend on the wind direction vs your course. Even sailing in square waves if going with the wind and waves behind you could be bearable when beating into it would be miserable.
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:19   #6
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Re: Wave height / Period /Wind speed comfort

I believe he's looking for a weather window to go south down the Chesapeake and not a window for the ICW. The roughest conditions I have sailed in have been on the Chessy. If it's blowing 10-20 with 5 footers and the wind is from the north, you're golden. It's a sleigh ride. However, if that same wind is blowing from the south and you're headed south, you're gonna get beat up real bad. Did the same trip a few months back. First day winds from south and got slammed. Second day, winds from north and it was great. Saw 13.9 knots that day! Moral is, don't go up or down the Chessy in a moderate or higher contrary wind. Once on the ICW, windows don't really come into play except for crossing the few sounds. Good luck, have fun!
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Old 03-12-2013, 14:14   #7
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Re: Wave height / Period /Wind speed comfort

Sorry, I should have qualified, not concerned about the ICW... just the chesapeake but also in general.
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Old 03-12-2013, 18:03   #8
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Re: Wave height / Period /Wind speed comfort

10-20 knots with 5' waves should be nothing for a heavy 38' boat like yours. It would certainly be nicer on a reach than beating into it, but your boat should be capable of doing either. In any case, if you're heading for the ICW, then GET THERE before the weather gets worse, and you won't have to worry about it after that.
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Old 03-12-2013, 18:07   #9
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Re: Wave height / Period /Wind speed comfort

Well, and that is my thinking as well. Although I have had enough "things" happen in the last few weeks that makes me feel that I need to pay more attention to my instincts rather than logic and reason my way through.

Having second opinions can help or hurt you but its always good for a gut check.
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Old 04-12-2013, 07:40   #10
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Re: Wave height / Period /Wind speed comfort

That's not so bad. I concur that until breaking height or "enough to roll you", wave height isn't as big a deal as period or direction you have to bash into. I'm not fond of a corkscrewing motion, personally.

But you can use the nearby land to reduce fetch, no? I don't know the ICW, but there are probably chart-datum depth contours that favour a shorter fetch and, one hopes, less nasty waves.
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Old 04-12-2013, 08:23   #11
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pirate Re: Wave height / Period /Wind speed comfort

Go for it if the winds from behind or on the beams... 5ft is no big deal and 10-20 is perfect.. no need to reef so should cover ground well..
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Old 04-12-2013, 19:46   #12
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Re: Wave height / Period /Wind speed comfort

I have more experience in uncomfortable sailing situations than my wife. I really don't want to make the start of our first cruise uncomfortable for her because if she is uncomfortable the first time out, its going to suck. Unfortunately, it looks like the weather forecast is deteriorating, they are predicting freezin rain for saturday but we should be in Norfolk by then if we beat feet.

Our boat can no doubt handle anything we throw at her. We have carefully refitted the boat with "real" professional help (our VERY attentive rigger came out again and rechecked my rigging, updated a few items, and reviewed everything again***) and our own hard work. We know this boat inside and out from the bottom up. We have checked and rechecked every system possible.

Its the crew making me walk the plank I am worried about.

*** I HIGHLY recommend "The Rigging Company" in Annapolis. Their attention to detail and over-and-above-and-beyond delivery puts most of the consulting firms I work with in IT to shame. I'm almost embarrassed to call myself a pro in my field after dealing with them.
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