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Old 15-09-2006, 23:16   #16
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The worst storm experience I have had was off the west coast of Van. Island. I was returning home to Bamfield with my 43 west coast troller in late March at the end of a herring season when I made an error in judgement and got stuck off the mouth of Esperanza inlet at night in the most terrifying experience I have ever had. I don't to this day know how hard it was blowing or how high the seas were but I do know I had my throttle to the wall and it took me 10 hours to go 10 miles, that I had to crouch down and look up at 45 degrees through my wheelhouse windows to see the top of the waves.
The violent bucking snapped a belt on my radar scanner, and all my radio antennas broke off the cross tree (spreaders). I broke the steering pedistal free of the compass shelf, knocked the wheelhouse loose and moved it back a good 3/4 of an inch. I had water squirting in through places I never even knew there were joints.

There were two things that really impressed me about that night. The first is that my deckhand claims he slept through it (I couldn't leave the wheel so I have no idea if he did or not) and the second is: a boat that was in the safety of the inlet came back out and jogged along side me until dawn! The skipper of the other boat and I had never met but I have never before or since been so grateful to any man. I don't know if I thought we were going to die but I do know anyone could have bought the boat cheap if they could have gotten us off safely!
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Old 16-09-2006, 14:34   #17
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Hi Sundown:

Glad to have you breathe new life into this thread. Sounds like a real white knuckle affair you went thru. Trawlers are most likely put together better than sail boats in general. I wonder if I would go back to sea after an experience like that. At least you lived to talk about it.
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Old 16-09-2006, 19:28   #18
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Sundown, I'll probably stir up some controversy in saying this, but winters off the west coast of Vancouver Island can stir up seas that easily match the Tasman for ferocity. In one such storm we had the fibreglass radome of a fire control radar smashed in by the waves - height about 60 feet above the waterline.

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Old 17-09-2006, 03:17   #19
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Well this happend just today. It was no big storm, nor big seas, it was the strangest thing I have ever seen. It was almost a "Burmuda Triangle" type incident.
Dawn and I were on our way back in from a weeked out. It was blowing a 25-30kts all weekend. Which wasn't exactly what the forcast had said, but oh well. Anyways, we were getting into the inner sound area and the wind had dropped to a lovely 15-20kt and I had just the Genoa up and was doing a real cracking pace of 8-9kts. But up ahead was the stragest site I had ever seen and ever experianced. It was a ring of very violent looking water. The ring was an almost perfect circle and I would estimate it as being about 100m across. The water was being wipped into a frenzy with little waves leaping a good 3ft into the air, and this frenzy being about a 10m band and yet dead still and calm in the inside of this circle. I couldn't quite work out what the heck was going on till I realised it was a very strong wind causing it. By then it was too late and we were into it. The wind strength was unbelievable. I don't know what it was but it knocked us right over. That has never happend before and we have taken some mighty gusts. But the really strange thing was that the wind had done a compleate 180degree direction change and that is what knocked us down. As fast as I was turning the boat out of it, the more it was spinning me around and driving the bow down. I did one compleate 180degree turn with the boat on it's side through out. The wind went in one complete circle all the way around this frenzied water. It was like some giant whirlwind. We poped out the side of it ruffly right where we went in but now going the opposite direction. It had ripped the Genoa Car off the side of the boat. But this is the freaky part, it had taken a piece of T track with it. It had sheared two bolts and the T track clean through and I had this car smashing against the window. Luckily it didn't break the glass, but the blows were so hard I still don't know how it didn't.
Dawn and I managed to fight the furler and get the genoa in and we rounded up and headed through and out the other side of this thing. This "thing" remained boiling the water for a good 10minutes or more till we moved away far enough to have it disapear from site.
If I ever see anythinglike that again, I'm staying well away from it.
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Old 17-09-2006, 12:18   #20
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birth of a waterspout?
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Old 17-09-2006, 13:33   #21
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But isn't a water spout a Tornado at sea?? There was no cloud. It was a clear sky day. But yep, I swear it was a Tornado type phenomina, but you simply couldn't see any spout and no cloud above.
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Old 17-09-2006, 22:04   #22
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That's pretty creepy, Wheels. Probably has a simple explanation, but you'll not get it from me. Glad you are both ok.

My worst storm wasn't really as bad as some of the storms described in this thread but it was completely unexpected -- bright morning sunshine and a dark row of clouds that I assumed was another of the squalls that had rolled through over the previous few days. I reefed once. The sumatra winds came, didn't break anything, but caught me completely off guard and scared the crap out of me. Didn't even know what it was until talking to cruisers later that day.
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Old 18-09-2006, 06:15   #23
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My worst three offshore storms were between Wick Scotland and St. Margarets Hope, Orkneys. Second one was offshore Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego Argentina, and riding out a hurricane in a 65 ft. crewboat tied up at the Eugene Island lighthouse in Louisiana. They were all bad.
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Old 23-09-2006, 04:41   #24
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Lessons of Damage in Typhoon ~ by Admiral Chester Nimitz, Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet
... The time for taking all measures for a ship's safety is while still able to do so. Nothing is more dangerous than for a seaman to be grudging in taking precautions lest they turn out to have been unnecessary. Safety at sea for a thousand years has depended on exactly the opposite philosophy. ...
The full report: http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq102-4b.htm
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Old 23-09-2006, 13:38   #25
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I talked to an experianced sailor yesterday that explained to me what I ahd seen. He said it was rare, but it turns out it was a verticle falling windshare or downdraft. The horror airpilots dread of. The reason why I was knocked so hard over was the the air was simply falling straight down. It was a verticel column of cold air droping at terrific speed. As it hits the water, the centre of the water surface is in a high pressure zone and remains flat. The outside ring is where the air is curling back up and it creates and extreme low pressure zone. Because the air is going verticle at the ring edge, the water is lifted. so hence I saw no spray, just these little wave's being lifted straight up. And also hence when I hit the ring, it spun me around 180 and spat me back out again. It all makes perfect sense now with the explanation, but I didn't know that could happen. I can also now understand why Aircraft hitting something like that can make them fall so far so fast. Maybe a Pilot on here could xplain more about the phenominim.
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Old 23-09-2006, 15:35   #26
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Yep. Makes sense. A microburst. That used to happen to me all the time back in the 70's...
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Old 10-10-2006, 21:51   #27
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Similar to sundown my worst experience was on the southwestern coast of Vancouver Island, just north of the border.

If I remember correctly it was mid November or early December, I was out on a medium sized fishing boat, we were doing some "island hopping" in the strait and the captain decided to round the southern tip and take us out to the open sea.

Well, the weather turned bad on us as soon as we were west of Victoria, the wind was just insane. The waves were rocking the boat like it was a toy. The funny thing was it was as clear a day as could be, but the waves must have been 20-30 feet high. We had to brace the doors to stop them from popping the latches, and I think we were just lucky none of the windows broke in. We rode that out for about 6 hours before we were able to get back into the strait of juan de fuca where the water, while still rough, is much more manageable than the raw pacific.

Van island's west coast must have some of the roughest seas in the world during winter.
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Old 11-10-2006, 17:15   #28
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1972 in the Tasman Sea between Sydney and Auckland in 90 knot winds and 50 to 60 foot seas.
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Old 12-10-2006, 03:23   #29
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Oh you got one of the better trips across huh? ;-) :-)
Yeaup, that stretch of water is cause for many a good yarn. In fact, I wouldnt' want to be a boaty out in the middle of the pond at the mo. We have had some major big blows coming in this week.
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Old 12-10-2006, 11:31   #30
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tried to make it from the Orkney Islands to Wick one December trying to get home for Christmas. had to turn back.
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