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Old 04-06-2022, 17:33   #46
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Re: How to get heavy weather ocean sailing experience

I was trying to think of a simple analogy...

"So I'm wondering what it must feel like to have someone beat the s**t out of me....
Think I'll do a few rounds with Mike Tyson to see what pain is all about."

Close enuff ???
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Old 05-06-2022, 00:04   #47
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Re: How to get heavy weather ocean sailing experience

drogues slow modern yachts too much. 300 feet of a line in a loop astern is more then enough to steady the stern and minimise broaching. Modern hull forms are much better hydrodynamically

Interestingly, I tried this tactic, but it didn't work worth a damn, and didn't slow my boat down one bit. When the line gets tight, most of the line lifts out of the water, leaving only the " bight" in the water. The " bight"...such as that it is....is the rope bent in two.....there is no " bight" per se, as the lines are right next to each other, and only a short section will be in the water....the rest will be in the air.

I didn't have a drogue, I had to fashion one by taking my storm jib and wadding it up into a big ball of cloth, like a big ball....this I streamed behind the boat on the end of an anchor line, about 200' behind the boat.

Even with this contrivance behind the boat, I was still doing 5-6 knots sliding down the face of a wave, under bare poles. Enough speed to give me some limited steerageway...

The strain on that line was enormous. The line was 3 strand nylon, 5/8" dia. and it would be bar tight. When I finally pulled my makeshift " drogue" back onboard, I could not untie the knot as it had fused together.

I tried a few other things as well.....towing an anchor tied to some fenders, etc, but none worked. My makeshift " drogue" was the only contrivance that slowed me down.

That was my experience. Yours might differ.
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Old 06-06-2022, 06:37   #48
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Re: How to get heavy weather ocean sailing experience

I have sailed in some storm conditions, but I would certainly never go looking for them. Just wondering. Do you have any other masochistic ideas ?
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Old 06-06-2022, 06:39   #49
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Re: How to get heavy weather ocean sailing experience

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Originally Posted by Donnybrook View Post
What's the best way for an experienced Great Lakes sailor to get heavy weather ocean sailing experience? I'd like to experience 20'+ waves and gale force winds in the ocean.

My goal is to understand what an angry ocean is really like as I think about my next boat--currently have a Catalina 34. I want to experience conditions that people think you need a "blue water" boat for.

I've sailed several Chicago-Mac races (including several as skipper) and experienced 12'+ very-steep (6 second) waves, severe thunderstorms (70+ knot gusts for short duration) and sustained 50 knot winds so I have 300+ mile mulit-day passage experience.

I like the John Kretschmer Sailing program but am looking for less time commitment and cost. Bad sailing weather seems rare when you're looking for it and have to plan travel time to get to it.

Thanks in advance for your ideas!
You want to know what itís really like in big wind and seas. I can tell you thatís simple. Sail from the east coast to Bermuda in a northern. The wind is going against the Gulf Stream! I have 10 Chicago Macs and crossing the Gulf if you get caught is far worse!
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Old 06-06-2022, 07:05   #50
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Re: How to get heavy weather ocean sailing experience

I sailed on the Great Lakes since I was 11 starting with Penguins. Yachted on Lake Superior the last 40 years.

So, myself and a buddy, a couple of Great Lakes sailors, with two crew went through the St. Lawrence and down to Halifax to jump off to Oban, Scotland. We left Halifax on the heels of a gale and proceeded to side step 4 major lows on the way across. Hilgenburg keep us out of the worst.

For me the biggest source of angst was not knowing what to expect from these lows sweeping across the north Atlantic because of zero ocean sailing experience.

The last low, having a 800 mi gale diameter with a storm force center, forced us within 200 miles of Spain. A 42 footer, 3 days behind us got clobbered as they could not side step it like we were able to. Most we saw were 40 knot gusts. All-in-all we were over 1000 mi off course by the end and consequently made landfall in Cork.

Anyway, the bottom line is ocean waves and chop are different. It seems like it takes more wind to make them ugly when compared to the Great Lakes. However, the ocean wave dynamics are magnificent and no sailor should not experience the awe.
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Old 06-06-2022, 07:17   #51
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Re: How to get heavy weather ocean sailing experience

Worst conditions we ever experienced in our sailing career (50k miles, circumnav, blah blah blah) was in Lake Michigan coming back from Grand Haven after competing in the Queens Cup race. 30+ knots sustained out of the north created large, short period waves. Miserable trip!



Point being, if you've seen Lake Michigan when it gets ugly (which it seems you have), you'll be fine for most ocean sailing,
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Old 06-06-2022, 07:26   #52
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Re: How to get heavy weather ocean sailing experience

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Originally Posted by Donnybrook View Post
What's the best way for an experienced Great Lakes sailor to get heavy weather ocean sailing experience? I'd like to experience 20'+ waves and gale force winds in the ocean.

My goal is to understand what an angry ocean is really like as I think about my next boat--currently have a Catalina 34. I want to experience conditions that people think you need a "blue water" boat for.

I've sailed several Chicago-Mac races (including several as skipper) and experienced 12'+ very-steep (6 second) waves, severe thunderstorms (70+ knot gusts for short duration) and sustained 50 knot winds so I have 300+ mile mulit-day passage experience.

I like the John Kretschmer Sailing program but am looking for less time commitment and cost. Bad sailing weather seems rare when you're looking for it and have to plan travel time to get to it.

Thanks in advance for your ideas!
I sailed 7 yr on Lake MI out of Chicago when I lived there. No different there than a ocean. Experienced both. If you can handle the great lake in sour weather, you can do an ocean.
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Old 06-06-2022, 08:06   #53
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Re: How to get heavy weather ocean sailing experience

I have sailed extensively in the Great Lakes and I have circumnavigated the world. Great Lakes were more demanding. You'll be just fine.
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Old 06-06-2022, 08:08   #54
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Re: How to get heavy weather ocean sailing experience

I was 100's of miles offshore when the doodoo hit the fan for me.

The whole ordeal lasted about 3 days.

During those three days, I was blown off course by about 100 miles...I little choice in the matter, as the wind pretty much blew me where it wanted to go.

I didn't have any lee shore to worry about, but I would think this would be a concern in the Great Lakes.
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Old 06-06-2022, 08:20   #55
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Re: How to get heavy weather ocean sailing experience

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Picture from 1 of the around the world 70 foot clipper racing vessels from their internet page.

Note: fastening of hedsail.
That ain't a furling hedsail and that will preform alot better than such but needs hands to change sizing.
That fastening is still reliant of forestay so alot of heeling will torque yet because tack is independent they can also lose alot of torque from leading edge by maintaining tension of tack yet letting tack out slightly to allow a luff to form. Being the lead of sail, such torque forces on sail luff above will reduce and hence allowance of more sail area with more clew and a maybe a slight loss of point but gifted with more knots to make lesser more point from less.

Cruisers with furlers can't do this and reduce to fly a Yankee instead.

I'd rather love a Yankee. Just saying because it amazes me too.

Here's to the Yankees; hip hip.
That photo gave me flashbacks of having to drag out a sopping wet headsail weighing so much that eight of us had to heave it along the deck at 0300 for a change while the boat is beating into 25kts in the middle of the Pacific!
Good times on the Clipper Race 11/12!
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Old 06-06-2022, 08:22   #56
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Re: How to get heavy weather ocean sailing experience

Practice all the skills you need for heavy weather in moderate to light conditions. That way nobody gets hurt and almost nothing will break. Maybe dumb luck or cowardice, but that’s how I learned it. When the $%&$ hit the fan the first and last time, I was ready, never felt afraid/panicked etc. Drogue practice in 12 knots of wind, the drogue trip-line snagged. It took three strong guys to pull the drogue back on board…we finished the job with a cockpit winch.
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Old 06-06-2022, 08:29   #57
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Re: How to get heavy weather ocean sailing experience

Anyone who has experienced this will tell you: When Lake Mead, near Las Vegas was full, bad weather, that could come from no where on a clear day was serious. In the middle, it was more than 10 miles across and more than a 1000 ft deep.
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Old 06-06-2022, 10:28   #58
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Re: How to get heavy weather ocean sailing experience

You already have the experience! I would suggest to not go look for heavy weather. When you sail around the Bahamas , Virgin Islands, any Atlantic crossing the heavy weather will find you. Prudent sailing is planning to avoid the nasty stuff. Too many things can and will go wrong with your thinking. Rudder failure comes to mind. When you sail enough there will be stories to share when you get older. I sailed from the Virgins to Miami during the Christmas winds and will never do that again. Good Luck.
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Old 06-06-2022, 10:32   #59
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Re: How to get heavy weather ocean sailing experience

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You already have the experience! I would suggest to not go look for heavy weather. When you sail around the Bahamas , Virgin Islands, any Atlantic crossing the heavy weather will find you. Prudent sailing is planning to avoid the nasty stuff. Too many things can and will go wrong with your thinking. Rudder failure comes to mind. When you sail enough there will be stories to share when you get older. I sailed from the Virgins to Miami during the Christmas winds and will never do that again. Good Luck.

So what was your route? Virgins to Miami should be a downwind sleigh ride. Or did you get caught up in a norther coming thru?
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Old 06-06-2022, 10:43   #60
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Re: How to get heavy weather ocean sailing experience

I am doing a transatlantic crossing in my Passport 40 on Aug. 6-24 (St. John's to Cork, Ireland). While it is late summer, we will most likely get some heavy weather. I have one crew spot available if you might be interested.

All the best, Mike
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