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Old 07-10-2011, 18:52   #16
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Re: Storm in a Boat ?

Originally Posted by Kallima View Post
Hi! I'm new to the forum and new to sailing, and I really really want to know what it's like to be in a storm in a boat (...)
Yes. The first part of your sentence explains the question contained in its second part.

Well, it sucks. You get wet. You get cold. Yet get frightened beyond anything you have ever experienced or expected to experience. If you are prone to seasickness (most people are), you vomit till there is nothing left inside you and then you vomit some more.

If you let the above said trifles get you, you cut off, go down below to get away from it all and then you get capsized and the boat is a mess and there is water everywhere and you have no dry clothing to warm you up and no way to cook your food. Maybe you lost the rig and maybe the boat is slowly sinking.

Then you decide again to get away from the mess you have made and you go into the life raft and cut off the line. Then the life raft capsizes and you get tossed into the ocean. It is possible your body never gets found and your parents are very sad.

There is the movie 'The Perfect Storm'. Watch it and you will know. It is based on a true story.

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Old 07-10-2011, 19:14   #17
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Re: Storm in a Boat ?

one of the first things you reallly wanna do in the skeerdedness yer in a storm is kill the ass that gotchye there....piece by piece.....then whenye settle into it a shade, the sailing rocks. but the 50 footers i wont purposefully sail in.. i was in 30 footers, and that was following seas in pacific between avalon and oceanside--no they didnt diminish. they were from an el nino storm the day before we left avalon...1994, january, early in month. now i wait until 2-3 days , when the seas settle some.
riding on prefrontal winds is a lil tetchy in the sloop--fin/spade, that i sailed in gulf, but it was awesome fun sailing in my formosa..... BIIIIG difference.
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Old 07-10-2011, 19:32   #18
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Re: Storm in a Boat ?

The OP asked about storms in a boat, not on a boat.

Storms in a boat are pretty much non-survivable - you are better to just give up and ask for death. At best, you will be sleeping alone for a while. She will tell her friends and they will hate you too. At worst, the storm will seem like a quick one and you will be back to good weather. But as time goes on, you will find a lot of damage, not initially apparent, appearing in strange places. You will become afraid of those things that used to be routine, but now seem to blow up in your face.

Pray you never experience a storm in a boat.


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Old 07-10-2011, 19:39   #19
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Re: Storm in a Boat ?

omg!!colmj, you are soooo right!!!!!
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Old 07-10-2011, 20:56   #20
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Originally Posted by BareFtGrl
Wow Geo! That is some story!! Sabray how beautifully poetic. I was plain 'ole scared as hell when I met my first squall line, but I will fair much better the next time I encounter another. Florida is notorious for sudden pop-up storms. My sailing instructor always says "the boat will take more than you can" and I believe him!!
True story the way I remember it not poetic nonsense. Po asked what it's like. I swear I love sleeping in a boat under way slipping off the edge of a wave. The best salad I have had was when we made port. It was served in a wood bowl. A deep wood bowl there were onions and tomatoes all fresh the lettuce was crisp and strips of chicken warm strips scattered in between. If there was a dressing I don't remember .
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Old 07-10-2011, 21:05   #21
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Then stop that poetic rhetoric! You even made the salad seem like I've missed something spectacular! LoL!
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Old 07-10-2011, 23:13   #22
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Re: Storm in a Boat ?

Depends what you are in, where you are, how well prepared the boat is, and the experience of crew and skipper. Force 11 in the Antarctic was a mild inconvenience with 300 feet on the keel. Force 10 in a solid thirty footer can be very satisfying, but can quickly become terrifying if things start to go wrong. Issues that are minor in milder conditions can become large. Everything's harder to do.

Most scary is if people around you lose their cool. You suddenly feel very alone!
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Old 08-10-2011, 05:16   #23
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Re: Storm in a Boat ?

a few body slams in the boat into hard objects and seriously sea sick or injured crew members and you quickly wish you had not gone out. Then the crew will tell you to turn around and go back.
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Old 08-10-2011, 05:42   #24
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Re: Storm in a Boat ?

We have had some good storms...waves big enough to fill a center cockpit. But really the only thing that has really scared us is lightning. With only two of us on board usually one of us is asleep. But when lightning is hitting all around we both are awake. Once, between Tonga and Fiji we had a lightning storm that lasted more than 3 hours. We just sat on the floor and wondered why we had not been hit yet. The windows were bright with light and the thunder was incredible. We just assumed we would be hit sometime.
But it went away and we sailed on.
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Old 08-10-2011, 05:48   #25
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Re: Storm in a Boat ?

Whenever we would encounter a storm at sea, when I was a child, my Father would comfort us by saying "The boat can take far more abuse than the people inside it." He was right. If you ever notice when the new day is coming during a storm, if she doesn't lay down by 0400, she probably won't and you are in for it for the rest of the day. I usually don't sleep real good until, I know the wind is laying off.
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Old 08-10-2011, 06:03   #26
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Re: Storm in a Boat ?

I haven't seen such huge waves before.
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Old 08-10-2011, 06:25   #27
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Re: Storm in a Boat ?

Sounds like this question is driven with a hint of fear. Notice that if if the whole experience of being on a boat were not worth it, there would not be so many people contributing responses.

Of course storms do happen and of course boats are caught out in them. I've never been out in a storm, but I've been in a slip during a storm with 90 mph winds. I kind'a enjoy them, once I feel I've done what I can to take care of my boat. I survived many storms in my slip without a single loss of life. And in the morning you get to fish out things that other people lost. I got a perfectly matching binnacle cover that way.

I've been out in serious blows. Serious enough for me anyway. A little scary, but a big learning experience. So I came out ahead.
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Old 08-10-2011, 06:25   #28
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Re: Storm in a Boat ?

Originally Posted by Kallima View Post
Hi! I'm new to the forum and new to sailing, and I really really want to know what it's like to be in a storm in a boat...obviously I can imagine that it would be pretty hectic, but I'd love to hear your first-hand stories and how you managed to deal with some of the more hairy situations!

Just remember the Squall Rules:
and that there is a reason for the phrase "batten down the hatches".
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Old 08-10-2011, 10:50   #29
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Re: Storm in a Boat ?

Here's what I posted in response to an earlier thread in which the OP asked, "What was your first offshore experience?" I've made a number of offshore passages in my own boat since then, in much stormier conditions, and they weren't nearly so "awe inspiring". Just proves you can get used to it and actually enjoy it in the right boat, and with a bit of experience under your belt.

Mine was an eleven day passage from the Chesapeake Bay to Virgin Gorda. When I got off the boat, I remember saying to myself, "Gawd, I'll never do that again!" Obviously, I was mistaken.

I'd done a lot of coastal sailing, chartering, etc., but nothing offshore at that point, when a friend asked me to crew with him as navigator on his boat in the 2001 Caribbean 1500. The boat was an 18 year old, 36' Italian sloop. The skipper and the other two crew members were experienced offshore sailors, and I was the rookie.

We got off to a good start, and crossed the Gulf Stream in fairly boisterous conditions compared to Bay sailing--18-22 kts with 9-12 seas from three different directions. Once through the Stream, we set the autopilot and headed SSE. The autopilot died the next day, so we were back to hand steering.

The gale hit us about 300 miles west of Bermuda. Three days of howling winds and large seas. The steering broke the first day of the gale, so we were steering with a steel pipe about two feet long. Two on watch, one steering for 30 minutes, then lying down in the cockpit to "rest" while the other took over. No dodger, so solid green water was sweeping the deck and cabin roof and cascading into the cockpit. After two hours of that, the other two guys came up to take over. The boat leaked at the deck to hull joint and through the companionway hatch. When doing my DR plots, a half gallon of seawater would regularly come splashing down on me from above. When coming off watch, we'd pump the bilge dry--about 80-100 strokes on the Whale Gusher.

Three days later the gale blew out, and the wind completely died. The engine wouldn't start. Crud in the tank had come loose and the skipper had forgotten his extra fuel filters. Never could get it going, so we drifted becalmed for 24 hours. Then the wind came back, and we were able to make 6-1/2 kts for three days to the BVI. That was the year that the Leonid meteor shower was so great. An amazing show out on the ocean, 400 nm north of the Virgin Islands, so bright I could see them through the sails.

We sailed in to the Sir Francis Drake Channel about 10 pm on the 11th day. The batteries were shot, but we managed to raise some of the 1500 sailors on a handheld, and we were towed into the marina by four dinghies. We made the boat fast, and broke out the rum and cigars. Whew!

It was an eye-opening experience for me. A trip like that is so completely different from spending a week sailing from one anchorage to another up the Chesapeake Bay, that it's impossible to imagine it. Three days in a gale in a semi-crippled boat doing two hours on/two hours off double watches means almost no sleep. Lashed with cold wind and salt water topside, claustrophobic hot humid air below. The noise is hellish. You're battered and bruised by the violent motion of the boat. No proper hot meals. But the fantastic tradewinds sailing for those last three days, and the magnificent meteor shower show went a long way towards making up for it. I've been offshore in much worse conditions since that trip, but that first time experience looms as the most challenging by far in my mind and remembrance.

I highly recommend that your first offshore sailing experience be on someone else's boat, with an experienced crew. After my first time experience, I've always made it a point to offer a berth to an offshore rookie on my passages, making sure the other two crew were experienced. It's worked out well, but one fellow decided that it just wasn't for him. He thanked me after the trip and said, "Hud, you've saved be a quarter of a million dollars!" He'd been planning on buying a bluewater cruiser and taking his family on a year's sabbatical to the islands.
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Old 10-10-2011, 14:27   #30
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Re: Storm in a Boat ?

Wow pretty epic posts! looks like I'm going to be careful not to sail joyfully headfirst into one of these things in a dinghy....

Thanks for all the advice as well, much needed!

Some people have said that I sound scared - well yes but there's not much reward (or fun) from dealing with things which we're not secretly chewing our nails off about is there? Like jumping off a ledge on a snowboard. Although when I first jumped off the ledge I was stupid enough not to wear a helmet and completely knocked myself out, so from now on I'd like to know as possible when getting myself into dangerous situations. Also, your stories are bluddy interesting/amazing
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