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Old 04-02-2007, 14:59   #166
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Lying a hull in 30-40foot breaking waves is not a tactic IMHO, parachute for me every time.

I've only experienced 20 -25 ft breaking waves on a few occassions, and with bow's to the weather the bow rides up the wave and the wave breaks on the foredeck sweeping up the cabin front and dumps in the cockpit.

Of course on a heavyweight catamaran the bow's won't ride up over the waves as well as a lightweight one.

Your Lagioon 420 is well suited to coastal and Island hopping.

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Old 04-02-2007, 15:37   #167
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Lying ahull in such weather is asking for a disaster. When the wave hit it hit us on the topsides (38ft mono) and washed over us as we went over, took dinghy, liferaft ant pulpit for the ride.
My preference now would be to run with a drogue.
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Old 07-02-2007, 08:59   #168
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It is unsafe for a catamaran to be so heavy that waves break down on it. For monohulls this is normal. A catamaran should ride over the waves. A lagoon is a very heavy comfortable boat. The weight is a negative factor in surviving heavy weather offshore. A great book that talks about this and other important multihull design factors is "Catamarans Offshore" by Rudy Choy. Check it out. I like the idea of running with a drogue.
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Old 01-07-2018, 16:16   #169
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Re: 1994 Queens Birthday Storm -Pacific

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Originally Posted by Tropic Cat View Post
I found this by taking Cat Man Do's advice and googled Ramtha Catamaran. It was in a mailing list at:

http://lists.samurai.com/pipermail/p...il/001034.html


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Although this deals with sailing cats—not many had much sail up by the time it was over. It certainly deals with the ability of a group of at least three cats to survive a storm—but also has some lessons for monohulls! This relates to the Queens Birthday Day Storm in June 1994. Typically one sails from Auckland N.Z. North to Fiji After the first week of April and before the end of June. This should avoid the Souther Cyclone season and the severe winter Gales. In 1994 there were a series of mild lows which kept many mariners from leaving in April and May—none of these were severe—but folks were waiting for “Ideal weather”. However time crept up on them. The meteriological scenerio is well described in the web site of Steve Dashew at: http://www.setsail.com/products/pdfs/qbs.pdf

The story unfolds as noted in the archives of Lat 38, June 1999:

‘It’s unclear exactly how many boats were caught in the core of the June ’94 storm, but nine boats with a total of 24 crew issued maydays. One boat and her three crew were never seen again. Seven other boats with 17 crew were eventually rescued. One boat rescinded her mayday and made it to port under her own power. What should make the Queen’s Birthday Storm story so interesting to you, .... is that two of the nine boats that issued maydays were catamarans; one a homebuilt 39-footer, the other a Catalac 41.

In addition, there was a third catamaran, a 39-footer, on the periphery of the core. The following is a quick rundown of all nine boats, their crews, and what happened to each of them.” Also an analysis of the monohulls condensed: “

Five things stand out from the experience of the seven monohulls:

1) Despite all efforts, it was virtually impossible to keep the boats from ending up beam-to the seas, which resulted in five of the boats being repeatedly knocked down or rolled.

2) Despite trailing drogues, two of the boats pitch poled.

3) No matter if the seven monohulls pitch poled or rolled, all of them lost their masts.

4) As a result of the pitch poles, knockdowns, and rollovers, many of the crews suffered serious injuries.

5) Having a ship come alongside to effect a rescue was extremely difficult and dangerous foreveryone involved.

6) Perhaps the most amazing thing is how well the seven boats held up to the unthinkably horrible conditions; had it not been for scuttling or collisions with rescuing ships, six of them would have continued to float.

The age-old admonition to never leave a boat until it’sunderwater would seem as true as ever.

Now for the catamarans:

“Ramtha, a 38-foot Roger Simpson designed modern-style catamaran from Australia, with a husband and wife crew with five years of coastal cruising experience and some offshore experience: The crew had set a drogue several days before the storm to fix her steering, but had to cut it loose when they were unable to pull it back up. Ultimately, they found themselves in 70 knots of wind and 40 foot seas, conditions so bad that the 4,000-ton ship Monowai, coming to their rescue, rolled as much as 48º in each direction, injuring three of her crew. Despite four reefs, Ramtha’s main blew to shreds and her steering system became inoperable. With nothing but her twin engines available for maneuvering, being aboard her was like “going down a mountain in a wooden box” or being on a “roller coaster that never stopped.” The boat slid down waves forward, sideways, and backwards. Several times it seemed as though she might flip, but she never did. Ultimately, Monowai shot a line to Ramtha’s crew, but missed. While the line gun was being reloaded, Ramtha’s crew began to get strong second thoughts about leaving the boat, feeling he was doing fine on her own despite being crippled. Nonetheless, they attached their harnesses when the second line landed on their boat, and were dragged several hundred feet ÷ often underwater ÷ to and up the side of the ship. After abandoning the cat, the owners gave her up for lost. A week or so later, they were stunned to learn that the boat had been found ÷ upright and in surprisingly good shape! After settling a salvage claim with another yachtie, they eventually sailed her back to Oz where they began rebuilding the cruising kitty.

Heart Light, a 41-foot Catalac U.S.-based catamaran with a crew of four; a husband and wife couple with 16,000 ocean miles, and two crew with no offshore experience: Despite having 16,000 miles ocean experience, the captain and wife claimed to have not steered the boat except near the dock and to have never jibed between the States and New Zealand. Heart Light was a heavy, solid fiberglass, narrow catamaran. Nevertheless, she did reasonably well, surfing at between 6 and 13 knots while dragging a drogue. When the autopilot couldn’t handle it any longer, the skipper finally learned how to steer, working desperately to prevent waves from slewing the stern in front of the bow. Eventually, both engines went down and linesfouled both rudders. They tied off the helm to port and slid sideways down waves. Despite being “captapulted” through the air on many occasions and being knocked onto one hull several other times, she endured. When the rescue ship arrived, her captain noted that the boat “appeared seaworthy and was riding comfortably in the improved weather.” When the captain said he couldn’t tow the boat, Heart Light’s first mate, a New Age visionary, talked the ship’s captain into a weird agreement: they would only allow themselves to be rescued if he promised to ram Heart Light until she sank. The woman’s theory was that the sinking boat would be a lighthouse guiding the forces of good through seven layers of reality into our currently evil world. Something like that ÷ and yes, she wrote a book. The ship’s captain complied, and Heart Light sank after being rammed several times.

The third catamaran, a 40-footer, carried a deeply reefed main and furled jib in slightly lighter conditions outside of the core. She experienced no serious problems.

There are several interesting things about the two catamarans in the core area of the storm:

1) Neither of them pitchpoled;

2) Neither of them flipped÷ although the crews thought they came close;

3) Neither of them were dismasted;

4) Both of them apparently would have survived ÷ by surfing forwards, sideways, and backwards ÷ had they just been left alone.

Does this mean that multihulls are actually safer in very severe weather than monohulls? We ÷ who own both a monohull and a catamaran ÷ certainly wouldn’t leap to that conclusion. After all, there were several other monohulls in the core area of the storm that didn’t even issue maydays and survived the storm with very little damage. And while it’s much too small asample on which to base any firm conclusions on, the performance of the catamarans in the storm nonetheless had some influence on our deciding to build a cat for our next charterboat.By the way, most of the factual information presented above comes from Rescue In The Pacific, a well-written and well-documented account of the Queen’s Birthday Storm by Tony Farrington. The book is still in print.
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Old thread I know....but an interesting one.

Especially after just reading the saga of the couple who recently lost their yacht.

I'm esp interested in catamaran storm tactics in severe conditions...like force 10-12. Active or passive tactics?

It APPEARS that most opinions seem to favor running with the storm with warps or a JSD. Sounds good IF you have sea room, but what if you don't?. Then what do you do?

Some say that heaving to or lying ahull isn't an option in breaking wave conditions. Some suggest a large para anchor, but others say this could be damaging to the rudders.

Then of course there are varying opinions about how to actually heave to in a cat, and some maintain that it isn't really possible on some cats. I personally know it's not impossible for some cats as I've practiced with varying degrees of success in only benign to moderate conditions. I would have NO idea what would happen in severe or survival conditions.

So, eleven years later, I would like to hear fresh opinions or better yet, actual stories of what may be the most safe options in severe or survival conditions ASSUMING you don't have a JSD or the sea room to deploy one.
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Old 01-07-2018, 17:26   #170
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Re: Multihull storm tactics?

I did a fair bit of research on this , especially on the decision to go parachute or JSD. One of the considerations was the design of the rear end of the cockpit. Most boats are well designed to take seas over the bows, but a lot of modern boats are not so well set up to be able to turn their stern to a big wave. Some cats seem indeed to be designed to funnel a breaking sea over the stern directly towards the patio door. A design flaw that could lead to a complete swamping of the boat when using a JSD. For those designs it would make more sense to use a parachute.
However the parachute does have its own problems, it inevitably places more strain on the vessel than a JSD, and in some cases has been pushed astern so hard that the rudders have been damaged.

In either case it is essential that a fair degree of effort is made to fit robust cleats to secure either the parachute or the JSD.

My boat is suited to use of a JSD, and although that is what I have onboard, I installed suitable hard points for both the JSD and a parachute.
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Old 03-07-2018, 21:32   #171
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Re: Multihull storm tactics?

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Originally Posted by Talbot View Post
I did a fair bit of research on this , especially on the decision to go parachute or JSD. One of the considerations was the design of the rear end of the cockpit. Most boats are well designed to take seas over the bows, but a lot of modern boats are not so well set up to be able to turn their stern to a big wave. Some cats seem indeed to be designed to funnel a breaking sea over the stern directly towards the patio door. A design flaw that could lead to a complete swamping of the boat when using a JSD. For those designs it would make more sense to use a parachute.
However the parachute does have its own problems, it inevitably places more strain on the vessel than a JSD, and in some cases has been pushed astern so hard that the rudders have been damaged.

In either case it is essential that a fair degree of effort is made to fit robust cleats to secure either the parachute or the JSD.

My boat is suited to use of a JSD, and although that is what I have onboard, I installed suitable hard points for both the JSD and a parachute.
Sounds like you are well prepared.

I still don't think I've read a (good) testimonial on how a parachute anchor functioned in severe conditions. I have read about boats sliding backwards down waves resulting in snapped off rudders and salt water incursion thru the exhausts.

Evidently doing absolutely nothing sometimes work as evidenced by the discovery of abandoned upright boats.
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Old 04-07-2018, 09:12   #172
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Re: Multihull storm tactics?

Here are 21 accounts of multi hulls having deployed chutes.
I have not read them, but assume some deployments worked better than others.
http://dragdevicedb.com/category/sea...-on-catamarans
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Old 06-07-2018, 15:34   #173
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Re: Multihull storm tactics?

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Here are 21 accounts of multi hulls having deployed chutes.
I have not read them, but assume some deployments worked better than others.
Sea Anchors on Catamarans | Victor Shane's Drag Device Data Base
Thanks for the link...here's a good testimonial about what I mentioned..... HOWEVER, if I read this right, reads like things would have worked out if one leg of the bridle hadn't snapped.


This is the second file involving Ariel. In the previous file she successfully rode out Force 8-9 conditions on the same parachute with a 250' tether. In this file we see that the 250' tether was clearly too short when Ariel ran into a much heavier storm on her way back from Hawaii. The 250' x 3/4" tether was not long enough to provide adequate shock absorption, as a result of which the boat took a severe pounding. Ariel's tether should have been at least 400' in this instance (the general rule of thumb being LOA x 10). Transcript:

Ariel departed Hawaii 11/10/91 with delivery skipper aboard. He has documented over 100,000 miles in deliveries for Compass Yacht Services alone. Approx. 800 miles NE of Honolulu a rapidly moving, intense LOW which was squeezing against a massive hi-pressure cell caught Ariel in the exact center of reinforced winds. Barometer dropped from 1018 to 1002 in 3 hours! (Weather Fax attached). Wind started one hour later and built to Force 10 where it stayed, never dropping below Force 9 in 48 hours. Waves were 25' (conservatively measured from the back of wave height and not from the troughs). Bridle (3/4" nylon) chafed completely through & had to be replaced with 5/8" backup bridle. Later one leg of the 5/8" bridle SNAPPED in the center when hit with very large wave, throwing Ariel backward, shearing the foam & fiberglass off of one rudder completely, and leaving only half of the other rudder (which later broke off). Crew eventually added 100-150' of anchor chain to the 250' of 3/4" nylon tether and rode out the rest of the storm.

Recovery, using the "partial trip line" was very difficult. Engines both out because during the storm, while motoring up to relieve pressure on bridle (while changing it) a large wave submerged entire stern, forcing water up exhaust system and drowning the engines (exhausts 2' above waterline under aft bridge deck !!!!!) Jury rigging done after storm passed. Ariel was then sailed 1500 miles to San Diego. Moral of the story: USE LOTS OF PRIMARY TETHER! What is adequate for Force 9 is not adequate for Force 10!

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Old 11-07-2018, 22:42   #174
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Re: Multihull storm tactics?

Thanks all for reviving this thread!
Given the monohull nature of the recent discussion regarding the loss of Kelaerin, I appreciate the specific multihull discussion here. I would not have found such a good 10 year old thread without Saleen411. Well done.
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Old 12-07-2018, 00:57   #175
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Re: Multihull storm tactics?

It was force 6 from a passing ship in the morning, But got a lot worse in the afternoon,
I found with plenty of ocean to play in,
I just sailed across the waves down wind, About 30 degrees from the top of the wave line, I had about a foot of Genoa out, The main was tied down, I dragged my drive leg in the water locked in the down position,
I maintained between 5 and 12 knots, The wave height was about 20 feet,
I measure off my mast for wave heights,
The windward side centre board was down, The Leeside board was up, I found out the hard way with the leeside board being down after nearly going over sideways beam on to the seas, The leeside board dug in sliding down a wave,,
I found with the Windward side board down, the autopilot wasnt working so hard when I had both boards up,
Both boards up, The boat was skipping all over the place, It wouldnt hold a straight line, grinding the autopilot hard,

I have the Genoa leads running from the cockpit, Going out on my bow in bad weather is a definate No No,
It corkscrews thru the water some thing chronic,
If I do go onto the bows, I have a chest harness that wont allow me to fall over the side no matter what happens,

As for pointing into the wind, That would destroy my boat, Thats a No No on mine,
As for having a direct following sea, It would sink as the following waves would fill the boat,
I did have a drogue on board, But never thought of using it due to the above reasons,

But this is for my boat only, 14 feet wide and 34 foot long, Catamaran,
Yours might be different, I cant speak for other boats,

My two cents worth,

Cheers, Brian,
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Old 16-07-2018, 07:05   #176
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Re: Multihull storm tactics?

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It was force 6 from a passing ship in the morning, But got a lot worse in the afternoon,
I found with plenty of ocean to play in,
I just sailed across the waves down wind, About 30 degrees from the top of the wave line, I had about a foot of Genoa out, The main was tied down, I dragged my drive leg in the water locked in the down position,
I maintained between 5 and 12 knots, The wave height was about 20 feet,
I measure off my mast for wave heights,
The windward side centre board was down, The Leeside board was up, I found out the hard way with the leeside board being down after nearly going over sideways beam on to the seas, The leeside board dug in sliding down a wave,,
I found with the Windward side board down, the autopilot wasnt working so hard when I had both boards up,
Both boards up, The boat was skipping all over the place, It wouldnt hold a straight line, grinding the autopilot hard,

I have the Genoa leads running from the cockpit, Going out on my bow in bad weather is a definate No No,
It corkscrews thru the water some thing chronic,
If I do go onto the bows, I have a chest harness that wont allow me to fall over the side no matter what happens,

As for pointing into the wind, That would destroy my boat, Thats a No No on mine,
As for having a direct following sea, It would sink as the following waves would fill the boat,
I did have a drogue on board, But never thought of using it due to the above reasons,

But this is for my boat only, 14 feet wide and 34 foot long, Catamaran,
Yours might be different, I cant speak for other boats,

My two cents worth,

Cheers, Brian,
That's interesting about your boards. I believe there are some cats with only ONE board. Wonder what one does if THAT one board is the leeside board. I have heard that some cats do OK surfing a bit sideways boards up.....I wouldn't know.

Maybe 44'cruisingcat can chime in with his expert opinion. ( probably still be motoring 200% of the time to prevent the inevitable pitchpole or capsize).

I would also love to hear what Belizesailor would do in storm conditions with his cat.
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Old 16-07-2018, 14:18   #177
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Re: Multihull storm tactics?

We only had force 8 - 9 for a few days. 3 - 5m seas.

Just forward of the beam.

On our boat having the board fully up was most comfortable. The autopilot coped fine. I could have turned the rates down if needed

We were able to keep sailing towards our destination with just a couple of sq metres of jib keeping us moving at around 6 kts. If the weather had gotten worse I could have sailed deeper. I did turn down 10 degrees or so to cook and eat, and it made a difference.
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Old 16-07-2018, 18:15   #178
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Re: Multihull storm tactics?

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We only had force 8 - 9 for a few days. 3 - 5m seas.

Just forward of the beam.

On our boat having the board fully up was most comfortable. The autopilot coped fine. I could have turned the rates down if needed

We were able to keep sailing towards our destination with just a couple of sq metres of jib keeping us moving at around 6 kts. If the weather had gotten worse I could have sailed deeper. I did turn down 10 degrees or so to cook and eat, and it made a difference.
Thank you for the informative response.

May I ask if you carry a drogue or a parachute anchor?

Again I value your opinion since you actually built and live on your boat....know every screw. I'm sure you have a very good reason for whatever you may or may not carry onboard.
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Old 16-07-2018, 22:45   #179
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Re: Multihull storm tactics?

On that trip we actually had both. Conditions would have needed to worsen quite a lot before we'd have considered using either.

What I did learn is that a sea anchor isn't going to be much use unless you have it "pre doployed".

Ie, it needs to be basically completely set up, shackled to the bow fixtures, with the rode cable tied to the outside of the staunchions, with the actual parachute in the cockpit ready to throw overboard.

Going forward to try to set one up in the conditions we saw would have been pretty hairy. In even worse conditions it would have been no picnic at all.
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Old 17-07-2018, 04:53   #180
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Re: Multihull storm tactics?

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On that trip we actually had both. Conditions would have needed to worsen quite a lot before we'd have considered using either.

What I did learn is that a sea anchor isn't going to be much use unless you have it "pre doployed".

Ie, it needs to be basically completely set up, shackled to the bow fixtures, with the rode cable tied to the outside of the staunchions, with the actual parachute in the cockpit ready to throw overboard.

Going forward to try to set one up in the conditions we saw would have been pretty hairy. In even worse conditions it would have been no picnic at all.
Thank you for the response.
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