What is the best way to handle a big wake coming your way? A few weeks back, I was motoring up the channel, at 5.5 Kts, hugging the right side to let the faster traffic pass. There was a large 45+ ft trawler following me. Up ahead, a fast ferry pulled out of its slip, and headed toward me. I started edging toward the center of the channel, to avoid the wakes tossing me out of the channel. Well the trawler decides to pass, throwing a 2 foot “breaking” wake, and squeezing between me and the fast ferry....
Fair Haven, NJ
It's hard to say without having been there, but if I'm picturing the series of events accurately, in this case I would have stayed on the edge of the channel. That way I would have plenty of room to turn into the wake (and towards the center of the channel) so that I took it on at a 45 degree angle. Depending on how fast the ferry and the power boat were traveling, by the time I made the turn, they both would have been out of the way leaving me to deal with the wakes. Also, by staying to the far edge of the channel, that gives me a little bit of time to allow the boats to get out of the way before the wake gets to the point where I need to start the turn.
Of course, I would have to be aware of what's approaching behind so that I don't turn into another overtaking boat.
By turning into the wake at around 45 degrees, your boat won't rock side to side as much, potentially putting major strain on the rigging. The bow will plow through the water. It's only the smallest of wakes that I don't turn into it.