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  #221  
Old 09-09-2010
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Question. In winds sustained 25 knots or more would it be wise to just go ahead and jury rig a drag system to prevent such destabilization from occuring in the first place?
Like shifting drag, toward astern, from one side of the boat to the other with use of a steering bridle attached with rolling hitches to the tow line.
The further to one side or the other the drag is moved the more effective it is. A car tire could perform this admirably, or even a worthy bucket. Anyway, I was just thinking of ways to AVOID these situations in the first place and wanted to ask if such a concept would work.
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  #222  
Old 09-09-2010
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Trisstan.
Yep, very true. A retrieval system is also needed (or a sharp knife)
A drogue/ brake type system is to be used in open water if you are in danger of pitchpoling or if you wish to slow down in order to let the weather pass over (be in it for less time by not running with it). The seas would have to be huge - and the wind.

I had a para-anchor on the previous boat - learnt how to use and retrieve it, but never needed in anger. I had been in 65kn and 4-6m swells and did not need the para anchor at that stage. I had sea room and a desire to head in the general direction I was being shoved.

A friend in the same class/model yacht crossed the Tasman and had the same system as I did. He was really hammered and deployed the para anchor. He cut it before it tore out his samsom post - possibly not enough rode - but the postmortem discussion is academic.

25kn in open water is a good sailing breeze.

The situation I was describing earlier in this thread was arriving at a narrow entrance harbour, having to turn to get in, allowing the seas to be on the quarter, whilst my attention was momentarily distracted/surprised by some kayakers.

I firmly believe that you can prepare for most things you can think of, but reality is that each situation is novel and requires a decision and you just live with that decision. Know your boat very well and have it working and maintained. In other words get some sea time under your belt.

The more experience you get, the easier the decision is to make and you seem to get 'luckier'. Then you gasbag on SN....
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  #223  
Old 09-09-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by St Anna View Post
I had the boat start to broach in the worst possible location, poor conditions as the sun was setting. I had to sail into this location as my prop shaft has problems, causing huge cavitation in the following seas. As it happens, this would have occurred under sail or under motor - we sail, its what we do!

We were sailing into Mooloola River which has a narrowish NW/SE rock wall lined entrance. It was blowing 25-30 from the N and there was a 1.5-2.5m swell, exacerbated by the shallowing at the entrance - almost making it a bar crossing. There was dredging operations at the western wall, narrowing it further.

The sun was setting over my right shoulder causing large shadows. It was difficult to see into the troughs of the seas. So the wind behind was behind,and at the entrance, a swell was standing up on the port quarter. I was watching out for about 15 kayakers and a few paddle board surfers as we approached - not easy in the swell, worse in the failing light.

Right at the entrance, I eased sheets, spilling some air out of the genny in order to time the entrance on the back of a swell, some had been breaking across the entrance. At the right time, I cranked on the genny back on and then I saw 3 more kayakers, just in front, about to paddle across the entrance and right under the bow. They obviously couldnt judge my speed. I eased the genny back a notch to let him pass - I now couldnt compromise boat speed as I was committed.

As my concentration is on these 3, I didnt notice a larger swell which flicked us over to stb and the bow to port. I saw the eastern rock wall approach rather rapidly and fought the wheel. The boat responded well, we recieved a slap of water into the cockpit, drenching the cat. One kayaker had crossed in front was paddling as if his life depended on it. The other 2 stayed away.

So nothing broken or harmed, but a scare for us, the cat and the first kayaker. They have as much right to be there as I do, but its like playing on the freeway for them.
Wow - just saw this ST. Very nice!

Did the cat get all aggro on the yakers?

Tristan - you need to check out the "Heavy Weather Sailing" thread in "Seamanship". GREAT STUFF THAT!
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  #224  
Old 09-09-2010
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Let the hard core racers get all aggro with me but...

We had our last PHRF Weds. beer can races yesterday. Forecast was for gusts to 30 mph and when we surveyed the situation from our mooring my racing partner and I decided to throw the first reef in the main since we were shorthanded. We race on the lower Hudson near some 300' tall cliffs that can really make the NW winds fluky.
The winds were stronger out on the river by the starting line and many boats were getting rounded up by the strong sudden gusts. Our next problem was figuring out how much jib to unfurl so the boat wasn't constantly being knocked down. We ended up using about a 100% of our 150 genny until a few particularly vicious gusts hit us near the cliffs. The gusts seemed to veer through about 90 degrees (from N to W) in a few seconds and we were knocked over such that river water was in our cockpit. We had to reduce the jib further and rounded our upwind mark.
The VHF was crackling with calls to the race committee as other boats abandoned the race. The RC had called for mandatory use of PFD's (life preservers) and several boats were disqualified (DSQ) because they did not comply with the RC's edict. One boat that abandoned the race had wind instruments on board and reported that they were hit with a gust of 38 kts when they got knocked down. They abandoned because they did not have a smaller jib then 140. We reefed and furled and finished in 2nd place and nothing broke. My underwear was wet but otherwise clean. Never had that much water in our cockpit before from going over.
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  #225  
Old 09-09-2010
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Hey Caleb, sounds like a great sail. My kinda stuff sans admiral.

We get catabolic? winds (aka bullets) blowing down from cliffs or mountainous hills right onto the catatonic crew (aka me). Is that what was happening?
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  #226  
Old 09-09-2010
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St. Anna,
I guess you could call it that but our cliffs and hills are only around 300 - 500' high.
I've read several books about sailing near Cape Horn and they have called them Katabatic winds or williwaws (sounds more Australian): Katabatic wind - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
winds that roll downhill like, yes, bullets. I never thought of our normally fairly placid Hudson River as a dangerous sailing area like the Straits of Magellan but when the wind pipes up the hills and cliffs do seem to fire some 'bullets' of wind that had me in a pretty catatonic state. It is all about the shape of the land masses and the relatively narrow river (3 miles wide) that makes me usually refer to the winds as 'fluky'.
What was most disconcerting about yesterdays race was the differential between the gusts at over 30 knots and the 15 knot prevailing wind and the directional shifts, even within a single gust, and yes, of course you could see them approaching on the waters surface if you knew what to look for. The 90 degree shift in direction was a bit of a surprise though. I'm quite happy my underwear ended up with only river water on them.
Normally I would have had an open beverage nearby and would not be wearing a life jacket but I was kind of mesmerized and the beers would have been toppled by our knock downs anyway. Fortunately I had plenty of beer left when we tied up safely back at our mooring.
Now I know why about half the boats in our fleet dropped out of the race for emotional or equipment reasons. It would be fine one minute and then it was over on your ear as the next gust pushed through. It would have been really difficult to shake out and put in a reef every few minutes much less letting the furled jib out and taking it in as conditions required. Most blue blooded racers scorn the idea of reefing their sails as it is against their credo of 'as fast as possible' and 'man up and take it' (MTFU) but as a shorthanded crew we had to choose an option that would allow us to finish without getting into worse trouble. The owners manual for my 1967 Tartan 27' even says that it is advisable to reef the main in over 18 knots of wind; so what do you do when the wind goes from 15 - 30+ knots? I don't like trouble so I'll reef even in a race if I feel it is needed.

Hope your feline has dried out and not too aggro after the yakkers got her/him wet! Wind and waves are a sailors dilemma and all the little water craft can get in the way as well.
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  #227  
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Hi Caleb.
It does sound like the wind was funneling down the hills - its the direction change as well as the gusting I guess.

My views are that you are out to enjoy the sail, not have to follow the herd like sheep. Reef if and when you want/need to - It depends on my mood as well -

If I want a quiet slide, listening to Bob Marley or Ceredwen or whatever - I point the boat to the sea and set sail for the breeze, sit in the cockpit and chill out.

Sometimes I get TOLD to put a reef in the sail by my poor shivering, wet companions. I try to always have fastish, safe yachts and used to love cleaning up the 'racing types' who are all ego and mouth. I have grown up a bit and now let it wash over.

The cat grew up on the boat - she has used up a few of her 9 lives already (and so did the idiot who tried to get in front of 17tonnes surfing in!)

Until then, it was a great sail - the boat actually sings when she is flying.
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  #228  
Old 09-10-2010
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St. Anna,
Agreed. Following the herd is for sheep and cattle and those that listen to mainstream news outlets. Bob Marley always sets a wonderful mood too.
On our little 27' boat we have no stereo though so it is always about the wind, waves and clouds or "Wind, Sand and Stars" as the St. Exupery novel points out (great book by the way). I never thought we would get our little boat that far over with her 3-1/2 tonnes of weight though with a reef in the main.
My boat always sings to me in her way when she is doing her best with the wind that she has. It is not about wind instruments or GPS or whatever but a visceral feel of the boat laboring to go in one direction or another. What is scary is the higher winds that 50 S latitude or even the north Atlantic can stir up and even local high wind events.
I am always learning something and so far have been able to report my findings. When I have bitten off more then I can chew I will not report back on my observations/impressions.
Your boat weighs 17 tonnes???
Jebus!
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  #229  
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Caleb.
Never a truer word was spoken about the feel of a yacht under sail.

Dead weight about 15 t (and me) and cruising/livaboard stuff

cheers
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  #230  
Old 09-12-2010
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As some boats are prone to turn turtle, does anyone make a automatic inflating flotation device for the top of the mast? Seams it could prevent a catastrophe in some boats.

My First boat was/is a Hobie 14. First time ever sailing it, I was on a puddle of a lake, with high winds, having a great time cruising on one pontoon - learning the joys of owning a Hobie. The best winds were within a few feet of the shore, so I was coming about right on top of the shore. There was a guy taking pictures called out asking how hard it was to right the boat if it flipped? I stated I had no idea as I popped it up and sailed away, just to be hit by a quick large gust and went over. The mast sunk and stuck into the mud below. Needless to say, I had to be towed in. I have since filled the mast with spray foam. This now keeps the boat on its side as the mast floats. I've unintentionally tested it since then.
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