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  #1  
Old 06-08-2008
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Sailing with the storm

I have just finished reading the "Series drogue or Para anchor" thread and found it very interesting. This is 'kind of related' to the original post but different, so I hope I did the right thing by starting a new thread. If not....oops, I'm NEW! Although I'm no old salt, I experienced one passage with 14 to 18 foot waves and 25 - 35 kts of wind and it only lasted for 36 hours, no big deal. I never felt unsafe, but it sure made me think. It was the most amazing sailing I have ever done, BTW!

Given all the advantages and negatives of both systems (with associated chains, diameters and rodes) I do not understand riding with a severe storm. Well, unless your a 'round the world racer type. Given I'm in a cruiser frame of mind here, would one not want the storm to pass by as quickly as possible? And in the face of huge waves, would you not want the strongest and most stable end of the boat to face into those conditions? I would think it would be a safer and more comfortable ride given the way most boats yawl in following seas. That would seem to favor a sea anchor by all but stoping the boat and allowing the storm to pass more quickly. Also this is conceding that lying ahull and heaving to are too dangerous for conditions.

I've never read any material from this angle of letting a storm pass as opposed to riding with it. Am I way off base? Thanks

Bob
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Old 06-08-2008
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Full...Good question....My take is this...If you think about riding with the storm being about putting the boat on a Broad REACH or RUN rather than a BEAT...it becomes clear that you have around 90 compass degrees or so of courses you can run on and so you pick a course that will take you out of the direction the storm is supposed to travel. Wave direction and size will also influence the course you set, but the idea is to run before the storm on a course that will take you out of it as quickly as is prudent given wind/wave conditions.
In the picture below, if you are sailbobat at position X with predicted storm direction as shown and current wind and waves from the West, you can run on any of the blue line courses shown but it would be dumb to head in a northerly direction so we head southeast and out of the storm as quickly as possible.
Sailing with the storm-storm.jpg

Note: not saying that running is the best solution as that will differ depending on the location, boat and skipper. Just illustrating the principle.
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Old 06-08-2008
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Then there is the type of storm conditions we were in when we were sailing around the Cape of Good Hope at the southern end of South Africa in our 30 foot Allied Seawind Ketch back in 1973. The wind was blowing about 50 - 55 kts and the seas were running in excess of 30 feet; so high that when we were in the trough there was no wind; but, when we were on the crest (with about a three to four foot break) all hell was breaking loose. We did not want to heave to for fear of being rolled over because the waves were very steep. The wind was dead astern, so we deployed warps to slow us down and keep us from nosediving into the wave in front of us. At that time I wish we had had a "Gale-rider" by Hathaway Reiser and Raymond. I would not have wanted to turn into the wind to deploy a parachute anchor. We ran like this in the direction we wanted to go for about 18 hours. I don't want to do that again!
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Old 06-08-2008
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Cam, your illustration makes very good sense. Go with what gets you out of the storm in the shortest period of time in the safest way possible. Guess I had forgotten that storms do not always move in the same direction as the wind. And as in sgkuhner experience, it is not alway possible to turn bow to the wind. Thanks guys,

Bob

Last edited by fullkeel7; 06-08-2008 at 10:45 PM. Reason: trouble with s's
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Old 06-09-2008
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There's also the random factors of the sea state or which side of the cyclonic low you are on (to use a typical example). If you are close to a rapidly deepening low with a steep pressure gradient, but are travelling AWAY from both wind and system direction, you might just get a hatful of wind without well-developed or breaking seas, because the wave trains haven't established themselves. You can use that wind to vector away from steeper waves at hull speed...the "short, sharp" approach.

If you are on the wrong side of a hurricane, or at the tail end of a filling-in depression, you can get little wind with confused or irregular waves that can oppose the wind ...the "washing machine" effect.

I would much rather have more wind and less waves than loads of confused, breaking waves and not enough wind to keep the boat from flailing side to side for hours. I would deal with those situations in fairly different ways, I think, and part of that would depend on state of crew, state of fatigue and state of gear.
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Old 06-09-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fullkeel7 View Post

Given all the advantages and negatives of both systems (with associated chains, diameters and rodes) I do not understand riding with a severe storm. Well, unless your a 'round the world racer type. Given I'm in a cruiser frame of mind here, would one not want the storm to pass by as quickly as possible? And in the face of huge waves, would you not want the strongest and most stable end of the boat to face into those conditions? I would think it would be a safer and more comfortable ride given the way most boats yawl in following seas. That would seem to favor a sea anchor by all but stoping the boat and allowing the storm to pass more quickly. Also this is conceding that lying ahull and heaving to are too dangerous for conditions.

I've never read any material from this angle of letting a storm pass as opposed to riding with it. Am I way off base? Thanks

Bob

Bob, suggest you look at some books or articles by Lin & Larry Pardey. Heaving too and Letting the storm past by rather than running and remaining longer in the storm system is one of the advantages they cite in heaving too and / or using a para anchor. Their book "Storm Tactics Handbook" mentions it.

Agree with you that you would want to keep ...the strongest and most stable end of the boat to face into those conditions ie the bow. Only thing I would not agree with is the comment ...heaving to are too dangerous for conditions. . If you have a boat that is capable of heaving too I believe this would be the best tactic when conditions become to dangerous for active sailing. In this admittedly long thread below this issue was discussed a fair bit.

Ilenart

http://www.sailnet.com/forums/seaman...eavy-boat.html
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Old 06-09-2008
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I strongly disagree with Ilnert that heaving-to is always the best solution. Kitty and I were caught in a hurricane in July 1974 midway between Cape Hatteras and Bermuda. In those days we did not have an SSB nor a VHF (They weren't available) so we had no warning. We originally hove to; but when the wind got over 70 kts it was just too much for our little 30 foot Seawind Ketch so we took the storm jib and storm try-sail down and proceeded to lie ahull. It was deceptively comfortable as we were just blown over on our side at about a 30-40 degree list, and rode up and down on the waves as they passed under us. However, at about 2 AM we went up on one wave and for an instant I knew we were not coming back. We fell off the wave and landed in the trough with such an explosion that the main hatch was blown off and a wall of water was coming down the companion way. When we finally righted (maybe 30 seconds) the water below was up to the level of the bunks. I jumped up into knee deep water and looked out the companionway hatch. The wind vane was gone, the grab rails on the cabin top were gone and all that was left was the through bolts sticking up and the boom was bent in a U. Luckily we had the most efficient bilge pump in the world....a frightened woman with a bucket. I immediately threw warps over the side to try and get us to run off with the wind; but, we kept broaching. I left the boat to fend for itself while I took a piece of plywood and fastened it over the companionway hatch to keep anymore water from coming in. 12 hours later the wind was back down to 30 kts and we had survived. No I wouldn't heave-to or lie ahull in ALL conditions. That said we normally do heave-to when it gets too uncomfortable and wait for the weather to pass by.

The following pictures were taken the next day


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Old 06-10-2008
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sgkuhner,

my opinion is based on a number of sources, primarily the 1994 Pacific Storm survey plus Lin & Larry Pardey readings, Adlard Cole's Heavy Weather Sailing, etc. In short it appears a lot more boats get into trouble when running compared to heading into the weather. Whether this means heaving too, motoring into the weather, for-reaching or whatever.

A good example is given in The 1994 Pacific Storm Survey by Kim Taylor which includes details of tactics used by 16 yachts during the 60 to 90kt storm north of New Zealand in June 1994. 100% of the boats that hove too or motored into the weather had no problems. In contrast roughly 50% of the boats that were running free or running with drogues had major problems with four of the boats rolling and four other boats being knocked down beyond 90 degrees. This included Destiny, a Norseman 447 Cutter (45ft) which pitchpoled whilst running with a drogue.

Note that my opinon is not based on personal experience, however there is a fair bit of evidence around that support the above.

Also note that I said "If you have a boat that is capable of heaving too...". Some yachts, particularly light displacement (with say a displacement / length ratio of less than 200) have lots of problems heaving too and these boats will probably have to eith use a para anchor or run. However if you have a medium to heavy boat I would suggest that heaving to would be the first option.

sgkuhner, at least we both agree that lying-a-hull is the wrong move

ilenart.

Last edited by Ilenart; 06-10-2008 at 08:38 AM.
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Old 06-10-2008
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That last, I will agree with. As far as whether ya run or not, I think that depends on several factors such as wave height and shape, windspeed, the boat and the crew's skill and experience. Also, the type and duration of the storm and whether you're on a Lee shore figure into it. There are way too many variables to say "This is the BEST way".
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Old 06-10-2008
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Lying a-hull seems like a good idea in only limited circumstances versus being hove-to and "crabbing". I have read more than one story very like the above, where things were tilted but comfortable until they very much weren't and all hell broke loose.

I think I would rather put up with a bumpier ride hove-to or run with active steering on a broad reach than get rolled.

If I have the option(s), that is. A 30 footer in 70 knots doesn't have much of a checklist that doesn't start and end with "survival".
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