Rogue Waves...something to keep you up at night on long passages - Page 3 - SailNet Community

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  #21  
Old 11-23-2008
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Thanks for this post. You are right in saying that perhaps we shouldn't worry over events both rare and for which we can't make provision.

What is likely to never be known is the percentage of boats that disappear due to storms, collisions or rogues. The occasional huge tanker or freighter shows up with a stay or a scrap of sail wrapped around the bow bulb, but if someone is very quickly sent to the bottom, even an EPIRB might not mark the event.
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Old 11-23-2008
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I recall a story of rogue waves in lake Huron...A tug was working out of Port Austin harbor in 5-7 foot waves, when it was capsized by what stander-bys and crew described as a 15 footer. I believe everyone survived. Even though the wave was only 15 foot high, i think it can still be considered a rogue because of its relative size to the normal conditions. We also have what we call the three sisters in the great lakes, a set of three exceptionally large waves that i have witnessed several times. I do not classify them as rogue waves by any means.
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Old 11-23-2008
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I've read that one in every 1000 waves is double the average height.
So if you are in 15 foot seas with a 10 second interval you will get a 30 footer once every 2.5 hours or so. I think the defining characteristics of a true rogue is that it is way more than double the height of prevailing seas and often comes from a different direction.
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Old 11-23-2008
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Cam: interesting. Do you know what the wave-height distribution is supposed to be?
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Not off the top of my head Adam...will have to do some research but it is an interesting subject. The "significant wave height" is defined as the average height of the highest 1/3 of waves so "15 foot seas" would be the average height of the highest 33 out of every 100 waves. One would assume the other 2/3 of waves would be CLOSE to that average...with maybe 1/3 less height at the most just based on observation. You don't get average 15 footers then a 5 footer.
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Old 11-24-2008
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Of course, even to be perceived as a rogue wave, it would have to hit you and at the right angle and time, and speed. If you were on a broad reach, but going well, and the "rogue" wasn't breaking, you might just be lifted and carried along pleasantly. I suppose you might be at the top, looking around and saying "Hey, I see land...odd...I should see land for six hours yet..." but otherwise it could be benign.

I've seen and been in large Lake Ontario waves, and the effect of a "surprise" one was to essentially bury the bow and get about a foot of green water running straight back to the cockpit. The thing I remember, however, was the sound of the prop (I had the engine running at low speed because I thought I might have to come in in a hurry) coming free of the water. Never hear that before and would prefer not to hear it again.
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