Sailing 3 miles off shore and Thunderstorm moves in from the east. What do you do? - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 41 Old 06-17-2013
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Re: Sailing 3 miles off shore and Thunderstorm moves in from the east. What do you do

It's hard to point well with a partially furled headsail, especially with no main.

For my part I roll up the headsail completely recognizing that the windage will blow the bow off. I have a staysail that lets me point decently and a third reef in the main.

That doesn't help if you don't have a staysail.

In a conventional sloop I accept the poor sailshape of a deeply furled headsail, don't try to point higher than a close reach, keep the main up with the deepest available reef, and stay prepared to (1) drop the traveler and (2) quickly ease the mainsheet.

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post #22 of 41 Old 06-17-2013
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Re: Sailing 3 miles off shore and Thunderstorm moves in from the east. What do you do

you will not be pointing in the thunderstorm. just furl your jib and keep on as did we. it works. try it before you slam it.


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post #23 of 41 Old 06-17-2013
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Re: Sailing 3 miles off shore and Thunderstorm moves in from the east. What do you do

Just keep mooooving. (sorry) There is plenty of time to prep for thunderstorms. As wind gusts topping 50 and horizontal rain/hail, etc. can be a problem, get the iron genny warmed up, put on goggles, either furl or douse sails. Screwing with trying to sail is inviting disaster. I either douse completely or just leave a bit of main up for stability so that the engine can keep the boat head to wind, then just ride it out until the squall passes. Visibility may be 0 for a few minutes so check ahead and behind and get a good bearing on your position relative to buoys, etc. There is not enough fetch, if close to shore for any real sea to build.

I just had this exact scenario coming into Norfolk with a tanker behind me and a sub and warships ahead. White knuckle time.

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Last edited by smurphny; 06-17-2013 at 08:06 AM.
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post #24 of 41 Old 06-17-2013
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Re: Sailing 3 miles off shore and Thunderstorm moves in from the east. What do you do

Word of caution about having sails up in a fierce, fast moving t-storm: get them down before it hits! These things can have sustained winds in excess of 50 knots and having your sails up can be bad for the sails and be dangerous for the boat cow...er uh.....crew. I was in a storm on the Chessy, saw it coming. It was as black as coal and my wife and I were able to get the sails down in time and with the engine running at high rpm's, we were just able to stay in place. the boat ahead of us had a RIB towing behind it....it went airborne and was flopping around on it's painter like a kite, flipping up and twisting, then dropping down to the water then took off again. Lightening crashing down all around us, hitting the Bay bridge, hitting the water, glowing red. We did alright, but I would have hated having any sail up what-so-ever! No bull
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post #25 of 41 Old 06-17-2013
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Re: Sailing 3 miles off shore and Thunderstorm moves in from the east. What do you do

Lots of really good advice already. I would add that a lot depends on the boat itself. If you have storm sails, get 'em up. If not, greatly reduce or remove your sails. The engine can be your friend. The land is definitely NOT your friend. Get sea room.
I've been in a few of those south Florida afternoon storms where we hove to for 30-45 minutes and all was good. Sometimes they stick around longer and we sail on with everything battened down and a sliver of sail out. Not much you can do about lightening. I put a handheld radio into the microwave and unplug everything I can. Does it work? Who knows for certain? Makes me feel like I did something to prepare.

Leave the cow at the dock! It'll be nice to come back to a friendly face afterwards.

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post #26 of 41 Old 06-17-2013
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Re: Sailing 3 miles off shore and Thunderstorm moves in from the east. What do you do

we found florida storms to be over too fast for storm sails....is a good thought but not necessary to effect nor realistic.
ketches sail nicely under jib n jigger in storms, and sloops sail nicely under jib alone in storms--reef as much as you wsh, it will still sail your boa t just nicely..do not fight it--go with it and be safe.

make sure cow has harness so when she slips overboard she becomes a drogue....lol..milkshakes all around....lol..or dry out from fear...
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post #27 of 41 Old 06-17-2013
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Re: Sailing 3 miles off shore and Thunderstorm moves in from the east. What do you do

Quote:
Originally Posted by zeehag View Post
make sure cow has harness so when she slips overboard she becomes a drogue....lol..milkshakes all around....lol..or dry out from fear...
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post #28 of 41 Old 06-17-2013
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Re: Sailing 3 miles off shore and Thunderstorm moves in from the east. What do you do

While to some extent a thunderstorm is a thunderstorm when I was down if Florida they did seem to be pretty WILD with and above average light show


BUT the sudden wind is also a common issue up here also and bare poles is a pretty good tactic on LIS when a fast mover is going through

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post #29 of 41 Old 06-17-2013
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Sailing 3 miles off shore and Thunderstorm moves in from the east. What do you do?

I have generally done bare poles and engine, now that i have a very reliable diesel. I once got caught with full sail in a thunderstorm on an earlier boat, and, although we got through OK, my problem was that the winds were not only very strong, but they would suddenly change directions sharply. That made most of the usual techniques a lot harder to do.
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post #30 of 41 Old 06-17-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Sailing 3 miles off shore and Thunderstorm moves in from the east. What do you do

Thanks or all the gret input.
Dop all sails and Anchor if in shallow water and hunker down.
If not in shallow water then dop all sails and engine into storm to ride it out.
Make sure there is seaway and if not try to get to deeper water or at leas out of any narrow channels you may be in - drop sails, seal up everything and ride it out.

I understand and also get that the waves are not the big issue - it is the wind gusts which is why sails come down.

But am I correct that whoever said 'heaving to' is incorrect and that is not the way to go in one of thes s Florida thunderstorms?

Also, I get that noaa radio is on so pick our siling and fruising accordingly like in all basic sailing but an instructor from blue water sailing school in ft lauderdale who lives breathes and eats s Florida cruising said 'if you listen to noaa you will never go sailing in s Florida' so I figure his comment may be an exaggeration but i thnk i know what he means and if you cruise alot you will encounter these storms in s florida so all your responses hav even helpful and. Feel like I have a basic understanding and plan. I was was in a storm in Biscayne Bay but we were anchored and we stayed below and felt secure and I passed in about 45 minutes.

Last question: how am I supposed to control the boat if there is florida lightning and I need to get out of the cockpit? If not anchored how am I to motor into the wind or with the wind or motor just to stay in place if there is lightning hitting the water?

Thanks for all your seasoned input - I can't tell you how helpful your input is and I feel like I have really learned something.

Chesapeake Bay area

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