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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > General Discussion (sailing related)
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  #1  
Old 06-19-2013
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Waterspout experience?

There was a waterspout that formed over Tampa Bay here today. Has anyone ever had a close call or been on the water to witness one? Methinks it would be a pretty bad situation to end up close to one.
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Old 06-19-2013
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Re: Waterspout experience?

I had a small one come within a few hundred feet of me while I was fishing from the decks of a 12-foot aluminum jon boat. Thought for a second it would hit us, but at the last second, it lifted back into the clouds and vanished. One minute the wind was dead calm, the next it was howling so loud you couldn't hear yourself think. The boat lifted bow first to about a 45-degree angle, then dropped like a stone. Wasn't sure if I peed my pants or all that water was just from the waterspout.

Gary
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Old 06-19-2013
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Re: Waterspout experience?

Saw one on the way to Bermuda 30 years ago. It was impressive and scary at the same time. Tried our darnedest to figure out what direction it was moving so we could find a good response. Somewhere I have a photo.
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Old 06-19-2013
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Old 06-19-2013
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Re: Waterspout experience?

One big one off of Honeymoon Island in my old fishing boat. Flying in a C130 from Guantanamo counted 13 once in a big storm.

It's interesting, you really don't hear about people being hurt or killed by waterspouts. I not about to test it out.
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Old 06-19-2013
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Re: Waterspout experience?

Quote:
Originally Posted by travlineasy View Post
...Wasn't sure if I peed my pants or all that water was just from the waterspout...
How warm was it?
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Old 06-20-2013
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Re: Waterspout experience?

You've heard aircraft pilots calling "feet wet" "feet dry" as they cross over shoreline?

OK, a waterspout is just a tornado that hasn't made landfall yet.

Any questions about how to take shelter in a tornado shelter while at sea?
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Old 06-20-2013
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I saw two very small ones sailing on lake eerie once. It was probably a mile away but passed almost directly a ferry. I believe they can be "non tornadic" (there were no storms in the vicinity at the time). We were almost becalmed and then suddenly had 30 knots across our beam. Regardless of the comparative weakness to a super cell I'd want to steer clear. They were pretty short lived, maybe ten minutes.
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Old 06-20-2013
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Re: Waterspout experience?

We experienced one when I was young brushed past us within half a mile, crazy loud, and wet!... reading up about them because I had heard both.

But apparently there are tornadic ones, and non-tornadic ones, with the latter being more common, and usually EF0 or less on the scale... had to be what we saw...

I don't think I'd want to be anywhere near a tornadic one.

Actually I like the plan of heading towards one to avoid them. I doubt you'd have a snowball's chance outrunning it, going towards them would allow you to steer clear once the path is obvious, but either way it'd be quite a ride.
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Old 06-20-2013
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Re: Waterspout experience?

Hi Folks,

Hellosailor is 'right' when he says its a tornado over water... but normally they are very weak tornoadoes, unlikely to hurt you or your boat and definitely look much worse than they are.

This one I took in the Bahamas

By jingo, by crikey its a good scary looking one! And I wouldnt be anywhere near it.

HOWEVER its not as bad as it looks:

The spray in the funnel in NOT spray! Its condensation from the low pressure. Nothing has been whipped up from the sea into the vortex.
Wind strength is 'only' about 70 knots but for a very brief moment. OK the wind whips about but its all over in 5 seconds.

So, yes, avoid them, but they are not that bad
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