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post #1 of 17 Old 08-01-2013 Thread Starter
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Waterspouts


I got a link to this image via Google+ the other day and thought I'd share it with the wife. We'd seen only one waterspout before, a much smaller one in some really atrocious weather.

I was under the impression they were pretty rare and also quite dangerous, but the article suggests that this is not always the case. Until we read the article, both the missus & I wanted never to see these things whilst we were on the water... now we're not so sure.

If they're not as rare/dangerous as I originally thought, I'm sure someone on the forum can correct me or confirm my initial understanding on the matter.
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Last edited by BentSailor; 08-01-2013 at 04:47 PM.
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post #2 of 17 Old 08-01-2013
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Re: Waterspouts

My understanding is that they are no sso bad in a heavy boat with everything secured. I once saw one approaching while anchored at Loeu Key in the Keys in a Freedom 33 while everyone else was snorkeling and couldnt get their attention so all I could do was watch it come. It dissipated before it reached us.
Now, I'd like to see more of them.
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post #3 of 17 Old 08-01-2013
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Re: Waterspouts

They can be extremely dangerous, especially if you're in a boat of nearly any size. I watched one rip two cars off a U.S. Navy heavy cruiser while in the Caribbean in 1958. Fortunately, no one was on the deck at that time because had they been there they would have gone airborne with the pair of Chevy Impala's that were chained to the deck. Those chains snapped like sewing thread. And the only reason I was able to witness all this was because I was on lookout watch on the bridge. Just 20 minutes earlier I was on the ship's flying bridge and would have been killed for sure. The ship, the USS Newport News, was 760 feet long, had a beam of 76-feet and draft of 27 feet. She tipped the scales at 20.980 tons and shook violently when the twister hit.



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post #4 of 17 Old 08-01-2013
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Re: Waterspouts

On our trip home from the LI Sound last year, we left Cape May at 5:30 AM and got "chased" on the Bay into the Patapsco at 7:30 PM by a waterspout crossing at North Point on our way home from Cape May to Rock Creek last September.

I told my wife not to look behind us as it crossed the Bay about 1 mile off.

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post #5 of 17 Old 08-01-2013
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Re: Waterspouts

For those of you who would like to see and encounter waterspouts in quantity, I highly recommend the Northeast/ Northwest Providence Channel in the Bahamas! They are extremely common there; I have seen as many as 5 at one time around us, and 10 or 15 on particularly busy days.
I have never actually gotten within the wind field of one, usually dodging them under power with all sails furled. Generally, waterspouts have the power of F-0 to F-1 on the Fujita Scale, though I have heard unconfirmed stories of cruising boats actually picked up and moved by them a short distance.
It is sailor's lore that should one threaten a sailing vessel, that vessel should load her biggest cannon and shoot through the descending cone to disrupt the circulation.
Damn, we forgot to bring the 20 pounder again, Maud; we're just never prepared!

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post #6 of 17 Old 08-01-2013
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Re: Waterspouts

'RUN AWAY!' (in the immortal words of Monty Python's Flying Circus)

How much damage can a waterspout cause? - Yahoo! Answers

Waterspout comes ashore in Tampa, leaving path of damage; Cedar Key suffers widespread damage | wtsp.com

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post #7 of 17 Old 08-01-2013
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Re: Waterspouts

Quote:
Originally Posted by BentSailor View Post
I was under the impression they were pretty rare and also quite dangerous, but the article suggests that this is not always the case. Until we read the article, both the missus & I wanted never to see these things whilst we were on the water... now we're not so sure.

If they're not as rare/dangerous as I originally thought, I'm sure someone on the forum can correct me or confirm my initial understanding on the matter.
They are fairly common in the Tasman, but you need to get just the right weather conditions for them to form.

Never seen four in a row before. From my understanding of how these things form, I'm not even sure how that can happen...

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post #8 of 17 Old 08-01-2013
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Re: Waterspouts

I have seen them several times here in Southern NJ. Both out in the ocean and on the shallow Back Bays

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post #9 of 17 Old 08-02-2013
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Re: Waterspouts

I've seen a few small ones grouped together on Lake Ontario and one big one once on Lake St. Clair.

Both times the weather was terrible - bad thunderstorms moving around us and violent line squalls. We already had all the sails down and were motoring. (I was on a square rigged ship). No direct hits but the ones on Lake Ontario were very close. They didn't have much lasting power though. The weight of the water seems to drag them back down.

We were knocked down by a microburst once. That was not good.
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post #10 of 17 Old 08-02-2013
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Re: Waterspouts

Ha! I remember talking about this on the ship. There's a report about it. I was sailing the Fair Jeanne across Lake Ontario to return to winter storage. I think we saw 4 or 5 in one day, 2 at one time.

NOAA Report on The Great Waterspout Outbreak of 2003:

Mariners Weather Log Vol. 48, No. 3, December 2004
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