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-   -   Got to Stop being Stupid (http://www.sailnet.com/forums/general-discussion-sailing-related/104154-got-stop-being-stupid.html)

Harborless 09-27-2013 11:14 AM

Got to Stop being Stupid
 
Well I tried it. Quite stupidly I might add. However I am moving too quick. Allow me to once again put out my play by play to not only be ridiculed and called foolish but more importantly to stop another from risking the same fate.


I have been planning a solo overnight offshore trip for a few weeks now. NOAA has good forecast for Thurs to Friday all week with 15 knot winds low seas and 20% of rain.

Yesterday I woke up to a breezy morning. 'Great,' I think. I figured it should make for a more enjoyable trip to have steady winds and I do loathe luffing around out in light breezzes.

Skip all the provisioning and time passing. Jump to 330, 1 hour before departure. Well first I realized I have no offshore charts of the area i'll be sailing. :ope, just coastal and ICW. So that put a wrench in my navigation of old plans. Secondly I notice the wind has picked up quite a bit. 20 knots steady with gust to 25 perhaps higher at the dock.

I stowe the dinghy on the dock with the surf board and prepare the boat even putting a reef in and testing it at the dock. Man the wind is stiff.

430 rolls around. West wind with inbound current ( not just slack). Lets skip the hilarious show of me lleaving the dock. Who ever invented dock slips for sailbiats with4 pilings in the slip before you even reach the dock is a sadist. Anywhoo, no other boats hit and no damage done. A very ugly departure however I assure you.

No problems all the way up the ICW to Ponce. I did notice the ICW was pretty choppy. Some water would spray my face in the cockpit from the plunging bow. Man this wind is stiff.. I should turn on NOAA.

Whats all this hazard talk? Small craft advisory what? Damn engine, cant hear great. Better call the Uncle. After a phone conversation and a checking of weather and Noaa websites all remains clear except forecast call for winds up to 25 with 30 possible Friday Morning. Wind out of the west by north west suppose to carry around to the north and a little north by east overnight into Friday.

Ive been feeling anxious since I put the reef in. I figured it was anxiousness about what I was planning to do but Anxiety and worry can feel suprisingly similar and at times I can be quite far from prudent which is no high mark in my log to be sure. I continue to motor up and reach the inlet. West wind had the inlet super smooth but man o man you should have seen what was on the otherside of the jetty wall. This is all on my phone but I managed2 pics and will upload later.

Sails still down (thank you lord) I begin to motor out of Ponce. Im looking as far to the horzon as possible and its breakers. Not white caps but big foaming tops of waves scattered about the horizon going East. Now this is where I should have sucked it up, said I gave it my best, and made a U turn with my tail between my legs on a course back for dock. However as I stated previous I was, and this is not light insult, being more than commonly stupid and I proceeded on.

It took one wave at least 6 but im going 7 + feet at the end of the jetty that took mmy broad ( i had to keep eastward until I passed the jetty wall and the end of the jetty has serious breaks on the north side) to let me know I had been very stupid and things were not a joke. Ive never been out on anyboat Bahamas, Marine Corps
Or otherwise that experienced a sea state like I was in. Rolling breakers with lulls for 75 meters or so after sets of 2 or 3 big ones. Wind 25+ steady gust higher. Wind on the beam and sails not even up yet. I set a course north north east making a tack 45 off the wind and waves catching them on quarters until the close to the 2nd red bouy. Enormous waves. Sky, water, sky, water. White knuckles, eyes scanning, avoiding worst spots, i really need to find a lull to turn around but I had to get distance off the jetty wall and those breakkers.

After 2 particular bad waves the second of which completely buried my bow and shuddered the entire rig I swung the tiller over and and 150 degree turned on a course east by south east now running. This was dangerous exceedingly. I even said out loud how stupid I was and now I didnt know if I was being even more moronic by attempting to come back into a treacherous inlet with foul seas. I did see that if I could reach the cover of the jetty wall it quikcly went to calm right behind it but I had good 1/4 mile or more to go.

I will if anything give credit to the skipper for his stick control. I assure you that my years of water and boat experience were invaluble during the next 10 minutes. Take them on the quarter turn north in the lulls, cover ground, next set rolls in, quarter on. Im making a 110 degree line course to the tip of the jetty wall close to the inside. Here is where I got knocked down.

I had 1 pr 2 scary waves.. i mean these were taller than the cabin top before they came and lifted me up and dropped me off sideways with barely the bow pointed corner in. Anyway I was at the spot. The spot where the jetty channel starts and the waves were breaking on the outside shoal. I see it coming before it ever hit. Biggest wave yet, even bigger than the first wave that hit when leaving out. I see it stacking and stacking. Its going to break. The wave broke on the larboard side of the boat and through its crest over me, the cockpit, inside the cabin, and down the gunwales. I was standing on the larboard side and was thrown clear over to the otherside of the cockpit and may have went over had I not been clipped in. The boat with not even sails set dropped down on its beam but the old girl righted quick and after the crest passed over we rolled up again.

I figured this last part out later. One more set of big waves to go. Not as big as last time, justttt inside the jetty wall so only had those off corner shooting in waves to contend with. Suddenly sput sput sput ehhhhhhhhhhhhhh. OMFG!!!! The engine died. The engine died right 30 feet off the end of the jetty inside with breakers rolling in behind. Sheet sheet sheet turn key start start START! Life. She stirs. Rumbles to almost sputters out again I throttle all the freaking way up to get gas going and then she rips it. Catches and load sets and boom now were off and a few seconds later I am safe and sound back behind the jetty in calm waters with an audience on shore thinking god knows what.
* I realized later that knockdown wave put the gas tank hard over no doubtadly uncovering the hole for the fuel. This allowed air into the ststem and accounts for the sputtering and slow start because I had no other problems before or after. Had the engine not started within 5 seconds I would have had to run up and raise the jib. With the wind I had it would have been no problem sailing in the inlet but the problem was where it died. I could have been hit broadside while trying to raise the head sail or worse got put on the shoal and rolled over by the breakers.

As it was I did raise sails and made the briskest run of this boat and mys life at 6.2 (per gps, never used knot stick) all the way down even through the drsw bridge. I made it back to dock at 810 with just enough light to float and kiss up nice in my slip like a pro compared to the fool I must have looked leaving with a cross wind and current.

So thats it. Another perilous adventure. Boat handeled the seas well but I would have not made it for 12 hours with conditions getting worse. As I type this in my phone its been raining since first light. 20% Noaa? Really? Geez. I should have never left the dock.

I know getting caught in that sort of weather is one thing, but seeking it out quite another. I will never allow impatience and inexperience to overrule my gut judgement again. I should have known when I put the reef in it was not the fay but id been having to put it off and put it off and all looked fine.. I seriously got lucky. Nothing broke, just lots of mess in the sole from the knockdown. I managed a picture while I was out but it does little justice unfortunately. If any saw the waves off daytona to canveral yesterday with the wind im sure they could attest.

Lesson is dont be stupid. I think its safe to play sailing solo like reefing the main. If you think you should do it, you should have already done it.
I.E. if you think you maybe shouldnt go out, you shouldnt.

Had I kept sailing I most likely would have lost the boat or myself once sails were raised. I could have only sailed relatively safe on a close reach taking the wavves on or right off the bow. Then I would have had big problems trying to get back with winds going up. I could have ran to st. Augastine but no promise the entrance would have been smoother and I would have needed a full day to motor back down the ICW.
Just should have never risked it. Could I have made it? If I was sailing Hawaii to the Marquesas I would have had no choice. Try or die. I shouldnt have tried it yesterday. Sailing up and down the ICW would have been the much better call. Live and learn. Thankfully I lived. Will post pics later in P.M.
will try again next week. Small craft advisory last until Sunday. Maybe next week will look better. Need to buy smaller headsail asap as well.
Harborless

smackdaddy 09-27-2013 11:20 AM

Re: Got to Stop being Stupid
 
You made it back. And you learned some lessons about heavy weather.

Being stupid is not leaving the slip.

bobperry 09-27-2013 11:24 AM

Re: Got to Stop being Stupid
 
Gene worked for me for a few years. One summer he announced he was going to sail solo to Hawaii. Cool I said. Gene showed up back in Seattle well ahead of schedule and came to work. I asked him what happened. He said he got half way and decided he wasn't having fun so he turned around and sailed home.

I respected Gene for that.

Harborless, you had an advneture. Good on ya.

Harborless 09-27-2013 11:24 AM

Re: Got to Stop being Stupid
 
Also, about the sailing upwind part. The reason sailing downwind would have not been a good idea imo is because the waves had 5 to 6 second periods so were exceedinly steep and fast. One foul move or wave angle and suddenly the rudder is put hard over, you swing up to a broadside, and take the next roller right behind it hoping its not a roll over. Sailing deep seas the waves would not have been that close together or steep with short thickness. They would get steep but be like moving hills and so sailing on more courses would be doable without high risk. Yesterday upwind was the only choice because of how choppy the water was, short the period, high the wind, and most critically boat size. A 40 footer would have posted a much different message than a 27'.

arf145 09-27-2013 11:24 AM

Re: Got to Stop being Stupid
 
Glad you're alright, Harborless--a great cautionary tale and a good read. But you can't be all that stupid since you recognize when you've done something stupid :) And you're certainly not the first sailor to let schedules and plans override their good sense. Next time will go better, I bet.

killarney_sailor 09-27-2013 11:25 AM

Re: Got to Stop being Stupid
 
What do they say, the problem is that the exam comes before the lesson. Just chalk up to the never-ending series of lessons that is sailing.

MarkofSeaLife 09-27-2013 11:29 AM

Re: Got to Stop being Stupid
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Harborless (Post 1094685)
Need to buy smaller headsail asap as well.
Harborless

NO! You need to buy nothing!

What you need to do is go back over everyone of your recent threads on here and READ what people (who have a lot of ocean experience) have said!

You have had a LOT of valuable written advice here that has gone in one eye and out BOTH!

Its good to see you got yourself out of danger :) and back in under control. Its good to see you are realising its not all Beer & Burgers 'out there' :)

Now, please go back and read stuff properly and realise those with lots of miles do know what we are talking about and not trying to stick a dick in your ear (Aussie slang for sticking a dick in your ear). :)

Then go sailing this weekend if the weather report says 10 to 15 knots (Did you see that? 10 to 15 knots)
I say that because whenever I see a grib file saying 15 knots its always 20. (Whenever it says 10 knots is always about 2!) And 20 knots you dont want to do one of those inlests at all... especially wind against tide.

:)


Conragts for getting back alive! :)


Mark

MarkofSeaLife 09-27-2013 11:35 AM

Re: Got to Stop being Stupid
 
Sunday and Monday look good for a sail (at the moment) where you are


WindGURU: United States - Cocoa Beach

This might look tame... but its not, it just looks 'good'
Quote:

COASTAL WATERS FROM FLAGLER BEACH TO VOLUSIA BREVARD COUNTY LINE
OUT 20 NM-


SATURDAY NIGHT
NORTHEAST WINDS 10 TO 15 KNOTS. SEAS 3 TO
5 FEET. A LIGHT CHOP ON THE INTRACOASTAL WATERS. SCATTERED
SHOWERS.

SUNDAY
NORTHEAST WINDS 10 TO 15 KNOTS. SEAS 3 TO 5 FEET. A
MODERATE CHOP ON THE INTRACOASTAL WATERS. CHANCE OF SHOWERS.

SUNDAY NIGHT
NORTHEAST WINDS 5 TO 10 KNOTS. SEAS 3 TO 4 FEET.
SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS.

MONDAY
NORTHEAST WINDS 5 TO 10 KNOTS. SEAS 3 TO 4 FEET. SLIGHT
CHANCE OF SHOWERS.

What a pain in the neck to find the Noaa forcast for that area... it keeps defaulting to south florida.

Harborless 09-27-2013 11:45 AM

Re: Got to Stop being Stupid
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by MarkofSeaLife (Post 1094694)
NO! You need to buy nothing!

What you need to do is go back over everyone of your recent threads on here and READ what people (who have a lot of ocean experience) have said!

You have had a LOT of valuable written advice here that has gone in one eye and out BOTH!

Its good to see you got yourself out of danger :) and back in under control. Its good to see you are realising its not all Beer & Burgers 'out there' :)

Now, please go back and read stuff properly and realise those with lots of miles do know what we are talking about and not trying to stick a dick in your ear (Aussie slang for sticking a dick in your ear). :)

Then go sailing this weekend if the weather report says 10 to 15 knots (Did you see that? 10 to 15 knots)
I say that because whenever I see a grib file saying 15 knots its always 20. (Whenever it says 10 knots is always about 2!) And 20 knots you dont want to do one of those inlests at all... especially wind against tide.

:)


Conragts for getting back alive! :)


Mark

Well Thanks for the advice. I deserve worse however I put myself out publicly in order that I may recieve advice as well as at times a hopefully interesting story.

I think if you looked, as I have already, you will see that after previous disasters I have acceppted and made use of the gadvice given. No need to start a list here.

Im continuing my climb up. In a few years I could be there to put mine in your ear after some somethings not called Fosters.

OK no more attempts at defense from me just wanted to acknowledge the fact im not REALLY stupid (imo) i just sometimes do stupid, grant it yesterday rvery stupid, things. So perhaps i would be considered slightly stoopid! Preach it Collieman-

smurphny 09-27-2013 12:03 PM

Re: Got to Stop being Stupid
 
Wind predictions are almost always too low unless you are hearing the offshore forecasts. If you hear 20, stay put. Almost invariably a 20 knot forecast turns into an actual 30. More than that, with the NW element in the wind, it should have been a clue that it was going to blow like hell. In the morning, if the flag is straight out, just stay put. Getting a feel for weather patterns is the lesson. Boaters who know their area know when to go and when to hunker down. I'd suggest doing a little research into how to interpret weatherfax charts. Look at the 500mb and the surface forecast charts over time and see how they parallel with the actual weather. IMO, having a good grasp on weather patterns is essential to making decisions as to whether to set sail or not. NOAA has great learning tools on their website about how to read the charts.
http://www.srh.noaa.gov/jetstream/sy...ptic_intro.htm

http://www.opc.ncep.noaa.gov/UGbegin.shtml


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