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  #11  
Old 12-29-2013
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Re: What would you do? Caught off guard by storm on the Chesapeake

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Originally Posted by capecodda View Post
I assume your trailer sailer is very shallow draft, and it looks like you're near a shallow bay. I guess I'd tuck in best I could, clean up the deck (everything that can catch the wind including the sails), and put down my anchor, go below, and make a cup of tea. No need to stay in the 20 ft channel with that boat....
Squalls and storms can come up quickly on the Chesapeake. I don't know that he'd have time to get to shallow water and do all the prep he needs to do in his scenario.

I fellow instructor once had his boat sink in a squall because he didn't have time to close all the hatches before it reached him. Of course, this was way before all the storm apps and the boat was small enough that he didn't have radar on board.
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  #12  
Old 12-29-2013
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Re: What would you do? Caught off guard by storm on the Chesapeake

In OP's original post, he needed information on a location 1 mile north of Thomas Pt. Lt. Rather than original post I should have said "original creative writing" ******. Nothing wrong with anchoring, of course anchoring in 20 foot depths with 30 feet of rode is a bit of a challenge. OP should have asked "What to do when a sudden storm pops up when you're sailing on the Chesapeake?" Much shorter post.
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Old 12-29-2013
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Re: What would you do? Caught off guard by storm on the Chesapeake

I've sort of been there done that... Leaving Whitehall Bay in a J80... Was helping a friend take her son out sailing and was crewing for her. Lots of dark clouds moved in very fast and I said we need to get some sail down NOW. While I was pulling the main down the first gust hit us and heeled us over at least 50 degrees. Got the main down and tamed, fired up the outboard (which would go in and out of the water) and rolled up most of the jib. After that it was just a matter of motoring back across the Severn w/ a hint of jib to steady things.

For *most* Chesapeake squalls you're better off dropping your main, keeping a bit of jib out sheeted in tight and motoring into the waves at an angle. You don't want them hitting the boat beam on and you don't want to go straight into the waves. Close up the boat, put on your foulies and lifejacket. Stay in deep water if possible; it mitigates some of the worst of the wave action. Run off if you have to. They rarely last more than 30 min.
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  #14  
Old 12-29-2013
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Re: What would you do? Caught off guard by storm on the Chesapeake

Good scenario, and your starting moves are good ones.

Sabreman hit the very first thing that occurred to me: decide and act. Don't second guess yourself. You'll burn up what time you have.

On a small light boat like yours every step on the foredeck really moves the boat. Get up there first and get the genoa down and tied down really hard and tight. Windage is not your friend.

If you have reefs in your main reef it all the way down. Otherwise drop and again lash it very tightly. Windage is bad.

Call USCG Station Annapolis and tell them where you are, what you plan is, and ask for a radio schedule.

Usually I try to get as far from shore as possible. On your boat in the location you cite I'd consider two-and-a-half things. All get close to the windward shore so if something bad happens you have a good bit of time to respond before Kent Island shows up and if everything goes well you get protection of the shoreline. 1. As rgscpat suggested see if you can get into Fishing Creek (home to USCG Stn Ann BTW) and anchor somewhere between G5 and R6. If there isn't time, 2. head up into the corner between Tolly Point and Bay Ridge and anchor off the beach either North or South of the breakwaters. 2-1/2 is to beach the boat on Bay Ridge Beach if your tackle doesn't hold.

With the gear you describe and as long as you are confident in your knots I'd string everything together and hang on your biggest anchor in either Fishing Creek or off the beach.

The answer will be different for every boat, each outfit, and based on the experience and skill of the sailor.

Very good question.
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  #15  
Old 12-29-2013
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Re: What would you do? Caught off guard by storm on the Chesapeake

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Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post
Call USCG Station Annapolis and tell them where you are, what you plan is, and ask for a radio schedule.
Really?
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  #16  
Old 12-29-2013
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Re: What would you do? Caught off guard by storm on the Chesapeake

I've been in this exact scenario. The wind will usually gust out of the south. If the wind is already 10 knots, and presumably out of the south then you have to anticipate gusts of 30 knots or so . What direction is the tide running? If its against the wind its going to get ugly, for a little while. Take a piss now while you can. Get the sails down, get the motor running. Close everything up. Keep the keel down. Get a drink and a snack in case you have to sit there for 2 hours. Get on your rain coat.

Personally I'd get away from the channel, maybe close to a windward shore. again presuming you know the way the wind will be coming. Get the anchor out of the locker and ready. Lock the lockers in the cockpit. Put on PFD.

Basically you are going to motor through this. But Plan b will be anchor, plan c is the reefed main sail. Plan d is life preserver. What you don't want is to be close to entering an inlet or doing some critical maneuver when this storm comes. You want to be in sheltered water ( not the channel) with room to motor slowly into the wind. You don.t want to have to go forward.
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Old 12-29-2013
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Re: What would you do? Caught off guard by storm on the Chesapeake

Well, having been in that exact location many, many times over the past half-century, you were just five minutes motoring time from a totally protected, safe anchorage at Goose Pond. I've rode out a lot of storms in there, just 3 to 5 feet of water, fairly high ground to the west, north and southwest to block the winds. Drop the hook, mix a green coconut margaretta, prop your feet up in the cabin and wait a few minutes for the storm to pass. By the time you finish the Margaretta, the sun will be back out and conditions just right for sailing again.

Cheers,

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Old 12-29-2013
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Re: What would you do? Caught off guard by storm on the Chesapeake

I don't know the bay very well, But I always try to head for open water.
Reef Reef and Reef, prepare the boat for crap. Stow every thing and turn the bow to open space and DEEP water.
IF possible try and get the wind on quarter and run before with reduced sail and an over trimmed main.
I always feel more comfortable when I have open water around me.
It is sort of the exact opposite of what our brain is telling us "we have to get in." But shoreline, shallow water, break walls, pier heads,docks, mooring balls and chains are all the things we want to avoid when the stuff hits.
For what its worth, I sail the Great Lakes. But have been on the Bay a couple of times.
I would not drop all sail and motor. If your going to motor, leave something up the help stable the boat. I would only anchor if I was already in protected waters.
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  #19  
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Re: What would you do? Caught off guard by storm on the Chesapeake

The times I've been caught out, I opted to get the sails secured and motored towards open water. Fortunately, I haven't been caught while in or near any shipping channels, but if I was, I'd get out if possible and on the edge if I couldn't get completely out of it.

I've made the decision to turn away from a channel entrance when it was questionable if I could be into an anchorage before the gust front hit. I'd much rather be in open water than a narrow channel with shoal water all around when a TS hit. I'm not sure what conditions would convince me that anchoring in the unprotected part of the bay would be preferable to being underway.

When I've been caught out while anchored, I've stayed put and hoped for the best while keeping as good an eye out as possible to check for dragging if you have a anchor alarm it can lend some piece of mind. Also if storms are a possibility, I put a fender by the anchor locker in case someone drags down towards me, and I need to get off the hook in a hurry. I also will take a look around and note a safe heading if we have to get underway in a hurry in low viz. Once underway, I'd follow my track back out, but when all hell is breaking loose knowing "a heading of XXX" will take you towards safe water will help.
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  #20  
Old 12-29-2013
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Re: What would you do? Caught off guard by storm on the Chesapeake

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you were just five minutes motoring time from a totally protected, safe anchorage at Goose Pond.
Goose Pond near the Bay Bridge? That's way north of the OP's position. The nearest harbor from his position 1 nm north of Thomas Pt would be Oyster Creek, 1.5 nm NW. Assuming that he could make 4kts, that's about 23 minutes. So about the time that he'd be entering an unfamiliar harbor, his world would turn real complicated, real fast.

I learned a long time ago that it generally isn't a good idea to try to out run these storms unless you have twin 150's hanging on the transom. Just my $0.02, but I've been smacked enough.
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