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post #1 of 60 Old 03-27-2014 Thread Starter
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Surviving Storm

This is for grins and giggles, but I thought it might be fun to see the responses. I have been stuck in a bunch of junk before, but nothing in the ballpark of this:

NDBC - Station 44141

So, what heavy weather tactics would you use on your boat? Honestly, i am not sure that kind of storm is survivable by most recreational vessels, and even those that did survive would be as much luck as skill, but I still thought it might be a fun discussion.

What would I do? I would try running a trysail. The mast on my boat is far forward as it is with most sloops which gives me moderate weather helm and a good feel on the wheel. Benefit of this tactic is I have some control over the boat and where she goes (trying to steer around crests and breakers). It also gives me the ability to try and get out of the storm as quickly as possible. Negative is the windage and potential for what assuredly a knockdown (or many) in which I would be in the cockpit. I could see a higher chance of drowning there. Also, come nightfall, all bets are off. I would have to douse or cut away the trysail, drop a sea anchor, go below and pray.

Ok, what would you do?

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post #2 of 60 Old 03-27-2014
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Re: Surviving Storm

Those big waves are because of the shoaling onto the Georges banks. The key would have been staying in the deep Atlantic waters until the storm passed.

We did the Bermuda to Halifax trip 6 yrs ago and staying in deep water was part of our contingency plans should a storm develop. However, it is not a place I would sail this early in the year, we did the trip end of May.

I do not think a static storm tactic would work, all you could do is run down wave using a drogue if necessary. But survival might not be possible.

The UK weather service refers to waves that big as 'phenomenal' as opposed to 'very high'

Sea state

Smooth
Wave height less than 0.5 m
Slight
Wave height of 0.5 to 1.25 m
Moderate
Wave height of 1.25 to 2.5 m
Rough
Wave height of 2.5 to 4.0 m
Very rough
Wave height of 4.0 to 6.0 m
High
Wave height of 6.0 to 9.0 m
Very high
Wave height of 9.0 to 14.0 m
Phenomenal
Wave height more than 14.0 m

Last edited by Yorksailor; 03-27-2014 at 08:30 AM.
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post #3 of 60 Old 03-27-2014 Thread Starter
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Re: Surviving Storm

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Originally Posted by Yorksailor View Post
Those big waves are because of the shoaling onto the Georges banks. The key would have been staying in the deep Atlantic waters until the storm passed.

We did the Bermuda to Halifax trip 6 yrs ago and staying in deep water was part of our contingency plans should a storm develop. However, it is not a place I would sail this early in the year, we did the trip end of May.

I do not think a static storm tactic would work, all you could do is run down wave using a drogue if necessary. But survival might not be possible.

The UK weather service refers to waves that big as 'phenomenal' as opposed to 'very high'

Sea state

Smooth
Wave height less than 0.5 m
Slight
Wave height of 0.5 to 1.25 m
Moderate
Wave height of 1.25 to 2.5 m
Rough
Wave height of 2.5 to 4.0 m
Very rough
Wave height of 4.0 to 6.0 m
High
Wave height of 6.0 to 9.0 m
Very high
Wave height of 9.0 to 14.0 m
Phenomenal
Wave height more than 14.0 m
Phenomenal. I would call it that too.

So you would use a drogue and go below?

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post #4 of 60 Old 03-27-2014
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Re: Surviving Storm

No, trail a drogue and steer as an active technique. We carry a Seabrake

rigged but never used in an storm.
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post #5 of 60 Old 03-27-2014 Thread Starter
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Re: Surviving Storm

Does anyone remember offhand the conditions in Fastnet or the Queens Storm?

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post #6 of 60 Old 03-27-2014
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Re: Surviving Storm

There have been many books written which give very detailed accounts of being in these types of conditions in the North Atlantic. Perfect Storm, of course, but Michael Tougias has a number of lesser known ones which really re-construct those conditions for the reader from first-hand accounts of being there. I love reading the books, but that's about as close to those conditions as I ever want to be.

This is an excellent one.
Amazon.com: A Storm Too Soon: A True Story of Disaster, Survival and an Incredib eBook: Michael J. Tougias: Books Amazon.com: A Storm Too Soon: A True Story of Disaster, Survival and an Incredib eBook: Michael J. Tougias: Books




(FYI -- on April 1, Michael Tougias's new book detailing the Bounty rescue will be released.)

Amazon.com: Rescue of the Bounty: Disaster and Survival in Superstorm Sandy eBook: Michael J. Tougias, Douglas A. Campbell: Kindle Store Amazon.com: Rescue of the Bounty: Disaster and Survival in Superstorm Sandy eBook: Michael J. Tougias, Douglas A. Campbell: Kindle Store



Last edited by caberg; 03-27-2014 at 09:28 AM.
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post #7 of 60 Old 03-27-2014
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Re: Surviving Storm

54' waves. Good gravy.

Trail a drogue. Button up as tight as you can. Go below. And pray.


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post #8 of 60 Old 03-27-2014
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Re: Surviving Storm

Looks like some buoys have stopped signalling. Buoy Platform Status Report

It's 5 o'clock somewhere:


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Re: Surviving Storm

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Originally Posted by bljones View Post
Looks like some buoys have stopped signalling. Buoy Platform Status Report
No surprise. Be shocked if they do not break loose.

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post #10 of 60 Old 03-27-2014
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Re: Surviving Storm

An account of the Fastnet: Hell and high water: The Fastnet disaster - Sailing - More Sports - The Independent

When thinking about the possibility of sailing over the ocean, one of the factors in my choice of an A35 was its performance in the Fastnet storm. The Alberg 35 Sailboat : Bluewaterboats.org
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