steering in squalls? - SailNet Community

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Old 01-04-2008
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millyman01 is on a distinguished road
steering in squalls?

I'm very new at this going to the keys in a few weeks. I assume you should hit high waves head on. With all your sail down how do you do steer?
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Old 01-04-2008
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If you are very new you will want to keep an eye on the weather so that it matches your skills (as does everyone else).
Without local knowledge I assume that the Keys are shallow so you may get a steep short chop rather than big waves which don't come out of nowhere.
However squalls can come on fast, but generally die off quite quickly. You need to watch the horizon to see the front coming, and reduce sail substantially and quickly.
If under sail, you take waves at an angle as they will be aligned with the wind and you cannot sail directly into the wind. Breaking waves you take head on but you should not encounter them.
Steerage depends on having way or the boat moving, which with no sail means a motor.
There are threads on heaving to and handling squalls which you should look at.
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Old 01-04-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by millyman01 View Post
I'm very new at this going to the keys in a few weeks. I assume you should hit high waves head on. With all your sail down how do you do steer?

it depends... how big are with waves, breaking?, wind direction, engine size?,
in other words, there is no right answer which fits all circumstances except to say it requires some experience. Then again, the only way to get experience is to do it.
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Old 01-04-2008
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camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough
Milly...turn the engine on. Get the sail down and SECURED...put on the pfd's and motor into the waves at a slight angle...perhaps 10-20 degrees off of dead on. Have a PLAN for IF the engine fails. (anchor/double reefed sails/ vhf panpan call etc.) so you don't have to think about it. Motor just fast enough to maintain headway. It's all over in 20 minutes or so usually and you'll have earned some good karma!
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Old 01-04-2008
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Yes, in very squally stuff, the motor makes me feel much happier.
You don't get blown down, and you don't tear your valuable sails.
You normally can see when it's going to be a very bad one. the sky blackens and you see it racing across the water at you.
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