Steering down the face of a 30 foot wave - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 30 Old 07-20-2008
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Originally Posted by Boasun View Post
Surfing down the 30' wave is not a big deal. It is when you get to the bottom of that wave and bury your bow into the trough and that wave pitch poles your boat over and it is now belly up. Now that would be a bit dis-concerning. To put it mildly. Well maybe more than mildly. And if by chance you could turn before your bow buries into the trough, then that breaking wave will broach your vessel. Either event happening the survival is practically nil to naught.
Think about it!! You don't want to pitch pole or broach your vessel if you want to survive at sea.

Well said Boasun. Above 40 knots of wind and seas buildiing to a mere 18-20 feet, you shift from sailing to surviving - and you hope you don't do something really stupid. In 30' seas the thought of surfing down one, never enters your mind.

s/v Paloma, Bristol 29.9, #141
Slipped in Bahia Marina, easy access to Corpus Christi Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
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post #12 of 30 Old 07-21-2008
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I've been caught exactly one time in big seas, and that was on a friend's boat. It was a Cheoy Lee ketch, and a well built boat. (Before the factory burned down in Taiwan.)

We were bringing the boat back to the US from the Orient, and got caught on the edge of a typhoon. Winds were 80-85 with gusts and the seas were, by my reckoning, about 40 feet.

We didn't have a drogue or sea anchor, but we did have plenty of 3/4" nylon line, so we tied slip knots every three feet with loops about a foot in diameter, and tossed the lines out behind us to slow us down. It worked, mostly. That warp brought our speed down from 6 knots to 3.5 knots with bare poles, and helped keep the stern pointed the right way...

The rest of it was manhandling the wheel. All of us were young and in good shape, and we still couldn't steer for more than 15-20 minutes at a stretch. Ten hours of that left all of us exhausted. That's when the winds finally dropped to a 'sedate' 40 knots.

This was all a very long time before GPS, of course, and the High Seas weather forecasts were pretty skimpy. Mostly second and third hand information from other ships in the area.

My only commentary? Been there, did that, wouldn't do it again if I had any kind of choice. If you want to do that for fun, then you probably enjoy skydiving, wreck diving, and all other manner of passtimes better left to adrenaline junkies.

My advice? Keep track of the weather. If it starts going in the crapper, run the other way, even if it's the wrong way. Surfing a big boat is hard on the boat, harder on the crew, and downright scary.

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post #13 of 30 Old 07-21-2008
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For a good account what its like. Read the book "Left for dead".
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post #14 of 30 Old 07-21-2008
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30' wave is nothing

I've attached a link to a great article on sailing through a Tsunami, a waterspout, Asteroid Strikes etc. This is well written a pretty funny.
48° North - Severe Weather Sailing

I ONLY PUT THAT TITLE THERE TO GET SOME ATTENTION TO ARTICLE I LINKED ABOVE. Any wave that is too big for your boat is trouble. I've had a night in 20+ seas which we handled well enough, except for the fact that there is a pretty well documented phenomenon of a periodic or rougue or whatever you want to call them that happens often enough, about every hour. When you think you are doing just fine then all of a sudden the big waves get BIGGER or start BREAKING and if you don't adjust real quick, FUN WOW!!! Next morning was a Sleigh Ride but still experiencing some pretty big waves.
YouTube - 25-30 Knot Winds 31N 79W 10-20 foot seas
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post #15 of 30 Old 07-21-2008
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post #16 of 30 Old 07-21-2008
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Yep, I've seen that in the Sound at least four times. Halve the period and put those on the beam and you'll understand what scared my Admiral that one day. It makes for a very fast passage in a slow boat, if interesting.

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post #17 of 30 Old 07-21-2008
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Looking at it again Im saying 8 to 10 max people are always over estimating wave heights...Shoot thats a typical day out salmon fishing out of west port not counting crossing the bar.
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post #18 of 30 Old 07-21-2008
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Having never done it I offer this....


Check out the book by Bernard Motessier "Cape Horn the Logical Route." He takes Cape horn to Port after spending much time in the 40s and 50s latitudes. He hand steered for days down the face of great waves in a 40ft ketch and gives good descriptions.

I have a sauna on my boat, therefore I win.
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post #19 of 30 Old 07-21-2008
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Not 10 to 12

It is hard to show on the video, and he was taking them from the companionway and they don't show the height, as any one who has tried to video waves can attest to, and quite honestly I was very surprised when I saw the video how tame they looked, but we did see spreaders on another boat and that boat went down and the halfway up to the spreaders.
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post #20 of 30 Old 07-21-2008
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Not 10 to 12

It is hard to show on the video, and he was taking them from the companionway and they don't show the height, as any one who has tried to video waves can attest to, and quite honestly I was very surprised when I saw the video how tame they looked, but we did see spreaders on another boat and that boat went down and then more than halfway up to the spreaders.
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