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  #1461  
Old 09-01-2009
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  #1462  
Old 09-08-2009
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Here's a good BFS from DrB...

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrB View Post
I survived, but it was probably not the "best decision".

I went out in the latest tropical depression that pass to the east of Cape Cod on Sunday night (Sept 6th).

We had sailed from Marblehead to P'Town on Saturday. Weather reports called for a great beach boat weekend Sat-Mon. Plan was to go to P'Town on Sat, Sunday over to Scituate, then back to Marblehead Monday. Sail to P'Town was nice and over glass smooth water. We had to motor half the time because of the time limit and we couldn't maintain a minimum of 4kt SOG.

Around 1 AM in Sunday morning, the boat was being tossed all over the place on the mooring. Winds were in the 30 kt range peak and 20 to 25 kt average. Not too bad, but I just thought it was the old sea/land air masses trading energy. We'll after an hour it didn't stop, and continued until at least 10 AM (when we left).

Forecast was calling for 20 kt winds, peak to 25 -30 with 5 -7 ft seas in Cape Cod Bay. Small Craft warning until 3 PM. Our boat is 33 ft, so just about the "small craft" limit. Seems the storm tracked a lot closer to the coast than predicted when we left on Saturday morning, hence the "new" weather. My crew and I discussed the scenarios of what to do. Wait till later, go now expecting the conditions to decrease, stay here and return to Marblehead the next day and skip Scituate. Everything on the forecast was completely in our skill set and experience, and everything in the forecast was very much underestimated.

We left the mooring, after seeing a lot of boats our size, and larger, and one or two smaller, leave under full sail, but decided to put up the main only with one reef. If that was too much sail just outside the harbor, we'd turn around and go right back to the mooring. If it was super nice, both sails go up.

Things went very well, we were doing 5+ kts on a near dead run, seas were only a few feet and the boat was doing great. We turned north around the souther tip of P'Town and headed north on more of a close reach . Still making good time with only a fraction of canvas up, just over 4kts and the seas were a little bigger, maybe 3 ft, and the winds in the 17 to 20 range, so nothing worth really sweating about. By the time we cleared the northern tip and were in open water, we were almost 8 NM away from the mooring. Course change to Scituate bearing (reach) and we were off.

We tried to sail, but the but speed suffered because of the lack of canavas and the increased seas, so we motor sailed to push us along. Goal was 6 kts minimum. I didn't want to put more canvas up.

About 45 minutes after our course bearing change, the wave height went from 3 to 5, then 7, then , 9 ft. When I looked a the the horizon, it resembled a dark blue series of moving bumps with an occasional white cap. My guess is that every 10 to 15th wave was 11+ feet. Fortunately the waves were slow big rollers and the frequency was long, Unfortunately, the seas were directly abeam to us. Our boat has an 11 ft beam. We steered by looking at the to our side and turned into the really big waves and then turned again on the back side to surf down them It was very tedious, stressfull, and energy draining, We each took turns steering for 3 miles for the 22 miles we had to go. It was windy, 10 to 17, but not a factor.

Had it got worse, we were in a little bit of a jam, as the nearest refuge was Plymouth at almost 15 NM away and almost directly a run with the wave direction. Boston was more into the wave direction, but an extra 10 (25 total) miles away. Going back to P'Town was not really and option.

In the end, everything worked out and now it is a story. We arrived in Scituate after 3 hours of wave battling the monstrous waves and 5 1/2 total. We rode into town on the launch we a few folks. Chit Chat about where everyone was from. We said Marblehead, but we came in from P'Town today. Today? was the typical response, followed by some version of "You're nuts and or stupid", but in a round about polite way.

So after being involved in something like that, it was good to do to get experience. I wouldn't necessarily go out and seek it to gain experience.

DrB
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  #1463  
Old 09-08-2009
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Smack, I think us Easties are pulling ahead for this season.
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  #1464  
Old 09-08-2009
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We were out on Sunday too, on the way from Maine to Connecticut. We reefed the main (first reef) off Portsmouth, NH Saturday night and rolled up the jib because it was simply slatting in the lee of the main. Seas built along with the wind until we were able to surf at better than 11 knots on some of them. The apparent wind went as high as 22knots with waves up to about 6-7 feet. When we got to the Cape Cod Canal several hours before the current was due to favor us, we figured we'd punch through anyway. We caught one wave at the entrance and carried it in with 10.4 on the speedo. Once in the canal things calmed down and we shook out the reef. Fun ride for us, but we did see a boat going the other way in the canal and figured they'd be in for a big surprise when they got to the Eastern end. We ended up sailing 254 miles in less than 48 hours, most of it under just a reefed main.
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  #1465  
Old 09-08-2009
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I'd say you Easties are spanking the rest of the world. No doubt. Of course, it always comes down to the vote. And those Afghanis always have a trick or two up their sleeve.
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  #1466  
Old 09-09-2009
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Ahhh SmackD - the easties think 20-25 knots of wind and 5-7 or 8-10 foot seas are BFS, so yes they'll move ahead. Down off the Texas coast, that's just a great day to go sailing, so no one thinks to mentions it.
Some of the big West Sails and Alajuela's down here don't even like to go out until the CG is guaranteeing at least 20 knots SE winds - they consider that entry-level, but adequate.
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Last edited by johnshasteen; 09-14-2009 at 05:55 PM.
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  #1467  
Old 09-09-2009
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You know, I'm glad you brought this up John...seriously. Because I have wondered about it...

For me, at least on a lake, 20 knots of wind is really a sweet spot. I fly a full main and a 170 genny (which is admittedly a bit much). I do have to mind the sheets - but 15-20 is just about perfect for my C27 (at least I like it). I do put in a single in the main at 25+, and a double at 30+, start getting seriously nervous at 40 - but I've really wondered about some thinking that 20 knots and 3-4 seas is scary.

NOW A CAVEAT - I've never sailed on the ocean, so I've never called anyone on this. I don't know. I'm a lake sailor. And "big" is always relative anyway...that's the point.

But here's my honest question...is 20 knots and 4 foot waves in the ocean scary? And if so, what makes it scary? Is it the fact that I don't have real waves/currents/etc. in the lake that lulls me into a false sense of "big freakin'"?

What am I missing here?
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Last edited by smackdaddy; 09-09-2009 at 04:44 PM.
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  #1468  
Old 09-09-2009
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You're missing the ocean is what you are missing. Sailing lakes, rivers, and even bays. They do not compare! Mother Ocean is her own creature, and you need to accept what, and when she gives to you her moods.

Sailing the ocean is not for everyone. This BFS thread sometimes makes me smile, but we all have to start somewhere. I am not the best sailor, and that's for sure. I do take a lot of pride in sailing effeciently as I know how without endangering my vessel, self, and guest.

Sailing on the edge can give you a few thrills. Especially when you know help is close by. Try doing that out on the ocean when it's just YOU and the horizon along with 20ft. seas, or more. ........i2f
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BORROWED, No single one of us is as smart as all of us!
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  #1469  
Old 09-09-2009
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Yeah imagine - that makes sense. I know that I'm going to be hyper-conservative when I finally make it out into the blue. Because, you're right, sailing within a 1/2 mile of land in virtually every direction makes it easy to "swagger".

Also, I'll definitely grant you that I do things with my current boat, just trying to test out its behavior, that I definitely wouldn't do out in the ocean. Otherwise, what am I paying SeaTow for right?

But that said, now that I'm understanding the boat's behavior a bit more in relation to wind, I'm now really trying to get a bead on what exactly changes with the same amount of wind in the ocean. What gets scarier?

PS - I'm glad this thread makes you smile. That's what it's supposed to do. It's a celebration of sailing BS!
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Last edited by smackdaddy; 09-09-2009 at 05:13 PM.
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  #1470  
Old 09-09-2009
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SmackD, most lakes and bays are relatively shallow and cannot sustain larger seas - relatively small waves break or just become nasty chop . The Gulf, out beyond the 20-fathom line, and many other bluewater venues are deep enough to sustain the weight of quite large waves - they can build up without breaking. In the Gulf 5-7 foot seas are pretty much entry level and make for very comfortable sailing - particularly on a broad reach. Anything up to about 18-20 foot seas just whoooosh under you - and give you a little uuumph forward.
In both of the Force 10 storms we've been endured in the Gulf, with seas 28-30, the high winds blew spume off the tops of the waves, but they still didn't break. The only time the seas got ugly was near the end of the storms because the northerly wind driving the seas was subsiding as the prevailing SE wind was filling back in and the seas were mucho confused for several hours.
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Last edited by johnshasteen; 09-09-2009 at 05:28 PM.
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