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post #1481 of 3091 Old 09-10-2009
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post #1482 of 3091 Old 09-12-2009
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One more vote for needing to be safe in all waters. There are times when you can, and should, experiment to push yourself harder. But those should be times when you really know what plan B will be. Like always, you need to take account of all the circumstances. For instance, I think most would agree that one should err on the side of less sail up when sailing at night because it is more difficult to anticipate wind changes and gusts.

On the other hand, how do you improve your skills if you don't test them from time to time. To use someone else's analogy, you don't move from a Piper to an F-18 in one shot. The same applies with sailing. When you can control it, you move up the difficulty chain gradually. Of course, most of us have run in to circumstances where we were unexpectedly challenged well above anything we had done previously. That often happens in the longer ocean voyages (I'll also include other big bodies of water like the Great Lakes), when you can't always control the conditions you will be in.

While I would agree that the Great Lakes count as comparable to the ocean, I have to somewhat disagree with the Hudson River comparison. I have lived near the Hudson my entire life. It is true that you can have dangerous conditions there, but it is far less likely - and more predictable - than in many other places. That doesn't mean one should drop one's guard, just that the Hudson doesn't belong in the same danger category as some of the other waters, in my humble opinion. Now talk about Hellgate, and parts of the East River and I think your point would be more relevant!!!!
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post #1483 of 3091 Old 09-12-2009
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Originally Posted by twinsdad View Post
While I would agree that the Great Lakes count as comparable to the ocean, I have to somewhat disagree with the Hudson River comparison. I have lived near the Hudson my entire life. It is true that you can have dangerous conditions there, but it is far less likely - and more predictable - than in many other places. That doesn't mean one should drop one's guard, just that the Hudson doesn't belong in the same danger category as some of the other waters, in my humble opinion. Now talk about Hellgate, and parts of the East River and I think your point would be more relevant!!!!
I keep and sail a boat on the Hudson and have been for the 10+ years. I have sailed through Hellgate at least a dozen times a season. I also have crewed 6 Chicago to Mac races.

There is no comparison. The great lakes (Michigan and Superior) are fresh water oceans. People that believe that Long Island Sound is big water have no idea! I have been in the gulf stream when the "elephants are marching." When the great lakes get angry, the only difference I have seen is the taste of the water coming over the rail.


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post #1484 of 3091 Old 09-12-2009
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I've sailed in big lakes and bays, but if you've not had the good fortune to sail in the Pacific, Atlantic, or the Gulf of Mexico - in deep blue salty water with a 250-500 mile wind fetch driving beautiful rolling waves - that typically don't break even at 25-30 foot heights, you've missed the sailing opportunity of a lifetime.
In the last storm we were in, the other two crew were 30++ year experienced Great Lakes sailors and have sailed in some really bad weather in their time, were amazed that waves could be that big and not break. There is a difference.

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 #1485 of 3091 Old 09-12-2009
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The Great Lakes were known to deepwater salt sailors as the “Lakes of Amerikey”. Salt water sailors looked down on the Great Lakes sailors as “farm boys” who were sailing around in puddles and certainly a tall ship sailor was superior to one of those “teakettles” (steamboats). They thought that until they tried sailing the Lakes.


The Great Lakes are quite possibly the most dangerous waters on earth. Storms roar off the Great Plains at hurricane force with very little warning. It was the dangers of Great Lakes shipping that created the National Weather Service.

Unlike the ocean, there is always a “lee shore” only hours away. The water of the Lakes is more likely to go “green” and build up topside until the boat “turns turtle” . A phenomena like the “Three Sisters”- three waves to the aft of a ship in rapid succession, could drive you into the bottom, as is suspected of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Finally, a sailor in the water was more likely to die of hypothermia sooner or sink since salt water is more buoyant and is a more consistent temperature. The Great Lakes are a treasure to cherish and a beauty to behold, but a healthy respect for their power is also wise. - David HB Drake



Come all you bold young sailor lads who sail the briny breeze
And heed my tale of the men who sail the boats of the inland seas
You that scoff and jeer at the sailors here and think they have such ease
When the journey's short from the inland ports In the Lakes of A-mer-i-key
If you take your fleet where the water's sweet, there's something you should know
No quarter's shown when the gale wind's blowing' and the sky has filled with snow
When your decks are froze and the rail dips low there's nowhere left to flee
Then from bow to stern make a turtle turn on the Lakes of A-mer-i-key

CHORUS:
So say a prayer for those who dare to sail on the fresh north seas
If you drink too deep you'll forever sleep in the Lakes of A-mer-i-key

There's times I've seen when the water's green and the waves begin to freeze
That a close haul tack makes a wood hull crack from her scuppers to her knees
As you leave the boat and you try to float, no salt gives buoyancy
There's a waiting grave in the cold dark waves of the lakes of A-mer-i-key

CHORUS:
So say a prayer for those who dare to sail on the fresh north seas
If you drink too deep you'll forever sleep in the Lakes of A-mer-i-key

The winds come down with a wailing sound and the weather changes fast
it's a tempest in a teakettle as you run from the icy blast
And the calm will change to a mountain range as the whitecaps curl and break
Then the Sisters laugh and kick your aft to the bottom of the lake.

CHORUS:
So say a prayer for those who dare to sail on the fresh north seas
If you drink too deep you'll forever sleep in the Lakes of A-mer-i-key


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post #1486 of 3091 Old 09-12-2009
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bubb2, you're right about the dangerous waves on the Great Lakes - that's why our two crew from the Gt Lks were amazed that 30 foot seas on the briny were still giant rollers and not breaking.

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 #1487 of 3091 Old 09-12-2009
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Wind just seems to keep on coming.
Left the harbor yesterday for a 60-mile race. Wind was blowing about 10-15 in the harbor, and the report was for some fronts to possibly come through, boosting it up to maybe 22 before shifting a bit and beginning to fade.

The race started at 19:30 in about 20 knots of breeze and rain with eleven boats close hauled on port tack to the first mark, about a mile away. We were somewhat surprised to find a 120' three-masted ketch powering in the other way in the dark. Probably not as surprised as they were to have to slalom through a tightly packed racing fleet of 35' to 50' boats in the wet dark. The real surprise came when the fleet reached the first mark, and the wind picked up to 30 or more and stayed there for the next five hours as we beat to our rounding mark, (Falkner Island) some 30 miles away. We had reefed the main on the first leg, but didn't relish changing the jib with the bow digging into 5-6 foot waves (an unusual size in well-protected Long Island Sound), made steep by the the tide running against the wind, especially with the weather report calling for a quick switch to a fading northerly. Most of the fleet retired early and their crews ended up crashing the "sailors' widows" party- another surprise. Our crew spent the night over on our ears, with salt and fresh water sluicing over the deck. We ended up blowing two full-length battens out of the main, and ripping it from luff to leech above the second batten by the end of the night. With the damaged main not providing much drive, we needed the #1 jib to provide power to get through the waves, so we left it up.
When the breeze and rain finally did begin to fade we were headed downwind with the spinnaker, made squirrelly because of the poor flow over the reefed main. (A dangling batten kept us from shaking out the reef because it fouled the spreaders.) At the finish line we took second. Another race comes up next week - a daylight race this time. Should be fun!
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post #1488 of 3091 Old 09-13-2009 Thread Starter
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Wow Paul - sweet BFS! Bummer about the sails - but that sounded like a race to remember.

I can't imagine racing at night. That amps everything up a few notches I imagine.

Thanks for the write up dude. Easties rock.


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post #1489 of 3091 Old 09-13-2009
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Nice to see someone getting some wind! Our last two races have been cancelled due to lack there of! smooth as baby's bottoms were the seas

Maybe in two weeks.....

She drives me boat,
I drives me dinghy!
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post #1490 of 3091 Old 09-13-2009 Thread Starter
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C'mon Bluto - you got to get out there a represent for the Westies!! Where has GeorgeB been lately? Hopefully he's pulling something big down as we speak.


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