That is this saturday, ie "Foulweather Bluff" THey are looking forward to it, unless the winds are over about 20-25, then they will sit out, a bit too my BFS for them on their first time out by themselves, this is per the admiral! ie my wife! and the cabin boy ie me! Trying to find one more to go out with them, so they have 5 on board instead of 4. Make things a bit easier if things really start to rock if you will. Weather does not look toooo bad at this time........but a lot can happen in 5 days!
It will be a BFS no matter the wind for them! ie first time out by them selves.
That last post made me think back to when I used to race 420's. If you aren't familiar, they look like this:
We were sailing on the first day of one race week right after an early Nor'easter had come through and there was PLENTY of wind. The first course for the day was a modified triangle (the kind with the extra windward leg.) The start and up to the windward mark was fast and fin with fairly flat seas thanks to the shelter of a nearby island which I believe was how they had intentionally set up the course.
We came down the first reach leg and had gained on the lead boats after a poor start. As we jibbed around the second mark we were all hauling along neck and neck for the lead. We had been paying so much attention to rounding that we hadn't noticed that this side of the course was suddenly out of the shelter of the island and the towering rollers left over from the storm were coming at us just off our stern. We were all able to ride the waves a bit, but because there was so much air, we were moving nearly as fast as the swells. Being the good dingy racers we were, we had, of course, eased our boards up about half way.
So we're moving along, 3 lead boats in the pack, fully hiked looking pretty much like this:
And as we inch closer to the leader in front of us, I get the bright idea that I'm going to sit on him as best I can despite how hard it is to control the boat. I try to time the swells just right, and as we close in I head up as we surf down a wave and end up right on top of him, cutting his air.
Before I knew what had happened, the next wave came in and hit my fully hiked crew squarely in the ass, lifting him off the trap and swinging him around the mast. Without the weight, and the board partway up, the boat went right over, nearly going end over end, and tossing me into the water as well.
Needless to say we DNF'd and screwed up plenty of the boats behind us as well, who did not fair too well after hitting the swells themselves. The RC called off the race after it became clear the course was a bit hazardous, and we restarted a bit later once the marks had been moved further into the lee of the island.
But not really a crazy story, that's just what it's like racing dinghies.
And speaking of racing BFS - here's another by the bold newb Mauryd...
Originally Posted by Mauryd
One thing that I should point out is that the Mac race story I told you all about was last year. We had a very fast race. Lots of wind all the time and building on the second day.
This year was pretty much a drifter save one nasty mini storm we were in on the first day.
So there I was.... trimming the 1/2 ounce again when we were going in between storm fronts. At the time we had the light air sheet on. As we looked into the storm we were approaching we could see lightning flashes. I said "so there I was headed into a storm, and trimming the half ounce with a light air sheet". Everybody started laughing and Billy, the skipper, scratched his chin and says "you may have a point there". So we got the heavy air sheet back on and Peter took the kite from me for a bit so I could get my foulies on like the rest of the crew. No sooner then I get my gear on then it started to rain. I took over the kite again and the weather just kept building quickly. In what seemed like 10 minutes we were in the storm. I was looking up, of course, when a lightning flash caught my eye. It started directly above the tip of the mast and shot out in two directions with the mast at the center. Of course it wasn't close to us, just overhead, as I am still writing to you. It was awesome. Then the wind built up quick and I mean quick. Before I know it the 1/2 ounce blew, again, in half. We brought it down in a torrent of rain and wind. It was pouring so hard it felt like weights on my back as I scrambled around the deck dragging in the kite and putting up the storm jib. It was intense. But it was over about as soon as it started. I don't think the whole lasted 20 minutes. Maybe that's just my perception/memory playing tricks on me though. I do know that it in no time at all we were losing wind, and boat speed, fast. We were going from storm front to storm front for a little while at that time. We were sailing like at the tips of fingers on a giant hand. After that last storm and before we reached the next one, we sent Captain Billy up the mast to retrieve the kite head and halyard. We had to grind quick so we could get him down before it started rockin' again. This done, we promptly went into another little patch of rain and wind.
Other than fog at the rounding, and having some boats coming out of the the fog heading directly at us in their search for the mark, the whole thing settled into a drifter. We had flies by day and cold by night to torment us. It took us 2 1/2 days to get to the finish line. Compare that to 1 1/2 days last year. About 300 miles. We won't talk about our placement in the finish.
Upon landing we promptly set to squaring away the boat and that done, we promptly set to drinking the island dry. We started by arriving about an hour before last call at the Pink Pony (a sailor's bar by the docks at Mackinac Island) and back to the boat to eliminate the stores of beer on board. I'm happy to report that I did my share and the mission was unsuccessful! We kept trying though and I'm confident that we did manage to put a serious dent in the alcohol supplies on the Island with the help of the 200 or so other race boats in port at that time.
On a more serious note, I didn't manage to find Sailor Jerry's on the island anywhere during our stay.
Man I love this site. Another great BFS from AMac...
Originally Posted by AndrewMac
I was hoping that you all could help me out with some feedback on handling heavy weather. I am realtively new to SN and in previous posts have mentioned that, while I have 25 years sailing experience, it has almost exclusively been as a day sailor within the shelter of Penobscot Bay. My father and I recently upgraded to Decision - a Baba 40, Bob Perry design out of the Ta Shing Boat Yard, cutter rig, 40' LOA, 12'10" beam, 29,000 lbs displacement) with the intention of doing more cruising. To that end, I returned yesterday from a 5 day, 4 night sail around Penobscot, Jericho, and Blue Hill Bays.
I had one realtively inexperienced crew with me for the first two days. The first day was mild 10-15 knots and we made it to Isle au Haut and anchored in Duck Harbor beyond which lies the gulf of Maine. My intention was to drop out into the Gulf on Day 2 and, with a forecast NW wind of 30 knots, hoped to make it down to Winter Harbor on Schoodic Point, a distance of about 35 nm to the northeast (I needed to travel more easterly for about 20 nm, then turn nne for 15 nm once I cleared the Duck Islands and headed to Winter Harbor) . As we came out from under the lee of Isle au Haut, it was immediately apparent that the winds were higher than forecast at 35 knots gusting to 40. As we moved further into open water the wind built so it was a steady 40 with gusts over 45. I had headed out under staysl only with the equivalent of one reef in the main (have inmast furling for the main - btw, kept remembering the inmast furling debate that CD started and thinking "I really don't want this thing to jam right now ). I immediately put in the equivalent of a second reef and, as the wind built, a third reef shortly thereafter, but left the staysl up. With the northerly wind, my point of sail was slightly above beam-on.
My problem was wave height/period. The seas had been forecast at 4-6 ft which didn't overly concern me, but they ended up larger - I would put them at 7-10 (the observation buoy a couple miles further south recorded 13), very steep and tightly packed together and seemed to be starting to break. We were a couple hours into it and getting smacked around a fair amount at this point, took a couple of waves across the bow and then dropped off a couple waves - not a complete drop-off I suppose, but certainly not something I had experienced before. At this point I came as close as I care to a knock-down. It wasn't a knock down, the sails didn't go in the water, but we went way over to the point where some sea came into the cockpit on the leeward side (hard to do in this boat). I had enough, changed course and beat up under the outer most islands (Marshall and Long islands) to get cover from the sea (this put me in Toothacher Bay, which i had to laugh at) - took me a good 3 to 4 hours to go about 3 nm. Oh, and I put the engine on, took in the staysl and let out a reef in the main. While we had to cross those conditions a couple more times to work our way back into Jericho Bay, once I made Marshall Island, I was largely able to leadfrog from the lee of one island to the next - didn't cut the wind much, but the sea was more manageable. We were picking up another crew member that night and I emailed him to change the place as we weren't going to make winter harbor. Sorry, this is getting long - a couple questions that came out of this:
1. Was going beam-on a dumb idea in those conditions?
2. Beating into the waves/wind was no fun (buried the bow a couple times, another first) - I actually considered falling out into more open water - this would have allowed me to be on a close reach straight to Winter Harbor. My thinking was: (a) that if I got further from land, the seas might have more room to separate and be more manageable - I have no basis for this, but was briefly tempted by my theory - does that make sense to anybody?; (b) I Could be on a close reach, which seemed preferrable to beam-on or close-hauled and (c) I could still make my intended destination.
3. Did I leave the staysl up too long, or maybe I should have left it out for the duration for better balance.
4. My dumbest move - not pulling up the tender and lashing it to the deck before we left - my greatest fear once I was out there was that a wave would flip the inflatable and I'd end up having to just cut it loose - was amazed that it just bobbed like a cork and never was an issue.
Any thoughts about what I should have done differently would be appreciated. Sorry this got so long..
Here's an epic BFS from our pal sneade (edited for the children)...
Originally Posted by ssneade
this happened years ago, "85" i think. as i've said before i was a powerboat man, anyone who would sail a boat for pleasure was not quite right in the head. besides, who in the hell wanted to go pleasure boating after you've been on the water for ten hours either fishing pots, scraping, trotlining or oystering.....
i did, however have an interest in dredge boats. my paternal grandfather was the owner of three at one time, and my maternal great grandfather and his son built them around the turn of the twentieth century 'til the mid fifties. it seemed amazing people could make these huge wooden things move without them turning upside down....
anyways, the eighties proved to be a turning point in my life. i drank heavily, and i doped even heavier. after selling my workboat to buy dope, i finally decided the dope had to go. the firs hundred dollars i saved went to purchase a fourteen foot racing scow. i hadn't a clue what it was, i only knew it had sails and i wanted to satisfy my curiosity of how the other half lived.....
the first couple of excursions i'll bet were a sight to see. apparently i didn't know which side of that thing was supposed to be on top of the water. nobody would give me any pointers, but there were a lot of people pointing their fingers and laughing their asses off. i didn't give up. i finally got used to holding the main sheet in one hand and the tiller in the other. the day i made my first successful tack i stood up and crowed. yeah, crowed. jibing was a completely different story. that freakin' boom whacked me in the head and knocked my butt overboard more than a few times.....
after a while my friends quit laughing and wanted to take a ride on my newest thing to do. one particular cloudless afternoon, i decided it was time to take her on an epic journey. so me and a bud got a case of beer and left out of goose creek with winds about twelve knots southwest. about five miles across the manokin river and through the thoroughfare to the the bar at the last chance marina. on the way, was my first experience with her planing. i hauled in the sheets an leaned back and man alive! we were quartering two foot seas, sometimes it seemed like we would skip one. what a rush. we were probably running fifteen mph at times.....
so after beers and shots, it was time for the next leg, which was to cross the chainshoals, the shipping channel in the sound to the entrance to holland straights. about half way i noticed it looked like we were sitting a little heavier in the water than normal. this thing has a sealed hull, so i don't have any idea i'm taking on water. about a mile from sound point, we're settling good. i told brian we had serious problems, he allowed if he died, he'd kill me. about a hundred, hundred fifty feet from shore, down she went. brian's screaming "I'm gonna drown", crying like a baby. i said "stand up and die like a man". that dumbass didn't know we were in only four feet of water. dragging a sunken boat onto a bank requires a feat of strength that could only be accomplished by two drunk sailors, so it was easy for us....
although we managed to start draining the boat, we weren't prepared for what hit us next. a freakin' cloud of green head flies. OMIGOSH the pain was unfreakinbearable. we had to jump overboard in order to keep from getting eaten alive. so here we are. boat's on the bank, beer's on the bank, smokes on the bank and we're in the drink trying to survive the flies unending assault.....
i finally gather up the courage (as it was getting late in the afternoon) to see if i could find the leak. it appeared the rudder bracket had worked loose from the stern while doing the planing earlier and water was entering the hull around the joint. eight miles from home. no tools no sealer no nothing. i had an idea, so screaming i charged the boat. (screaming does absolutely nothing to deter greenheads) i grabbed the drain plug and put it back, with the other hand i was stuffing marsh mud into the gap between the rudder mount and the stern. by this time my head and shoulders looked like a pepperoni pizza from the fly bites. i grabbed a quarter from my pocket and tightened the screws as best i could, drug the boat off the bank, and we sailed about a half mile clinging to the side of her, before we were confident we could fight off the remaining flies.....
once under sail, we realized we left the beer and smokes on the bank. sorry, not even goin' back for'em. i'm making a bee line for prickly point, to hell with a beer. so while we're arguing about the fact that we were having to sober up against our will, we didn't notice a tug with a barge under tow bearing down on us. when he blew his horn, we sobered up straight away. i changed course to a heading that would clear his bow by a long shot, or so i thought. when we cleared him, it was by only about fifty feet or so. i think brian shat himself, 'cause he clammed up and sat very still for the rest of the ride home. i still hear that tugs horn to this day. we made it back to the marina just as last light fell. the marsh mud held. brian jumped overboard and cleaned out his shorts. i thought he shat himself and i was right....
today, i take extra measures to ensure those problems never happen again. i moved to georgia, i never leave the house without bug repellent, i keep extra smokes in the cabin in a watertight container, and i quit drinking.....
First, I don't think anyone should be too smug as we all have our fair share of mistakes. That said, I would offer a couple of thoughts that others may agree or disagree with.
I definitely would have secured the dinghy better. This is probably the least controversial comment I'll make. I think you were very lucky not to have lost it, and having it distract you when you needed your attention elsewhere - of course you knew that by the way you asked the question.
I also think that most would agree to avoid, when possible, taking large waves on your beam. Going upwind might be more uncomfortable, and raise your apparent wind modestly, but I think a safer bet in rough seas.
As for the balance of your sails, its hard to comment without knowing your boat or having been there. In rough conditions, I would err on less sail, not more. Having said that, the way you balance between your sails really depends on too many factors for anyone to give you a definitive answer. You will probably know from your helm whether you have the right balance or not.
I think it is really to your credit that you are asking the right questions, and pushing yourself. Personally, I would have thought twice about going out in a forecast of 35 kts, knowing that the forecast can be wrong and the winds could turn out to be stronger. Repeating myself, if you are going to go out in those kinds of conditions, and you are not racing, I think less sail area is better than more.
Happy cruising - Maine is such a beautiful spot for it.
As for your feedback - the coolest thing you'll find in that thread is his attitude about the feedback he got, and the attitude with which it was given him. It's a great, great thread and shows how great this forum is.