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post #1651 of 3076 Old 11-29-2009
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Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
Holy crap, Ste! That looks sick! What were the conditions?

BTW - nice work keeping your stern planted.

Here's another little reminder of the importance of the tether - and how quickly things can go silly.

Gotta go back to the party. See you guys in a few days.
Surprisingly, probably only in the low 20's. IODs are very old-school boats designed in the 30's. 33 ft long, 45 ft mast, but only 6.75 ft of beam. They rock and roll downwind like crazy, constantly going from dipping one rail to dipping the other when the wind is up. In fact, class rules include the W (wuss!) flag for no spinnakers if the race is started in more than about 18. The pic just looks more impressive 'cause of the white wall of water that's coming down... another 30 seconds and the photographer wouldn't have been able to see the boats
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post #1652 of 3076 Old 12-11-2009 Thread Starter
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I ran across this one in another forum. Scary stuff:

Pete Goss and The Knock Down

And the beginning of that storm...


Back to the issue of luck plus seamanship. What do you do with a "freak wave". Great story.


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Last edited by smackdaddy; 12-11-2009 at 07:57 PM.
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post #1653 of 3076 Old 12-17-2009 Thread Starter
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Just stole this from the insane singlehanders thread. It definitely rates in my book...

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Originally Posted by fullkeel7 View Post
As Jeff_H said, sailing short handed can at times duplicate sailing singlehanded, especially at 4-5 AM... can't see the hand in front of you and it's blow'n 25 to 30 knots and wave heights are running 12 to 16 ft. It's kinda like being a fetus and Mommy's on a slow motion trampoline!
Those conditions were maybe 5 or 6 days of the 12 day trip to St. Thomas from the Abacos and don't get me wrong...it was the best sailing I've ever experienced.

The skipper was a hell of a sailor, the boat was full keeled and well found. She was a perfect performer for the conditions we were sailing in and I never felt in any danger at any time. There were, however, times I wished I could have walked on water! The forward birth was filled with family stuff, so I spent my off watch time sleeping on one or the other settees, tack dependant. I don't want to spend 12 HOURS on my couch at home let alone sleep on a pitching surface somewhat smaller for 12 DAYS. Four hours on, four off...sometime, about the seventh or eight day, EVERTHING including going to the head was a chore. Sure gave me some heighten respect for those who do sail singlehanded for WEEKS/MONTHS.

Long story short, after we arrived at St. Thomas, I was worthless (and sometimes was during the trip) and exhausted. I learned that I really didn't NEED to travel the oceans to enjoy sailing singlehanded or short handed. I know my shortcommings were my own fault due to my not being prepared for the trip (the skipper acted like he'd just stepped out of a soothing massage). The trip was one of those "crew needed immediately" sites and I flew to the Bahamas thinking it was an 'island hopping trip'. Wrong! I had bitten off more than I had bargained for. Seven hundred miles due east to pick up the trades and THEN head south. After twelve days, I was in the best physical shape I've been in for some time but felt like doggie doo with the crap kicked out of it! Still, I felt very privledged to be out there and grateful I was given an experience I'll not forget.

I still would like to sail my own boat (STILL looking) and explore both coasts of Florida, the Keys with a side trip to Ft. Jefferson and even down into the Virgins. That should keep me busy for...I dunno...the REST of my life maybe! For SELF be true, don't need no BLUE!

Looking back at those long watches, I really don't know where the long distant singlehandlers get their motivation from...I just know it's not in me like I thought it was.
Great write up Keel.


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post #1654 of 3076 Old 12-18-2009 Thread Starter
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Here's another well-handled BFS that has sparked a GREAT THREAD HERE:

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Originally Posted by seb5thman View Post
This summer I chartered a 36' Hunter out of MDR California for a sail to Catalina Island. After a day in Two-Harbors we sailed around to the back side of the island and spent the night in Cat Harbor. The next morning was beautiful with the weather report calling for 2'-3' seas with wind 8-10 kts picking up to 12-15 kts in the afternoon. Our plan was to sail completely around the island and spend the night in Avalon.

About 2-hours into our sail things changed drastically. The winds picked up to steady 20-22 kts with gusts up to 28 kts coming from behind me (180 degrees) and I was afraid of an accidental jibe. The seas got big (for me) with what I would estimate to be 12-15' following seas. I felt very out of control. I put my wife and younger son down below while my adult son and I tied onto the cockpit with lines (we did not have harnesses).

After reducing sail I regained some control of the boat, but the following seas were so large and breaking that I was afraid I would get pooped. I made the decision to forego our trip around the island and return to Cat Harbor under motor, which took us a couple of hours.

I am a new sailor and have taken the ASA 101, 103, 104 courses. I have been out with an instructor a couple of other times but never experienced the conditions we did on this day. When we got back to Two-Harbors the next day several boats had their head sails blown out and the Harbor Patrol had to moor all the boats coming in because the wind was so high.

I felt so demoralized because up to that point I was pretty confident in what I had learned over the past couple of years. Here's what I'm asking:

1. How could I have continued with the downwind sail? (When the winds are high I feel more comfortable sailing into the wind than with it)
2. How do you deal with large breaking waves from behind?
3. Any other suggestions?

My confidence is still a bit shot so thanks for not taking unnecessary shots at me, but I would appreciate any solid advice or critique.

Thanks.
Followed by a great summation reply from CoastalEddie (there are many more great responses in the thread as well):

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Originally Posted by CoastalEddie View Post
The far side of Catalina is pretty much open ocean, there really aren't any tidal currents to speak of (unless one is REALLY close to shore). However, the fact that the wind increased in intensity rather quickly probably accounts for the steepness of the wavefronts. Without much fetch (distance AND time), the waves just hadn't had enough time to sort themselves out.


Seb-

First of all, you made the right decision, for you and your crew. Had you kept going it would have taken you several uncomfortable (and anxious) hours to get to Avalon; turning back to Cat Harbor may have made for an even less comfortable ride, but undoubtedly lowered your anxiety level considerably (since you knew that a safe harbor was just a little ways away).

Given your description, it sounds like the wind was Force 5 - gusting to Force 6 (I never have had a boat with a dependable anemometer, so I just use the good ol' Beaufort scale). At that wind speed you can get fairly large waves IF the wind has been blowing for several hours (maybe 8 - 12) over open water. At the start of a blow the waves will be considerably smaller, BUT much steeper, often making for a very uncomfortable motion. Once you get some more experience you'll probably consider conditions like this "spirited sailing". However, Force 6 is about as strong a wind with which most recreational sailors feel really comfortable.

The point has been made that motoring into the wind and waves probably made for a less comfortable ride than running with them. That's true for three reasons: first, your apparent wind probably increased by 12 to 15 kts (your boat's speed x2) when you turned around; second, you were also plowing into the waves at a much higher speed (wave speed plus boat speed, rather than wave speed minus boat speed), making the impact of the bow against the waves much more forceful; and lastly, the face of a wind-driven wave is much steeper than the back of the wave (unlike the situation for ocean swell, where the two sides are more or less symmetric). Together, all this probably made for a pretty wet ride back to Cat Harbor.

But, at the time, I'll bet you felt better turning around. Why? Probably because you had a near-by harbor to aim for (always a comforting thought); and you weren't used to the yawing that a following sea will induce. With more experience you'll learn how to limit such yawing (by a bit of judicious use of your rudder, and by sailing with the wave off you stern quarter), and you'll get used to the feeling of a small amount of yaw.

But, don't sweat it too much. NO ONE sails for any length of time without getting a bit scared now and again. Remember, that which does not kill us, makes for a great story to tell (and, the story will only improve with age, since each time you tell it the wind will be a bit stronger and the waves a bit bigger ).
That's what I'm talkin' about. Score one for the Westies!


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post #1655 of 3076 Old 12-19-2009 Thread Starter
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I gotta say, there have been a slew of great sailing stories of late. Here's a killer BFS from PCP from the Knock Down thread...

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Originally Posted by PCP View Post
Great thread…my small contribution:

Some years ago, on an August night, I was on passage from Cartagena (Spain) to Palma de Maiorca, me and my 16 year-old-daughter, on my 36ft boat. We were about 16 miles off Palma when my daughter joined me on the cockpit. It was her turn to pick the wheel, but as a huge thunder storm was striking far away, on the Spanish mainland and as she was a little bit scared, I stayed with her.

The wind started to pick up. We were motor sailing with full main 20š off the head wind. The wind went slowly from 20kt to 30kt and I put, the second and later, as a precaution, the third reef (it makes the sail area really small. I use it as a storm sail, up to 45kts of wind).

Then I saw the “thing” on the radar. It was a huge black area…and it was coming fast. I told my daughter to go inside and to close the boat. Some minutes later I was hit by pieces of ice almost the size of golf balls. It was impossible to stay at the wheel. I put the autopilot on and took shelter under the spray hood and then the wind came in a big blast. As a precaution my hands were on the stoppers, and I immediately let go the boom and the main halyard, to no avail. The boat laid immediately on its side, the boom in the water and the mast touching it. And it stayed that way for I donīt know how long. A lot it seemed to me. Probably two or three minutes, till the blasting wind disappeared, to return to 35k. At that moment the boat righted itself up without any difficulty and I was surrounded by strange waves that seemed to come from all sides.

I was at the wheel but I didnīt know where to steer the boat. The sea was not making any sense and I remember to see some waves racing at fantastic speed, like strange animals speeding on the water. Luckily I was not caught by any of those.

Alf an hour later, everything was “normal” again and I arrived at Palma, at sunrise, as expected. My sail was ripped off from the mast and my banner reduced to shreds.

In Palma everything was normal, no storm had passed there.

It took a lot of persuasion and several experienced sailors to convince my daughter that this was not a “normal” situation. But with the changes on the climate, the truth is that a lot of these strange and violent phenomena are happening on the Med.


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post #1656 of 3076 Old 12-20-2009 Thread Starter
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Outstanding day on the water today. Mid 60's, wind around 15-20 SSW, sun shining, and the lake filled with yachts. Freakin' AWESOME.

But, blood was shed. AND I had an actual MOB today. The real deal. Kind of...

Okay, so I took a buddy out who's done a bit of sailing, but this was his first time aboard the infamous Smacktanic. He was eager to learn. So I taught him everything I know. Took about 10 minutes. Then we flew across that lake like banshees...hurling insults at the J-Boats as they left us in their wakes. Jerks.

All was well until the dusk docking. Tried sailing into the slip - but the wind was right on our nose. So I fired up the 6 and was easing the last 100' into the slip.

"Just step off onto the finger as we come in and tie us off", I say.

"Will do, Master and Commander" comes the reply from my buddy. (It's just a thing on my boat. You know.).

So, he takes a step off the starboard rail toward the finger. A little squeak and crack as the rubber finger bumper gives way beneath his foot, then nothing but shoes fill the sky. He's a big guy; 6'4" or so. So it was a lot of shoe. Then....huge splash.

"That didn't really just happen. No freakin' way that just happened." said my mind as I started working the life-saving checklist.

MOB drill...in the freakin' slip.

I cut the motor so I wouldn't puree my pal. I turn the rudder hard to port to avoid squishing him like a bug and hope that I can wedge the boat diagonally in the slip to give him room. I see him surface and throw him a pfd and tell him to swim forward to avoid the beam of the boat as the momentum is still inching it forward (he had been swimming aft - not good). I then hop off and help him out out of the 58 degree water.

The look on his face is a combination of 15-20 emotions...panic, fury, embarrassment, amazement, bewilderment, hypothermic shock, you name it.

Back on the hard, as he pulls his cell phone out of his waterlogged pocket and removes his soaked hoodie....I fall down L'ing...OL and everything. I mean seriously LOL'ing.

He says he can't wait to come back out. Now THAT'S commitment people.

Oh yeah, the blood. I got a bloody nose today! Yeah baby! We did this super lousy gybe and wrapped the genny around the forestay. So I'm up cranking on the clew to pull it back around. The wind shifts and the genny whips around the stay and BANG, I punch myself right in the nose with a fist-full of clew. I felt just like Sapperwhite from FightClub! It was brilliant!

What a day. What a day. I love yachting.


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Last edited by smackdaddy; 12-20-2009 at 11:30 PM.
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post #1657 of 3076 Old 12-20-2009
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That reminds me of an event on my old boat. I know it only second hand, as I was not there at the time. My boat partner and another friend took it out for a good day of sailing. When they came back in, my boat partner tried to step to the dock and missed.

Now, to understand the incident, realize that we had tied a landing yoke in the old slip to help center the boat and absorb excess energy on landing. He fell into the water straddling the yoke line. Since the boat was still moving, he was pushed all the way towards the dock. Still straddling the line. Just avoiding getting truly squished.

Remarkably, there were no injuries involved. But I still cringe every time I think about it. On my new boat, I have a rule that no one steps off the boat until it has come to a complete stop.

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post #1658 of 3076 Old 12-21-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
Outstanding day on the water today. Mid 60's, wind around 15-20 SSW, sun shining, and the lake filled with yachts. Freakin' AWESOME.

But, blood was shed. AND I had an actual MOB today. The real deal. Kind of...

Okay, so I took a buddy out who's done a bit of sailing, but this was his first time aboard the infamous Smacktanic. He was eager to learn. So I taught him everything I know. Took about 10 minutes. Then we flew across that lake like banshees...hurling insults at the J-Boats as they left us in their wakes. Jerks.

All was well until the dusk docking. Tried sailing into the slip - but the wind was right on our nose. So I fired up the 6 and was easing the last 100' into the slip.

"Just step off onto the finger as we come in and tie us off", I say.

"Will do, Master and Commander" comes the reply from my buddy. (It's just a thing on my boat. You know.).

So, he takes a step off the starboard rail toward the finger. A little squeak and crack as the rubber finger bumper gives way beneath his foot, then nothing but shoes fill the sky. He's a big guy; 6'4" or so. So it was a lot of shoe. Then....huge splash.

"That didn't really just happen. No freakin' way that just happened." said my mind as I started working the life-saving checklist.

MOB drill...in the freakin' slip.

I cut the motor so I wouldn't puree my pal. I turn the rudder hard to port to avoid squishing him like a bug and hope that I can wedge the boat diagonally in the slip to give him room. I see him surface and throw him a pfd and tell him to swim forward to avoid the beam of the boat as the momentum is still inching it forward (he had been swimming aft - not good). I then hop off and help him out out of the 58 degree water.

The look on his face is a combination of 15-20 emotions...panic, fury, embarrassment, amazement, bewilderment, hypothermic shock, you name it.

Back on the hard, as he pulls his cell phone out of his waterlogged pocket and removes his soaked hoodie....I fall down L'ing...OL and everything. I mean seriously LOL'ing.

He says he can't wait to come back out. Now THAT'S commitment people.

Oh yeah, the blood. I got a bloody nose today! Yeah baby! We did this super lousy gybe and wrapped the genny around the forestay. So I'm up cranking on the clew to pull it back around. The wind shifts and the genny whips around the stay and BANG, I punch myself right in the nose with a fist-full of clew. I felt just like Sapperwhite from FightClub! It was brilliant!

What a day. What a day. I love yachting.
Hey Smacker.
You've joined the club. But, turn towards the MoB as your boat pivots about the middle (CLR). Also, you got off lightly with the clew. Never let it happen again - you can get a nice cerebral haem or, like my dad, lose all your front teeth. If it happens to the skipper, imagine the panic that will set in.

cheers fat lips


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post #1659 of 3076 Old 12-21-2009
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smack----- i broke into a broad grin as i read your post this morning. thanks for making my day. i don't suppose you saw the humor in it at the time.

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No, cap, it definitely wasn't funny until afterward. Then it was seriously funny. I'm still breaking out in bursts of laughter today - drawing curious stares.

bcampe - straddling the landing yoke? Ouch! I'm starting to like the idea of staying on the boat until all motion ceases. Or at least having my crew use my old hockey goalie gear for protection while docking.

St - I see what you mean about turning the other way. Thanks for the heads up. We had just nosed in and he stepped off just forward of starboard midship. Since I was still on a port quarter angle coming in I thought I could push the bow into the port finger and essentially wedge to a quick stop. Of course, I was scrambling to kill the motor, grab flotation, take pictures, text all my friends, and freshen my martini. So it was all a blur.

As for the bloody nose. I've learned a valuable lesson. That clew packs a freakin' punch!


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Last edited by smackdaddy; 12-21-2009 at 12:43 PM.
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