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  #1  
Old 04-23-2012
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recommended book on heavy weather sailing

I am looking for a book on sailing in rough weather. Not survival conditions, but rough weather. It seems like all the books on the subject are about deploying drogues in 20' breaking seas. Well, the kind of coastal cruising I do means I will probably never deploy a drogue, or see 20' breaking seas. But I do experience some rough conditions, and the ocassional squall. For example:

I was out today in new York harbor. There was a healthy wind, but nothing crazy. However the swells were short and steep, some breaking, in the 6 - 8' range if not more. It was interesting looking back from the foredeck to the cockpit, preparing to raise the jib, and feeling like I was on a ladder, high up looking down at my father at the helm. Well as our small coastal cruiser heaved up and crashed down, as I got an arm buried in the cold water while readying up the jib at the bow pulpit, we both decided that since it was getting dark and cold, and neither of us had experience in such conditions, it would be safer to turn back.

I recently tried heaving to in my boat. It worked fine, except no matter what I did with the mainsheet and tiller, the boat would sit at well over 90 degrees to the wind, directly abeam to the swell.


Can anyone recommend a book that discusses rough weather sailing in non survival conditions?
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Old 04-23-2012
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Re: recommended book on heavy weather sailing

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Originally Posted by peterchech View Post
I am looking for a book on sailing in rough weather. Not survival conditions, but rough weather. It seems like all the books on the subject are about deploying drogues in 20' breaking seas. Well, the kind of coastal cruising I do means I will probably never deploy a drogue, or see 20' breaking seas. But I do experience some rough conditions, and the ocassional squall. For example:

I was out today in new York harbor. There was a healthy wind, but nothing crazy. However the swells were short and steep, some breaking, in the 6 - 8' range if not more. It was interesting looking back from the foredeck to the cockpit, preparing to raise the jib, and feeling like I was on a ladder, high up looking down at my father at the helm. Well as our small coastal cruiser heaved up and crashed down, as I got an arm buried in the cold water while readying up the jib at the bow pulpit, we both decided that since it was getting dark and cold, and neither of us had experience in such conditions, it would be safer to turn back.

I recently tried heaving to in my boat. It worked fine, except no matter what I did with the mainsheet and tiller, the boat would sit at well over 90 degrees to the wind, directly abeam to the swell.


Can anyone recommend a book that discusses rough weather sailing in non survival conditions?
The classic "Heavy Weather Sailing" by Adlard Coles covers a lot more than survival conditions. AFAIK it is still the bible for bad weather sailing.
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Old 04-23-2012
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Re: recommended book on heavy weather sailing

This is, by far, the best HWS book I've found:

HANDLING STORMS AT SEA: The 5 Secrets of Heavy Weather Sailing: Hal Roth: 9780071496483: Amazon.com: Books HANDLING STORMS AT SEA: The 5 Secrets of Heavy Weather Sailing: Hal Roth: 9780071496483: Amazon.com: Books



There are many others...all of which I've read ("Storm Tactics" by the Pardey's, "Heavy Weather Sailing" by Coles, etc.) - but Roth's book is the one I'd recommend.
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Old 04-23-2012
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Re: recommended book on heavy weather sailing

I like the two choices given above, there are several more. I have a guide by John Neal and Amanda Swan that I picked up at a safety at sea seminar many years ago. There are numerous other books and guides.

I'm not sure any of them will tell you how best to cope with the slop you can get into in New York Harbor with a strong wind against tide, that's just plain nasty stuff. It gets magnified even more at the narrows. I'm sure the SF Bay Sailors and others see that alot too. Those short period waves in the river are worse than larger seas in the ocean. They knock your boat speed down to nothing and can cause you to hobby horse barely making 1 to 2 knots, which will cause you to lose steerage.
I imagine that was what you were doing as you tried to raise your jib into the wind?
It's annoying as hell. You could always try to run with the wind, and beat home at slack...as you know, it's all about the currents up there.


Heaving-to on the river is a little tricky. You've often got a 3-4 knot current and depending on where the wind is coming from it can get shadowed by the buildings, then kick in again in the canyons on either side. It seems to work best for me just using the jib and rudder, with the mainsheet or traveler eased, but not flogging, you're going to end up going where the current takes you.

Good decision going home in that stuff. Sailing is supposed to be fun!
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Old 04-24-2012
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Re: recommended book on heavy weather sailing

I not read the two recommended in above posts but I will.....I have however read Storm Tactics by The Pardeys....i found it very informative.

with that said I dont think any book will be able to replace good old hands on training. Getting out there when the weather is not ideal. it will help you learn how your boat and crew reacts to certain adverse conditions. Last year wife and I got caught out in 50kt+ thunderstorm squalls....learned alot about how my boat and I would handle the situation....it was definitely a hole puckering experience! But we got through it and now can be better prepared for something like it again.
I am however not telling you head out in just plain old dangerous conditions. You'll have to figure that out on your own.
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Old 04-24-2012
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Re: recommended book on heavy weather sailing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tempest View Post
I like the two choices given above, there several more. I have a guide by John Neal and Amanda Swan that I picked up at a safety at sea seminar many years ago. There are numerous other books and guides.

I'm not sure any of them will tell you how best to cope with the slop you can get into in New York Harbor with a strong wind against tide, that's just plain nasty stuff. It gets magnified even more at the narrows. I'm sure the SF Bay Sailors and others see that alot too. Those short period waves in the river are worse than larger seas in the ocean. They knock your boat speed down to nothing and can cause you to hobby horse barely making 1 to 2 knots, which will cause you to lose steerage.
I imagine that was what you were doing as you tried to raise your jib into the wind?
It's annoying as hell. You could always try to run with the wind, and beat home at slack...as you know, it's all about the currents up there.


Heaving-to on the river is a little tricky. You've often got a 3-4 knot current and depending on where the wind is coming from it can get shadowed by the buildings, then kick in again in the canyons on either side. It seems to work best for me just using the jib and rudder, with the mainsheet or traveler eased, but not flogging, you're going to end up going where the current takes you.

Good decision going home in that stuff. Sailing is supposed to be fun!
You have described the conditions precisely.

They were bad enough to capsize a powerboat, leading to one drowning...

Boat capsizes in Raritan Bay, killing one, while four are rescued from the water | NJ.com

only one of the survivors was wearing a pfd, the dead man was not...
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Old 04-24-2012
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Re: recommended book on heavy weather sailing



Lots of great, first-hand information.

Gary
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