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Old 10-23-2012
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Re: When is the wind speed too much?

Originally Posted by casey1999 View Post
Thing I would be concerned about is not the wind or the sea state but the land.

When in conditions like that there is more of a chance of a sail tearing or your running or standing rig breaking. If that happens, you need time to sort things out, and that is when your engine is most likely to give you a problem. From the pic looks like the body of water is not that big. That means you will hit the bottom sooner.

I would rather be in the middle of the ocean in 45 knots than on a small lake with 25 knots, when single handing a boat over 25 feet.
You have to try the Med On Greece many days on the end of the afternoon is like that (same kind of wave too). On the Cyclades on July and August that would be a day with not too much wind


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Old 10-23-2012
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Re: When is the wind speed too much?

Originally Posted by PCP View Post
You have to try the Med On Greece many days on the end of the afternoon is like that (same kind of wave too).


That is when I would tie up the keel boat and break out the windsurfer...
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Old 10-23-2012
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Re: When is the wind speed too much?

I'm not talking swells...waves, one after another and very close together. On a larger body of water, in these conditions, do the waves become farther apart, thus becoming what many refer to as swells? -rhr1956
There are so many tyopes of factors of sea state and determinations of them. Some of the factors determining sea state are

Depth of the water and fetch and of course wind speed, buit on the ocean the sea state can be caused by a storm thousands of miles away.. The ocean generally has a large fetch except when off shore winds blow so the action can build, In deeper water this action and wave interval is eleongated into swells. As the bottom shallows closer to shore the "swell" is compressed from the bottom and rises higher on the top. I would only call it a wave when it lterally turns over and breaks and creates whitewater. Off course you see this at the shoreline as well on shoals in deeper water. In deeper water in the ocean you can ride these swells and intervals and make progress as there is not steady resistance like when the interval between action is small.

On a shallow body of water like a lake ( not the Great Lakes) where most of the lake is shallow what you are seeing is what I call ( but I am not an authority) chop with small intervals between each. This chop can literally stop the progress of a boat dead in its tracks. Its not like the breaking chop will create large breaking waves with whitewater like in an ocean shoal next to land. Not to say that whitecaps dont affect the motion of the boat.

I am sure there are many definations of waves. I look at waves like something you can surfwhich I used to do which have a definate "wall " height and surface. Waves in the ocean have great force and if you go "over the falls" (a surfing term) on a wave you can pitchpole and bury the bow and have the boat flip over stern over bow. I have done this on a Hobie 16 many times and survived. In a keel boat I never want to do this. Also the other way of going "over the falls" would be a quick slide ( surfing) down the face of the wave out of control on an angle with very little control and the possiblity of broaching or rolling the boat as you got broadside to the breaking wave. In big storms in the ocean with large breaking waves this is one reason for the drouge anchor to slow this motion down so you dont surf down waves.

Lastley it takes a long time for the wind to afect the height of the swells and waves in the deep ocean, where on a shallow body of water this can happen quickly. I sail on the Chesapeake primarily with some Atlantic Ocean sailing. A strong front coming through on the Chessie where there are many shallow areas and even the deepest areas are only 100 ft, it can produce serious chop and whitecaps quickly...in minutes wheras on the ocean this same front doesnt affect the sea state the same way.

This is a very unscientific explaination and I am sure someone will come along and chastize my attempt. Hopefully they will add and help define what I have started.

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Last edited by chef2sail; 10-23-2012 at 03:22 PM.
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Old 10-24-2012
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Re: When is the wind speed too much?


That is a pretty good explanation of waves vs swells etc. Where I was saturday, at some time less than 1/4-1/2 mil from shore, the mid 20 knot winds had no waves per say. Meanwhile when we went out around west point......2-3 footers as the waves had time to build some. Went I went north to home some 12 miles farther, I was getting 3-4' waves with the same wind speeds.

If any of you have a chance to drive across a literal floating bridge, like I do across Lk Washington, amazing that in a 30-40 knot wind what the windward side is like, the next 100 yds to the other side, one could waterski across the lake! You get a really good feel for what fetch or distance will do for waves/swells. Meanwhile 6 miles or so north o 520 where I grew up along the lake, we had 2-3' waves, a mile north at the end of the fetch, sometimes 3-5 as the depth went from 100-200 to 20', so the waves/swells built up, such that even swells have waves. I also had that saturday evening too. Not sure how deep I was, as typically in puget sound it is 300-500', many hrs spend with NO depth registering on the depth guage, ie over 600'.

Then add in a 3-4knot current against the wind, waves are short and steep, tide/current with the wind, waves are longer, many times shorter in height, and one can tell when the tide/current changes, just by wave changes!

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Old 10-24-2012
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Re: When is the wind speed too much?

Nothing like PowerPoint to teach wave theory. Click Here (PowerPoint required)
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