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  #31  
Old 03-29-2013
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Re: A couple wisely decides to head back in...

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
Many times I've gone out purposely in challenging conditions just to see how challenging they are.
Sometimes from the shore it looks really bad and when you get out their is's not so bad. Other times it looks benign from shore but when you get out there its a lot worse than it looks like.
The only way to learn is to take a look.

As long as you have a plan "B" there is no harm done.
If you push it a little when you have options you learn stuff.

If you never push it you can accumulate one years experience ten times rather than ten years experience.

Not that there is anything wrong with being ultra conservative and not ever taking any chances, to each there own.
That attitude is one that would serve every sailor - especially any who might have aspirations of venturing offshore - very well... Purposefully setting out in near-gale or gale conditions will ultimately pay off in spades...

Never ceases to amaze, in reading accounts of events such as the Caribbean 1500, how many participants wind up attempting to do something as elemental as heaving-to, for the very first time, EVER... Seems you'd want to seize the opportunity to experiment beforehand with such a basic heavy-weather tactic, when you can do so in the relatively controlled conditions of your own time and choosing, rather than being ultimately compelled to do so 500 miles from land, at night, for the first time...

A tragedy like that which befell RULE 62 might possibly been averted, had the skipper taken his crew out one dirty day when it was blowing like stink, given them a foretaste of what was to come, and figured out how to make the boat heave-to or forereach comfortably and safely...
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Last edited by JonEisberg; 03-29-2013 at 03:07 PM.
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  #32  
Old 03-29-2013
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Re: A couple wisely decides to head back in...

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Originally Posted by RichH View Post
I wouldnt be in agreement for 'well inboard' stanchions ... as that would be a 'functional' failure or give rise to an undue and increasing difficulty going forward, etc.
I don't mean so narrow you wouldn't be able to go forward, but rather, let's say, 18" from the edge on a modern, wide boat of average size.

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My practice is not to 'depend' on life lines, for me they only clearly illustrate a 'boundary' that I shouldnt exceed .... and I wear a bombproof (combo short & long) tether and harness. :-)
I don't have lifelines on my boat, and won't on the next one either, so I'm the same sort of person.
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Re: A couple wisely decides to head back in...

We have 30" lifelines on our boat and one advantage that I have not seen discussed is that they provide something to provide general support, ignoring catastrophic falls which is a different matter. The support ranges from just something to brace a thigh against when moving to in one case having something to hold onto when knocked down. For the latter, I was sitting on the side deck, two tethers attached, while adding extra ties to the dinghy (50+ knots will do that) when we knocked. It was nice to have a stanchion to hold onto, with arms and legs.
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  #34  
Old 03-29-2013
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Re: A couple wisely decides to head back in...

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Originally Posted by killarney_sailor View Post
It was nice to have a stanchion to hold onto, with arms and legs.
Boy do I agree with that. That Bob Perry guy usually adds an angled support running to the caprail, etc. in addition to a stanchion base for a VERY wide base of support and to prevent stanchion rip-out.

I use a 'rock climber' mentality when on board: dont depend on nuthin' but your own arms and legs, have at least three of 'something' attached/connected/touching at all times and only one arm or one leg 'moving' at a time. Doing a 'three point' all over the boat when its boisterous may look a bit weird but I prefer it to coming to an abrupt and sudden 'jerk' at the end of a 'line'/teather, etc.
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Re: A couple wisely decides to head back in...

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Originally Posted by RichH View Post

I use a 'rock climber' mentality when on board: dont depend on nuthin' but your own arms and legs, have at least three of 'something' attached/connected/touching at all times and only one arm or one leg 'moving' at a time. Doing a 'three point' all over the boat when its boisterous may look a bit weird but I prefer it to coming to an abrupt and sudden 'jerk' at the end of a 'line'/teather, etc.

That leaves out bouldering
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Old 03-29-2013
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Re: A couple wisely decides to head back in...

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
That attitude is one that would serve every sailor - especially any who might have aspirations of venturing offshore - very well... Purposefully setting out in near-gale or gale conditions will ultimately pay off in spades...
Gales are my absolute limit for offshore courses. For less advanced courses even lower.

I have turned back from circumnavigations of Vancouver Island twice on account of weather: once it was 55-70 with 6-8 meter seas on the nose. The other was 40 knots on the stern, in that case I was concerned about both the boats and the crews.

Quote:

Never ceases to amaze, in reading accounts of events such as the Caribbean 1500, how many participants wind up attempting to do something as elemental as heaving-to, for the very first time, EVER... Seems you'd want to seize the opportunity to experiment beforehand with such a basic heavy-weather tactic, when you can do so in the relatively controlled conditions of your own time and choosing, rather than being ultimately compelled to do so 500 miles from land, at night, for the first time...
In the ISPA standard we spent a lot of time hove-to. It is also a central feature of our MOB drill. It is by no means a coincidence that offshore race crews have to certify that they have practiced MOB.

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A tragedy like that which befell RULE 62 might possibly been averted, had the skipper taken his crew out one dirty day when it was blowing like stink, given them a foretaste of what was to come, and figured out how to make the boat heave-to or forereach comfortably and safely...
While this might be Monday morning quarterbacking, we have much to learn from the experiences of others.
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Old 03-30-2013
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Re: A couple wisely decides to head back in...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
Gales are my absolute limit for offshore courses. For less advanced courses even lower.

I have turned back from circumnavigations of Vancouver Island twice on account of weather: once it was 55-70 with 6-8 meter seas on the nose. The other was 40 knots on the stern, in that case I was concerned about both the boats and the crews.



In the ISPA standard we spent a lot of time hove-to. It is also a central feature of our MOB drill. It is by no means a coincidence that offshore race crews have to certify that they have practiced MOB.



While this might be Monday morning quarterbacking, we have much to learn from the experiences of others.
Jack,

We have fished from Campbell River to Langara Island, all in pretty remote areas. Maybe, if one is lucky, another fisherman might help you. For us, when we fished on our own, without a guide, "going back" or "staying in" was not a concern. Always another day.

Paul T
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Re: A couple wisely decides to head back in...

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Originally Posted by dabnis View Post
Jack,

We have fished from Campbell River to Langara Island, all in pretty remote areas. Maybe, if one is lucky, another fisherman might help you. For us, when we fished on our own, without a guide, "going back" or "staying in" was not a concern. Always another day.

Paul T
Exactly - I waited out hurricane forces at the Brooks peninsula by fishing in Quatsino Sound; three springs in the space of an hour.

That also gave me a chance to anchor in Pamphlet Cove - sweet.

The most dangerous item on a boat is a calendar / schedule.
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Re: A couple wisely decides to head back in...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
Exactly - I waited out hurricane forces at the Brooks peninsula by fishing in Quatsino Sound; three springs in the space of an hour.

That also gave me a chance to anchor in Pamphlet Cove - sweet.

The most dangerous item on a boat is a calendar / schedule.
"dangerous item?" Totally agree, when we had our commercial boat out of San Francisco it was "money". Going out was bad, coming back the ship channel or Bonita channel was worse. We made some BAD decisions and luckily, survived to see another day.

I am amazed by the threads that say "I am going from San Diego to San Francisco in my Coronado 25 in the middle of winter, what should I take with me?" Said poster then is insulted and rejects any constructive input. "Hello, Coast Guard?"

Paul T
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Old 04-01-2013
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Re: A couple wisely decides to head back in...

Hi all. This is Justin from Shearwater.

Thanks for the really good comments and constructive feedback. That is the best reason for making videos like this - to create a great discussion about the events. This turned out to be a nice learning experience for us, and hopefully for others as well.

I wanted to add a little more information and basically agree with a few of the points raised.

1. I agree the lifelines are too loose. I noticed it the first time I watched the video (again that is what make videos so helpful). Already on the list to tighten them up a little when we get back to the boat.

2. I also agree the main is not as flat as it should be and that is because the reef line is not led far enough aft. I made a mental note right on the water in the harbor and added it to the list when we got back. While we've been sailing together for awhile now, we've haven't really sailed Shearwater that much yet at least not upwind in a blow.

3. Yes, there are certainly places to stop on the way south. The issue at the time was that entering somewhere like Nazare would have added an unfamiliar entrance in big seas, arriving potentially at night. So while we knew we could stop if we wanted, we didn't plan to. Also, the forecast showed no improvement in conditions for the next several days, so even if we had stopped somewhere, we would have had to wait a long time. It made more sense to just turn around, go back to familiar place, go back home to Madrid, and watch for better weather. Porto is only a 1 hour flight away.

5. It's been a week and the conditions still have not improved. A new Jeanneau 57 left the day after us heading south and turned right around. They left again two days later and turned around again. They are still in Porto and may not leave before we return.

6. In the end the issue was two-fold. First conditions were not as forecast (are they ever?). We used GFS gribs, PassageWeather GFS, COAMPS, and WRF, and PredictWind (so arguably 4 different models) and none of them showed wind exceeding 25 knots, but we never saw winds below 25 knots true once clear of the entrance and easily averaged 30 knots true. The secondary problem was, while the conditions at the time were manageable, the forecast was for a slight increase 12 hours later. The real issue though, was steering. I was doing fine once I put my feet in the right place, the boat handles beautifully and the sail plan was balanced really well. An autopilot or vane could have steered the boat easily, BUT neither an autopilot nor vane can see the waves and would have just sent us crashing directly through the worst spots, making no correction to avoid high spots or the low spots. That was something I hadn't considered before we departed. Trying to do that myself at night wouldn't have worked so well either. Plus sleeping and eating would have been miserable if not impossible. That was the clincher for us. We could handle the current situation, but over time and with any increase in conditions we would have been very uncomfortable. With a double-reef and #4 (80% or so jib) we were at our minimum working sail area. A great combination for 25-30, but if conditions worsened we would have to switch down to the storm jib and/or trysail and that just seems silly. Why use storm sails if you don't have to?

All in all, it was a great experience. No regrets. We did a number of things right, and a few things wrong and we learned from it in a reasonably controlled situation. We did want to push ourselves a little and we were prepared to be uncomfortable, but we do this for fun, so there comes a point...

I'm really glad we had the camera on and posted the video. I thoroughly enjoy it afterwards, again, and again, and again.
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