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  #11  
Old 01-13-2014
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Re: learning about waves...

Lots of knowledge already given on wave hoight and period. A search on this site will show many more threads that deal with the issue.

My question would be, how did you and your crew handle 4-6'. If you were comfortable in those then try 6-8' next. From there 8-10'. Period will make all the difference.
The boat, with an experienced captain and crew, may handle what I hope was the tounge in cheek reference to 30', but nobody in their right mind would start out on a cruise in those conditions. Breaking waves of 8-10' are not a comforatable ride!!!
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Old 01-13-2014
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Re: learning about waves...

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Originally Posted by tomandchris View Post
My question would be, how did you and your crew handle 4-6'. If you were comfortable in those then try 6-8' next. From there 8-10'. Period will make all the difference.
Yes, period matters a lot. Ocean waves tend to have a longer period. Wind over current can shorten the period and make for steeper waves.

Other important factors are point of sail and type of boat. I have been in 30-35 knots winds, 12-15 seas, broad reaching and hand steering a 37 foot fin keeled sloop. The ride was OK, but it was a lot work.

Close- hauled in those condition would be horrid.

A beam reach would be deadly, the chance of a slam would be magnified.
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Old 01-13-2014
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Re: learning about waves...

Blowinstink... wow what a great answer
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Old 01-13-2014
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Re: learning about waves...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
Yes, period matters a lot. Ocean waves tend to have a longer period. Wind over current can shorten the period and make for steeper waves.

Other important factors are point of sail and type of boat. I have been in 30-35 knots winds, 12-15 seas, broad reaching and hand steering a 37 foot fin keeled sloop. The ride was OK, but it was a lot work.

Close- hauled in those condition would be horrid.

A beam reach would be deadly, the chance of a slam would be magnified.
A had a similar experience on a night trip in the med...
Tiller steering a 32(?) or thereabouts for the whole night in a broad reach gives you the feeling of an roman-rudder-slave on one of those battleship of them...
Pull the tiller, push the tiller, pull the tiller, push the tiller... And so on for endless hours with both hands at the tillerbar...
I had sore muscles the day after, but it was good sailing!
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Old 01-13-2014
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Re: learning about waves...

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Originally Posted by boknows View Post
My wife and I are leaving for two week sailing trip. All coastal cruising. We have a coronado 45. I am wondering what size waves should I consider to rough. I've only been in 4 to 6 ft waves. We have no time frame so we can stay in protected areas if we need to. At what point should we not go out? Tell me your thoughts. I'm trying to learn about waves

On the my weather page you will also find a hyper link to

Understanding Wave Height, Swell height and Fetch.
There is a Difference especially FETCH.


At 'Marine Weather Links Worldwide Plus section.







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Old 01-13-2014
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Re: learning about waves...

There is a big difference between "waves it is possible to sail in" and "waves I would voluntarily sail in for a pleasure cruise". As a point of reference, I just got back from sailing a 70 ft. boat from Norfolk to the USVI's - We delayed departure to avoid 14-17 ft. waves because though the boat could certainly do it, why on earth would we want to? We waited for the seas to calm down to 6-8. None of us were novice sailors and this was in a 55 ton boat. If I were on a pleasure cruise I would be even more conservative. Why beat yourself up? If you arent on a delivery it is supposed to be FUN isnt it?
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Old 01-14-2014
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Re: learning about waves...

All great info, which I won't repeat. The next trick is actually predicting the waves, which I find to be the least accurate of all weather forecasts. Start by checking NOAA weather buoys online, if you can. There are smart phone apps and websites. Then check forecasts, like passage weather or the like, but look at the trend from a day before to day after. The only thing I've come to believe is, if the forecast says they are building, they will. What they may build to is a mystery, but at least you can check current conditions and understand whether they should be going up or down.

Generally, the worst waves are caused by opposing wind direction and current direction. Wind can oppose a major ocean current or tidal current and get nasty. While sustained winds that come from shore don't typically travel far enough over coastal water to kick up big waves, they are nasty if there is swell heading toward shore from a long away storm system. Lots and lots of variables.

So, a final rule of thumb. If its just my wife and I, we are hardened enough to take some seas we would never sail guests into. That said, when on vacation, if we start to see anything over 6 ft on a coastal cruise, it's usually being caused by a storm or high winds that are just going to make it unpleasant. We will do it when necessary, meaning there are no bars open wherever we are at the moment I've never been on a cruising vacation, where I haven't stayed hunkered down at least once. If you can predict the tougher conditions out a couple of days, adjust your schedule to be somewhere you don't mind staying over.
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Old 01-14-2014
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Re: learning about waves...

Although I have not experienced 30' waves I was told the exact same thing when we were trying to learn as much as we could about sailing before we bought the boat... We were with an experienced captain (on a 42' cat) and I asked, "so, when do you say to yourself, oh boy, this is not good, we have got to focus here?" and his serious reply was when the waves get to be about 30 feet, because down in the trough you lose the wind.

Fortunately, so far, we are only about 1/2 way to experiencing that!

Last edited by Subaqua; 01-14-2014 at 09:37 AM.
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Old 01-15-2014
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Re: learning about waves...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
I avoid gale force winds, if possible.
That sums it up.
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Old 02-06-2014
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Re: learning about waves...

I don't know much about sailing but 30' seems a little big., but like I said I don't know much about sailing.
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