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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation > Nightmare on Pigeon Lake
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Thread: Nightmare on Pigeon Lake Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
09-14-2007 02:16 PM
hellosailor " why a sailor would venture out when thunderstorms are predicted?"
Maybe because the local wxcasts have been so inaccurate, they preferred to look out the hatch and decide for themselves?

I have no idea how the wx systems move near Pigeon Lake. OTOH I know that no matter what my local forecaster says, if the prevailing systems are going "this way" the forecasts will be unreliable, but if they are going "that way" I can be sure of what is ahead for 24-48 hours. So I don't just listen to the forecasts--I look at where the systems are coming from, and make a decision based on that.

If I listened to every "chance of rain and..." forecast, I'd miss a lot of beautiful days. Why is it that when NOAA posts "30% chance of showers" they don't say "70% chance of a great day!" instead?
09-14-2007 01:30 PM
SEMIJim
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockter View Post
What's a thunderstorm?
Showers: Just rain, perhaps heavy. Usually "brief." (FSVO "brief.")
Thundershowers: As above, but accompanied by thunder and lightning.
Thunderstorms: Thundershowers accompanied by (possibly) damaging winds. Intense cells in severe storms may spawn tornados.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockter View Post
Do you get them here in Scotland?
Dunno.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockter View Post
What do they look like?
Well, there's rain... usually lots and lots of rain--tho possibly only briefly. There'll be thunderbolts and lightning... very, very fright'ning, and usually high winds and maybe tornados - which can mean debris flying about. As the storm(s) approach, you'll see very tall cumulonimbus clouds, possibly the characteristic anvil atop, and usually a very dark, possibly lowered cloud base. Frequently such storms are preceded by roll clouds (harmless) and a gust front. Individual, distinct lowering of portions of the cloud base may be indicative of a "wall cloud." These must be watched carefully, because they may signal imminent tornado formation. If accompanied by rotation, time to dig a hole, jump in, and pull it in after you! (Tornados are relatively uncommon outside N. America.) The backsides of such storms are frequently characterized by mammatus cloud formations.

Hope this helped

Jim
09-14-2007 11:51 AM
Rockter What's a thunderstorm?

Do you get them here in Scotland?

What do they look like?
09-14-2007 10:16 AM
SEMIJim
Quote:
Originally Posted by RickBowman View Post
Sd,
Imho, is inherently an unsafe practice to launch a vessel when a known weather danger is forecast just because ...
You must not sail much in the summertime, Rick, being in Michigan. Frequently, during the summer, a 20-30% chance of showers, thundershowers and thunderstorms will be forecast for an entire week - sometimes longer. A friend and I were caught out on Lake St. Clair by one of these, some 17 or so years ago. Yup, a "20-30% chance" was predicted. But when we went out, there was nothing in the area and no danger signs in the sky. We were about half-way across Anchor Bay when I looked over my shoulder, turned back and said "Uh, Doug? Look back." Oops! We quickly turned about, but it was coming on so fast there was no chance in hell we were going to beat it. So we weathered it.

No, I wouldn't go out if the prediction was there and either radar showed something approaching or I saw something on the horizon. But to refuse to sail, esp. in Michigan, because there's a "20-30% chance," means not sailing a goodly portion of the summer. And if you plan to cruise the Great Lakes, well... you can forget that entirely if the possibility of inclement, even severe weather is something that would put you off.

Then there was the scheduled race day a couple weeks ago. A line of severe storms were approaching, so we stayed at the club and had a storm party instead . As we were watching the very dark clouds approach, a large-ish powerboat went past the club, headed out. "Turn on your radar!," a number of people yelled. "Or look over your shoulder," I mumbled.

Jim
09-14-2007 09:55 AM
Goodnewsboy I'm with Hellosailor (p. 1). One reason that many of us go to sea is to escape government strictures that apply to us on the land.

The "there ought to be a law" crowd does away with our freedoms. It seems to me they also usually fail to accomplish the stated objective of their mischief.
09-14-2007 09:52 AM
JomsViking It seems to me that Andy assessed the situation correctly - which makes him a prudent sailor - If we stayed home every time there's a risk we wouldn't sail much. Holding anchor watch can be nice too, if you feel confident in your gear and abilities? The nicest part, though, is when it's all over and you can turn in feeling good about your boat and yourself. (Can't describe the feeling, something about the nature/danger/accomplishment?)
09-14-2007 09:27 AM
arbarnhart
Quote:
Originally Posted by RickBowman View Post
Sounds like a possibility for the set of "Frankenstine II"?
Oddly, no; the problem is that there is nearly always a chance but rarely a storm; not reliable enough for a film schedule and not certain enough to cancel plans based on that chance, since there is a chance almost every day.
09-14-2007 09:09 AM
sailingdog Rick-

I'm not speaking about the lake in question...just as a general rule. Even going out daysailing, you can get caught in a thunderstorm...and being anchored during one is probably a safer place than sailing through one.
09-14-2007 08:54 AM
sailingdog Rick-

If you were out on a cruise, for even a weekend, it might very well happen that you will get caught in a thunderstorm—even inf none are predicted or forecasted for the duration of your weekend cruise....as we all know how accurate the weather forecasters are. This is even more true if you're on an open ocean passage—where there is no harbor to turn into or make a run for.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RickBowman View Post
I am wondering why a sailor would venture out when thunderstorms are predicted? Am I missing something with the original post in this thread?
09-14-2007 12:21 AM
Classic30 Don't think for a second that anchoring problems are solely the domain of small craft..

I spent six months on an old passenger ship (300-odd passengers) around Singapore/Malaysia out 10 years back and we got bumped in the nose by a container ship trying to anchor in front. The tide was running about 5knts, it was a pitch-black night and he drifted down onto us whilst trying to put his hook down.

Scared the crap out of a fair few of us (including me!) and resulted in a new bow for us (just cut off the old one and weld on a new one!). He was extremely lucky that we didn't sink him, since our curve bow of 1/2" plate penetrated his engine room up to the edge of the superstructure (about 3ft). I must post photos when I get them scanned in..

--Cameron
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