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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation > What do YOU do in a squall?
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Thread: What do YOU do in a squall? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
09-26-2007 06:41 PM
speciald The decrease in wind seen as you aproach a squall will usually equal the increase in wind speed you will experience as you enter an off- shore squall and give you an indication of how much wind to expect in the squall and what to do with sail area before you enter a squall. It really depends on your boat as to what to do before entering the squall. If you can tolerate 25-30 knots without reefing- go for it, otherwise reef before you enter the squall.
09-26-2007 05:38 PM
SVAuspicious
Quote:
Originally Posted by chucklesR View Post
Now opinion time:
I think sailing at all in a squall is bad mojo - a down burst can hit from any direction at any time. You can literally be hove to one minute and beam on the next second (followed by broached, then poached). You can't heave to on most boats adequately in the varying wind speeds of a squall - most boats require fine tuning the sail/rudder trim.
You have every right to your opinion. I happen to disagree with you with respect to my boat. With three reefs in the main and a staysail up Auspicious is very controllable in high wind. Weather helm does build up, but even in 60 kts gusting higher she hasn't rounded up.

On the other hand, in my old Catalina Capri 22 I would certainly drop all sail and run for cover.
09-26-2007 03:36 PM
arbarnhart
Quote:
Originally Posted by chucklesR View Post
Now opinion time:
I think sailing at all in a squall is bad mojo - a down burst can hit from any direction at any time. You can literally be hove to one minute and beam on the next second (followed by broached, then poached). You can't heave to on most boats adequately in the varying wind speeds of a squall - most boats require fine tuning the sail/rudder trim.
What do you think MTBF on boat motors is? Anything that makes it quit running is a failure, even running out of gas. I have not been able to find anything exact, but the wide range of estimates I found says 300 hours is good and 20 hours is poor. Others have pointed out that gas sloshing around in rough conditions can stir up sediment. My point is that having the engine quit on you is not an incredibly rare event.
09-26-2007 12:36 PM
chucklesR Hit a +45 kt squall the first week on my new boat this spring -
Saw it coming with 10 minutes notice and Navy training kicked in, lights on, pfd's and foulies on, VHF on (no lighting, just wind and rain- and it's rarely on normally), hatches down and latched, doors shut - I don't tether if in the cockpit, it's big wide and deep. Cell phone and hand held VHF into a zippy (ditch bag). We were already bare poles, motor on, so we put the leeward centerboard 1/2 down (Gemini catamaran). Headed dead into the wind, and held the boat to 1kt, monkeying the throttle to keep it there. With the twin hulls funneling the air it's a choice or bow on, or bow off, and watching that you keep it there in wind shifts. Stayed dry, bounced a bit, but man we came out of it loving our new boat. On our previous Hunter 31 it would have required a change of underwear, and more than likely shredded the bimini

Main point is, take ALL of these inputs, have a plan, know the plan, Communicate the plan, and use the plan(including carrying fresh underwear if needed). Afterwards, review said plan and incorporate lessons learned.
Besides, the point isn't just getting thru this one, it's keeping it calm and relaxed enough to talk the crew into going out again.

Now opinion time:
I think sailing at all in a squall is bad mojo - a down burst can hit from any direction at any time. You can literally be hove to one minute and beam on the next second (followed by broached, then poached). You can't heave to on most boats adequately in the varying wind speeds of a squall - most boats require fine tuning the sail/rudder trim.
09-26-2007 11:47 AM
SVAuspicious I think a lot depends on how your boat handles. I carry a 100% jib on the furler. The boat doesn't point well without a headsail. My response is in order, since it is possible I won't get all the way through the list before a squall hits.

1. Quick run through boat to shove anything in the sink that may slide or break -- turn on nav lights before going back topside and bring up inflatable PFDs for all hands -- additional life jackets are in cockpit locker
2. Hatch boards in and slide closed
3. Come up into the wind and pinch a bit (gives me more room off lee shore and makes subsequent steps easier)
4. Reef main (I have three reefs, and when overpowered get a lot of weather helm -- the main is reduced first -- all halyards are at the mast)
5. Rig inner forestay
6. Get staysail on deck, hanked onto inner forestay, and sheets run
7. Double-check for lines over the side
8. Start engine, but leave in neutral
9. Rig jacklines on deck (tethers in cockpit locker)
10. Sail the boat

If it looks like it is going to be really ugly I'll roll up the jib and get the staysail up. My thresholds for some of this may change when I get a 135 genoa this Fall. The anchor is always ready to go and I have a windlass control in the cockpit -- anchoring is an option on the Chesapeake where I sail these days. The VHF is on when I am sailing; I have a remote VHF station at the helm and usually monitor 13, 16, and 68.

I can carry the full jib in a good amount of wind and it really helps the boat to point. I can run the furling line to a secondary winch and furl in pretty high wind.
09-26-2007 12:18 AM
maxcontax
safety first.

Yeah, piling on, but drop all the sails since you have no idea what sort of a squall you are hitting, power up, and adjust as seen fit: if you are head to wind try a bit of headsail to stiffen the boat, if you are running, same holds true, a bit of headsail to take the roll out of her. Squalls are dramatic but end. Go sailing afterwards but not during.
09-14-2007 12:32 PM
Lancer28
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaschrumpf View Post
Somebody posted before that they were "not a fan of sea anchors." If there is searoom enough, is there any reason not to employ a sea anchor? That always seemed to me to be a good solution to dealing with a sudden squall that one knows will not last long. Are there problems with it that of which I am unaware?

Thanks!
I understand that sea anchors are only to help you make your point to 45 degress into the wind when you heave-to and your boat won't completely stop forereaching or point properly.

Some boats point on a main, some point on both sails, some point only when helped with a 'chute.

The safety valve of heave-to is in the wake you leave on the weather side of the boat, if you are always going forward, you leave the wake and protected area.
08-25-2007 11:50 PM
hellosailor Alas, the Sampson Post, rarely to be found in a plastic production boat.

Probably worth adding a stanza to the Young Lass From Nantucket limerick, if there isn't something topical on that already. (Anyone?)
08-25-2007 07:57 AM
sailingdog Sailaway21-

I am perfectly aware that we're talking summer squall lines and not larger, longer duration heavy weather. I'm still not a fan of sea anchors. In either case, the shock loading caused by the sea anchors, if they're properly sized to stop the boat, is too high for the deck hardware on most boats to deal with most of the time. There's a huge difference between a sea anchor and a drogue.

Earlier this year, I help rebuild the deck on a C&C that had been damaged by the PO's use of a sea anchor. Now, if you beef up the deck hardpoints and design them to take the loads a sea anchor can exert... that's fine.. most boats don't have hardware that can.
08-24-2007 11:55 PM
sailaway21 SailingDog is apparently confusing the discussion at hand with heaving-to in heavy weather. We were discussing thunderstorms and squalls, where high winds, breaking seas, but not swells, are the norm. And it's all of relatively short duration.

Bare poles and 50hp ready to hand are nothing to sniff at. And a relatively underpowered sailboat, with a sea anchor deployed, will find it easier to orient her bow to oncoming breaking seas. Manoeuvering as CD describes will be made easier. Ian describes the possibly optimal course of action, assuming an ample supply of Lifeboy bar soap. A good time to break out the old soap on a rope!
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