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  Topic Review (Newest First)
03-08-2008 04:25 PM
TOMINDC2 Hi Birdface, I would not advise intentionally steering into harms way for educational purposes. My observation is that most sailors have no idea what weather looks like, probably because their concepts have been shaped by weather on land, a few hundred hours of underway experience, and sailing mostly in local bay and off-shore conditions. My concept of really nasty weather was shaped by navigating Navy destroyers through several typhoons in the Pacific, once in the dangerous semicircle. "The Perfect Storm" movie comes closest to giving you a vicarious taste. While squalls pass relatively quickly, they can promote radically different seas with rain sometimes driving parallel to the surface (into your eyes -- ouch); worse, winds can change radically as the center passes. Few sailors can manage canvas under such conditions. Although a squall might not sink you, it can leave the crew on deck both shaken and stirred -- not to mention bruised and humbled .

Regarding your excursion, the farthest off shore I have been in a monohull is about 120 nm while sailing with friends one June up to the Vineyard from Pax River in an open-cockpit 38 footer. My luck, we got 3 days of gale all the way up to Gay Head. Seas were generally 8 to 12. Winds were so strong that despite the rock-n-roll we were averaging 6+ kts SOG on the 3rd reef with the jib furled. The second gale day, roughly 50 nm off shore, the CG asked mariners to look for survivors of a 40-foot monohull that went down in our area. Nobody found them. Though nasty, any experienced crew could safely handle such seas, so we speculated that the crew must have been unprepared for the weather. In weather, panic can have the same effect as an open hatch on the focsle.

The best way to gain weather experience is probably through unavoidable acts of nature; not by looking for trouble.
03-08-2008 09:35 AM
sailingdog TominDC2—

I'd agree about the visibility from the cabin. Most multihulls have fairly good visibility in most directions, but you may have to move around the cabin a bit to get the best view. Many monohulls have huge blind spots, making going below a different story.

As for the anchorage in question, I don't know the name of it and would have to check my logs to find it, since we followed our friend's boat there. However, were were anchor in probably 10-15' of water. We were probably less than 200' from the monohull I described. There were several other monohulls, which didn't seem to be affected to the same degree, but these were much beamier designs. Also, the boats were not all pointed in the same direction—Chris's boat and mine were, but Chris's boat was only 60-75' away from us.
03-08-2008 08:53 AM
Birdface Thanks guys. Now I have to convince my wife that we should turn out to see when those dark clouds approach so I can get experience

I've been heaving to regularly, but never in the kind of conditions we're discussing. I'm just excited to get out and get some experience under my belt so I can captain a boat through anything that might be thrown at us.

This year I hope to take a few 50+ nm trips up to Maine and to the tip of Cape Cod this season, so I'm trying to read up on the possible issues that might pop up.

Thanks for the advice.

03-08-2008 02:08 AM
TOMINDC2 Not to restart a squabble, but Sailingdog might've seen what he seen, yet Plumper might have a technical point as well. Both the Gemini and the Telstar draw less than 18 inches of water, so we often anchor close to shore. In shallow anchorages, we are often protected from wind and seas by the lay of the land, whereas keeled monohulls in deeper anchorages farther out in the same bay may be getting pounded. That might explain Sailingdog's observation. That is, it may not be that multihulls are impervious to rolling, so much as we get to park in more protected anchorages. Just a thought.
03-08-2008 01:52 AM
TOMINDC2 I read the Pardey's book several times. However, their book is based on monohull experiences. I would love to hear from a multihull sailor who has tried their methods. However, that might be better left for another thread. Back to the squall thread, my multihull rolls over waves different from monohulls because we sail on the water vs "in" the water. With boards up (assuming you have catamaran with boards and not a keel), we slip easily with a beam wind. Also, our multiple hulls each clear a wave independently and relatively more quickly than a cruising monohull. In Navy sailing school, I was taught to take powerboat wakes bow on to avoid violent rolls. Doing that in a catamaran can make for a noteworthy pitch, but if you shorten the angle on the wake to around 45 degrees, most wakes roll underneath unnoticed by passengers. One might assume that in a squall, dropping the canvass, raising the boards, and going into the salon for coffee might be quicker, less fuss, more comfortable, and safer than heaving to (as long as there is no visible land leeward of the squall to whack into before the she blows over). BTW, this would not be abandoning the helm. From most catamaran salons you can see 360 sitting comfortably. Unless you have a deck salon -- all you can see from inside most monohulls, if you are standing, is what's abeam of you. I regularly dine with the crew underway, and use my remote to avoid traffic if I see any. You can't do that in a monohull, even a DS, because heeling alters your view of the horizon. Thus, my request for multihull contributions to the thread. We really are different in many respects.
03-08-2008 12:01 AM
camaraderie Bird...that is why I said lying ahull in a SQUALL might be better than carrying sail in a heave to mode. What will knock a boat lying ahull over is the combination of wind and waves and the hull getting sideways to the waves.
In a short lasting don't get the waves as they do not have the time to build that a real storm will. In a squall it is the wind that will knock you down and stripping sail can prevent that. I agree with the Pardey's that in a real storm situation you don't want to lie ahull except as a last resort.
03-07-2008 11:56 PM
Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
Plumper...I would say that lashing the helm hard over and going below and putting the hatchboards in is abandoning the helm. You may call it something different.
It is the word "abandon" that I have difficulty with. On my boat we don't abandon the helm. We may lash it, we may put the auto pilot on and leave for a moment, but we don't abandon it. If, while heaved to, the boat does something funny, we go and adjust the helm. Abandoning it sounds a bit too final for me. Fatal even.
03-07-2008 11:52 PM
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post

Just remember the techniques that the Pardeys demonstrate in their book and on the video are not necessarily the right ones for you to use on your boat, since each boat handles storm conditions slightly differently.

Some boats don't heave-to very well, and may need to lie ahull instead. Others don't go to weather well and may have to run off or heave-to Some will need a drogue or sea anchor.
The point of the book was to show that virtually all boats can be properly heaved to if the owner/skipper practices before the event and learns how on his/her particular boat.

They (the Pardeys) go to great lengths to show how they personally have heaved to in boats with most of the different hull and rudder combinations around today.
03-07-2008 10:46 PM
sailingdog Birdface—

Just remember the techniques that the Pardeys demonstrate in their book and on the video are not necessarily the right ones for you to use on your boat, since each boat handles storm conditions slightly differently.

Some boats don't heave-to very well, and may need to lie ahull instead. Others don't go to weather well and may have to run off or heave-to Some will need a drogue or sea anchor.

Some conditions are such that having any sail up is going to be too much sail. Thunder squall lines, at least the ones I've seen, are capable of generating winds over 50-60 MPH, and can often shift direction very quickly. There aren't too many boats that would do well trying to sail in those conditions IMHO.
03-07-2008 10:14 PM
Birdface Interesting. In the video and subsequent reading I did they said absolute last resort was dropping all sails and that lying ahull was the ONLY time in the last thirty years that they'd actually been knocked down.

They say to leave some small storm sail up because it balances the boat and they are serious advocates of the drogue anchor/parachute anchor. (but only at a 45 degree angle and only with some sail and heaving to.

Regardless... I need to become more comfortable sailing 100's of miles off shore and then I can understand going below for any more than a few minutes at a time while under sail or drift.
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