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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation > First storm in a sailboat; lessons learned, advice wanted.
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Thread: First storm in a sailboat; lessons learned, advice wanted. Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
10-11-2011 06:18 PM
bobsaxet Let me first qualify this by saying that I have limited experience and this is my first post. So here goes...I agree with everything that has been said, but I think it needs to be added that 'if you're headed down wind in a blow, go with the head sail. If you headed to weather go with the main.' (Of course you have to have a roller furling or a storm jib to do this.) My experience with this was on a chartered Beneteau 39. I put in a double reef on the outbound leg to weather. Everything went perfectly. I went with a single reef on the way back the next day. Even sheeted in with the traveler out only a foot I had so much weather helm that the rudder wouldn't hold when surfing down the waves. Had I rolled out a little headsail and left the main stowed the boat would have tracked right home (and I wouldn't have had to put on my harness and wrestle the main down in heaving seas).
I'd love to hear the forum's thoughts on this. Thanks, Bob
09-19-2011 09:02 PM
johnshasteen Having endured two Force 10 storms at sea, here's what I've learned: be as familiar with your boat as you can; know how to fix and have stuff to fix it with for every critical function on your boat; understand that no matter what you plan for - something else will happen.
Every boat is different and will react differently in a blow. When we were screaming downwind in the second storm, one of the seasoned, Great Lakes, sailors on the voyage posed the question: I wonder how my boat (he as a Tartan 37), would handle in these seas. The answer was, fine, we would just be doing something different.
09-18-2011 11:40 PM
tweitz DSnider, you state "As you know, any attempt to turn the sailboat around from downwind toward upwind in high winds, will absolutely capsize the sailboat."

That is nonsense. If you can sail upwind, you can turn upwind. Just manage the sheets as you turn. Proper sailboats are not that easy to capsize, and the rare instances where they do capsize are more often the products of waves than wind. Except in extreme conditions, far worse than those described in the OP, there is no reason at all why turning upwind should capsize the boat. While the apparent wind will increase as you move to the new tack, the boat may be in less danger than downwind, where an accidental jibe could cause major damage. Of course different boats respond differently, and one needs to consider winds and seastate as well as searoom.
09-16-2011 03:17 AM
INMA DSnider, you state "As you know, any attempt to turn the sailboat around from downwind toward upwind in high winds, will absolutely capsize the sailboat."

Then you suggest "reduce the centerboard to 30% or less".

A Catalina 22 has a swing keel that should remain down and stay down to provide the righting moment to right the yacht in a roll or knockdown. In addition pulling the keel up shifts the keel aft increasing lee helm almost certainly preventing the yacht getting the bow into the wind.

Perhaps you have mistaken the boat for a 22 foot catamaran.

Best way to get a monohull running out of control to pointing into the wind is with the motor going, wait for a wave to pass and turn as quickly as possible hopefully between waves, it will all happen at planing speeds and either work or not (obvious). A very effective rudder is as valuable as a well ballasted keel when all else is scaring you.
09-14-2011 09:00 AM
captflood GREETINGS EARTHLINGS Babtisem by fire you did well in the break-down of the event and you have learnt many a good lesson. If I could offer you some tips it would be the seven P's Rule, Planning Practice Preperation Prevents Piss Poor Performance! if you think you need to reef it sould already be done, do not hold onto sail to long you are not raceing, do you have life jackets and harnesses on when on deck and are all lids and haches secrued so cannot fall out when in a roll (bungy cord)? where you fastened to the boat when rolling around (Jack-stays in the cockpit)? where coast-garuds awhere you where where ? Radio contact with other vessel in your area ? And didyour remember to thank your Crew ? Thanks goes a long way. GO SAFE.
(AND DO KEEP US POSTED)
09-14-2011 08:08 AM
INMA A good story and the lesson is your yacht is able to survive conditions better than you or the crew. I always admired the C22 as a good seaworthy yacht. Now some observations.

A downhaul on the jib halyard lead to the cockpit so you can get it down without going to the bow is valuable. In your story you would have not lost the halyard.

Sort the outboard out so you can get it working to turn into the wind to reef.

I like two reefs, a big one on a single line system to get the sail down, you can always rig the first reef after putting in the second reef and then shake the first reef out.

Slugs on the mainsail are the skippers best friend when you have a well setup single line reef.

Lazyjacks are handy with a single line reef.

You figured out never head to shallow water in a blow unless you know what your doing.

The C22 is one yacht that should hove too safely in extreme conditions, figure it out.

The sea anchor is a great device when you have open water.

Never give up.
09-08-2011 12:06 AM
lat42north Army surplus sea anchor!! I used one in the Gulf of Mexico on my Cal 21 when a storm came up too soon... best $40.00 I ever spent on ebay!!!!
09-07-2011 10:57 AM
rtbates Rule #1: Have ALL your reef lines run BEFORE leaving the dock... The sail may not be reefed YET but the lines should always be in place.

You just learned the biggest issue with 'coastal cruising', the desire to seek shelter vs run for sea room when a storm approaches. You may have been on edge, BUT A CAT 22 has absolutely no business at sea in a storm. It could have been much worse..
09-04-2011 12:06 PM
sailguy40 Although this thread is old, great advice here! I will definitely remember a lot you suggest if I am ever caught in a bad weather situation.
09-04-2011 05:58 AM
DSnider748
Feedback and Advice on turning up wind in a big gale

Wow, what a story; sounds familiar. Here is my review and advice on how to turn from down wind, to up wind in high winds.

* Absolutely get a Jib for your boat. Your boat was made to sail with two sails. When the Jib is not there, you have severely limited your ability to maintain control, especially when tacking up wind.

* Absolutely be ready to Reef the mainsail at 1st warning of impending trouble; don't wait. Start up the outboard, point the boat straight up wind; this will enable you best stability during the Reefing process.

* When caught in a storm down wind like you were, stay with the devil you know, and absolutely do not be tempted to turn the boat such that a big swell can easily roll your boat.

* Now for the big question: how to turn the sailboat around from downwind to some up wind, such that you have an extremely better chance of surviving the storm: As you know, any attempt to turn the sailboat around from downwind toward upwind in high winds, will absolutely capsize the sailboat.

Follow this technique in high winds, before the sea becomes out of control:

1.) Let the Jib out such that it effectively in out of the game
2.) Pull the mainsail in to slow the boat as much as possible. Be careful at all times to stay on a heading away from dead down wind.
3.) Begin the turn process, let the mainsail out all the way, and reduce the centerboard to 30% or less effectiveness. The boat will slide instead of capsize, at the same time, it will begin to turn the nose toward up wind. Like all maneuvers, you will need to manage the Tiller, Centerboard, Mainsail.... to get the attitude of the sailboat to just begin to point upwind.
4.) At the earliest point of being upwind, begin to fully engage the Centerboard to gain forward momentum and slow/stop the slide
5.) As the sail boat begins to reach upwind attitude, momentum is moving forward and normal control is restored, engage the Jib. If you engage the Jib too early, the slide will be very pronounced, and the bringing the nose into upwind attitude will be very difficult.
6.) General advice/warning: you will need to manage the slide, turn, heel, and engage the center board slowly (but not too slow) such that you don't bend/break the centerboard. Careful not to engage the centerboard to quickly, especially if there is a significant slide in progress. You don't want to bend/break the Centerboard. At the same time, not reducing the Centerboard enough, could result in over whelming heeling and you could capsize. If you capsize, it is a result of too much Centerboard, and turning too quickly (assuming a huge wave does not contribute to the rollover).

Bottom Line: your objective is to put the nose of the sailboat, such that sailing upwind can begin immediately.
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