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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #101  
Old 12-07-2008
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This is an overly broad and badly made generalization. There are many swing keel or centerboard boats that are quite seaworthy. In a recent thread, the subject of centerboard/swing keel bluewater boats came up, and the Ovnis were mentioned. These are very well regarded centerboard boats.

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Originally Posted by sailboy21 View Post
"Mayday Mayday" or pray. Seriously. Get help, abandon the boat immediately, the first chance you get. Unless it is one of the few purpose built swing keel cruisers you are in trouble. Catalina 22's & such have been sunk by waves that I would consider a fun time.
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  #102  
Old 12-07-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
This is an overly broad and badly made generalization. There are many swing keel or centerboard boats that are quite seaworthy. In a recent thread, the subject of centerboard/swing keel bluewater boats came up, and the Ovnis were mentioned. These are very well regarded centerboard boats.

Of course it was... But when you say "swing keel" what is the first thing that comes to mind? This is not the same as "Keel/CB" of which many capable blue water boats were built as. There are comparatively very few SWING KEEL boats that were built for anything other than lakes.

So here is what Lostmt's boat has "...keel down draws 6'/775 lbs and 1'11" up. "
The original question was what do you do if you are TOO FAR TO GET TO SAFETY and you are in heavy weather, which I assume means stuck in the middle of a large open body of water somewhere and the stink blows in. Would you ride out storm force winds in the ocean in a Catalina 22, a Venture, or even a WW Potter? Sure a WW Potter can sail to Hawaii, but could it survive the stink. How did the guy sailing the Aquarius 21 (715lb swing keel) from Hawaii to Alaska fair? Thats right.. he is dead. Seriously... Everett Evans, fellow crazy Alaskan, rest in peace: Latitude 38 - The West's Premier Sailing & Marine Magazine


Edit: Skip Allen scuttled based on an opportunity to do so presenting itself. Almost everyone regards his decision to leave a perfectly good boat, equipped to handle offshore conditions, as a good one. Wonder how things would have been different if he were in a SWING KEEL boat with a 775lb keel... hmmm...

Latitude 38 - The West's Premier Sailing & Marine Magazine

Last edited by sailboy21; 12-07-2008 at 01:17 PM.
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  #103  
Old 12-07-2008
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Thanks, Gosailingnow, a nice compendium of advice from someone who has been there and lived to tell us what worked, and by contrast, what failed to kill him...

The advice to run off in a fin keeler/modern flat-bottomed boat is sound, I think, and makes your advice to use every scrap of information available to you an important point. We have a steel full keeler and can heave to, because we are planning on short-handed cruising with a kid and I can see situations in which we will have to get rest. At the same time, we are thinking about devices like the Jordan Series drogue for running off in a controlled manner (keeping moving under hull speed) because we have very strong deck bollards. On my fin keeler, I have torn up genoa track in 25-30 knots during overly enthusiastic tacks, so I can't see lying to a sea anchor/parachute type of device using deck cleats...the shearing forces would be enormous. I have heard of sailors tying them to the mast and thence through a fairlead, however.

I encourage people to attempt to heave-to (nobody lies a-hull these days, it seems) in their boats of choice. Some can, some can't, but you want to know if it can in really stinking, throw the boat around weather, which means, I suppose, going out beyond a shielding piece of land (or picking the right wind) and trying to slow the boat to a 1 knot crab, while at the same time having the ability to run "under cover" if things start breaking or you learn that in fact you can't heave to. I am of the opinion that all heavy weather tactics, just like MOB exercises, should be practised under controlled conditions close to home, but in worse weather that you would usually seek out. Just getting used to doing the "Frankenstein's monster walk" to and from the mast while teathered means one less unpleasant novelty when you have to do it for real.

Lots of good advice there, anyway. Thanks.
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  #104  
Old 12-07-2008
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Val,

When doing the Frankenstein shuffle to the bow what are you doing with your tether? Do you run jack lines between the mast and forward cleats? I'm still trying to figure out the safety approach when going from the cockpit to the bow.

Thanks man.
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  #105  
Old 12-07-2008
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Maybe a swing keel boat needs to stay in a lake. My op was for those of us that have swing keel boats and dream of sailing in Fla or along the G.C. In our location along the Texas coast it can get nasty in a hurry. It can be a nice 10 kt day that turns into 40kts with very confused seas. For some reason the weather man is never right down here.

So if you haven't read something about handling the weather you are at loss and could loose life and crew members. I don't say reading is the best way to learn but at least its a start.
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  #106  
Old 12-08-2008
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My only experience of sailing movable keels has been what I call swing kneels, all larger boats have swing keels, ie a movable ballast plate. This includes, Ovni's, Feeling, Southerly, etc

As I said I have no experience of these in any bad weather, but I think were not talking about unballasted centre boats or the like aka dinghys.

Valiente

I agree with your analysis. The big risk with modern flat bottom fin keels is when you combine this with a small or weak crew, ie husband and wife and small childern. These boats needs crew, in my experience, we were doing deliveries and we had 4 crew and once 7 crew in a storm, ( the worst was effectiveky 2 crew, see my anecedote in BFS) we could actively handle the boat through a typical 36 hours storm

IN your case you have to rely on the boat to heave to, but you need to be damm sure the boat can do it. The problem I have experienced is that in major survival storms, Boats simply dont remain stable and on a consistant tack. You tend to be able to Heave to in storm that in practice you could sail through. The oft repeated stuff in books " we heave to and below everything was amazingly calm and we had a cup of tea" stuff, I just dont think these were extreme conditions. The fact is that a hove to boat needs to be able to remain so for a reasonable period, and the problem we found is that (a) they sat too beam on, and (b) if we managed to get them closer to the wind, the boat was tacked through the wind was the wave action and started to sail off ( in fact with the helm lashed she would do a full crash jibe!).

I actually dont think that in survival storms that anything other then active techniques work.

PS: on the drogues, The major mistake people make is to slow the boat down too much ie to 2 knots or so. The key thing is to let her run down the waves close to hull speed. Jordan Drogues are often far too effective, especially in your case with a heavy steel boat ( I'm in the process of haveing a new steel boat built as well). Sometimes towing simple warps is enough, In your case the autopilot should manage with warps out ( I often use the autopilot can handle it to judge if the boat is settled).

Last edited by goboatingnow; 12-08-2008 at 05:52 AM.
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  #107  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
Val,

When doing the Frankenstein shuffle to the bow what are you doing with your tether? Do you run jack lines between the mast and forward cleats? I'm still trying to figure out the safety approach when going from the cockpit to the bow.

Thanks man.
On my C&C racer-cruiser, I run two 1/2" lines from the cockpit to the bow in snaky weather, but usually only when I'm alone. Then I just stick to the high side.

On my steel boat, I don't have standard stanchions and lifelines...I have 30" tall pipe rails and handholds in various spots...it's a lot harder to fall off, the anti-skid is better, and the cambered deck actually means I'm walking flatter on the high side when heeled than when running flat. I will probably rig flat webbing for the open sea, plus rig (via through bolting or straight welding) a few pad eyes to clip on out on the helm deck, which on my bigger boat resembles a mini poop deck, being higher in the stern than the foredeck.

An upcoming job is bolting in SS handholds in various spots, particularly to and from the pilothouse. I got lucky and found a plumbing shop going out of business and scored a box of assorted "bathtub rails" that will very much do the trick.
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  #108  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post

I actually dont think that in survival storms that anything other then active techniques work.

PS: on the drogues, The major mistake people make is to slow the boat down too much ie to 2 knots or so. The key thing is to let her run down the waves close to hull speed. Jordan Drogues are often far too effective, especially in your case with a heavy steel boat ( I'm in the process of haveing a new steel boat built as well). Sometimes towing simple warps is enough, In your case the autopilot should manage with warps out ( I often use the autopilot can handle it to judge if the boat is settled).
Active sailing would be my preference, and given my cutter-rig sail set-up (lots of main, relatively stumpy mast, biggish staysail and yankee on a bowsprit), running off is the favoured option.

I would have to experiment with a drogue and I agree...you want to be doing six knots out there, not only to get a lot of helm response, but just to get OUT of the worst of it that much sooner. Warps are an option, as are the old time idea of putting some chain and a tire at the end, but I like the idea of a long, small cone drogue that always has SOME of its length on the waves behind, and has some "give" in respect of shock loading.

My idea is that the JSRs are cheap enough to sew that you could muck about with the design, and either tow shorter drogues, or with more widely spaced cones, until you get the "mix" right...which may mean carrying a couple of the things, one for 40-50 knots and one for "oh, ****..." weather.

The main function of a drogue is not in the speed component, but in the directional aspect, I think. If you think of it as a sort of "super long rudder assist", you can keep your stern at the right angle to the wave trains to both avoid getting pooped and to avoid having gravity itself take you down a wave front like a freight train.

Those are my impressions so far...I haven't been in conditions that merited a drogue or warp of any description, although I have shot off a couple of waves and "submarined"...it's quite something seeing the green water going "up" to the cockpit at speed and giving the crew a good dousing!
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  #109  
Old 12-10-2008
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In a full gale or higher, you'll find that much of what you read and all of what you think, goes out the window and swing keel or not, the boat must be strong and seaworthy.
With that said, I agree with GOBOATINGNOW on active storm management. Paloma has endured two Force 10 storms (winds gusting above 60 and 30+ foot seas. We ran before both storms (one for 36 hours, the other for 48 hours), making better than hull speed (according to the GPS). Heaving to would have been disasterous - we would have broached, drogues would have been a problem by slowing down the boat, in the sometimes confused seas, when we most needed the crisp steering response.
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  #110  
Old 12-10-2008
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48 hours? How many crew were available for helm duty? I had run run before 50-55 knot wind & associated seas for about 14 hours solo. (Also at or above hull speed) I could have done more, but boy was I tired. And hungry... My hats off to you!
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