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post #1 of 11 Old 08-13-2009 Thread Starter
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Jon Sanders Heavy Weather Techniques

Been stuck in hospital for a while and whilst rereading Jon Sanders Lone Sailor I decided to summarise his heavy weather techiniques. This book is about Jon's first double circumnavigation in 1981-82. Later he completed a triple circumnavigation in a bigger yacht. He won a pile of awards for this trip, including the Chichester Award, 12 Guinness Book of Records set or broken, etc, etc.

The yacht he used was an S&S34. Details can be found here.
  • Up to force 8-9 "normal" sailing ie running / reaching or closehauled depending on course.
  • Force 10+ hove-to with triple reefed main. Note that motion was described as "not pleasant, violent & irregular". However did not suffer any major knockdowns whilst hove-to. He may have actually been foreaching rather than hove-to as the same technique is described as both "hove-to" and "closehauled"
  • Also ocassionally lying a-hull, often due to broken gear or when below force 8. However rolled at least once plus subj to 120 knockdown. Afterwards Jon stated that he should of been hove-to.
  • Also ocassionally ran with bare poles. Once during a force 10-12 storm ran with bare poles trailing lots of lines in a large U. Did this as this provided a safer course rounding Cape of Good Hope compared to hove-to.
  • Late in the voyage whilst running tried storm jib only & found it a better tactic resulted in less broaches compred to using triple reefed main. Had not previously used as was worried it would make the forestay "work" compared to a triple reefed main, where the load is on the mast. Later started trailing warps with the storm jib after two 120 degree knockdown in force 11 conditions. Note that towards the end of the voyage started "pushing" the boat to meet a finishing deadline.
  • Early in the voyage was rolled 360 degrees whilst running with triple reefed main in force 10-11 conditions. Plus the 360 roll mentioned above.
  • Suffered lots of 90-120 degree knock downs during the voyage, though none whilst hove-to.

Hope this is of interest. Now time to tuck into yummy hospital food.

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post #2 of 11 Old 08-13-2009
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Get better soon, I.

I think that if you focus on surviving a roll or a bad (90 degrees or greater) knocking without severe damage, rather than attempting at all costs to avoid it, you will have a happier and longer life in some of the more challenging seas on the ocean.

This means attention to details like thoroughly secured stowage, positive tie-downs and locks, keeping the decks clear and clean, and gasketed, doggable companionway hatches.

I had an idea for routing all the water and fuel tank vents into two common pipes, leading to goosenecks mounted on either the pilothouse sides or the roof of our boat (it's not an original idea, but it's utterly out of favour on modern yachts).

This is to avoid downflooding of sea water should the boat get knocked down or rolled. As part of securing for heavy weather, you manually shut off valves or cocks on the fuel and water vent lines, and on the engine exhaust. You seal all dorades and Nicro vents. You dog the hatches shut and if possible, cover them and batten them. You slide in storm shutters. And so on. This is on top of securing all stowage and provisions, all floorboards, etc. Pump the toilet dry. Close ALL intake and outlet seacocks...you're not going to be running the engine or pissing anywhere but your foulies....it takes a lot of planning.

If you can keep the sea out of the tanks and the boat, and keep things like giant wrenches or Honda 2000 generators from braining you or sacks of flour from exploding on the bulkheads, you can survive and recover from some pretty horrendous abuse (assuming you are tethered and haven't broken limbs falling the entire beam of the boat).

But it demands the sort of contingency planning that a lot of people are unhappy to do, because it involves a fairly unemotional evaluation of a disastrous scenario in which the entire contents of the boat are rapidly rotated, along with the crew.

And yet as this account and others indicate, these events are survivable and can even seem, if never trivial, unremarkable and not a voyage-ending event.

Can't sleep? Read my countdown to voyaging blog @
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post #3 of 11 Old 08-13-2009
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Sorry to hear you have been a victim of our nations health system mate. Trust you are on the mend.

My dad had a heart attack a couple of weeks back so I've been witness to some of that hospital food. Not a pretty sight. Problem is he actually reckons its better than my mum's cooking......sorry mother dear, but he may well be right.

Good posts btw. Certainly Valiente's point about moveable ballast is most apt. Sometimes I look about the Womboat and think just how much mayhem from loose gear there would be if we turtled. It's an issue we all need to be concerned about.

Andrew B

“Life is a trick, and you get one chance to learn it.”
― Terry Pratchett, Nation

Malo 39 Classic

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post #4 of 11 Old 08-14-2009
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Thanks for posting this Ilen. I was following it while in solitary. I can't get enough of this heavy weather talk.

One thing I still don't quite understand though. What's the difference between lying a-hull and bare-poles? Is it just actively running verses essentially drifting?

Get well you crazy old coot!


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post #5 of 11 Old 08-14-2009
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Smack,
My understanding is that under severely reduced sail or bare poles you are still making a positive attempt to control the boats progress while lying-a-hull is all sails down, get below, curl up in a corner, vow never to leave harbour ever ever again and consider whether atheism was a good career move.

ps- trust you enjoyed the bread and water.


From US Sailing Website

Reduce sails or running with bare poles : Reduce the ship's sails by reefing the main or going to a storm trysail ( a small heavy weather sail ) and by hoisting a storm jib ( even smaller than a number 4 jib ). If the boat still has too much sail, consider running with bare poles. "Bare poles" refers to sailing the craft without sails hoisted. In this situation, the force of the wind on the hull and rigging generates enough force to propel the craft.

Lying a-hull : As a last resort one might elect to go down below and ride out the storm, letting the boat find its own path in the water. This almost always exposes the beam of the boat to oncoming waves and increase the chance of capsizing. Some authors have stated that a boat lying-a-hull and drifting will have a calming effect on the seas and prevent waves from breaking. A sinusoidal wave no matter how large will not capsize a boat. When hit beam on, the breaking wave has only to be higher than the width of the beam of the boat to capsize the craft. If you choose to lie a-hull your craft should have a very high angle of vanishing stability so that it will have a high probability of righting itself in the event it capsizes

Heavy Weather

Andrew B

“Life is a trick, and you get one chance to learn it.”
― Terry Pratchett, Nation

Malo 39 Classic

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post #6 of 11 Old 08-14-2009 Thread Starter
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Smacky,

TDW is spot on, as per normal. In the book JS mainly went lying-a-hull after equipment damage, which was normally damaging the self steering (he went thru two complete wind vane systems, plus lots of repairs). Running with bare poles meant that the self steering was still working.

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post #7 of 11 Old 08-15-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdw View Post
ps- trust you enjoyed the bread and water.
Thanks guys. I get it now.

And, BTW, I'm still furious that my repeated requests for cinnamon toast and champagne were completely ignored. What kind of dump is this?

The shock therapy was invigorating though.


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post #8 of 11 Old 08-16-2009
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Ilenart, I don't disagree with Jon Sanders observations, but what everyone that goes to sea has to know is that when you are beset with heavy weather, it won't be quite like anything you've read or heard - it will be you, your boat and your storm. Your survival will be 75% your sailing skills and 25% your boat being sturdy enough and well prepared enough to stand the stress.
Paloma and I have been through two Force 10 storms at sea (winds 50-60, gusting higher; seas 28-30, not breaking) and we have run before both storms - no heaving to, no drogues, no parachute, no laying ahull, no passive tactics. In the first storm we were on our way to Vera Cruz and since the storm was a northerly, we decided that since we were headed south anyway, we would run with a storm jib and the third reef tucked in the main; in the March '08 storm, we were knocked down and lost the engine and the main, so we had no choice but to run bare poles - the bimini and stern was plenty of power - we made 10mph on the GPS from time to time while being whooshed along, way above hull speed. Did I read in a book somewhere about running before a storm that big? No, it was a decision made on the spot, in that boat, in that storm.
My advice is, read everything you can about every tactic you can - then put it all in your "toolbox", when the time comes, you can't be a one-trick pony. Make sure your boat is sturdy enough for and well prepared to go offshore and to be ready for any tactic you may employ. Then, finally, hope you never have to stare into the abyss.

s/v Paloma, Bristol 29.9, #141
Slipped in Bahia Marina, easy access to Corpus Christi Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

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post #9 of 11 Old 08-17-2009
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Okay - I've been looking for this book: "1994 Pacific Storm Survey by Kim Taylor"

I can't find it anywhere except NZ. Does a US Sailnetter happen to have this book and would consider selling it - or maybe doing a trade? I've got some great comic books.

C'mon - I've got to find this thing!


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post #10 of 11 Old 08-17-2009
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Quote:
I had an idea for routing all the water and fuel tank vents into two common pipes, leading to goosenecks mounted on either the pilothouse sides or the roof of our boat (it's not an original idea, but it's utterly out of favour on modern yachts).
Doh! I hadn't thought about that yet. I think I'm gonna add little shut off valves to all the vent lines.

Ray
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1983 Fraser 41
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