Sometimes it's just luck if you survive - SailNet Community

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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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  #1  
Old 08-26-2009
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Sometimes it's just luck if you survive

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3917539.stm

If a 600' ship can't take the 10 story wave your cruiser may have a bit of a tumble.

Last edited by davidpm; 08-26-2009 at 11:18 PM.
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Old 08-26-2009
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No kidding, dave. When things get really nasty - especially with waves like that - luck is really all you have left.
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Old 08-27-2009
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David.
The integrity of a yacht's hull/deck etc. will be stronger than that of a ship experiencing the same torque/ force.

My mate will shoot this down but;

You have a 4 day forecast. The last day might be 'iffy' but depending on where you are cruising to / you will have a good idea of a storm approaching and either stay, move somewhere safer or get ready/religious etc.

OK waiting ......
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Old 08-27-2009
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Schedules are the enemy of prudent seamanship in my mind.

While anyone, experienced or not, can get "jumped" by bad weather, rogue waves or an uncharted rock three feet below the waves, yachters today have more tools at hand to determine passage-making weather than ever before. The net result should be fewer days spent in heavy weather, if that is desirable.

A commercial ship runs to a timetable, because it must be moving to make money. This is the opposite of most yachts, excepting charters. The odds of a ship encountering heavy weather are therefore logically many magnitudes greater, and it must be built accordingly. But this too is a trade-off, as a ship that could survive thousands of tons of water dropped on it without critical damage would cost a great deal more to build and to power.

This is why there are still single-hulled tankers and bulk freighters on the world's oceans...it's cheaper to run them until they break up or wear out than to build a double-hulled "proper" tanker.
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Old 08-27-2009
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Anybody else find that stat rather astonishing? Over 200 ships (200m+) lost at sea in the last 20 years?
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Old 08-27-2009
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However; there is that weight displacement factor. A 600 ton freighter built like a box - will have a harder time reacting to seas than 40 foot boat. Cons and Pros to each. You hardly hear of freighters with no cargo being sunk...
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Old 08-28-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Faster View Post
Anybody else find that stat rather astonishing? Over 200 ships (200m+) lost at sea in the last 20 years?
Not given the total number of ships, their condition, the generally low state of seamanship and safety compliance and the truly vast amount of global trade that goes on.

If you are willing to pay for it, you can get bananas, strawberries and even kiwifruit in most places, 12 months a year.

Of course, they don't grow 12 months a year. They grow at different times and different places.

It's the same with bulk goods. There are no "seasons" in shipping, despite the facts that taking a ship through certain waters at certain times is much more problematic than at other points. Hence...glub, blub...fill out the insurance form, send a grand to the widows, and load up another container ship.

When history looks back on this time, and it will, the genius of the age will not be found in the computer, the Internet or digital, HD TV, but in the decades-long, nearly seamless development of global, ship-borne trade. It started with the Allied convoys of the Second World War, and has developed into thousands of ships, tankers and freighters and container ships, daily being run on schedules like 600-1,000 foot trucks.

This is an astounding feat of organization and industrial might that is largely ignored while we all gasp and grin at our latest Blackberries. Well, Blackberries are assembled in Canada, but I imagine much of the guts of them are from China, and that the raw materials for them are delivered...by ship...from 20 different countries.

Until I can order a pizza on the moon, international shipping will retain my respect.
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Old 08-28-2009
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My favorite part of that article is the attitude of the scientific world that "until we say so, stuff doesn't exist." Sailors for hundreds of years have reported these giant waves all over the earth, and what did science have to say? "Our calculations show that a wave that size could only form once every 10,000 years. You must be [seeing things/drunk/lying]."

Then they task a satellite to look for them and find three the first day. Whoops! Our bad.

Rogues aren't UFOs. They aren't lights in the sky subject to interpretation, they're 20-30m of angry water coming right at you -- kind of hard to mistake what you're looking at.

Glad to see the scientific community has come around on this topic, but it should be a cautionary tale to remember whenever "science" tells you they've got it all figured out and you're wrong. "Who ya gonna believe? Us, or yer lyin' eyes?"
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Old 08-29-2009
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Glad to see the scientific community has come around on this topic, but it should be a cautionary tale to remember whenever "science" tells you they've got it all figured out and you're wrong. "Who ya gonna believe? Us, or yer lyin' eyes?"
Yes I had the same thought. This has been going on for hundreds of years.
It will be interesting to find out exactly what causes these waves. Apparently they do not fit with the current computer models.
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Old 08-29-2009
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Note that the graphic shows a breaking wave, a small yacht would have little chance of survival. A big and steep "rogue" wave might do less damage to a small boat than to a large one.
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