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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 11-23-2009
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wakes

I sent the following e-mail to Seaworthy Magazine about their assertion that wakes break down over distance. Their position leads skippers of large power craft to assume that if they pass a smaller craft at a distance, their wake will cause no problems.

I wrote:
Regarding your article on wakes, I see that you advise skippers who are creating large wakes to pass other boats from as much distance as possible. While I have observed that wakes do flatten out after running a long distance as you say, I have also observed that wakes generated by boats that pass me abeam at one hundred yards or so, continue to rock my boat for several minutes. Look at any aerial photo of the wake of a boat and you will see that as the wake spreads out from the boat, more wakes develop. If a boat passes me close abeam, I have one or two wakes to hop over at a comfortable angle. If a boat passes me from a distance, I have dozens of wakes to roll me for what seems an endless period of time tossing my passengers belowdecks and above from side to side . I prefer to hop once or twice even if the wakes are larger than wakes approaching from a greater distance.

Read it at Seaworthy - October 2009

The editors found an expert on wakes who refuted my comments as well as the evidence provided by any aerial photo. He insists that multiple rolls are not possible. Again, look at any aerial photo.

I think that Seaworthy has created an injustice against sailors by convincing thousands of their readers who operate wake producing boats thay they only need to pass us at a distance; not pass closer abeam where we can both slow to a calmer speed.

As I travel south this fall on the ICW, I am impressed by the number of large powercraft who slow to idle speed in the narrow parts of the channels to avoid throwing a large wake at we sailors--as long as we also slow to idle. I have seen nothing but consideration.

But in the open sounds, larger craft will maintain speed and pass at a hundred yards or so. My 32 rolls through 20 degrees on their wakes for quite awhile. I then see ahead, as the big boats pass more sailboats, the continued roll of their masts as well.

My only interest in writing that comment to Seaworthy was to advance the safety of passing slowly while passing close abeam, not only in channels but in open water as well, to the skippers of wake producing boats. I would like to see skippers who want to maintain speed as they pass us, do so at several hundred yards not a couple hundred feet.

If any of you agree, please mount a campain to convince Seaworthy to alter their advice about wakes. They don't flatten out over a short distance as they maintain and we sailors do roll more that once on the bow wake and once on the stern wake.

If I'm wrong and you think I'm all wet, then I will remain respectfully yours,

Wet Foxglove
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Old 11-23-2009
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wakes

Hello,

I posted a comment on seamanship forum about wakes. I hope all will buzz over there and read it and give me your thoughts.

http://www.sailnet.com/forums/seaman...tml#post544803

Foxglove
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Old 11-23-2009
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I do NOT think you are wrong. When you are farther away, there are indeed more waves - though less pronounced - to contend with. My solution - over many years of traveling up and down the ICW and on the Chesapeake:

Position your boat so as the waves approach you they hit on your stern quarter. Once two or three waves have started to pass under your boat will be lifted gently by the combination of the waves. At this point, gently, very gently, start to edge your boat across the wake until you are more or less behind the offending boat's wake(s).

I call this procedure "sliding in." It works for me most of the time - I haven't perfected the technique and occasionally my rum gets spilled. I also haven't discussed this method with too many other boaters - so I don't know if this is an accepted technique or just something that works with the particular dynamics of my boat (a Morgan Out Island 41).

If anybody else does this - or tries it and finds it successful or otherwise, I'd be interested in hearing about it.

In the meantime a quick story. Several years back we were traveling out of Snow's Cut and onto the Cape Fear River when a tuna tower fishing boat, putting out a HUGE wake passed us to starboard way too close (maybe 30 feet). We had one of those dinghy tow gadgets on the back of our boat (the kind that lifts up the back of the dinghy while leaving the front of the dinghy in the water). The wake busted one of the fittings on it.

My wife protested on the VHF only to hear back, "Wah, wah, wah. You sailboaters are all crybabys. If you don't like a little wake stay off the water."

He continued on down the Cape Fear River and past Southport, continuing to wake others and continuing to ridicule any protests - until one lady came on - with a very tiny voice, and all she said was,

"Ladies, the bigger the wake, the smaller the penis."

I don't know if he slowed down, but we never heard another word out of him.
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Old 11-23-2009
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I do agree that powerboat wakes can cause some temporary discomfort aboard a sailboat or anyother slow moving or anchored craft. I disagree with the disrespectfulness of the skipper over the vhf, also of the language of the lady who refered to his "penis". This is not the intent of marine communicatins. I am assuming that you were already out into the river when he overtook you as you can't see the adm docks from snows cut much less southport, and a 30kt boat tends to disapear quickly when you're making 6 or 7kt. The Cape Fear, for those who are unaware, has a shipping chanel roughly 1/4mile wide in the area you described. There was no reason for him to pass that close, but as to his speed in those particular waters, hey, charter and tournament fishermen have a pretty strict schedule to keep, and that's their livelyhood. However, I know almost every charter capt in the area, and that kind of jackassery isn't tollerated among their ranks. If I'm mistaken, and you were actualy in snows cut at the time, he had no business overtaking you at that speed. Did you get a vessel name? If so I can probobly get you an owner/skipper name to go with it if he's local.
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Old 11-23-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryandSusanMacDonald View Post
He continued on down the Cape Fear River and past Southport, continuing to wake others and continuing to ridicule any protests - until one lady came on - with a very tiny voice, and all she said was,

"Ladies, the bigger the wake, the smaller the penis."

I don't know if he slowed down, but we never heard another word out of him.
I hope I don't ever need to repeat this line, but it's a classic! Love it!

(BTW, we're in Vero for Thanxgiving, where are you guys?)
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Old 11-23-2009
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The one thing I hate about experts self proclaimed, is the they really don't know what they are talking about.

Wakes of one form or another are produced by all vessels.
But whether you can use them to you advanage or not is in the size of wake and the direction they are coming from. 99% of the time the wakes will be to your disadvanage. Whether you caused or receiving them.
Why? You are asking. Because if you cause wake damage you're responsible.
And that could be the loss of big bucks for you.
And the guy whose boat was damaged in one way or another? He'll get some of those big bucks, his lawyer will get most of it.
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Old 11-23-2009
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video is a great weapon against idiots making large wakes...
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Old 11-23-2009
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Wakes can be a hassle. We've been on a mooring and had the wake of a passing ferry knock over wineglasses below. They also mess up a lot of the light air racing we indulge in on Long Island Sound.

A racing technique might help dampen the heavy rolling Foxglove seems to suffer: concentrate your weight amidships, and away from the ends of the boat. Weight amidships reduces your rolling moment. Having anchor(s) and chain forward, (on the pulpit!?), crew, a dinghy, and maybe an outboard motor at the stern, makes for lots of up & down inertia at the ends of the boat. This translates into lots of rolling when waves get it going.
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Old 11-23-2009
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couple of years ago when we had the CG aux do the boaters safety course at our YC. a couple of instructors mentioned how amazed there were to see the sport fishing type boats with large displacment hulls making 3-4ft sometimes bigger wakes in front of the club where the shipping channel passes by our mooring field. I don't think we can get a no wake zone. dont' know why.. but I'm sure there's a reason.. Anyway. CG aux also said pictures of the boat with it's reg #s showing them doing the flyby is what they need and get very little of in the way of complaints.
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Old 11-23-2009
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i get all sorts of fun wakes coming in to the baltimore harbor, narrower area so they get closer. they all seem to speed up a 1/4 mile from the 6 knot limit sign.

the worst one was a tug running as fast as he could 75 feet away, i swear the wake was over 15 foot. when it hit me i lost sight of the bottom 2/3rds of the tug, then the boat was at a 45 degree climb as the wake went by and i dipped in to the trough . this was was not healing it was up at 45 degrees. sitting at the stern the water was 10 feet above my head in all directions and only 10 feet away, when the back of the wake hit the water came in to the boat about 2 feet over the stern. now my boat is close to 3.5 to 4 feet high in the back, so it was a 6 foot or so wave over the back of the boat.

yes i yelled on the vhf about 2 mins later, i found the hand held in the salon, it was next to me. he did not answer on 16 or 13. but as i was hit by the wave i heard his buddy boat who did slow down say "damn did you see that...." as the radio was washed away. dont know for sure if it was the other tug but the radio was loud like they where close
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