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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 07-26-2010
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56 mph on the hudson

Sun afternoon I was helping a guy move is boat from Westbrook CT, to Croton, NY.
We were almost to Croton at the Tappen Zee area of the river when a thunderstorm hit.

No waves, no lightning but we did get hail and zero visibility and 56 mph wind.
The only cavans we had up was a Bimini which I had to cut down as it was jerry rigged. The motor would only go to about 2,200 rpm or whatever cruising was on that boat as we had the throttle pushed down all the way for the whole trip.

Everything on the port shelf above the seatbacks somehow ended up on the starboard shelf above the seatbacks. Not sure how that happened but we were forced over to probably 60 degrees. The motor was not strong enough to bring the bow into the wind. We had to run off during gusts.

It was amazingly bouncy considering their were no waves.

Last edited by davidpm; 07-27-2010 at 06:05 PM.
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Old 07-27-2010
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Holy Cow! How long did the storm last? We got caught in the same caliber winds last September in Colorado -- 14 minutes of sheer, out-of-nowhere hammering. Our little SJ21 was not enjoying life until we finished furling and reefing, after which it was fine. You got knocked down on bare poles?!?! That's insane!
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Old 07-27-2010
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Fortunately it was only a few minutes. The most disconcerting part was that there was so little room as it is just a river.
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Old 07-27-2010
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Hi David,

After Bermuda and this trip...you must be wondering if there's a dark cloud following you around...
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Old 07-27-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
Fortunately it was only a few minutes. The most disconcerting part was that there was so little room as it is just a river.
Ja -- you can't exactly heave to or run before it very long. We had the same conundrum, caught on a lee shore by the dam -- try to claw parallel to the shore and away from the storm, or tack and run into a box canyon the storm was occupying. I tried the first option, and it nearly wrecked us -- the heeling force robbed the boat of all headway, and we just slid sideways toward the rocks. On the third attempt, by heading DOWN toward shore, we got enuf way on to snap the nose back thru the wind and beam-reached our way out into open water. Bad mistake on my part, thinking we could jink along on a close reach in 60 mph winds.

Did dropping anchor get discussed as a strategy? Even in very high winds, the bower should hold on flat water. I'm trying to move "tactical anchoring" up our list of emergency responses; it buys time, which can prevent a cascade of bad decisions. It's just not my first instinct. My first instinct is to maneuver the boat.
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Old 07-27-2010
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David,
What kind of keel does that C27 have?
I was happily sitting at home watching the radar of that system moving in but my boat partner went out for a Sunday race up at Nyack around 1pm. They go caught out in some weather but no reports of getting blown over with bare poles and our usually trusty Atomic 4 pushing along. I suspect our Tartan 27' is a bit heavier and stiffer then the C27 at 7200 #s. Full keel design probably helped keep our boat flatter.
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Old 07-27-2010
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Catalina 27 sailboat for sale

It has a cutaway forefoot, lead, bolted on.

I thought of dropping the anchor but not for long.
Firstly I has asked the owner about the anchor and he said he had one but had never used it. I had also asked him about the sails and he said they were fine. I found out during use that the Genny was not cut right and would not hoist all the way to say nothing of the fact that the roller furler was jamming.. The main had no reefing at least none he had ever tested. The head was supposed to be good too, I specifically asked about it before the trip. After a couple of days I take a look see my self and notice it does not flush and looks nasty. I ask about it and he said it was working before. I ask when he had last pumped the holding tank. He said never as they had the boat for 3 years and never used the head but his son was up last weekend. I asked if his son a brought a girl with him. The answer was yes so being a sexest snob I predicted the holding tank was probably full after three years.
So given what I knew about the boat the chance of my going on the fore-deck in almost 50 knot winds with the boat healing about 80 degrees was very low. If there were angry natives on shore with poison arrows I would have considered it but in Yonkers NY I figured that was a low probability, but you never know.

Last edited by davidpm; 07-27-2010 at 06:09 PM.
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Old 07-27-2010
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Tactical anchoring sounds like a good idea in theory but in practice I see some real problems.
1. The helms person will not be able to see the bowman (visibility is that bad)
2. Even if they can see the bowman how do you communicate. It is impossible. How do you anchor with no communication.
3. Being on the bow is just a bad idea. A very strong person would need both hands just to hang on. How is he going to handle an anchor?
4. Assuming all of those obstacles are overcome the chance of the boat drifting in an unexpected direction and fouling the prop and or rudder or keel approaches 100% in my opinion.
5. Assuming the above is survived and the anchor is in the water and the rode is payed out the trivial act of securing the line on chocks has the significant risk of removing fingers.

In short it would be a very different set of circumstances that would cause me to use the anchor during a big storm. If I could get it down before it hit maybe?
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Old 07-27-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tempest View Post
Hi David,

After Bermuda and this trip...you must be wondering if there's a dark cloud following you around...
Actually the comments have been made. I used to blame my wife as we got hit really bad last fall in Annapolis then later in the winter we got a big storm in Santa Barbara. So it was all her fault. But now that I've racked up two of my own without her she is saying it was my fault all along.
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We keep a second anchor in the lazarette, flaked and ready to go and attached to a hard point belowdecks. In a real emergency, the helm could reach down, fling it off the stern, and snub it around a stern cleat before the rode came tight. Or just let the 100' of rode run out. Stern-to isn't the best attitude for a sailboat to take in a storm, but on flat water it's okay and it beats "sideways on the beach" by a long stretch.

If the bower is on a self-launching roller, it could be dropped from the cockpit or from a front hatch. Again, you will have time to snub the rode before the strain comes on. I agree foredeck work is not wise in those conditions. Part of 'tactical anchoring' will be figuring out safe ways to deploy. I just think a good parking brake is sometimes the preferred option, but often people will sail or motor their boats right into the rocks and never think to try an anchor. Any anchor.
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