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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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  #51  
Old 04-11-2012
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Re: Thunderstorm in Chesapeake Bay

Great to hear the experiences here. Also great to hear from so many in Herring Bay--we sail out of Shipwright. Midlifesailor, your "panic azimuth" is a good one--thanks!

We've only been caught in one thunderstorm on the Bay, and it hit just as we were a half mile from red #2 and the "slot" Luckily what hit was way more about downpour than wind, but the reduced visibility was a challenge. Went with bare poles and motor in that spot, of course.
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  #52  
Old 04-11-2012
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Re: Thunderstorm in Chesapeake Bay

Quote:
Originally Posted by jkemp101 View Post
Here is my hatch.

Attachment 10636

How often are there summer thunderstorms that produce enough wind and waves that it could capsize a 22' boat with a 700lb shoal keel? How do I google that????
I saw a 30 footer fill with water and sink near Annapolis because the hatchboards were left out when it broached in about 25 kts. I race alot and sail in 25 kts or more several times each summer. A broach or capsize usually isn't disastrous if the boat is closed up, but if it is open, and can fill with water, that's what can turn it into a disaster.

The theory is often described as the "corked bottle principle." The theory is that if you toss a well-corked bottle on the ocean during an ultimate storm, the bottle will still be floating after the storm, so long as it remains completely sealed. A small boat without its hatch boards in rough weather is like an uncorked bottle.
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  #53  
Old 04-11-2012
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Re: Thunderstorm in Chesapeake Bay

Quote:
WTF does on do when they see this headed their way?
Chesapeake Bay Waterspout - YouTube
Thats where my kite and key come in...Become a sailing Mary Poppins

I do remember the day comeing back from Worton, we were down the middle of the Bay and had just rounded up a little to head up the Patapsco when we could see the rain and wind up beyond the Key bridge. It was intense for over an hour as we just "hung" out with lightning crashing around us

Last year anchored in Shaw bay one of the days around 4th of July we recorded almost 50 in a gust on the wind instrument. Thats about the most I have ever seen.

Bryan----how much scope could you let out in Granary its pretty tight there.

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  #54  
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Re: Thunderstorm in Chesapeake Bay

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post
snip

Don't y'all mean the weather shore? If summer thunderstorms build over the Western Shore and move South and East (from the North and West) the Western Shore is the weather shore, not the lee shore.

If we've got (or I've got) some 180 degree swap in vocabulary lets fix before someone gets really mixed up (like me).
I noticed that as well and you are right it should have been corrected as soon as it came up, but I based on the content I "assumed" folks had the right idea to get close to the "upwind" shore where the land interferes with the flow and lessens the effects of wind.

I can't think of a situation where being close to lee shore is desireable.
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  #55  
Old 04-12-2012
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Re: Thunderstorm in Chesapeake Bay

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Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post
You're going to have to help me here. 75 kts? I haven't seen F12 on the Bay from a thunderstorm. I remember winds in the 40s on more than one occasion. I seem to recall low 50s while at anchor during one of our "hurricane" non-events. I don't remember ever seeing 75 reported credibly. Can you point to a source?

There is no question that a J/22 or a small Catalina will have a rougher time than my 22k# 40' boat. Even so, I'm not going to "reef" the jib - I don't want to depend on that single reefing line to keep the sail from unrolling. I roll it all the way up and put several wraps of sheet around it. If I happen to have the staysail rigged that goes up so I can point. If it isn't on deck there isn't likely to be time to do so. Regardless I reef down the main as seems appropriate (one, two, or three reefs depending on how black the sky is and what the radio chatter sounds like).

In a big gust (say 35 kts gusting 50) my boat will certainly blow over a good bit and might round up which reduces windage anyway. I don't mean to minimize the potential damage that can come from a Chesapeake thunderstorm. We all have to know our own limits and those of the boat we're on. There is little value in scaring the bejeepers out of people unnecessarily.
.
a. Winds over 80 knots have been reported on the lower Bay during tropical storms.
b. The wind speed I reported was on NOAA radio, from the Patuxent naval air station.
c. There was a near-by tornado at the time (about 1988, Solomons Island) and locally I'm quite certain windspeeds topped 100 knots.
d. I really hope you do not expereince a microburst or other extreme wind situation. I had a tornado skip over my house a few years ago, and judging from the tooth picks it made of trees, no sailboat would have kep sails up. That's plain silly. Though very rare, you are going to break things.

You can believe whatever fiction you are comforatable with. Most squalls can be sailed through, of course. If it is important to you, go for it. The odds aer in your favor.
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  #56  
Old 04-13-2012
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Re: Thunderstorm in Chesapeake Bay

Quote:
How often are there summer thunderstorms that produce enough wind and waves that it could capsize a 22' boat with a 700lb shoal keel? How do I google that????
You could have a knockdown in a C22 in 18 knots if you sheet everything tight with 135% genoa up, and head off the wind to a beam reach. C22's are more like dinghies in strong winds.

You should be able to open the sliding hatch from the inside. Only those who are tied to the boat should be outside in a T-storm.

After I sold my C22, the new owner sank the boat in moderate conditions. Probably had water come in through either the main hatch, or the cockpit lockers.

OTOH, don't worry about it too much. If the C22 gets overpowered, it usually rounds-up quickly.
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  #57  
Old 04-13-2012
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Re: Thunderstorm in Chesapeake Bay

I hope everyone understands this is just precaution.

* I've been clobbered on beach cats witheverything up and been safe enough just feathering. But it wasn't fun, not at all.
* Ligtening is random, so that is actually my greatest concern. Nothing you can do, really, other than sheltering near a lot of trees and masts.

Really, the risk of gear damage for a few mintues of sailing is not justifiable. That is my main reason for bare poles. I'll sail in the rain, just not in thunderstorms. That said, I am always in a possition to make sail or drop anchor in moments if need be.
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  #58  
Old 04-13-2012
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Re: Thunderstorm in Chesapeake Bay

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barquito View Post
You could have a knockdown in a C22 in 18 knots if you sheet everything tight with 135% genoa up, and head off the wind to a beam reach. C22's are more like dinghies in strong winds.

You should be able to open the sliding hatch from the inside. Only those who are tied to the boat should be outside in a T-storm.

After I sold my C22, the new owner sank the boat in moderate conditions. Probably had water come in through either the main hatch, or the cockpit lockers.

OTOH, don't worry about it too much. If the C22 gets overpowered, it usually rounds-up quickly.
I should have been clear that I meant after I douse all sail and have them secured. Can a 22 be capsized/knockdown with bare poles in the Chesapeake from a thunderstorm? Tropical Storms/hurricanes don't count, only somewhat unpredictable storms.
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  #59  
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Re: Thunderstorm in Chesapeake Bay

Quote:
Originally Posted by jkemp101 View Post
I should have been clear that I meant after I douse all sail and have them secured. Can a 22 be capsized/knockdown with bare poles in the Chesapeake from a thunderstorm? Tropical Storms/hurricanes don't count, only somewhat unpredictable storms.
Yes. In the occasion that I mentioned earlier, when I was caught in the 55 kt winds in the vicinity of Sandy Point Light, a 40' trawler sank in the same area during that storm, and we had waves breaking in the cockpit over the starboard quarter. We were under bare poles, and motoring, and there was a real possibility of capsize. That's why we were working so hard to get into the lee of a point of land. It doesn't get that bad often, but it certainly gets that bad on occasion.

Generally, you don't need to be afraid of storms on the bay, but you should respect them and always prepare for the worst, so that you'll be pleasantly surprised when it isn't that bad. The place you don't want to be is at the leading edge of a thunderstorm when it develops. That's where you'll find the most violent conditions, and that's where we got caught in that storm. What that means is that, if you see a thunderstorm developing, and it looks like it's moving south, don't sail into it. The better choice is to get the sails down, start the motor, close and secure the hatches, and, if you can, either anchor and wait for it to pass by you, or head north, and get behind it, and then follow it down the bay.

Last edited by Sailormon6; 04-14-2012 at 12:03 AM.
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  #60  
Old 04-16-2012
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Re: Thunderstorm in Chesapeake Bay

Has anybody switched from a metal to a wooden wheel out of concern for this? I was considering it for esthetic reasons on our CSY, but after being hove-to in the Atlantic (yes, we had sea room) during a July T-storm where the lightning flashes seemed to go on forever, and then again last week in the Gulf Stream, I'm starting to wonder about whether wood would convey additional safety in a lightning hit.
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