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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a question that may turn into a good debate..

Which ocean do you think is the worst one?? Who has expereince in them, to say something?

The Atlantic, the Pacific, the Indic??

I have excluded the Med..that altough feisty sometimes..it's not that bad...

Please, don't tell me yours, just because you sail there...based on real experience, and what you read/heard.

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well I think the Southern is not considerd by many as an ocean, but part of others that extend to the South, right??

But by all means..I think we shoud count it too.

Off course..the Southern is a hard Ocean, especially in the 2 great capes...but there are 2 hard points, when compared to the rest...and both are in the Pacific and Atlantic

But yes...you are right, let's count it in.
 

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I only know the Atlantic Ocean were it merges with Long Island Sound form the races i have been in

The LI sound has always been worse than the ocean during the same race because as the water gets shallow the waves break much more
 

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This is kind of silly

I'd guess that, from a sailing point of view, the Arctic is the most difficult.

Following that, probably the Southern Ocean.

But I note that neither are very rough for the critters which are evolved to live there, or the vessels designed solely for those locations.

And, just to be contrary, I believe some archeologists say more vessels have foundered in the Mediterranean than any other body of water.
 

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Tartan 27' owner
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Good question Alex. I just don't think that there really is a definitive really 'bad boy' ocean out there as they all can be pretty unforgiving at times and have nasty reputations (like the 'Southern Ocean').
Even though I have only a tiny resume when it comes to sailing on ocean waters in small boats (< 100') I have some friends who became merchant seamen. From them I learned about Plimsoll marks or load lines where merchant ships are marked with permanent lines on the hull to delineate how much cargo a ship could carry on the course (and waters) they were intending. These marks on commercial ships were universally adopted by all maritime nations around 1900 and are brought to you by your friends in the insurance industry who were remarkably concerned with the cargo (and to some extent the crew) that a ship was carrying. They wanted their cargo delivered safely if it could be done.
The lowest (meaning: least amount of cargo allowed to be loaded) of the Plimsoll Marks is 'WNA' (or Winter North Atlantic) which probably gives the North Atlantic a nod for the worst of the bad boy oceans but - given the Euro-centric nature of the time all of this was implemented I am going to guess that the WNA Plimsoll mark is also observed for many of the other 'bad boy' oceans out there - especially in our summer when the 'Southern Ocean' is in her worst or winter phase.

From Wikipedia:
Standard load line marks
Load Line Mark and Lines and Timber Load Line Mark and Lines for power driven merchant vessels
Load Line Mark and Lines for commercial sailing vessels

The original "Plimsoll Mark" was a circle with a horizontal line through it to show the maximum draft of a ship. Additional marks have been added over the years, allowing for different water densities and expected sea conditions.

Letters may also appear to the sides of the mark indicating the classification society that has surveyed the vessel's load line. The initials used include AB for the American Bureau of Shipping, LR for Lloyd's Register, GL for Germanischer Lloyd, BV for Bureau Veritas, IR for the Indian Register of Shipping, RI for the Registro Italiano Navale and NV for Det Norske Veritas. These letters should be approximately 115 millimetres in height and 75 millimetres in width.[4] The Scantling length is usually referred to during and following load line calculations.

The letters on the Load line marks have the following meanings:

* TF - Tropical Fresh Water
* F - Fresh Water
* T - Tropical Seawater
* S - Summer Temperate Seawater
* W - Winter Temperate Seawater
* WNA - Winter North Atlantic

Fresh water is considered to have a density of 1000 kg/m³ and sea water 1025 kg/m³. Fresh water marks make allowance for the fact that the ship will float deeper in fresh water than salt water. A ship loaded to her Fresh Water mark in fresh water will float at her Summer Mark once she has passed into sea water. Similarly if loaded to her Tropical Fresh water mark she will float at her Tropical Mark once she passes in to sea water.

The Summer load line is the primary load line and it is from this mark that all other marks are derived. The position of the summer load line is calculated from the Load Line Rules and depends on many factors such as length of ship, type of ship, type and number of superstructures, amount of sheer, bow height and so on. The horizontal line through the circle of the Plimsoll mark is at the same level as the summer load line.

The Winter load line is one forty-eighth of the summer load draft below the summer load line.

The Tropical load line is one forty-eighth of the summer load draft above the summer load line.
The Fresh Water load line is an amount equal to \tfrac{\triangle}**40T} millimetres above the summer load line where \triangle is the displacement in metric tonnes at the summer load draft and T is the metric tonnes per centimetre immersion at that draft.
In any case where \triangle cannot be ascertained the fresh water load line is at the same level as the tropical load line.
The position of the Tropical Fresh load line relative to the tropical load line is found in the same way as the fresh water load line is to the summer load line.
The Winter North Atlantic load line is used by vessels not exceeding 100 metres in length when in certain areas of the North Atlantic Ocean during the winter period. When assigned it is 50 millimetres below the winter mark.

See for yourself though: Waterline - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

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I would have to second the arctic. It would be pretty hard to sail to the north pole.

In all seriousness, I don't have the experience to even begin to guess what the ocean is the worst. Many will say the southern or artic, just because of the ice and cold (and maybe watching Deadliest Catch, even though that is the Pacific). I know some marines who have told me of crazy storms they have encountered in the Indian Ocean. I really couldn't begin to guess, but hope to someday get to experience them all.
 

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It is not really all that silly.
Mankind has been sailing on the Mediterranean for thousands of years in various manner of vessels. It is a bit on the shallow side and has a reputation for getting snotty fairly quickly so it stands to reason that many boats line the bottom of that sea as there were more of them exposed to bad conditions that they could not handle over the ages. We really do not know how many boats are sitting on the bottom of the ocean in say, 6000' of water as we can't find them quite as easily as they can be found in the Med. There are many vessels that were just marked as 'overdue' that never arrived at their ports of call and were presumed lost. Today things are only a little different now that we have better building materials for ships, electronics and satellite technology to help us.
To harken back to Tommays point about the LI Sound being a rough body of water because it is more shallow and therefore rough in a blow: at least a big ocean going vessel can wait out at sea before trying to come into an area where there are lots of pointy rocks and bits of land they could run into. In the old days ... glub, glub, glub. Even the Great Lakes of the US have a pretty fearsome reputation for swallowing ships and they have lots of shoreline too. Anywhere near shore is a danger for a large seagoing vessel. Staying in the big water is generally safer for them - not for us little guys, even though we risk running aground and all the other hundreds of things that could go wrong.
Plenty of boats lost in both the Arctic and Antarctic. Plenty of boats have been lost near all coasts due to gales. Even with today's technologies there are shipping disasters happening all over the world right now (and I don't just mean off the coast of Somalia). Click this link and scroll down a bit for the 'Daily Casualty Report': The Law Offices of Countryman & McDaniel
 

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Nah, I just meant that trying to pick one sea as more the bad boy than another is silly. As you point out, the shallower waters of the Med or the Great Lakes can result in nastier conditions than the deep unobstructed fetch of the Southern Ocean. There's no objective measure for danger from the mother sea - it's all dangerous, from 1" of depth to miles deep.
 

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Amgine,
Agreed. The contest of which body of water is more destructive then another is silly. They can all behave perfectly horrendously at times, even the protected bays and sounds.
The Pacific Ocean gets its origins from the word Pacific which means 'peaceful' in a way but that ocean is anything but gentle in most respects. The Atlantic is just narrower with more land masses that mess with its currents and weather patterns. The Indian Ocean is sometimes shallower with more islands about and the Southern Ocean is just that; the south end of all of them and includes the roaring '40's'.
Anyone trying to sail into the Arctic or Antarctic is just plain asking for trouble IMHO; whales, seals and other wildlife not withstanding - they have a hard life too as do the Inuit people.
 

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I have sailed the Indian along the coast for many years and consider the Mozambique Channel and the east coast of Africa the most dangerous that I have encountered.

I have crossed the Indian both with my family and single handed, from Africa via Seychelles, Sri Lanka and Christmas Island to Indonesia and I think that is the bumpiest, least comfortable sea around and also I reckon from a line squall perspective, the most unpredictable. And as I have said many times on this forum, from an SAR point of view clearly the most dangerous because most of the countries surrounding the Indian are very poor, over-populated and have no SAR structures to speak of. If you get into trouble your are on your own.

I have crossed the Pacific with my family from the US to New Zealand and save for one 48 hour nightmare spent in a squash zone SW of Raratonga, it was buy far the friendliest, least threatening voyage I have done.

I haven't yet sailed the Atlantic but will in coming years (circumnavigation on the cards for my rtirement), I haven't sailed the Southern, have no intention to but hold an uninformed view on it that it isn't as dangerous as it seems.
 

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That's a tough call, Giu. I've been knocked on my ear just about everywhere short of McMurdo Sound and a lot depends on the time of year, the stage of the monsoon, and whether it's hurricane/typhoon season.

As Caleb mentions, the winter-time North Atlantic was historically the most traded route season in and season out, and it's reputation is well deserved. I spent a rather interesting three days up in the Irish Sea hove-to while the wind and spindrift removed the top three layers of paint from our starboard side.

The Pacific can be anything but pretty much any time you take yourself north of Unimak Pass on the GC route to Japan. And the Formosa Strait can seem like God's own sluice way during typhoon season. The Gulf of Alaska is probably as reliably nasty as anywhere in the Pacific. It wouldn't due to overlook the Gulf of Tehuantepec off Mexico. The tehuantepecer is a fall wind, the same as the mistral in the western Med., but noted for it's suddenness and ferocity. You can go from benign conditions to hurricane force winds almost within the blink of any eye.

The Indian ocean depends a lot on the monsoon but the southeast coast of the Cape of Good Hope might be one of the most dangerous places on the earth. When the Cape rollers meet the Agulhas current the results can be not only spectacular but unpredictable. The largest, reliably reported, seas have been logged there.

Anywhere on the dangerous side of the semicircle for a typhoon or hurricane can make an area nasty.

I'd guess that for pure abject misery and abuse the North Cape in winter might rank at the top of my list. The unabated winds off the Arctic ice cap can produce a deadly sea and conditions that might lead you to believe that God has forgotten you. In this case, forgetting is just as punitive as accursed. There's just nothing conducive to human life off the North Cape in winter. The conditions become somewhat similar north off Sable Island on the western side of the Atlantic but, in my opinion, are not as inhumane as the North Cape.
 
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It wouldn't due to overlook the Gulf of Tehuantepec off Mexico. The tehuantepecer is a fall wind, the same as the mistral in the western Med., but noted for it's suddenness and ferocity. You can go from benign conditions to hurricane force winds almost within the blink of any eye.
I can vouch for that.:eek:

My brother's boat went down in a storm in the Tasman Sea with all hands. So I would add that to the list.
 

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My father was in the British Merchant Navy in the Second World War and said that the Murmansk run (which included the North Cape) was the worst because the crew couldn't get the frozen spray off the deck and bridge fast enough and that there was a real likelihood of capsizing with all that weight "aloft".

He said that while getting to Antarctica after the war as a whaler was pretty grim, Antarctica itself was frequently quite calm, if bitterly cold. He said that the whales' bodies would stay warm for hours and that men would take off their sweaters in order not to overheat cutting up the beasts.
 

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I would have to vote for anywhere above 60 degrees lat. Not a specific "ocean" or "sea", but overall the closer to the poles you get the "badder" the wind and weather is.
 

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I have worked in the Bering Sea, Gulf of Alaska, North Atlantic, Indian Ocean and a myriad of many other waters. I have heard about the Southern ocean and from what I have heard have a very healthy respect for that area.
One thing about when Mother nature start kicking up her skirts is that you will find out rather quickly about how well secured your boat/ship is.
Especially when your dish ware, pots & pans spill over onto the deck (cabin sole) along with anything else not properly secured. You will find out which hatches and port lights that are leaking because they weren't secured properly or maintained properly. And that latter has a big effect on every mechanical system on your vessel during foul weax.
To test the Doors, hatches and port lights;
A. Chalk the knife edge and secure said item. If the chalk don't transfer to the gasket all the way around, you have a problem.
B. Secure everthing for sea, then wash your vessel down with a fire hose. Note I said fire hose, a garden hose don't put out enough water at a high enough pressure. The leaks will show up rather quickly with that fire hose.
Of course you may want to do this on a hot day.:D
Cabinets: Several hard pulls on the door will tell you if that latch will work or not. And there are a lot of nots when it comes to cheap door latches. But there is one cheap one that works quite well. Home made looks good if you are a craftman.
Shelving: are the fife rails high enough? Most manufactured boats they are the bare minimum and won't stop a paperback book from flying off, let alone any thing else. So you have a lot of improvement to do there before your boat is ready for sea. A clue here is that if you can see it moving on the shelf, plan on it flying off and hitting you in the head in foul weax.
Anything on the counter while in port will need to be stowed before going out. That nice knife block you have on the counter does it move? Do you want sharp knives whizzing by your ears? See what I mean?
Tool boxes are a major hazard. Need to be firmly secured. Along with the spare parts and anything else that is on or by your work bench.

Have fun sailing in all weax and may it always be moderate for us.
And please note; I haven't covered all of the necessary means to secure your boat for sea.
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'd guess that, from a sailing point of view, the Arctic is the most difficult.

Following that, probably the Southern Ocean.

But I note that neither are very rough for the critters which are evolved to live there, or the vessels designed solely for those locations.

And, just to be contrary, I believe some archeologists say more vessels have foundered in the Mediterranean than any other body of water.
If it is silly, why did you reply??? Need a silly fix??? some people....
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I have sailed the Indian along the coast for many years and consider the Mozambique Channel and the east coast of Africa the most dangerous that I have encountered.

I have crossed the Indian both with my family and single handed, from Africa via Seychelles, Sri Lanka and Christmas Island to Indonesia and I think that is the bumpiest, least comfortable sea around and also I reckon from a line squall perspective, the most unpredictable. And as I have said many times on this forum, from an SAR point of view clearly the most dangerous because most of the countries surrounding the Indian are very poor, over-populated and have no SAR structures to speak of. If you get into trouble your are on your own.

I have crossed the Pacific with my family from the US to New Zealand and save for one 48 hour nightmare spent in a squash zone SW of Raratonga, it was buy far the friendliest, least threatening voyage I have done.

I haven't yet sailed the Atlantic but will in coming years (circumnavigation on the cards for my rtirement), I haven't sailed the Southern, have no intention to but hold an uninformed view on it that it isn't as dangerous as it seems.
Thanks Omatako, nice post....
 
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