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Old 21 August 2009, 07:47   #1
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rough weather advice

Through my own fault I recently got stuck out in a horrible wind over racing tide situation with 18-20knot winds. The waves were on the starboard nose of my boat and breaking frequently. The wave length equated to about a boat and a half long and high enough for the boat to get airbourne even at just above planning speeds.... Even with full trim and tabs fully down (except to counteract listing in wind) I could not keep the boat in the water..... I tried tacking and running across the waves but not only did it take me hugely in the wrong direction but the breaking waves caught the boat several times... which i really did not like!!!

Faced with about 5-10 miles of this I turned an ran in other direction with the nose up. In reality there could be a time when running the otherway was not an option, at displacement the boat rolled and caught the waves, while planning it just FLEW!!

Any helming tips or advice would be greatly appreciated, I consider myself an average driver only by no means a novice or expert!

Thanks
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Old 21 August 2009, 08:20   #2
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keep away from it ,,lol,,but in general if you do get caught out i think the main point is to judge your speed acordingley to the waves and not to go too fast in a following sea with the waves behind you ,even with a r,i,b the chances of brooching to are high when the boat starts to surf down a wave ,another danger having loose not secured equipment lying around eg spare fuel tanks ,diving equipment loose uncoiled ropes,and make sure the self bailers / drain valves /trunks are working and no chance of getting blocked with something ,,,even the old trick of towing some sort of drouge or a long loop of rope may give you better control in some circumstances .,,,i know one boater that sometimes tows an old traffic cone [ pointy bit first] when it gets rough .... an old diving mask can help with stinging eyes .,,,keeping an eye on the other crew members too is importent as there is more chance of someone falling over the side and not seeing them if too busy concentrating on helming .also be cautious in shallowish shoal water,deep in a normal sea will be much less in rough conditions in the trough of a wave , mart
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Old 21 August 2009, 08:31   #3
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Sounds like you made a good call by turning around and going back. I too would like expert opinion on this topic because, like you say, turning around to get shelter is not always an option.

Which bit of sea were you in? Did you have any crew onboard? If so what experience did they have? Options that you could try with a tough old sea dog you might not contemplate with the family onboard. How resistant is your spine? I would imagine that a Scorpion could take more hammering than most people are prepared to put up with.
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Old 21 August 2009, 08:38   #4
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In General, the advice when out in rough seas is head into the sea/ wind. or Transvering them into the wind.

Read the sea, alter your throttle constantly to help deal with the conditions, trim engine correctly - hardwork but makes difference.

This will ensure when you reach your safe haven you can actually enter. Its a rougher ride.

Lower/Open your Self Bailers/Elephant Trunks, and "enjoy" the Ride.

Make sure you have handheld VHF/PLB on person and knife. So if you do capsize you can call for help! Am assuming you are correctly clothed for the conditions....or least wearing a good LIFEJACKET not an buoyancy Aid, and KILL CORD.

Another thing I always before i go out is check my Anchor, Chain & Rope and its correctly attached, means if engine fails you can throw it over quickly to buy you time....

BUT...

As a part of SOLAS V (your legal requirement), passage planning , includes Weather Forecasts/Tides and Safe Havens.

more info: http://www.eesc.org.uk/content/rya-t...ty-at-sea.html

If in doubt do go out, or at least plan your power boating to the weather even if its staying relatively close to shore.

Am firm believer in going out in rough seas close to home port, to get experience, better still with another boat. I have provided safety cover for dinghy regattas in force 3/4, but its only from experience that you learn.


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Old 21 August 2009, 08:49   #5
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Sometimes in a wind over tide situation you can get better water by going further offshore - Start Point and Prawle point are good examples of this, and sometimes it is localised like The Needles, where going the other way around the Isle of Wight would miss it altogether.

The first thing to remember when setting out on any trip is to have a plan B, whether it's returning to your departure point or diverting, but carrying on into certain disaster is not a great plan! The biggest decision and skipper makes is whether to lave port or not!

As for driving in those conditions only experience will help you there. Driving upwind the only thing extra you could have done is move anything of any weight forwards to hold the bow down. If there isn't a comfortable direction for the boat, then turning round or heading for a bolt hole is your only option.

All IMHO of course!
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Originally Posted by Zippy
When a boat looks that good who needs tubes!!!
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Old 21 August 2009, 09:15   #6
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Thats bout it cookee. Was actually just off st catherines, made it through all of the charted race area but visibly i could see all south of island was exactly the same heading west! it was about 20mins after high tide and with a sw5 maybe gusting bit more(un calibrated finger wind scale)! Within my vision the whole area was the same inshore or offshore! Throttle control was not really an issue I believe, as The boat would only just plane before i was airborne and the prop barking, any slower would have resulted in her running nose up while trying to get over the hump.... unless I should have ran her off the plane????

My forecast and chart planning was fine but i neglected to check tides, almanac and windfiner.com shown me error of my ways there! lol

Im happy I turned an ran as no need to carry on forward, however oneday there could be a need! I even seriosly considered buying a bigger boat, but yet again even in a bigger boat you could still be faced with equally challenging conditions with no choice but to press on!

I had no real ballast to move as keep the boat at its lightest I can safely! I used to store everything on her including the cleaning bucket and sponge but since ditched it all, just the essentials

Thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cookee View Post
Sometimes in a wind over tide situation you can get better water by going further offshore - Start Point and Prawle point are good examples of this, and sometimes it is localised like The Needles, where going the other way around the Isle of Wight would miss it altogether.

The first thing to remember when setting out on any trip is to have a plan B, whether it's returning to your departure point or diverting, but carrying on into certain disaster is not a great plan! The biggest decision and skipper makes is whether to lave port or not!

As for driving in those conditions only experience will help you there. Driving upwind the only thing extra you could have done is move anything of any weight forwards to hold the bow down. If there isn't a comfortable direction for the boat, then turning round or heading for a bolt hole is your only option.

All IMHO of course!
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Old 21 August 2009, 09:19   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtflash View Post

Im happy I turned an ran as no need to carry on forward, however oneday there could be a need!
That's where you're going to hurt yourself and possibly others - there is never a big enough need to carry on into bigger danger and possibly a much worse situation!
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Originally Posted by Zippy
When a boat looks that good who needs tubes!!!
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Old 21 August 2009, 09:49   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtflash View Post
The wave length equated to about a boat and a half long and high enough for the boat to get airbourne even at just above planning speeds....
While I don't have tides to contend with, the wind and wave conditions you describe sound very typical of what we face often on the Great Lakes... steep, short, breaking waves. And yes, they can make for very uncomfortable conditions.

In my experience, I agree with what others have said... slow, steady and constantly adjusting the throttle. This is one area where I feel the difference of my new 4 stroke... I miss that quick torque at these times.

Here, we need to be especially careful running from the waves. I came to own my boat after the police service that had owned it, stuffed it and did an end-over-end roll while doing exactly that. I have spoken to the crew that ran the boat and they tell me that the waves were running about 10 - 12 feet and the tubes were under-inflated and that was all it took.

So, slow and steady, watch the weight distribution and be mindful of your speed. And hang on!
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Old 21 August 2009, 11:30   #9
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I had a very similar situation at the start of the year . Cowes - Christchurch in what ended up F8 south westerly - straight up the solent -with a short steep wind over tide in the Solent & 12-14 ft breaking sea once out of Hurst.

I ended taking huge tacks up the solent to increase the wavelength, had the bow pushed down the face of a wave a few times ( not nice) in the 20 mile run.

I put on ski googles which helped hugely , and was on/off the throttle endlessly. It took 2 hours ( usually 45 mins) with speed down to 8knts on the GPS at times.

Like you nothing I did kept the boat in the water . On the way it was a case of only over looking to the next safe port. Cowes - Newtown - Lymington - Yarmouth - then a big decision to go for Christchurch out of the solent .

After this I considered it praticle if needed to I could fill the bow locker with water to give me more ballast up front - must be good for near 75 L on my boat. That was the only thing I could come up with. ( or stay at home ) . Boat never missed a beat - my heart missed loads ! Close to calling the CG - but I couldnt hear a thing over the wind anyway !
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Old 21 August 2009, 11:37   #10
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A bow ballast tank can be very useful but not many boats have them. I am quite lucky in that my boat is very heavy.

Big rolling swells are much easier to deal with than short breaking waves.

I was out once in a Force 8-9 with very big waves - the boat was coping fine but we were down to 15kts at about 4500rpm. There was no need to press on so after having our fun i turned around - what a difference!!!

The wind felt like it had stopped - the waves felt flat and we were doing 22kts at 1200rpm!!!

Always go with the flow - you will never beat the elements so go with them.
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