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Old 21 October 2008, 03:54   #11
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Solent swell

Was out two weeks ago off No Mans Land - Chimet registering F8 but 6 m boat handling waves well and good progress made - the difficulty with the Solent and island is that sea conditions can vary so much within a relatively small area in strong wind conditions. I would simply suggest that at the point where all you can see ahead is a curling wave topped with breaking white water, blocking the horizon it's probably time to go home.

A well set up Rib should be able to cope with severe conditions but you need to be confident in your ability, your decision making processes and the boat's capabilities. Personally I find it useful to go out in severe conditions if only to get a feel for how the Rib reacts and how the helmsman reacts as well.

The Island North shore can be grim in a SE blow but in a SW wind, up to Gale Force it is perfectly acceptable to run up to Cowes - however at the same time coming out of the Hamble would be a whole different experience.
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Old 21 October 2008, 04:11   #12
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I would simply suggest that at the point where all you can see ahead is a curling wave topped with breaking white water, blocking the horizon it's probably time to go home.
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its when you don't have enough power to climb the faces of the wave
whilst those might be when the boat is getting to its limits - I suspects that as:
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a relativly inexperienced skipper (RYA L2 + Day skipper + a few hours)
the skipper got beyond his comfort zone a while before. There is a risk that we perpetuate the myth that ribs are invincible.
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Old 21 October 2008, 10:35   #13
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we have broached (pun intended) the subject of this before ;you might also wonder how you are going to get home in a boat that size facing breaking waves which block out the horizon---picking the moment to turn in that stuff ranges from the impossible to very very tricky
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Old 22 October 2008, 08:41   #14
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I've been out as often as possible in my newly acquired Zodiac Pro 420/Suzi 25 the last few weeks but this weekend the forecast was F5 gusting F6 for Southampton, so I chickened out!
I have the same boat as you, but with a bigger engine and an auxilliary back-up. I've experienced conditions on the west coast of Lewis with a north-westerly blowing F5/6 and a F5/6 in the Moray Firth.

My recommendation is always to stay within a limit you feel comfortable in. Remember weather conditions can change quite quickly. Add in squally showers, an engine that's not behaving properly, and what started as a F5/6 can feel much worse.

The Zodiac Pro has a relatively shallow V and tends to 'slap' on-coming waves rather than cutting through them. It'll handle it okay, but you or your passengers will spend a degree of time airbourne as you negotiate the swell.

Better to call off, rather than press ahead just because you've prepared to go out. It's a pain when the weather is poor, but sometimes you just need to wait for a window. Personally I'd only go out in a F5/6 with someone else on board. Basically to keep the bow down!!!
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Old 23 October 2008, 13:11   #15
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We tend to use this moto, not scientific or measurable but if has kept me out of trouble so far:

'If in doubt don't go out.'

Better safe than sorry!


Our boat is cat B rated, however if i were to use this boat in these conditions i would surely be asking for trouble. Just because it can doesn't mean you have to.


There is a great poem in a sea Kayaking book by Derek Hutchison which i can't resite word perfect but the jist is:

Those that do not fear the sea will surely drown,

Those that do only get drowned now and again
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Old 23 October 2008, 13:19   #16
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Having said all that we did have a fab day recently, with plenty of sea, sky moments.
i find the 'can we go out?' threshold is a lot higher without the wife and kids
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Old 23 October 2008, 20:05   #17
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i find the 'can we go out?' threshold is a lot higher without the wife and kids
Ain't that the truth

A friend of mine some years ago, after getting married, got himself a boat (can't even remember what it was now). When asked one day if he was going out, he sighed in the negative, held up his hand and wiggled his wedding ring. "Might not weigh much, but it doesn't half bloody slow you down"...
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Old 25 October 2008, 14:26   #18
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When asked one day if he was going out, he sighed in the negative, held up his hand and wiggled his wedding ring. "Might not weigh much, but it doesn't half bloody slow you down"...
Solution: find one that can drive RIBs - Mrs. Grocer now has her APB (CE).
"Which is nice..."

The downside of course is that the fuel bill gets bigger!
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Old 25 October 2008, 15:49   #19
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Isn't it a good thing that the comfort/ safety etc of crew/ passengers is taken into account? ( OK -its makes it bloddy boring ! )

While its great when the wife & kids come out I push harder if its me & mate who are very able to hold on harder / for longer & enjoy the 'flying' moments where as the family just want me to slow down !
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Old 26 October 2008, 08:00   #20
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Isn't it a good thing that the comfort/ safety etc of crew/ passengers is taken into account? ( OK -its makes it bloddy boring ! )

While its great when the wife & kids come out I push harder if its me & mate who are very able to hold on harder / for longer & enjoy the 'flying' moments where as the family just want me to slow down !
Same here, but the eldest holigan, at a big 13, is getting quite useful on the throttle though
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