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Old 20 October 2008, 06:05   #1
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Whats "too windy" for me/my boat?

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'm after a bit of advice as to what the experienced collective thought is on what constitutes the limit as far as wind strength would be for a 4.2 m RIB with a relativly inexperienced skipper (RYA L2 + Day skipper + a few hours). I appreciate wind/tide all affect the wave height, and the Solent has this horrible short wavelength, but I am keen to get out as much as possible without pushing my luck. What would you suggest for a ballpark figure for the max wind conditions I should consider going out in (until I can afford a Stingher 10m...)?

PS: Launch at Southampton Dry stack, cruise So'ton water & into the Solent if not too lumpy...
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Old 20 October 2008, 07:07   #2
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There is no simple answer to your question. As you already recognise that tide and other factors can make F5-6 reasonable in one place at one moment horrible in somewhere else/another time.

Personally however, I think you probably made a wise decision. Its better to be on shore wishing you were out there, than out there wishing you weren't.

I have a slightly smaller boat/engine than you and wouldn't go out alone in F5/6 for fun; and I certainly don't go out with the wife and kids in anything like that. I am more likely to be adventurous if there are other boats with me.

I think when it gets too choppy for you/the boat you just know.
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Old 20 October 2008, 07:59   #3
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I think Polwart has hit the nail on head here, it reads to me like you have made the best call and "chickened out".

For fun most people reckon a forecast 4 that might be a 5 is ok, but a forecast 5+ is asking for more excitement than you might want.

Having said that, you have some fairly sheltered water around - perhaps you could trailer to Chichester Harbour for a day out?

If you want to get your hours up you could volunteer to help clubs and charities out with safety boat cover?
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Old 20 October 2008, 08:07   #4
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You do have one grreat advantage with a rib of that size, it is easy to trail and launch anywhere. So if its blowing up as it did Sat afternoon, then look at launching and cruising the Hamble. It will take several hours to go all the way up on a rising tide. Eling at the top end of Southampton is another option from the Itchen and reasonably protected, just avoid the cruise liners.

Malthouse mentioned Chichester, it is possible to do Fareham to Chichester under the bridges of Portsmouth and Hayling which is probably 20 miles.

Pete
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Old 20 October 2008, 08:10   #5
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Hi JZod420 and welcome to the forum. You have come to the right place for advice.

I've got a 6.5m rib that I keep just down river from you. I think the only way to find your limit is to keep trying. I don't like anything over a F5 but we have a great advantage being in southampton water because when it is too lumpy in the solent you can always have a whizz up and down to calshot.
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Old 20 October 2008, 08:45   #6
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Malthouse mentioned Chichester, it is possible to do Fareham to Chichester under the bridges of Portsmouth and Hayling which is probably 20 miles.
You could try, but you won't get round the top of Portsmouth if you've got an A-frame. It is manageable in a SIB though.

Other than that, Langstone harbour can be pretty bleak but there's plenty of scope for slow exploring in Chichester harbour (especially at springs when HW is around lunch time!).

John
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Old 20 October 2008, 15:22   #7
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Thanks for all your replies! I guess the bottom line is to steadily up the conditions until I feel any more would be dangerous. I don't want to be a "fair weather boater", neither another statistic on the RNLI books! I'm also assuming the boat will cope with far worse conditions than me - on dubiuos days I'll tread carefully once out of the Itchen so I can nip back to safety/shelter if the waves get too big...
Look forward to seeing you all out there!
Cheers,
Jason.
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Old 20 October 2008, 16:54   #8
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Learnt my limit when I went up the face of wave in 4.2 Zodiac and came back down the same face in reverse and the back end went under. Fortunately the boat level off but the tidal wave that came past my legs was a sight that I dont want to see again. Bought a 4.7 with a bigger lump on the back and feel a lot safer now in higher waves. Take care in the lumpy stuff!
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Old 20 October 2008, 17:29   #9
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Learnt my limit when I went up the face of wave in 4.2 Zodiac and came back down the same face in reverse and the back end went under.
Hehe Ive done that in a 5.8 but it was in 40 foot swell and by the time we came down,... the wave passed through so we fell ... and fell .. and fell for what seemed ages arse first back in the water , quick re-assmbly of the crew and off we went That was where I learned about throttle control and on that occasion there was little wind, its just the type of conditions we get, so it can be very variable with wind or sea, you just have to be ontop of it (no pun intended )
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Old 20 October 2008, 17:57   #10
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All answers are sound advice , but i think the real answer has come out of it especially for a small lower powered boat , its when you don't have enough power to climb the faces of the waves , and when you find that out its good not to have far to go before you reach shelter .

there is a huge difference between what you will do alone compared to when you have the company of another boat .
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