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Old 04-21-2011, 12:14 PM   #1
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Comfort vs fear

Say you have been planning a trip for weeks and.

If the weather report say's 30 knt winds seas to 5 ft do you go out any way or stay in the harbor?

What is you comfort zone?

SD
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Old 04-21-2011, 12:35 PM   #2
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RE: Comfort vs fear

Dude

Being*an experienced Alaska veteran I'm sure you have a good answer for your boat and experience that would be very different than mine. Tides, current direction, winds and improving/ deteriorating conditions all play into the answer. A 15 foot long period swell is very different than a 5 foot short period wave.

Last summer when crossing Dixon entrance in our DeFever 48, we waited out a 35 knot gale with 2 - 3 meter seas but finally crossed in 25 knot winds and 1-2 meter following seas. Beam seas are nicely counteracted on our vessel by active stabilizers.

Last but not least, hull design and boat size enter into the answer. A 40' Nordhavn would be much more seaworthy than a 40' Bayliner. Likewise a 45' Beneteau sail boat would be better than a 60' Hampton. Did I mention crew experience?
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Old 04-21-2011, 12:50 PM   #3
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RE: Comfort vs fear

Quote:
superdiver wrote:
For me, the short answer is NO... I am a fair weather sailor so far....
*I have to agree with this. I'd stay in the harbor. *The weather will be better tomorrow.

*
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Old 04-21-2011, 01:16 PM   #4
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RE: Comfort vs fear

Quote:
sunchaser wrote:
Dude

Being*an experienced Alaska veteran I'm sure you have a good answer for your boat and experience that would be very different than mine. Tides, current direction, winds and improving/ deteriorating conditions all play into the answer. A 15 foot long period swell is very different than a 5 foot short period wave.

Last summer when crossing Dixon entrance in our DeFever 48, we waited out a 35 knot gale with 2 - 3 meter seas but finally crossed in 25 knot winds and 1-2 meter following seas. Beam seas are nicely counteracted on our vessel by active stabilizers.

Last but not least, hull design and boat size enter into the answer. A 40' Nordhavn would be much more seaworthy than a 40' Bayliner. Likewise a 45' Beneteau sail boat would be better than a 60' Hampton. Did I mention crew experience?
*A lot of my thoughts go for the people that will be going with me.

Like you said experience will carry me a lot further than those going with me who say this is my first time. Where*I do most of my boating we don't get the swells. If it's bad we get 5' or 6' wind blown chop. Most of the time a 15 knt wind will give a 3' sea. The Glaciers seem to have there own climate. if you pass in front of them.

As to crew experience that is usually non existing. I really have to play captain and tell everyone just exactly what to do. If I am going solo I just take what ever is coming and deal with it.

It is the passangers that keep me in port. I can stand at the helm in 6' waves no problem.** Everyone else is white nuckles or chumming.

I guess I was just wondering how many others are restrained by those that boat with them.

SD

*

*
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Old 04-21-2011, 01:36 PM   #5
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RE: Comfort vs fear

What is the purpose for the trip? If it's for pleasure, why push it? The problem with schedules is pushing to make certain dates. The luxury of cruising is going when you want to go.

And consider the passengers as suggested above. One way to ruin a mate's relationship with cruising is to push through rough weather.
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Old 04-21-2011, 01:45 PM   #6
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RE: Comfort vs fear

I agree.**It is just that sometimes long laid plans arn't as much fun sitting at the dock.

Don't get me wrong. Nothing wrong with a brown bottle weekend.

For now I am pretty much a weekend worrior. Not a true cruiser.

I just fret over not being able to show a friend a good time.

SD
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Old 04-21-2011, 01:55 PM   #7
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RE: Comfort vs fear

I have to go with what everyone says, with extra emphasis on the wife's comfort zone. There are other factors too, such as am I going to take it on the nose, or following, and what will my current location be like in a few hours or days. Will it remain protected? Traveling as a single boat or with a fleet? I have caved to the fleet mentality before, and ended up unhappy with that choice. Never again. If I say it's not safe, then it's not.
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Old 04-21-2011, 02:00 PM   #8
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RE: Comfort vs fear

SD, you should know my answer before you asked the question.* NO WAY!* I am the ultimate fair weather Dock Queen and proud of it.* *The conditions have to be wind less than 10 mph, wave less then one foot, blue ski and temp above 70 degrees, which mean in the PNW there is only a couple of day per year that meet those conditions.* I dont make any firm commitments to leave the dock until a couple of days a head of time and then its a BIG MAYBE!* **
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Old 04-21-2011, 02:09 PM   #9
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RE: Comfort vs fear

Quote:
skipperdude wrote:
Say you have been planning a trip for weeks and.

If the weather report say's 30 knt winds seas to 5 ft do you go out any way or stay in the harbor?

What is you comfort zone?

SD
*Let's not just "say" that we've been planning exactly that situation for 6 weeks because we actually have been doing that.* Tomorrow at noon some long time friends are arriving at Victoria airport to spend a week on the boat.* And not that we're some salty old veterans with well established plans to deal with this, quite the opposite in fact.* However, this is what we have planned:

We'll pick them up tomorrow at the airport and move them into the v-berth for the night, at the dock at our Yacht Club.* On Saturday morning I'll make the call about where we go.* If the seas are calm in the Strait we'll go across to Vancouver.* If the Strait is bumpy but it looks good to Victoria we'll go to Victoria.* If its generally nasty outside we'll go around behind the Saanich Peninsula and play there for a week.* What we absolutely won't do is get wrapped up in some schedule that gets us into conditions that nobody likes.* In the worst case if we get over to Vancouver and it all goes to pot we'll put them on a plane back to Victoria to catch their flight home a week later.

*
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Old 04-21-2011, 03:02 PM   #10
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RE: Comfort vs fear

In our 26-footer, I would not likely start off across the Dixon with winds forecast greater than 15 knots, or seas greater than 1 meter at the Central Dixon Entrance. Similar heading around Cape Caution.* In both cases if the wind were going to be opposed to tidal current I'd be especially reluctant.

I pick up guests often, and for their sake as well as mine I generally avoid weather much stronger than the above just about anywhere in SE Alaska.* Even when guests have only two weeks aboard, it's no fun being intimidated.* My dog doesn't like it either.

*

*
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Old 04-21-2011, 03:16 PM   #11
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RE: Comfort vs fear

We have waited out weather for a week at a time. The golden rule is that if one member of the crew says no go that is exactly what we do. Generaly it's the First Mait that recomends that we not go out.

Rob and Anne

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Old 04-21-2011, 05:27 PM   #12
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RE: Comfort vs fear

For an interesting read, check out the setsail website. A new owner of a Dashew FPB 64 is currently*traveling from NZ to Hawaii. Winds of 35 to 45 knots*with 15 foot seas are discussed and how the boat handles these conditions. On autopilot all the way to boot.
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Old 04-21-2011, 05:59 PM   #13
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RE: Comfort vs fear

Just a thought - Have you been "planning" the trip or just talking about it.

Perhaps a real plan would have contingencies for rough weather, dealing with storms, safe ports, etc. It doesn't sound like a well thought out plan.

I don't mean to sound critical. I don't normally make a real plan myself. It's just a thought.
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Old 04-21-2011, 06:37 PM   #14
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RE: Comfort vs fear

"*with extra emphasis on the wife's comfort zone."

My wife has a larger comfort zone than I do. She'd go out in lots of stuff that I say no to. There are times I don't mind enduring a 4 hour ride if I KNOW I'll be in a nice quiet anchorage for the night. However, I won't do the bad ride to have to stay up all night in a blow. That's what I pay my slip fee for. I'd rather leave the dock at first light the following morning AFTER the bad weather has gone.

*

*
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Old 04-21-2011, 07:40 PM   #15
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RE: Comfort vs fear

When crossing the Gulf of Alaska from Prince William Sound to Icy Straits the entire run is about 55 hours non stop in our boat. The weather that we look for would be about a 15 knot wind and maybe 5 foot seas. We always start in favorable conditions with a three day favorable forecast, but the seas alway kick up in the afternoons or for that matter at any time. This is a very serious crossing in any conditions! When we travel in open water like that, the paravanes are deployed at all times. Normally the boat gently rolls to about 8 deg. But one night while rounding Cape St. Elias off of Kayak Is. I was on the O'dark thirthy watch. The seas really kicked up as did the wind. The boat was rolling to about 20+ deg and a bit of water over the bow. I could see that the wind was about 45 knots but lucky for me I really couldn't see the water due to darkness. When my wife awoke at about daylight, several hours after her watch should have started she greeted me with a pleasent hello. Not knowing what I had been dealing with for several hours, she was ready to take the wheel as soon as she had had some coffee. We were a little beyound our comfort zone, and she never even knew it.

Rob and Anne Hays
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Old 04-21-2011, 08:52 PM   #16
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RE: Comfort vs fear

Both times I've been in seas I didn't want to be in was because I was keeping a schedule. I don't do that any more. The wife can tolerate heavier water than I so it make me the limiting factor. I don't like it much beyond 2-3 footers and wind at 15 kts.
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Old 04-21-2011, 10:53 PM   #17
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RE: Comfort vs fear

Well ofthenorth, If you go across Georgia Strait you be sett'in yourself (and your guests) up for getting stuck on the east side. Some of the worst seas I've had to deal with were on Georgia Strait.

When I was in Puget Sound my cut off point was 30knots in the forecast. So I'd go forth in a 25knot forecast most anywhere. And then I had a 25' Albin. But Cary brings things into focus w some of the variables. If you need to go into Rosairio Strait on an ebb spring tide in 20knot south winds you're going to wish you had'nt. Many variables to account for. In the larger inland bodies of water in SE Alaska any forecast over 15knots is a red flag. But if the trip was important and if I was northbound in a 25 knot SSE forecast with neep tides flowing north and that weather was moderating I'd go. Each one of those variables is important. And w the above forecast I would most likely be, at some point in beam seas of about 6'. That would be uncomfortable and a good skipper knows his (or her) boat well and knows the line between uncomfortable and dangerous. I've been uncomfortable only once on Willy and I've been w Willy in seas 6 or 7 times that were the same height or bigger. And the discomfort happened fast. Sometimes one just needs to be there and feel the boat under them to know if all will have a safe outcome. The more you learn about weather, the sea and your boat the safer you will be. However you may become more conservative after a number of scary experiences.
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Old 04-22-2011, 06:27 AM   #18
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RE: Comfort vs fear

The key to keeping spouses and family enthused about boating and cruising is to know and respect everyone's comfort factor. If the conditions are beyond that, stay at the dock and wait until things improve. Period. Scare someone once and they may never come back.

My wife is a seasoned boater and loves the water but I know her limits are less than mine*and I respect them. She'll be out there on the water with me to the end.

I do boat deliveries and my comfort factor is the boat's capability. Just back (two weeks ago)*from a 10 day off-shore (Gulf Stream) delivery from Fort Lauderdale, FL to Barnegat, NJ. 75 to 100 miles off-shore much of way. 3 man crew - 4 hour watch - 8 hour off. Always - Keep current on weather reports -*Have 'bail out' points if conditions get too bad. 30 knot winds and 10-12 foot seas on several occasions. Lots of water over the deck to fill the cockpit several times a shift. Lay on the floor to sleep. Lay on the floor to put your clothes on. SIT DOWN to pee. 26 degrees off the NJ coast with ice on the life lines. Good food,*good crew*=*good times. And no...I didn't do this in my 30 foot trawler. It was a 40 foot blue water sailboat.
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Old 04-22-2011, 06:51 AM   #19
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RE: Comfort vs fear

The Admiral would have given up on boating long age if I insisted on pushing ahead in iffy conditions.* Some folks like the "fun" of plowing into head seas for hours on end.

Now I perfer to avoid rough weather and have no problem waiting for the right conditions.

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Old 04-22-2011, 07:13 AM   #20
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RE: Comfort vs fear

If the weather is not forecast to be "good" I'm not going out. Now, once in a while NOAA will slip up when I've been out there and "caught" I'm thinking "what am I doing out here shoulda stayed in" but it is too late so endure it. (Like John P, times 2 as far as the admiral is concerned) I have no problem waiting who ever ran out of things to do on a boat.
"good" for me is 10-15 or less and 2'-3' or less.
I know, I know, in some places one would never leave the dock with those parameters, good for those who do.
Where I live I can get in plenty of boating done in the weather I choose.
The winds have a way of fooling people, often I'll think or hear people say it must be blowing 20-25k , I check it on the annemometer its usually about 12, maybe less.
Good crusin', and weather, to all!
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