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Old 06-27-2016, 07:12 PM   #21
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While something like this reminds us of the dangers inherent in boating, it's unfortunate that some non-boaters lose perspective. They see this and they forget the 4 or 5 kids in their area who have drowned in pools the last couple of years. Those are all just as preventable as this was, but they happened and we feel bad that they did.
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Old 06-27-2016, 07:25 PM   #22
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We've picked up a new favorite boating saying this summer that I think applies here:

"It is better to be on land wishing you were at sea, than to be at sea wishing you were on land."
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Old 06-28-2016, 12:43 AM   #23
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Well I'm glad that question is settled. I always figured wave height was the distance from trough to crest. I've been out in 4'-5' waves on Lake Huron in 20' boats and you can definitely determine the height of the wave because the boat goes down into the trough.


MYTraveler, for the sake of discussion not argument, using your scale of wave height what would have estimated those waves to be?


With these waves, they are so short in duration (period, wave length, etc.) that the boat doesn't go down into the troughs, it just punches through the wave to the next and the next and..... The bow dips down, but the duration is so short the boat doesn't go down into the trough.


So here are the three videos I promised. These were taken a few minutes and a few miles apart. It always amazes me how much the conditions on the river can change over a relatively short distance. I posted again the video I posted above so you can watch them in the correct sequence if you want.


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Old 06-28-2016, 02:19 AM   #24
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At 27' in length I am out of there before video #1!!!!! Anything over 15 knot and 2 foot has this Mother's little boy thinking blue berry picking is a fun sport!!

If need be fine, otherwise forget it. Be assured when in those conditions or near so, the mind wonders when the last time the fuel filters were drained and changed!.

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Old 06-28-2016, 06:56 AM   #25
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I hope this doesn't sound rude, but it doesn't look like 8' seas to me. Admittedly, it is hard to get a good look at wave height in that video, but there were a couple opportunities, especially if you look to the port bow. No doubt you took a bunch of water up to your flybridge, but the boat was pitching pretty good and you were heading straight into it.

+1

How fast were you going into those waves?
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Old 06-28-2016, 08:49 AM   #26
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Doesn't matter what the actual wave height was. It was chitty! Conditions are very dependent on the boat. I would have bailed out long before taking the video. It is supposed to be a pleasurable day cruise!
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Old 06-28-2016, 09:18 AM   #27
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Doesn't matter what the actual wave height was. It was chitty! Conditions are very dependent on the boat. I would have bailed out long before taking the video. It is supposed to be a pleasurable day cruise!
I agree....

Yet at some point gaining experience in ever increasing discomfort gives you the experience to know when conditions are going from uncomfortable to dangerous to survival.

Having had to use written guidelines (or personal limits) for training conditions to keep things safe are necessary ...yet at some point stretching those limits is essential for survival when and if the time comes.

Not that it needs to, but it usually takes extraordinary luck as a cruiser to never encounter at least dangerous conditions....survival conditions? Yeah...I pray I never encounter those and work hard at it.

Keep ever in mind that there is a huge difference between having and not having propulsion and/or steering.
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Old 06-28-2016, 10:42 AM   #28
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I'd call that snotty, but not outrageous. That looks like what we boat in fairly regularly in New England. I would have slowed down a little and tried not to take them directly on the nose. It should have eased the motion a bit. It might make you travel out of your way and not in a straight line, but it would be worth IMHO.
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Old 06-28-2016, 11:00 AM   #29
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Mike, loved the videos and how you handled yourself, whist you were having "...a bit of a bumpy ride". Glad all is well and the weekend was a success.

BB, thanks for that link.
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Old 06-28-2016, 11:31 AM   #30
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Everyone has their own tolerance, normally well below what their boat can handle. We classify into what we can enjoy and what we can feel safe in. Safe is a lot worse conditions than enjoy.

Psneeld wrote this: "Yet at some point gaining experience in ever increasing discomfort gives you the experience to know when conditions are going from uncomfortable to dangerous to survival."

The captains who trained us didn't take us to the brink of disaster but they did take us far beyond comfortable and we very much benefited. We knew we were safe with them there. The first time, we were amazed how well the boat handled conditions most never go out in and we wouldn't normally, but they can arise. We also learned to handle them and by the end of a few very grueling hours we felt far more confident. We may have improved our skills more that day than any other. Certainly did our knowledge and confidence.

I'm not suggesting anyone subject themselves to danger. However, I always figure that conditions may well be one level worse than forecast and two levels worse is quite possible. I want to be confident in safety if that happens. I hope to never fully test my rough water skills or the boat's, but I feel fortunate to have been trained on worse than I'd normally go out in.

We face this regularly crossing to and from the Bahamas. You'll often encounter three entirely different conditions. Wave spacing, speed of your boat, direction of waves all so important. I remember the first time we faced rapidly changing conditions on our way home from the Bahamas as we hit the Gulf Stream, we knew that we were safe and thought, "we've been trained for this."

Watched all of GFC's videos. One comment and one question. The comment is that none of those conditions would have been alarming to us, but if we did most of our boating in the Columbia River, they would have been quite a surprise. The question is, "did you try varying your speed to see what made it better or worse?" I don't know the speed capabilities of your boat but in the worst conditions you seemed to be hitting the waves at the worst speed and getting the full impact. Now, perhaps you had experimented and that was the best. Every boat is different.
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Old 06-28-2016, 12:20 PM   #31
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Thanks all for your comments and questions.


"If need be fine, otherwise forget it. Be assured when in those conditions or near so, the mind wonders when the last time the fuel filters were drained and changed!"
I had checked the Racors within a week prior to leaving on this trip and they were clear. I'm probably not as attentive to doing stuff like that but I was down in the engine room and checked the oil levels and the Racors.


"How fast were you going into those waves? "
See below....


"Yet at some point gaining experience in ever increasing discomfort gives you the experience to know when conditions are going from uncomfortable to dangerous to survival."
See below....


"The question is, "did you try varying your speed to see what made it better or worse?" I don't know the speed capabilities of your boat but in the worst conditions you seemed to be hitting the waves at the worst speed and getting the full impact. Now, perhaps you had experimented and that was the best. Every boat is different. "


OK, as to the speed we were traveling, we were holding at around 9.5-10kts. I did slow down a bit earlier but it didn't seem to help much. The speed we were traveling is my hull speed and the boat seems to like it at that speed.


Part of our needing/wanting to hold at that speed was a time constraint. The lock we had to pass through has downstream locks at 930, 1230, 1530, and 1830. It's a Corps of Engineers lock and they run a pretty tight schedule. Depending on the lockmaster that is on duty he may or may not allow you to lock through if you are late. IMO it depends a lot of what kind of day he's having.


When we set out I had planned our departure time to allow PLENTY of time. We were held up for about 20 minutes right off the bat because we had to wait for a railroad bridge to lift for us. Trains ALWAYS have the first priority and if one is approaching you just have to wait. We pass under that particular bridge often enough that the bridgemaster and I are almost on a first name basis. I treat them very well on the radio ("yes sir" and "thank you sir") and they are very accommodating to our boat.


I calculated our necessary speed (to reach the lock on time) and set out at hull speed knowing we could reach the lock on time. The thing is, if you don't reach the lock on time and they don't let you lock through, you might as well turn back to the slip, wait 3 hours for the next lockage, the set out again. Or drift around by the lock for 3 hours.


By way of a bit of history, I grew up on Lake Huron. We often boated in 3'-4' waves in a 16' Thompson with a Johnson 50hp on the back. I also sailed in those waves a LOT. I'm used to waves and know that the boat will handle a lot more than I will.


Also, 3 years ago I helped a guy take a boat from Seattle to Stockton, CA. That was my first ocean experience and I made the trip to get that experience. There's a thread on here somewhere and if you search for "Stockton" I'm sure you will find it. On that trip we encountered waves much bigger than what I was in last weekend and I learned a lot about boat handling in big waves.


I've often felt that most people boat "in their own back yard." By that I mean they don't stretch their boundaries to find out what they are capable of. They only boat on calm days, never at night, always in their home waters and never, ever consider taking the boat out when it's snotty out there.


I'm kind of the opposite of that. I like to stretch my limits. I like to see what I am capable of. I already know the boat can handle much more than I can so I'm not worried about putting us in jeopardy (Alex, I'll take "Safe Boating" for a thousand!")


I've also boated through that stretch of river on various size boats from 30' to 60' and have an understanding of how each size reacts to various size waves.


The flip side of that is I've learned over the years to be cautious. I was about ready to turn around and head for home when we hit that big wave. My Galley Wench confirmed my thoughts about heading back so we did. At that point I had two concerns: First for her comfort and safety and second my hesitation to go through the lock with that kind of wind blowing. Combining those two factors made the decision an easy one: Let's go back home.


So today I'm headed down to the boat to try a repair job on the struts for the forward hatch. I took a look at them and it appears where each broke it was a clean break. I picked up some epoxy that's made for plastics. If I can get it to work it will save me having to drill out the rivets that hold the struts in place and replace the struts.
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Old 06-28-2016, 12:28 PM   #32
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You can have clean Racors and they can still clog in those conditions...the question is are your tanks clean? I was in conditions very similar to what you were in(solid 30-40knots). The boat was not liking it. I was not liking it. My GF was not liking it. And when the left engine started to lose RPM, it made the decision to turn around very easy. Running WITH the weather in those conditions is much better than running against it. The engine never quit. It just started varying RPM by about 200. Put the boat up and I came back to change the filters the next day and all was well.
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Old 06-28-2016, 01:42 PM   #33
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You can have clean Racors and they can still clog in those conditions...the question is are your tanks clean?
That is where murphy-guage equipped dual racors (the kind with a selector valve) come in handy. (And a stand up engine room, too.)
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Old 06-28-2016, 02:41 PM   #34
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GFC...When I worked for a Sea Ray dealership, they had a 55 that was a trde in and used for all sorts of company functions...It was certainly capable of what you were in and actually the videos show it giving a pretty nice ride.


The spray is always an eye opener when the winds gust up over thirty...one second no big deal and the next you feel you are like being in a submarine...way up in a flybridge.


I have no big river experience so I enjoyed the video lessons.
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Old 06-28-2016, 03:09 PM   #35
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I'd call that snotty, but not outrageous. That looks like what we boat in fairly regularly in New England. I would have slowed down a little and tried not to take them directly on the nose. It should have eased the motion a bit. It might make you travel out of your way and not in a straight line, but it would be worth IMHO.
This last weekend we had a bit of wind out of the North for a bit. Not the usual direction and with plenty of fetch the wind waves were picking up. I gave my son the helm for a bit and went below to chat with my wife. I came up about 10 minutes later and noticed that we were getting pretty close to the lee shore and there was a shallow point ahead of us. I pointed this out to my son who said that he had altered course to lessen the affect of the waves. Now, I am sure that eventually he would have altered course to stay off the hard stuff, but...

Sometimes a course change is great, sometimes not so much.
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Old 06-28-2016, 03:14 PM   #36
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The captains who trained us didn't take us to the brink of disaster but they did take us far beyond comfortable and we very much benefited. We knew we were safe with them there. The first time, we were amazed how well the boat handled conditions most never go out in and we wouldn't normally, but they can arise. We also learned to handle them and by the end of a few very grueling hours we felt far more confident. We may have improved our skills more that day than any other. Certainly did our knowledge and confidence.
Good point. 30 years ago during my flight instruction, bad weather that was not IFR was an excuse for my instructor to have me see exactly how much crosswind a little Cessna 150 could handle. The pattern would be empty, the tower obliging, so we would use the crosswind runway. Never would I attempt it on my own, but a great learning experience to see what the safe limits were.
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Old 06-28-2016, 05:12 PM   #37
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I've been out in some rough stuff and took video of it. Got back to shore and played the vid for some friends. Did this without previewing the vid myself. On the vid it looked nothing like it did in real life. They called me a wimp.
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Old 06-28-2016, 05:31 PM   #38
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I've been out in some rough stuff and took video of it. Got back to shore and played the vid for some friends. Did this without previewing the vid myself. On the vid it looked nothing like it did in real life. They called me a wimp.
Same crossing the Albemarle this spring.

Took a couple vids for the record...very underwhelming.....

It's that one in a hundred set that rocks your socks....the one set that never gets recorded..

Had one sling enough water against the front windows that had me wishing I had selected thicker glass when I replaced my windows....fortunately it was only one for that crossing and everything held.

Not much bigger than forecast on average..but as the forecasts say...a few are gonna suprised you.
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Old 06-28-2016, 05:31 PM   #39
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I've been out in some rough stuff and took video of it. Got back to shore and played the vid for some friends. Did this without previewing the vid myself. On the vid it looked nothing like it did in real life. They called me a wimp.
I have experienced the same thing and concluded that there are two possible explanations: 1) the video was wrong (didn't accurately portray real life, as stated above), and 2) our senses deceived us.

I have come to the conclusion that it is mostly the later. Once I was offshore fishing with a friend in his 38' boat, with my boat serving as a little mother ship. Our perception, while in his boat, was that it was 4'+ seas at about 6 seconds -- what I call washing machine conditions. When we got back on my boat (which is a little bigger and stabilized) a short while later, the seas seemed to immediately subside noticeably. Not only was the ride better, but we sincerely estimated smaller seas at a longer interval. Careful review of our go-pro video demonstrated that the sea state had never changed.
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Old 06-28-2016, 05:59 PM   #40
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I've been out in some rough stuff and took video of it. Got back to shore and played the vid for some friends. Did this without previewing the vid myself. On the vid it looked nothing like it did in real life. They called me a wimp.
Well, unless you have 3D video, it's very difficult to capture. I've seen videos where the waves didn't look that bad but then looking at the boats and seeing how they were being tossed around, you quickly realize how bad they were.
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