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Old 12-12-2017, 08:04 PM   #1
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Go-No Go

So what do you use as a go-no go for wind and waves?

Fo us, wind below 20kts, waves we us the rule of double period to wave hieght. Example: 6ft swells at 12 seconds intervals.

Some of my Canadian friends use 1 meter or less to cross Cape Caution.
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Old 12-12-2017, 08:29 PM   #2
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Our criteria are more down to earth. We only go if our wine reserve is full and enough for the time spent at the hook
More seriously being on a the river our criteria will certainly not be the same as yours. If wind blows at 20knts steady I will think about it before going out, if it is burst I will wait and choose the right time to untie. Waves are not really a matter of height but in strong wind with 3 feet and very short period it start to knock on my river.
Last Canadian thanksgiving was our last 3 days at the anchor for the season. Forecast was quite strong winds but we choose to take a chance. On our way out to our lovely bay everything was good, a bit rainy and chilly but fine. The day after at the hook at 6AM wind started to blow at 40knts with burst at +50 for the whole morning, I was happy to be in a protected bay but also checking our anchor every hour. The third day on the way back we had to dock in +20knts wind and it was sporty
I guess that acceptable condition is dependent on where you are.

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Old 12-12-2017, 08:32 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alaskan Sea-Duction View Post
So what do you use as a go-no go for wind and waves?

Fo us, wind below 20kts, waves we us the rule of double period to wave hieght. Example: 6ft swells at 12 seconds intervals.

Some of my Canadian friends use 1 meter or less to cross Cape Caution.
In coastal waters my max is 20kts, 6 ft waves and 20 ft swell. If the waves are smaller I can handle bigger swell. I have done 30/10/25 and the boat was very safe but I was very unhappy and I had to back down to 5.5kts to keep from pounding the boat.


I like your double the period rule, I think I do by accident.



If I'm in the inside passages then its 15kts and 3ft waves. the waves are much steeper inside and I'm never in such a hurry as to need to cover the entire boat in salt.


These would be my max, not what I would be comfortable in.
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Old 12-12-2017, 08:42 PM   #4
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It has a lot to do with from what direction the wind is coming from and what direction I am traveling. I don't mind 30 knots and 8' from the East when I am traveling West, but no way would I do it from the other direction. I try to stay under 4' on the beam, unless it's swell and then I really don't care how big it is if the interval is long enough.

It also depends on how long the crossing is, if it's a 5 hour run or a 30 minute crossing. I don't mind getting beat up if the reward is big enough, and the beating short enough. Normally 20 knots and four feet (not swell) is a "go" if I am nosing into it or running through it beam to.

My boat is a full displacement double ender that does love to run down sea and down swell. So as long as I feel it's going to be from a steady direction I am willing to run in a lot more.
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Old 12-12-2017, 08:54 PM   #5
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The older I get, the less I want to deal with wx issues.
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Old 12-12-2017, 08:55 PM   #6
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Well folks here typically use the 20-20 rule. Wind over 20kn, temp under 20C (68F) then stay at the dock. It is pleasure boating after all.
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Old 12-12-2017, 09:29 PM   #7
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Really interesting responses here, I like the double period rule. I seldom venture into the gulf when it is over 4 feet. It's just uncomfortable. 3 to 5 foot seas with a 5 second period is pretty normal. It's miserable.

On the other hand I was out in the Atlantic in my 18' flats skiff a few months back when it was 6' easy but a long period. Once I got through the inlet it was pretty comfortable.
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Old 12-12-2017, 09:32 PM   #8
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Really interesting responses here, I like the double period rule. I seldom venture into the gulf when it is over 4 feet. It's just uncomfortable. 3 to 5 foot seas with a 5 second period is pretty normal. It's miserable.

On the other hand I was out in the Atlantic in my 18' flats skiff a few months back when it was 6' easy but a long period. Once I got through the inlet it was pretty comfortable.
Your correct Doug. Gulf of Mexico is like the great lakes conditions, steep and close together waves make for a washing machine effect,very uncomfortable.
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Old 12-12-2017, 09:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alaskan Sea-Duction View Post
So what do you use as a go-no go for wind and waves?

Fo us, wind below 20kts, waves we us the rule of double period to wave hieght. Example: 6ft swells at 12 seconds intervals.

Some of my Canadian friends use 1 meter or less to cross Cape Caution.
Good question Tom. These limits for me are human-comfort related, not if the boat can take it. All refer to VHF continuous weather broadcast data.

BC inside to Prince Rupert. Go if 20 kts and 3 ft moderate or less.

Cape Caution: Same as inside for wind on an improving forecast and barometer; go if West Sea Otter bouy is reporting 1.5 meters or less. A big ebb coming out of Slingby channel against a south wind will make you pucker. 2 meters of swell and above isn't pleasant. Usually lots of crap in the water to dodge as well.

Dixon Entrance: Same as inside for wind based on North Hecate Strait, Triple Island and Green island. The central Dixon Entrance buoy is also of interest and a go is 1.5 meters or less. Outflow winds from Portland Inlet can make Chatham Sound damn rough. Brundage Harbor on Dundas Island is a natural bailout if things get snotty.

SE Alaska inside waters: Go on 15 kt./ 3 ft. conditions, paying particular attention to the ocean entrances, namely Clarence, Sumner and Chatham straits where ocean swells roll in. 20 kts is rough, in my book, and I wouldn't go.
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Old 12-12-2017, 09:43 PM   #10
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I would like to retire to make the go, no go decisions easier.

I like the general logic expressed by others. IE, pleasure boats.
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Old 12-12-2017, 11:34 PM   #11
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We use many factors depending on what boat. We start with waves and look at both absolute height and relationship of period and wave height. Generally we find 3-4' with periods at least +2 over the wave height to be fine. Up to 6' with periods of 9 seconds or so is where comfort is dependent on other issues. We're not close to a safety issue yet. Distance to travel figures in. Weather windows coming up. We do make decisions sometimes based on tomorrow and the days ahead when we might go on and move today if they all look worse while we might wait a day if it looks good. We're not as much on wind as many are. We look at wind as to what it's doing to the sea or is expected to do. In our home area there seems to be a significant difference of expectations with 20 knots from the north and the same from the south. Large swells are an issue of their own and as long as the period is at least 3+ over the height then 10-13' swells aren't that bad. But one always has to look at wind waves and swells together.

I think it's very important to know well the capabilities of the boat, your own capabilities, and the discomfort tolerances of yourself and those with you. When we have a boat full of experienced large sea boaters we'll certainly go out at times we'd never consider with inexperienced boaters and/or small children.
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Old 12-13-2017, 12:56 AM   #12
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Fighting steep, close interval, five-foot waves at the eastern end of Suisun Bay, the waves reaching the height of the the bow, throwing spray over the boat washing off the millions of tiny green bugs accumulated in the Delta, and cracking the mirror in the forward cabin. All we had to do was slow down a knot (from six to five) and hang on, then welcome the relative calm passing Port Chicago on the way to Vallejo.
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Old 12-13-2017, 03:00 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alaskan Sea-Duction View Post
So what do you use as a go-no go for wind and waves?

Fo us, wind below 20kts, waves we us the rule of double period to wave hieght. Example: 6ft swells at 12 seconds intervals.

Some of my Canadian friends use 1 meter or less to cross Cape Caution.
And then all the weather info gets it wrong and you face the music. (Dixon, Oh Joy!)
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Old 12-13-2017, 05:10 AM   #14
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Some very good points raised so far.

It is tough to have black and white rules. 20 knot of wind can be ugly or it can be comfortable. It depends on the direction, and what has been going on over the preceding few days and what is planned and forecast the next few days. Sometimes 30 knots is fine, sometimes it is hell.

The swell size limit depends on interval and also wind waves. Also whether it is a single direction swell or multiple.
Also the "terrain". A big, long interval swell is harmless until it hits a rapidly shallowing bottom, an suddenly starts breaking.

Lots of things to consider. If you are always super-conservative, you never experience more challenging water. if you are over confident, you put yourself, your crew and others at risk.
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Old 12-13-2017, 06:23 AM   #15
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It also depends if there is a lee shore that the forecast doesnt include or narrows in geography that will alter wind direction or speed.

Tidal current can play a big factor also.
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Old 12-13-2017, 07:17 AM   #16
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Yes, our main motto when cruising is "We are pleasure boaters, in that order" .

Our rule was simple for the stabilized Hatteras 56MY: no Small Craft Advisories or Warnings. No severe thunderstorm predictions. Avoid inlets on the ebb. Seems like every time I chose to violate any of those I was quickly reminded why we made them in the first place.
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Old 12-13-2017, 10:04 AM   #17
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I think a lot depends on the nature of your cruising grounds. I've been out in the PNW (Vancouver and Alaska), and we currently boat in the New England. I'm also very familiar with Fla., Ga., and SC. These are completely different sets of conditions. East Coast is completely different than West Coast.

PNW tends to have very large swells with larger periods. East Coats tends to be much shorter, steeper waves. On the east coast, 25-30 kt winds would only generate 6-8 foot waves if the wind duration was multiple days. The same wind would whip up 20+ foot swells in PNW (outside).

A big difference when your coast is sitting on the windward side of North America with the entire fetch of the Pacific, vs the leeward side of North America.

GO-No-Go is going to be very different cruising out of Vancouver Island, than out of Long Island, NY.
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Old 12-13-2017, 10:18 AM   #18
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If the wife says no go we no go.

She downloaded all the weather apps so I can't just say "It's a little breezy today"
If conditions are at the upper end of 3-5, 15-20 gusting to 25, I'm going to stay where I am. If you have a mechanical breakdown and attempt to crawl around the ER in those conditions...with the wife at the helm... you won't do it a second time.
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Old 12-13-2017, 10:42 AM   #19
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We have nothing formal. It depends on where we are, where we plan on going and the weather forecast. If it looks bad, we stay in port. Otherwise, we go.
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Old 12-13-2017, 11:17 AM   #20
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We're Inside Passage cruisers. A major factor for us is wind direction vs that of tidal current. 15 knots and 3 footers is pretty easy for our 37, unless wind is opposed to the direction of the current.

If so, even if current is only a couple of knots, waves can be twice as tall and much steeper than you would otherwise expect. Even more so if we're with the current, but heading into the wind.

Once we turned from Ernest Sound into Clarence Strait, heading south into 15-knot wind, but with a 1.5-2 knot current behind us. Waves quickly built from 3-footers to 6-8, and nearly vertical ("square waves") as we saw them. Not fun in a 22 C-Dory.

So now we figure out where and when this is going to happen before we head around Cape Caution, or across the Dixon Entrance. It's a significant consideration for those, and also in long straight channels like Lynn Canal, Clarence Strait, Chatham Strait, etc.

Such unhelpful opposition can even occur pretty far (like 2-3 nm) out west in open water rounding Cape Caution, when spring tides ebb from Nakwakto Rapids through Slingsby Channel. 5-6 foot swells can become 10-12 foot sharper waves.

BTW, predictwind.com is excellent on the Inside Pasage, especially for a lengthy crossing like the Dixon. We used it last September heading south, and it was far more specific to location and more accurate than NOAA weather radio.
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