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Old 02-07-2011, 07:08 PM   #21
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RE: Heavy Weather

Worst I was ever in (on my own boat) was three years ago on the saturday morning of Labor Day weekend. We had 3 days available to get the boat from the York River in the southern Chesapeake to New Jersey (about 300 miles). Small craft advisories were posted with a 30 kt north wind and gusts to 40 kt, a rising tide (wind against the tide). We took that wind on the port beam for about an hour and a half before we were able to turn north into the wind, then a 8 hour run north into that wind with a following sea. The boat took it a lot better than the crew.
John
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Old 02-07-2011, 08:56 PM   #22
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RE: Heavy Weather

I designed a boat in college. I was really impressed by the Bertram deep V boats and set out to design a boat that would ride softly and also be efficient. I succeeded. I built a 28' x 9' *prototype in the school shop at Masset BC. It was ultralight disp, plywood and powered by a 55hp Johnson OB. I came down Dixon Entrance (giving Rose Spit a wide berth) went across Hecate Strait to Prince Rupert. I left the boat there for 2 months. When I got back I cleaned the bottom (right next to the sewer outlet I later discovered) and made ready for the trip south. In the morning I changed my mind (it happens) and decided to go north to SE Alaska instead. But the wind was blowing * * ...HARD. The bay was covered w fine white spray about 15' high ripped from the surface and blown into the air. There was a cafe on one of the cannery docks where all the fishermen were. After whining about the weather for a couple of hours they told me it just blows in the harbor. Thought they were joking w me but decided no one would con a man into going out to possible death and I knew I could make it across the bay in the 50 knot wind so off I went. The boat was basically a hull w an engine, a 45gal fuel tank and a small cuddy cabin to keep my gear out of the weather and to sleep. Helm was outside. Across the bay I entered the 5 or 6 mile long Metlakatla Passage. The fishermen seemed to be right as the wind was down to 25 - 30. Followed the markers out the end of the channel and out into Chatham Sound (not to be confused w Chatham Strait). The seas were kinda scary but the boat seemed to be handling it well. The wind was SSW so I was quartering a port stern sea. The boat was doing so well I decided to keep going as I could always drop the old Danforth next to the islands to the west or in Brundige Inlet on Dundas Is. It was still fairly early in the long northern summer day so I thought I was going to spend the night at the docks in Ketchikan quite a number of hours away. Chatham Sound is a long run and the seas built steadily and slowly as I made my way to Green Island Light. The big seas just continued to roll under me and the boat handled better from the fuel burn-loss so things seemed to continue about the same. I passed Green Is and was amazed at the white froth leaping from the rocks into the air on the rocky beach. I decided to head for Brundige Inlet but as I make my way the seas seem to calm quite a bit. I knew part of it was the lee of Dundas Is and possibly Green Is so it looked really doable. This is where my judgement went south. The run across Dixon Entrance is at least 20 miles so I was going to be at the whim of Dixion Entrance and basically the limitless fetch of Hecate Strait for at least an hour and a half. As I left Dundas Is astern the wind picked up. The seas started to break. I turned around and started a run to Brundage Inlet On Dundas Is. *Now I was taking it on the stbd bow and it was MUCH worse. Progress was drastically reduced and the boat trip changed from high adventure for a young man to a scary thing I just wanted to get over with. It was far from over. The seas were so big I didn't see the horizon very often. The seas were a bit fwd of my port stern quarter and I became worried the breakers would just flip me over. I decided I needed to keep a close eye on the crests so I'd be ready to quickly swing to port and directly into the wave I'd be able to ride the wave safely. But the wind had returned to about 50 knots and while trying a coupla of practice runs the bow of the extremely light boat wanted to blow over backwards. Very scary but I hadn't shipped any water yet. The seas responded to the wind and began to berak seriously. The waves broke and rushed fwd so quickly I had no chance to turn the boat fast enough to take the seas head on. Summer or not it was getting quite dark and the water looked black. I saw only one other boat that day. It was a "Tahiti Ketch". A 45' sail boat that could be considered a very early passagemaker. It was very beamy and full at both ends. I'm sure it had tons of ballast. I know about how much water she drew as I was on top of a wave (most of the time I could only see her masts) at the same time she was going over another wave and I saw her Keel at the end of her rudder. I'd say she drew about 8'. These waves seemed like mountians of water.*About the size of a 2 story house. Lots of the waves were breaking now and it was only a matter of time until it happened right on my port side. When it did I thought I was a gonner. The port rail rose up to the breaker until I had my left foot on the floor and my right on the inside of the stbd side. More weight on the right. Just before the boat went over something totally unexpected happened. The side of the hull was 45 degrees to vertical and presented a surface for the boat to slide sideways, sort of planing, as the hull rushed down the face of the wave almost to the trough and out of the worst danger. This happened nermerous times in the next 45 min. I was scared bugless each time and was just desprate to get to the spot where I could turn to stbd and put those breakers on my stern. The breakers eased, the turn came and I was high w relief headed straight for Mary Island Light. But I wasn't out of trouble yet. The ebb tide was rushing right past Mary Is and I was rushing toward Mary Is thinking how wonderful it was going to be to be that close to land. As I approached I could see I was headed for more trouble but being abeam to the seas was not an option I was ready to take. For the long run past Mary Is I labored up one sea after another and as I reached the crest I needed to chop the throttle to an idle just at the right moment for the plunge down the face of the wave only to work my way up the backside of the next wave. My timing didn't fail and I finally made it past Mary Island. Things calmed down quickly after a short while running up Rivalagigado Channel nearing Ketchikan. It continued to rain off and on w sudden sun breaks and rainbows. I used a motorcycle helmet w a face shield for a rain hat when needed and I think I smiled all the rest of the way to Ketchikan. As I went to sleep I overheard two fishermen talking "Look at that boat. I'll bet that's the one they were talking about on 16. Came across Dixon in the gale." I think I heard the word crazy as their voices faded away but I learned my lesson and without paying w my life too.
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Old 02-07-2011, 09:24 PM   #23
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RE: Heavy Weather

Geez Eric, I'm duly impressed.
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Old 02-07-2011, 10:45 PM   #24
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RE: Heavy Weather

Tom,
You saw a picture of that boat "Easy Rider" on my photo board. It was designed to ride easy and that's what I named her. Wish I still had the Easy Rider. What were you "impressed" with** ...my luck?
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Old 02-08-2011, 03:11 AM   #25
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RE: Heavy Weather

Your story-telling skills Eric - oh, and your seamanship. But most of all the fact you built your own boat. Most of us merely dream of that. No actually, I don't.....because I know it is just too hard.
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Old 02-08-2011, 05:36 AM   #26
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RE: Heavy Weather

Some amazing stories,glad you all lived to tell the tale. My interesting trips have all come from running sea situations, I find the 8 knots my old IG cruises at, is not quite fast enough to stop her sliding down the backside of the wave with the resultant lose of steerage and have her potentially broaching in the trough.

There is obviously some pretty experinced skippers, as well as some lucky ones in this forum, and I would be interested to hear some opinions as to the best method of handling a running sea with 8 knots at your disposal, and does the technique differ for a single verses a twin screw.
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Old 02-08-2011, 07:04 AM   #27
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RE: Heavy Weather

Wow, Eric - some scary crossing!* Hope I never see anything like it on the Dixon.
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Old 02-08-2011, 07:45 AM   #28
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RE: Heavy Weather

Quote:
shrimp wrote:

Some amazing stories,glad you all lived to tell the tale. My interesting trips have all come from running sea situations, I find the 8 knots my old IG cruises at, is not quite fast enough to stop her sliding down the backside of the wave with the resultant lose of steerage and have her potentially broaching in the trough.

Run the sea as slowly as possible and still have steerage way.* The wave will carry the boat forward.* Any extra speed you have will exacerbate the situation.* keep the transom as square to the wave as possible.* You may have to use bursts of throttle as well as rudder to accomplish this.* Try not to add any speed and keep it square to the wave.* Any angle, and you have started the broach.* In a slow boat, I can't see that it would make a great deal of difference whether single or twin.

I am as interested as you to see other responses to this question.

*
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Old 02-08-2011, 08:08 AM   #29
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RE: Heavy Weather

Eric, you win. After reading yours, I'm too embarassed to post mine.
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Old 02-08-2011, 08:25 AM   #30
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RE: Heavy Weather

Eric wins the story prize!

My own worst weather boating experience was Hecate Straits, fishing till the wind was blowing the spoons around our ears, then a run due west to find shelter in one of the little coves in the Charlottes. The boat had a steering fluid reservoir on the window ledge. The oil left a film on the little circular window that described a perfect 90 degree angle. I had my feet planted on the window mullions to avoid falling off the seat. Too young and inexperienced to know that this was out of the ordinary at the time. With my own boats, never seen any weather conditions that approached those for putting my boat or crew at risk.

In Retreat, had an engine down and had to turn around as we weren't making any headway against a SE, trying to head from Jedediah to Vancouver. Short, steep seas, and with the GPS predicting our arrival time as "never" turned and hid in Secret Cove till a new starter could be installed.

The Maple Bay Yacht Club welcomes members of other yacht clubs with one free night of moorage. Check to see if you qualify for that guest priviledge. Its a worth while stop.
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Old 02-08-2011, 08:43 AM   #31
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RE: Heavy Weather

I find some increase in speed helps when I'm with a following sea due to closer matching of boat speed to wave speed plus increased pressure on the rudders.* In the PNW 9 - 10 knots*seems to be a sweet spot to match following sea swell periods until winds reach + 25 - 30 knots. *Dashew and other blue water cruisers note that a power or sailing vessel that can do 10 to 11 knots matches most following sea conditions pretty well - ie "speed" is good.*

I consider my rudders oversize which is a plus in a following sea. An under size rudder(s) is unfortunately all too common and exacerbates low speed handling woes.
Obviously, when following seas are too big to handle, course alteration is called for.

In larger following seas my AP is not quick enough and I hand steer. Although this is not uncommon, I'm going to see if something can be done such as AP timing or larger rams. Any thoughts?
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Old 02-08-2011, 10:50 AM   #32
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RE: Heavy Weather

Quote:
Moonstruck wrote:


Run the sea as slowly as possible and still have steerage way.* The wave will carry the boat forward.* Any extra speed you have will exacerbate the situation.* keep the transom as square to the wave as possible.* You may have to use bursts of throttle as well as rudder to accomplish this.* Try not to add any speed and keep it square to the wave.* Any angle, and you have started the broach.* In a slow boat, I can't see that it would make a great deal of difference whether single or twin.

I am as interested as you to see other responses to this question.
*

I'm with you on this one.

Sometimes you just have to slow down and even abandon course just to be able to ride it out.

Time the waves and try to match course and speed to give the best ride.

It is not about keeping a schedule it is about arriving at you destination safe and uninjured.

The toughest part is trying to get turned around to get the heck back to where you came from.

More often than not it is just as well to keep going.

If you wind up dead in the water try putting some oil overboard be it fish oil or even vegetable oil. It will calm the sea around the boat so you can work. I wouldn't advise using engine oil as the environmentalists would have a hissy fit.*

Don't believe me. Try it once.

*Chapman's refers to it for emergency application.

SD*
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Old 02-08-2011, 12:02 PM   #33
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RE: Heavy Weather

Quote:
KJ wrote:


RCook wrote:*

* Where Deadman Reach meets the eastern part of Peril Strait, our 26-footer took green water over the bow*
Wow! I swear we have our own*Capt. Jack Aubrey or Capt. Jack Sparrow!*
High seas adventure.* I think we ought to call you Capt. Jack from now on.*


[img]download.spark?ID=871332&aBID=115492[/img]

[img]download.spark?ID=871754&aBID=115492[/img]


*Hey, Mr. Baker, some great stories here.*You*ought to*market a calender with the best pictures sent in (donated) by the*members,*you could use these stories as an accompaniment.* The proceeds*could go toward the TF kitty.* Crazy huh?

*KJ
*
*Hey, maybe we can use the photos of our members for a calender, sort of like a Chippendale's of the Trawler World.** KJ

*
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Old 02-08-2011, 01:48 PM   #34
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RE: Heavy Weather

Quote:
Moonstruck wrote:


shrimp wrote:

Some amazing stories,glad you all lived to tell the tale. My interesting trips have all come from running sea situations, I find the 8 knots my old IG cruises at, is not quite fast enough to stop her sliding down the backside of the wave with the resultant lose of steerage and have her potentially broaching in the trough.
Run the sea as slowly as possible and still have steerage way.* The wave will carry the boat forward.* Any extra speed you have will exacerbate the situation.* keep the transom as square to the wave as possible.* You may have to use bursts of throttle as well as rudder to accomplish this.* Try not to add any speed and keep it square to the wave.* Any angle, and you have started the broach.* In a slow boat, I can't see that it would make a great deal of difference whether single or twin.

I am as interested as you to see other responses to this question.

*

Shrimp, when you talk about sliding off the wave in a broach condition, you are talking about extreme conditions.* To elaborate on what I have learned, no auto pilot I know of will keep up with this.* It takes quick reactions with wheel and throttles to control the boat.* It is not for the faint of heart.* I once went into Beaufort Inlet with one engine out.* Conditions had deteriorated to the point that there were some breakers in the channel.* Where with 2 engines I would pick a wave and adjusting speed ride the back of it to calm water.* With one engine it was entirely different.* I called the USCG at Fort Macon and asked them to stand by.* Started in slow and deliberate.* Had one break behind me** Scary.* Luckily it lifted the stern and went under us.

I think that with a large breaker, I would reverse the engine to counter act the forward push.

While towing another boat into the inlet when it was fairly rough, I learned a big lesson.* If there are two boats facing a bad inlet, it would be worth one towing the other end.* The boat towed keeps the stern of the towing boat square, and the towing boat keeps the bow of the towed boat straight.* It was an easy ride through some rough water.* A big sea anchor could probably do the same.

I used to think that stuff was fun.* Just too old for it now.

*
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Old 02-08-2011, 01:53 PM   #35
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RE: Heavy Weather

Quote:
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... A big sea anchor could probably do the same.

A sea (parachute) anchor would create too much drag.* I'd try a drogue.

*
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Old 02-08-2011, 01:56 PM   #36
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RE: Heavy Weather

worst weather for me was going enroute from Torrance, CA airport to Las Vegas in a twin piper seneca.
i made the trip with a buddy, we had some business to attend at Green Valley, NV.
it was late november, storms were coming from the PNW down over So Cal bringing lots of precipitations.
we were flying IFR (completely reference to instruments). there are some mountainous regions to clear along the route on the eastern side of california coming into nevada. In these situatons the FAA have instituted certain min altitudes to maintain in order to receive nav signals and other min altitudes to maintain obstruction clearance.
we had checked the weather as part of our pre-plan and realized the freezing level was above us at around 14 or 15 thousand feet which we deemed OK (both of us are commercially rated multiengine IFR pilots with thousands hours experience).

coming across the ridges we were getting knocked around pretty bad (enough to appreciate the seatbelts), no forward viz at all, rain hammering at the cockpit, we slow down to whats called maneuvering speed (a certificated speed at which the aircraft will stall rather than break into pieces by a heavy gust or wind), i took her off the a/p to handfly which is my pref in this type weather as a/p has a tendency to overadjust and not "go with the flow", then we are advised by air traffic control to ascend to 15 thousand for whatever reason i forget, few mins later the needles drop and the windows freeze over.
i flip on the pitot tube heater and the instruments come back alive, the ice is not "bad" but still we request a lower altitude which we got shortly after, the ice cleared and safe landing in solid overcast/rain at Green Valley.

i noticed there are some fellow pilots on this board.
in flying we have: good training, good manuals, certificated vessels.

I kinda miss that in the boating world, i mean exactly how much stress can you put on a boat before it falls apart?

in maritime experience i dont have a lot of bad weather experience, came back from catalina island in the fog (just like flying the piper sans the fear of death) using the gps and the radar but it was still somewhat of a "scary" experience to a newbie boater.
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Old 02-08-2011, 02:23 PM   #37
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RE: Heavy Weather

Quote:
Per wrote:


i noticed there are some fellow pilots on this board.
in flying we have: good training, good manuals, certificated vessels.

Well, if we're gonna hijack to flying "worsts," I guess the one for me is flying the de Havilland Beaver up the Inside Passage from Minstrel Island to Prince Rupert in the 90s.* It's a about a three or four hour run and on one trip we flew the entire time at 50 feet or less in light rain with at most one mile visibility and usually less.* With no navigation system in the plane at all, all our flying was looking out the window and if what we saw was where our finger was on the chart, we were in the right place.* But when all you see out the window is white mist, it gets a little nerve-wracking, particularly for several hours at a stretch.*

We flew far enough off the shoreline to see it and have room to turn around toward it (you never want to turn around away from it).* Fortunately there was no wind so the water was glass smooth.* So if we hit a fog patch with zero visibility I knew I could reduce power and set the plane up for a glassy water landing straight ahead and fly it using the gyro horizon.

We didn't have to do that but we were exhausted after that run what with straining our eyes to find the next nav marker on shore or the next point of land.* Our biggest fear was hitting a cruise ship.* Going our way we'd have come up the wake first but going the other way the first thing we'd have seen was the ship itself.* Most of the time we were flying at main deck level or lower.* We missed one by about 100 feet near Bella Bella.

The only boating tie I can think of for this story is that had we had to land, we'd have been a boat and taxied until we got enough visibility to take off again.

*
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Old 02-08-2011, 03:00 PM   #38
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RE: Heavy Weather

Quote:
Marin wrote:

*
Per wrote:


i noticed there are some fellow pilots on this board.
in flying we have: good training, good manuals, certificated vessels.
Well, if we're gonna hijack to flying "worsts," I guess the one for me is flying the de Havilland Beaver up the Inside Passage from Minstrel Island to Prince Rupert in the 90s.* It's a about a three or four hour run and on one trip we flew the entire time at 50 feet or less in light rain with at most one mile visibility and usually less.* With no navigation system in the plane at all, all our flying was looking out the window and if what we saw was where our finger was on the chart, we were in the right place.* But when all you see out the window is white mist, it gets a little nerve-wracking, particularly for several hours at a stretch.*

We flew far enough off the shoreline to see it and have room to turn around toward it (you never want to turn around away from it).* Fortunately there was no wind so the water was glass smooth.* So if we hit a fog patch with zero visibility I knew I could reduce power and set the plane up for a glassy water landing straight ahead and fly it using the gyro horizon.

We didn't have to do that but we were exhausted after that run what with straining our eyes to find the next nav marker on shore or the next point of land.* Our biggest fear was hitting a cruise ship.* Going our way we'd have come up the wake first but going the other way the first thing we'd have seen was the ship itself.* Most of the time we were flying at main deck level or lower.* We missed one by about 100 feet near Bella Bella.

The only boating tie I can think of for this story is that had we had to land, we'd have been a boat and taxied until we got enough visibility to take off again.

*

*



I sure hope you had floats!

Scary story.

*
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Old 02-08-2011, 05:33 PM   #39
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RE: Heavy Weather

Quote:
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I sure hope you had floats!

Scary story.


Yes, I switched from flying wheels to flying floats in 1980.* This is the plane my wife and I use for our SE Alaska trips, N17598.* This plane came from the Falklands many years ago as a hulk and was rebuilt by Kenmore Air Harbor (known today as Kenmore Air).* I took the photo on the seaplane float in Wrangell, AK.
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Old 02-08-2011, 05:48 PM   #40
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RE: Heavy Weather

Is that your plane Marin?* Very nice.

Regarding running before a storm, I've never understood why people do that.* Certainly not all boats will heave to, and certainly in inland waters where there are places to hide heaving to may not make sense, but with a para anchor on a bridle you can ride out a hurricane in most any vessel with any kind of draft at all.* I haven't been in such conditions of course, but have been hove to often enough to understand what a blessing it can be to just 'pull off the road' and drift.* A para anchor is mandatory for a trawler because most won't hold the ideal 50 degrees or so to the wind.* This is critical for the same reason pumping oil overboard is a time honored technique for calming troubled waters - you create a slick upwind of the hull as you move more or less sideways that disturbs the surface of the water and really big waves just dissolve in the slick before they hit the boat.

There's a great description of riding out a hurricane in the Indian Ocean while bridled to a para anchor in the appendix of Lin and Larry Pardey's book Oriental Adventure.* Lin made bread, while Larry sunbathed on the lee side of the cabin, wind 90 - 110 knots.
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