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Old 02-09-2014, 08:48 AM   #1
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Waves Crossing the Gulf Stream

I thought I would post this little video so you guys can help me understand what I am seeing.


The wave train is coming from about 160, my heading about 40 off of that, so 160+180-40=300

It appears that the waves are coming from opposite directions, however I think I am just seeing an illusion based on the waves speed and my own, that if just looks like the waves are retrograding, so of like the spokes on a wheel at a certain speed look like they are gong backwards.

thoughts?

I'll post my crossing later this morning on my blog, Dauntessatsea.wordpress.com

Sorry for the quality of the video. I had to hold for dear life (literally) to not fall out the pilot house door and end up as fish food.
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Old 02-09-2014, 09:17 AM   #2
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Not sure what you are trying to explain with the degrees math but the waves appear in the video to me to be heading from your keel outwards about 045 relative.
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Old 02-09-2014, 09:26 AM   #3
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Per chance strong winds (westerly's?) cross opposing the normal GC swells. See this effect in the Pacific and remember it well from East Coast sail boat racing days in decreasing winds when approaching the GC.
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Old 02-09-2014, 09:44 AM   #4
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it is best not to cross the stream if the wind is coming anywhere from the north, the wind is against the current and you get what I call square waves, they come from all directions
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Old 02-09-2014, 09:44 AM   #5
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Could be waves from a long gone storm a thousand miles away.
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Old 02-09-2014, 10:13 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
Not sure what you are trying to explain with the degrees math but the waves appear in the video to me to be heading from your keel outwards about 045 relative.
Well that is exactly what is happening; though it doesn't look it to me, but if it does to you, that's why I posted it.

In other words I think it is an optical illusion.

A few more videos are on at:
Dauntless Public - Richard Bost

and have psoted the new blog of this crossing:
Crossing the Gulf Stream | Dauntless at Sea
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Old 02-09-2014, 10:27 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wxx3 View Post
Well that is exactly what is happening; though it doesn't look it to me, but if it does to you, that's why I posted it.

In other words I think it is an optical illusion.

A few more videos are on at:
Dauntless Public - Richard Bost

and have psoted the new blog of this crossing:
Crossing the Gulf Stream | Dauntless at Sea
Maybe they were just the right size and frequency that as you went up and down over them and rolled a little...the crest momentarily looked like it was coming at you because your speeds were close enough the crest wasn't going away as fast as your roll?

Just a WAG without actually being there...the second time I watched I had to go back to the rule of thumb "your fist guess is best" as it is not clear as day what they are doing in the video at least to me.
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Old 02-09-2014, 10:56 AM   #8
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While wave height and wind direction are always factors in crossing like this, to me, wave period is the most important. Timing a couple of crests from the video made it seem like the period was about 6 seconds making that a rougher passage than I would have wanted. At about 9 seconds your world changes a lot. At 11 seconds, even 5 foot swells become harder to feel.

Of course as stated previously, with the Gulf Stream's heavy current from the south, you never want any northern component in the wind when crossing.
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Old 02-09-2014, 11:04 AM   #9
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Richard

Does your vessel have stabilizers?
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Old 02-09-2014, 11:26 AM   #10
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It really looks fairly normal with shorter periods and winds counter to the current. Encountered rather frequently crossing between Florida and the Bahamas but we've encountered it in Gulf crossings between Mobile and St. Pete. The other common place you'll see such short and tumultuous action is at inlets. Especially some of the NC inlets can be rough if the wind is wrong as you are dealing with strong cross winds at odd with each other.

My guess looking at it was that your wave height in feet and your period in seconds were about the same. Anytime the period is not at least 2 greater than the height, conditions can get mixed especially depending on wind conditions.

A lot is perspective based on where you're use to boating. As we live very close to the gulf stream and cross it often, I guess we'd really just term those as mixed but somewhat moderate conditions. Not what you'd prefer but not what I'd term really bad either. Now I would have been watching to see if they were expected to get worse.

I enjoy your blog but one thing I've noticed in the weather information you're getting and posting. You're only talking about wave height. Period is very important. I'd recommend getting weather information that includes period. 6' with a 9 second period versus 6' and 5 seconds are very different seas.
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Old 02-09-2014, 11:51 AM   #11
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Calcuations ?

I'm also curious about your calculations and why did you include 180'. I would think if you were trying to say the waves were 160 degrees from zero (zero being the bow of your boat) and you were taking them 40 degrees they would be hitting you at 120 degrees or from your starboard quarter stern? Did I get this correct? Again not sure why the addition of 180 degrees. Appreciate the answer. thanks

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Old 02-09-2014, 11:53 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N4061 View Post
I'm also curious about your calculations and why did you include 180'. I would think if you were trying to say the waves were 160 degrees from zero (zero being the bow of your boat) and you were taking them 40 degrees they would be hitting you at 120 degrees or from your starboard quarter stern? Did I get this correct? Again not sure why the addition of 180 degrees. Appreciate the answer. thanks

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I think the waves were passing under him from 220 (port quarter) and headed 040 (relative)....
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Old 02-09-2014, 12:20 PM   #13
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I can't tell, come on, next time shoot from the flybridge or out on the bow pulpit!
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Old 02-09-2014, 12:41 PM   #14
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While wave height and wind direction are always factors in crossing like this, to me, wave period is the most important.
I live in Kitimat, BC, at the head of Douglas Channel, which is the only channel into the mainland on BC's coast with a weather buoy (Nanakwa Shoal). I contacted Environment Canada to find out why it was showing .6 of a metre wave heights in storm force winds. They wrote back and said if the wave period was less than 3 seconds, it couldn't read wave heights anymore...imagine...6 or 7 foot waves with less than 3 seconds between them
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Old 02-09-2014, 03:08 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MurrayM View Post

I live in Kitimat, BC, at the head of Douglas Channel, which is the only channel into the mainland on BC's coast with a weather buoy (Nanakwa Shoal). I contacted Environment Canada to find out why it was showing .6 of a metre wave heights in storm force winds. They wrote back and said if the wave period was less than 3 seconds, it couldn't read wave heights anymore...imagine...6 or 7 foot waves with less than 3 seconds between them
Yes, we call them the "Great Lakes"

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Old 02-09-2014, 03:36 PM   #16
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Or the mouth of the bigMiss with a stout south wind. Current with opposing wind can get "sporty".
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Old 02-09-2014, 05:01 PM   #17
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Yes, we call them the "Great Lakes"

[/QUOTE]

Yup, pretty normal for me, not always pleasant though! On the other hand we get some days that are just glass which is nice to.
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Old 02-09-2014, 07:25 PM   #18
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Everyone has said someting of interest. My observations based on your great comments.

Sunchaser said: Per chance strong winds (westerly's?) cross opposing the normal GC swells. See this effect in the Pacific and remember it well from East Coast sail boat racing days in decreasing winds when approaching the GC.

The GS is pretty much southerly at this point, the wind had been blowing from the east for many, many days and then had switched around to the SE 24 hours earlier. It is was also a bit weaker and weakening, while backing back around to the ESE.

PSNEELD Wrote: Maybe they were just the right size and frequency that as you went up and down over them and rolled a little...the crest momentarily looked like it was coming at you because your speeds were close enough the crest wasn't going away as fast as your roll?

I think this is exactly what was happening, as I could see a little white cap on the southerly waves, but noting on these Northeasterly ones. I think it was an illusion and with Dauntless rolling so much, the waves looked bigger than it probably was.

Also, I would not have gone with northernly winds against the current. The winds were actually decreasing as the day went on.


AC Said:While wave height and wind direction are always factors in crossing like this, to me, wave period is the most important. Timing a couple of crests from the video made it seem like the period was about 6 seconds making that a rougher passage than I would have wanted. At about 9 seconds your world changes a lot. At 11 seconds, even 5 foot swells become harder to feel.

and BandB said: My guess looking at it was that your wave height in feet and your period in seconds were about the same. Anytime the period is not at least 2 greater than the height, conditions can get mixed especially depending on wind conditions. ...I enjoy your blog but one thing I've noticed in the weather information you're getting and posting. You're only talking about wave height. Period is very important. I'd recommend getting weather information that includes period. 6' with a 9 second period versus 6' and 5 seconds are very different seas.

Yes, I will pay more attention to the period. Since i get most of my weather info from me, I will start reporting on the period too. Clearly it does make a big difference and I really like that rule of thumb of the height versus the period.

and Yes, the period was at 6 seconds. That seemed to be the predominant period for much of my time in the Bahamas. While the ride could have been better, I also spent 12 hours heading into similair conditions, at liek 3 to 4 knots.


Steve Said: I can't tell, come on, next time shoot from the flybridge or out on the bow pulpit! Now that's really funny and then Dauntless would have arrived in FL without me

John Said: I'm also curious about your calculations and why did you include 180'. I would think if you were trying to say the waves were 160 degrees from zero (zero being the bow of your boat) and you were taking them 40 degrees they would be hitting you at 120 degrees or from your starboard quarter stern? Did I get this correct? Again not sure why the addition of 180 degrees. Appreciate the answer. thanks

I was trying to be transparent, but on PSNEELD figured it out,
Since I was mixing winds (from where they come) and hearing (direction i'm going) I added the 180 to make them the same. Said another way, waves from 160, are going 160+180= 340; my heading of 300 is about 40 off of that, so 160+180-40=300. I will try to be more clear.


I have learned something form each of you. Thanks so much.
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