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Old 05-10-2016, 04:03 PM   #1
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Wind, weather and seas - how much is too much -advice needed

Hello

I am a novice skipper on my Grand Banks 32. I am wondering what type of conditions give others pause. I typically only venture out on calm days biding my time until I have more experience. I find the boat is a bit more susceptible to wind than I had anticipated and has a bit more roll in the ocean also. I am used to sail boats where I have no fear (or much less fear) of being out in blustery conditions. With the GB though I find even smallish amounts of wind make it difficult for me to maneuver into my slip. I am also wondering how rough of a sea the vessel can handle or is that contingent more upon the skill of its skipper?

I would appreciate any advice on this and some good reading sources as well.

thanks
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Old 05-10-2016, 05:57 PM   #2
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The GB will handle more than you want to handle and especially more than your wife will put up with.


When we lived on the west coast and made the crossing to Catalina Island regularly, we didn't go if the forecast was for more than 5' seas, preferably 4' or less. We were once out in 6-7' seas and it was very uncomfortable with green water over the bow regularly with an occasional splash up to the fly bridge, but we got there safely.


David
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Old 05-10-2016, 06:45 PM   #3
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The GB will handle more than you want to handle and especially more than your wife will put up with.
David
T'aint necessarily the wife. Our 32' IG, somewhat similar to a GB 32, has handled, on at least one (to me) terrifying occasion, more than I wanted to handle, then or in the future.

But my wife was loving it. She kept yelling with joy at each near broach in lobster pot infested (god help us if we had snagged one) open water, 25-30 kt wind and estimated 5-6' (but seemed like 10' to me) following sea, with the hydraulic steering getting stiffer by the minute due to overwork, "Yeahhh!"

I thought that we were about to die. She was totally alive. She likes to downhill ski the icy NE moguls and kayak the ice fields of Ellesmere Island. In my latter years, me not so much.
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Old 05-10-2016, 07:21 PM   #4
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When docking don't be afraid to give it a burst of throttle in either direction.


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Old 05-10-2016, 07:58 PM   #5
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Every boat is different and I have only had this one for a year and 3000 miles. It came with a $1800 Furuni weather station...very nice. And then I have my little lace (about a $1.00) tell tales tied to the bow and rails, that I actually use to help me when docking.

Use the wind to your advantage.

As to seas, I have been terrified in 3 ft, 15kt North winds in Biloxi Bay and enjoyed the long slow 6 ft swell of a SE wind off the coast of Texas. There is no real answer as to when it actually becomes dangerous.....it all depends on a bunch of variables, each pretty harmless, until they gang together to kick your ar....
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Old 05-16-2016, 06:48 PM   #6
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With more experience you will weather more varied conditions. As the old worn out saying goes, practice makes perfect (well, then again so does the yard paint shop)

There is no magic amount. It all depends upon personal experience and skill. Some thrash right along and have a grand olde time. Others stay weatherbound more than others. Those big plate glass windows do make me stay put more than I did with a sailboat. BUT it certainly is more comfy sitting in the salon watching others go out and get beat up and returning later all wet and cold :-)

Regarding docking, when opportunity presents itself, do some touch and go dockings when you have a spot, clear of other yachts. Don't just practice the simple wind along the dock, try it wind off the dock, and (probably more important) wind on the dock. Try slips with the wind both against you and with you. Learn how your boat backs down (single screw) and how the stern slews sideways (and which way it slews) when backing. Learn to use that backing into the slip. It's like a sailboat, just less rudder power. Learn the limits of backing into a slip with the wind helping you lift the bow, versus coming the other way and fighting the bow upwind as you back in. Practice, practice, practice.
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Old 05-17-2016, 05:41 AM   #7
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Wind, weather and seas - how much is too muich -advice needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by mplangley View Post



I find the boat is a bit more susceptible to wind than I had anticipated and has a bit more roll in the ocean also. I am used to sail boats where I have no fear (or much less fear) of being out in blustery conditions.

We don't have any experience on a GB 32, but any typical trawler yacht cruising below FD speed might behave more or less similar in high swell / seas. The hull of a trawler yacht will react with motions different to those of a sail boat. This is not indicating a lesser seaworthiness (as long the engine runs) IMO, the motion is just different and we just have to get used to it.
But we need of course other strategies than a sailor when it is becoming rough. And we have to consider not directly the wind (beside docking in a narrow marina) but that what the wind will do with the sea i.e. waves and swell.
The trawler yacht motion depends on the height, the direction and strongly on the period of the incoming sea. Depending on the speed our hull might be in resonance with the sea on all courses relative to the waves, e.g. in beam seas when the wave period matches the natural period of hulls rolling motion (typically 3 - 4 (5) seconds).
We once experienced with our AMS 40' beam seas of 8 - 9' height and it was a great fun as long those waves had a period significantly higher than our rolling natural period. She was just moving up and down on the waves without rolling significantly and without being affected on her straight course. But it changed dramatically when the waves became shorter in length and period matching our 3 - 4 seconds of rolling natural period: the hull started to roll heavily with the bulwark almost down to the water. We then changed our course by some 30 degrees and adjusted our speed to avoid resonance and beat (? like a sail boat against the wind) to our destination. Motions were still nasty but manageable.
Today we usually decide whether to go out on the forecasted waves (height, direction, period) on our route. We stay definitely in the marina if the forecasted height is 6' or more and prefer something like 4' if our course would not be heading directly into the waves where we would only have to adjust our speed accordingly. On all other courses we consider the forecasted wave period - even 3 - 4' might harm the crew if it comes to heavy roll due to resonance - and stay sometimes in the slip even at a forecast of 4' if we can not avoid resonance by an appropriate zigzag course. Unfortunately 3 - 4 seconds are a very typical wave period in the Baltic Sea.


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Old 06-03-2016, 02:13 AM   #8
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It's one thing to be a passenger on a boat in a bit rougher weather shall we say than it is to be the skipper. The one with one hand on the wheel and one hand on the throttle. Several times I've had to shim the spokes on my wheel because it got stripped loose from hanging onto it rough weather.
Sometimes you just have to abandon course and steer for comfort.

It's not only the wind that gets up the sea. it's the tide and current too.

A Coastal pilot is a good thing to have on board.
Watch the weather yourself.
Get a book on clouds and weather
It can change without warning.
Let's face it it's a dangerous thing we do. the ocean is cruel doesn't care if you sick or swim.
So Arm yourself with all the information you can get.

it gets easier with practice and knowledge.
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Old 06-03-2016, 06:16 AM   #9
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Slightly different approach, work up to bigger seas by testing you and your boat. Not familiar with Southern California's bays and inlets but if you can find an all weather inlet then from there you can venture out into the ocean to see how the boat does in 5ft then 6 ft seas etc. The key is to be able to get back to a slip or anchorage safely.

When I did this with our Krogen 42 I found several items that were not secured enough and broke loose including the TV set, the refrigerator and several cabinet doors. Also found that my arms could only take about 2 hours at the wheel in bad conditions. The autopilot was useless.

An interesting aspect. Could not leave helm as my wife was not able to handle the wheel. Thus could not get water, go to the bathroom etc. Found that with the boat closed up to keep water out we were suffering from heat (this was done in Miami). If I ever close boat up again for heavy weather I will start the generator and AC. Without it both of us were wet from perspiration.

Thus the advice is test the boat slowly and find out what she and you can do. But do so under conditions you can get back to safety.
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Old 06-03-2016, 10:25 AM   #10
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Marty, can only underline your statements
- it's all about testing capabilities on a safe basis, training, gathering experience, to become more and more used to it respecting the limits.
- items "shooting" around: when moored after our first really rough trip my first walk was to the local yacht shop getting fittings to secure the frige door, garbage can, drawers, sliding doors ... Some of them were equipped with fasteners which failed.
- leaving the helm: made similar experience. Neither my wife nor my (adult) children felt able to take over. Hope I can train at least one of my usual crew members to do so. Someday there might be the need for it.
- starting the gen when preparing for heavy weather: here in the Baltics we really don't need the AirCon but we might need the AC power supply for the AC bilge pump in case of emergency.



best regards / med venlig hilsen
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Old 06-03-2016, 11:34 AM   #11
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Somehow I missed this thread when it first came up but I have the same questions the OP had. I am new to powerboats and over the past almost 2 months of ownership have really noticed the difference in behavior between this and my sailboats.

The affect of wind is huge. Last weekend I chickened out trying to get into a slip downwind in 20+ knots of wind with higher gusts. The slip was down a fairway made very narrow because of lots of boats 15' longer than the slips on either side. I am not even sure I would have had enough room to crab against the crosswind to make it down the fairway.

We had wind waves of about 3' that were never an issue. We did roll a bit more than typical, but much less than that caused by the obnoxiously large wakes of some of the planing hulls who refused to go quite fast enough to actually get up on a plane.

I am fortunate in that of the time, Puget Sound doesn't generate large wind waves. There are exceptions, but there usually isn't enough fetch to allow them to build. However, as I go North and cross the Strait of Juan de Fuca or Georgia Strait, I can be exposed to larger seas.

To be honest, I have never paid much attention to sea states. With my sailboats I only concerned myself with wind. We would run into some rough crossings, but other than being uncomfortable, I was never concerned about boat or crew safety. Now, I would like an idea of what type of see forecasts should be avoided.

Equally important, would be any tips for how to handle different sea states. Again, my sailboat experience does me little good. Practice is a good idea, but Marty's recommendation is not practical for my local waters.
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Old 06-03-2016, 11:58 AM   #12
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We've also "chickened out" and put our boat into our yacht club guest dock (a straight shot) and waited for the wind to abate. Out in the briny we try to avoid any seas over 5 feet as our boat loves to roll havin' too much top hamper.
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Old 06-03-2016, 11:59 AM   #13
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One can't come up with rules for every sea state or even every boat. Two concepts are common to all boats. There comes a height in the waves where you cannot take them directly abeam and need to come at least 20 degrees off. The second is carving the waves coming from forward so that you angle up and then turn when you are coming down the wave.
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Old 06-03-2016, 12:34 PM   #14
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One can't come up with rules for every sea state or even every boat. Two concepts are common to all boats. There comes a height in the waves where you cannot take them directly abeam and need to come at least 20 degrees off. The second is carving the waves coming from forward so that you angle up and then turn when you are coming down the wave.
I guess I would do that unconsciously with the sailboat. One thing that I am having a hard time getting used to is the hydraulic steering. I am used to feeling the rubber pressure through the wheel and being able to tell rudder position by the position of the wheel. I find that even today I find myself feeling for the turks head that my instincts tell me should be on the wheel.

I'm sure I will get used to it over time.
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Old 06-03-2016, 12:41 PM   #15
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With a smaller boat approaching rough water (2 foot) and knowing it, I position my five gallon deck bucket near the wheel in anticipation of need.

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Old 06-03-2016, 01:42 PM   #16
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We had a few mottos and cliches we endeavor to follow when we are cruising:

1) We are pleasure boaters, in that order
2) The most dangerous thing we can have on board is a schedule
3) The sign of someone with superior seamanship skills is his avoidance of having to use them.

While we had the boat, and to some degree the ability, to handle some pretty brutal conditions , I was always unhappy with myself when we confronted them.

Uncomfortable conditions are not the exclusive domains of the ocean. We've had some miserable passages on Buzzard's Bay, Chesapeake Bay, Albemarle and Pamlico sounds.

Inlets can present some of the most outright dangerous conditions, especially in ebb against wind conditions. So following the weather, and minding the tidal current and levels, is a high priority.
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Old 06-03-2016, 01:51 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caltexflanc View Post
We had a few mottos and cliches we endeavor to follow when we are cruising:

1) We are pleasure boaters, in that order
2) The most dangerous thing we can have on board is a schedule
3) The sign of someone with superior seamanship skills is his avoidance of having to use them.
Very good.
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Old 06-03-2016, 02:26 PM   #18
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caltexflanc: I really like your three advises.

dhays, I guess as of now you should pay attention to the sea state. There is a significant difference regarding the stability of power and sailing boats.

Stability of most trawler yachts is mainly based on form stability (righting arm given by excursion of the center of buoyancy towards the side the vessel is heeling to) while most ocean going (mono hull) sailing yachts rely mainly on ballast stability (righting arm given by excursion of the center of gravity opposite to the side the vessel is heeling to). Ballast stability hulls tend to follow gravity, they remain more upright if the water surface is angled. Form stability hulls tend to follow the water surface, if the water surface is angled the boat will be too.
That difference in dynamic stability might be the main reason of new to us feelings when changing from a sail boat to a trawler.
The good news from the above is that the heel angle of our trawler hull relative to the water surface is smaller than we perceive it.
It appears more unstable than it actually is.

The bad news are:
-) Form stability comes with a significant lower LPS, limit of positive stability. That is the heel angle in the calm water stability curve where the positive righting arm (and consequently the righting moment) will vanish..
While ocean going (ballast stability) sailing vessels typically have a positive righting arm curve up to a heel angle above 120 degrees most of our form stability trawlers designs have a LPS below 90 degrees. Typical LPS figures of small fishing vessels are in the range of 70-80 degrees. Once knocked down these vessels will not right up without an external moment.
-) Form stability gives a "stiff" hull i.e. the natural frequency of the rolling motion is high (the natural roll period is low respectively). There is a tremendous dynamic (high kinetic energy) related to the hull if roll is exited by the waves or if the hull is even in resonance with the waves. Thus the rolling angle might increase more and more, the boat tends to heel dynamically. A lot of motor vessels (including the big ones) were lost by "parametric resonance".

Coming back to the good news: in the majority of those bad conditions we responsible pleasure boaters (caltexflanc advise number 3!) have accidentally to overcome we will be able to find an appropriate combination of speed and course relative to the sea to avoid resonance as well as braking beam seas - as long as the engine runs.



best regards / med venlig hilsen
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Old 06-03-2016, 02:26 PM   #19
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We've had some miserable passages on Buzzard's Bay, Chesapeake Bay, Albemarle and Pamlico sounds.
The Chesapeake can be miserable at times. A constant 2-3' chop with 2 second frequency makes for a miserable ride. Our Albin 36 has a lot of surface area too, and when it gets windy and choppy being on the FB is an exercise- especially when your course requires seas like this on the beam just to get home. I've lived here all of my life, so I know what to expect, but sometimes the phrase "pleasure boating" isn't.

The PWC owners and go-fast nuts scare me way more than the sea conditions. The sea conditions are far more predictable.

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Old 06-03-2016, 03:40 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caltexflanc View Post
We had a few mottos and cliches we endeavor to follow when we are cruising:

1) We are pleasure boaters, in that order
2) The most dangerous thing we can have on board is a schedule
3) The sign of someone with superior seamanship skills is his avoidance of having to use them.

While we had the boat, and to some degree the ability, to handle some pretty brutal conditions , I was always unhappy with myself when we confronted them.

Uncomfortable conditions are not the exclusive domains of the ocean. We've had some miserable passages on Buzzard's Bay, Chesapeake Bay, Albemarle and Pamlico sounds.

Inlets can present some of the most outright dangerous conditions, especially in ebb against wind conditions. So following the weather, and minding the tidal current and levels, is a high priority.
I really appreciate this thread and learning from more experienced skippers. Thanks! Keep it going.
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