Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 02-16-2020, 04:33 PM   #1
Veteran Member
 
City: Long Beach
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Checkmate
Vessel Model: GB 42
Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 90
Crossing a bar

Iíve read about crossing a bar at slack tide and trying to ride the back of a swell coming in. What do you do if you are in a 7 knot trawler and the waves are out running you? I know waiting for a calm period at the bar is the best option, but if you must cross a bar in medium conditions what is the best technique?
__________________
Advertisement

__________________
Jim Nance
T210DRVR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2020, 05:07 PM   #2
TF Site Team
 
Larry M's Avatar
 
City: JAX, FL
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Hobo
Vessel Model: Krogen 42-120
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 8,469
We’ve done the Washington to Mexico trip twice. The commercial guys always told me to go in on slack or flood only unless you have a good bar report. On the west coast with the prevailing winds on shore, ebb is evil and flood is fine.
__________________

Larry M is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2020, 05:31 PM   #3
TF Site Team
 
Larry M's Avatar
 
City: JAX, FL
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Hobo
Vessel Model: Krogen 42-120
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 8,469
Sorry, I didn’t answer your question. Stay perpendicular to the swell and watch the sets. The large swells come in series usually. Watch for awhile, then go for it and don’t be afraid to use the throttle.
Larry M is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2020, 05:43 PM   #4
Guru
 
mvweebles's Avatar
 
City: Saint Petersburg
Country: United States
Vessel Name: Weebles
Vessel Model: 1970 Willard 36 Trawler
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 685
Quote:
Originally Posted by T210DRVR View Post
Iíve read about crossing a bar at slack tide and trying to ride the back of a swell coming in. What do you do if you are in a 7 knot trawler and the waves are out running you? I know waiting for a calm period at the bar is the best option, but if you must cross a bar in medium conditions what is the best technique?
Almost all pacific swells are large enough to outpace a 7-kt boat. When swells exceed about 5-6 feet, things get a bit busy in the wheelhouse. Even with a slack or flood tide (which is pretty common) . Wait and try to figure out the best possible set of waves just a surfer does - every 5th or so. Have a spare set of eyes on the bridge to keep an eye on range markers/lights so you can concentrate on keeping the boat on her feet - she'll move in X, Y, and Z planes equally well on her way in. The boat will corkscrew a lot as swells lift the stern. Try not to over steer as she will find her footing once the swell passes. Stay calm and find the rhythm.

If you are jammed up, coasties will escort you in. But best not to get jammed up and find yourself having to come in.
__________________
M/V Weebles
1970 Willard 36 Sedan Trawler
Current Location: Ensenada MX
mvweebles is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2020, 07:51 PM   #5
Guru
 
Alaskan Sea-Duction's Avatar
 
City: Inside Passage Summer/Columbia River Winter
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Alaskan Sea-Duction
Vessel Model: 1988 M/Y Camargue YachtFisher
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 5,358
The number one lesson I have learned:

Never ever, never, never ever cross the bar on an ebb tide.

Yes once in a while the bar is smooth at ebb, but not much.

Not sure? Call the USCG.
Alaskan Sea-Duction is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2020, 08:41 PM   #6
Guru
 
C lectric's Avatar
 
City: Gibsons, B.C.
Country: Canada
Vessel Name: Island Pride
Vessel Model: xxxx
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,764
I have a 7knotter and although not the swells we have to deal with I figured out years ago to slow down to let the waves lift you but NOT push you. If youk are to close to the wave speed the wave will push you . By running more slowly the wave will lift you but not push you nearly as much.

You still need to be on the wheel and fast. I set my adjustable hydraulic steering pump up to minimum wheel turns for fastest response.
I also use the throttle if the boat is not responding adequately to the rudder. A short fast blip on the throttle will shoot a lot of water past the rudder smartening the response up , a lot.

Just a short, fast shot. You do not want any more boat speed from it. As it smartens up get off the throttle back to where you were.

By no means though am I a bar expert. Just been out a few times, too many, in stuff I should not have been out in.

However I will agree you do not want an ebb current against a wind driven wave . They will increase in size and steepness hugely.
C lectric is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2020, 09:45 AM   #7
Guru
 
Portage_Bay's Avatar
 
City: Coupeville Wa.
Country: United States
Vessel Name: Pelorus
Vessel Model: Californian 42 LRC
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 688
C electric gave great advice on running in at moderate speed. Another way to think about it is if you're already at full speed you have only one option. Also try your autopilot but be ready to quickly disengage and steer by hand. On some boats the auto pilot will do a better job steering in demanding conditions than the human. Freeing up the human to make the decisions about course and speed.

You asked specifically about techniques to handle the seas. I'd like to talk about bar crossings in slow boats in general.

Expanding on others advise it isn't slack tide specifically you want. It's the window from slack before the flood to well before the slack before the ebb. By well before I mean enough time to fully clear the bar before ebb current starts.

The hazardous conditions often extend far beyond the bar on the ebb. Sometimes miles out to sea. This shortens your window.

When the seas are up I aim for about half way between slacks on the flood.

At the risk of insulting your experience I'll make two final points. 1 make sure your fuel filters are in good shape. I've seen boats loose power crossing hazardous bars. It doesn't go well for therm. 2 Don't mistake low tide predictions for slack tide predictions. I've known experienced boaters to make this mistake.

This advice is based on hundreds of PNW bar crossings in slow boats.
Portage_Bay is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2020, 09:52 AM   #8
Guru
 
oscar's Avatar
 
City: Bethlehem, PA
Country: United States
Vessel Name: Lady Kay V
Vessel Model: Don't know yet.....
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 679
Be aware that low current and slack tide are not necessarily at the same time. Depending on geography, they may be hours apart. So look at BOTH. Atlantic inlets, with a lot of water inside the inlet will flow out for quite a while after ebb tide. If this flow opposes the onshore wind it gets sporting. So again, look at wind, tide and current. Figure out what would appease the gods the best.
__________________
22' Starcraft resto mod project: https://ladykay.blog/ Avatar is my first boat....Holland, 1965 ish.....
oscar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2020, 10:52 AM   #9
Technical Guru
 
Ski in NC's Avatar
 
City: Wilmington, NC
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Louisa
Vessel Model: Custom Built 38
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 5,553
I often cross bars here on the Atlantic coast. Not as big of seas, but the water is shallower. Not as spectacular as the inlets on the Pac coast, but just as easy to get in big trouble.

I always try to shoot for near high tide on the flood. The current hear lags the ocean tide by about an hour, so if I time it for high tide, that is the best. Current will still be going into the inlet and it is deeper too.

Rough offshore and an ebb, forget it. We call it a "whitewall". Breaking surf from beach to beach across the inlet. Can't visually read the depth. Fortunately we have a maintained inlet that only adds another 10 miles to a trip, so if it is snotty, I go there.

And each boat has a personality in following steep seas. What works for my boat might not work for others.

I try to get my bow on the back of an advancing wave, hopefully picked a bigger one in the set. But you have to keep an eye behind you as if there is a large wave behind you, the bigger ones travel faster than the smaller ones and it can catch you!
Ski in NC is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2020, 11:10 AM   #10
Guru
 
psneeld's Avatar
 
City: AICW
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Freedom
Vessel Model: Albin 40
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 20,822
Waves that are cresting are different than ones in shallows and curling....try to find out if there is any curlers and avoid those shallows.

Always better to use the words "tide" ( vertical movement) and "current" ( horizontal movement)...tidal current if it is tidal and not just river/stream current related.

I too agree that trying to ride a wave unless on a very fast/powerful boat can be tricky....best to stay at a comfy speed and have throttle to try and straighten when necessary.

Towing across breaking inlets taught me a lot about sheer luck sculpted by some technique. Without a heavy weather boat.....its always a gamble if you hit breaking swells taller than 1/4 the length of your boat. If they get so steep to be curling.....hard to say how dangerous they are based on the possibility of swamping a cockpit, etc.

The best advice is dont get caught out and can't get in due to bar conditions.
psneeld is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2020, 11:54 AM   #11
Guru
 
JDCAVE's Avatar
 
City: Lions Bay, BC
Country: Canada
Vessel Name: Phoenix Hunter
Vessel Model: Kadey Krogen 42 (1985)
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 2,299
Crossing a bar

Quote:
Originally Posted by oscar View Post
Be aware that low current and slack tide are not necessarily at the same time.

Not quite sure what you mean by this. As far as I know, slack water is defined by lowest current. While I have no experience on the Columbia I can offer some information on the Fraser River. The timing of slack water varies considerably with:

1) the magnitude of the difference in tidal heights,

2) the magnitude of the river run off.

Forget about any rule of thumb. They donít exist. If 1) is a small number and 2) is large, there will be no slack water and the river will continually ebb. At other times the river can have a ďback upĒ, i.e. the current can go upstream.

If I can, I time my run up the Fraser River 3-4 hours after low water. Sometimes I donít always have that opportunity, but it makes a big difference going up the river at 7.5 knots rather than 2 knots.

The Columbia and the Fraser are very different situations. The Columbia flows into the open ocean, there is a significant bar but it is dammed, so there is some dampening of the outflows. Iíve seen the videos of crossing the Columbia bar. Itís pretty impressive! The Fraser on the other hand does not have a significant bar, but the freshet can be considerable and if there is a swell against tide, entering the river can be hairy at times.

The best advice I can give is get as much local knowledge as you can and that knowledge should be specific for the ďcurrent stateĒ of the river and weather conditions.

Jim
JDCAVE is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2020, 01:13 PM   #12
Guru
 
oscar's Avatar
 
City: Bethlehem, PA
Country: United States
Vessel Name: Lady Kay V
Vessel Model: Don't know yet.....
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 679
Quote:
Originally Posted by JDCAVE View Post
Not quite sure what you mean by this. As far as I know, slack water is defined by lowest current.
You are correct. I meant low tide. Can't fix it unfortunately.
__________________
22' Starcraft resto mod project: https://ladykay.blog/ Avatar is my first boat....Holland, 1965 ish.....
oscar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2020, 02:16 PM   #13
Guru
 
Benthic2's Avatar
 
City: Boston Area
Country: United States
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 1,543
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvweebles View Post
If you are jammed up, coasties will escort you in. But best not to get jammed up and find yourself having to come in.
Is an escort any help or is it just nice to have them there in case it goes horribly wrong ?
Benthic2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2020, 02:44 PM   #14
Guru
 
mvweebles's Avatar
 
City: Saint Petersburg
Country: United States
Vessel Name: Weebles
Vessel Model: 1970 Willard 36 Trawler
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 685
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benthic2 View Post
Is an escort any help or is it just nice to have them there in case it goes horribly wrong ?
I only had an escort once. I didn't ask for it, but was heavy fog coming into Yaquina OR. I was promptly boarded and inspected by a very polite crew of young coasties who eagerly accepted my offer of brownies we'd made that morning. It was a training gig for them.

Someone on this forum posted recently that they were escorted into one of the Oregon harbors. USCG offered and they accepted. Sounded like they really appreciated the assistance.

Overall, the ports are primarily commercial fishing ports mixed with recreational fishing and some plain recreational boats. The USCG and harbor masters are all business and keep very prepared and ready to help mariners 24/7. As you can imagine, they are incredibly well trained and ready to respond. Asking for help will be met with professionalism.
__________________
M/V Weebles
1970 Willard 36 Sedan Trawler
Current Location: Ensenada MX
mvweebles is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2020, 02:50 PM   #15
Guru
 
psneeld's Avatar
 
City: AICW
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Freedom
Vessel Model: Albin 40
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 20,822
The USCG boats.can point you to the least breaking section (they just came through it)...and they can use their boats to help break off the tops of the waves behind you to lessen the chances of you broaching.
psneeld is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2020, 03:14 PM   #16
Guru
 
mvweebles's Avatar
 
City: Saint Petersburg
Country: United States
Vessel Name: Weebles
Vessel Model: 1970 Willard 36 Trawler
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 685
Interesting USCG Notice to Mariners (2015) on the OR/WA bars in link below.

By far, the craziest bar on the west coast is Depoe Bay OR. Also below is a video of two USCG MLBs coming in - notice how the lead one is waiting for the right set, then see the black exhaust smoke when the helmsman punches it. According the notice to mariners below, this channel was recently widened from 35-feet to 50-feet.

https://www.pacificarea.uscg.mil/Por...-20-135950-980

__________________
M/V Weebles
1970 Willard 36 Sedan Trawler
Current Location: Ensenada MX
mvweebles is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2020, 03:28 PM   #17
TF Site Team
 
Larry M's Avatar
 
City: JAX, FL
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Hobo
Vessel Model: Krogen 42-120
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 8,469
We crossed a bar in El Salvador which we wouldn't have without local knowledge. Two guys on a jet ski with a handheld VHF talked us in. They told us when to go and on which set. You could only cross at high slack. The goal was to not get overtaken or overtake a breaker. If you look at right side of the bow in the picture, you can see a breaking wave behind us. We hit 10 plus knots on the ride in.

One of our trips down the WA, OR, CA coast had multiple bar closures. The USCG said no one in or out. We always called for a bar report and they were happy to give it. We always planned our departure and arrival times based on the bar, tides and weather.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	El Sal. (1).jpg
Views:	63
Size:	83.3 KB
ID:	99497  
Larry M is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2020, 04:13 PM   #18
Guru
 
mvweebles's Avatar
 
City: Saint Petersburg
Country: United States
Vessel Name: Weebles
Vessel Model: 1970 Willard 36 Trawler
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 685
Larry - are your paravanes fish down, or just outriggers set?

I'm sure you've told the story a million times on this forum, but I'm a newcomer to the forum (not to passagemaking). Your description states you circumnavigated. How much in your KK42?

Looks like a beautiful day on the pacific in the Pic.
__________________
M/V Weebles
1970 Willard 36 Sedan Trawler
Current Location: Ensenada MX
mvweebles is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2020, 04:24 PM   #19
TF Site Team
 
Larry M's Avatar
 
City: JAX, FL
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Hobo
Vessel Model: Krogen 42-120
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 8,469
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvweebles View Post
Larry - are your paravanes fish down, or just outriggers set?

Just the poles out.

I'm sure you've told the story a million times on this forum, but I'm a newcomer to the forum (not to passagemaking). Your description states you circumnavigated. How much in your KK42?

Alaska to Trinidad on Hobo via the Canal - Alaska to Trinidad on our sailboat via the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans.

Looks like a beautiful day on the pacific in the Pic.

It was.
...
Larry M is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2020, 05:04 PM   #20
Guru
 
City: Rochester, NY
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Hour Glass
Vessel Model: Chris Craft Catalina 381
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 1,138
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvweebles View Post
Interesting USCG Notice to Mariners (2015) on the OR/WA bars in link below.

By far, the craziest bar on the west coast is Depoe Bay OR. Also below is a video of two USCG MLBs coming in - notice how the lead one is waiting for the right set, then see the black exhaust smoke when the helmsman punches it. According the notice to mariners below, this channel was recently widened from 35-feet to 50-feet.

That looks like a whole barrel of nope. Having to run a boat up on plane in a space that narrow would already have me doing a bit of and that's before adding those waves into the mix.
__________________

rslifkin is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:07 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2006 - 2012
×