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Old 07-19-2018, 09:21 PM   #21
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I can't remember the last time we saw a 5 or longer period down here. When it's 4 x 4, you'll see me at the slip. The boat is way tougher than the skipper. I'd like to borrow "washing machine chop" Steve. Very descriptive.
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Old 07-19-2018, 11:20 PM   #22
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Remember, the only thing worse than being at the dock wishing to be out on the water is to be out on the water wishing to be back at the dock!
That's a good adage to remember!

We were just in Tahiti a couple weeks ago on a Bali 45-foot catamaran. On the 24-mile passage from Tahaa to Bora Bora we were quartering reported 6-7 meter seas (20-23 feet!), but the period was generally 8-10 seconds. It was quite a ride! Never felt in danger, but you certainly had serious focus while at the helm...
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Old 07-20-2018, 01:21 AM   #23
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Lots of valuables in determining comfort.

Direction plays a big roll. Going head on into seas and quartering is very different from traveling in beams seas or taking them on your stern, depending on your speed. As previously mentioned, period has a great deal to do with comfort. Duration of exposure is also a big factor. Have been in 7'+ seas a couple of times, but only for a few hours before moving into the lee of the land.

3 to 4' is my general go. Above 4', period, duration of exposure and importance of moving today, become factors. I try my best to keep stuff from sliding around. While stuff is generally stowed well, I'm not interested in cruising with a seatbelt on as my coffee cup and cellphone slide back and forth at the helm. We're out here to have fun aren't we?

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Old 07-20-2018, 08:46 AM   #24
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In our area there is no swell, but islands, connecting channels, and near vertical shorelines which can cause refracting and rebounding.

We were in fully loaded sea kayaks in Devastation Channel when a strong north wind came up suddenly with no place for us to hide. There were wave sets coming from around the island and from over the island (45 degree difference) which then bounced off a cliff making waves coming from four directions.

There was no rhyme or reason to them...they combined into 'haystacks' maybe seven or eight feet high which exploded at the tops when they couldn't hold together any longer.

It was like a rodeo ride, but with most of the weight below the waterline a fully loaded sea kayak is amazingly sea worthy. Would have been desperate in our current boat
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Old 07-20-2018, 11:32 AM   #25
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There are so many local variations in sea conditions such as what Murray experienced, that a standard wave height limit is somewhat useless.

My biggest concern is breaking waves. A large, long interval swell which is usually benign can break unexpectedly, if there is a small rise on the sea floor. This can occur even in 100+ foot water. I learned this the hard way.
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Old 07-20-2018, 12:58 PM   #26
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When I was young I had 13'3" Boston Whaler with 40 HP Johnson and two 6 gal red fuel tanks. Family had 38' raised deck, SD hull, single 180 hp. Perkins powered fly bridge sedan cruiser. We boated on weekends year after year... spring, summer fall. Took long jaunts up New England coast during dad's four week vacations. All year I kept the Whaler in water and used her often in the winter too. 38'er was hauled for bottom paint etc during winter months.

Some times on jaunts from NY to Maine and back again we towed the Whaler. Often I'd simply take off and meet our family cruiser in the next port. Some times on lesser duration distance cruises we'd leave the Whaler at dock.


More than a few times we'd get caught in some pretty snotty conditions. Have seen conditions that tested my dad's handling abilities and the 38' cruiser's capabilities. There was one time I was not aboard that really rattled my dad, mom and younger brother. Afterward mom forced sale of the cruiser "Never to go out again with dad" - It was beyond severe unexpected conditions... my brother was 14 yrs at the time and has become pale when recounting to me what occurred. Boat needed immediate hauling and bottom plank repairs at Block Island. Boat was bujilt to take anything... dad ran into something unexpected that nearly sunk that stout craft. Dad sometimes pushed things to the limit - remnants of his love for daring activities gained from piloting RCAF Spitfire reconnaissance planes in WWII - Shat happens!


With the Whaler, employing cues from dad's daring nature, I would go out Short Beach Inlet in mid winter storms. Have been in some really hairy wave conditions. My youth [that still has close semblances continuing today at... 66 yrs young] had a strong sense of no matter what I can do it! So far, I'm not dead!!


Sooo... reason I related the above to contents in this thread: Every type of sea. Every type of boat. And, every type of a boat's Captain experience then and there interacting degrees of capabilities.


I can say - having owned and piloted many different size and type boats, as well as being aboard many boats with good captains - Short of tall "surfer-type" heavily breaking waves... That 13.3" Whaler with 40 hp Johnson, leaving rear scupper drain open and full weather gear on as well as gas tanks battened down tightly is the boat that can handle nearly sea thrown at it. I have even broken upward through some not too tall breakers off Jones Beach during storms; that use-type is not recommended... but in my teens with courage burning brightly that is an incorrect chance I took.


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Old 07-20-2018, 01:48 PM   #27
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Very well written, Art. Daring nature and good judgement often don't go together. Just because we can do something safely doesn't mean we should do it or that we can do it comfortably. You mentioned the one trip that ruined boating for your family. I think back to the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally of 2004 and it proved all those boats could make it. However, the part that doesn't get publicized is how unwise it was for a couple of the smaller boats and even ruined boating for at least one couple.

We're currently on a long trip and one of our guests is our wonderful, nearly four years old, niece, Aurora. We want her to boat with us forever and enjoy it as much as we do. We have been and are very conscious of conditions and any that might make boating somehow less of a joy for her. Right now she absolutely loves being on a boat of any size. She's never been scared on one. It's part of our job to make sure that we don't put her in conditions that might scare her.

Every time you go out on the water, you create memories for yourself and anyone else with you. They can be very special memories or very traumatic ones. Often the traumatic ones are never overcome.
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Old 07-20-2018, 02:02 PM   #28
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We're currently on a long trip and one of our guests is our wonderful, nearly four years old, niece, Aurora. We want her to boat with us forever and enjoy it as much as we do. We have been and are very conscious of conditions and any that might make boating somehow less of a joy for her. Right now she absolutely loves being on a boat of any size. She's never been scared on one. It's part of our job to make sure that we don't put her in conditions that might scare her.
That's an excellent approach, whether your guest is young or even an older newbie to boating.
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Old 07-20-2018, 02:08 PM   #29
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It's easy when you are old enough to never want to go over another wave more than 6 inches high...
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Old 07-20-2018, 07:13 PM   #30
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Reminds me of one of the many boating truisms I like to relate regularly:

"The main characteristic of a captain with superior seamanship skills is his always avoiding putting himself in the position of having to use them"
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Old 07-20-2018, 09:06 PM   #31
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I call that "washing machine chop"
Remember, the only thing worse than being at the dock wishing to be out on the water is to be out on the water wishing to be back at the dock!

Yep, Gulf Coast Chop. Seen that too many times. My dad used to say that three feet in the Gulf was as bad as six feet in the Atlantic. After being out on both quite a bit now, I think he was right.
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Old 07-21-2018, 03:31 PM   #32
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I do most of my boating on the Chesapeake where 2 to 3 second periods are typical. I avoid anything over 3 feet in a head sea, and a quartering or following sea at up to 4 feet is tolerable for a while. Been through 5-6 foot standing waves at Smith Point (mouth of the Potomac) a couple times and it's a mess. As I get older, and now retired, I'll don't purposely go out in anything over 3 feet. I'm in a 37 foot planing hull boat and normally run 22 knots.
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Old 07-21-2018, 08:35 PM   #33
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I do most of my boating on the Chesapeake where 2 to 3 second periods are typical. I avoid anything over 3 feet in a head sea, and a quartering or following sea at up to 4 feet is tolerable for a while. Been through 5-6 foot standing waves at Smith Point (mouth of the Potomac) a couple times and it's a mess. As I get older, and now retired, I'll don't purposely go out in anything over 3 feet. I'm in a 37 foot planing hull boat and normally run 22 knots.


Chesapeake boater here too. Usual frequency is 2 seconds measured at the buoy outside of the Patapsco. SD hull can take it, but you have to decide how miserable you want to be at 8 knots. My wife and I are fine, but non-boaters donít enjoy it when the wave action increases.
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Old 07-22-2018, 12:12 AM   #34
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Chesapeake boater here too. Usual frequency is 2 seconds measured at the buoy outside of the Patapsco. SD hull can take it, but you have to decide how miserable you want to be at 8 knots. My wife and I are fine, but non-boaters donít enjoy it when the wave action increases.
That's one thing many don't realize how those conditions, especially in the Chesapeake, are so much easier and more comfortable with more speed. At higher speed you can often just skim across the tops. (I'm not talking 8 knots when I talk higher speed).
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Old 07-22-2018, 05:49 AM   #35
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At higher speed you can often just skim across the tops.
Well, not exactly that unless some sort of hovercraft. More like pitching and yawing get replaced by pounding. As for roll, generally speaking speed counters a lot of it in chop... one reason why the faster the boat, the smaller the stabilizer fins you need.
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Old 07-22-2018, 05:53 AM   #36
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Ah yes, the Chesapeake. On an otherwise beautiful day all you see out there is these guys, and big, heavy stabilized pleasure boat(s).

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Old 07-22-2018, 06:19 AM   #37
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Skimming across the tops of waves.... I caught my Albin saying this in her sleep one night.
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Old 07-22-2018, 06:58 AM   #38
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That's one thing many don't realize how those conditions, especially in the Chesapeake, are so much easier and more comfortable with more speed. At higher speed you can often just skim across the tops. (I'm not talking 8 knots when I talk higher speed).
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Well, not exactly that unless some sort of hovercraft. More like pitching and yawing get replaced by pounding. As for roll, generally speaking speed counters a lot of it in chop... one reason why the faster the boat, the smaller the stabilizer fins you need.
Caltex, the point that you're missing is size and weight relative to speed. A 60 to 90' boat designed to plane in the 25 plus knot range, cruises without pounding in short period seas as it often is on 2 to 3 waves at the same. Take a ride on a 60' sport fish running 25 knots in 4' seas. You will be amazed how smooth a ride it is as the boat is cutting though the upper part of the waves as opposed to bouncing up and pounding down on them.

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Old 07-22-2018, 07:26 AM   #39
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Caltex, the point that you're missing is size and weight relative to speed. A 60 to 90' boat designed to plane in the 25 plus knot range, cruises without pounding in short period seas as it often is on 2 to 3 waves at the same. Take a ride on a 60' sport fish running 25 knots in 4' seas. You will be amazed how smooth a ride it is as the boat is cutting though the upper part of the waves as opposed to bouncing up and pounding down on them.
Yep, my EB47 handles choppier conditions much more smoothly than our 34' express cruiser it has replaced. It's a combination of added waterline length, greater weight and hull construction. It's bridging move waves at once, with more inertial mass. This combines to do more to part the waves and resist their motion. The heavier, thicker hull keeps it from feeling as rough.

Now, I'm not going to hemorrhage money burning fuel trying to reach it's max of 30 kts in those conditions but I can push 16-20 through it quite well. Throttle back to 8 kts and it's semi-planing hull becomes a liability since it lacks the deeper keel of many trawler types. There's potential for a lot more roll. Less than a smaller boat but still more than a motor yacht/trawler of equivalent size.
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Old 07-22-2018, 08:53 AM   #40
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Here's our current local forecast for the next week. I expect there won't be very many boats out in it.

Wave height between 4 - 12 feet. The wave period is between 8 - 20 seconds, but there would be a lot of wind chop mixing things up as well so we won't be getting any smooth rollers.

I don't expect it to be very pleasant out there.

https://www.seabreeze.com.au/weather...ecast/adelaide
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