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Old 05-13-2020, 06:07 PM   #1
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Weather "Window" Advice Needed/Wanted

Getting ready to move my 1984 Grand Banks 36 Classic that I just acquired all the way from one end of the Chesapeake to the other (200 miles from Chesapeake (Norfolk) to Havre de Grace.)

Fairly confident of my seamanship and the boat, however I decided that it would be very prudent to hire a professional Captain who delivers yachts for a living to accompany me. (I am sure I will learn a lot and I am not familiar with Norfolk, Hampton Roads and York Spit waters.)

Most likely, what the boat and the young professional Captain can take is much different from what my 70 year old body will take. I have sailed for 12 hours in a 30 footer, but the bay was pretty calm. I have sailed in the Gulf out of Fort Myers in rough 4 foot waves and did not like it at all--but that was in a sail boat heeled over.

I am looking at one possible time frame where winds are 25-35 mph, from the north, and with full bay to build fetch, will build 4 foot waves. I am not sure that I want to deal with 12 hours of sailing directly into the wind with 4 foot seas. And I figure that much wind would cut about 1-2 mph off the boat speed--making a long trip even longer.

My ideal would be typical 5-15 mph winds, and 1-2 foot waves. So wondering if that is too conservative for this boat.

I am in no particular hurry, other than I am paying for two slips and would like to get the boat to "home" port so I can start doing some maintenance "tinkering".

Looking for advice from more experienced Captains.
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Old 05-13-2020, 06:11 PM   #2
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Yes on the 5-15 winds.

Even 15 knots will be miserable if on the beam or against several knots of tidal current that will occur in a few spots.

25-35 knots on the nose would make you want to give up boating.

The hired captain should be able to give you a leg by leg versus weather evaluation.
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Old 05-13-2020, 06:18 PM   #3
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I would go downwind with 4 feet but not into it. I don’t know tidal currents in your area but a couple knots of tide opposing the wind would make 4 into 6 or more. 4 on the bow would force you to slow down when see the occasional 5-6 otherwise you porpoise too much. Our rule of thumb is we will go with 3 on the bow as long as we are out of it before the tide opposes it. We will go downwind in 4 unless the tide will turn and cause it to build.

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Old 05-13-2020, 06:26 PM   #4
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In general, if it ain’t fun, don’t do it.
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Old 05-13-2020, 06:38 PM   #5
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Here is Google Drive link to one forecast--not headwind--winds from starboard:



https://drive.google.com/file/d/1QSK...ew?usp=sharing

Looks like "no fun" to me.

Thanks for the quick feedback!
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Old 05-13-2020, 06:41 PM   #6
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Your experience with a sailboat beating into 4' seas will be nothing like a trawler. It will be much rougher. The sails stabilize the boat and even though you would have been heeling significantly in the sailboat, it will be worse on a trawler.

4' seas would be my limit on the Chesapeake, maybe less if on the nose.

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Old 05-13-2020, 06:51 PM   #7
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4 foot smooth rollers on the nose when the wind dies down a bit and the waves haven't yet isn't bad. 4 foot steep, wind-driven chop on the nose is quite unpleasant in most boats, particularly most powerboats. Running with 4 footers isn't too bad depending on the boat's handling characteristics and speed capability.
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Old 05-13-2020, 07:12 PM   #8
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Greetings,
Mr. s. "I am in no particular hurry,". If in doubt, wait it out. I can fully appreciate your desire to become "intimate" with your new mistress but IF you're at all concerned, just wait. This is supposed to be fun, after all.

Not a bad idea to hire a captain as long as he understands you don't go until YOU say so. Enjoy...

Edit: Just re-read your OP. I am NOT an experienced captain BUT I keep a VERY close eye on the weather and have stayed in port on more than one occasion when I've felt uncomfortable.
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Old 05-13-2020, 07:33 PM   #9
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This youtube is a GB36 on the Chesapeake Bay. Too much "motion in the ocean" for a 12 hour day at least for me.

https://youtu.be/JsSUicyh0yI
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Old 05-13-2020, 07:37 PM   #10
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After a nasty crossing aiming for Grand Cay two years ago trying to beat a front which came in early and we ended up going into Great Sale in the dark on instruments with the Hollywood special effects guy throwing buckets of water onto our black PH windows, my wife has implemented a new rule.

We look for a decent three day window, and we go on the second day.

Stay in the berth, 25 gusting 35 will NOT be any fun.
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Old 05-13-2020, 08:01 PM   #11
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Pick a few marinas = mouth pf the Potomac, Solomons, etc.
Bay will change as you move North with more marinas to tuck into. (Haven Harbor, Knapps Narrows, etc.)
If you can play the wind and the tide together = much easier ride
3' on the Chesapeake is pretty normal
Good luck
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Old 05-13-2020, 08:09 PM   #12
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I'll be a bit of a contrarian here. First, this is a week away, so a lot can and will change. Second, I don't know much of the Chesapeake, but I did a quick geography lesson via Google and a weather chart off PassageWeather.Com (wx chart attached for early next Wednesday May 20th). Current forecast is winds will be out of east so you should be able to stay in the lee of the peninsula and keep fetch down to bare minimum. Of course, I haven't checked the nav charts so this may not be a feasible route, but from high level, it's a good option to investigate. But maybe others know the Chesapeake well - hopefully, your delivery captain has local knowledge.

By way of example, the Gulf of Teuhentepec SE of Hualtulco MX is notorious for very high winds fron NNE that build quickly (known as T-Peckers). It's tempting to cross the bay - about 100 nms - to save distance but you can easily find yourself 50-nms offshore in 50+ kt sustained winds. Fairly large ships have been lost in this area. A much safer route is to hug the coastline which adds something like 30 nms. I've been through it twice - once was quiet, second time I had 40-kt winds and stayed 1-2 m off the beach and never saw more than 3-foot chop.

I'm about 10-years behind you and I've lost the fire in my belly for threading weather needles. But this one looks doable if the weather moderates a bit and if the eastern shore is a reasonable route. I'd look closely at hugging the east coast even if the winds aren't 25kts.

Good luck!

Peter

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Old 05-13-2020, 08:22 PM   #13
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MVWEELES -


MY Captain and I are 65 and we have a 44 trawler. Traveled the Chesapeake for 15 years. Yes there will be good Wx days and days you stay where you are - but most days you can move a few miles and enjoy the stops.
Take a few minutes to review Active Captain, find a few get out of "Dodge" locations and plan based on the wind AND the tides
Once you get passed the Annapolis Bridge - your life will change with a nice ride to HG -

Once you get off the Chesapeake channel - follow the channel for a beautiful ride into HG
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Old 05-13-2020, 08:45 PM   #14
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MVWEELES -

MY Captain and I are 65 and we have a 44 trawler. Traveled the Chesapeake for 15 years. Yes there will be good Wx days and days you stay where you are - but most days you can move a few miles and enjoy the stops.
Take a few minutes to review Active Captain, find a few get out of "Dodge" locations and plan based on the wind AND the tides
Once you get passed the Annapolis Bridge - your life will change with a nice ride to HG -

Once you get off the Chesapeake channel - follow the channel for a beautiful ride into HG
Sojourn - I am not the OP, I just read the thread. I used to be a delivery captain out of San Francisco between Alaska and Mexico so fancy myself pretty good at finding ways to knock-back weather, though that was a long time ago. When I see threads like this, I often take the bait and look at the geography and the weather and dust-off my ancient skills. To my eyes, I was not put-off immediately due to ability to stay in lee and greatly limit fetch.

Sounds like you have the local knowledge the OP could use - I have no idea of tides/currents for example. I am just saying I wouldn't be too quick to shelve the trip due to high winds. First, it's over a week away. Second, 25-kts blowing over a nearby landmass is not a problem (assuming there's navigable waters).

Thanks Sojourn -

Peter
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Old 05-13-2020, 08:47 PM   #15
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Here is Google Drive link to one forecast--not headwind--winds from starboard:
Winds are from the east, so would be on your port beam, correct?
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Old 05-13-2020, 08:57 PM   #16
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Winds are from the east, so would be on your port beam, correct?
Winds are forecast from east....since I am going north...wind will be from my right, so I call that wind on my starboard side. I think your map is labeled incorrectly...Norfolk is near south of bay..Havre de Grace is far north.

But your advice to sail closer to eastern shore is interesting. The west side is more populated with more marinas and ports...so I just always think about sailing to close to west.

And, of course..weather forecasts 1 week in advance are often very wrong...the aviation forecasts are quite different from the marine one I quoted. Week forward forecasts are educated guesses but still guesses.
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Old 05-13-2020, 09:11 PM   #17
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Winds are forecast from east....since I am going north...wind will be from my right, so I call that wind on my starboard side. I think your map is labeled incorrectly...Norfolk is near south of bay..Havre de Grace is far north.

But your advice to sail closer to eastern shore is interesting. The west side is more populated with more marinas and ports...so I just always think about sailing to close to west.

And, of course..weather forecasts 1 week kn advance are often very wrong...t ht e aviation forecasts are quite different from the marine OK ne I quoted. Week forward forecasts are educated guesses but still guesses.
Yep. So much for my geography lesson. I've said a bit on the Chesapeake. But was over 20 years ago and I was a simple passenger.

Regardless, looks like the east wind gives you some flexibility on weather conditions. I hope you continue the thread with your trip details. Even though I don't know the area well, I for one enjoy peering into a trip like this.

BTW - GB36 is a great boat. Ride is a bit wet, but tradeoff is it cuts through chop a bit better. Best I can tell, a perfect boat for gunk holing in the Chesapeake.

I'll. One up on my geography soon
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Old 05-13-2020, 09:14 PM   #18
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If I was traveling by myself, I would simply go when comfortable...pull into a safe harbor if too rough and wait. "Enjoy the stops as mentioned". Then leave and continue when weather is good again.

But, my delivery captain wanted to make the trip in two long days...I insisted we take three to avoid risk of docking after dark. So I pretty much need to make the trip in a three day "window" or I guess I could just bite the bullet and pay for his fee for 4 or 5 days.
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Old 05-13-2020, 09:24 PM   #19
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If I was traveling by myself, I would simply go when comfortable...pull into a safe harbor if too rough and wait. "Enjoy the stops as mentioned". Then leave and continue when weather is good again.

But, my delivery captain wanted to make the trip in two long days...I insisted we take three to avoid risk of docking after dark. So I pretty much need to make the trip in a three day "window" or I guess I could just bite the bullet and pay for his fee for 4 or 5 days.
Final thought (hopefully without typos).

My last professional delivery was 2004 and I had a decent reputation for keeping a boat moving. To avoid docking at night, I would sometimes anchor out. Can still be unnerving especially if there are winds or currents, but was much faster in and out than docking in a marina. Much easier to leave pre-dawn from an anchor if desired.
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Old 05-13-2020, 10:01 PM   #20
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Thinking about that "easter shore" route..I could make for Cape Charles...facilities there if needed BUT would have 20 miles of water with open exposure to the east from the ocean. That is 3 hours...once close to east shore, should be more tolerable. I was kinda hoping to "hug" the west coast to be able to tuck in if needed.
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