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 How hardy is a sailboat in bad weather?
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Author Previous Topic: TMI - Texas Marine International Sailboats Topic Next Topic: Animosity - Real or Imagined?  

Thudpucker

RO# 10503



Posted - Dec 25 2007 :  19:46:36  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Up in 'ATC' forum, somebody posted about a very stupid Sailing venture that came out all wrong.

http://www.boated.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=109862

So the question was asked and more of us would like to see the answer:
"Why didnt the guy just....and ride out the storm?"

So some of you go up and read that thread, and add your thoughts about the Hardyness of a Sailboat.

Answer the question for us. Please!

Homeport: AL.

saltysam

RO# 26



Posted - Dec 25 2007 :  20:25:28  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thud--
It is not rocket science, Pretty simple really. A boat that floats is pretty much like any other boat that floats.

Think back to elementary aerodynamics. Some similar factors effect sailboats. First, one must have a tight hull, strong enough to resist the routine pressures of wind and water plus a built- in additional safety factor for stronger forces, such as are encountered in storms with high winds and waves smashing against the hull. Just like a thunderstorm at 10,000 feet in a Cessna 174 or an old SNJ.

The boat must be water tight. Given a reasonable design with some acceptable stability and righting arm chanracteristics, a sail boat is just as stable and safe as any power boat. It only needs to be strong enough to perservere within the chosen medium--water. Just like an airplane in flight. The design of the boat will prevent it from turning onto its back and remaining there, just like the controls will enable an airplane to regain a straight and normal inflight position.

Boats of any type will get into trouble if the watertight barriers are broken by some unusual action of waves, wind, or foreign debris.



Cheers!
Bill

Edited by - saltysam on Dec 25 2007 20:27:31

Homeport: New River, Ft Lauderdale Go to Top of Page

pdecat

RO# 842



Posted - Dec 25 2007 :  21:24:10  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
the form, ballast and rotational inertia of a saliboat make it much more able to withstand bad weater than an equivalent lenght powerboat

Bruce



Homeport: Gulf Coast FL Go to Top of Page

Thudpucker

RO# 10503



Posted - Dec 26 2007 :  02:19:48  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
OK, no matter how you guys say it, I thought that about the Sailboats.
Having gone through, or been broadsided by a Typhoon while in a Troop ship, I'm pretty confident that anything that will float will stay afloat if you can keep the ocean out!

A power boats (our pleasure craft variety) are pretty weak when it comes to rolling around in a high Sea with breakers pounding down on it and the chances of rolling or pitchpoling are pretty good.
Those hatches over the engines and the large windshields are very bad weak points.
Also the bolts holding down those engines are not really installed with rolling the boat over in mind.
At the apex of a roll, that engine could come crashing down out of the boat deck hatches and possibly hold the boat upside down if the engine were to hang in the harness.

Most of the Cabin appointments are held in place with fasteners never meant for those kinds of stresses.
In other words, one of our modern pleasure cruisers is a poor choice for being 'dead stick' in a storm.

However a sail boat has some advantages. I'm experienced. I was on my brothers 19' Columbia once!

I realized that was a heckuva sturdy boat. The Top (Deck) was fastend down very well. The Mast is part of an encircling system of cables and fasteners that keeps the boat intact at the center.
The Motor (on this Columbia) was a 10 Hp Honda and it was fastend down very well.
Nothing in the Cabin could go very far, even if it were shaken or jolted loose.
It has that heavy keel to right it every time. No matter which way you try to roll that boat, it would go on over and come upright, or it would resist the roll and come back upright.
Only if the Mast broke off below the Seal at the top of the Deckhouse, and let the ocean in there, would that boat sink.

Knowing that kind of stuff, It made me ask the question about this dilbert and all his bad decisions. Why didn't he just stay with his boat? I think he was riding around in the Ocean in a big life preserver and got scared. True to all his other decisions, he left his best hiding place to expose his bad decisions in a big way.

PS: Salty I went through "Windy Pass" in AK in a Cessna 310Rg and we got hit good with winds at the conjunction of the three mountain passes.
I thought, actually I was certain, we were going to lose a wing. I knew it was going to get ripped off or broken off from the sudden lifts. At times we were looking at the ground out the top of the windshield.
I made my partner slow down. (I may have screamed at him)
That made it worse as far as tumbeling went, but the Jarring Bumps were lessend.
I've often wondered about hitting some of those winds in one of your hi-speed, slim winged, Wheeee rides.



Homeport: AL. Go to Top of Page

pdecat

RO# 842



Posted - Dec 26 2007 :  02:41:18  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It is not uncommon to find sailboats still afloat after the crew has abandoned them in a storm. It is hard to fathom the decision to abandon into a life raft from a still floating boat but it happens. All i can surmise from reading accounts over the years is that it becomes so scary that panic overtakes rational thought. The perfect storm events of a few years ago had a sailboat abandoned off New York in that big storm. The boat was found in good shape on shore on the Delmarva peninsula having sailed on its own for over 100 miles.
The boat was a Westsail 32 which is about as sturdy as they come.
The shape of sail boats makes them much better at rough weather. Thatís why I cant imagine crossing oceans in a powerboat unless you consider yourself very lucky.


Bruce



Homeport: Gulf Coast FL Go to Top of Page

stmbtwle

RO# 7934

Posted - Dec 26 2007 :  07:42:43  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Decently made sailboats are probably tougher than the people in them. Most any boat will seek the best position on it's own, if the "crew" stops messing with it. In 1961 my home town was hit by a cat 4 hurricane... some months after the storm an acquaintance found a 30' MOL twin-screw cabin cruiser in a clump of trees. Aside from minor damage the boat was unhurt and HAD NEVER SUNK. It rode out a 15' storm surge, 150 mph winds and who-knows-what seas; with nothing other than an electric bilge pump.

From my experience, though, given a choice I'd choose a sailboat. Most powerboats (trawlers excepted) don't carry the fuel to ride out a serious storm at sea.


Willie: Look Ma no paddle!

Edited by - stmbtwle on Dec 26 2007 07:51:48

Homeport: Tampa Bay, FL Go to Top of Page

Thudpucker

RO# 10503



Posted - May 24 2009 :  23:29:47  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Here it is again. A True story on "Escaped" on the True or ID channel tonite.
A couple took a contract to deliver a sailboat from the Pacific to France.

On the way a Hurricane caught them.
She was below decks. Got thumped pretty hard...and when she came to, the sea was calm, the boat was a wreck and the boyfriend was gone! His "D" ring had broken open and he was lost at sea.
She survived 30 days lost at sea. Had to learn to 'do it' herself and finally made it to Hawii.

The thing I saw in the TV show was the fact that she went below decks and waited out the storm.
The boat survived. The experts think it pitch-poled and also Rolled. All that with her down below decks getting bounced around.

He was up at the helm and was lost when his lifeline broke.

So in the Hurricane or any other real bad weather, why not haul the sails, tie everthing down good, and go below deck and ride er' out?



Homeport: AL. Go to Top of Page

stmbtwle

RO# 7934

Posted - May 25 2009 :  07:40:04  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
"So in the Hurricane or any other real bad weather, why not haul the sails, tie everthing down good, and go below deck and ride er' out?"

Ultimately that's the ONLY real choice. When the winds get high enough the sails, rigging and crew simply can't handle the forces involved. TRYING to sail in those conditions will probably just beat you up even worse (probably why people panic). The engine is pretty much useless, so you end up riding it out one way or another (lots of arguments as to which way is best).

Human nature though wants to be "in control" and when not, that "helpless" feeling is more than some folks can deal with.


Willie: Look Ma no paddle!

Homeport: Tampa Bay, FL Go to Top of Page

pdecat

RO# 842



Posted - May 25 2009 :  11:20:24  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
People describe being in a small boat while out of control in a bad storm as like being inside a washing machine. Control is the key and direction, heaving to, lying ahull and sea anchors are about the only options.
Power boats have only the sea anchor as an option.


Bruce



Homeport: Gulf Coast FL Go to Top of Page

Thudpucker

RO# 10503



Posted - May 25 2009 :  16:51:32  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This show didnt mention a Sea Anchor. That might have been a good thing to do.
Can you imagine the ride that guy (Richard) took when the boat rolled and he was tetherd to the helm?
How about if he was still there when it pitchpoled? Holy smokes!
I'm not surprised the 'D' Ring broke open. He was probably already dead when that happend though. Beaten to death by his own Sailboat.
Why didnt he go down below with her?



Homeport: AL. Go to Top of Page

synchronicity

RO# 21591

Posted - Jun 19 2009 :  22:27:35  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have pitchpoled a Hobie 16 in a S/W Colorado
summer storm with my crew and I both trapped
out on the wire. An unbelievable feeling to
be launched in that manner. Thank God we were
young - early 30's - and slightly drunk.
Also that the shore was far enough away that
we could get the mast up from full turtle
before drifting ashore.



Homeport: Cow Canyon, Colorado Go to Top of Page

thataway4

RO# 10872

Posted - Aug 06 2009 :  20:21:56  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
"So in the Hurricane or any other real bad weather, why not haul the sails, tie everthing down good, and go below deck and ride er' out?"--and the mention of a sea anchor. The better answer is a Jordan Series Drogue--a set of multiple small "sea anchors"--which are trailed off the stern. This keeps the stern to the seas (a proper ocean crossing sailboat has a very strong underbody aft, and stern, as well as being built so that she can take seas from aft.

In beam seas the boat may roll over. Pitch poling occurs when the height of the sea is greater than the Length waterline of the boat, and the breaking waves allow the stern to pitch over the bow, as it trips. The Jordan series drogues help to prevent pitch polling and do not allow the boat to be beam to the seas.

In one of our Atlantic Crossings, we had 6 days of wind in excess of 65 knots and seas over 45 feet (documented)--yet survived with miminal damage to the boat. There were 2 similar boats which were within VHF range, and their experience was similar. Several other boats were lost in that storm. They were smaller, and I am not sure if they used similar tactics. The Jordan drogue was not common, so I didn't have that option. I set a small storm jib forward, (200 sq feet of sail in a vessel where we carried 1200 feet of working sail, and up to 2200 sq feet of sail off the wind). I also kept the engine ticking over at 800 to 1000 RPM, to keep a constant flow of water over the rudder. This allowed the auto pilot to keep us on a course where we were taking the seas about 120 degrees (from the aft quarter). We did put the mast in the water once, but never was there any threat to the boat. (It was 62 feet LOA, and weight 35 tons, with 10 tons of ballast.

The deck has to be entirely secure--we rarely went on deck (only when our labrador retirever had to go to the bathroom--twice a day). We had a strong pilot house, with the rest of the deck flush. The biggest problem in these conditions is getting rest. The motion was severe and there was a lot of moise. Despite 3 staterooms, and two saloons, there was only one bunk which was safe and semi comfortable--in the lower saloon, with a lee cloth which narrowed the bunk to only 24" and one could wedge in. The other person stood watch from the pilot house. We had the radar on, radios on, (both SSB and VHF) and Sat Nav (before GPS).

A sea anchor is to keep the bow into the waves. This allows the boat to drift slowy backward--no control over where the boat is going, and subjecting the boat to more forces, than running with it. For a respite in rough weather, in a power boat, or drifting at night to get some rest when fishing offshore, I am sure a Sea Anchor has its place in some boats.

Yes, I have launched off a trapeze--and it is a much different feeling than a 45 foot wave crashing on the boat!


Bob Austin

Homeport: FL Go to Top of Page

arborman

RO# 31680

Posted - Aug 24 2009 :  14:09:19  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I spent a few years on trawlers off the west coast of BC, and can say without hesitation that I would rather be in a heavy storm in a sailboat any day.




Homeport: BC Go to Top of Page

Capt. Art

RO# 25924

Posted - Aug 24 2009 :  15:55:06  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by stmbtwle

Most powerboats (trawlers excepted) don't carry the fuel to ride out a serious storm at sea.



I hold 800 gallons. If I slow down (not my usual 25 knots cruise) to 11 knots I'd have well over 40+ hours of fuel at that speed or 250 hours at 5.5 knots. A day cruiser is not the normal powerboat to compare a sailboat to? Any powerboat of size built to actually go anyplace will have an ample fuel supply to ride out a storm.



Edited by - Capt. Art on Aug 24 2009 16:03:23

Homeport: Staten Island, NY Go to Top of Page

stmbtwle

RO# 7934

Posted - Aug 24 2009 :  17:10:55  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Sorry Art, but I wouldn't want to encounter a serious storm with "only" 40 hours of fuel, I've been hove to longer than that and still had to get to my destination.

MOST powerboats aren't really built to "go" anywhere, just roar up and down the ICW. However MANY small sailboats have actually crossed oceans, took whatever weather they encountered in the process and survived to brag about it later http://www.microcruising.com/famoussmallboats.htm . The list of powerboats is pretty short (I can't even find it) though I know it's been done Link


Willie: Look Ma no paddle!

Edited by - stmbtwle on Aug 24 2009 17:40:13

Homeport: Tampa Bay, FL Go to Top of Page

Capt. Art

RO# 25924

Posted - Aug 24 2009 :  18:08:24  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
At 5.5 knots it's 250 hours? All we are talking about is riding out a storm. You're not going to take 40 hours let alone 250 hours to ride it out. Getting anyplace is another topic. Maybe I'll take a raft if I'm in no hurry. :)


Homeport: Staten Island, NY Go to Top of Page

vriceflyer

RO# 18518

Posted - Aug 24 2009 :  18:10:11  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The sailboat in the "Perfect Storm" was a Westsail 32. It eventually blew up on a Maryland or New Jersey beach. The owner had it towed to sea and he sailed it on down to the Islands. Look up the S/V SATORI.


2001 340 Searay Sundancer

Homeport: Shreveport, LA Go to Top of Page

stmbtwle

RO# 7934

Posted - Aug 24 2009 :  21:14:13  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
OK Art your big speedboat may have the fuel capacity to ride out most storms, and maybe even enough left over to actually get home; but it certainly wouldn't be my first choice for a seagoing boat. I'll still take a sailboat or a "trawler".



Willie: Look Ma no paddle!

Edited by - stmbtwle on Aug 24 2009 21:16:00

Homeport: Tampa Bay, FL Go to Top of Page

Capt. Art

RO# 25924

Posted - Aug 24 2009 :  22:49:00  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by stmbtwle

OK Art your big speedboat may have the fuel capacity to ride out most storms, and maybe even enough left over to actually get home; but it certainly wouldn't be my first choice for a seagoing boat. I'll still take a sailboat or a "trawler".





On that we do agree.



Homeport: Staten Island, NY Go to Top of Page
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