Tactics and Navigation in Heavy Weather

In Chapter 10 we considered the main survival options open to the average yacht caught in deep water by weather of sufficient severity to demand a change of voyage plan. To recap, these were heaving to, lying a'hull, running off and working to weather under power-assisted sail. Which, if any, of these you choose to adopt on a given occasion will depend upon your position in relation to land, or any other relevant danger, the type of craft you are sailing, and the strength of your crew.

At the onset of heavy weather at sea, or as soon as it is forecast, you should make sure your plot is systematic and up-to-date and that your position is well-defined. There are then two main options: stay at sea, or seek shelter. The questions to ask when it becomes clear that a change of plan is necessary, either for reasons of safety or to avoid the extreme unpleasantness of being at sea in a gale, are these: 'Can I bring the yacht safely to a suitable haven either before conditions become heavy, or in conditions as they may develop? If I succeed, can I negotiate the entrance, and will a snug berth await me after I have done so?

Should all the answers be 'yes', there is no need for further heart-searching. Sail into shelter. If the response is either 'no', or 'I'm not sure', you must stay at sea and either press on regardless, or adopt a survival tactic.

If shelter lies to windward and you have the power to work up to it under sail, motor, or both, your situation is not at all grave. Always bear in mind, however, that you may be in for a wind shift. There are a number of harbour entrances on the south coast of England, for example, which arc secure with the weather coming from west of south, but as soon as it begins to hook round southeasterly, they become death-traps, especially on an ebbing tide.

You must be far more circumspect if running to leeward to cscape worsening conditions. It takes no imagination to realise that a narrow entrance with a storm blowing straight into it, with seas to match, is to be avoided. Any lee short-should be treated with the greatest possible respect, but there are often areas where a broad deep entrance will lead you to a corner you can safely work round so as to find shelter. Sometimes it is acceptable to approach the extreme end of a long lee shoreline, knowing that a protected roadstead lies behind it. There arc all sorts of circumstances in which you can run or broad reach to cscape staying at sea, but all must be viewed dispassionately in the light of a developing 'worst case scenario'.

Clip-on in hard weather, even if you feel safe inside the cockpit.
How To Have A Perfect Boating Experience

How To Have A Perfect Boating Experience

Lets start by identifying what exactly certain boats are. Sometimes the terminology can get lost on beginners, so well look at some of the most common boats and what theyre called. These boats are exactly what the name implies. They are meant to be used for fishing. Most fishing boats are powered by outboard motors, and many also have a trolling motor mounted on the bow. Bass boats can be made of aluminium or fibreglass.

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