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Wave size - what are the effects?
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Author:  leecea [ Mon Aug 31, 2015 9:19 am ]
Post subject:  Wave size - what are the effects?

My wife and I have sailed twice on a nearby bay, when swells were at 2' according to Windfinder. We're used to calm waters at a small lake. We got tossed around but managed it.

I was hoping to try again this Sat but Windfinder is predicting around 12 knots of wind and 3.5' to 4' waves. To me, that sound like big waves for such a small boat. I'm worried that we'd be digging the bow in, get thrown all over the place, and having a hard time controlling the boat. But I don't really know.

Any advice on what a Wave, with about 300lbs of people weight, would be like in those conditions? Thanks.

Author:  tradisrad [ Mon Aug 31, 2015 9:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Wave size - what are the effects?

Are you talking wind swells or ocean swells? I find that the wind swell are brutal as they are so close together that as soon as I cross one the bows bury into the next. the bigger cats cruise right through them.

Now ocean swells are far more fun, but they too can lead to the bow burying. We were out yesterday with 3-4' swells and when sailing into the swells we would crest it then the bows buried on the back side. We were never any where near capsizing or pitch-pole, but we got soaked and had a good time. The wife was captain and if I was captain the sailing may have been a bit more perilous. :D

Author:  leecea [ Mon Aug 31, 2015 1:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Wave size - what are the effects?

Are you talking wind swells or ocean swells?

I'm sorry - I don't know :? It's whatever Windfinder reports. It's in a bay, so probably wind related. In fact they are forecasting high winds starting Friday AM with Friday wave heights going from 1.3' to 5.5', I assume because of the high winds all day. Things calm down on Sat, with wind and wave predictions slowly going down. By mid-afternoon Sat, they are now saying around 4' with winds 12-14 mph.

Most likely that's too much for us :(

Author:  imfsub12 [ Mon Aug 31, 2015 4:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Wave size - what are the effects?

I went out in the wave in 20 to 25 kts and I think the waves must of been about 4 to 5 feet. These wave are like every 2 to 3 seconds.
I went with a experienced hobie that has a tiger cat .. and tell you the truth I had fun and the life frequed out of me at the same time.

The wave was great in it. We didn't flip it or anything but he told me exactly what to do. But no I know not to sail in that.

I'm on lake winnipeg in manitoba and we have a big body of water.

I know when I have about 15 + kts and waves I need a second person to help keep the boat from flipping.

But it's a blast.

Sent from my SM-G920W8 using Tapatalk

Author:  SabresfortheCup [ Tue Sep 01, 2015 9:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Wave size - what are the effects?

Like others said, it depends on the waves. If you're on the ocean, where the waves have a deeper body of water and a longer fetch (or length of open water to build over), the waves are usually further apart and more gently sloped. If you're on a smaller lake or bay with a shorter fetch and shallower depth, the waves tend to be closer together and steeper. However, it's all relative to what you've experienced before and what your comfort level is. If 2' was manageable, 3' would probably be okay, but 4' might be a handful. I've found that my 18 handles waves very well, with plenty of forward buoyancy to ride up over the waves rather than dig in to them, but the wave is a very different boat.

I'd suggest you go down and take a look at conditions that morning, and decide if the wind and the waves seem too much for your experience level, or if you'd like to chance it. Keep an eye on the forcast - if it'll be building winds and waves, maybe hold off. If it's supposed to be steady or slowly subsiding, maybe it's worth a shot. Note that rough water and light winds make for a very slow going and frustrating time on the water, however. Do you know of any power boaters in the area that could come to your rescue if the conditions prove too strong for you, or if your wind dies off?

Author:  leecea [ Tue Sep 01, 2015 7:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Wave size - what are the effects?

Thanks for the thoughtful advice. Unfortunately I don't know anyone in the area, though there are usually other boats and PWCs running around. I think I'll do what you suggest and go take a look. At least that will give me an idea of what different conditions look like and how other small boats are managing. I doubt I'll go out unless the forecast changes.

Author:  Gordo Bagley [ Sat Jan 02, 2016 11:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Wave size - what are the effects?

There is work involved. There is nominal expense as well to tune the boat for sailing in big winds and windchop. Trial and error have been an instructor and this is the best I can offer in the way of advice.

To sail cleanly through most chop single handed requires MAST RAKE! The standard setup powers the bows downward in the upper wind ranges. The boat sails extremely well in flat water, but without mast rake it is unpleasant and punchy in windchop. I set my mast rake so that when the sail is raised and downhaul is hard on, the clew is at most about 13" above the crossbar. This requires a different mainsheet system since fiddle blocks supplied will not allow enough sheet tension when the blocks are fully pulled together. I installed a 6:1 H16 system reeved 4:1 to mitigate this problem. Also, removing the cleat on the lower ratchet block was a game changer. If you are a cleater, you will not have enough time in a hard puff to uncleat and release going over. Therefore, handholding the mainsheet allows immediate release.

You will have to determine how much shorter your shrouds should be to keep the standing rig snug to avoid any danger of the mast jumping the step. An additional chain plate at the forestay/bridle connection is necessary to arrive at this mast rake setting on most boats. Then you can determine what length to order your shorter shrouds.

Lastly, when you sail the new rig, you should notice marked improvement in performance. The key is to seat yourself as far back as possible when under sail in windchop with the improved rig. The boat may still bounce some, but with practice the boat can actually sail smooth in heavy windchop from winds around 15-25. I do it all the time. Gear up as you will get splashed. Have sailed in squalls with 5-6' wind wave faces to weather a couple of times. This rig brought me back safely. I'm now devoid of all fear sailing year round at Lake Mead, Nevada. It is one of the most treacherous lakes. The Wave was made for it! :lol: :o

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