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PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2017 4:43 am 
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Curious how much wind/chop is too much to sail safely?

I know a lot depends on the Captain but is there a consensus or rating for it.

Another way of asking is when does it stop being fun too :)

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2017 Tandem Island in Red. Lake sailing/kayaking in NH only.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2017 4:49 am 
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Guess I should have searched first.

https://www.hobie.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=71&t=58514

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2017 6:49 am 
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Just keep in mind that few of us, except the most daring, hard core thrill seekers, choose to go out in winds over 25-30+ mph. However, many, if not most of us, have found ourselves in those conditions after the weather unexpectedly and quickly deteriorated.

Just last week I was on a nice 20 mile sail on a day where the NOAA marine weather forecast was "Partly Sunny Skies, 80-85 degrees, and light and variable winds with waves less than a foot", 5% chance of precipitation. It was a beautiful day and I was having a great time. I was in a bay about five miles from the dock when I noticed massive black clouds gathering over the mountains, never a good sign. So I decided to head back asap.

Within about 15 minutes the winds picked up to about 20 mph and I needed to head into them to get out of the bay. I close-hauled into the winds as best I could but was only making about 2 mph due to the currents. So I fired up the Torqeedo and managed about 3-4 mph into the wind and currents, enough to get me out of the bay and into the broad water. At this point, without the protection of the bay, all hell broke loose and I was now in a major thunderstorm with winds at 25 mph gusting to 30-35 mph and waves from 3-5 feet. These were the worst conditions I had yet faced on the TI in the three seasons I've owned it. I could see that even the larger sail and power boats were struggling to get to safety.

I quickly furled the sail to about a third, which wasn't easy even facing into the wind because the sails were flapping wildly. It took a lot of effort while being tossed about. Now, turning into a beam reach to go the remaining 3 miles to the dock, the boat took off like it was possessed. I was flying and for a few minutes it was thrilling, at least until a wind gust of about 30-35 mph nearly flipped me over. I was at a 45 degree tilt and teetering. Untied down items started falling out of the boat. I quickly turned into the wind, leaned as best I could and waited. Lucky for me the boat decided to come back down. If I overturned in those conditions there was no way I would have time to try to right the boat. The wind and waves would have quickly dashed me and the boat to a nearby cliff. I would have had to try to swim for a safe shore which would have not been easy. I really don't want to even think about it.

Enough was enough, I furled the sail completely and used the Torqeedo to head for the nearest safe shore. I landed shook up, completely soaked, and shivering in the downpour, but alive. Just an hour ago I was lying on the tramps soaking up the sun having a great time. How did this happen so quickly, without any warning?

The only reason I'm relating this account is that anyone in a "small craft", to use NOAA's nomenclature, has to be acutely aware that at any time an unpredicted storm can come out of nowhere and you have to be prepared, especially if you have passengers, and extra especially if they are children. You need to have the knowledge and equipment on hand to get to safety quickly. In retrospect, I should have not tried for the dock, I should have put to shore inside the bay before the storm made conditions nearly impossible except for the most experienced and fearless sailors. I thought I could make it back to the dock but almost lost the boat and possibly my life for being over confident. So, even after three seasons of ownership, I still have a lot to learn about the capabilities and the limitations of both the TI and myself.

My best advice to anyone with the TI is if you find yourself in adverse conditions, get to shore asap before conditions exceed your and/or your boat's capabilities.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2017 9:44 am 
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I sail my '17 AI in the Chesapeake Bay where winds are shifty and chop can be aggressive.
For me, I feel the boat loses agility over 15 knots in the Chesapeake's whitecaps.

Yes.
You can trim the sail, but what happens is the leeward aka just buries and you find yourself pushing through waves rather than gliding on top.

I've never had the experience of higher winds in protected flat waters.
We've all watched the videos of Island pilots claiming to be in 20k+ and the water is close to flat.
That looks like a lot of fun.


Two weeks ago I went out in what was forecast 12-15 (perfect!) but a squall suddenly came up.
I've never in my life been out in such conditions.
I believe wind was gusting toward 30 and the rolling waves had to be 5-6 feet.
I felt like I wished I had a seat belt.
I'm reasonably skilled, but quickly concluded "nope."

Reefed to about 50% and high-tailed it to shore safely.

Now, I don't bother going out if the forecast is more than 15-18, because I know the gusts will be higher.
Call me a wussie if you will, but I'm staying alive.

Best wishes.
- Doug

PS: Remember, your vessel is held together with rubber bands and nylon bolts.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2017 12:42 pm 
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douglasflather wrote:

PS: Remember, your vessel is held together with rubber bands and nylon bolts.


So true...

I am in the a cove off the Chesapeake and 10-15 is my limit and i stay no more than a half mile from shore when kids are on.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 7:55 am 
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I've been in 17-20 with 3-4 ft; it was work to keep the boat headed in a safe position; it was not fun and we couldn't make much of any headway anywhere closer than a beam.

I don't think I would intentionally go out for fun in anything more that 15 knots and ~3 ft of seas.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 8:38 am 
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Location: Chalfont Pa
Huge factor is your idea of fun, and the temperature of the water. I love getting a chest high wave when it is 90, not so much when cloudy and 70. But we have found 10-15 to be ideal with gusts to 25 to give the occasional pucker moment. We will sheet out and bear off in the puffs, wish the hull would plane like a laser.
What everyone says is true about reefing too. Going upwind in heavy air reefing is just as fast and much dryer. Plus it is so easy you can fine tune on any tack. You have the '17. which has much better bow shape than the older boats. My '14 would submarine main and lee side hulls in puffs, my '16 takes them like a champ.
So go out and play, learn the boat and your comfort zone. Use a weather app like windfinders with an hour by hour summary of wind to see what you sailed in that day.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 5:19 pm 
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quattroguy wrote:
Huge factor is your idea of fun, and the temperature of the water. I love getting a chest high wave when it is 90, not so much when cloudy and 70. But we have found 10-15 to be ideal with gusts to 25 to give the occasional pucker moment. We will sheet out and bear off in the puffs, wish the hull would plane like a laser.
What everyone says is true about reefing too. Going upwind in heavy air reefing is just as fast and much dryer. Plus it is so easy you can fine tune on any tack. You have the '17. which has much better bow shape than the older boats. My '14 would submarine main and lee side hulls in puffs, my '16 takes them like a champ.
So go out and play, learn the boat and your comfort zone. Use a weather app like windfinders with an hour by hour summary of wind to see what you sailed in that day.


I’ve been using Storm on iOS which gives a nice graph of intensity and direction. It has been pretty reliable. Based on Weather Underground Data. I’ll check out Windfinders.

Went out today for the first time. Very light winds (8 mph). Good to get a feel of things.
It did better than I expected in light wind.

My wife was very happy. Dogs went too later in the day on the tramps but almost no wind by then.

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2017 Tandem Island in Red. Lake sailing/kayaking in NH only.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:09 am 
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Location: Pula - Sardinia
Personally I am not the one who like the speed and adrenaline. My favourite wind is around 10 knots. For this reason i usually avoid to go out when the forecast says 20 or more also because in the middle of the days, in summer, in the Mediterranean, the thermical difference between sea and land can increase the wind speed of +10 knots.
because of these thermical winds sometimes I found myself into "unpredicted" 25 knots and i managed it quite safely furling and peddling.
but honestly i dont like it.
I should say that with more than 25 i should immedialy go to the closest beach or not move from there if i am already there.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:24 am 
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@ Use a weather app like windfinders

Greatest app ever.


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