What do you do when you are sailing offshore and you find yourself in a storm? How can you deal with storms so you don't break expensive gear and people don't get hurt? Storm management for cruisers is mostly common sense and is within the ability of ordinary people who venture offshore in seaworthy yachts.
Storm management is all about energy management.
Large storms have lots of energy, and you need to learn how to deal safely with all that energy if you want to stay out of harms way. Storm management is actually energy management. If the energy in a storm gets transferred to your yacht - coupled to your sailboat - then you have to safely dissipate all that energy so that nothing bad happens. Most people don't understand the physics of storms and how they couple energy to your yacht.
The basic concept is this: A storm contains massive amounts of energy, but if you don't let that energy climb on board your yacht, you will fare well during a storm. Conversely, if you sail in an uncontrolled and dangerous manner allowing the storm to couple its destructive energy to your yacht, then don't be surprised if you or your yacht are hurt ...
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The thought of sailing at night frightened me until I actually did it. I never sailed offshore at night before I started our circumnavigation. Daytime sailing wasn't a problem; it was nocturnal hobgoblins that stirred up fear.
When we were children, one of the first fears we conquered was fear of the dark. Nevertheless, people who haven't been afraid of the dark for fifty years sometimes go catatonic when they sail offshore at night. They simply can't bear the thought of sailing into the inky blackness.
For those of you overwhelmed by fear, there's good news. Sailing at night is easier and more comfortable than sailing in the day - at least that's the way it is on Exit Only, and here's some reasons why.
1. It dark outside, and it's easier to fall asleep when you're off watch.
2. Your bunk is cooler after the hot tropical sun goes down, You might even need to use a sheet to keep warm.
3. We slow the boat down at night so the ride is more comfortable. There's less bouncing around to cope with than in the daytime when we sail with more intensity ...
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Most storms at sea are not survival storms, and you don't need to put out a parachute sea anchor or use a Jordan Series Drogue to survive. What you need is help controlling your yacht in non-survival conditions.
Even though most yachts don't experience survival storms, many still get out of control and broach because they sail in an uncontrolled manner. These yachts need something to slow them down and impart directional stability to their vessel to remain in control in bad weather.
On Exit Only, we use an ABBOTT DROGUE constructed of materials that are readily available on board. We don't need to get out the Series Drogue because the ABBOTT DROGUE HAS ENOUGH POWER to control our 39 foot catamaran in winds up to fifty knots. In our eleven year circumnavigation we never had winds in excess of fifty knots, and we never had to use our Series Drogue ...
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