Friday, 29 May 2015

Sailing in a stormy weather

Sailing in a stormy weather requires a very different set of discipline than when one is looking to sail in calm weather. Storm sails have their very own challenges and most sailors who limit themselves to inland and coastal waters will not experience critical stormy weather conditions where winds of 40 knots plus speeds are the norm.

This is also accompanied by huge waves that go as high as 20 to 30 feet. During such heavy weather, items like parachute anchors, drogues and warps can be critical in escaping the harshness of the sea and surviving the rough tides.

The different variables that play a major role in bad weather include wind speed, wave direction, wave height, length of boat, direction of boat and the set of sails.
Before actually heading out from the sheltered waters, you should be well aware of your own as well as your boat’s limits. While keel boats are designed to withstand strong winds, they can still fall short of their effectiveness when they have to face a combination of high wind and high water.

If you are carrying a crew, then make sure that they are well acquainted with the location of all the safety gears. They should also be instructed on how to use them.
The various safety gears that are used in stormy weather conditions include flares, PFD’s, fire extinguishers, flashlights, horn, life ring, life raft, throwing lines and safety harnesses.

Check the condition of your VHF radio to see if it’s working properly. You should also let others know how to operate it and make sure that they are wearing their PFD's, foul weather gears and personal locators. The crew should also know how to use jack lines and should fasten their save harness before they actually step onto the deck.

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