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Author Topic:   Montauk Adventure!!
compounder posted 06-04-2001 11:24 PM ET (US)   Profile for compounder   Send Email to compounder  
I seldom venture out of the ICW and creeks and rivers surrounding my home, but was invited to accompany a friend to his "fishing hole" about 20 miles offshore.

When we left home, it was, of course a beautiful morning and glass water. I was in my Montauk powered by the new (23 hours) Yamaha c-90 and he in a very nice 23 ft.Key West Walk around cuddy powered by a 200 hp Johnson.

Sure enough,soon after we arrived,a dark cloud loomed on the horizon. The forecast was for a 20 % chance of scattered thunderstorms. We headed back immediately, but the Atlantic was soon building some awesome swells. I don't know how big, but would guess 8-9 ft. All I know is that at the bottom of the trough all I could see was water. I had a tough time getting at the right speed to ride the rollers. I wanted to go fast, but found that I was launching off the top and hitting the bottom pretty hard. Slowed down and started enjoying the ride until I somehow managed to bury the bow in the next swell. We came out the other side, but had taken on quite a bit of water. No problem. The bilge pump was rapidly getting rid of it. My wife was getting a little p*ssed at this point, but was glad she was in a Whaler.

We made it home safely, but a bit wet. Just as we pulled up to our dock lightning started popping nearby and pouring rain and hail pelted us.

Did I learn anything? Yes. First and foremost I'm very glad I own a Boston Whaler.
Secondly, I think I will stay closer to home in the future!


hauptjm posted 06-05-2001 09:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
Third: always check the weather! I think you are o.k. in the right conditions to be 20 miles out with another boat(assuming you trust the other skipper). However, you should always know the conditions (or potential conditions) you may be faced with. Point in case, I would NEVER venture out 20 miles in my 18OR with my 2 year old on board, Never. I would with the right crew and a decent forecast in a NY second.
triblet posted 06-05-2001 10:08 AM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
The National Weather Service Coastal and
Marine Forecasts provide a passable
indication (forecasting is still an imprecise
science) of what today and tomorrow will be
like. These are available on the web via
our local NWS office's website, and on your

The Navy's Fleet Numerical Meteorology and
Oceanography Center (FNMOC, aka Fleet
Numerical) does a six day prediction

In California, we have state-funded products
at the Scripps Institute Coastal Data
Information Program (CDIP, "Sea-dip"): .

My rule is that I won't go out in over 9'
swells, and 7'+ finds me diving Monterey Bay.
But the wind waves are a bigger problem, esp.
in a Montauk. 3' wind waves are bumpy, 6'
REALLY scary because they start breaking,
and you don't want one to break and dump
right into the boat. Even one foot can make
you slow down below planing speed if it's
a real short interval.

As I said, forecasting is an imprecise
science. If you get caught out in stuff
bigger than you planned, be conservative
about when to turn for home, and SLOW DOWN,
and watch the waves. You can steer around
the nastier ones.

More info, especially for the Central and
Norcal folks at


Clark Roberts posted 06-05-2001 10:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
The weather knows no quarter and will ring your chimes even in small inland lakes... back in the early 70's I was crossing Lake George (near DeLand, Fla.) headed south in a 1966 Whaler 13 with a Merc 450 (40hp) and the weather was typical for Fla. in July with puffy white clouds and very hot. There was one very small dark cloud ahead that suddenly blocked out the sun and tornadic winds whipped up the 10'deep waters into 10' waves and heavy rain... boat filled with water, cushions and tackle box went overboard and all I could do was to try to steer boat into waves... as suddenly as it started the storm stopped and the sun was shining again. I tested the whaler add about water draining out by hammering the engine and slowly the boat moved forward and most of the water ran out over the transom and suddenly I was on plane and the boat was dry! Half an hr later I pulled into a marina and mentioned the storm etc.. and the reply was, "what storm". Lesson learned here is that "all weather is local" and the best plans can end in bad weather so keep a sharp eye on conditions and plan for the worst. Happy Whalin'.. Clark ... The Old Man and the Sea
lhg posted 06-05-2001 01:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
With today's technology, TV's and Computers, it's much easier to stay out of trouble. I always check several different forecasts before going out, including noaa weather. TV & computer radar screens, and satellite photos are also of great value.

But still, learn to watch the sky, and know what various cloud formations, colors, etc mean. Learn what a develpoing thunderhead looks like! Also know what various wind directions mean. This can be an early clue to impending trouble.

whalernut posted 06-05-2001 05:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalernut  Send Email to whalernut     
I will agree with all of the fellows comments and I rely on everything I can when challenging Lake Erie, flat now- 10 footers in minutes and they are very close together, if not careful Lake Erie will throw you around like a toothpick! Regards-Jack Graner.
simonmeridew posted 06-05-2001 08:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for simonmeridew  Send Email to simonmeridew     
What seamanship techniques did you use when the waves started getting big, 8-10 feet; did you quarter into the seas, or keep waves astern. How did you decide what speed to travel? What do you think happened when the green water came in? too fast, or what? Did you constantly have to steer to maintain your heading?

Just trying to learn all I can. Forewarned is forearmed.

JimU posted 06-06-2001 09:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for JimU  Send Email to JimU     
Does anyone know of seamanship courses or workshops that might help learn how to andle bad weather and rough seas in case you get caught in a bad situation--I know an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure but just in case. . .
Macman posted 06-06-2001 06:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for Macman  Send Email to Macman     
JimU....I took the Power Squadron course, which was a good start. I then found someone willing to go on a couple of trips with me ( a Maine Maritime grad) for a real life application. There may be people in your area who would love to go out for a day and share their wisdom. If I had the opportunity, I would take Clark, LHG, or Triblet! Those guys know their s*&t!
compounder posted 06-06-2001 06:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for compounder  Send Email to compounder     
Simon I don't think you can learn a whole lot from my experience. I have no real seamanship training, just the USPS Basic Boating Course and almost 50 years on inshore experience.

I adjusted speed by the seat of my pants....just tried to be safe & comfortable.
The waves were headed due west, as was I. I was real concerned about one breaking over my stern, but that never happened. I don't know what I did to make the boat penetrate into the back of a swell, it seemed beyond my control at the moment.

At no time did we feel that we were in grave danger. It was actually rather stimulating and exciting....not that I would really want to do it again though!

I had checked two weather reports before we left and listened a couple of times on the VHF weather channel. Unfortunately, in this area this time of year, it's almost always "slight chance of afternoon and evening thunderstorms." If I waited for a "perfect" forecast before I went boating, I would not go out many days a year.

The real point of my original post was not just that we encountered bad weather, but that the Montauk was confidence-inspiring after we did. I'd say I must have had 50 to 60 gallons of water in the boat and she still seemed absolutely seaworthy. I was thinking "thank God for foam-filled hulls."


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