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Author Topic:   Following Seas
jimh posted 01-01-2002 11:48 PM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
I think there is a general tendency to equate "good ride" characteristic in boats primarily with how they behave when smashing into big waves on the bow when running into head seas.

Certainly that condition does occur with some frequency--like every time I've ever been on Lake Michigan--but it is by no means the only situation where you could be in danger from large waves.

More thought out to be given to how the boat performs in large following seas. Finding yourself in this situation is also quite likely, especially when a really large storm is brewing.

Most truly large waves end up on the lee shore and are waves coming ashore. And it is near the shore that the waves build to the greatest height. If you have been offshore boating and a storm comes up, there is a high probability you will be heading back to the shore with a following sea.

Nobody leaves from shore and goes to sea when there are really big waves rolling in, unless you are into thrill-seeking or intentional discomfort.

I would also like to point out two rather famous sinkings in storms in which the vessels were caught in a large following sea.

The first is the EDMUND FITZGERALD sinking. She was running on a course SE along the eastern shore of Lake Superior with gale force winds from the NW and 30-foot waves rolling down the lake behind her. The best explanation of how she went down (that I have heard) is that a series of large waves rolled through her, flooding her decks and putting so much water aboard that she drove her bow under as the water accumulated on her foredeck.

Another boat to go missing in a big following sea was the ANDREA GALE of "The Perfect Storm" book and movie. It is not exactly spelled out, but she was heading SW toward Gloucester with very large following seas coming from the northeast. I know in the movie they show her taking a wave on the bow, but her general direction of travel was with the waves, not against them.

In my own experience, one of the scariest moments in boating for me was some years back while running downwind in the North Channel with 8-10 foot following seas. Although the ride was not as uncomfortable as banging into them would have been, it took a great deal of attention to the helm to keep the boat from broaching when surfing down the wave fronts. (This was in a sailboat.)

An I have heard many stories about "running the inlet" when returning from sea with big following waves. A few situations when coming off Lake Michigan have given me just a hint of how exciting boat handling can be in that situation.

I mention all this because good handling in a following sea is one definite attribute of the classic Whaler hull forms. They all seem to behave very properly in waves coming from the stern. The triple keels of the main hull and runners work to create good tracking and the boat does not seem to want to bow steer at all.

The knife-like bow and deep vee of other designs may enhance the ride going to weather, but they may make for miserable handling downwind.

FISHNFF posted 01-02-2002 01:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for FISHNFF  Send Email to FISHNFF     
Very true. The best riding boat should have the best of both. My 22 Grady with the SeaV2 hull will do WOT into anything up to about 6 or 7' with a ride you can actually sit down on, but scares me in a big swell following sea. Conversely I could ride just about anything coming from behind my 17 Montauk, but would crawl and pound going into a stiff 3-4' chop. What would be the best Whaler for this test? Maybe we should throw in a beam sea and a quartering sea.
Tsuriki BW posted 01-02-2002 02:15 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tsuriki BW  Send Email to Tsuriki BW     
Very interesting post jimh. I look forward to hearing from others that have larger boats that run in heavy seas.


gunnelgrabber posted 01-02-2002 08:38 AM ET (US)     Profile for gunnelgrabber  Send Email to gunnelgrabber     
that body surfing, out of your hands feel must apply to all sizes of vessels when the wind and waves are big enough..when you're(accidentally?) in front of the crest racing down the front of a wave!'s very elemental with open canoes , 3'-6' waves on big can see it and feel it immediately...when you're out of position.. and may need your swimming skills..truly exhilarating finding your comfort zone..skill level etc...lm
NEVER SCARED posted 01-02-2002 01:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for NEVER SCARED    
I second that! I run through an area called the "Potato Patch". Large swells pass through there and I have a blast running down hill in my 87 outrage. Some how the classic whaler hull is perfect in following seas!

Never scared

Chap posted 01-02-2002 01:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chap  Send Email to Chap     
Ah yes, those wonderful "vestigial runners" of Outrages that non-Whaler folk claim create such a teeth jarring ride. They are right of course, but like when the cumbersome legs of a mammal that crawled into the sea evolved into the sleek fins of a whale, natural selection chose them for a reason. Sure those other deep-v's have great re-entry in a head sea. Boating is a world of trade-offs unless you can have multiple creatures, each to thrive in its own niche. Our 22 runs wonderfully in following seas due to these remnants of a more laterally stable past. It eats our old Shamrock for lunch. Its expensive to lay-up, downward turned chines, tracking true and keeping us dry as we run back into the Barnegat or Manasquan Inlets yaw free. She tends to like to travel on tops of waves if their frequency permits, unique to its kind, and if your fillings are solidly anchored, if you pick your line, she'll play where heavier Regulators, Contenders and Ocean Masters feed at WOT while their masters sip coffee out of household mugs,,,, but they don't feed in the shallows. At rest, I believe I am more comfortable foot for foot due to those remnants and I am a big fan of 3 piece traditionally constructed boats. If it is BIG upon return from the deep blue, as it is even on calm/long frequency days at the inlet's mouth, just hop on the back of a swell. Having already timed the "side sneak" in, paying attention to other species and the swells, you let her take you home safely while paying close attention to the other not so evolved specimens that may impede your progress. Those sweet 3 piecers are yawing, speed matching yours which matches the swell. Of course one could intentionally stuff the bow and broach etc. but common sense usually prevails and the evolution of the hull-form tends to make intentional stupid fun difficult anyway. If she does however happen to end up on the front side of the wrong swell or beach wave for that matter:), surfing gleefully, a little power down and attitude adjustment prove all that is needed to resume safe forward progress.
Any how, Whaler or no Whaler, you have to be smart, know your limitations, wait out traffic occasionally, match speed and direction to the conditions and avoid using too much power in a following sea.
dgp posted 01-02-2002 02:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for dgp  Send Email to dgp     
I recall from my youth, Fire Island Inlet in the 60s was a real snotty mess especially if there was an outgoing tide and the wind was from the East. I remember well one day we were returning from offshore in my dad's 30' single-screw Luhrs; the old kind made of oak and mahogany with a planning hull and a big keel. It was one of those days as described above and the trip through the inlet we had a huge following sea about 15' to 20' trough to crest. I rarely saw my dad nervous but it was obvious this day. Fortunately none of them broke crest and we cautiously rode through that day.
Over the years we were caught in some nasty weather offshore but that boat handled the seas fairly well. It was nowhere near as fast as the Bertrams but the Luhrs was confidence inspiring and we never doubted the boat's seaworthiness.
Tom W Clark posted 01-02-2002 02:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: the Outrage-18 tracks like it's on rails. The 17' (and the 15' and 13') also do very well. While it is possible to stuff a Montauk, I never was able to stuff the 18'. I tried. That hull has almost zero dendency to broach and the smirk does far more than just distinguish the hull as a Whaler. It captures the water that would otherwise be squeezed out in front of the hull and come over the bow. It really is a great design.

It is true that Whalers will pound while going into a sea, but as others have pointed out, it's a trade off. Going down wind and broaching is far more intimidating than bashing into waves. Indeed, the only time I have ever flipped a power boat was while surfing waves and broaching to. I was not in a Whaler.

noswah posted 01-02-2002 03:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimp  Send Email to jimp     
Love those following seas. Two stories.

From 1966-1981 I had a 1963 13' Sport with a 1966 Johnson 33... a mean machine for a 13-yr old. In '69 my dad got a 38' Post sport fisherman on Eastern Long Island. We used to tow the 13-footer everywhere, but sometimes we'd chase the 38 with the Whaler. We were fearless (and likely stupid) in those days. For following seas, we used to tuck the Whaler up under the port quarter of the Post, about one boat length back and surf the big boat's wake, with the Whaler, at 20 knots. You'd take a port bow down attitude, and have to turn slightly away from the wake, but you could cut power to about half throttle. We told dad that it was a great way to save fuel. He asked why we couldn't just tow it. Being fearless, we never shipped water.

Other story with following seas is running a 180-ft U.S. Coast Guard buoy tender from Kodiak, Alaska to Hawaii and back for training in 1990 (2,400 miles). To those on the lakes, your more recent 180s on the lakes are (were) Acacia, Bramble, Mariposa, Sundew, and Mesquite. The trip south was fine, but coming home, we had winds from the east at 35-40 knots and seas 18-20 ft for the first 4 days. The last 5 days were winds from the SW at 45-55 knots and 30-35 ft seas coming in on the port quarter. The buoy tender was approx 1,000 tons, with a round bottom and bilge keels. The ships bell sounds at a 52 degree roll (the clapper hits the bell by itself). Well, the first 4 days we were rolling 40-45 degrees most of the time, but the last 5 days we were often ringing the bell. The last night out, off of Albatross Bank, SE of Kodiak, the winds hit 70-75 knots from the SW, 35-ft seas, 3/4 moon, and partial cloud cover. Wow, what a night! And we arrived in Kodiak the next morning.

dgp posted 01-03-2002 09:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for gunnelgrabber  Send Email to gunnelgrabber     
jimp,...that technique with the 13'Whaler riding a wake?..that's exactly the way ultra serious canoe/kayak racers do it.. beside and behind a lead boat.. .on bow and stern waves ...i'd imagine car racing and maybe even airplanes? can get the same kind of assist?...lm
Dave Murray posted 01-03-2002 09:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for Dave Murray  Send Email to Dave Murray     
Loved JIMP's story of the little 13' whaler- my Dad knew Dick Fisher from a Striped Bass club in the 1950's and purchased one of the first 13' whalers in late 50's ???- I think!!!
I was about 13 and my brother was 15. We painted a huge shark mouth with teeth on the bow and used to run the 33 or 30 hp Johnson with the cover off to increase the noise. (today I hate noise)..The point here is that I thought you couldn't flip them, well you sure can- we used to wait for the big Provincetown to Boston boat to show up at P-town and then spend 3 or 4 miles jumping it's giant wake- the captain went nuts. Well- it didn't take long to screw up and do a half loop in the air that resulted in my brother and I bailing out about 8 feet in the air and the whaler landing upside down. My father was so pissed that he kept the engine off after it was desalted etc and made us use an old 7 HP Elgin outboard for the rest of the summer. Only went about five MPH when we could get it started... I'm 57 now and I've never forgotten the experience- my own son heard the story enough times that I "think" he learned from it...who knows- Boy- what great memories....Dave Murray- SE Mass.
Chap posted 01-03-2002 10:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chap  Send Email to Chap     
Some older salts around here maintain that the older, smaller(18' and under) "sponges" as they called them, tended to flip due to the very features of the hull we hold so dear. Low freeboard, high reserve floatation, light weight, shallow draft and especially the elevated power head weight posed a flipping hazard that is well documented. According to them, under the wrong circumstances, the boat instead of sinking "into" the water, would "float out from underneath itself" and roll around its axis power heads pulling the hull over, flipping.
I've flipped some when young and still love my current "sponge."
JohnAz posted 01-03-2002 10:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for JohnAz  Send Email to JohnAz     
As a youth living on Long Island, though we didn't have the luxury of owning whalers, we did have 8ft long box boats,a flat bottom "racing boat" powered by a Mercury 16hp engine, as kids under 18, we used to go out in the NY harbor shipping channel, and ride the wakes of such boats as the "Queen Elizibath, Queen Mary, and other Ocean liners" Now those were big Wakes, you could almost shut your engine off and ride out to sea. The thing one had to remember is dont use too much fuel going out, because there was no wake to ride home on,
That was a blast and would like to do it again,,even at 62 years of age, still a kid at heart..
Reliant posted 01-03-2002 04:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for Reliant  Send Email to Reliant     
This story has nothing to do with whalers, but does have to do with following seas and how rough Lake Michigan can get. During several summers in College I was lucky enough to work as the captain of a 50-foot flat-bottomed perch/excursion boat. The boat had a single underpowered gas engine. Top speed was 8 miles an hour. She had a giant barn door rudder attached to the oversized wheel with chains, cables and pulleys. Not exactly what you would call no-feedback steering.

One morning, the crew and I and about 20 passengers started out on the usual 5-hour perch fishing trip out to Lake Michigan. I had listened to the weather on the marine radio and the prediction was for clear skies and no wind. As we made our way down the river, the crew and I noticed that all the other fishing boats were making there way back up river. Very unusual at 7:30 in the morning when the norm would be that all the boats would be heading out. One of the fishing boats hailed me and asked if we were really going to go out on the lake. I replied that yes I was going out and what was going on that everyone was heading in since it was a blue sky and no wind. He replied that there must have been a storm up North as the swells were running 15 to 20 feet even though the wind was not blowing here.

I knew I could not just turn around in the river. The owners of the boat would expect me to at least try and get out into the lake before canceling the fishing trip. Well we cleared the channel and the swells were huge. Not breaking mind you, but really tall. The boat had a very high blue water bow and at first things seemed to be going fine. I was heading into them very slowly and the boat was riding over them like some water version of a roller coaster. My mistake was letting the boat accelerate down the backside of the second swell. The bow stuffed into the third swell. I watched in horror as 3 to 4 feet of solid water came over the bow and washed all the passengers and their gear to the back of the boat. Thank goodness nobody went overboard.

At this point the crew yells up, Well that did it. It's unanimous -- The passengers have all had enough and they want to go in. Fine, I had enough too and was more then willing to head home. First problem I had was turning the boat around. The swells were so large that I know that if I did not time it right, the boat would get rolled in the trough. Finally found a set of smaller swells and was able to turn the boat for the channel.

Now the fun really started. With the huge swells as a following sea, each time one would hit that barn door rudder, it would spin the wheel so hard that it would throw me against the wall of the wheelhouse. The first one threw me so hard against the wall that for a moment; I thought my arm was broken. I finally ended up bracing my feet against each wall of the wheelhouse (it was a really small wheelhouse).
I had to hang on with all my strength to keep the boat tracking straight as to not get driven into the wall of the channel. We got in OK. Of coarse, I was covered with sweat and shaking with black and blue arms. Once again, Lake Michigan sent me home with my tail between my legs.

Dave Murray posted 01-04-2002 08:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for Dave Murray  Send Email to Dave Murray     
Wow- love these stories...keep 'em going!!!!
JFM posted 01-04-2002 05:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for JFM  Send Email to JFM     
Dave, here's one for you. 4 years ago I took our Nissan Inflatable to beach at the light house on St. Georges Island (the gulf side) The weather was perfect when we arrived. My wife and daughter went off looking for shells while my son and I fished. The wind really started picking up and the waves were crashing in to the beach. We tried to launch several times but we kept taking them over the top. Finally I had my wife and kids in the boat bailing while I swam it out to the rollers. While in the water I could see in the distance it was getting worse. I started the outboard while still in the water and they pulled me into the boat. We made it back to our place O.K. but that was a big mistake I'll never make again, heading into big waves like that. Regards, Jay P.S. My trunks were already clean by the time they pulled me in.
jimh posted 01-04-2002 10:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
When Salmon were first introduced to Lake Michigan (back in the 1960's) the fall salmon runs the first few years were rather spectacular, and many small boats went out in Lake Michigan in September to catch them. Being on Lake Michigan's open water in September was rather unusual for recreational boaters, as most of the time the smaller boats were all put away shortly after Labor Day. The boaters were not accustomed to the conditions on the big lake, especially the high winds that can come up in the fall.

On one particular Sunday the weather looked fair and a large number of small boats launched at Frankfort and ventured around Point Betsie to fish in the lee of the point. (This was also the release point for the salmon and hence huge numbers of them were returning to spawn.

In the late afternoon a big wind rose from the southwest, and waves rolling up the lake were building to large heights in the open lake.

The fleet of small boats fishing in the bay did not realize how much the conditions were deteriorating as they were partly sheltered by the lee of the point. To get back to the launch ramp they had to round Point Betsie and come south along the coast a couple of miles to the Frankfort harbor entrance.

The situation grew increasingly worse, the waves building, the skies darkening, the fishermen trying to get off the lake. Several hundred small boats were trapped into having to make progress upwind about two miles into very large waves. The results were tragic.

The greatest problem came when the boats turned downwind to come to the inlet. The boaters were not familiar with handling their boats in large following seas, and many boats capsized, with the unfortunate result that about a dozen or more people drowned. Some of these capsizing happened just a few hundred feet from shore.

Many boaters gave up on trying to reach the inlet and just turned and ran their boats ashore. (The lake has beautiful sand beaches in that stretch on coast.) The locals and other boaters were on the beaches, often with trucks, pulling boats up on the beach above the surf line. But if a boat capsized in the following seas they were powerless to help. A number of people drowned just a hundred feet from shore.

The situation was so bad that it prompted a big investigation by the Coast Guard about the practice of issuing Small-Craft warnings. There was a Small-Craft warning in effect that afternoon, but it was not issued until after most of the fishermen had launched (early in the morning) and were already out fishing.

The point, again, is that the greatest danger to the boaters
occurred in the following seas situation. Most of them made it
slowly upwind in the big waves, but then capsized when running

After this event, many fishermen also became aware of the conditions that could blow up on the lake and made better judgments about what size boat they should use when fishing for Salmon on Lake Michigan.

JohnAz posted 01-04-2002 11:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnAz  Send Email to JohnAz     
Again it's not a whaler but an Evinrude Sweet 16, Cathedral hull design, 75hp v4 Evinrude,,A hurricane was approaching Long Island, back in the 1960's,(don't remember the exact year),,Being a young "NUT" 4 of us decided to go take a look at the ocean, around Rockaway point, Long Island,,winds were in excess of 40mph the bay was 6 to 8 ft waves,,,verry rough
Rounding the point of the jetty the waves were 20 to 30 feet high, so high they were smooth between the waves no chop,
so out in to the Ocean we went,,
crossing those Mountains at about 20mph, and them coming under us at about 20 MPH, we left the tops at a relative 40 MPH,into a 60 MPH relative wind..the boat floated in the air for several seconds before coming down on the back slope of the wave, hitting transom first and not verry hard. On one wave we landed engine first vertical to the water, stuck the engine and transom some 4 ft under water, put about 6 inches of water in the boat. Now we headed back "surfing" those big waves,"thank God for cathedral hulls" and an engine that did not Quit.
That had to be the most exciting day in my 53 years of boating, now i am 62,,i still play in the wind and waves here in Lake Havasu in the spring.

13' Whaler
18' Maxum
Polaris pwc

jimh posted 01-05-2002 08:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[administrative post]
lhg posted 01-05-2002 06:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I believe the second generation Outrage hulls excel in following sea conditions. That has been my experience with the 18 & 25 Outrages.
These models track down following seas like they are on rails. And they are definitely superior in this regard to the newer Accutrack models, and have seen it first hand.

Rig these models with twin engines, and they are even better, since you now have two rudders in the water to prevent broaching.
This is why the Coast Guard always ordered their 22 & 25' Whalers with twin engines.

A deep vee (20 degrees or more) "offshore" boat, with a single center mounted outboard is not what you want for these big following sea conditions.

Magothy Boy posted 01-05-2002 08:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for Magothy Boy  Send Email to Magothy Boy     
Seems like you all are missing the point. Any boat surfing out of control down the face of waves in a following sea is asking for trouble, deep vee or whaler/sponson. As long as the seas are not breaking, deploy your drogue (yes, you should have one) to limit your speed and let the following seas run in faster than you do.
jimh posted 01-06-2002 10:38 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
"...deploy your drogue"?

After I deploy my drogue (a canvas bag towed as a sea anchor), how do I keep from wrapping the drogue's line in my outboard motor props?

Please elaborate on your heavy weather experience in outboard powered Boston Whalers in large seas while towing a drogue.

Deploying a drogue might make sense from a sailboat drifting out of control in a hurricane. I don't think it makes sense at any time from an outboard powered boat trying to manuever in large seas.

Magothy Boy posted 01-06-2002 11:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for Magothy Boy  Send Email to Magothy Boy     
Simple, use a Y harness that connects the bitter end of the drogue to the stern eyes of the hull. Use a float or two at the juncture of the Y just like you would to tow a water skier. Apply enough throttle to keep the drogue line taught and you can run at slow speed with the seas without surfing down the crests. Just use one that is small enough so you can make some headway, say 10 knots or so. Not too hard.
jimh posted 01-06-2002 12:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
How many times have you done this?

I think it is patently bad advice. The last thing I want in the water while operating an outboard motor in heavy seas is trailing lines.

DCPeters posted 01-06-2002 12:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for DCPeters  Send Email to DCPeters     
and if the seas are breaking? On Ontario, the waves always seem to break...too shallow.

I've never actually used a "drogue"...always carried one (sea anchor), but mainly for a situation to keep the bow into the waves (ie no power).

But, have to admit, I desperately try to not get myself into these tough weather situations.

The stories from those testosterone laden folks that do, leave me scratching my head.

Tom W Clark posted 01-06-2002 12:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Magothy Boy,

I think you are missing the point. The beauty of the Whaler is that it surfs down a large following sea in control not out of control.

Drogue? Surely you jest. "yes, you should have one" you say? Why not recommend deploying an oil bag or a few warps? Or perhaps suggest heaving-to or lying ahull with the helm lashed alee and retiring below to fortify oneself with some grog and hard tack?

David Ratusnik posted 01-06-2002 01:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Ratusnik  Send Email to David Ratusnik     
Well I'll tell my minor league story. This past August we loaded up the 22'OR and headed for Sebastian Inlet about 50 miles south of KSC/Merritt Island, FLA. Had set up reservations to stay at the motel/marina Captain Hirams just west of the Inlet. Sebastian Inlet is known as a spot where a few boats per year go down due to the interface between the Indian River/Atlantic Ocean. My wife and kids know the stories from many neighbors. Soooooo, I wanted to be able to say I had captained the Whaler thru the Inlet but did not tell the crew about my NEED to do this. We checked into the marina/hotel about noon and then went out for a little watersport. About 3 the wind picked up abit looking like it was time to go back in. I did a 180 started heading toward the Inlet- after getting to about 1/2 mile from it the crew started inquiry into just where I was going in such a noncommunicative fashion. Said-I've go to do this Inlet or they won't let me back into the neighborhood. I guess I caught the tide, current and wind direction about right since the seas were no more than 5-7. I followed a huge sportfisher out, the boat flattening things nicely. The crew said-let's stop about 1/2 mile out. So, we turned around and as those above report the 22' OR handled trailing seas just fine. Like on rails the entire way in back thru the Inlet. My major concern was not squirly hull movement but the seas trying to overtake the engine. Afraid of loosing power more than anything. I suspect if you loose power, squirly would be the least of ones' problem. At least if the Whaler gets swamped it stays afloat. Well going back to the marina and feeling proud of myself I was not attending to the unfamiliar channel markers very well and ran aground. Fortunately just soft muck from the Sebastian River that dumps into the Intracostal waterway. Just moved the crew forward, lifted the prop, jumped out and pushed the Whaler back into the channel. Points out another positive to the Whaler hull -- they don't draft much even in the 22' version. David
Magothy Boy posted 01-06-2002 01:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for Magothy Boy  Send Email to Magothy Boy     
Hey, jim and tom, you guys go ahead and do what you want to do. No skin off of my back. Your funeral.
Toad2001 posted 01-06-2002 02:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for Toad2001  Send Email to Toad2001     
Hey Tom, thats pretty funny!

A sea anchor/drogue might come in handy if you ran out of fuel or rip off you lower end. You could tie it off your bow to keep waves on the nose, and slow your drift onto a possibly unfriendly shore until assistance arrives. I can't imagine a situation when creating resistance in a serious following sea could do anything but make your predicament more dangerous.

Magothy, feel free to share your practical first hand knowledge on your drogue deployment. I honestly would like to hear if this technique has saved your ass.

IMHO towing a drogue would be like towing a disabled boat. Dangerous if the conditions are bad.


bigz posted 01-06-2002 03:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Magothy Boy--The drogue as you correctly state can be useful in heavy following seas for use by an outboard, inboard or sail. General problem one faces is the power boat out racing the sea consequently prop/s lifting out of the water causing the helms person to loose control and risk broaching. A drogue properly deployed will slow the boat as you correctly state. You do have to be careful not to foul the props as mentioned.

Frankly most of the boats owned by folks on this site shouldn't even be out in the seas we are referring.

Regarding Whalers, V-Outrages and the newer AccuTrac will not handle big (relative term) following seas well. The older dual sponson hulled (current Montauk included) do, as stated in a few post, a good job staying stable and "surfing" through these conditions.

Bottom line your suggestion is correct and many offshore boats do carry drogues including most commercial fishermen for such use.

I might add it is the helms person skill which is the sole controlling factor, the boat design may play a part in certain conditions (mentioned briefly above). It still remains any craft can find itself in peril if the helms person is lacking or circumstances even with the most experienced person exceed their and the boats capability.

Stick around things can only get better. Z
Reliant posted 01-06-2002 03:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for Reliant  Send Email to Reliant     
The following post is for moderate following seas. I can see bigzís and Magothy Boyís points about using a drogue in huge following seas. Since jimhís original post was about the tracking capabilities of whalers, I am going from my own experiences with whalers which is not in the conditions these two are talking about. My experience is in lets say a nasty 8 to 12 foot Lake Michigan chop.

Here is my problem with using a drogue. My whaler is the notched transom variety and with two heavy outboards on the back, the transom is only a few inches out of the water. If I go slower then the waves in following seas, I end up with water coming over the back of the boat. How is the best way of getting rid of water in a notched transom whaler? Speed up and blast the water back out over the transom.

If I am towing a drogue, I would think that speeding up would be much more difficult; increasing the chance that I would end up with large amounts of water in the boat with me. Obviously the whaler is not going to sink, but having large amounts of water in the boat is going to negatively affect the stability and handling of the whaler. Here is a photo depicting my point. I am NOT using a drogue, but backing into 2-foot waves just outside of the channel on Lake Michigan.

I have found that the 25-whaler does track beautifully in moderate following seas and simply feathering the throttles is the only thing needed to safely navigate in these conditions.

Just my 2 cents

Tom W Clark posted 01-07-2002 01:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

Please accept my apologies if I have offended you in any way. The fact that I disagree with what you have said should in no way be taken personally. I do tend to be, and will continue to be, sarcastic by nature. I have failed to learn from the consistent and superb example of good manners presented by our resident decorum expert and chairman of our welcoming committee, bigz.

Use of a drogue to slow a boat is a time honored technique. Use of a drogue behind a Whaler (or any small outboard powered skiff, sportfisher or runabout) is ill-advised. I am sure one could rig one up, thatís not my point. I maintain it just a bad idea.

Drogues are typically used by ocean going ships and sailboats to control speed and direction on the ocean in large seas. If any Whaler owner here finds themselves rounding Cape Horn in the "Roaring Forties" in their Whaler I suggest they do not belong there and they should return to port immediately for the sake of their safety.

But on this forum we mostly talk about Whalers which are small planing boats less than 30', so I will limit my comments to boats of this type.

To suggest that Whaler owners ought to keep a drogue on board is absurd. There was a thread about all the tools we should have on board and the list grew to ridiculous proportions. While any one of the tools or supplies listed might be useful to someone in some situation, there is no way it would be well advised to carry all that stuff on your Whaler. By the same token, a drogue may suit the needs of certain boaters in certain situations, they do not belong aboard a Whaler.

I would be interested to hear from anybody here who has ever used a drogue behind a Whaler. Except for the ubiquitous five gallon bucket used to slow a boat for the sake of a slow troll, I doubt that many here even own a drogue. Ironically, I owned one for over twenty years. Just this last summer I finally threw it away because it sat in my basement ever since I found it floating in Puget Sound in the late 70ís. I took it to Admiralty Marine, my local marine equipment consignment shop here in Seattle and they just rolled their eyes and said they would never sell it. It is a special piece of equipment for special situations. I knew I would never use it.

My own experience in large following seas in a Whaler is limited to the Straight of Juan de Fuca and the ocean waters around Cape Flattery here in Washington. Largest seas I have ever been in were 8í to 10í breaking seas just off Neah Bay. My Whaler at the time was a V-hull 18-Outrage. It was never out of control. I have zero experience dragging a drogue.

The outboard itself acts as a drogue when the power is pulled back. While steerage is somewhat less acute without power on, the gearcase still serves as a rudder to provide steerage. In a pinch and in large breaking seas, the last thing I would want to do would be to stop and rig up a Y-harness and deploy a drogue.

Safely is first and foremost a matter of the concentration and attention of the helmsman and all of your attention should paid to running the boat and now fooling around with something that could get fouled in the prop and be disastrous. Outboard powered craft, and especially Whalers, have transoms low to the water. One of the best things to mind in a following sea is to maintain your forward motion so a sea doesnít break into your boat and flood it. Not necessarily the end of the world, especially in a Whaler, but not desirable. Speed in this situation is a good thing.

This is really an interesting subject and I look forward to hearing from more of you about your experiences on Whalers in these sorts of conditions. For those interested in the subject of drogues and other heavy weather tactics I can heartily recommend K. Allard Colesí Heavy Weather Sailing. While reading and discussing theory is all well and good, it is real world experience that is most valuable.

Kevin, I appreciate your joining us here and again; I donít in any way mean to discourage you from participating. Letís hear more from you. I sincerely welcome you to the FORUM.

lhg posted 01-07-2002 01:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
What am I missing here. Magothy started all of this by saying we all missed the point about OUT OF CONTROL boating in large waves WITHOUT breaking seas. We didn't miss this point, it simply was not our point.

1. I think the point of this discussion was that our Whalers were NOT out of control. At least mine do not go out of control in such situations.

2. I always assumed we were not talking about "Perfect Storm" conditions here. I've only been out in 10' seas a few times in 30 years, and generally stay away from 6' seas.

3. Unless a sea is simply "rolling out", I have always encounted breaking, wind driven tops when the winds get up to the 25 knots necessary to cause these large seas, whether in the Great lakes or the ocean.

4. A breaking wave over the transom of a boat is the last thing you want. I had this happen when suddenly stopped dead in the water by a downrigger snag in four foot following seas, and the only thing that saved us was the unsinkability of the 18 outrage.

ron3637 posted 01-07-2002 02:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for ron3637  Send Email to ron3637     
Would you say it would also be ill advised to use a sea achor in heavy weather if power is lost? thanks ron
David Ratusnik posted 01-07-2002 03:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Ratusnik  Send Email to David Ratusnik     
Guys- from today's Orlando Sentinel----"Boater in Critical Condition..Jupiter Inlet.. A boater whose 28'vessel capsized in rough seas was in critical condition Sunday at a local hospital..resucued 300 yards from shore...a Grady-White motorboat with twin outboard engines (capsized) as they were trying to turn the boat sideways.. the wave flipped the boat..and the couple clung from the ship's overturned bow while rescuers approached in an inflatable boat..six foot waves overtook the Grady-White- said Lifegaurds." The sidebar reports on the couple at the hospital but not what finally happened to this boat. "sideways" in only six foot seas on a 28' foot built boat with twins- sort of frightening. David
Toad2001 posted 01-07-2002 04:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for Toad2001  Send Email to Toad2001     
Ron3637, A sea anchor would be great to use as you describe. In conditions like what the Grady were in, and you were simply drifting, you could easily be flipped. Add a sea anchor, and take those waves on the bow, you might be OK until help arrives...

I deployed mine this spring from my trawler. I needed to slow my drift a bit while repairing an overheating engine problem I had. The water was too deep to anchor, and I didn't want to get too close to shore, risking damage to my boat.
The sea anchor slowed my drift, and I was soon under way again. The seas were not heavy, so its not exactly an exciting story, but I didn't hesitate to use it, and am glad I had it on board.


DCPeters posted 01-07-2002 04:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for DCPeters  Send Email to DCPeters     
I hope they are ok.

I was wondering what you mean, David. Was the sea frightening or was it frightening that this boat flipped?

It sure would seem that 6' seas shouldn't have been capsizing a big Grady. Maybe it filled the boat and then it rolled. I doubt both motors died...

But it's amazingly on point for this discussion.

For me, I'd guess that it's more frightening that inexperienced users with lots of cash can buy a boat and risk their (and their passenger's) lives?

reminds me of last summer, when the guy, concerned about his gas level and the building weather, "parked" his brand new 27 or 28' twin I/O cruiser on the rocky shore of Lake Ontario near my cottage. (Gravely Bay, on Stony Point)

By "parked", I mean just that...he drove the bow onto the gravel, with the waves at the stern, directly onshore.

He got out, walked over to a cottager and asked how far to the harbor and gas dock. Of course, by now the waves had pushed his brand new boat sideways and fully ashore.

A few of us were able to refloat him (after considerable effort and risk)...jamming wood under the hull as the breakers lifted it and smashed it back down.

I pilotted for him to the Henderson Harbor, a bit concerned about the present condition of the bottom.

The wife had the nerve to complain that it took us so long. The owner couldn't understand why the speedometer wasn't working anymore!

Beautiful boat, incredibly equipped. Owned by a moron.

(I was wondering what the salvage rules what point could I have claimed this boat? ;-)

hauptjm posted 01-07-2002 05:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
In 1969, Hurricane Camille hit Gulfport, MS and the surrounding area. It was one of the worst natural disasters to hit the Continental U.S. Winds in excess of 200mph and a tidal surge of over 20 feet. Eye witness accounts had waves pegged around 20-25 feet. My point to all of this is that waves are like the fish that got away: it was huge. I've raced sailboats in all kinds of weather, in most areas in the U.S. A 5 or 6 foot wave, regardless of frequency will kick the shi- of you.

Sometimes we find ourselves in unfortunate situations. Someone trying to "ride" waves over 5 ft. in an 18,22 or 25 ft. Whaler should have his head examined. If it was life or death, and there was no choice but to go through a channel with these size waves, it better be a Whaler.

lhg posted 01-07-2002 05:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
For a boat that loses power in bad conditions, a sea anchor can be a lifesaver, by keeping the bow into the waves. A boater who regularly ventures out into this type of conditions, especially with a single engine, should have a good sea anchor aboard.

About 6 years ago there was a report of a Montauk capsized in 7-8' seas in Lake Michigan, after their engine went out. The three men aboard climbed onto the overturned bottom, and spent the night on the lake until they were rescued the next day. The Whaler did save their lives, but a sea anchor would have prevented the boat getting flipped by a large breaking wave as it floated sideways to the wind.

The story of the Grady getting flipped doesn't surprise me at all. They are tall, very high freeboarded hulls, with high cabin sides & hardtops, and inlet seas cam be steep. This is not the kind of hull with which you want to take large waves broadside. There is too much surface exposed to the wave action, which will roll the boat. The center of gravity is too high, and the wave can exert too much force on the hull. Same goes for the newer Whalers. This is why, for years, Fisher & Dougherty always designed Whalers with low freeboard. These guys knew what they were doing. It's also why the military loves these hulls. Ever notice how low the freeboard is on our Navy ships? It's much safer to take the wave broadside, with water coming right over the gunwale, but not capsizing the boat. Whalers will float so this principle works, but for some, with much less floation like a Grady, it won't, so the freeboard has to be higher. I have experienced this phenomenon several times, and I am a confirmed believer in the low freeboard of the Classic Whalers. I often see these tall, high freeboard, narrow hulls and think of how unsafe they would be in bad conditions. The Carvers are the worst! Strictly a fair weather booze and cruise boat.

InHerNet posted 01-07-2002 05:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for InHerNet  Send Email to InHerNet     
I disagree with lhg about the high freeboard issue when taking on a wave broadside but would say that it all has to do with the height of the wave and the degree of the face of the wave to the size of the boat. Rolling a boat would be easier with lower freeboard and taking on water that would not allow the boat to right itself. The whalers are excellent boats because they do not hold a lot of water in the hull due to the foam and quick bailing. Scuppers help! Thus allowing the boat to drain faster. But any boat including all whalers can capsize. I could flip a boogie board off the beach on the right wave.

Long rollers would not be a problem at six foot, but put those waves at a few seconds apart or chopped up in all directions at the mouth of a channel and anything could happen. It would be best to motor out past the inlet opening and then make the turn. I have seen many boaters get in trouble trying to turn around right at the channel opening where it is the worst.

Just my .02

David Ratusnik posted 01-07-2002 06:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Ratusnik  Send Email to David Ratusnik     
Dc- The seas don't frighten me, but the apparent fact that 6' seas could flip (even sideways) a 28' heavy Grady with probably twin heavy 225'or 250's amazes me. Strikes me as a seamanship problem--should have started with a 13' Whaler and built up to the 28' Grady. No? David
JohnAz posted 01-07-2002 06:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnAz  Send Email to JohnAz     
Should have stayed with the 13 Whaler.
DCPeters posted 01-07-2002 07:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for DCPeters  Send Email to DCPeters     

for the record, I know 6 footers frighten me; like I said earlier, I'd try to avoid those--I'd probably go golfing to see if the wind would carry my tee shot.

InHerNet posted 01-07-2002 07:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for InHerNet  Send Email to InHerNet     
check out this site on the wave heights around Florida.


What time is the Tee-off DCPeters?

andygere posted 01-07-2002 07:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
The surf zone can be a dangerous place for the inexperienced boater, but many of us boat in areas that require us to travel through it or near it to get in and out of inlets and harbors from time to time. At Santa Cruz Harobr where I keep my Montauk, the harbor mouth shoals in the winter, and at the lower tides breaking waves across the jetties are not unusual. In fact, it is known as one of the better seasonal surf breaks in the area (although surfing the harbor is, of course, illegal). That said, the harbor mouth can be safely navigated in the winter if the proper consideration is taken. This includes watching and timing the set waves, checking the tide and anticipating the tide upon return, checking the wind and swell forecast, and not being impatient while waiting for a lull between set waves. My wife and I sailed our Hobie 16 off the beach adjacent to the same harbor mouth for several years, and getting in and out in the Whaler with an 85 hp on the transom is a lot easier. With the sailboat, timing and patience was even more critical since the power source was not as realiable. I remember several occaisions when it took 3 or 4 passes before we had a safe window to pass through the surf zone and beach the boat. This required a fast jibe just before getting into the surf zone if my crew (Nancy) decided we stood a chance of getting hit by a breaking wave. One day after a multi-pass, paddle assisted landing through 4-5 foot beachbreak, we watched two experienced sailors destroy their Hobie in the surf zone because they were impatient and too proud to either sail into the harbor (instead of beach landing) or break out the paddle. The lesson: Take the surf zone seriously, be prepared and know when (and when not to) turn around.
David Ratusnik posted 01-07-2002 07:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Ratusnik  Send Email to David Ratusnik     
My golf game stinks- but under 6' conditions I'd like an outing with you guys. On the tee under big wind conditions I have a suggestion--put a little vasoline on the club face, rub a wet finger across it as you address the ball; you can't hit it anything but straight and long. I know, not legal. Have fun. David
Tom W Clark posted 01-07-2002 07:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark

InHerNet, that's a great site! Excellent graphic representation.

For those interested, here is the NOAA National Data Buoy Center You can get up to the hour data on wave heights as well as wind and temp data, ect.

One example of data from a buoy is the the Monterey Bay Buoy Wave conditions there as of 3 PM PST today had the wave height at over 15', forecast for tonight: 17' to 20'!

There was a Grady that went through a very similar situation a few years ago down in Tillimook Bay, OR. There is (or was) a great Chinook Salmon fishery there in the fall in October or November. According to the account in the Seattle papers, two guys were fishing out of their 22' Grady when a braking wave at the mouth of the bay caught them off guard.

The Grady rolled over on its side and the two fishermen were washed out of the boat. They just swam back into the cockpit as the boat slowly righted itself. Witnesses said they were kind of stunned and tried to fish again after they got the boat pumped out but being cold they went back in. Some people commented on what great boats Gradys were supposed to be so how come it capsized, but then again it did not turn turtle, nor did it sink. A Whaler is either going to flip or not.

jimh posted 01-07-2002 07:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[Fixed long URI]
jimh posted 01-07-2002 07:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[Fixed more long URI's]
jimh posted 01-07-2002 08:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I have reviewed all my comments in this thread which were posted after the recommendation by <B>Magothy Boy</B> that I ought to carry a drogue and deploy it with a Y-harness.

I really don't find any sarcasim in what I said. I meant every word in its literal sense. Therefore I offer no apology for use of sarcasm.

Now, when Mogothy replied "it is your funeral" I find this annoying. FIrst, there is the implication that I have given deadly advice, that is, to ignore what Magothy recommends and follow my advice will lead to one's death.

This response was made in reply to a much simpler inquiry that I made, that Magothy furnish a narrative of his actual experience in deploying a drogue with a Y-cord in heavy weather from an outboard boat. Instead of furnishing any narrative he responded with hyperbole, escalating the argument to a life and death situation.

I think that saying [that not deploying a drogue is fatal] is an attempt to condem my side of the argument with an unreasonable accusation, that my argument is flawed because it will lead to an undesired outcome (death).

In debate, accusing the opposition's position on a question to have heretofore unanticipated consequences is known as "threat construction".

On the internet this is covered by Godwin's Law.


InHerNet posted 01-07-2002 09:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for InHerNet  Send Email to InHerNet     
jimh- I am missing your point on this one. Please expand on the meaning of this.

What is Godwin's Law?

Godwin's Law
As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.

Tsuriki BW posted 01-07-2002 09:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tsuriki BW  Send Email to Tsuriki BW     
I think Jimh was saying sometimes in a long and and opinionated thread, sometimes posters make comments that become more personal attacks more than comments based on facts/actual experience.

These types of comments are not welcome or constructive to the thread.

This is my take on jimh's comments, and I agree.


JohnAz posted 01-07-2002 09:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnAz  Send Email to JohnAz     
what kind of boats (notU boats) did the Nazis use, and was Hitler a pleasure boater,.

Godwin,,is right,,,

fester posted 01-07-2002 10:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for fester  Send Email to fester     
Nearly all of my boating takes place out of Ventura Harbor in California. When returning to the harbor from boating, there normally is a following sea which is at a slight angle to the harbor entrance. The following sea has a tendancy to push you away from the entance. Normally this is not much of a problem. If the conditions are right, it can be a problem in the winter when the following seas can be quit large.

Complicating the following sea condition is the fact that the harbor entance silts up with the result that surf can develop at the mouth of the entrance. A more aggressive dredging program and recent improvements to the entance have mitigated the dangerous nature of the entance in recent years.

When I was younger and more stupid than I am today (at least I hope more stupid), I was in a small power boat in a moderate following sea when entering the harbor and got dumped. I have learned over the years that no mater what boat you are in, you can get in trouble in a large following sea especially near shore.

My experience with a moderate to large following sea is that the boat will gain speed as it goes down the face of the swell and will have a tendancy to abruptly slow down as the bow hits the trough of the swell. Complicating the problem is the fact that the stern of the boat may to some extent come out of the water with the result that for a brief period of time steering becomes difficult. The result of this situation is that the back of the boat may swing around such that the boat is sideways to the swell (broach). This has happened to me on several occasions. It is also possible that the boat may pitch pole (flip end over end) which is what happened to me when I dumped my small power boat in the harbor entrance.

Some boats handle following seas much better than others. The inflatable boats I have owned and my 16 foot whaler would surf down the swells and through the trough with little trouble. My Outrage also handles the following seas fairly well but not as good as the 16. The deep v boat and Searay that I owned did not handle the following seas very well.

If you are in following seas conditions which make you uncomfortable, you should attempt to keep your boat between the swells to the extent you are able. When entering difficult situations such as a bad harbor entrance, it is best if you can study the situation and plan exactly how you going to attack the condition. If you are able, you may want to watch several other boats go through the area to learn what you can. On one occasion, the harbor entrance was beyond what I believed I could handle so I called the harbor patrol who escorted me through the entrance.

With respect to drogue's, I always carry one and have used it on several occasions. Once I used it while dealing with a problem with my engine in moderately sized seas and another time while changing a prop in the ocean. The drogue keeps the bow of your boat facing into the swells which is much more comfortable and safe than if the swells hit you on the side or on the stern. Another time I used a drogue was years ago when I did not have a GPS and Sea Tow had to come get me. I was able to give sea tow my location via a bearing off of a local island and the drogue helped keep me from drifting away while waiting for sea tow.

I have heard of people in large boats using drogues off the stern in large following seas with some success. I have never done this. The only situation I have been in similar to a drogue from the stern is towing another boat in a following sea. The towed boat restricted my forward movement which prevented me from surfing down the face of the swells but led to other problems such as taking alot of water over the stern. If in a small power boat, I would not use a drogue from the stern. The best way to deal with followng seas in a small power boat is to control your position with your engine which may be difficult to do with a drogue.

The use of drogues in sizable seas can be hard on your boat. While this may not be an issue for whalers, I have heard of drogues damaging boats in big seas. I would think a drogue from the stern of a lightly built boat in large seas may cause structural damage to the boat.

Tsuriki BW posted 01-07-2002 10:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tsuriki BW  Send Email to Tsuriki BW     
EXCUSE ME..if I haven't seen this point before (I came to this thread a bit late) but isn't the space between the "following" waves more important as far as handling than the height of the wave. If the waves are far apart it seems to me that it would be easier to control your boat than if the waves were closer together.

As just and example, if you had to navigate 6' waves 8' apart wouldn't that be more difficult than 9'' waves 25' apart?


Tom W Clark posted 01-07-2002 11:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

You raise a good point about wave steepness. I would not say that the space between the waves (wave length) is more important than the wave height, but it is part of the formula. A huge wave with a huge wave length is going to be benign. Tsunamis on the open ocean are imperceptibly. Close to shore when they rear up they become deadly.

Once a wave length is reduced to c. 7x the wave height, the wave becomes unstable and begins to break. You are never going to see 6' waves that are 8' apart. I other words, a 6' wave will begin to break when it has a crest to crest (or trough to trough) distance of 42'.

lhg posted 01-07-2002 11:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
A fast outflowing tide against large incoming ocean waves can create steeper and shorter breaking waves than indicated, by undercutting them. I think Fester's advice is good. When confronted with re-entering an inlet under these conditions, wait out the situation until you see a spot developing where you can ride in BETWEEN the waves, keeping the power on as necessary, and not letting the one behind you overtake & break into the boat. If that happens, you're in trouble.

Back in 1973, BW did some great CPD advertising airborn shots of a 21 Outrage in these conditions. I sent these photos to Jimh a while ago. Jim, can you put them up for us?

Tsuriki BW posted 01-08-2002 01:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tsuriki BW  Send Email to Tsuriki BW     

My example was just an "example"...maybe unrealistic.

I think, if I remember the post/news report about the Grady, was that the distance between the 6' waves was such that they should have never decided to "turn around" and go back. The story seemed to say that the certain inlet to the ocean they were at, especially with an outgoing tide, they can get some very wierd waves, high and with a short distance between each one.

So, trying to turn around in waves that are so close together, even thay are not "that high", under normal circumstances for the boat, they can slap you so hard as to turn your boat over. Appariently this was the main reason for them flipping,

The Columbia Bar is one of the most famous in our part of the country, and I thought maybe the same problem is true. Not just the wave height but the distance between them.


Tsuriki BW posted 01-08-2002 02:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tsuriki BW  Send Email to Tsuriki BW     
P.S. the waves seem to be the same as lhg explained,


Whalerdan posted 01-08-2002 08:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whalerdan  Send Email to Whalerdan     
I'm with Tom and Jim on this drogue thing, it sounds like a bad idea to me. I have never been out on my boat in really huge waves, 4-6 feet is probably the biggest. But I have been surfing in really big waves in Hawaii. I can tell you as your screaming down the face with a big wall of white wash chasing you the last thing you want to do is slow down.

When I was in these 4-6 foot waves I surfed them just like I would on my surfboard. Didn't go straight down the face but kind of laterally. It wasn't quite the direction I wanted but I was able to zigzag on the tops and in-between sets to get to where I was going.

JFM posted 01-08-2002 09:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for JFM  Send Email to JFM     
It seems as though the "Classic" way to stabalize a large boat or ship has not been addressed in this post. That is to add ballast. I have been on large ships in heavy seas when this has been done by adding water to stabalize from capsizing. I have done this on my inflatable when in trouble and it worked just fine. I would also do it on a Whaler in "dire straits", however the water could not exceed the top of the fuel tank, battery and engine. It's a good feeling to know that I can do this with a Whaler and still be floating. Regards, Jay
sorcerer posted 01-08-2002 11:02 AM ET (US)     Profile for sorcerer    

May be helpful explaining a few misconceptions --

sorcerer posted 01-08-2002 11:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for sorcerer    
Didn't work -- try this then ---

Tips on how to safely navigate an inlet -- is the topic area

EJT posted 01-08-2002 12:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for EJT  Send Email to EJT     
This topic brings back my worst boating memory as a kid. Back in the mid 70's my family was starting out for our annual 2 weeks in the North Channel on our 45 foot Chris-Craft Connie wih our 13ft Whaler in tow. As we went under the Blue Water bridge and started heading up Lake Huron I remember my dad commeting on how flat the big lake was, and what a bright sunny day it was.

Unfortunetly, all would change for the worst. There was a big storm in the north, and the waves were slowly building.

To make a long story short, by time we got to Thunder Bay the wind had shifted out of the SSW and waves rolling at 10 to 12FT.

Not wanting to continue north the decision was made to head into the bay to Alpena. Bad idea, this but the waves directly on the stern. To this day I remember my Dad fighting the helm, with my older brother with a flash light on the depth sounder calling out the depth, we rounded up in the Chris at least 5 times that night. We eventualy made it into Alpena, minus the Whaler, with the help of a freighter captain that had us on his radar and talked us in.

The Whaler washed up near Goderich about two weeks later.

After being on that lake many times since then, including several Port Huron to Mackinac races, I have never been so scared in my life on the water.

sss5358 posted 08-07-2006 09:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for sss5358  Send Email to sss5358     
Just a note about following sea's. I do not own a Whaler but I do own a 22 foot Smokercraft (aluminum). I fish in the ocean off the mouth of the Columbia river each year. The Columbia river bar is known as the grave yard of the Pacific so you can imagine what it can be like. On out going minus tides it can produce 12 to 13 foot rollers and 8 to 9 foot breaking waves (standing waves). Trick on that bar is not to come over on the outgoing tide. Of course yours truly a number of years ago (and quite a bit younger) decided to end fishing one day and did not consult the tide tables. Came over in hour 3.5 of the outgoing tide. Luckily it wasn't as bad a minus tide as some. Got into the standing waves and could not turn around. That is when I appreciated my light weight boat. Got my bow driven into the next wave but the boat was light enough to pop up and not be driven to far down. As things got worse I remembered what my brother had told me about what small sailing ships did to sail in following seas. They would put some heavy but flotable object onto a line about 200 to 300 feet back off the bow. This would drag and slow the decent down on the face of each wave and prevent driving into the next wave. I had a long line and a water proof cooler on board. I put some water in the cooler and tied the rope to it. Put it a stern about 200 feet. It worked fairly well and the ride got much less nerve racking. Still took and hour to get over the bar. The bar is about 2.5 miles and long. That is when I learned that bars that big are not forgiving. My best friends now are a watch and tide tables. I think this trick really helped us. I had the line in place before we hit the worse waves.

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