Heavy Weather Tactics at Night

I enjoyed your book Surviving the Storm very much – essential reading – but wonder about how much is possible at night when visibility is poor. Perhaps the sea anchor is needed here, especially if shorthanded. A chapter on methods for retrieving a man overboard would be useful.

Yours Sincerely, Bruce C.

Hi Bruce: Funny thing about heavy weather (or any sailing for that matter) at night. You often have pretty good visibility. Also, a great deal of what you need to respond to can be felt, rather than seen, which is true in the daytime as well.

However, there are no magic bullets in storm tactics and you need to be ready to adopt a different approach to the storm as requirements change – that’s one of the things we are trying to get across in the book.

The worst blow we’ve been in was off Cape Hatteras – I believe we talk about this in the book – and the majority of it took place at night.

However, we could always see the waves as they were breaking, and if we were not looking, you could feel the leading edge start to lift the stern, and, of course, hear the roar of the crest.

Regarding man overboard, we cover this procedure in great detail in our new book (Practical Seamanship – Essential Skills for the Modern Sailor), which should be out in the next few months. – Steve Dashew

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)

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