Here’s an email I received today…
My name is Garrett W. I am 22 and live in Texas. I grew up
Sailing Lake Michigan but plan to get into long-distance cruising in
the future (when I earn lots of money and can afford a Nordhavn!!!) I
am really interested in all types of cruising and really anything that
has to do with the water. My question to you is about Rogue Waves. I
have been reading about them a lot but am looking to hear your
thoughts. As a captain who has crossed the Atlantic and hopes to
cross the Pacific do you worry about them? When you are going out to
sea do you think about the possibility or is it something that is rare
in your mind so you don’t put much thought into? Please let me know.
Thanks. I love reading you blogs.
Your guess is as good as mine. We’ve crossed the Atlantic, spent years in the Med, run a big chunk of the Caribbean, and all of the western coast of the North America, from Canada to the panama canal, and never noticed a rogue wave. Or, if we did cross one, it must not have been very impressive. Usually, we have multiple laptops spread out on the table in the pilot house, and we’ve never even knocked a laptop off a table.
Sooner or later, I’m sure we’ll get hit by a huge wave, and perhaps the risk is greater than it feels, but my current feeling is that it is like getting clobbered by an earthquake. We know there’ll be an earthquake sooner or later, but there really isn’t much you can do about it. When the planet decides to mess with you, it will do what it wants to do. Sans Souci is one of the safest boats made in its size range, but if an 80 foot rogue wave were to strike, there’s a good chance we’d be swimming. That said, my guess is that the odds of being struck by a drunk driver, while running around Seattle at night, are higher than being hit by a huge rogue wave while crossing the Pacific. None of it is good .. but, what choice is there? We could stay home with the doors locked all the time .. but, then an earthquake could still strike. My guess is that sooner or later something will get me, but until that day, I want to have as much fun as possible!
Yes, I”ve noticed the bugs, not only with the double quotes, but the replacement of symbols with what I think are their xml versions of the symbols…
Season 4 is the current season, but I doubt its available for purchase yet. I”ll probably purchase all the seasons as well, as I quite enjoy the show.
As far as the difference in seaworthiness, I”m not sure. I doubt much that they would hand steer much better than SS, especially when they are fully loaded. In fact, I would think that once they”re fully loaded, they would be rather sluggish as far as the helm is concerned. With all that extra weight, they would be sitting much lower in the water and they”d have to deal with trying to change the momentum of moving in a straight line. (I keep thinking of the big oil tankers, and how long it takes them to turn…) Nordhavn”s are generally built with substantial rudders…much bigger than a lot of other boats I”ve seen. I think its more about knowing your boat and its abilities (as well as your own), and being properly prepared for the unexpected, if that is indeed possible.
The big issue in the winter, as you mention, is ice buildup. When they”re cruising out to their fishing grounds in extremely cold weather and a lot of sea spray, decks stacked multi-layers high full of crab pots, the ice build up can quickly change the center of gravity to such that the vessel will capsize. The main difference between SS and the fishing boats is the fact that the fishing boats are constructed with steel, and there”s no big deal smashing the ice off the decks and the equipment with an axe. I don”t think you”d want to do that on SS, so an alternate method of ice removal would be necessary. How, I”m not sure, because the build up is fast, and you”d need to be just as fast, if not faster, in removing the ice, or, as you say, you”ll be swimming, and in the Bering Sea, in January, even with a survival suit, life expectancy is rather short unless you can get yourself out of the water and into a life-boat… not an easy task in frigid stormy seas, wearing all that gear….
When you start watching the shows, you”ll see that Time Bandit take huge risks, and so far, (not including season 4, as I haven”t seen any episodes from season 4 yet, but can”t wait, as the previews have been great!) they”ve been lucky. Sooner or later however, they”re bound to lose some gear. I don”t want to give too much away, but the show doesn”t hold anything back, good or bad….yes…people die…that”s why the show is called ”Deadliest Catch”….its a dangerous profession, but, for those brave enough to persue it, it can be quite lucrative. Some of the guys crewing on these boats are earning in excess of $15,000 for a couple of weeks work. Mind you, its not only dangerous, its back breaking work!
Enjoy the show…let me know what you think…
I ordered all three seasons of “Deadliest Catch” today. We’ll start watching it next week. I’m loving the book. I just finished a chapter where they (the boat Time Bandit) participated in a rescue of another boat, where the captain died. It was extremely well written, and a sad incident.
Apparently the crab season for the Bering Sea is winter. It’s strange, in that I have no idea if their boats are more or less seaworthy than my boat. Could my boat stand up to the Bering Sea in January? I haven’t the vaguest idea. I know that the fishing boats tend to have a lot of heavy equipment on deck, and load themselves up with heavy loads of fish and ice. My sense is that my boat, and their boats, are comparable — except in a couple of areas: I’d be willing to bet that their boats hand-steer better than mine, and that the fisherman who run the Bering Sea regularly are much better at steering their way through the heavy seas. I seriously doubt that the fishing boats are on auto-pilot in 50 foot waves and 70 knot winds. The few times I’ve had to hand steer my boat, it hasn’t been pretty. It’s probably a skill I can develop, but I can’t say that it’s a skill I have today. I wish there were a way of testing maneuvering the boat through high-seas, where the penalty for an error wasn’t quite so severe. It wouldn’t take much of a mistake to put yourself beam-to the seas, at which point, it’s a moot point how seaworthy your boat is, because you are likely to be swimming. …. PS The blog I am using is new … and, has some bugs. You’ve probably noticed the doubled-up quotes. That will be fixed by Friday (as will some spacing issues I’ve noticed).
Actually, as far as the show is concerned, according to Discovery Channel, its their number one show as far as their internal ratings are concerned. I”ve been watching it from season one, but haven”t had the time to this year, but I”ve been recording them for viewing at a later date. The previews I”ve seen look quite exciting….some of the storms these guys tackle would be frightening for most….
Let me know what you think once you”ve had a chance to watch an episode or two.
– John S.
John: I’ll watch the show.. it sounds fun. I’m just reading a book by one of the guys in the show: Time Bandit. It’s amazing, and shows how far I am out of sync with the kind of guys who fish in Alaska. Example (and, I”m not even sure I should repeat this): I just finished a section where the author was playing a practical joke on one of the guys who had his finger sucked into the boat”s engine. He gave the guy a frozen hot dog, and took him to the doctor to get it sewed back on. That’s not quite how we’d react on Sans Souci.
Perhaps I should be more worried about the Aleutians than I am .. but, we’ll be there in July/August, whereas the fisherman are there in winter. I do suspect we”ll have to hide from weather from time to time — but, I don’t think it is going to be that bad.
I”m much more worried about the 2,000 miles along Siberia, in the heart of Typhoon season…
PS There isn’t much written about the Aleutians, and even less about Siberia. I”m struggling to find any cruising guides or anything to read.
I don”t know if you watch “Deadliest Catch” or not, but in Season 2, the 5th episode (Episode #16 – http://www.tv.com/deadliest… (http://www.tv.com/deadliest-catch/friends-and-rivals/episode/701579/summary.html?tag=ep_list;ep_title;4) ) shows one of the vessels, the Aleutian Ballad, getting side swiped by a 65 foot rogue wave, knocking the boat on its side. Fortunately for the crew, the vessel righted itself, but not without causing some minor deck damage and injuring the Captain”s daughter as she hit a cabin door in the ordeal. It occurred during a bad storm at night and caught the crew totally by surprise. I can only imagine what they must have gone through!!
– John S.