Boating in Following Seas
Another thread about a boat a guy was considering had some concerns voiced about boating in following seas and having enough horsepower.
I've only been in big following seas once, coming thru Tatitlek Narrows, they were about 8 feet, no break, just really big swells and a little confusion in the most narrow part. We just slowed down and stayed on the back of a swell and road it carefully until they began to dissapate as the Narrows widened into Valdez Arm, then we just powered through, going over the tops carefully.
Well, I'd like to hear more about this potentially dangerous situation, and what you mean about having plenty of power, strategy in different types of following seas (like if they are breaking), and maybe how to know when it is time to just turn around and face them, and how to do that...
Have fun, folks, but I do think this is a serious topic
I've been in my share of following seas. Most of the big stuff will be coming around major capes. IMO, the boat design has a lot to do with how well you are going to take a following sea. Some boats do fine, others want to dig in and turn.. I hate that! The 26' North River Seahawks were the absolute worst.
Originally Posted by Cap'n Ron
I have never been in a really big breaking following sea thank god. But I have been in some big following seas and did just as you. Even my 100 hp C-Dory 22 will rip you right over them if you want to to do that. I really don't find tons of power to be essential, just enough. In fact, I can go over them way too fast to be comfortable most of the time. And like you, I'd rather sit on the crest and ride with them if they are huge as the view is good and they are surprisingly smooth. If things get big enough and steep enough it is best to not go straight through them, but angle through them picking your way. Turning around is not hard, just time it and turn around. I prefer to do it just prior to the lowest point of the sine wave pattern as you have physics on your side. If they are really steep and you can't, say a prayer first......that way you might have god on your side.......
A good boat design and staying away from capes are essential without question.
Originally Posted by 270ti
I have an extended transom and twin outboards on my boat, is an extended transom a good design for following seas?
No such thing...
In my opinion and some charter buddies, they don't make a great boat that works well in REAL BIG following seas, they all suck! In real big stuff, your boat feels like it is going backwards and then is thrown forward to fast for comfort.
The idea behind the horsepower, is having enough to control your speed -accelerating when you need to without bogging down, this adds an element of control in an otherwise uncontrolled situation.
Even in large thirty-plus foot boats it can feel uncomfortable if the seas are big enough. I had my kicker knocked sideways on it's mount before, the following seas twisted it like turning a wrench!
This is were a self-bailing deck is critical, boats that only have bilge pumps can fill with water and sink in short order.
Homer has some of the worst following seas, and sometimes can get loaded with Bull-kelp after a big tide, adding to the challenge.
Keep trim tabs up to lesson the surface area pushing on the transom.
A nuetral trim is a good thing in this situation as Meyers noted. A better solution is to not be in the situation in the first place.....
I got caught last year in a bad following sea last year, near an ocean entrance. A few big waves came out of nowhere, and really got my heart going. I almost had to change my underwear after that one...
I've been caught twice in an 18' Jetcraft, the first time powered with a 50 4 Stroke Honda. Both times was out of Homer, once comming out of Sadie Cove heading back to the Harbor, the other was leaving Seldovia on the way back to Homer. Didn't look all that bad at first, but found myself in 8' footers. The best way I can describe it was like I was a on a surf board at times and other times on a surfboard with a rope arround my waist pulling me back. Since I didn't have enough power, I really couldn't control my speed. Some of the time, I was able to stay on top of the wave and control my speed, but at other times in an instant I was being pulled back into the wave and other times I was being slingshoted down the wave so steep that I thought my bow was going strait under. I did take on some water in the bow a few times, but it was self bailing. I tried to ride them at an angle as best as I could. The first time was much worse than the second as I had a little more experience in the boat at the time and repowered to a 90 Honda. But both times there was a lot of praying going on. With the 90 HP I was able to control my speed more and stay on top and was able to power up and not bet pulled back. I never tried to turn arround and go back due to being scared that something could go wrong. Also, not following seas but I got caught in the Rip at Pogi Pt with the 50 Honda set up. It was like a class 5 rapids. I didn't have the power to go forward. I didn't dare turn arround. All I could do was keep her strait and move sideways until I got out of it. After that first year, I got rid of that 50 and got a 90 honda. Never had the power problem after that.
My brother in law last year got a Willie Boat with a steering wheel, windshield and top powered with a 50 Yamaha. Can't remember the boagt model. He had little boating experience and wanted to go to Homer with his buddies. He in his boat, his buddy in a C-Dory. I warned him about being underpowered with that boat and he also had a low transom with not much drainage area. Basically one breaker over the stearn and he was taking on water. He didn't listen and went. I told him how quick the weather can turn, so watch it carefully and get out when it starts to turn. When he made it back to shore, he called me and told me he had just had the crap scared out of him, felt being underpowered and vowed never to go in the ocean again.
To me, the scariest part is not being able to control your speed or to move forward when under powered. My Jetcraft was 975 pounds dry and with 4 people and basic fishing gear, that 50 HP honda was not enough. I was suckered into getting that motor saying it was enough power. Part of it was my fault was wanting to fish the Kenia so with the 50 HP I could install a rod and detune it easily. After the first year, I had to choose between the ocean or Kenia with that boat, and I chose the ocean and fished the Deshka for kings and played in lakes. I also had a transom lift installed in with the 90 HP and it was the cats meow in the rivers.
I haven't been in following seas yet with my 240 Alaskan Hewescraft yet, but I feel much more confidenct and secure in it.