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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 6:37 pm 
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When you beach launch, is there a limit to the height of waves you are willing to launch into?

If you launch into big waves and capsize, do you risk having your boat damaged?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 8:11 am 
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Location: Prince Edward Island, Canada
I don't have enough experience in a cat in the surf to put a number to it. Plus I admit I've been 'mostly' sticking to my own bay when the ocean surf is on.

However, I can tell you from my love of surfing my sea kayak that breaking waves can be very powerful. I suspect a rollover in the shallows would result in mast or rigging damage, even with a mast float as the waves could easily overcome the HobieBob. That being said, I find the Wave Extremely hard to flip and it handled 2-3 foot waves quiet easily. I could probably do more but I'm not sure I really care to try in my 5k$ boat (or my glass Seaward Quest for that matter). I leave the nasty seas to my 'well used' poly, Necky Chatham. So far the only thing I have broken on that is my arm.

Some things to consider....
- If a wave is breaking offshore, it probably means there is a sandbar there.
- Waves tend to come in patterns. Watch for the pattern and you can time things for the smaller waves and avoid the surprise biggies.
- Remember, going out is usually safer than coming back in.

I'm mostly just rambling while I eat lunch. Real experts should be along shortly.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 8:21 am 
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Sometimes kayak fishermen come back in towing a drift sock to keep them from broaching. I wonder if it would help to do that with the Wave. I ask ahead of time because I don't want to destroy my Wave just as I am getting started.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 8:46 am 
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The reason I bring it up is because I just now became aware of a local guy who has a Getaway. He says he won't take it to the beach if the waves are greater than 1.5 feet. Surely it can take more than that. I wanted to take my Wave out when a front is blowing in.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 9:25 am 
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Tarzan wrote:
The reason I bring it up is because I just now became aware of a local guy who has a Getaway. He says he won't take it to the beach if the waves are greater than 1.5 feet. Surely it can take more than that. I wanted to take my Wave out when a front is blowing in.


A 1.5ft wave looks pretty big when you are standing in the surf up to your chest holding on to a sailboat. If you sail off the beach often you will get a feel for what you are comfortable with. Practice makes perfect and builds confidence.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 10:35 am 
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Wave height criteria differs with the beach your launching from. Long shallow shore lines can have many more waves in a 'set' while a shorter steep beach can have waves breaking literally a few feet from the water line.

Wind direction and speed are more important than wave height. Direct on-shore winds, even light, make launching very difficult. Winds parallel to the shore line are the best (I think). I've literally had to jump on-board as soon as the bows got wet.......or be left behind.

bill


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 4:54 pm 
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Where I live the wind blows directly onshore most of the year. Port Aransas is on the mid Texas coast. I was told by an old surfer dude that the waves get progressively smaller as you head towards Florida from here. If you were on the beach in Port Aransas, you could go out 3 miles and it would still only be about 45 feet deep. I think the waves are bigger in California because the water gets very deep very quickly. But, we have quite a bit of wind here most of the time.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 2:07 pm 
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I have 'climbed' a 6' swell off the beach in Mazatlan on a H16, and not by design....
We were very lucky that I saw the sandbar in time, and that I was able to turn upwind to avoid a rollover, and then watched the swell turn into a wave.

I know that when we used to rent from Chuck's at the south end of Delray Beach, there were no rentals when the swell was up.

The main problem is lack of stability- if you can keep your Hobie at a perfect 90 degrees to the surf line, you should be okay. One teeny weeny bit to the side, and you run the risk of the surf pushing and then rolling the boat, and that is tough on masts, like it snaps them in two milliseconds. Ask Sandra T what happened on the Ft Lauderdale beach at the last Tybee or Worrell 1000. She was okay after surgery....

Punching out through the surf is done all the time, and timing and skill are useful attributes. With adequate wind, on a Wave, I would probably head out in breaking surf up to about 18", and up to 36" in my H18.

Somewhere, I have a picture of Matt M punching out in a H16.....

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'Only two things are infinite, the universe, and human stupidity. But I'm not sure about the former.'


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 2:31 pm 
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That is all good information. I pick my Wave up this weekend. I will start out inshore and then eventually go offshore when I am feeling more confident. I was hoping I could crash through bigger waves than that, but I don't want to be foolish either.

Thanks for the advice.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 2:51 pm 
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Tarzan wrote:
That is all good information. I pick my Wave up this weekend. I will start out inshore and then eventually go offshore when I am feeling more confident. I was hoping I could crash through bigger waves than that, but I don't want to be foolish either.

Thanks for the advice.


You will find there is a big difference between waves you can sail through and surf you can launch through. Big waves are huge fun out sailing and much less fun getting off the beach.

You will have to get the boat at an angle to the surf to be able to sail at all so it takes a bit of timing and practice. If the slope at the beach is shallow you might think about walking a small anchor out to chest deep water and using it to pull you and the boat out far enough to get the rudders down and sail away.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 3:03 pm 
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Agreed... punching out can be tough.....
big swells out beyond the surf life are HUGE fun and very enjoyable....

Coming back in has its challenges too.
At Pompano Beach in Florida, we would drive the rental H16 right onto the beach.
In other words, sail right through any surf line, get back on shore, then release the sheets.
The boat does come to a sudden stop on the sand....

_________________
1989 Hobie SX18 Sail # 1947
'Only two things are infinite, the universe, and human stupidity. But I'm not sure about the former.'


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 3:44 pm 
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Seems like that presents just a bit of a problem. If the waves beyond the surf are so much fun, then how do you get to them if you can't punch through big surf? Maybe I can go out through the jetties at Packery Channel. However, it can look pretty scary at the end of the jetties! These jetties are a lot shorter and more narrow than the Port Aransas jetties where the tankers come in.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 10:46 am 
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Mark has had some adventures with sailing off the beach.


http://forum.trailersailor.com/post.php ... light=wave milam


I believe there are some more pics somewhere in this forum.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2014 6:48 am 
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Location: Jersey Shore
cooldudecaptain wrote:
Wind direction and speed are more important than wave height.


This comment is spot on. It's all about having power to get through the surf. You can handle surprisingly big waves on a Hobie (certainly larger than 1.5 feet), but you need to have the right conditions. It could be blowing 20 knots, but if the direction is straight onshore, it can be very difficult to get out even if the waves are relatively small. On the other hand, if you have 10 to 15 knots side shore, you can generally punch through shoulder to head high surf without much issue.

The best advice is to start out on a day when all of the factors are more or less in your favor - moderate side shore breeze, small waves. It's also helpful to have another person hold your bow into the waves as you launch, especially if you're sailing solo. The most important thing to remember when sailing out through the surf is that you always want to sail directly into the waves at a 90 degree angle to their face. When you allow yourself to get turned sideways, bad things happen...

And that leads into your other question..
Tarzan wrote:
If you launch into big waves and capsize, do you risk having your boat damaged?


YES. Hobies are built tough, but everything has it's limit and flipping your boat in the surf will take your Hobie to that limit. If you're going to take your boat out in the surf, you have to accept that there is always the possibility you will be bringing it home in pieces.

sm


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2014 7:50 am 
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Thanks for the input. On the mid Texas coast, in the Port Aransas area, the wind blows directly onshore 90% of the time. If I launch inshore and take the jetties out to the Gulf of Mexico, I would be heading against the wind that way, too. I might not do as much offshore sailing as I had anticipated, but there will be plenty of inshore opportunities. I will see if I can find a bend in the coast that is as close to parallel to the wind as possible so I can sail out perpendicular to the waves.


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