Jeff Douthwaite of Seattle, WA, asks:

Nordhavn boasts of its seaworthiness, but you sound worried about the possibility of encountering a storm... Seems like this may be a good chance to show your stuff. What is your plan to weather a real blow?

Dan Streech responds:

It seems that the more experience I gain, the more cautious I have become about everything involving safety on board a boat - especially the weather.

With proper seamanship, NORDHAVN will survive some horrendous weather and storm conditions, but the goal is to avoid them. Heavy weather is extremely uncomfortable and unnerving and there is always the risk of the unknown or a chain reaction of events, which could lead to an accident. The human factor is the weak link - not the boat. Also, as professionals setting an example, it would be highly embarrassing to end up in a risky situation that could have been avoided by proper planning and attention to detail.

To answer the question of what we would do in heavy weather is a little difficult because wind and sea figures alone don't always tell the entire story. To generalize, however:

A very good source of information and case studies on heavy weather experience is the "DDDB (Drag Device Data Base)" manual by Victor Shane. The manual also lists other sources of information such as books and weather routers. I am thumbing through the "books" section of the West Marine catalog that we have on board and I see numerous books on heavy weather and storm tactics - none of which I have read, except for "Heavy Weather Sailing" by Adlard Coles.


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