Storm supercells: How are you doing?

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Storm supercells: How are you doing?

Postby Troppo » Sun Jan 31, 2016 8:12 am

Well, Rockhampton area was warned it would likely have problems with a storm supercell, along with other places down the coast practically to Melbourne. People were advised to make sure their boats were secure. Mine was already so I didn't need to make a special trip.

A few months ago a storm ripped through Rockhampton and in isolated spots caused more damaged than the Cat 4 cyclone Marcia. Dozens of boats dragged on their moorings in the river. Some sank. A friend with a huge old trawler thing converted for living and a large prawn trawler had more damaged than from Marcia. I never had any problems with Windchaser.

I guess that is the benefit of having a smaller boat and taking down the sails in cyclone season. There is no that much windage and not so much loading on moorings.

Getting back to the storms, we need rain as been extremely dry, 300 mm was one prediction. So far we got about 3 mm. That's not enough to wash the bird poo off Windchaser.

But there has been some serious rain and wind elsewhere. How are you and your boat doing?

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Re: Storm supercells: How are you doing?

Postby Phillip » Mon Feb 01, 2016 2:17 pm

So far so good,

No lightning strikes so far. That's my main worry :shock:
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Re: Storm supercells: How are you doing?

Postby Troppo » Mon Feb 01, 2016 7:10 pm

Yeah Phillip, some of these storms have had huge amounts of lightening. Not just flood and wind we have to dodge. Good to hear Seaka is fine.

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Re: Storm supercells: How are you doing?

Postby Shaun » Mon Feb 01, 2016 9:45 pm

Heres a short bit of video from the last storms a few weeks ago, taken on the same day of the returning yachts debacle from the Coffs race, 7th of Jan I think.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACkw8jUuBXI
A few minutes before the gusts were coming from the right of screen from behind the little boatshed, don't know if you can zoom in, some boats in front of the boatshed are facing all different directions.
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Re: Storm supercells: How are you doing?

Postby Troppo » Tue Feb 02, 2016 7:38 am

Wow, that is a big gust coming through. The way the boat rocks and what looks like spray blowing across in the background shows some force in the wind. I'm thinking the dinghy is not normally like that : ). I guess the gust in the video was not the first one.

What sort of speed would the wind have gusted to in the video?

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Re: Storm supercells: How are you doing?

Postby Shaun » Tue Feb 02, 2016 8:11 am

Luckily I anticipated the dinghy would probably turn over & took the oars off the dinghy.
I think that gust was about 40kts, but we had gusts around 50kts at times. The funny thing was it took me over an hour to get off the boat that afternoon, sitting in the cockpit with full wet weather gear & PFD on waiting for a break to row the 30m to shore.
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Re: Storm supercells: How are you doing?

Postby Troppo » Tue Feb 02, 2016 10:19 am

Shaun, good thinking about the dinghy oars. Would have to be a big gust to flip a dinghy.

Wind is tricky stuff, at 20 knts to 25 knts, it has surprising force. Double the speed to 40 to 50 knots and it has 4x the force. That is an amazing amount of power.

I am glad you waited before trying to get back to shore and that you had the proper gear on. A little wisdom and you get to come back another day.

Earlier in the year when we had a super storm cell come over and hell broke loose for an hour, a heap of boats dragged in the river. One guy, Popeye, moved his 40 foot live-aboard motor cruiser up closer to the bridge (Rockhampton on the Fitzroy River Qld) as it was more protected up there from the winds. After the storm, two guys in two dinghies but together helping other boaties motored up past Popeye's boat. They noticed his dinghy upside down still tied to the big boat. One guy went over, climbed on board. No Popeye. He called out to the other guy saying he thought Popeye had fallen in. They both did a quick zoom around. No Popeye.

One of the guys went off in his boat as plenty of other folk in trouble on the banks, a boat sunk, etc. So the other guy puttered around and around thinking Popeye would be out there somewhere. And he was. The guy found Popeye. He was clutching his little dog. The dog was alive. The rescuer dragged it into the dinghy. Popeye was too exhausted to get in the dinghy. The rescuer was not strong enough to haul him in. Popeye was not able to even hold on to the dinghy or his rescuer and was fading out. At one point, Popeye told the guy just to let him go. He was totally exhausted.

Another boat went past but came back when they decided it was too strange for someone to be leaning out into the water holding something. Popeye ended up in hospital, I think he is okay now. I haven't seen his boat or him. Apparently in the blow, the dog fell in the water and Popeye jumped in to save it and ended up being blown and carried by current a long way from his boat and away from other boats. He is lucky to be alive. If that bloke had given up searching . . . .

Accidents happen. Before we know it deadly danger can come close and nip our heels. A little bit of safety thinking might not stop danger nipping at our heels but at least it reduces the risk of it biting our legs off or worse.

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Re: Storm supercells: How are you doing?

Postby Troppo » Sat Feb 06, 2016 8:38 am

Bit of a flood starting to come down the Fitzroy River so decided yesterday to move Windchaser from her mooring in town to around the corner out of the direct flow of water. My calculations indicate there won't be much rise in the water level but any time there is flood out west we end up getting islands of water weed and sticks, some twice as long as Windchaser, floating down. No debris yesterday when I moved but better early than late.

The wind was gusting very strongly when I moved Windchaser, chop to a half metre making it tricky in the dinghy. Once I motored Windchaser around the corner I was out of most of the wind.

The picture is an old one, yesterday I forgot to take a new photo. In the picture, the river turns to the right into Rockhampton. On the left over the other side is high banks and the river is very deep there, about 8 m to 10 m. On the left side of the river is mangroves. What is unusual is that this small bit of river has reasonable depth of water almost up to the bank. Go up or down river along this bank several hundred metres and you run aground. So this section is a nice little pocket to lay up while the river is in flood. Most of the debris goes past in the main channel further out. Most, not all.

downriver.jpg
Where I hide out from floods, taken some years back.
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It is nice to have the rain, good for the farmers. Makes for some interesting times for people with boats on the river.

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Re: Storm supercells: How are you doing?

Postby Troppo » Sat Feb 06, 2016 5:04 pm

Checked from the shore: Windchaser anchored down around the first corner from the city centre, Rockhampton. All good. Light run of fresh, expecting the logs and weed rafts this coming week. I am tucked in on the northern bank, a bit left of centre in the pic. Other boats have now moved down but have gone further around the corner. You can't see in this pic but there are two sunken boats just on that second corner.

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