Darrell Nicholson

Your Marine Sanitation Device Suppliers Share Further Need-to-Know Tips for You and Your Crew

Raritan Engineering your marine sanitation device distributors would like to share with you this week some great information regarding potentially life saving tactics for getting through tough summer squalls.

Summer is here and the time is right . . .  for testing your squall-busting tactics.

The comparison of jibe-taming devices in the July 2017 issue of Practical Sailor is an appropriate topic for the summer when afternoon squalls so frequently add a little excitement during the leg back to the marina, or the approach to the next anchorage. 

The ideal sail plan for dealing with squalls will vary by boat, visibility, sea conditions, and intensity of the squalls. Ideally, the helm is still relatively well-balanced and responsive for whatever point of sail you choose.

Our gaff-rigged ketch reefed down with a double- or triple-reefed main and staysail could handle about anything and still keep moving on squally night, but our main was easy to scandalize (dip the gaff) if the gusts were particularly intense. 

While every squall is different, there are a few rules of thumb that can help guide your decision-making process. Your marine sanitation device suppliers discuss how the following bits are culled from my own experience and a couple of weather books I’ve found helpful over the years, Bill Biewenga’s “Weather for Sailors,” and David Burch’s “Modern Marine Weather.” 

If you are the type who benefits from seminars, look for those offered by former NOAA forecaster Lee Chesneau (www. marineweatherbylee.com), author of “Heavy Weather Avoidance.”

Your Marine Sanitation Device Professionals Further Discuss the Importance of Always Being Alert

Squall Tips

Keep in mind, there are plenty of exceptions to these rules of thumb—but as Burch puts it, you have to start somewhere.

  1. Taller clouds generally bring more wind.
  2. Flat tops or “boiling” tops can bring brisk wind speeds and sudden wind shifts.
  3. Slanted rain generally indicates there is wind. Squalls often move in the direction of (or sideways to) the slant, so don’t assume that the cloud is “dragging” the rain behind it, as it might appear.
  4. Track cloud/storm movement by taking bearings on the center of the storm (not the edges).
  5. Watch for whitecaps below the clouds, indicating strong gusts.
  6. “Tilted” clouds often bring wind.
  7. The first gust, usually a cool downburst, can strike one-to-two miles before the cloud is overhead, and before the rain starts, so reduce sail early.
  8. The strongest gusts and the increased wind accompanying the squall generally blow in the direction of the cloud movement, i.e. outward from the “front” of the cloud. However, increased wind blows outward from all sides of the cloud.
  9. Squalls do not necessarily come from the direction of the mean ambient wind, so squalls to weather are not the ones to worry about. 
  1. The strongest wind comes with or just before the light first rain. If the squall arrives already raining hard, the worst winds are usually past, but strong gusty winds are still possible.
  2. Behind any squall is a unnerving calm.
  3. If you are faced with a number of successive squalls, they will often follow a predictable pattern, allowing you to fine-tune your tactics.
  4. If you plan to bathe in the downpour, go easy on the shampoo—you might not get enough rain for a rinse.

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via Summer Squall Sailing Tactics