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What's the biggest surf you guys would launch through?  Bottom

  • Down here (Gulf Coast), 2-4 foot surf is normal; mostly washing machine, but sometimes the frequency of the waves are predictable. I don't have a ton of experience getting through the surf (1/2 dozen times, probably), being spoiled by TC Dike and "Clear" Lake with protected/easy launches.

    I have had the pleasure of trying to punch (more like slug) through 3-4 feet and that was really a pain and kind of nerve racking until I could get the thing moving. Almost terrified about being driven backwards onto the beach, though not as much about tipping. What you got for tips and max surf size you're comfortable with?

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    Chuck C.
    H21SE 408
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  • It really depends on wind direction and conditions. Wind blown waves can be hard since your launch angle is broadside to the waves. So getting rudders and boards down is hard while getting powered up. On offshore breeze is easier to launch since you have more power in your sails.

    Your 21 is big enough it handles waves better than 16’s, but also doesn’t accelerate through the waves as fast due to weight.

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    Scott,
    ‘92 H18 w/SX wings
    ‘95 Hobie Funseeker 12 (Holder 12)
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  • Sorry - yeah that bit of info. would be helpful; we're usually either on-shore or 45 degrees to on-shore (typically). Yup; it's that lack of acceleration that stinks - once it gets going, it's all good. Still, I couldn't imagine getting a 16 through - that would be one wet ride...

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    Chuck C.
    H21SE 408
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  • It’s highly dependent on the wind conditions. With a side shore breeze of 15+ mph filled in all the way to the beach, punching out through 4+ foot waves is generally pretty feasible. However, in light onshore winds even getting out through 2 foot waves can be a challenge. The surf confitions also need to be factored in. If there’s a heavy shore break, you better be on your game. Also consider what’s down wind/current from your launch. If there are jettys or bathing beaches nearby, you need to factor your drift into the equation.

    The biggest tip is don’t force it. Surf sailing is not like lake or bay sailing- you need to be picky about the conditions you choose to go out in. If the conditions aren’t right, hold out for a better day and just hang out on the beach or go body surfing instead...

    sm
  • Great advise right there
  • No one mentioned one of the most important factors. How your sails are set when you launch from the beach.
    Also how to just trail your rudders when launching and what you must do to keep the boat moving while trailing the rudders. The hardest beach launch is when the wind is dead on shore. If the wind is 30 degrees or more from dead on shore it is doable.
  • I'll bite-How would you set your sails? Guessing, pretty full for most power? Light downhaul, light outhaul, not sheeted in hard, etc.? We're generally 10-15, on-shore, with breaks almost all the way to the beach. A North wind/off shore would produce awesome sailing conditions except if you have problems you're moving into the gulf... So how would you set?

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    Chuck C.
    H21SE 408
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  • If you can find a rip current ride out on that. Anything higher than about 2 feet gives me pause to think A tighter jib and looser main help to balance with the rudders half in. I like a stout west wind at the Outer Banks for a beach launch.

    --
    '82 Super Cat 15
    Hull #315
    Virginia
    Previously owned: '70 H14, '79 H16, '68 Sailmaster 26, '85 H14T
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  • Had 4 adults, I was only sailor, on my H18 (with wings), pushing out through big surf (3-5) - too big. We were at Panama City Beach area. Everyone wanted a ride and I didn't want to disappoint. Wind was good, 15, but straight offshore 0 deg. A big wave caught the nose, pushed it around. Took next big wave on port side and we almost flipped over. 2 of us went flying and the ones still on the boat had no sailing experience. I surfaced in time to grab the strut on the wing with one hand and the rudder crossbar with the other - dragging behind the boat, steering it, going parallel to the beach. Another big wave hit and washed over. I was barely able to pull myself up and onto the boat. The other adult swam in and sat it out. A sandbar up close meant that rudders couldn't go down until we cleared the sandbar - so pressure on rudders was strong since they were barely in the water. I was shook up, but we got through the surf, once we built some speed, and sailed for a few minutes anyway. Only casualty was my prescription sunglasses - gone for good. Could have been much worse. Lesson learned. I've ben sailing my H18 and other beach cats for more than 10 years. I knew better.

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    Tim Young
    Hobie 18' + other stuff that floats and goes.
    Kentucky
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  • the older i get, the smaller my window of sailing gets

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