Rogue waves

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Thanks for your fea­ture on rogue waves (April is­sue and on www.yacht­ing­world. com). I was on board a yacht in the Bass Strait one night 30 years ago when the mast­head light 60ft above the deck dis­ap­peared into the trough of a wave that picked the whole boat up and dumped it back down.

It was a 14-tonne steel boat and we suf­fered se­ri­ous dam­age as the wave went over the top. I think a lesser boat would have im­ploded while un­der­wa­ter and gone straight down with all hands.

The wave was much larger than all the oth­ers; it was rac­ing across the ocean and hit us on the beam, maybe 20-30° fur­ther aft than the rest of the waves.

I’d call it a rogue, although the first de­scrip­tion on board as we came out the back of it was a bit more colour­ful.

Andy Mur­ray

Leav­ing Cape Town in May 2010 we had 30 to 35-knot south-west­er­lies. Waves came in groups of four fol­lowed by gi­ant peaks that came at se­ri­ous speed. We saw 600ft tankers just dis­ap­pear in the troughs of the big ones. I was a changed man af­ter wit­ness­ing that.

Hugo Hat­tingh

I think rogue waves are cre­ated by (many) mul­ti­ple waves which co­in­cide and build to a height much large than the av­er­age waves in sur­round­ing wa­ter. You can see it in a small way look­ing at a rough swell and see oc­ca­sional waves which are much larger than the nor­mal ones.

Rogues would have much greater vol­ume and the speed can be ex­plained by the an­gle of in­ci­dence of the waves. If you bring two rulers to­gether at a slight an­gle, the rulers move slowly but see how fast the in­ci­dence be­tween them trav­els. Lessen the an­gle and the in­ci­dence speed be­comes more ex­treme.

Neale Hutcheon

I thought rogue waves were a myth un­til I was hit by a 30ft wave off Cape Fear. The sea state was only 8-10ft. I could feel the wa­ter drop­ping the mo­ment be­fore the solo mon­ster rolled through. It hit abeam.

It was trav­el­ling so fast the boat didn’t have time to roll, it barely made 30°.

Dan Alonso

I was work­ing on a cargo ves­sel 25 years ago and met 16m waves in the mid­dle of the At­lantic Ocean. We of­ten had a few rough waves, but some were big­ger.

But I think the waves in Bis­cay can be worse even when they are smaller.

Hans Olsen

All clewed up

Thanks for Skip No­vak’s ar­ti­cle on your web­site about storm sails. I’m due a new main and, guess what, it’s now def­i­nitely get­ting four reefs!

Just a thought: the clew needs some ex­tra con­sid­er­a­tion. There could be a need for a cheek block on the boom for that rare oc­ca­sion. All the blocks at the

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