Surviving a Large Storm Aboard a Small Boat on a Big Ocean

Heavy weather management is simple—there are only two basic rules.

The prudent mariner must control his vessel’s speed and angle to the wind and seas.

That’s it. There’s nothing complicated about these concepts.

However, the offshore execution of these concepts at sea in 50+ knots of breeze and 30+ foot seas—what we traditionalists call offshore seamanship—can vary greatly depending on the boat type, number of hulls, sea state, wind force, the proximity and direction of land, the presence of ocean currents, underwater topography, and a hundred other evolving factors.

Storm management can—and does—get complicated fast.

This book covers everything the offshore sailor needs to know about vessel preparation, reducing sail, reefing, towing slowing drogues, deploying a parachute-type sea anchor and, ultimately, hanging to a Jordan Series Drogue. (340 pages, 42 photos, 36 illustrations.)

Its core premise is simple: a used $3,000 sailboat can be safer offshore than a new $3,000,000 yacht if it is storm-proofed, has the proper gear, and has a crew who knows how to deploy both.

Are you considering taking people you love offshore with limited funds to spend on marine safety gear?

If so, read this book. It will both save you money and provide peace of mind.

Storm survival isn’t rocket science. It’s all basic, do-able stuff. The emphasis is on practical what-actually-works at sea—with awareness that safety gear costs money and takes up valuable space.

This book is aimed at frugal, safety-conscious cruising couples with few pennies and large dreams aboard small vessels on big oceans.

Can’t afford a fancy parachute sea anchor? Then consider the lowly, widely available automobile tire—even a discarded retread will do. Or deploy a fender. Or toss over a torn sail….

How long should you stay in a storm? Why? Should you minimize or maximize your time within? Why? What are some of the critical decisions you’ll need to make? Is there a lee shore or do you have plenty of sea room? When is a “favorable current” the worst news possible? What is the one thing you must avoid?

Under what circumstance should you, if you want to make more miles downwind, toss your dock fenders overboard? Which is best during an extended blow—bow-on or stern-to? Why?

What does the center of lateral resistance have to do with anything? How can ten cents worth of kite string save your life? Why are transoceanic sailors obsessed with hording air?

  • Why, for gosh sake, would anyone immediately take a drink if they thought they were sinking? When is the best, most logical time to heave-to, set a parachute sea anchor off your bow, or deploy a Jordan Series Drogue from your stern?

  • What tools should you carry? Where is every boat’s lumberyard located?

  • This book, unlike many, makes definite statements—with no hemming and hawing. It says you should never lay-to or scud. It says parachute retrieval is extremely dangerous. It cautions against any “running set” in mature seas.

  • What about a tennis ball? What do drag queens have to do with it? Do what with burst fenders? When should you happily and gratefully discard the $2,000 worth of storm gear you just purchased?

  • What are the two basic choices as a hurricane approaches? From where do you step into a life raft?

  • Storm Proofing shows you, step-by-step, how to survive a large storm aboard a small vessel on a big ocean—and at the cost of mini-bucks.