Pictures of 70+ foot seas


Racing crews normally record 30 meter seas in the souther seas during the Volvo Ocean Races (formerly the Whitbread Round the World Race). I’ve never seen them. But they do record and talk about them. Proably because those are strom conditions and eveyone is too busy to play with cameras. There are sites where you can follow the racers nad get constant undates of boat locations, weather and sea conditions.


Ha ha yes you west coast guys laugh at the spankings we take in 25’ but forget the nasty period we deal with. oh the last 25’ beating I took could be the last one I ever take if I had a choice.


A Giga is what you need in your checking account to play with these boats.


Are you a necropiliac?


Cripes Bayrunner you’re giving me Sail Boat Envy. I truly admire those Bristol Cutters and their baby cousin the Falmouth Cutter. Hess did a smack up job of small boat design.
Must have been a wild ride!


I once did the Whitbread Race and Xavier6162 is correct. In the Southern Ocean between Cape Town and Sydney, during a storm I remember reflecting that some of the waves were higher than the yacht was long.

I was on a Swan 65 (65ft overall). We were capsized by one of the larger waves but fortunately the yacht self-righted (so this is not written posthumously). It was reported at the time in several newspapers, magazines and textbooks on heavy weather sailing.

Incidentally, the waves looked nothing like the illustration in “The Perfect Storm”. They are not so steep but their tops start sliding down the face of the wave like an avalanche and it’s the falling water that does the damage.

In order to survive a yacht needs to have very strong rigging as well as a strong hull. Our mast stayed up, but we broke some strands in the leeward rigging due to the boat tumbling down the face of the wave and the shock of the mast hitting the surface of the water in the trough.

No-one is in the mood to take photographs at such a time and anyway, still photographs do not really do justice to big waves… you need to take video before you can appreciate how scary they are.


Even video doesn’t really capture the scale properly.


You are too right.

You need the freezing conditions and inadequaten 1970’s style (wet) clothing; you need the remoteness of being without communication, with the nearest land being Antarctica and the feeling that a rescue mission could reach the moon more easily than helpng you.

These days weather forecasts are available and modern saiors can generally avoid the sort of storms that throw up the biggest waves.


this bs about 80 and 100’ seas has gotta stop. On your book: make it realistic and don’t put a “perfect storm” photo on it.
The idea of having this forum proof read your book is great. of course it’d take about 2 yrs. to get it done and you’d probably end up writing about horse racing or something else!! some of the biggest seas are probably the grain race routes, some of those ships supposedly drove themselves right into the wave and never came up. I’ve read water won’t stand appreciatively more than 80ft. and who isn’t going to go hide for that? I doubt i’ve seen more than 45 ft.


The book “halseys typhoon” or very similar depicts Halseys’ order to leave Leyte gulf and sail as a diversion, many ships got the shit beat out of them, I don’t recall if any were lost (3?) but i’ll guarantee there were no 100’ seas!


There are two common ways of reporting wave height, the first is SWH (Significant Wave Height), the mean wave height of the highest 1/3 of waves.

Typically max SWH is about 17 meters (55 feet) or so because the wind will blow the tops off higher waves.

The second method of wave height measurement is the “sea story” method. This method is based on the estimate of the highest wave encountered and then the reported wave height is embellished, the final reported wave height varies with factors such as the gullibility of the audience, time and place story is told, amount of alcohol consumed etc.


I don’t think so. In my personal BK experience, there was only one appropriate mantra:
Bruce King at the Quay,
Stephen King at sea!
i.e. sail it very conservatively.


you want 70’ seas? well here you go!

leave Cape Flattery tonight and head straight to Unimak Pass…catch em on the beam the whole way!


NWS is calling for 13 meters (43 ft).


oh I do not doubt there’ll be 70’ers out there…especially right south and east of Kodiak

maybe not continuous 70’ers but plenty of occasional ones


A significant wave height of 43 foot means that the mariners should expect about 1% of the waves will be 71 feet.

From When Do Ocean Waves Become ‘Significant’? A Closer Look at Wave Forecasts

If you read a marine weather forecast predicting “SEAS 10 FT,” what is really being conveyed in that forecast?

Hs = 10 ft

H (mean) = (0.64)Hs = 6.4 ft

H (most probable) = 6 ft

H1/10 (10% highest waves) = (1.27)Hs = 12.7 ft

H1/100 (1% highest waves) = (1.67)Hs = 16.7 ft

Hmax (highest wave you should be on the alert for) = 20 ft!

This is not something mariners should be confused about. In 20 foot seas about 1% of the waves would be expected to be 33 feet. If a mariner believes he has encounted 30 foot seas when it was in fact 20 feet he will not understand what it means when the forecast calls for 30 foot seas (1% 50 foot waves)


so why make an issue out of this? the seastate in the GoA is going to be pure shit coming up…is it worth splitting hairs if there are 70’+ seas one percent of the time or ten?

anyway, I am not going to play a game of numbers here


Nor should anyone unless they are attempting to scribe the greatest yachtie novel in the history of yachtie novels. :roll_eyes:


maybe it’s possible we’ve all seen some big ones. I know standing on deck several decks up in weather is different than standing on main deck vs. watching the ship bend down below (where I usually was). I know there were a few I saw but that was one of few times we didn’t talk about it (nor much else!) and I sorta felt uncomfortable just looking at them! facinating yea, and the sea just waits… The view from the bridge was higher/flatter but i was very seldom up there. Better to go below, do your thing and wait for better weather!


I don’t know…a 400’+ GIGAYACHT really gets my juices flowing! especially is owned by Ernst Stavros Blofeld and filled with a stunningly gorgeous all woman crew with Pussy Galore herself as master and head dominatrix! sign me up for some of that even if the action takes place in the Sea of Okhotsk