How it’s made: rough sea in the bow


Give or treat yourself to a subscription to Boats in Motion print + digital and for only 39 euros a year you get the magazine at home plus read it on your PC, smartphone and tablet. With a sea of advantages.



Rough sea. Are you sure you know what to do at the helm when the sea becomes bad? Here are the driving techniques to get back to port without any problems.

You have checked the weather reports and set sail to reach the roadstead you like so much. Everything seems quiet. And instead… suddenly the sea ripples and the wind starts to blow strong. Close the portholes and put everything you have around in the lockers. Start the engines and go, you’re back in port. But the sea is now swollen and steering is not easy at all. The boat skids and yawns continuously, the bow regularly slips into the wave. You are now soaked from head to toe.



It is at this point that know how to use the trim tabs and the rudder becomes fundamental for both safety and comfort. Yes, because the flaps are not only used to get into the glide faster or to save fuel, but they are one of the most important (and often unknown) aspects of running a boat. Whether you have a fast open or a flying bridge, in this service we explain the secrets to face every sea in total safety.


When the rough sea comes from the bow

How to deal with the bow waves or those that arrive at the mascone? To explain it you need to start from a consideration that you will have to keep in mind when reading these lines. Lowering the flaps to keep the boat parallel to the water is essential, but be careful not to exaggerate, because you would risk slipping the bow into the waves! The rule is therefore one: increase the inclination of the flaps.

Thus, with wave motion contrary to its course is better to keep the flaps low because the mass of water contained in the wave, when it flows under the hull, tends initially to raise the bow. After passing a ridge, in fact, the bow falls into the cable of the wave. It is therefore better to use the flaps to keep the “snout” low and thus reduce the impact of the hull.


How can I avoid catching my bow under water?

In the case of outboard engines, you also help yourself by using the trim. It should be kept as low as possible, so that the thrust of the propeller is horizontal and keeps the hull parallel to the surface of the water. Obviously there is a big difference in technique if you are at the helm of a boat with sporting skills rather than a heavy one, as could be a flying bridge, especially with regard to the gait to be held.


Matter of weights

Usually fast boats have a center of gravity shifted to the stern and therefore tend to crash frequently in the bow. To improve comfort you can increase the cruising speed a bit, because in this way the greater thrust of the propellers “spreads” the hull on the water, allowing it to maintain a more constant trim and parallel to the surface of the sea. A theory that takes into account, inexorably, the strength of construction of the boat and your ability to “play” with the throttle cuffs.

To accelerate and to decelerate continuously becomes fundamental for the passage on the waves. If you do not have a suitable vehicle, you risk compromising the safety of passengers and the reliability of the boat. With slightly heavier boats it is better to adjust the gait to the minimum glide, avoiding letting the boat enter the displacement (you could hardly manage it), but at the same time giving up faster gaits that would risk creating excessive stress to the structures (and crew!).




To stay updated on all the news on boating, selected by our editorial staff, subscribe to the newsletter of Barche a Motore! Just click on the link below, accept the Privacy Policy and click on the “Subscribe me” button. You will receive in your email, twice a week, the best news about motorboats in English! It’s free and you can unsubscribe at any time, without obligation! CLICK HERE



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Are you already a subscriber?

Sign up for our Newsletter

Join the Sailing Newspaper Club

Powerboats, its stories, from small open to motoryachts. Sign up now for our free newsletter and receive the best news selected by the editorial staff each week. Enter your email below, agree to the Privacy Policy and click the “sign me up” button.

Once you click on the button below check your mailbox



You may also be interested in.