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Being new to boating and new to taking a boat outside the river systems I am looking to get some guidance from experienced boaters on what weather conditions are considered too bad to go out to aviod learning the hard way. 

I will be going out via the Port Hacking and will be looking to fish around the Jibbon Bommie, down to Stanwell etc. 

I have a 5.5m Stessl Blue Water powered by a 90hp. 

What swell size is considered a no go, and does swell direction and frequency play a role.

Are there specific wind directions to look out for, I currently try to avoid winds above 20kmh.

Thanks in advance. 

 

 

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I dont own my own boat capable of being outside but I've been out on plenty of charters & friends boats & I would feel cautiously confident enough get outside the heads myself.

I think when starting out it pays to try & get out in what I would call 'ideal' conditions just to get to know the boat, have a play at speed & basically get familiar with it in open water, this will build up some confidence & get you ready for when the conditions are not so ideal.

 

What I would look for regardless of experience is things like you mention, swell, swell/wave timing, swell direction & wind direction.

Depending on these conditions these will determine what spots you head to & for how long.

 

I think many people get in trouble by just looking at the weather when they want to go fishing & forget that they have to get back!

So looking closely at forecasts from various sources like BOM & things like seabrease or similar where you can look at the timeline you will be out for & when you will need to return, not nessacarily want to return!

  

Seabrease.png.8234f2a17f5409a27527b4741b038676.png

At the end of the day..................IF IN DOUBT DONT GO OUT!

And dont be afraid to just turn around!

I went out once from the Hacking attempting to go to the Peak with someone who was trying out a newly purchased 5.5 Formosa with a 150hp suzie & the forecast was for less than 10knts & less than 1 mtre swell & we got about 1/4 of the way there & it was more like 1.5/2mtr chop with the swell coming from the east but made worse by a S/NW wind at 20knts & it was like being in a washing machine, we ended up not wanting to push it & just came back in & fished around Bate bay.  

 

I've also been about 5NM south of the hacking with a 2+ mtr swell in no wind & it was fine, the wave timing was long so about every 2 minutes this 2mtr + rolling wave would come through & we would just roll over it.

Caught quite a few good sized flathead that day but when they wave came through you had to hold onto something!

Sore lets the next day though 🙄

Your better if not comfortable to just coming back into say the Hacking or amore protected area & enjoy some inside fishing for the day then struggling with conditions & not enjoying the day!

 

Make sure your safety gear is all in date & correct & if you can take someone with you, its always good to have company & also a second opinion!

 

Edited by kingie chaser
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Hi blade. Firstly your boat is more than capable to go outside the heads and offshore within reason.

Thousand of variants to watch out for. My advise is after looking at the forecasts etc when you get to the ramp OR on water where you can see the headlands, if there is whitecaps forming you are already too late. Whitecaps generally start forming when the seabreeze is up around 15 knotts so keep this figure in mind, if the forecast is for winds above 15 knotts you are probably better to stay inside. As I said earlier your boat is more than capable, but till you gain a fair bit of experience I would suggest you keep to these variants.

Now in saying that, whitecaps can form with less wind, for instance if there is a short sharp chop with wind apposing current etc.

A swell is nothing to worry about only the stomach content may be effected more with a large type swell. The boat will simply ride the wave and stay on top.

Any wind with a S ( south ) in it is something to keep a close watch on. Most wind directions will swirl around a fair bit during the coarse of a day , generally a w ( west ) wind will flatten the sea down close in, but this is the norm and there are variants. most other wind directions will give a fair bit of notice to you as to what they are doing .

If you happen to be out there and you see dark clouds forming in the South, up anchor and head for sheltered waters.

You will no doubt get plenty of experience and in a few years from now IF you were to re-read this post you may think I was being a little over cautious, but you need to take things with caution till you attain the skills for handling outside conditions.

Don't let things scare you, and get out there and practice manoeuvring your boat around the waves in different directions, go against the swell/chop go side on at a angle and most important go with the swell with the wave pushing the rear of the boat, this will teach you the character of your boat and it is very important to learn how to sort of surf your boat, engine trim plays an important role and only experience will teach you this aspect of driving a boat.

Hope this helps .

Frank

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Thanks to all who have contributed this far, really good advise. 

Looking forward to hearing from others. 

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4 hours ago, Blade said:

Being new to boating and new to taking a boat outside the river systems I am looking to get some guidance from experienced boaters on what weather conditions are considered too bad to go out to aviod learning the hard way. 

I will be going out via the Port Hacking and will be looking to fish around the Jibbon Bommie, down to Stanwell etc. 

I have a 5.5m Stessl Blue Water powered by a 90hp. 

What swell size is considered a no go, and does swell direction and frequency play a role.

Are there specific wind directions to look out for, I currently try to avoid winds above 20kmh.

Thanks in advance. 

 

 

Im in the same boat as you Blade. only had the boat for 6 months and only ventured out of the heads a few months back first time with my cousin in his boat coming along with me. This was in a stacer 499 seamaster and conditions were ok.

i have since upgraded the boat to a Surtees 540 workmate and been out a few times out of the heads. last weekend it was according to willyweather about a 1.3m swell and it was not a problem going out off cape banks or coming back in. boat felt really stable and was comfortable drift fishing (was in 46m depth) 

Another time i tried to venture out the swell that day was about 2m and i chickened out as i was heading past botany heads. i know the boat was more than capable of going out but for me and my experience i wasn't up to the task yet that day. I saw other boats just screaming out and im thinking man it must be a bumpy ride. i was slightly embarrassed as a guy on a standup paddle-board went passed me as i was coming back in.... now he has some kahunas !! while at the fish cleaning station i spoke to a guy and he said to me you just need to go faster when heading out as makes it easier.

im sure you will get excellent advise from the folks here... i will be keeping an eye on this thread too for advise

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Hello Blade

Congrats on the boat purchase. As others have mentioned 5.5m is more than sufficient to get outside, by way of reference, i use to fish from my 4.6m Quintrex Renegade and went out as far as the Botany Wide FAD some 18km from Botany Headlands.

I know you have not specifically asked for general boating advice, but it is relevant in the context of what conditions are "good for outside". The reason this is relevant because alot of what happens during your boating experience outside centres solely on the skippers ability to operate the vessel, read conditions etc.

So, if you are new to boating in general (you mentioned you were), then i would recommend you do a few trips inside sheltered waters in first instance before going outside, during these trips you can explore how your boat handles in various speeds,, how to fish, how to anchor, how to drift, importantly, how the weather changes your surrounding environment and what this means for your boat.

These "A,B,Cs" type skills can then be expanded upon and better utilized once outside, as for example you certainly dont want to be learning how to drop/raise anchor in 40 or 50m of water ! Thats back breaking stuff.

Once your outside, to quote @frankS there are thousands of variables. Wind and swell height/direction being the obvious concerns however there is no black and white answer ! Different locations will be impacted differently. A good example is i often fish manly to dee why and alot of the time the swell can be 1.5 to 2m outside Sydney but 0.5m to 1.m inside Manly as it is very sheltered due to the topography of the headlands and the surrounding reefs.

There is literally tonnes of info to digest and im sure others will provide some info but if i can close with one thing...it will be that the skippers experience and ability to handle the boat is more important than literally anything else out there on the water. Get to know your boat, what it can and cant handle, and everything else should be fine (apart from being caught off-guard by a cyclone😆).

Unfortunately, what you are wanting to learn is best learnt on the water ! Not on this forum

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5 minutes ago, M1100S said:

Another time i tried to venture out the swell that day was about 2m and i chickened out as i was heading past botany heads. i know the boat was more than capable of going out but for me and my experience i wasn't up to the task yet that day. I saw other boats just screaming out and im thinking man it must be a bumpy ride. i was slightly embarrassed as a guy on a standup paddle-board went passed me as i was coming back in.... now he has some kahunas !! while at the fish cleaning station i spoke to a guy and he said to me you just need to go faster when heading out as makes it easier.

Hi M1100S - next time i would encourage you to "solider on" through the headlands, particularly in a boat that size. The water around the headlands can be very deceiving. The swell rolls in and smashes into the face of the cliffs, bouncing back and colliding with other incoming swells. This makes conditions seem alot worse and alot bigger than what they actually are outside.

My rule of thumb is, once i have clearned the headlands by 2km, if the conditions are still shit then you know your in trouble.

many many times have i punched through the washing machines at the heads to be met with otherwise pleasant conditions outside, very fishable and safe.

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Look on the BOM website and go to Marine forecast. It will give wind direction and speed plus swell size and direction. Often there are two swells running different directions which makes for interesting times.

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Navigating open waters will always come down to experience and the confidence that that experience gives you. 
There is some great advise in this thread already from experienced skippers. 
In my opinion, the fastest way to gain knowledge in the open sea is to take an experienced skipper with you. They will be able to explain how to let your boat find it’s rhythm and alter speed and heading to make the ride more comfortable. Leaving any headland can be daunting depending on swell/tide/geography etc. 

Best advice I can offer.......


Take an experienced skipper with you.

Look at say two weather forecasts and find the medium. 
Look for conditions that are suitable for your boat and when starting out, look for conditions that improve throughout the day. 
Take your time, have all your safety gear and make sure your boat is in good working order. 
 

Just as a guide in your boat as you are not experienced, weather wise! I’d be looking for a 1.3m swell or less at 9-10 secs apart with winds less than 10 knots. But remember that the weather can change at a moment’s notice, so that’s why you look for an improving forecast. 
 

Good luck! 
 

cheers scratchie!!! 

 

 

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Sorry ignore above just got you mixed up with another topic that was on the boil a couple of weeks ago-have a read of this it willhelp you

 

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I have a 5.6 Quinnie with a 90hp Honda and fish out of Pt Hacking regularly so very similar situation.   I rarely bother going if forecast is more than wind of 15k  winds and 1.5 meter seas.  Boat can handle much worse and I am experienced but any worse and fun factor reduces quickly.  Dont forget if your not comfortable and enjoying yourself it's not worth the effort. Ron 

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First things first-take your boat out on a bit of flat water- run it slow, then faster, then flat out- play with the trim as you speed up/slow down, turn at various speeds and trim combinations, run it into the wind, run it down wind, get a feel for it in a small swell- especially ""downhill"", a poorly trimmed vessel can easily broach if driven without care when running down sea. Walk before you run.

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