Walter Hinteler wrote:
Really enormous waves I've experienced when "turning around the corner" of Brittany: actually no more wind than about 4 bfts but waves up to 12 meters high (they came from the IRISH Sea).
Our minesweeper usually "rode" five to seven waves and then just went through them. The wood was cracking that some feared we would sink.
(Since that day I never tidied up neither my berth nor my lockers anymore.)
The IRISH sea is rough only for Englishmen (and evidently Germans too) !
It is the relationship between the length of the ship and the peak-to-peak length of the waves that determines just how rough is the ride. With short, high Atlantic waves the destroyers would have a very rough day while the carrier glided smoothly by. With long Pacific waves the carriers would dig in, the hulls would shudder and we all would have a bad day while the destroyers gently heaved up and down over the swells.
Turning was also a significant and potentially dangerous chore. With steady 50 Kt winds near the Aleutian islands a gentle turn into the wind to launch aircraft would yield a 25+ degree list with the wind on the beam . Add the Pacific swells (with their 4000 mile fetch) and one could easily see a 30+ degree list with the sea and wind on the beam (something we tried to avoid with icy decks and taxiing aircraft). Finally I figured out a better method: slow to less than 10 Kts ahead, then put the rudders over full (55 degrees), and order a flank bell (full power) -- this caused the ship to simply pivot, almost in place, without gaining speed, yielding a very high rate of turn and not much list.