C12--swamping

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MADwand
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C12--swamping

Post by MADwand » Fri Apr 29, 2005 3:29 am

Today I went to Pontchartrain with my C12. I am still learning to sail it as it handles completely different than my 19' Com-Pac. Started out fine even though waves were pretty steep and the boat was taking a pounding heading into the wind. I didn't have trouble till I was coming back and had the seas to my back while I was running. For some reason, I needed to do something at the bow. I headed into the wind and not knowing how to handle this boat well, I tightened the mainsheet and let the tiller go. I guess maybe I should have loosed the mainsheet and let the tiller go. Anyway, while I has at the bow for a split second, the boat turned and took a wave from the side and the whole thing went over, so fast I wasn't even aware that it had actually laid over til I was hanging vertically off the gunwale. I was aware, however, that my $50 solar/crank radio was slowly getting quieter as it sank to the bottom.

I quickly climbed over it and onto the centerboard and managed to easily right the boat, which surprised me. What surprised me even more was that although the boat was floating fine, it was under the water. I untied the main halyard and stowed what I could grab floating and stuffed things into the stern locker. Every time I made a move to the bow, it threatened to flip on me again, so I had to move quickly and stay in the stern. I attempted to bail with my little bucket, but it was useless, there was 10X the volume of water coming in with every wave. I finally resolved myself to waiting for help and in the meantime, removed the sail, stowed it in the locker, and lashed the boom down to keep from losing it. I probably floated there for an hour (forgot my kayak paddle section this trip) before I stated getting close to the seawall and the waves started really getting nasty. I figured I would try to drag the boat along the wall as it was being dashed to pieces on it, till I got to the end and rounded to the calm side. But then a fishing boat rounded out of the channel and headed to me as I waved overhead. They threw me a rope and started towing me to the channel, nearly swamped me another 10 times. They brought me to the end of the pier where an old sailor was standing waiting for me, he had sent them when he saw me out their driving a mast with no sail. He held my dockline for me as I bailed for the next hour and got enough water out to walk the boat to the beach where we flipped it and dumped most of the water out. I was then able to re-rig it and sail it back to the launch area. Besides losing my radio and my wristwatch losing 40 minutes and the built-in blue nightlight, I got about 2 more hours of sun than I intended...my back is fried.

So I learned some things about my little boat today. It can handle the rough seas, I obviously cant. Never bring electronics or anything else you wish to keep on a boat that WILL flip on you. When building a boat from plans, always add the amount of floatation the plans call for. And then add some more. You can't sail a bathtub. I always wondered how you were supposed to right the boat without filling it with water. You are not. It will fill with water and that is the end of sailing for that day.



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Wrightsville Beach
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Post by Wrightsville Beach » Fri Apr 29, 2005 8:46 am

I think I speak for all of us here when I say....We are just glad you are okay. Boats can be rebuilt and/or replaced. I'm glad you made it back okay.

Joe

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Post by JimW » Fri Apr 29, 2005 8:57 am

Yes with a little more floatation you can sail a bathtub. I used to totally swamp my sea snark in the gulf of mexico and sail it back in. But bailing it was pretty easy. Glad you're ok. Ziplock bags for electronics. Sunblock before you leave shore.
Jim Wright
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Post by jacquesmm » Fri Apr 29, 2005 9:05 am

Sorry to hear about the capsizing but it is very common with beginning dinghy sailors. Your keel boat experience is very different.
So common that it one of the 1st things I was taught in a sailing school was to recover from capsizing.
You did the right thing by stepping on the daggerboard to get the boat right side up but you should empty the boat before boarding it. You must have a pail onboard fastened to the boat with a line. Wiht the boat mostly empty, you can climb on board and keep sailing.

How to avoid the capsizing is difficult to explain in writing but:
- running downwind, get the board up
- don't move your weight forward, if you have to tighten a halyard, head into the wind, slack the main sheet then do what you have to do

With your main sheet fast, you dug the bow in and the boat pivoted around the board then the wind pressure capsized it and you were in the wrong spot to balance the hull. A loose main sheet may have prevented the problem.
Capsizing is no problem here in Florida but in Lake Pontchartrain . . . I shiver from thinking about it . . . :cry:
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Post by LarryA » Fri Apr 29, 2005 12:40 pm

While you are learning, bouyancy bags make a world of difference. You can store them in compartments or just tie them down to something in the boat but they help the boat float a bit higher until you get the hang of it. I sometimes still use them in heavy conditions where I am concerned about capsize of the boat does not have sealed tanks. Once you get the hang of it, capsizes are pretty rare - often the result of laziness (trust me, I know this very first hand :)).

I have been known to take boats I have just completed out and intentionally capsize them in benign conditions just to get a feel for how they respond swamped so I can plan for the inevitable Ut-Oh's that occur when you don't expect them.

On boats this size, my rule is never take something you will be unhappy to lose - chances are it will get lost if it is important to you.

Just so you don't feel bad, I went racing a few months back in an FD, had not been crew in one in many years. On a tack, the top of my life vest (one of the skiing type) got caught in shock cord of the trapeze, could not get it untangled so I could not get to the high side, boat went over with me tangled in the shock cord. Fortunately, I got out of the life jacket and escaped before I got really trapped. BTW, it reminded me that neoprene is quite bouyant and I did not really need to life jacket anyway. All this to simply demonstrate that even experienced sailors end up in the drink sometimes - that is part of the fun :)

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Post by MADwand » Fri Apr 29, 2005 1:41 pm

jacquesmm wrote:So common that it one of the 1st things I was taught in a sailing school was to recover from capsizing.
You did the right thing by stepping on the daggerboard to get the boat right side up but you should empty the boat before boarding it. You must have a pail onboard fastened to the boat with a line. Wiht the boat mostly empty, you can climb on board and keep sailing.
Yes, realizing that, I had wanted to try capsizing and recovering, just wanted to try it on my own terms, not Pontchartrain's! But I don't understand how you are saying that I was supposed to bail the boat before I righted it. I did have a pail. The boat scooped up a full load of water when I righted it and no amount of bailing would help by then.
How to avoid the capsizing is difficult to explain in writing but:
- running downwind, get the board up
- don't move your weight forward, if you have to tighten a halyard, head into the wind, slack the main sheet then do what you have to do

With your main sheet fast, you dug the bow in and the boat pivoted around the board then the wind pressure capsized it and you were in the wrong spot to balance the hull. A loose main sheet may have prevented the problem.
Sounds like you explained exactly what went wrong with me. I was running with the board down, which would probably explain my horrible downwind performance as well.
Capsizing is no problem here in Florida but in Lake Pontchartrain . . . I shiver from thinking about it . . . :cry:
I may have to restrict myself to going there on weekends when there is more boat traffic. I waited over an hour before the first boat was seen, and it was sent after me.

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Post by chrisobee » Fri Apr 29, 2005 3:39 pm

I think he meant that you should bail it out before entering the boat and then once afloat, reenter.

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Post by MADwand » Fri Apr 29, 2005 4:01 pm

That wouldn't have been possible either as the boat was so low in the water it was taking on every wave that hit it. The boat was literally full to the rubrails.

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Post by MADwand » Fri Apr 29, 2005 4:07 pm

Yes, it seems that must be what he meant. That wouldn't have been possible either as the boat was so low in the water it was taking on every wave that hit it. The boat was literally full to the rubrails.

Wow, even if my boat wasn't sitting so low in the water, can you imagine how much work that would be to bail from outside the boat, one hand holding you high enough to reach in, the other scooping and bailing? I spent a good half hour bailing it after I got it into the shallows and it wasnt moving anymore, from completely full to 1/4 full, and that was standing on the lake bottom, bent over the boat, using both hands on the bucket, no waves crashing in.

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Post by jacquesmm » Fri Apr 29, 2005 4:08 pm

MADwand wrote:That wouldn't have been possible either as the boat was so low in the water it was taking on every wave that hit it. The boat was literally full to the rubrails.
Well then, Larry's idea of inflatable bags or bouyancy foam is the way to go.
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