Knockdown righting

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Erik Hardtle
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Knockdown righting

Post by Erik Hardtle » Fri Apr 30, 2004 6:26 am

Has anyone been knocked down and then righted the boat.. I was thinking about what technique works best with a boat this large.. I used to sail small 19 & 15's and would just stand on the centerboard to right it. The theory should work the same... but it is a bigger boat... has anyone actually done it... I was thinking about practicing it in shallow water.

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Tony D-26X_SusieQ
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Post by Tony D-26X_SusieQ » Fri Apr 30, 2004 7:24 am

Jeff Stag addresses this issue in his Speedy Rigger videos. The technique is to release the sail sheets, wrap a line around the winch and starting at the centerboard slowly walk up the side of the boat as it slowly comes back uprite. Hope you never need this. 8)

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Kevin
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Post by Kevin » Fri Apr 30, 2004 10:34 am

I got knocked down a couple weeks ago on the Columbia river.

The boat stayed over while the sails were full of water. I stood on the now horizontal mast and untangled, and released lines. Once I got the sails pulled in and empty the Dwen righted herself. I just stood on the base of the mast until the deck was back to horizontal.

It seems they've really pushed the self righting on the M. I don't know if I'd have had the sense to find another way to right her.

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Richard Lisch
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Post by Richard Lisch » Fri Apr 30, 2004 1:51 pm

How did this happen Kevin?

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Erik Hardtle
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Mast

Post by Erik Hardtle » Sat May 01, 2004 5:19 am

You stood on the mast... was it filled with foam? Did it ever seems like the mast wanted to sink? The ballast tank was empty right?

Based on the M mast I filled my X mast with styrofoam and expanding foam last weekend so it would not turn "turtle" if I ever got knocked down without ballast. It sounds like it worked on your M.

You didn't have to stand on the centerboard or pull on a rope to right it?

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Kevin
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Post by Kevin » Sun May 02, 2004 10:58 pm

The way this happened was that I was stupid.

I was out on the river where I'd never been and wasn't prepared for the way the winds change there.

I had full ballast, rudders and daggerboard down. This is a January M with the foam filled mast.

The wind had gotten flakey. Kept changing direction and then just went completely dead. I thought the sailing day was over. Left all the lines slack and sails up. Was thinking about motoring back to the marina when the wind came up with a vengence. It took the jib and sheets and tangled them in the forestay so that it looked like a parachute high on the forestay. The boom swung forward against the shrouds on the port side and the boat was effectively a runaway running with the wind. The pressure on the jib very high made it impossible to turn to starboard into the wind with the rudder. If I had turned to port I would have had an uncontrolled jibe and I feared for the rigging.

I went forward since I wasn't doing anything useful at the wheel. When I got the jib untangled so that it dumped the wind, the boat rounded up into the wind. As the wind came over the beam the boat heeled way over.

It oscillated a few times. Over, spill the wind, up, sails catch wind and back over. Finally it went over and the sails filled with water. That held it with the mast horizontal and touching the water.

I stood on the base of the horizontal mast and between holding on to the shrouds and anything I could grab I stayed on the boat and released both sails. I pulled them both down, but not secured. That spilled enough water that the boat came back upright. The sails flapped like crazy, but didn't catch enough wind to heel the boat.

I stuffed the jib into the pulpit and wrapped the sheets around the jib and pulpit to get it under control.

I used the main haulyard wrapped around the mainsail to kind of tie most of it in place, though a lot of sail was still flapping. Didn't do a nice job, but I had to get back to the wheel and get the engine started. I was fast being blown on to the shore.

Got the engine going and with it in reverse against the wind and current I got the boat to hold position long enough to go back and clean up the sails.

Around that time a coast guard boat showed up. We kind of waved and went our ways. Wish they hadn't wasted their time and was way to embarrassed to say much to them.

I did hear a coast guard hazardous conditions warning on the VHF about then. Better late than ........

After the wind had died down and I felt in control again I got out my hand held wind gauge. When I got around to measuring the wind it was sitting at 15 mph with gusts to 21. No idea how fast the wind was blowing when I got in trouble and I don't think my subjective impression is worth a darn right now.

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craiglaforce
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Post by craiglaforce » Mon May 03, 2004 4:04 am

Excellent report. I felt like I was on the boat as it happened. Just goes to show how one little thing can mushroom to an out of control sequence of events. I might have tried to start the motor first thing and horse the boat into the wind right away, but sounds like you did most of the right things once the jib fouled.
Getting the big 50 cranking will overpower and fix almost any problem in a pinch.


I've never gone all the way over in my X, but did get knocked pretty flat a few times by storm fronts with maybe 40-50 mph instant wind gusts. Its great for finding out what you didn't have secured properly down below and just how fast you can drop all sail. Crash, boom, smash.

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Knockdown

Post by Jack O'Brien » Mon May 03, 2004 6:38 am

Kevin:

When you were knocked down were your hatches open or closed and did you get water in the cabin?

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Kevin
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Post by Kevin » Mon May 03, 2004 11:40 am

The hatch was slid closed, but the doorway cover was stowed away.

No water went into the cabin at all. I didn't have anything unsecured inside. Short of some sleeping bags and pillows shuffled around nothing was amiss inside the boat.

Mark Prouty
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Post by Mark Prouty » Mon May 03, 2004 11:57 am

But Kevin what about that foam filled mast. Do you feel the foam helped? You're the action man with the first real life M knockdown. :o

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Kevin
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Post by Kevin » Mon May 03, 2004 2:55 pm

You know, I really have no proof whether the foam filled mast or extra permanent ballast helped or not. I was standing on the mast with the end of the mast in the water. Standing on the base of the mast actually felt stable for my 250 pounds. When I moved around releasing the haulyards and pulling on the sails all remained stable, so my guess is that the mast was floating and it seemed almost like an outrigger, but I have no idea what it would feel like to stand on a horizontal mast that wasn't foam filled. Wouldn't any mast float for a bit?

As I pulled the mainsail down (well, towards the boom) the boat came back up. Didn't seem to do it abruptly and I really wish I could see a tape replay.

I also didn't notice just where the cabin was in relationship to the water. On the whole, I missed a lot of opportunities here. I had a camera right inside the cabin and I could have gotten some great shots.

The only things going through my mind at the time was I was ready to stop playing. This was fast becoming not fun. Wind must have gotten in my eyes cause they were watering like crazy and I must have eaten something bad, cause my bowels turned to pea soup.

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Kevin
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Post by Kevin » Sat May 08, 2004 9:41 pm

Lessons learned? I'd say there are three main lessons from this incident.

1) For sure reef early. If you think about reefing, then reef the sails.

2) I should never have left the lines loose. When the winds died down I thought that was it for the day and I didn't bother to secure all the sails and lines. I was just plain lazy and unprepared.

3) Most importantly, I didn't find out about local conditions before I went off to explore. I had never been to Portland or the Columbia river. Talking to people at local marinas afterward, sudden violent wind gusts were common in that area. If I had asked around a bit or done a bit of investigation I would have been more prepared.

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Idle Time
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Post by Idle Time » Sun May 09, 2004 7:12 am

Good accounting...I think the foam may have given you the time you needed. We have an X and I think we'll fill it.

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Sloop John B
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Post by Sloop John B » Sun May 09, 2004 8:24 am

The top of the mast on an x is wide open. It will fill, like a huge straw, as it dips into the water.

I wonder how much weight it would take on trying to fill it with flotation? This may induce more heel for more weight being aloft.

To read about rigging (halyards), they make a big deal about how much this stuff weighs and stretches, etc.

Maybe I'll float a barrage balloon (a la Private Ryan) from the mast head :?

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Dimitri-2000X-Tampa
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Post by Dimitri-2000X-Tampa » Sun May 09, 2004 8:53 am

Somebody here recently foamed an X mast. I doubt the foam weighs more than a few ounces. I may do that to my boat after I install an anchor light some day. Afterall, if you just seal up the top with a little expanding foam, it would buy you some time in case of a knockdown. Eventually, water is going to seep in from the other little holes but it is going to take a while.

Anybody who is a windsurfer can attest to how hard it is to pull a mast up that is full of water.

One thing about that foam, it gets hard as a rock and really brown when in the sun for a while. I suppose it is not really meant for that so it may be a good idea to foam it and fabricate a cap for it at the same time.

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