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Old 05-10-2012, 13:08   #136
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

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Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
Storms and squalls do not simply just happen. They can be seen developing at quite a distance. An experienced sailor will be aware of the conditions that can lead to strong winds developing. We also teach local weather hazards to our students. Katabatic winds tend to have the shortest warning time.

When you see these conditions developing, reduce sail area, and secure the vessel and the crew.

OF COURSE they don't just "simply happen," Here, often the only weather forecast you get regarding the possibility are the odds -- today it's 40%, but looking at the skies right now I would say more like 80% at this point.

But they cannot always be seen developing at quite a distance. Sometimes they come up very fast and very close. And, if they start forming 20 miles away and are moving at 40 mph, it's unlikely the sailor will be able to get out of its path.

If the odds are 40% or higher, often I will not choose to do a day sail. If I'm leaving on a longer sail, it depends on what is fueling that 40%, what direction I'll be traveling in, etc. Tomorrow it's supposed to be 30%, and Sunday, 20%. Below 40% few people here would delay sailing, but they know they are not guaranteed clear air.

Some of those storms can be quite fierce. Those here can believe it or not as they wish.
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Old 05-10-2012, 13:17   #137
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

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Originally Posted by foolishsailor View Post
I'm not trying to be pedantic Raku, but terminology goes a long towards making conversation clear, especially in a forum. For example Storm Conditons are not caused by a squall, but you can have Beaufort Storm Force winds in a squall.

Storm Conditons and a "storm" are much more involved than high wind speeds, they also more importantly include the sea state that accompanies. It's important to make sure we are using correct categories so the noobs don't get confused.

I take your point though, it is actually more dangerous in a sudden short sharp wind than sustained heavy winds as a new sailor may not anticipate what is about to happen when those dark ugly clouds racing towards them arrive, with all the wind under their leading edge and that is when a gybe could be deadly...

Here, "storm" means a thunderstorm. When we get weather systems here in warm weather they're typically tropical in nature as cold fronts just don't dip down that far in the summer. I suggest the 'noobs' just understand that 'storm' means 'thunderstorm' in Florida. Tropical systems have other names -- "tropical low," "tropical depression" both below tropical storm level but capable of kicking up impressive (thunder)storms.

BY 'storm' we don't mean those ugly, swirling things that come into the NW coast and often end up causing chaos across the country. I'm not making up how I use the word 'storm.' It's what the local meteorologists say.

If even a noob can't anticipate what might happen when they see angry, dark clouds -- maybe they've picked the wrong sport. But the few 'knockdowns' we've had with our sailing school boats came on clear days. Unfortunately you can't always see a 25 mph gust coming when the winds are steady at 15. There might or might not be signs from the water surface on a small, sheltered finger of a bay. So we pound on our students to not lock off the mainsheet, so they can spill it easily, but the way the boats are designed, the mainsheet drops into that cam cleat very easily.

Wouldn't be a problem on a bigger boat, but on the little 16.5's -- they will gleefully throw the occupants into the water, then right themselves, probably giggling as only a little boat can.
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Old 05-10-2012, 13:18   #138
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

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Originally Posted by cheoah View Post
Newt, that's unfortunate, hope you heal quickly.

As I tell my 30 staff on the farm, you can avoid accidents by anticipation -- mostly from experience, but also from hearing stories, reading, etc. This thread gave me some new things to think about in terms of preventers, dousing main in certain conditions for off the wind, order of striking canvas/preventer, leaving my inexperienced wife at the helm, or trusting an autopilot in shifting winds. It is helpful to not always have to pay for my mistakes, because it doesn't have to end up well.

Take Care and Best of Luck-

Me too, but I'm sorry Newt was the path to leading us this way.
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Old 05-10-2012, 13:21   #139
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
Yes, bad things can happen in a split second and when you least expect it. I remember once when I was sailing my Hunter 450 single handed two years ago on a beautiful day with 14 knots of wind and jib partially furled, heading into the wind.

I left the cockpit to untie the jib furling line from a rail mounted cleat (bad placement). After unwrapping the cleat knot, the line was still stuck on the cleat... so I pulled it down. Like a rat trap slamming shut... in an instant... I found my right thumb tied and pinned to the rail cleat with the force of all the wind in the jib, on a 45 ft boat... and the boat heading directly towards a jetty 1/4 mile away.... full speed ahead! And there I was... trapped, 8 ft away from the wheel.

Somehow, the wind must have let up just a bit at about the same time my adrenaline surged, and I was able to free my thumb by pulling hard on the line leading from the pulley using my free hand, and using the remaining fingers on my trapped hand to untie my thumb. Lucky, my thumb wasn't broken off.

Lesson learned: Now, I always carry a sharp sheath knife on me at all times.... you never know?

You know, that was the first piece of sailing advice I was ever given -- always have a knife FASTENED to my shorts/pants. I'm religious about it. I get the serrated blade, which doesn't get dull as quickly. When it does get dull, I replace it. When your thumb was trapped would have been a terrible time for you to drop that knife overboard...
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Old 05-10-2012, 14:11   #140
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

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Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
On a fin keel boat, I am reluctant to use only a jib; that will result in an unbalanced boat. A deep reef in the main and storm jib is a more prudent way to go.

The jib only may work on a full keel boat.
Has worked for me for 14 years on a fin keeled boat. I would NEVER suggest main only for downwind sailing. It's too dangerous.
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Old 05-10-2012, 14:50   #141
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
Storms and squalls do not simply just happen. They can be seen developing at quite a distance. An experienced sailor will be aware of the conditions that can lead to strong winds developing. We also teach local weather hazards to our students. Katabatic winds tend to have the shortest warning time.

When you see these conditions developing, reduce sail area, and secure the vessel and the crew.
I never even thought of those, but would I be correct in surmising that they dissipate in a rather short manner away from shore? I can see those being of some significance in the inlets/fjords.
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Old 05-10-2012, 15:05   #142
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

never allow lines to wrap on any body part as that part will not be same when done. you may even lose the extremity. use safety. knots dont need to be cut--just keep hands and arms and feet and legs out of the loops. think your motions before moving. plan each action before you do it. see it in your head then do it.
it is easier to prethink actions than it i s to recover from a knife wound somewhere on your body.
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Old 05-10-2012, 16:10   #143
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

I'm sure the NSA has intercepted this "sailboats can injure and kill" thread, flagged it for legislative review under the Ant-terrorism Act, and no doubt a bill is already seeping through the congressional sewage system requiring a state-issued sailing licenses, mandatory AIS tracking along with an Orwellian law requiring all of us to wear seat-belts and helmets while underway. Jeez, thanks Newt! ;-)

As a long-time big boat racer we rarely sailed dead down - less for safety reasons and more so for speed as it is the slowest point of sail. When executing a jibe, under no circumstance would we ever allow the boom to fly unrestrained across the deck - again less for safety reason and more so to prevent gear breakage. The main gets sheeted all the way in as we are turning through the jibe then slowly eased out on the opposite tack. Standard SOP.

I know this would not have likely prevented the unfortunate situation Newt spoke of from happening, however I mention this only because I have yet to hear this strategy suggested in this thread, and I've seen far too many intentional jibs executed with the same aplomb as violent accidental ones.

- My 2/cents
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Old 05-10-2012, 16:32   #144
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

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Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
I agree that furling is difficult without a main.

I also do not like being DDW with a fin keel because of the tendency to wallow. I do teach my student how to run wing-on-wing because there are times that it is necessary. Broad reaching and gybing is safer and faster; especially in large seas.
Different boats are different, of course, but in my experience most fin keel boats are pretty stable DDW under headsail alone- center of pressure is way forward, ahead of the keel, inherently stable, especially good in strong wind and big seas. Unlike a mainsail, however, headsail won't tolerate being sailed by the lee more than maybe three degrees.

Wing and wing when you just gotta have the sail area up.
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Old 05-10-2012, 16:55   #145
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
Storms and squalls do not simply just happen. They can be seen developing at quite a distance. An experienced sailor will be aware of the conditions that can lead to strong winds developing. We also teach local weather hazards to our students. Katabatic winds tend to have the shortest warning time.

When you see these conditions developing, reduce sail area, and secure the vessel and the crew.
+1

"Upredictable storm" is an oxymoron. To release a lot of energy, a weather system has to accumulate it first. It takes time in proportionate to what is released.

There is a lot of confusion of terminology here. "Storm" for sailors is not the same word as "storm" on land. Eskimoes, they say, have 20 different words for snow, because they live with snow year in and year out. Same with us for weather. What they call "storms" and even "violent thunderstorms" are nearly always just squalls for a sailor.
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Old 05-10-2012, 17:37   #146
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

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Originally Posted by S/V Alchemy View Post

So we spent an hour doing windward/leewards and chicken gybes.

So it was a pretty limited sail, but a pretty expansive "teachable moment".
Sounds like a good day of training - What is a 'chicken gybe" - new term for me...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post

Somehow, the wind must have let up just a bit at about the same time my adrenaline surged, and I was able to free my thumb by pulling hard on the line leading from the pulley using my free hand, and using the remaining fingers on my trapped hand to untie my thumb. Lucky, my thumb wasn't broken off.

Lesson learned: Now, I always carry a sharp sheath knife on me at all times.... you never know?
Big boat, big loads - Always unload the genny when furling and unfurling.

Also, it may not have made a difference but I teach that all lines should be held with pinky towards the load. You still can get a jam but I'd rather lose a pinky than a thumb...

And never, never, never wrap a sheet around your fist. If you can't hold the sheet in a fist, you likely can't hold the load the sheet is under...

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Originally Posted by Contrarian View Post
I know this would not have likely prevented the unfortunate situation Newt spoke of from happening, however I mention this only because I have yet to hear this strategy suggested in this thread, and I've seen far too many intentional jibs executed with the same aplomb as violent accidental ones.
I think I sorta did but regardless I agree 100% and on large boats the main sheet stays in the winch. Once the gybe executes few people can hold the main against the loads.
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Old 05-10-2012, 18:12   #147
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
Storms and squalls do not simply just happen. They can be seen developing at quite a distance. An experienced sailor will be aware of the conditions that can lead to strong winds developing. We also teach local weather hazards to our students. Katabatic winds tend to have the shortest warning time.

When you see these conditions developing, reduce sail area, and secure the vessel and the crew.
I think we are talking violent katabatic winds here. Very dangerous no matter what you call them. They were pouring off the Olympic range but I could not see them because of the fog and the moonless night. We had seen the other side of the strait get wrapped in clouds that would swerl and hump earlier in the afternoon. Little did I know it would be my turn a few hours later. (That should have been a warning to me)
Can thick fog form with high winds? Absolutely. I have had similar conditions just off Galveston in January.
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Old 05-10-2012, 18:23   #148
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

WOW, I didnt know that, High winds and thick fog,

The wind gets up and the fog dissapears here.

Any one can hold on to a boom when it Jybes under the full main, But you will hanging on like grim death as your out over the water, Hahahahaha If not in the water, If you let go,
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Old 05-10-2012, 20:28   #149
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

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Old 05-10-2012, 20:52   #150
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

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I never even thought of those, but would I be correct in surmising that they dissipate in a rather short manner away from shore? I can see those being of some significance in the inlets/fjords.

Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't. Sometimes they stay in the same area, barely moving, for hours. Sometimes they move quite fast.

They can be devastating on land as well. Was it on the news tonight? 40% chance of rain, but no way to forecast where. Unfortunately, it was over I-75 in Sarasota, a blinding rainstorm that resulted in a 46-car pile up with 52 people sent to the hospital, at least one person killed. That person was actually a pedestrian. I don't know all the details.
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