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Old 01-10-2012, 15:31   #31
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

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Originally Posted by s/v Beth View Post
But this brought home to me that inexperience at the helm and bad weather is a dangerous combination, and that our wonderful little dream machines can injure or kill.
Ain't that the turth!!!

Hope you heal quickly and fully (not as easy as it sounds I found once I pasted about 30, which was a while ago).
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Old 01-10-2012, 15:38   #32
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

jibes are always dangerous as you found out.
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Old 01-10-2012, 15:55   #33
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

Good bit of info above! Jib only in these conditions! or jib and Jigger in our ketchs! Personaly I hate down wind sailing ! I would rather lay off a bit, makes it easier for just the two of us ! And as the sail changer, reefer, I feel better this way !! LOL And at my age bones don't heal well !! so everyone take it easy out there !
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Old 01-10-2012, 16:31   #34
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My worst experience with accidental jybing as during a solo voyage from Sydney to Tasmania.

My set up is:

Mainsheet and traveller is mounted on the coachhouse outside the dodger
Boom is above the dodger and i have full head height under the dodger so being hit by it is not a concern whilst in the cockpit.

Although the following is not lifethreatening at the time of the jybe the recovery was.

When the jybe happened, the load on the preventer was too great and it snapped like a piece of string, the boom swung until the mainsheet tightened and the load on the traveller car was such that the car haul snapped. This allowed the car to run along the rail at such speed that the end stop sheared and the boom, mainsheet and car all swung out over the side until it struck the aft shroud.

This all took about 1 to 1.5 seconds at it was about 3 am and i watched it all happen. Scad the s!%^* out of me, I can tell you.

I quickly tightened up the remaining preventer to stop the boom swinging back, and with full restraining equipment on I managed to stretch right out, and with one hand secure a line to the boom, bring this around a sheet winch and hauling everything back on board.

I can say that I then immediately secured everything with much larger lines and waited till day time to look at more effective repairs.

One harrowing experience, I can assure you.

I have since increased the size of both, my car hauls and preventers. I don't want a repeat of that.


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Old 01-10-2012, 16:45   #35
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

So where are you doing your convalescence, Newt?
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Old 01-10-2012, 17:15   #36
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

I'd just like to wish you a speedy recovery as well Newt,
Man, that must be painful. Thanks for the heads up, or down, as it were.
Thanks for sharing too.
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Old 01-10-2012, 17:21   #37
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

Get well soon! I don't think there is a sailor out here who hasn't done an accidental jibe at one time or another and thought to themselves, "Boy was I lucky not to have been up there when that happened!" Unfortunately, you were the one up there. One big advantage of cats offshore is the resistance to jibing due to the relative absence of rolling--not to turn this into a cat against mono thread. I go so far as to adjust course when off the wind if I have to go forward in bouncy conditions in order to bring the wind more on the beam until I am safely forward near the mast. Sometimes I even go forward on the low side, so that if there was a jibe the boom would go the other way. Often that is the best way forward, even if a bit wetter. Another thing I do, if I am worried about a jibe and I need to do something with the main, is to tighten the mainsheet right down so that the boom is near the center line, even if off the wind. Sure the sail will flop around a lot, but the boom won't be flying around the boat.
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Old 01-10-2012, 18:12   #38
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

Maybe this got lost- I had a preventer on, I took it down so we could bring the boom over to drop the main. I know-depower the main first.(release the main halyard). With the wind on our tail I just didn't' see how strong it was.
Thanks for asking Astrid. I am driving everyone crazy here in Utah. I was staying in Seattle, but I kept on trying to get out to the boat:-)
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Old 01-10-2012, 18:17   #39
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

Hope you recover well and soon.

4 kts SOG downwind in the fog sounds like a bad recipe, especially with inexperienced crew.

One of my mantras around here is that on a boat over 40 feet everything happens with winches. Trying to manhandle sheets with those loads is not the right move.

Woulda, coulda, shoulda...

When stowing the genny/jib I like a stabilized beam reach. Allows the loads to be released as the sail is furled.

When downwind there is "always" someone on the main trim. If two up I never sail deeper than about 160* and auto is helping by driving. If winds are shifty or we are in convective weather I wouldn't sail deeper than about 140-145*

It is really important to know the crew limits...

We had a guy do something very similar in a race here a few weeks ago. Got flung across the cockpit by the sheet and broke his back.
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Old 01-10-2012, 18:20   #40
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

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Originally Posted by s/v Beth View Post
Maybe this got lost- I had a preventer on, I took it down so we could bring the boom over to drop the main. I know-depower the main first.(release the main halyard). With the wind on our tail I just didn't' see how strong it was.
Thanks for asking Astrid. I am driving everyone crazy here in Utah. I was staying in Seattle, but I kept on trying to get out to the boat:-)
I can't remember the last time I tries to drop a main sail going downwind...

Confused about this bit...
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Old 01-10-2012, 18:22   #41
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

That is a pretty fair amount fo trauma.

Best of luck with the healing.
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Old 01-10-2012, 18:46   #42
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

Jeeze Newt. That's terrible news. Been there, done that. If you haven't had your arm bolted back together yet, give it some thought. I went throught a similer experience (spiral break of my left humerous--5 places--in 2004) and spent 9 months enduring torture with an "ElectroMagnetic Bone Stimulator" which accomplished exactly nothing yet cost me upwards of $4K for the damned machine alone. After 9 months the Orthopod decided he couldn't save my arm and recommended we let him amputate. I could still move my fingers, so that wasn't happening. I lucked out and got a friend's personal referral to the head of the Florida Orthopaedic Institute in Tampa who reluctantly agreed to see me "after hours" and afterward agreed to accept my case. Two weeks week later I went through a 5 hour surgery with no less than 5 doctors that bolted all the parts back together (it took two weeks because I insisted they use "non-magnetic plates" so I wouldn't screw up my own compass when driving.) Amazingly, 3 daze after the surgery I could actually use my arm again although I still had numbness in a few areas (and do to this day). Ultimately I regained about 80% of normal use (and so use an "Electric Winch Handle" a lot of the time). In summary, don't skip a surgical option for a repair (on general principals) if offered. It sure as heck beats sitting around in pain for months on end hoping everything will heal "naturally".

Take care, and keep well. We'll offer prayers for your quick recovery.

/s/ svHyLyte
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Old 01-10-2012, 18:52   #43
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

Makes me appreciate the boom brake I have, with the in boom furling and resulting size of the boom I have the potential to be knocked into next week.
The brake works great. It will still premit the gybe but will slow it dramtically and does not present the potential for breaking the boom a preventer might.
Wishing you a speedy recovery Newt
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Old 01-10-2012, 18:53   #44
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

Regarding the need to bring the boom inboard to get the mainsail down, which (with end-boom preventers) exposes you to an accidental gybe as in Newt's awful instance:

This is one advantage of mid-boom preventers: you don't need to relinquish their protection with the boom inboard, in fact you can set BOTH up when the boom is amidships, (with the topping lift hardened) to act like an ad-hoc boom gallows. Great for handing the main in any sort of a seaway. Even on boats which have to resort to an end-boom setup in bad conditions, I think a mid-boom setup is a serious safety enhancement. (Naturally you wouldn't generally have both set up at the same time)

The hardest knock I ever had from a boom on a 23' yacht in sloppy conditions. The boom had almost no sideways freedom, as we were sailing hard on the wind. My head was right alongside it, to windward. I was using binos, when the foot of the sail slopped aback just as the boat jerk-rolled hard in the opposite direction...
They boom swivelled abruptly about the gooseneck fore-and-aft pivot (not the vertical, slewing pivot) and smacked me good.

I've never seen so many stars.

(I was not long back from an ocean passage on a boat where, had I wished, I could have gone out to the boom end, not on top of the boom but inside it, so I underestimated the potential for harm. I also thought that seeing I was so close to it, it would not have any runway to get up a head of steam.)
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Old 01-10-2012, 19:01   #45
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

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I can't remember the last time I tries to drop a main sail going downwind...

Confused about this bit...
You need to re-read Newt's post a bit further up.

"What happened was with the increased wind the helmsman ... headed to the wind to decrease sail. I assumed he would keep it there. But with the fog he had no reference point, and he wasn't watching the compass. The Boat had so much inertia that it went up threw the wind and back down just about the time I finished rolling the jib. It literally gybed in less than a second."
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