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Old 02-10-2012, 18:19   #76
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

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Originally Posted by s/v Beth View Post
Wow. B are you saying you are jacklined into the boom? I would reconsider that if I were you. I would have taken a dunking if I had done that. Like alchemy I like to be all over my boat. But inexperience at the helm while you are getting things done in challenging waters is a bad combo. I think I have that lesson down.
Yep, Jacklined into the boom,

But the boom is tied off to the helm cleats, very securely, so it cant go any where unless I release it,

And if the wind is strong enough to rip the cleats out of the deck, the main is not up any way,

Plus my harness is short, so if any thing did happen, I still cant go over the side,

For me, Its the safest way to get to the front of the boat, with out uncleating my harness a couple of times,

Injured on deck, is a lot better than being injured over the side,

The lesser of two evils,
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Old 02-10-2012, 18:24   #77
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

There are body language signals by which sailboats betray their intentions. Often experienced sailors internalise these, and forget they know them, so they don't always pass them on as often as they should.

One of these is the characteristic way a boat will generally turn her bow away from a gust when starting to drag an anchor, very much the same move you get from a horse approaching an obstacle it has no intention of attempting.

Another is less well publicised: that's the way a boom generally lifts a little, a sort of tentative, almost hesitant jiggle, like a small child who doesn't yet realise they need to pee - when it's toying with the idea of throwing a gybe.

When running anywhere near square off the wind, anyone in the "sector of death" (or in death alley, along which the mainsheet and traveller operates) should either be entirely below boom height, or keeping it under close surveillance for this "tell".
They need to hit the deck at any suggestion of the boom twitching upwards, unless there is a preventer rigged whose strength and reliability is matched to the conditions.
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Old 02-10-2012, 18:39   #78
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

"...we installed a tackle on each side. These 3-part "handy-billies" lead from about the 1/3 point on the boom to a strong point at the rail just aft of the chainplates, with the tails lead back to the cockpit and a secondary winch. Whenever we are off the wind, the leeward one is tensioned. This acts both as a preventer and a powerful vang. "

Yep ...Except I dont really use a vang at all cruising, so I just used my very heavy duty 4 part vang as a preventer putting it on the leeward side like you do. Jam cleat on the big fiddle allows the line to be led to the cockpit for quick release.
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Old 02-10-2012, 18:47   #79
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

sailing with auto pilots,windvanes and large crews is responsable for the loss of a lot of traditional sailing skills.
50 ft bristol pilot cutters were quite often crewed by a man and boy,where they waited in the bristol channel for ships arriving so the could lead them through the sandbanks and negotiate the very strong tidal streams.

one of the most common techniques was to hove too with the jib backed and the large main fully let out,like this the weather side will allways stay beam onto the wind,and the helm can be left whilst the boat weather cock's,ready to get underway at a moments notice,

in the hove too poition beam on to the sea, reefing the main is also safe and easy.

even running down wind with a poled out genoa i will use this technique,jibing the genoa and stopping the boat,with the main depowered,allowing me to leave the helm un attended with no possability of a further uncontrolled gybe,then drop or reef the main,then reduce or change the genoa on a stable boat.
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Old 02-10-2012, 19:35   #80
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Newt, praying for your speedy recovery. Thanks so much for sharing. Have "been there" with accidental gybes: when i first learned to sail and later with inexperienced crew; things happen WAY TOO FAST!

I prefer previously mentioned boom vang 4-1 preventer also; started using on 40 ft racing boat with rigid boom bang; preventer can be attached midboom, via bridle or via boom bail, to strongpoint near shroud; preventer can be released from the cockpit without going forward. Helpful in strong winds/ heavy seas.

Also, IMPORTANTLY, this boom vang preventer can be used as quick tackle for MOB recovery when spare halyard not available or when hove to and main halyard N/A.

Ideally, really liked sailing downwind on another boat with two forestays and only powered by the two headsails; no mainsail to worry about gybing!

Take care,
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Old 02-10-2012, 19:45   #81
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

This is a great discussion. I am learning a lot. Unfortunately I am having surgery in the am, so if you ask specific questions I will be offline. Wish me luck:-)
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Old 02-10-2012, 19:47   #82
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

This thread reminds me of an incident that occurred about ten years ago in Long Island Sound. I was lying in my bunk one night when I heard a MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY on the VHF. Seems one of the boats in the Stamford to Block Island Race that early June evening had someone go over the side. As I recall a jib pole got stuck and the fellow (a very experienced racer) went forward to help with it. The pole broke and hit him in the chest throwing him over the side. He had a flotation jacket on and another crew member jumped in and tried to hold onto his unconscious body but, could not. What struck me was even though the boat was fully crewed and a man overboard pole was dropped and the boat immediately went back for a rescue joined by several Police and Coast Guard helicopters and boats. They were never able to find him. Granted it was night time. It still brought home to me that you don't need to be out in blue water for something fatal to occur and even with rescue resources rapidly on the scene things break bad fast. His body turned up several weeks later.
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Old 02-10-2012, 19:49   #83
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

good luck, get well soon, we will all miss your many great posts .

cheers alex
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Old 02-10-2012, 20:28   #84
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

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I am not criticising Newt in any way but if the boat was going 4 knots the wind was up. If the boat went head to wind and then another 180* plus to effect a gybe I guess I am curious about missing the many signals on deck like wind direction and the rather quick heading changes...

I usually notice when a newbie helm gets off by as little as 10-20*

Also as the boat went head to wind the main should have been close hauled. Still not sure if they were two or three up.

Close reach/haul, trim main and genny, furl genny, engine on, head to wind, douse main - with this sequence even an accidental gybe after close hauling would not be a drama.

Again sorry about the accident but it seemed pretty avoidable. Of course I wasn't there...

Another rule of thumb I have is that the longer the main sheet gang of rope is laid out the more respect I give it.

Those things can all happen pretty fast, and with an inexperienced crew they may not realize the kind of trouble that's developing.

It's easy to armchair quarterback, but when we're out there we have to work with what we have. I don't have nearly the experience of some here, but I have experienced a storm more or less forming over me, with strong but directional-shifty winds, confused water, etc.

An inexperienced crew member might think, for instance, that it's always best to spill the mainsail to depower. That's the only way to depower the boats my club uses to teach people to sail on. They don't take those boats out in rough weather, so until they get some experience on other people's boats, they won't have experienced rough weather.
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Old 03-10-2012, 05:54   #85
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

Glad you are ok Newt, hope the morning after pain goes away quickly.

I've done a few accidental gybes and have been lucky only to have my hair brushed a bit.

A friend of mine ALWAYS uses a preventer (and life jacket) when he goes up forward, I thought it strange, but then bad things are usually unexpected.
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Old 03-10-2012, 07:09   #86
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

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Glad you are ok Newt, hope the morning after pain goes away quickly.

I've done a few accidental gybes and have been lucky only to have my hair brushed a bit.

A friend of mine ALWAYS uses a preventer (and life jacket) when he goes up forward, I thought it strange, but then bad things are usually unexpected.

I think Newt had a preventer and it snapped? I have heard of that happening before.
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Old 03-10-2012, 08:01   #87
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

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I think Newt had a preventer and it snapped? I have heard of that happening before.
If you read his original post (always a good idea), you will find he had released the preventer in preparation for droping and flaking the main. His crew allowed the wind to get behind the main, hence the gybe. He was hit by the main sheet and tossed into his stern arch:

Quote:
...the main sheet picked me up and threw me against the radar arch, breaking my right humerus,left ribs left shoulder tear and numerous bruises on my face and trunk.
In a similar accident during a Pacific race a few years ago, a man's mainsheet caught him across the neck in a wild gybe, nearly beheading him and then pinning and strangeling him against the forward bulkhead in the cockpit. I don't recall whether he survived but don't believe he did. Until then, I was an advocate of cockpit mounted traveler/mainsheets. Now, not so much.

Stearing down wind in any strong wind, particularly with seas on the stern quarter, is very difficult-even for an experienced helmsman-who needs be watching the sail/Windex all the time. In the dark, and absent a tell-tail light under the Windex, it is all the more problematic. Reducing sail in such conditions is also problematic as one must get the sail far enough away from the shrouds to allow one to haul the sail down to reef or furl and one may, in fact, need a down-haul to lower the sail. (We keep a spare line with a luff-hook handy so that, if necessary, we can reach up and hook the luff and down haul with the reefing/outhaul winch under the boom. A Cunningham can serve the same purpose.) One does not need to "center" the sail but merely free it from the shrouds, hence the preventer need not be entrely released, merely eased. Maintaining pressure on the sail actually works in one's favor, at least from a safety perspective although one may need the down-haul as noted. (This is also where a rigid vang or topping lift adjustable at the mast demonstrates its merit).

FWIW...

PS: Newt, Good Luck with the surgery!!!
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Old 03-10-2012, 08:16   #88
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

even dinghy painters work as preventers if you do no thave a designated pre made wonder.... i dont trust those--too m any breakable places. no wi prevent with old dink painter thru a hawse in stern next to lazarette. i walk the line to other side as i relocate my mizzen boom manually.
calling out BOOM as your main boom swings is a good practice, i think--uncle phil had us doing that--makes ye remember to DUCK and avoid head and other injuries. we never gybed, so "boom!" worked well....
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Old 04-10-2012, 09:19   #89
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

Well that went well. Got a nice rod in my arm and sore, but as mentioned a few times on this forum, I could be sleeping with the fishes...
I am looking at :
Shortening my boom
Placing the main sheet on top of a hard dodger
Incorporating two preventers- one on each midship cleat
Oh yeah and a gallows on top of the hard dodger too
Overkill?
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Old 04-10-2012, 09:54   #90
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

Newt:
Get well soon! Sounds like you are on the way to healing.

I'm mostly a reader and not a commenter.

I want to thank you for posting your experience. As a relatively new sailor I find CF a great way to learn when I'm not sailing or near my boat.

This discussion is extremely valuable for me. I recently did my first single handing and during the time mostly in light winds I had a couple of jibes while learning to handle my boat single handed.

This discussion has made me aware of my need to be much more careful and not to be lazy and keep a preventer in place.

Thanks
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