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Old 05-10-2012, 08:18   #121
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

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Originally Posted by Andrew Troup View Post
Better than duplicate preventers is to set the first one up with a rope strong enough to hold unconditionally, in a gybe which would break the boom, and then safeguard the boom by fitting a weak link connecting the block at the chainplates.

OK, sailors - experienced sailors around the world, will be reading this and saying (shouting?) "that's crazy" and "that's dangerous", but ... hear me out.

This weak link can be, MUST BE, set up in such a way that the 'fuse' fails progressively, each mini-failure allowing the boom further inboard, but each fresh failure being successively harder for the wind force to overcome.

One sophisticated way to achieve this is by making a 'flat pack' of webbing, such as linemen use to attach their safety lanyards to their harnesses. When they fall on a slack lanyard, the energy is absorbed so they don't end up with crush injuries from the harness. You can go to an industrial safety outlet and check these out. If you've ever rented a high-lift personnel basket (cherry picker) you may have been provided with one.

A simpler, less elegant way is to arrange a succession of a lashings, all going direct from the block to the chainplate, each longer and stronger than the last. This last lashing should be as strong as the rope.

The length of the last, non-breaking lashing should be such that the dangerous part of the boom ends up still outboard of the sheer, keeping the 'sector of death' outboard where it belongs. By this time .... because the boom has been putting up something of a fight .... the boat will have turned and/or heeled far enough that the wind load will no longer present a breaking load to the boom. Many people overestimate the force of a gybe on a prevented boom - it's free-swinging booms which generate the frightening forces. It's like the difference between a door slamming in the breeze, and the force required to hook the same door part way open in the same breeze.

(The flat-pack arrestors take seat-belt style webbing, folded back on itself multiple times, each layer being sewn to the stack in such a way that ripping it open gets progressively harder as the stack is used up.)

"Better than duplicate preventers is to set the first one up with a rope strong enough to hold unconditionally, in a gybe which would break the boom, and then safeguard the boom by fitting a weak link connecting the block at the chainplates."

Also better in a hurricane to have one line you know won't chafe, won't melt internally and is strong enough to take all the forces that will be put on it, but we use two as protection.

You may be confident that the preventer you have is foolproof -- like that Titanic, unsinkable?

But I don't have that confidence, and I will use two preventers I feel that way about if circumstances suggest it.
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Old 05-10-2012, 08:22   #122
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

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Originally Posted by CharlieCobra View Post
Yeah, overkill. How about ya just stay out of the way of powered up things that can move in a Gybe and hurt ya?

You mean -- storms? Then you'd need a crystal ball, and they're very breakable. Sometimes the most warning you have on a storm is when you see it forming. I was driving east the other day with a huge storm to the west. at 70 mph I barely outran it to get where I was going.
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Old 05-10-2012, 08:32   #123
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

there is a large difference between sailing pnw in pacific ocean and staying on a dock in a hurrycame with doubled lines. however, the storms are both most similar and winds are clocked at same velocity in ts and pnw winter storms. we just have larger seas, with greater fetch and swells...

for preventer, which i use to save my wood boom and mast and goose necks and my brain from more trauma, i use a length of line, which is tied to mizzen bail then thru stern hawse. sometimes one on each side of boat-depending on the amount of flogging the swells bring to the attitude of the boat . is same thing i used with seidelmann in gom, once the block and fittings tried to bash my bean in "severe" storm off florida...i was very lucky i was able to grab it before it beat my brains to mush.
heal well, newt.

as for storms--try passage weather--they are usually great for 3-4 days.
in pnw, storms are easily seen on any weather map,as they are not small. localized storming is understood by the locals and happens. florida, evenings in summer mean t-boomers. one adjusts to these schedules. this also happens in summer in tropics..is easy enough to predict and make adjustments with daily weather checks.
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Old 05-10-2012, 08:38   #124
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delmarrey
I think you were on the local news, having been pick up by a cutter rather then a helo.

This is one reason I use a boom brake, now. I about had my arm ripped off in a light breeze running down wind. I was lollygagging, admiring the views and had slightly turned across the wind. Once the boom starts coming across there's not much one can do except get out of the way. I tried to slow it down and got tangled in the mess but fortunately slowed it enough to keep from breaking my arm.

I never go w/o my boom brake while sailing! 650 sq.ft. of mainsail can do a lot of damage to life, limb or rig.

I hope you get well soon. Broken ribs are the most painful thing that I've ever been through. Along with all your other injuries you must be going thru hell. My condolences!!!!
you had your arm ripped off?
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:00   #125
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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.
I use a storm jib very occasionally (past 35 knots) on my fin-keeler IOR-style '70s 33 footer. I have the typical very long (15 foot) J measurement; any small sail out by the bow contributes a lot of leverage action.

I agree it's not as good as a staysail/deep-reefed main or a storm jib/deep-reefed main combo on a full keeler, but it does help to keep the bow tracking properly in the form of resistance against the waves rather than much in the way of drive.

I am surprised that more modern boats don't have the option of a wire luff staysail temporarily rigged to a backed padeye on a Highfield lever, actually. It's a good idea (like barberhaulers) that sailing fashion and time seems to have passed by.
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:13   #126
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

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Originally Posted by CharlieCobra View Post
Why run the main at all in anything over twenty knots offwind unless crewed up with good sailors? It's one thing when ya have an experienced, good crew. Quite another sailing single or with short timers...
Yesterday here in Toronto, I took my wife (experienced), my 11 year old son (semi-experienced) and the 9-year-old neighbour (newbie) from next door out on the 33 footer.

The wind was variable, going from 12 to 26 knots and clocking from S to WSW.

I was going to go out into the lake with a No. 3 and a full main (it's skinny and easily spilled). Instead, I elected to stay in the semi-protected harbour and tool around with just the main. That's an unusual choice for me, but given the young girl's absence of knowledge as to what happens on a sailboat, I opted for the KISS principle as being the safer option.

So we spent an hour doing windward/leewards and chicken gybes. The wind spun up a few times over the pan-like airport runway and lingered past 25 and I let the kids helm close to the wind to reduce heel. Then I heeled well over and showed them how to spill. Very basic stuff, but the forces were real enough and seeing a nine-year-old fall off in a controlled fashion was instructive: it showed that anyone can learn the basics, particularly if they aren't aware that the conditions are arguably rougher than is customary for teaching purposes.

So it was a pretty limited sail, but a pretty expansive "teachable moment".
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:23   #127
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

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Originally Posted by zeehag View Post
there is a large difference between sailing pnw in pacific ocean and staying on a dock in a hurrycame with doubled lines. however, the storms are both most similar and winds are clocked at same velocity in ts and pnw winter storms. we just have larger seas, with greater fetch and swells...

for preventer, which i use to save my wood boom and mast and goose necks and my brain from more trauma, i use a length of line, which is tied to mizzen bail then thru stern hawse. sometimes one on each side of boat-depending on the amount of flogging the swells bring to the attitude of the boat . is same thing i used with seidelmann in gom, once the block and fittings tried to bash my bean in "severe" storm off florida...i was very lucky i was able to grab it before it beat my brains to mush.
heal well, newt.

as for storms--try passage weather--they are usually great for 3-4 days.
in pnw, storms are easily seen on any weather map,as they are not small. localized storming is understood by the locals and happens. florida, evenings in summer mean t-boomers. one adjusts to these schedules. this also happens in summer in tropics..is easy enough to predict and make adjustments with daily weather checks.

Well, it's not just in the evening. Any time after 3PM on a warming day you have to keep your eyes open. In the warmer weather they tend to move from some point of south to some point of north. Moving east to west isn't as common *along the western coast* (those storms are usually inland at least 10 - 15 miles). USUALLY a strong afternoon west coast sea breeze will protect you, but that wasn't true yesterday or the day before. But that weather was forecast. We're still having August-type storms here.

Here, in the warmest months, if you're coastal sailing you want to be ready to go in by 3PM. But that's what we're having right now.

If you're out in the Gulf, you just have to be ready for storms. Complicated by the fact that in summer here the winds are often light or even absent until 2PM or so, when the sea breeze starts to kick up ...

Or you can just sail in the winter. Northern fronts are the biggest problem but weather forecasts will help you out.

The best they can do here is give you a percentage. A 20% chance of storms suggests not only less storms but less severe storms, but weather forecasts here can shift significantly in a 12 hour period.
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:51   #128
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rakuflames

Well, it's not just in the evening. Any time after 3PM on a warming day you have to keep your eyes open. In the warmer weather they tend to move from some point of south to some point of north. Moving east to west isn't as common *along the western coast* (those storms are usually inland at least 10 - 15 miles). USUALLY a strong afternoon west coast sea breeze will protect you, but that wasn't true yesterday or the day before. But that weather was forecast. We're still having August-type storms here.

Here, in the warmest months, if you're coastal sailing you want to be ready to go in by 3PM. But that's what we're having right now.

If you're out in the Gulf, you just have to be ready for storms. Complicated by the fact that in summer here the winds are often light or even absent until 2PM or so, when the sea breeze starts to kick up ...

Or you can just sail in the winter. Northern fronts are the biggest problem but weather forecasts will help you out.

The best they can do here is give you a percentage. A 20% chance of storms suggests not only less storms but less severe storms, but weather forecasts here can shift significantly in a 12 hour period.
I'm assuming by "storm" you mean afternoon squalls? These would typically be found in the afternoon hours like you describe. A real storm would be an organised system visible on synoptic charts as a depression and predictable over a period of days. If you mean storm force winds like force 10, that is definitely possible with a nice nasty squall but only for a short period of time...
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:01   #129
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

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Originally Posted by foolishsailor View Post
I'm assuming by "storm" you mean afternoon squalls? These would typically be found in the afternoon hours like you describe. A real storm would be an organised system visible on synoptic charts as a depression and predictable over a period of days. If you mean storm force winds like force 10, that is definitely possible with a nice nasty squall but only for a short period of time...

I"m not trying to redefine meteorology terms. I'm pointing out that in storm conditions, especially running before it, jybes can happen, and that after hearing what happened to a very experienced sailor here, I will use two preventers, not one. This is not the first time I have heard of a preventer failing.

Please, do me a favor and ASSUME I am talking about an unpredictable storm, which -- by the way -- is NOT always short-lived here. But even if it only lasted 10 minutes, one still needs to protect oneself, one's crew, and one's boat from a severe, unexpected jybe.

Some nasty squalls last a very short time. Some gather up legs, merge with other squalls in the area and go on for quite some time. Check Tampa's weather yesterday. Anyone out in Tampa Bay when that thing came along would have been be taking all possible safety precautions.

If you think a dangerous jybe coudn't happen in ten minutes of severe weather ... you probably should avoid sailing around Florida.
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:09   #130
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
I"m not trying to redefine meteorology terms. I'm pointing out that in storm conditions, especially running before it, jybes can happen, and that after hearing what happened to a very experienced sailor here, I will use two preventers, not one. This is not the first time I have heard of a preventer failing.

Please, do me a favor and ASSUME I am talking about an unpredictable storm, which -- by the way -- is NOT always short-lived here. But even if it only lasted 10 minutes, one still needs to protect oneself, one's crew, and one's boat from a severe, unexpected jybe.

Some nasty squalls last a very short time. Some gather up legs, merge with other squalls in the area and go on for quite some time. Check Tampa's weather yesterday. Anyone out in Tampa Bay when that thing came along would have been be taking all possible safety precautions.

If you think a dangerous jybe coudn't happen in ten minutes of severe weather ... you probably should avoid sailing around Florida.
You mean there was no forecasts warning of conditions being such that thunderstorms are likely to happen? The SW coast of Florida is pretty well known for having thunderstorms most days at this time of the year. Usually at about 3:30 PM, lasting for about an hour and a half.

One either should not be out there, or be prepared as to how to deal with them. Was it Spock who said, "It was logical to cultivate multiple options." ?
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:23   #131
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

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.
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:29   #132
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rakuflames

I"m not trying to redefine meteorology terms. I'm pointing out that in storm conditions, especially running before it, jybes can happen, and that after hearing what happened to a very experienced sailor here, I will use two preventers, not one. This is not the first time I have heard of a preventer failing.

Please, do me a favor and ASSUME I am talking about an unpredictable storm, which -- by the way -- is NOT always short-lived here. But even if it only lasted 10 minutes, one still needs to protect oneself, one's crew, and one's boat from a severe, unexpected jybe.

Some nasty squalls last a very short time. Some gather up legs, merge with other squalls in the area and go on for quite some time. Check Tampa's weather yesterday. Anyone out in Tampa Bay when that thing came along would have been be taking all possible safety precautions.

If you think a dangerous jybe coudn't happen in ten minutes of severe weather ... you probably should avoid sailing around Florida.
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...
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:40   #133
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

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-
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Old 05-10-2012, 12:37   #134
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

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?
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Old 05-10-2012, 13:00   #135
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Re: sailboats can injure and kill

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You mean there was no forecasts warning of conditions being such that thunderstorms are likely to happen? The SW coast of Florida is pretty well known for having thunderstorms most days at this time of the year. Usually at about 3:30 PM, lasting for about an hour and a half.

One either should not be out there, or be prepared as to how to deal with them. Was it Spock who said, "It was logical to cultivate multiple options." ?

PLEASE don't put words in my mouth and then respond to what YOU said as if it were me.

Yesterday's weather was forecast. No one had any reason to be sailing on Tampa Bay yesterday. If they were coming back from a trip, they could have left early in the morning, or there any number of placed they could have laid over until it past.

The topic in this thread was not forecasting but how to handle strong winds that can cause a jybe. Yesterday was NOT unexpected.

However, we really DO have unexpected fierce storms, often enough that people here need to know how to use preventers safely.

The day before we had even worse weather, this time coming in from the west, which is not typical. However, it also was forecast. I didn't take my boat out Wednesday and I didn't take it out Thursday.

We DO get unexpected, fierce storms (which mean "thunderstorms" here). I'm not talking about predictable storm systems. There will rarely day between April and October when there is not some threat of at least isolated thunderstorms. Then you move into the winter pattern, where cold fronts can dip far enough south to make chaos. Again, predictable. In the warmer months, it's far less predictable.

But you don't sail here, so it really doesn't matter whether you believe it or not.

I'm not going to blame this fellow for his accident. He couldn't be everywhere on his boat at once and there were a lot of distractions. But I have taken some very useful things from this discussion. I won't apply them in the storms YOU typically get because I don't live where you live.

That doesn't mean it's never needed here. Anyone who thinks bad weather can always be predicted here should not move here if they intend to be a boater, at least not until they recover from their naivte'.
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