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Old 01-12-2008, 22:10   #1
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Turning Turtle in a Yacht

Alright guys time to fess up if this has really happened to any of us. My feeling is that it is extremely rare. I have been knocked down in a Compac, and buried the rails in a Bent and a Island Packet, but who here has actually turned turtle in a Yacht, and how long did it stay that way? Also- what was the damage? It seems to me that people give out long before the yacht does.
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Old 12-12-2008, 04:44   #2
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sailing up the west coast of new zealand in june a few years back, there were some fairly violent storms, i was always monitoring the excellent vhf weather service and during one storm wrote down five separate broadcast positions of epirb activations, none of which were in my immediate area and being a yacht (ie no engine) had no chance of helping. that particular storm persisited for a few days, i was feeling pretty crook (incurable disease/disabled) had taken down my main days earlier and had a small storm jib (tea-towel), at peace with the universe but scared shitless of the lightning, i was sitting in my companionway holding my liferaft's painter, the liferaft was secured in the cockpit by that stage. wet weather gear on, looking up at the waves, rain clouds, BOOOM!!?? no it was more a crack, hmm a f'ng loud noise, i glanced inside and the the stove was heading straight for my head, i was horizontal, but had not moved and fended off the stove with my legs. by the time i next drew a breath i was upright, but gee the cabin was a mess. i moved the stove out of the way and confirmed the bilge pump was working looked outside, staunchions were bent, the lee cloth was shredded anything that wasnt secure in the cockpit was gone, solar panel was still there and i thought the guy in wellington who had made the frame for it was worth a lot more than he asked for, and just waited for the next wave. whilst they came none knocked me over and several hours later i felt brave enough to get out and have a look. it has to be stressed here that i was wearing some bloody good wet weather gear and had my excellent safety harness attached to the webbing safety line that went down either side of the yacht. i cant highlight the importance of a quality safety harness and life lines enough and that it needs to be able to be put on whilst in the cabin. anyway, when i climbed out things looked a lot better albeit still a raging storm. it took weeks to tidy up the mess in the cabin, a few seconds on the wrong plane a few weeks to remedy it.
there were other incidents during the storms that followed and the life line saved my life more than once. by the time i got to cape reinga at the north of the north island i hadnt slept for a long time, the weather forecast then was for mild 55kn winds, the hf forecast for the subtropics was for 25kn breezes, i gave up on getting to auckland and headed north. a week later i found norfolk island and slept... gee its a nice place to finish a maiden voyage in your home.
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Old 12-12-2008, 05:15   #3
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Wow! Great story and Thread. Is the boat on your profile picture the boat you were on in the storm? You should do us a favour and post a picture of it so we can get a better feeling of the story.

Cheers

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Old 12-12-2008, 05:44   #4
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Yacht?

I turtled a 16' Sunbird...not a yacht but having done that and actually stood on the inverted hull while hanging onto the keel, I think I would quit sailing and get into raising camels far from the ocean if it happened in my 30' Morgan...I'm just glad the experience didn't end up on U Tube. It was humiliating but I have to admit, very funny. Recreation boaters were doing circles around me [I was half mile out] and a fellow actually jumped in to give me the extra ballast I needed to right the boat. When the sail came up we went to work with buckets and gathered as much of the floatsome as possible. The Coastguard showed up and offered to tow me in but my pride won out and I sailed back to the ramp. But it was a good learning experience and I reallly watch out and reef when the wind is gusting!
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Old 12-12-2008, 05:54   #5
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hey waverider, yeah my first, current and only yacht a 28ft bilge keeler, designed by Allan Wright in NZ, extremely well built by David Campbell-Morrison in NZ about 40 years ago, from NZ kauri.
i belive i'm the 10th owner.

for a dumb arse like me to get on it and sail it through those storms without sinking it, across the tasman up the coral sea across the timor sea and down the indian ocean i truly believe i'm just looking after it until someone else comes along to fall in love with it again when i die.

the avatar was taken whilst sailing through the cattle crossing near bundaberg qld.

my home mate, i love it.
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Old 12-12-2008, 13:30   #6
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I had just got back from the Noumea race, was unemployed (sacked from Lidgard Rudling), and wanted to get across to Oz to visit a certain young lady. I met this guy who had just bought a Pacific 38, his first boat, knew next to nothing. There was one other on board who had experience (ex crew from Buccaneer), so I offered to sail up and do the nav if he would fly me to Sydney after.
At the time I was sure I knew everything as I had done a few ocean passages by then ( I was 22).
First few days were OK then it went NE and got up to about 40-45 with higher gusts. The boat handled that no problems, no sail and we all went below to wait it out. A few hours later a wall of water hit us and we were upside down and back up before you even had time to think about it.
As it happens a secondary front had gone over us with a ninety degree wind shift and much higher wind speed. As it was way more than I had seen at the time Iím reluctant to guess at wind speed but at the Cape they reported a max gust of 104kn, I would say we had consistent 70ís with gusts. The real problem was the effect the wind shift had on the sea state, two large wave sets at right angles throwing pyramids of water that would collapse under their own weight, Iím fairly sure it was one of these that hit us.
After we came up though I still hadnít clicked that conditions were much worse, so looking at the mess below I offered to go run off and steer while the others cleaned up. My first inkling of real trouble was when I pulled the hatch back, the air going past sucked pressure out of the cabin and my ears popped as in a plane.
I turned her downwind and this heavy old displacement boat took off at about 17kn under bare poles, got to the trough and spun out into a ninety degree knockdown. That was pretty much the story for the next few hours. The rudder would let go when a breaking wave with 5-6 feet of foam got under her and the rudder had no bite. The air/sea interface was very indistinct and at times it felt almost as if we were sinking, with so much air in the water we were down almost to the toerail.
Anyway, after a while the other guy came on deck, we had a quick parley and decided to slow her down. He tied a bucket to a line and tossed it over- it lasted 1.2 nanoseconds. After some trial and error we ended with the #2 genoa and an anchor and chain out the back and things improved considerably. Enough that after watching for maybe half an hour I went below (also the seas were adjusting to the new wind direction).
Down below was a sh!tfight. The stove/oven had jumped the gimbals when we were upside down and was banging around inside the boat. We threw it overboard. The owner had been in a pilot berth, rolled across the overhead and fell on his back across the table as we righted, he was passing blood for a few days. The water was about knee deep and littered with eggs, flour, all sorts of unidentifiable stuff and my nav tables. Most had to be got rid of by hand as it was too thick for the bilge pumps.
By morning it had eased to about 35kn (seemed like a flat calm) and we very carefully started sailing back to Russell, arriving two days later.
The pri*ck never covered my airfare to Sydney saying I hadnít got his boat to Fiji. And he stole my favourite beanie.
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Old 12-12-2008, 15:35   #7
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Bruce and Dana- you guys are golden! Thank you for sharing your experiences. Am I to assume that you were both lying a hull? Dana, how exactly did dragging a drogue change the action? Did it just shift the transom to the waves and slow you down? Did you notice a decrease in the amount of waves breaking on you?
I guess what I am trying to say is could you have avoided going turtle if you knew then what you knew now? Also, how could you of better prepared your boat ( the stove being secure is a big tip I will incorporate. I am thinking about installing seatbelts for most of the big stuff.
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Old 30-12-2008, 07:40   #8
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Turning turtle...............

Growing up turning turtle was the mark of a bad sailor. On a mono-hull if you let the mast and sail dip deep into the water meant you were going to turn turtle. The cure was to jump on the centerboard quickly before you got to that position. Those who didn't do it fast enough or do it at all were considered incompetitent.
Well.........now in the present while sailing my 47' Beneteau, we buried a rail, then buried the stanchions and were almost over when I raced over the side on to the keel, leaned back and pulled her upright!!!!
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Old 30-12-2008, 09:15   #9
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Turtled a Laser II more than once. Mostly I just got very wet and tired righting the boat and clambering back in.

In a moment of competence, I once was able to step out as she was going over, onto the centreboard, give a quick heave, step back in, and keep sailing. Only happened once.

Never turtled a keelboat, however.

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Old 30-12-2008, 10:58   #10
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I think I have told the story here before so just a recap...

Yep completely turned turtle a Bayliner buccaneer 18 or 20'..in a lake no pictures of the keel in the air but here is the aftermath once towed in. Have also had a compleat 100+ degree, standing in the main sail kind of knock down and pined there for a coulpe minutes in Puget Sound on another 21' boat as well..but that was done on purpose...sort of..

Both were wind knock downs...wind alone will not take down my 40 footer..not unless spinnaker broached induced.
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Old 30-12-2008, 11:42   #11
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I have turtled a Chrysler Mutineer in my youth. It took 4 of us and a row boat to get it back over.

I was helming a Santa Cruz 27 in a distance race in Seattle once and we came planing under spinnaker into the finish line, took an extra hot gust, which the trimmer didn't acount for due to being distracted by cheers from the committe boat and went over on our beam still moving somewhere in the teens speed wise (coming very close to a no longer cheering committe boat), tapped the masthead in the water with all us hanging on like lemurs and then she righted herself without a scratch.

The worst one cruising, by far, was in the Red Sea on a Cascade 29. We were caught in series of otherworldly thunderstorms, one of which covered the boat in a half inch of hail on the edge of the Sahara. The lightning went over the top of us and was striking the water like a picket fence 360 degrees around us which caused my Admiral to freak out a bit and she was demanding I go below. While below trying to calm her, and having unplugged everything possible, we got hit by 60kts of wind up from a steady 15-20. It put us on our beam and had us looking thru the ports down toward the water. I was trying to get on deck but had a pair of arms wrapped around my legs preventing me from leaving her. The boat righted itself and then was immeadiately hit with another 60 knots from 180 degrees, this backwinding the number two and putting us so far over on our other side that our cabin windows were now an aquarium. It looked much more peacefull under the water than what was happening above, what with the thunder, the jib flogging (and tearing), sheets flying around, a few things coming off of shelves, and the keening sound coming from my wife. The lightning moved away (two fronts had converged right above us), the boat got flat again (had there been ocean swell to go along with the wind waves it could have been much different) the wife regained her calm, and we had a sail change and were back on our way in about 10 minutes. That was close enough for me to turtle-ing.
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Old 08-01-2009, 19:11   #12
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This thread is confirming what I had read in L&L- that a large displacement yacht will turtle if it is lying ahull. It seems that large waves and winds usually have to be present. Stillraining said "wind alone will not turtle my 40"- that seems to make sense to me. Water however is 16 times more dense and requires a little more thought. When down to bare poles- would you
1. trail a drogue or
2. put up a sea anchor?
I have seen good sailors argue both ways. Even in this thread there is a few drogues placed.
Man what a great discussion for a cold snowy night!
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Old 09-01-2009, 09:36   #13
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I've only managed to put Oh Joy on her side once, that was enough. Kinda strange standing on the side of the mast until she rights though.
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Old 09-01-2009, 10:12   #14
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I took several Power Squadrons seamanship and other classes and they said the sea anchor was preferred. I think they speak for all boats and not just power in this case but I could be wrong. The reason is it places your bow towards the weather not the stern or beam. Also it stops your movement and they think that is preferred.
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Old 09-01-2009, 15:44   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptHed
I took several Power Squadrons seamanship and other classes and they said the sea anchor was preferred. I think they speak for all boats and not just power in this case but I could be wrong. The reason is it places your bow towards the weather not the stern or beam. Also it stops your movement and they think that is preferred.
Well having never been there myself take this for what its worth but I would personally deploy a drogue first and just slow my surfing rate down running with the seas and letting them slip under me rather then bow in at a dead stop...If there breaking then I would be more proactive I think to try and sail bow into and around or through them and not have them on my stern..

Wont know till it happens..
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