Originally Posted by Hydra
I read the whole document because I'm a sailing instructor and I'm concerned with risk management.
I have already have the spinnaker wrapped around the forestay but it was only in a gentle or moderate breeze: I can't afford to tear a spinnaker by flying it in severe conditions.
I crewed on a First 41.7 for teo seasons. Flying a spinnaker in 25 knots is pretty normal stuff.
- the skippers gybe to 70* makes no sense. With the pole on starboard and the wind
now on port quarter and no genney out a spinnaker wrap inside the forsestay was almost guaranteed
- The skipper
sent the first mate, the only other "qualified crew" on board forward to do the spinnaker change. At this point there are 3 on the foredeck and 5 in the cockpit
- The skipper should never have left the helm
. In fact maneuvering the boat higher, say higher than 120 was probably in order to allow the wind to back the spinnaker inside the forestay to port. Almost no amount of manhandling in 25kts is going to unwrap the spinnaker. Its a big sail and there is too much force on it.
- in fact when the spinnaker set goes pear shaped, primary defect being not made on the halyard
, expert driving is needed to steer under the spinnaker and avoid a broach.
- When the skipper went forward(he shouldn't have) he should have sent the mate back immediately, or brought the mate back first. As it was there are now 4 relatively inexperienced people in the cockpit
- Can only guess at their disposition but helm
, spin sheet, guy and main sheet would seem the logical assignments. Although I could infer that one was on the piano (spin halyard), leaving the main untended
- I worked foredeck, both mast
and pole, I trimmed spinnaker and I trimmed main during my time on the First.
- the reason I infer there was no mainsheet trimmer is that the mainsheet trimmer, regardless of what is going on elsewhere, tends the main. No one should have to tell the mainsheet trimmer that the boat is gybing. You trim the sail in accordance with the helms actions. As the boat steered DDW, the mainsheet is hauled to center and released on the opposite tack in a controlled manner. In fact if I ever let the boom crash, I would have been flicked from the position like a booger.
- the traveller is about 6-7 feet long. The mainsheet is a continuous sheet that terminates at winches at each end of the traveller. The mainsheet trimmer needs to be a big person. With some slack on the sail, light airs, head
to wind, you can and do pull the mainsheet by hand. However at upwind mark roundings, you first have to sheet out (or at least full down traveller) so the helm can actually turn the boat, then you have to grind like a bastard to recenter the boom as the boat gybes the mark, then you immediately start easing for the downwind run. The point being the forces are high but no one should be having to tell the main ttrimmer what to do. If the spinnaker set f***s up the main trimmer just keeps his head
down and does his job.
- at a minimum, if there was a main trimmer he/she should have been tending the mainsheet block and extra line as the boom crashed through even if he/she did not properly trim in the boom and release it.
The skipper hosed this up from the time he gybed to set the second spinnaker. The safety
points in the report are taken but offshore racing
is a dangerous endeavor. The only way to get experience is to go do it but it is not a place for raw begginers. I raced for 18 months on J24s before being invited on the Bene. The commercial
aspect of this operation create a pressuree to take inexperienced sailors aboard for financial gain regardless of their experience.
By staying at the helm, pointing up, 120, 140 even, the fishing
boat would have been no factor, the pole and spinnaker would all have been on the "right" side assisting the foredeck crew in their issue and the cockpit crew would have had proper leadership. The risk then being that on the reaching heading, if the spinnaker filled and was not made, an immediate broach could have been in the cards. This would have required a quick hand on the helm to steer back down to about 100 to get the spinnaker in front of the boat.
Armchair quarterbacking? Yes. Even experienced crews screw up a set. Every year a few spinnakers are "cut loose" due to messed up sets. Two weeks ago I screwed up 2 sets and fortunate,y recovered. The similarity was inexperienced crew and me getting diverted from my job on the foredeck to "help" someone else. There but for the grace of God, yada, yada...
Bottom line is don't leave your position. The skipper did not deploy his crew properly. The two "qualified" people on the boat were dealing with the same problem. Not a good recipe.
As a side note - almost anyone with the money
can now climb everest. Almost anyone with money can buy a boat, buy a position on a boat and go ocean racing
. Not everyone should skip the interim steps of learning