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Old 19-08-2008, 14:39   #1
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Sudden Trouble

Ok, you've been beating westward into a forecasted Cold front that's supposed to hit at 3PM with winds to 30 knots. It's been cloudy and about 50F with Southerlies @ 15 knots. It's around 5PM and you can see a nice dome of blue to the West and you and your partner decide it's time to head back home. The wind has clocked around to the WSW and is blowing about 5-8 as ya rig the A-sail. You turn off, hoist the Assym and get ready to pull the scoop to release when a massive gust of over 40 knots hits. The endless line comes loose, is out of reach off the deck and the chute suddenly opens. The boat lays completely over on her side and puts the main and mizzen in the water while you step from the deck to the side of the mast while hangin' onto the shrouds. You look back at your helmsman who's laying on the side of the cockpit, inches above the water yelling "What do I do?" over and over while moving the tiller back and forth uselessly. The house is wide open but staying dry. What do ya do now?
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Old 19-08-2008, 14:44   #2
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Exactly why I recommended not to buy a flying sail in a recent thread until you've sailed the boat for a while. I believe this was a couple with a new 50 footer. You could put Rhode Island in that spinnaker!
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Old 19-08-2008, 14:46   #3
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Take your sea knife and cut the sheet, forfeiting as little sheet as possible....
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Old 19-08-2008, 15:14   #4
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The sheet was snugged but not tight as the sail hadn't been deployed yet. Good luck getting to it as it's under water. I'll wait for some more answers before finishing the story.
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Old 19-08-2008, 15:17   #5
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Sorry Charlie,

the kite is toast, cut it away unless you have a good crew to retireve it.
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Old 19-08-2008, 15:18   #6
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If you are at the mast, and the spin halyard is there, you could blow the halyard. Otherwise work your way back and blow the sheet.
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Old 19-08-2008, 16:56   #7
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Ok, to continue the story.... She laid over for about two minutes, stood up and hauled ass into the wind, still dragging the boom end through the water until dead into the wind. As she stood up, I stepped back down on the house top still eyeballing the scoop line, hanging out of reach. As she started to fall off the wind again I let loose the spin halyard, dumping it in the water. I went aft, eased the mainsheet and basically hove to at about 50* off the wind.

We started pulling the spin out, which was full of water, foot by foot as the skies opened and dumped rain on us. Neither of us had foulies on so by the time we got the chute aboard and all of the lines squared away, we were soaked to the bone with the temps falling to 38F. The wind kept climbing, North of 50 knots by now so I went forward, rigged the Solent stay and hanked on the Staysail. We fired up the engine, turned to wind and doused the main before running off at 8+ knots under the Staysail alone. I ran the helm until I was able to teach my rookie crew how to surf offwind down 8-12' waves. By the time I got below to put on foulies and warm up, it was too late. I caught a nice case of pneumonia from that one.

It was a gorgeous sail back as the clouds blew away and the stars and new moon came out, though very cold. No damage to the chute or the boat, tough old girl she is.
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Old 19-08-2008, 17:21   #8
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Great scenario Charlie...but tell us? ... what did you learn from that bit of "fun"?

What would you have done, knowing what you know today for your boat?
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Old 19-08-2008, 17:30   #9
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First off, I wouldn't have had the chute up with a known front coming in, especially one I could see coming. Second, I would've made sure the scoop line was well cleated, which I do now. Third, I wouldn't have taken so long to rig it up, though we would've likely broached hard anyway. Fourth, I would've gone below to put on foulies prior to fishing the chute out. Neither it or we were going anywhere so I had the time. Also, I now carry spare clothing for times like this when getting wet is undesirable.

Things I think I did right, especially considering I'd never encountered a situation like this before. I kept my head and stayed on the boat. I picked the perfect time to blow the halyard rather than take another knockdown. I took the time to make a complete, thorough circuit of the boat checking lines before starting the motor. I made the right decision with sail choice for the deteriorating conditions. All told, not too bad a performance, once I got myself and my boat in trouble.
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Old 19-08-2008, 17:43   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieCobra View Post
Ok, you've been beating westward into a forecasted Cold front that's supposed to hit at 3PM with winds to 30 knots.


It's been cloudy and about 50F with Southerlies @ 15 knots. It's around 5PM and you can see a nice dome of blue to the West and you and your partner decide it's time to head back home.

Forecast of 30kts, build up all around, crew of two, chute stays in the bag - no drama.

Is "dome of blue" a thunderhead or a buit of blue sky - I am confused. If a thunderhead, I start reefing.
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Old 19-08-2008, 17:50   #11
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Blue skies as the front approaches.
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Old 31-08-2008, 08:00   #12
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let all the sheets go and cut the shute sheets if accessible then immediately reef the sails.
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Old 01-09-2008, 09:06   #13
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The leeward sheet was locked in the winch out of reach of the helmsman and under water. Blowing the halyard was the only choice.
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Old 27-11-2008, 20:04   #14
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I got into a similar situation once when racing. Couldn't release the sheet. It was under the H2O. I dived on the halyard and released it. Got us out of trouble. I was crewing. The helmsman was inexperienced. That's how we got into the situation in the first place. After the race, others asked why we dumped the kite via the halyard rather than the sheet. The helmsman had also decided to cleat off the sheet in a jam cleat, which didn't help. Sometimes one has to release the pressure by whatever means is available, messy or not. The helmsman (also the boat's owner) learnt a lot in a very short time in that incident.
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Old 02-12-2008, 20:18   #15
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Nothing like putting the sticks in the water to get your attention eh?
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