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Old 07-09-2008, 09:54   #1
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my tropical storm hanna story

well my tropical storm Hanna story

my boat is on the hook near baltimore's inner harbour so when we heard hanna was coming our way we decide run to a creek thats close to the house and hole up. so saturday morning we set out with the generator strapped down so we can watch tv to keep an eye on the storm. it starts raining on the way to the creek with me at the helm and the wife below staying dry, running the main under a reef and the engine for back up and control. we turn in to the creek and i pull down the main with just
10 mins to the hiddy hole and the wind picks up. now let me descibe the hiddy hole i was going to, its a creek with about 5 feet in depth that is narrow getting in and then it opens up in to a cove about 100 yards across. its surronded by by a very wooded park with a pier that i was going to tie the stern of the boat to, so its a great spot if TSHTF getting to shore is easy. well back to the day, about 5 mins after i pulled down the main the wind picked up big time my guess is 40 knots and i was motoring just fine at 3 knots in to the wind. then flump the genny got grabbed by the wind
and it opened about 5 feet from the top of sail for about 10 feet. i was planning on pulling the sails when i got to the hole. well the boat did an instant u turn, and headed down wind as soon as i tried to turn in to the wind at all the boat tried to broach. well the wife balled up in to a little ball and the boat took off like a rocket, with me just keeping heading.i saw an old fort that is an island with 20 foot walls, i decide to try to come around leeward and cut the sail loose. well as i came to the fort i still could not turn in to the wind (the knot gauge said 7 something knots running with the wind and waves ) to get in front of it. so knowing the area i decided to sail across ( if you can call it that ) the bay about 4 miles to where the water gets shallow and ground her. well i make it in to another cove and she slides in nicely on the sandy bottom. i then run up forward and see how bad the genny was, it twisted the foil so bad i could not get the sail down or out, it just knoted the foil around the headstay. so after about 5 mins of cutting the genny flew free, but now we had turned beam to the wind and waves and are getting pounded. i could now get to the radio so i grab it and call for the coast guard and guess what when running with the wind the water got to my vhf and killed it, i mean it turns on but wont do anything. so i go topside to get the ditch bag with the portable vhf and stuff, and find it gone, so i grab the cell phone and call the coast guard and inform them what happened and that we are fine. so i go topside to start the generator and the cord snapped, so no 110 volt and then the wife tells me her cell phone battery is almost dead, and i did not bring mine. well we wound up nicely beached at about a 45 degree list to port.

on to the recovery.
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Old 07-09-2008, 10:00   #2
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the recovery

well after the storm died i decide to self rescue and i got out the anchor and walk it out and set it and start trying to get the boat out. i tried everything including pulling the mast over so we would be leaning into the surf, but no go. so i called the CG to give them an update and he tells me the high tide times which was 3 hours away, so i reset the anchor at an angle to pull the boat out a little better, and the wind had changed direction. so i ran up the main to help shake us loose and maybe push out out some. well as the tide came in i managed to kledge us 90 degrees to the shore. then the tide started to drop and we where not out yet so i lashed the genny halyard to shore to stop us from leaning out again. then i cooked dinner for the wife and i, and we went to sleep. about 2 hours later
i got woken by the boat bouncing in the surf again, i went top side and saw that the storm surge had risen about 2 feet. so now back to grinding the anchor line, and running the engine and suddenly we where free. so now we had a nice pretty view of downtown baltimore at night coming with clear skies.

the damage from the day is i lost my ditch bag, my vhf in the boat died, the genny is gone ( i have a hank on jib as back up ), the generator needs a new pull cord and the wife was a little shaken but she is fine now. btw if anybody sees a yellow dry bag floating in the cheasepeake with my vhf, flares and some food and water i would like it back

i did not do everything perfect but we where safe. the coasty on the phone said it sounds like i did the right things so all together i guess i did not do too bad
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Old 07-09-2008, 10:08   #3
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Wow.
It seems that once started, all the dominoes want to tip.

Glad to hear you're free and safe.

Kit.
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Old 07-09-2008, 10:50   #4
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Congratulations on getting your boat out of trouble without the help of the Coast Guard or any predatory towing companies.

Problems come at you fast when you are in tropical storms and hurricances. Once the first domino falls, things get out of control very quickly, and the storm takes control of your yacht.

That's why storm preparation and storm management are so important. If you can prevent the first domino from falling, you will probably be fine.
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Old 07-09-2008, 10:58   #5
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Thanks for sharing. That is a good lesson. Had you not had a roller furling genny in place things might have gone much smoother but hind sight is always 20/20.
Its good you and the wife are safe and the boat not badly damaged.
Regards,
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Old 07-09-2008, 11:28   #6
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Excellent post.

Sorry to hear about your mishap. It was pretty heart-tugging reading about you having to cut away the genoa. Ouch!

I'm glad to hear everything went well in the end and you were able to kedge off.

Now, I have a dumb question for the group:

I've seen a lot of genoas pop off like yours did in windy conditions, but had always assumed that people hadn't secured the furling line and sheet tightly, nor put quite a few wraps around the sail. I've boarded people's boats and rescued quite a few, furling them back up when they weren't around. (I like to help others when I see a problem)

What I don't understand is how this actually happens... dumb question, and hopefully I won't be personally attacked for asking it, but I am not sure how genoas get loose. Do people sometimes just not wrap the sheets around many times and securely tie off the control line and sheets?

I ask because as in every story like this... there is something to be learned. The genoa was the big contributor to the situation and in my imagination, I don't understand how it came unfurled.
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Old 07-09-2008, 11:48   #7
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Two boats in our marina lost their furled headsails in TS Fay two weeks ago. I was there and watched it happen. The furler lines were sort of tight and were a contributing factor. What actually happened in both cases is that the sails were not wrapped tightly enough on the foils. Both boats had sheets wrapped several turns around the furled head sail but when the wind hit 60 knots the loosely furled sails began to fill and acutally pulled out of the wrapped sheets and off the furler. Once a corner came out the wind just kept working the furler until more and more of the headsail was exposed. It was all over by then as the sails began to shred.
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Old 07-09-2008, 12:35   #8
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i knew some one would ask if the furler was tight and wrapped. yes it was, i even redid it twice trying to get it tighter, and the sheets where even knoted off around the genny up to about 8 feet high. i think that is why it twisted the foil so bad, the wind took everything it could, the open part of the sail was only 5 feet wide or so at the end of the ride and to do that it had to twist the foil. believe it or not right near the end when more of the sail was open it was easier to control due to a shape forming instead of flapping uncontrolled.
also think about line stretch, if the furler line stretches 5 % over 25 feet thats 1.25 feet of line that is slacking, which one an empty drum which is about 2 inches thats about 2.5 turns of the furler. now the compounding factor in this is drum size, most furler lines i see are 5/16, not 3/8 or 1/2 inch so they do stretch. then when the sail is rolled up is about 4 inches across, or so thats 30 inches of sail that can come undone

also i was wishing in the middle of it for the damn sail to shred
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Old 07-09-2008, 14:18   #9
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To continue the drift.

Are there furlers made that have a pin in them? I would want one.

But even if pinned below I imagine the upper portion could get "unwound" a little no matter what.............hmmmmm.
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Old 07-09-2008, 14:23   #10
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Harken drums have holes in them that you can tie or put a pin in.
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Old 07-09-2008, 14:24   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickm505 View Post
Two boats in our marina lost their furled headsails in TS Fay two weeks ago. I was there and watched it happen. The furler lines were sort of tight and were a contributing factor. What actually happened in both cases is that the sails were not wrapped tightly enough on the foils. Both boats had sheets wrapped several turns around the furled head sail but when the wind hit 60 knots the loosely furled sails began to fill and acutally pulled out of the wrapped sheets and off the furler. Once a corner came out the wind just kept working the furler until more and more of the headsail was exposed. It was all over by then as the sails began to shred.
Rick,

I always stip the boat of both the main and furling jib when a storm is coming but here in the Keys I knew Fay and Gustav winds would not be more than 60 mph. Having said that I still was alittle worried so I untied my spare halyard from the base of the mast, walked it up to the furling sail and started wraping it with the halyard. I got 8 to 10 tight wraps with it from top to the bottom. It is a quick way of securing the furling if need be.

Ike, well that is another story....we stripped the boat completely!

David
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Old 07-09-2008, 14:32   #12
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Originally Posted by scotty View Post
i knew some one would ask if the furler was tight and wrapped.

Thanks for the comments regarding the furler unwrapping, everyone. I was curious because I see so many unwrap, but have never had my own unwrap in any storm. I tend to wrap my genoa very tightly, cleat off my control line like a guitar string, wrap the sheets several times and keep a fair amount of tension on them.

Never had to deal with winds over 60 knots with the genoa up before, so I am not "in the know" on that.

PS: Scotty, I would remind you that I didn't ask if the furler was tight. I asked how one comes loose. Understandable mistake after such a rough experience...
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Old 07-09-2008, 14:42   #13
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Scotty,

Glad you came through it OK. You kept your wits about you, and handled each problem as it arose to minimize the negative impacts. You sound like a pretty calm, solid guy in an emergency.

All the best,

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Old 07-09-2008, 15:27   #14
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<www.reefrite.co.nz> make a very good cruising roller furller with a locking pin.
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Old 07-09-2008, 16:32   #15
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You sound like a pretty calm, solid guy in an emergency.

All the best,

Hud
you should have seem me singing "singing in the rain" while flying at 7 plus knots with the boat trying to broach trying to calm my wife and reassure her

yes i am too logical some times according to her, it takes a lot to shake me

including running in to my own house to get my dog out when it caught fire, the house not the dog, and after i got the dog out i ran around the back and opened the kitchen door so the fireman could get to the fire with out running thru the house. emergencies do seem like i never panic, i just think and act
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