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Old 25-07-2009, 14:31   #1
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Beginner Capsize Question

I got out with the little Snark today in some nice wind. First wind this strong and first capsize.
A guy was swimming across the park with a life jacket on because his buddies had not returned. I sailed up close to see if he needed help, stayed pretty close until he got to an island, and then sailed around to the other side. He was getting a breath before starting off again. He took off and I was sailing as high as I could to be headed toward him. At 50 feet or so, we started to talk again, and I took my eye off the wind. Oops! We finished our conversation bobbing there in the water, and he contiued across the lake while I decided to find out if I knew how to turn one back over or not. I grabbed the board and rolled it back over just fine. I dropped the sail. I got everything straightened out and back in the boat. Then I started to try to get back in. I never did find a way to get back in, and after five good attempts, I swam the little boat over to the island and straightened everything out in knee deep water.
Are knockdowns off wind shifts pretty common in these little boats when you are pointing up? Same thing got me twice today. Second time the yard was snapped when it turtled. Both times trying to sail as close to the wind as I could trying to hit targets instead of sailing the best course.
Anyway, here is the question. How does a big guy get back into a dinghy that weighs 60 pounds and rolls easier than he does? Take the rudder off and crawl over the back?
The second one today was not near shore and it was in good wind. Wind not blowing the way I wanted to go. I lost the yard. I got towed in with the boat. I did not try to get back in with the rig broke. How does a guy alone get back into these little dinghies?

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Old 25-07-2009, 18:54   #2
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If you can get around the rudder, go over the transom.

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Old 25-07-2009, 19:19   #3
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Fun looking boat. I learnt to sail on similar sized craft and capsized a lot, especially when going out in stronger breezes. If you are in the water pull it upright (release the sheet so that the wind doesn't knock you back down, or start the boat sailing) and as mentioned clamber back in over the transom. Make sure you hang onto the boat while righting it as it could start sailing away on its own.

The real trick though is to not get wet at all. We used to practice capsize drills and even full rolls (bringing the mast back up on the other side) without getting wet - just step over the side onto the board as the boat is getting flipped. Doesn't work if the board is up of course.

Getting the rigging to the downwind side is something else you need to think about. If you right the boat with the sails upwind you'll probably just flip right over. There are a few different approaches but the easiest is to just put enough weight on the board to pick the tip of the mast out of the water, the wind will then turn the boat around.
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Old 25-07-2009, 19:31   #4
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A good book is "Start Sailing Right!" and it covers capsizing in small boats pretty well. In a 60lb boat with me weighing in at 200 wet I'd get the boat upright. Get the sail and boat pointed on a close to beam reach (either tack). Haul in the sheet to balance the rig and get in over the side before she capsized on top me again.
The other option is coming up over the stern if it has enough bouyancy to support you. You may have to remove the rudder, better yet, put a step on the rudder so you can pop in real quick.
Your bow needs to be pointed into the wind unless you're doing what I suggested at first.
Come into the boat on the windard side if you're not exactly head to wind.
Good luck
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Old 25-07-2009, 19:54   #5
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I am reading that book right now.
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