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Old 26-03-2021, 19:39   #1
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Big Storm, Small Lake, Big Trouble

In about 1975 I moved to Houston and traded my motorcycle for a 18’ Phoenix Racing Catamaran. IIRC it had a 25’ mast. It had rounded hulls and dagger boards. It was fast.
I decided to make a change so I took off the trampoline and built a ¾ inch plywood deck which I finished with Spar Varnish. It was beautiful.
One day we went up to Lake Conroe to go sailing. Lake Conroe is about 21 miles long and 6 miles wide at its widest point. I took my wife and 4 year old daughter sailing there on a bright sunny day. About half way across, a storm suddenly blew in, and within minutes it was on us. The wind was behind us and I tried to turn around, but I got into irons three times. There was no help from anyone because all the other boats were having trouble. The worst part was the new deck was as slippery as smooth ice and it was all my wife could do to hang on to our daughter while I fought the storm. Finally, I dumped the main, and sailed downwind on the jib to the far shore and beached it. It was close, we almost didn’t make it. Thankfully, the huge round hulls kept us from diving deep and capsizing.
Conclusion: An open sailing catamaran is no place for a hard, slippery deck.
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Old 26-03-2021, 20:08   #2
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Re: Big Storm, Small Lake, Big Trouble

Quote:
Originally Posted by KnightSailor View Post
Conclusion: An open sailing catamaran is no place for a hard, slippery deck.
Good story. Did you put the trampoline back on, and maybe added hiking straps and some more handholds?

In my limited experience with beach cats, I found they were harder to get upwind in a blow.
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Old 26-03-2021, 21:01   #3
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Re: Big Storm, Small Lake, Big Trouble

We were at a Hobie regatta at Stevenson on the Columbia river. It's a little west of the really big winds in the Gorge. One couple showed up with a Hobie 16 that at previous regattas was tired and worn looking. They had painted and fixed everything up, it looked great.

They went out and almost immediately turned around and came back in. Lunch break we asked what was wrong, why didn't they race? The reply was shouldn't have ArmorAlled the tramp. Made the tramp look almost new, and slick as ice.
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Old 26-03-2021, 21:36   #4
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Re: Big Storm, Small Lake, Big Trouble

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lake-Effect View Post
Good story. Did you put the trampoline back on, and maybe added hiking straps and some more handholds?
No, I didn’t. I ended up selling the Phoenix with the deck on it. I hope the buyer took the deck off, it was dangerous.
During that wild ride on Conroe, my wife and daughter almost got thrown off the deck several times. There wasn’t anything I could have done about it. We came close, really close.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lake-Effect View Post
In my limited experience with beach cats, I found they were harder to get upwind in a blow.
Many years later in San Diego I rented Hobie 16 cats at the hotel on Dana Point. As a regular, I could ask for a Hobie 10 and get their high performance Hobie 16. I would sail it out past the Jetty, then put it up on one hull and stay there all afternoon. I never capsized or turtled. I came close, with the port hull underwater all the way up to the mast, but recovered. I loved sailing.
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Old 27-03-2021, 08:44   #5
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Re: Big Storm, Small Lake, Big Trouble

Years ago, I rented a 16’ Hobie Cat at a beach near Havana, Cuba, from a guy named Silvio. Silvio warned me to be careful. If he had to come help, he would charge extra. I took a couple of other folks out (Bernie and Jane Sanders, who were nobody I’d ever heard of back then, but that's another story) and we cruised back and forth along the beach for a while. Then I dropped them off and began catting around by myself, trying to ride up on one hull. Great fun, until about a mile offshore the boat capsized. It turned turtle. No problem, I thought, but after trying again and again, there was simply nothing I could do to get it upright, and in trying, I got my hand bleeding into the water. Visions of sharks. Drifting further and further from the beach. At last I saw the dot of a sail coming out from the beach. Silvio. He brought along two big guys and with their weight they got my boat righted. I gladly paid Silvio the extra $10.
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Old 27-03-2021, 08:51   #6
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Re: Big Storm, Small Lake, Big Trouble

One should alway check the weather before leaving the port.
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Old 27-03-2021, 09:00   #7
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Re: Big Storm, Small Lake, Big Trouble

Less than 40 years ago My wife and I were spending a month of vacation from her job in Nome, Ak camping on the beach near Cabo San Lucas,when we were joined by friends from Nome and the husband, who was a small plane pilot and owned his own Cessna, suggested we rent a boat in Cabo for some fun. He had no sailing experience and mine, which he was relying on, was relatively rudimentary and only monohullls. What was available were 16 foot hobies. As Alaskans we figured we could do anything so off we went despite the strong and gusty off shore winds and warnings from the rental staff. I knew enough to stay towards shore but with all the stark fear and violent threats coming from the yachts who were watching us go from irons to unpredictable rooster tale trajectories repeatedly led me eventually to head somewhat farther out where the winds were of course stronger. Suddenly we were heading downwind at a rocket pace, popped over a wave and pitchpoled, the water was plenty warm and I remembered how to right the boat but in the waves and breeze we couldnt keep it pointing into the wind long enough to get back in before it flipped again. Luckily our trip to the Southern Hemisphere was interrupted by the arrival of the rental rescue skiff. Since we lived, we agreed that it had been fun.
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Old 27-03-2021, 09:10   #8
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Re: Big Storm, Small Lake, Big Trouble

If you are on a light weight catamaran you can expect to end up in the water from time to time and its best to practice righting it in shallow waters before the inevitable happens.
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Old 27-03-2021, 09:35   #9
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Re: Big Storm, Small Lake, Big Trouble

Quote:
Originally Posted by jim King View Post
If you are on a light weight catamaran you can expect to end up in the water from time to time and its best to practice righting it in shallow waters before the inevitable happens.

And/or the White Blimp of Shame at the top of the mast. Saved my dignity with a rental last summer...
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Old 27-03-2021, 10:13   #10
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Re: Big Storm, Small Lake, Big Trouble

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Originally Posted by Lake-Effect View Post
And/or the White Blimp of Shame at the top of the mast. Saved my dignity with a rental last summer...
I sailed and raced a 16' Isotope for many years. Whenever it decided to lay flat on the water, which happened quite often because I sailed without reservation, the first thing I did was swim a PFD out to the top of the mast and secured it to the mast. That prevented the boat from going turtle. I learned the trick by observing the boats with the White Blimp of Shame on their masts. When I got the boat righted, the PFD slid down the mast enough to retrieve it.
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Old 27-03-2021, 10:21   #11
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Re: Big Storm, Small Lake, Big Trouble

Quote:
Originally Posted by jim King View Post
If you are on a light weight catamaran you can expect to end up in the water from time to time and its best to practice righting it in shallow waters before the inevitable happens.
Not too shallow... When I was selling Hobies in the late 80’s in the SF Bay Area, we’d order a couple masts a year for folks who stuck the tips in the mud and snapped them off. Hobie masts were ‘generally’ sealed to prevent water from filling them, but over the years the adhesive at the time would give way and you’d end up with a very heavy mast after a few minutes upside down.
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Old 27-03-2021, 10:50   #12
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Re: Big Storm, Small Lake, Big Trouble

Quote:
Originally Posted by George DuBose View Post
One should alway check the weather before leaving the port.
Good advice. That day was bright and sunny with no sign of weather or clouds. The storm blew in very quickly and was gone just as quickly. There were storms that moved through Houston at 80mph. By the looks of the boats around us, it caught everyone off guard.
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Old 27-03-2021, 13:47   #13
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Re: Big Storm, Small Lake, Big Trouble

When she stalls or stops in irons during tack reverse the rudder she should fall back on other tack and allow you to power up on new tack. Hobbies can be wild and a problem when trying to get off rocky lee shore.
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Old 27-03-2021, 17:20   #14
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Re: Big Storm, Small Lake, Big Trouble

Hobie 16s are wonderful. I love mine, but my wife won't go near it because it capsizes and, as we live on the NC coast, "there are sharks out there". We compromised on a 26' Stiletto which I converted from a "Ferrari": to a "VW Bus" party boat by raising the boom, cutting off 2' of sail at the foot and installing a steering pedistal. Works for us and, while it could capsize, it hasn't yet! It has a hard deck behind the mast with bench seats and a tramp in front.
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Old 27-03-2021, 17:48   #15
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Re: Big Storm, Small Lake, Big Trouble

Quote:
Originally Posted by KnightSailor View Post
In about 1975 I moved to Houston and traded my motorcycle for a 18’ Phoenix Racing Catamaran. IIRC it had a 25’ mast. It had rounded hulls and dagger boards. It was fast.
I decided to make a change so I took off the trampoline and built a ¾ inch plywood deck which I finished with Spar Varnish. It was beautiful.
One day we went up to Lake Conroe to go sailing. Lake Conroe is about 21 miles long and 6 miles wide at its widest point. I took my wife and 4 year old daughter sailing there on a bright sunny day. About half way across, a storm suddenly blew in, and within minutes it was on us. The wind was behind us and I tried to turn around, but I got into irons three times. There was no help from anyone because all the other boats were having trouble. The worst part was the new deck was as slippery as smooth ice and it was all my wife could do to hang on to our daughter while I fought the storm. Finally, I dumped the main, and sailed downwind on the jib to the far shore and beached it. It was close, we almost didn’t make it. Thankfully, the huge round hulls kept us from diving deep and capsizing.
Conclusion: An open sailing catamaran is no place for a hard, slippery deck.


I think that's why we use Kiwi grip everywhere we need to walk.
An open sailing catamaran is no place for a hard, slippery deck
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