Gregzore

How fast does a turtled trimaran drift?

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We unfortunately capsized/turtled and were picked up by a helicopter during the Around Gotland (in Sweden) race on Sunday night. Now that the weather has gone down the search is on for the boat so that it can be righted, towed in and repaired.

Having trouble finding the boat...

Does anyone have any experience with how fast a trimaran (F-33) would drift?
Winds have been 25 knots of wind with 2-3 m seas.
The boat is fully turtled with a Code 0 and a reefed main. The Code may be still sheeted on the winch, but the main was released during during the crash and so can be assumed to not be sheeted.
When we were waiting for rescue, things that came out of the cockpit such as water bottles, etc. drifted quickly away to leeward. However, it was clear that the Code was acting well as a sea anchor because the bows were always pointed into the wind. It was difficult to estimate drift and the situation went so quickly that we didn't have time to get settled down before help arrived.

Obviously asking this forum is a long shot to get some outside opinions, but wondering if anyone has had similar experience... There are a lot of others working on this situation as well.
About the incident, a gust to 15 m/s (30 knots) combined with a big shift, 20+ knots of boat speed and an extra large wave resulted in a pitchpole. Nobody was injured, and we were in a helicopter within 1 hour. But now we would REALLY like to find the boat for obvious reasons... it is an F-33 with lots of carbon fiber.

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The Baltic is big - the boat will follow the current - so find out how they are moving. 

But I would advice to get up in a small plane - maybe a club can give you a cheap ride - bec it will be hard to spot from sea level.

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We capsized a lightweight 10.5m cat in the Atlantic in a F7.  The waves were moderate and not breaking but it was cold enough to get in the liferaft rather than sit on the upside down boat.  As each wave passed under the boat it would move sideways and the uncleated (but possibly jammed) sails would push it forwards.  Speed was fast enough to jerk the liferaft tether which I had to hold as a spring.  Progress across the wind was pretty quick.  There is a photo from the rescue plane which shows the liferaft lying at about 20 degrees to lee of the boat, which was lying across the waves.

Based on this, I would be looking in the direction the boat was pointing when you left it, plus/minus the current.  Wave induced speed of maybe 1 knot (depending on the waves, boat weight, sails, etc).

good luck

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Yes, the ship left without picking up the boat. In my opinion, interaction with the container ship was the scariest part of the whole ordeal. They attempted to get a line to us without any real plan for what to do with the line. Then they started drifting down onto us and put us into a spin when they turned on the bow thruster... after we bumped into each other... that part was scary and we were very relieved when they left the situation and let the coast guard do their thing as their presence so close to us seemed to increase the danger in the situation. They should be thanked though for relaying our radio call and spotting our smoke signal.

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Thanks for the pointer Harryproa about drifting sideways. I realized this morning that my armband gps had a track that I could dig into. Sure enough, for most of the time we were on the boat after capsizing, we were drifting 100 degrees to the wind. Then we started drifting back and forth with the wind when the container ship got close... then the track gained altitude and went 260 km/hour. This at least narrows down the search area somewhat and raises hopes that the boat did not drift onto the nearest Island.

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     There was a J-24 that sank in a race in St Thomas in a squall. Spinnaker were up and the white out squall hit so fast we had our hands full on a Swan 65. After the worst of the squall passed and we got things back under control we looked back for the J-24 which had been doing a really great job surfing on our wake and were killing us on rating. No sign of the little J and we saw another yacht in the race (J-22) stop and pick up the J-24 crew who were swimming. The J-22 finished the race with 9 people on board.

    This all took place just a couple miles from STYC and there was a motorboat with dive gear awaiting the owner of the sunken boat and they went right out to find the J and had excellent shore bearings and MOB from a GPS. No sign of the J on the bottom and they did a widening spiral search pattern and finally found strange drag marks in the sand bottom. It was late and the light was fading so they bouyed the location of the drag marks and came back the next morning and followed the marks and found the J-24 about a mile away with the sails still up and drawing in the current and slowly bumping and dragging itself as if sailing in the current leaving a wake in the sand! You could even see where it changed course as the tide changed overnight. 

    Good luck on finding your F boat, sounds like you guys were really heating it up before the rude stop.

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I'd also ask the local Coast Guards to see if they can give you a drift track. They have software for finding people in the water, drifting boats, etc and can give you a semi educated guess.

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Good points all. The initial search on Tuesday night didn't find the boat where it 'should have been' from their drifting prediction (professionals/insurance company is included). But from my understanding they expected the boat to drift with the wind. That the boat could 'sail/pump' its way across the wind is not something that was initially considered as it is a very special case and nobody thought of it. However, now they have found the boat and it drifted directly in the same direction it had just prior to when we left her about 50 nautical miles from the crash site. Hopefully she hasn't sustained too much damage!

One should not plan on capsizing, but in hindsight, it would have been really easy to have a personal locator beacon onboard and just left it in the boat as the AIS system has little value when the antenna is in the mast... Many lessons have been learned from this ordeal!

 

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Dude,

Glad you found it and best of luck with the tow, righting, and repairs.

Wess

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10 hours ago, Gregzore said:

Good points all. The initial search on Tuesday night didn't find the boat where it 'should have been' from their drifting prediction (professionals/insurance company is included). But from my understanding they expected the boat to drift with the wind. That the boat could 'sail/pump' its way across the wind is not something that was initially considered as it is a very special case and nobody thought of it. However, now they have found the boat and it drifted directly in the same direction it had just prior to when we left her about 50 nautical miles from the crash site. Hopefully she hasn't sustained too much damage!

One should not plan on capsizing, but in hindsight, it would have been really easy to have a personal locator beacon onboard and just left it in the boat as the AIS system has little value when the antenna is in the mast... Many lessons have been learned from this ordeal!

 

awesome result!

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Good you find your boat. Keep us informed how you salvage it and  how much damage was done. 

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We lost a a F33 as well, in the Whitsundays (Nth Mole) a couple years back, taken ashore after the capsize, then it took a few hours to find, failed to re wright before dark, thought we anchored it inverted (Double Cone), it was found a few days later Nth of Bowen.

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So what caused the capsize to begin with??

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