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Jeffreyheslop9

Falling overboard

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Hey just wondering, if sailing a dinghy single handed and you fall over, how screwed are you 

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Depends on the boat, the conditions and location.

For example - I sail a UFO which quickly rounds up and stops, or capsizes and generally turtles which stops it. I sail in a windy but protected bay, so anywhere I drift, I reach safe land. All coast and shallows are sandy. Water is warm year round. So all in all, falling off isn't a worry, unless an idiot powerboater runs you over.

Tell us more about boat, location...

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32 minutes ago, Jeffreyheslop9 said:

Hey just wondering, if sailing a dinghy single handed and you fall over, how screwed are you 

Not very.

With a few exceptions, most singlehanders will either capsize and stop or round up into the wind if you fall off. The furthest I’ve had to swim was maybe 100m after being ejected during a death roll. Of course I am a strong swimmer and I was wearing a PFD so ymmv

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I saw a Hobie 16 get lifted off a beach, sucked out to see a bit, then take off, unaccompanied parallel to the beach and off around the next promontory. So, depends on the boat. The Weta and IIRC the A class cats have tethers.

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+1 on the A class. One day I came across a guy said n the water. His A was off on its own. Went about 500m until one of the guys managed to get it to bear up.

It took us a long time to catch it, there were two of us in a maricat!

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If you lose contact with the boat and it doesn't turtle unoccupied you are in trouble, because in a reasonable breeze it will drift downwind faster than you can swim.

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If you fall off always let go of the tiller and hang onto the mainsheet, something you learn very fast sailing a Laser downwind in big breeze.

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15 minutes ago, Major Tom said:

If you fall off always let go of the tiller and hang onto the mainsheet, something you learn very fast sailing a Laser downwind in big breeze.

Great advice. The only problem I have had with this technique is one very windy day at CORK when I fell off downwind and the boat just kept going dragging me along underwater behind it. Somehow my prescription sunglasses and their croakie came off but my hat didn't. Eventually the boat capsized and I was able to reel it in. Luckily Kingston has a Lenscrafters.

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Wow thanks for your stories. I live in Victoria BC Canada where the water is not the warmest. While fixing up my enterprise I have been thinking about these kind of things and what might happen. 

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 40+ years ago,  I was sailing my laser and hit an iceberg,  OK just a small ice flow in the river.  It threw me off,  and it was the first time I've ever seen a laser sail off on its own without capsizing for a couple of hundred yards...  So I chose to swim to the bank . I was stood there by the time the rescue boat got to me. 

Unfortunately I wasn't wearing a wet suit,  and ended up In hospital..  Some years later it cost me my job,  as it was discovered I was allergic to Normal anaesthetics, so the RAF, said I could not stay on,  having previously asked me to, until the doctors said no... 

Oh and I have a damaged left elbow painful at this moment,  when thrown off down wind in strong winds,  I held on to the mainsheet with my left hand and it bent the arm back.

That was 20years ago.. 

An Enterprise can be righted quite easily single handed,  providing you've got good buoyancy bags. A friend got knocked out in one when dismasted by a much bigger boat being the other way.. He still gets called a sleeping policeman..  ( in the UK a sleeping policeman is a road hump) 

 

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Jeffrey H if that's your Ent in the profile Pic looks like you've got a tanked one. Good choice. So much better than the bagged ones for righting

 

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Yes that’s her. The previous owner did some poor repair work on her, like bondo and blobs of epoxy. So with this whole lockdown I am taking the time to fix her up. 

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Jeffreyheslop9,   You ask an excellent question that all of us ( dinghy/small boat sailors ) should keep in the back of our minds. The responses are good and you should consider all of them as they apply to your particular sailing. My primary concern is getting cold. Even as a fairly good and relaxed swimmer, I find that cold water, as you have in your area, can quickly reduce your flexibility and strength in the water. Naturally you will ALWAYs wear a PFD. My suggestion for you to mull over is to always wear a wet suit, even on a relatively warm day. You may be a bit too warm from time to time but the wet suit will assure that even though you may feel cold in the water,  YOU WON'T DIE!  Happy Sailing

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3 minutes ago, xonk1 said:

Yes I have some wetsuits from when I  windsurfed. A thick one for the spring and fall and I have a shorty for the summer. I was definitely going to wear one in the ocean, lakes are quite warm here in the summer, but yes to the pfd

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5 hours ago, Jeffreyheslop9 said:

Wow thanks for your stories. I live in Victoria BC Canada where the water is not the warmest. While fixing up my enterprise I have been thinking about these kind of things and what might happen. 

I have sailed out there quite bit. Yes, you should wear a wetsuit - "not the warmest" is an understatement. If you fall out and the boat capsizes, the Enterprise won't drift too quickly, as it fills up. But on a sunny, light wind day with the boat well balanced going downwind as you are heading aft to pee over the transom, then tripping en route and launching yourself into the drink, the boat could sail off for quite a while without rounding up.  

 

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13 hours ago, Bill5 said:

Yes, you should wear a wetsuit (...)are heading aft to pee over the transom...

If you we wearing a wetsuit, you are not heading anywhere to pee over any transom. 

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1 hour ago, martin 'hoff said:

If you we wearing a wetsuit, you are not heading anywhere to pee over any transom. 

That’s what autobailers are for ;)

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1 hour ago, onepointfivethumbs said:

That’s what autobailers are for ;)

A shorty or john peels off easily...

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4 minutes ago, Bill5 said:

A shorty or john peels off easily...

and lose precious potential warmth? pshaw.

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Just make sure the sail isn't cleated and most dingys will do as described above.  If you cleat the sail I have seen boats sail away from their owners.  

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39 minutes ago, onepointfivethumbs said:

and lose precious potential warmth? pshaw.

It is AMAZING how much heat recovery you can accomplish under 3 mm of neoprene!

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1 hour ago, onepointfivethumbs said:

and lose precious potential warmth? pshaw.

You missed the part where I referred to a sunny day. These are the days where one is tempted to pshaw the wetsuit. I should have said sunny and warm.

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Dinghies--the lighter and faster, the less likely to sail away. Light winds in a big stable boat could sail away with sheets cleated.

Catamaran---in wind, will go FAR AWAY fast due to sail area of trampoline. I watched one get over a half a mile from her 2 person crew during a 40 knot squall!

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Only had something like this happen to me once.  I was learning to sail a Laser in my college sailing club, really the first time by myself in a decent breeze.  I don't recall the exact details, but I know the boat was far enough away to alarm this noob sailor. Fortunately the "lake" where we kept our boats (power plant cooling pond) was only ~0.2 mi across.

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V15  turtles easily.  Problem arises in shallow muddy water.

Capsize with mast to leeward, wind pushes boat over the mast, mast finds bottom and is driven home by the weight of boat, mast and wind pressure on the hull.  Then support boats are needed to pull the mud covered sail out of the muck.  When you right the boat, you and your crew get a nice mud shower.

Have experienced this in Galveston bay and Vancouver lake.  Vancouver lake was shallow enough that one could imagine swimming down to free the mast (scary when you think about it) but the muck is so loose that the mast was buried really deep.  Galveston bay was nearly the perfect depth, the mast was almost vertical.  There's no way to self rescue when that happens.

I do fear this happening in the wild far from support.  Have contemplated mast-head float bag but then you get the runaway boat syndrome.  Light boats with big tanks, like the V15, moves fast on their side in big wind.

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On 4/25/2020 at 9:38 PM, Jeffreyheslop9 said:

Hey just wondering, if sailing a dinghy single handed and you fall over, how screwed are you 

In Canada, it's nearly instant death.

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12 hours ago, martin 'hoff said:

If you we wearing a wetsuit, you are not heading anywhere to pee over any transom. 

Put a pee relief flap in bladder relief zipper in.

https://www.terrapinwetsuits.com/alterations/

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5 hours ago, Teener said:

V15  turtles easily.  Problem arises in shallow muddy water.

Capsize with mast to leeward, wind pushes boat over the mast, mast finds bottom and is driven home by the weight of boat, mast and wind pressure on the hull.  Then support boats are needed to pull the mud covered sail out of the muck.  When you right the boat, you and your crew get a nice mud shower.

Have experienced this in Galveston bay and Vancouver lake.  Vancouver lake was shallow enough that one could imagine swimming down to free the mast (scary when you think about it) but the muck is so loose that the mast was buried really deep.  Galveston bay was nearly the perfect depth, the mast was almost vertical.  There's no way to self rescue when that happens.

I do fear this happening in the wild far from support.  Have contemplated mast-head float bag but then you get the runaway boat syndrome.  Light boats with big tanks, like the V15, moves fast on their side in big wind.

I turtled a laser in '88 in James river. The mast impaled the PCB mud over 2 feet. I kept swimming down there. Finally got it freed. Yes mud shower, and mud topsail of shame.

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The muddy top sail of shame is common on the Norfolk  broads , but at least it's shallow, mostly 4ft to 10ft, so a dinghy won't go all the way over. It is sticky though and needs a lot of leverage to get it out of the glop.. 

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On 4/25/2020 at 10:24 PM, Raz'r said:

I saw a Hobie 16 get lifted off a beach, sucked out to see a bit, then take off, unaccompanied parallel to the beach and off around the next promontory. So, depends on the boat. The Weta and IIRC the A class cats have tethers.

Yeah, Hobie 16's sail very well all by themselves

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On 4/28/2020 at 3:10 PM, eje said:

Yeah, Hobie 16's sail very well all by themselves

Depending on the crew's hability, better by themselves... 

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On 4/26/2020 at 8:47 AM, tillerman said:

Great advice. The only problem I have had with this technique is one very windy day at CORK when I fell off downwind and the boat just kept going dragging me along underwater behind it. Somehow my prescription sunglasses and their croakie came off but my hat didn't. Eventually the boat capsized and I was able to reel it in. Luckily Kingston has a Lenscrafters.

Expensive lesson. I learned it as well. Got tea bagged in super puffy reaching.  Came back up everything was in place but glasses/croakies gone...  Think the glasses slid down, turned around the water pulling on the lenses just ripped them right off.  Still hang onto the mainsheet though when the rare ejection occurs. 

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On 4/27/2020 at 12:23 PM, onepointfivethumbs said:

and lose precious potential warmth? pshaw.

 

Exactly. Just pee in the suit. Surfers call it the surfer’s jacuzzi.

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    I was on a Christmas charter with a family in the Virgin Islands and they wanted to have lunch at the Bitter End beach bar. There is a low rock wall that defines the dining room and just perfect white sand beach about 40 yards out to a point across from Kilbrides Cay. The wind just funnels through there and it is one of the best windsurf show off spots in the world. I had the Hinckley 48 on a primo 'pole position' mooring and the whole family seated and our orders in and everything was perfect. A rental Hobie had been sporting about in the arena of the channel and the two Bitter End guests decided to beach it and grab a couple of cold beers at the bar. They pulled the boat up almost out of the water and turned it almost directly into the wind but forgot to be sure that the main and jib sheets were free to run. The successive tradewind gusts that make that such a fun place to sail were strong enough to make the Hobie rock back and forth on the ample rocker of the H-16 and with each rock the bow would point a bit further away from head to wind. It wasn't long before the bows were pointed away from the dry sand and towards the expanse of North Sound Virgin Gorda. 

    I could see the jib sheet still cleated and pointed out to the college age son of my guest family and turned towards the bar and motioned to the Hobie sailors about the impending escape of their rental boat. They didn't pay much attention to me until the point caught a gust and turned another 30 degrees or so and went sliding down the wet sand and into the bay. They jumped off their stools and ran across the floor and jumped the low wall right next to our table and I could see that they would never catch the boat so the son and I took off running the opposite way to the dinghy dock in the hopes of catching up with the now speeding Hobie. I got the rib dinghy started but had the kid do the driving and we soon overtook the Hobie. It was amazing how stable its speed and course was and I learned that the partially kicked up rudders kept the boat on a fast beam reach no problem. The main traveller was pretty far down but enough mainsheet was till cleated that the boat would get pulled back to a beam reach if it headed up. The closer trimmed jib would pull the bow back down until it was partially blanketed by the main and reach equilibrium. I mean 15 knots or so as the dinghy was fully up on a plane. I had the kid try and push the bow down but there was no stopping the renegade Hobie unless I made the leap of faith into the trampoline!

    The coral reef of one of the surrounding Cays would have stopped the boat pretty soon anyway but I got the boat back under control and sailed back to the beach bar with some gratuitous hull flying just to show off. I was greeted by cheers from the diners and some heartfelt thanks from the renters and they told me that I could have use of the cat for the rest of their all day rental. I think they were pretty embarrassed by the episode and they even gave me a nice tip. After our lunch I took the kids in my charter family out for a spin and even got Dad out on the trapeze wire. They had an afternoon taxi Island Tour booked but I begged off in order to enjoy the use of the Hobie the rest of that fine day.

    I did capsize in the mooring field and even though I am tall I could not quite right the heavy H-16 by myself. It had a small 6-pack Igloo cooler strapped to the tramp just aft of the mast and I was able to use it to stand upon while hanging from the righting lines in my trapeze butt bucket and just barely have enough leverage to get the water off the mast tip. It was just agonizingly slow and I must have looked really foolish trying to keep the slick cooler on the bottom hull and stand on my tip toes while the waves and wind did their best to confound my efforts. I slowly drifted past a big charter sailing yacht as they all looked down on me from their decks asking if I needed assistance. After my big hero act earlier I was determined to get righted unassisted but a cute hostess that worked on the boat finally dove in and swam to my rescue just as I got the boat started to right. I thanked her and treated her to a fast tour of that end of the sound but the returned her to her boat thinking that she was probably on duty there. She just smiled and said the lunch duties were done and her guests were booked for a scuba dive shortly so she had the rest of the day free!!  The adventures that ensued was probably the sweetest Karma that I ever earned!

    Moral of the story is, "don't leave you beach cat sheets cleated or your rudders not locked all the way up!"

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