Since there is all the talk about capsizing in the "Prospective buyer" thread and having capsized myself at the Midwest Regatta this year I'm putting out the question of how to recover from a capsize if:

- the centerboard is up
- no other boat is around to help
- you have a crew of one
- you don't have a mast flotation

Of course the best tip is not to get into a situation like this.

My capsize experience was at a regatta so that a boat could help me. During the broad reach, while flying the spinnaker, the wind overpowered us. Instead of turning leeward I turned windward. I'm wondering myself what I was thinking at that time. I realized that the situation was getting worse and we would capsize. Going downwind nor lowering the centerboard came to my mind. So I jumped into the water to hold the mast top in order to prevent turtling.

Once the boat was on it's side I tried lowering the centerboard but with the weight and the slope upward I wasn't able to do so. We waited till a boat would notice that we could use some assistance. After a failed try of the guy on the boat lifting and trowing the mast into the wind, I lowered the spinnaker (uncleating it) but leaving the main and jib in raised position. I stepped aboard and the mast was thrown into the wind again. The boat very slowly rightened itself.

BTW holding the mast is not an easy task and without a life vest it is impossible. The pull down is just to much. Also the boat drifts quite well in the wind so that it was hard to keep up swimming along with it. I lost my crew that way and had to sail the boat singlehanded back which isn't great having a bumper as a mast flotation and all the lines and sails tangled up. But it all was a good learning experience and I probably won't forget to turn downwind and lower the center board next time I'm in such a situation. Still I wonder how we could have recovered if we hadn't had any help.

Claus FS5074 Ames, IA

I've often wondered if there is a trick to get the centerboard down, if you capsize with the CB up. Can you uncleat it and reach up through the gasket and pull it down, or can just push it down from up at the rollers?

I have had the boat on it's side on land, and it was hard to move, but it was dry at the time.

Any hints?

Phil Scheetz
FS 4086

I think it's impossible.
quote:[i]Originally posted by sawyerspadre[/i]
[br]Can you uncleat it and reach up through the gasket and pull it down
The centerboard slit is way to high up and there is nothing on the bottom of the boat to pull you up on.
quote:can just push it down from up at the rollers?
You actually have to push the centerboard up in order to get it out. As previously mentioned, with all its weight on the side of the centerboard trunk I wasn't able to move it at all.

This picture of the Capsize Drill series gives one somewhat of an idea how high the centerboard opening is. Although in my case the top of the mast was one to two foot under water and it was hard to lift it any higher. Probably due to the water on the main, jip, and spinnaker. This also caused the boat to be more on an angle than pictured.

Claus FS5074 Ames, IA

So, Scot veterans, how does one right the boat, if the board is up and the mast is pointing down? What is the trick, short of having another boat around to hold up the mast?

Phil Scheetz
FS 4086

If by "pointing down" you mean straight down, i.e., turtled, I think that you will need outside help.

If she is on her side and the board is up, I think the only shot that you might have is to lean against the bottom of the hull and use one of the sheets (or, perhaps, the spinnaker halyard) to try to pull it over. [?]

quote:[i]Originally posted by frank barbehenn[/i]
[br]I am a novice, and from previous threads it seems like you Claus are experienced. I'm not sure about that. Due to a young kid I don't get as often out sailing as I want to. Now that he just got big enough to go along we have another one on the way. Not having a fleet doesn't give me much opportunity to race either. So most of the time I just sail for pleasure and don't push the boat, crew and myself very hard.
quote:Why is it that it's the natural tendency to go upwind instead of going leeward and downwind when overpowered or fear of being overpowered downwind? Being used to do it from tacking against the wind? ... afraid of sudden gype? ... dunno. *shrug*
quote:Also, being a novice, how does one successfully come out of going downwind when one is feeling of getting over-powered downwind?
Drop the spinnaker, turn up-wind, and don't trim the sails. You probably want to trim the sails a little otherwise you end up in irons.

Claus FS5074 Ames, IA

It seems that most of the capsize stories I hear are in really rowdy conditions, and often involve very gusty days and sailors who are new to racing and spinnaker handling. I have not capsized, but it seems that there are some common threads:

1) Spinnaker up, big gust from astern, and the skipper steers upwind some, when turning off the wind may have been more appropriate. This seems to be accompanied by skipper and crew sitting too far forward.

2) Spinnaker up, newbie crew is slow to get spinnaker down at leeward mark, skipper rounds anyway and turns to weather, and maybe forgets to lower the centerboard in the excitement...oops. It is OK for the crew to cry in this situation. What good is a sport where you can't cry occasionally?

3) Sailing to weather, with main and jib cleated, or with 95 pound Golden Retriever sitting on mainsheet, giant gust (Northwesterly at Nockamixon) boat almost capsizes, I uncleat jib and get dog off mainsheet, boat does the weeble thing and pops back up. Nice!

At Nockamixon, a majority of the boats have the flotation for the head of the sail and that seems to prevent the boat from turtling, making righting simpler.

When I first started racing, I was at a race where we got a chance to talk to longtime Scot sailors, at Monmouth Boat Club in NJ, and many said they had sailed Scots for years without capsize.

Have fun. Time in the boat is the key to uprightness.

Phil Scheetz
FS 4086

Having a family I think about this a lot.

How about looping a line around the leeward (underwater) jib ratchet block, which is pretty strong. Next throw the other end over the cockpit and hull to the other side where the centerboard may or may not be extended. Grab the line, and with feet on the underside of the boat, pull it over.

If the centerboard is up, then the centerboard line may be available to tie a loop in, attach to the ratchet block, and throw over. I would be a bit concerned about stressing the centerboard hardware itself.

Based on sunfish experience, having sheets uncleated would seem important to let the sails escape from the water escape easily. I am not comfortable with jib sheets (yet).

I just bought a few $5 dock lines a WalMart. One end has an eye splice (I cheated) and it is 15 feet long. If the dock line is kept available on each side or sliding around from the center, it could be used for the task. Maybe I will tie one as a loop around the foot of the mast or hang one from the eye bracket under the tiller.

We just got the mast floatation and hear it is key.

We hope to try a drill this summer at HSC.