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 Post subject: First Turtle
PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 7:55 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:10 pm
Posts: 48
I was out with my lovely lady racing about in the air being pushed by a menacing cloud system. We had been giving family "tourist" rides all afternoon in a moderate breeze. I knew it was going to get exciting when the anvil shaped cloud system began to form to the south. We were pushing it and I knew it. The wind changed from a northerly to a southerly in about 2 minuets. Guessing the gusts were going to 30mph...hard to say. My wife is pretty good about getting out in trap with the assistance of a chicken line to the transom (it has saved the day again and again). We had about 4 minuets of in and out wild trap and then a big gust slammed us...slow motion blow over.
I was running the main sheet manually, feeding line in and out as needed so when we went over, the line was let go. The jib stayed set. I jumped towards the end of the boom, rolled off the side of the sail, and swam around the transoms towards the backside. Meanwhile, my lady was still up on the windward hull and the boat was quickly heading for a turtle, driven by her weight which was now over center. I hollered at her, but by the time she slid into the water, the boat was mast down. It happened so fast! We went from ripping to turtle in 10-15 seconds. It was my first turtle! Reaching my righting line on the topside was difficult. I had to hold my breath and dunk my head in order to get the reach around the dolphin striker. I never realized that while upside down, the tramp happily lives 14" under the water with the hulls curving up around us. The contents of our cooller were floating around us: fork and spoon (straight to the bottom), baked beans, potato salad, several beers, blue freezer packs, and some random articles of clothing. luckily, we were wet-suited up. In the ensuing chaos, the floating vittles and various other bits were left to fair for themselves. Waves were crashing and it was just impossible to salvage any of the floating debris. I had bigger fish to fry.
The bringing of the boat from turtle to sideways was easier than the actual righting. She easily came up to broadside...surprisingly. I put the line on the windward hull and the tramp helped to catch the wind and bring to sideways. Now the wind was gusting to the point of grabbing spray off the waves and blowing it airborne. Once sideways, I reattached the line and we leaned back. As fast as it was righted, it bounced over to the other side and over it went again. We walked back and forth until the mast was near 45 to the wind again, and again...righted for a second and back over the other way! I leaped for the far side of the dolphin striker once it looked like she was up. When she slapped down and headed back over the other way, I was lifted out of the water to my waist before I could no longer hang on. Once, we had it near up and it "rolled" over its transoms and did a 180 degree flop. My brother was near with a Hobie 18 with 3 on board. He got close enough for someone to bail and help us. The three of us were able to right it and keep it on its feet. We limped back to shore as a 3 pack while lighting lit up the sky 3 miles away and gaining fast.
My wife kept a smile on her face the whole time, even while I got a little short and did some yelling, as seems to happen in the tense dumping scenarios. I'm sure we would have eventually got it on its feet without the 3rd hand, but it did help keep it right side up. I wonder what I was doing wrong? I know the main was un-cleated as I was driving with the sheet around my wrist for ultimate control. Was the cleated jib presented to the gale enough to knock the boat back over again? We had it up 3 times only to flop the opposite way and down again. We shouldn't have been out; the lightning was getting closer and we were toying with the storm, but loving every minute of it!
I'm no longer afraid of the turtle...we've crossed that bridge! But the tossed over again and again got a bit old... :?
What fun!


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 Post subject: Re: First Turtle
PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2013 8:50 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2008 10:46 pm
Posts: 470
Interesting story. You don't mention if you have mast flotation. For racing, you probably don't want it, but I'm a fan of some kind of mast flotation. It's always seemed a little counter-intuitive to take a $2k plus boat and turtle it with the possibly of doing expensive major damage to mast or sails. Unless you already had it and wind and weight forced the mast under. There have been some good threads on re-sealing 16 mast that should be easily found with a forum search, if that might have contributed.


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 Post subject: Re: First Turtle
PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 8:29 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:06 am
Posts: 278
Location: Charlotte, NC
Did you save the beer?!?
:D

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Jonathan
'85 H16 __/) 87468 Tidal Wave
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 Post subject: Re: First Turtle
PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 8:38 am 
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Joined: Mon May 09, 2005 10:25 am
Posts: 2620
Location: Jersey Shore
bones wrote:
I wonder what I was doing wrong? I know the main was un-cleated as I was driving with the sheet around my wrist for ultimate control. Was the cleated jib presented to the gale enough to knock the boat back over again? We had it up 3 times only to flop the opposite way and down again.


The jib can pull the boat over in a strong enough breeze. It can also cause the boat to turn down wind and sail away from you if you aren't holding on, so its very important to uncleat the jib before trying to right the boat. Also, it's important to grab hold of the dolphin striker and hang on as the boat comes upright. If both you and the crew do this, it will help prevent the boat from doing an up-and-over. Of course you want the bows pointed towards the wind too when you bring the boat up so that the sails will be luffing as the boat comes upright.

sm


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 Post subject: Re: First Turtle
PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 7:14 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2011 6:41 pm
Posts: 62
Location: Cape Coral FL
Here is a very good video on righting the boat, and keeping it from flipping over on the other side. Notice how the crew is literally sitting on the hull before the boat has a chance to continue flipping over again.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gdAWhc1y6Q&feature=fvwp

at 1:30 seconds into the video.


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 Post subject: Re: First Turtle
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 7:35 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2005 10:18 am
Posts: 759
Location: Virginia Beach VA
Ouch! That lady must have had a serious bruise falling dead weight onto the lower hull. Lucky she didn't break a hip or something.


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 Post subject: Re: First Turtle
PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 6:21 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2006 1:11 pm
Posts: 226
Location: West Point, Utah
Had a very similar experience solo on the Great Salt Lake. I could see the storm coming, but stayed out to go warn a tourist in a rented kayak that the storm was headed our way. He just headed to shore and I tried to make it back to the harbor. Only about 100 yards out when it caught me. Finally stopped trying to right it at 8 or 9 tries. Afterwards the wind records show that it was steady at 38mph and gusting to 45. Even with another person I doubt that it would have stayed upright. Eventually just rode it until washed up on the causeway to Antelope Island. Jumped into the surf before contact with the shore and pointed the bows into the wind. A couple of spectators helped me haul it up on the beach on it's side still. Only damage was to some of the batten pockets on the main. The waves were filling the sail and put too much pressure at the luff end of the pocket. Sail tape and sewing machine and back in business. By the way, my GPS says I set a personal best at 21.5 Knots at sometime during my sail that day. Pretty sure it was while trying to make it back to the harbor on a broad reach. Sweet Hobie day.


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