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 Post subject: Major fail
PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 4:03 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 10:52 pm
Posts: 104
I had a major fail on my boat today. The windward chainplate released, tearing up a large section of the deck. A bit like a sardine can. I have seen a pic of a similar event somewhere in the past, and my event outcome is very similar to that.

Conditions were brisk 12-15 knots and moderate seas. Came up a wave/swell and dropped into a hole behind it, boat speed ~10 knots and gave the boat a serious jolt. To my great dismay I watched the deck just tear up before my eyes.

The mast remained upright - I'm not sure what was holding the windward stay, but the hull filled up immediately.
We could not turn - no headway, and could do no more than drift back towards the beach, approximately one mile away. After 30 minutes we capsized with no warning although it was not really a surprise. We continued drifting slowly, with only the port hull and wing visible. Interesting was that the port hull, the intact hull, remained about 2 feet out on the water. The boat remained buoyed by whatever was left in the broken starboard hull. And the mast tip remained visible too - thanks to whoever advised me to make sure it was watertight.

We waved our arms off trying to attract help, and after about 2 hours someone on the shore noticed our plight and the lifeguards came out and took us ashore.
There was a large P & O ship near bye, at least five helicopters doing tours and several day-cruise vessels but all failed to notice our waving.

The boat was left to drift, and from the shore we saw it disappear around a headland and into a shipping channel. Salvage is set for tomorrow morning, but I fear that overnight my lovely 17 will be damaged beyond any reasonable chance of repair.

Lessons:
* Consider the risk of this happening to your boat. Especially if you like driving it hard and may have an enhanced sail plan.
* Consider carrying a red or orange flare - they need little space and are very effective in getting attention. Our experience ended with only a few bruises, but by the time we were assisted darkness was 1.5 hours away and we were drifting to rocks or a shipping channel. A flare would have had us out of the water much faster.
* Life jackets - every time. If we had to swim it, and it was an options more likely as time rolled on, then life jackets were very nice to have, especially in the sloppy water.

SO there's an adventure. I am insured and don't expect any problems with the claim. I'll go help with salvage tomorrow and maybe the gods will smile on my boat... I'll post as it all unfolds...


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 Post subject: Re: Major fail
PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 6:34 am 
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Site Rank - Old Salt

Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2011 6:28 pm
Posts: 324
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
Yikes! Glad everyone came out of that ok. Insurance is a good thing.

I think I'd add a handheld marine radio to your bag of goodies. It's a good idea to have one handy.

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Garrett
94' H16 - 114050
www.HobieFleet97.org
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 Post subject: Re: Major fail
PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 7:38 am 
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Joined: Mon May 09, 2005 10:25 am
Posts: 2570
Location: Jersey Shore
Major bummer.

Yes, VHF radio and/or a cellphone in a case would be advised when sailing offshore. From the sounds of your post, you had more than one person on board, so that can place extra stress on a 17 as it was really designed as a one-person boat (even though it should easily be able to handle the weight of two passengers without major hull failure). Out of curiosity, what was the age of the boat?

The safety equipment I carry on my boat for offshore sailing includes:

Waterproof VHF radio in a waterproof case.
A reserve of roughly two gallons of fresh water stored in the hulls (this is in addition to any water we bring for the day).
Compass.
Righting water bag.
Spare pins & shackles.
Roughly 50 feet of old mainsheet.
Paddle.
Leatherman mulit-tool.

Life jackets are always worn and wetsuits/spray tops are always either carried or worn.

We also always file a "flight plan" with someone on shore.

sm


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 Post subject: Re: Major fail
PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 2:18 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 10:52 pm
Posts: 104
Thanks for the advice. We were off shore, but in a tourist area and within sight of an iconic beach. But yeah, next time out I'll give more thought to contingencies.

srm - I think the boat is 1992. There is a number on the stern, but Hobie Australia had a fire and lost records some years ago. But my trailer is dated 1992, hence my reckoning of the age, but it is not a certainty.

On reflection, I suspect that the boat flexed seriously (perhaps loosening the shroud tension) when we went down the back of the wave, and when the boat rebounded it placed a heavy instantaneous load on the boat, possibly amplified by the conditions. Too much stress for the gunwale.


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 Post subject: Re: Major fail
PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 4:28 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 20, 2004 12:36 pm
Posts: 758
Location: Tri-Cities, WA
WOW :shock: what an experience, glad no one was hurt. Sucks about the boat. I haven't heard of a gunnel faliure before. I have had my share of demastings (2), cracked cross beams (3 - 2 front and 1 rear), broken centerboards (2), crunched bows (both) and one small hull puncture (low river - sharp rock), but all were fortunately repairable. Good luck and I hope you can get back on the water.


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 Post subject: Re: Major fail
PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 6:31 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 10:52 pm
Posts: 104
My Sport is 99% certain a write-off :( , and subject to the insurance company letting me keep the wreck, I'll have a heap of goodies up for grabs. If you just ask for what you might want I'll respond. You can post here, or email me at:
gmhendo2[at]bigpond.com

My boat was well equipped with good quality gear, no trashy bits.

Basically it will be the whole boat minus the starboard hull & wing. The Calvert kevlar main is damaged and I will check with a sailmaker if it is repairable. If it is I will get it fixed and offer it up.

Shipping from Oz is a bit spendy, but way less than UPS.


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