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 Post subject: I fell off my Hobie
PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 7:00 am 
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Joined: Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:36 am
Posts: 10
Hello to all. Muz from Brisbane, Australia here.

I've been a bit of a lurker since I bought a 2nd hand Hobie 14 a month ago and I've been learning a lot about the boat from all the brilliant information that's been posted previously.

Anyway I've been learning to sail the little fella on a dam nearby to get the hang of it and today was the first time I ventured out into the big blue nearby our place.

Had a blast in the much stronger and more consistent wind which was great but had an unfortunate incident whereby my lad (11 years old) and myself hit a few bumpy waves and a gust of wind caught me at just the right moment and I bloody well fell off.

Of course the boat, uncaptained(?) by now sailed off and eventually pointed into the wind about 50m from me. The boy was in a bit of a flap but I yelled out to him to stay calm and just stay on the boat whilst I swam to him. I manage to tell him to let the main sail out and release the jib as the boat left me so that was all good.

The bad bit was that as I was swimming towards the boat (we both had lifejackets on) the boat was getting further away from me as the wind was right up (probably 20kms/hr or so). The sail had swung around as far as it could go and was powering the boat. Not much, but faster than I could swim with a lifejacket on.

In the end I scanned about and had to flag down a couple of fishermen who motored over to me and fished me out and took me to the lad. So all's well that ends well.

Well sort of. To be honest, thinking about it now, it kind of freaked me out and I'm wondering what I would have done had the fishermen not been nearby to help. At the end of the day there was an island not too far away I could have swam to but it was a good 500m or so.

I was just wondering if anyone had any advice (besides not falling off your boat) in that situation. Should you be tethered to it? Dangerous I would have thought. Should I be strapping a flare to my lifejacket? Perhaps a plastic whistle as well?

Any hints or advice would be very much appreciated.

I'm in Oz and it's midnight here so I'm off to bed so please don't think I'm rude if I don't answer any posts that come up in the next 8 or so hours.

Many thanks and keep up the great work.


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 Post subject: Re: I fell off my Hobie
PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:55 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2012 10:08 am
Posts: 193
Location: Prince Edward Island, Canada
The best advice I can offer comes from when I was a kid. We constantly raced around in barely floating dinghies with all sorts of makeshift parts and rigging that often spelled disaster. Well not disaster really but humiliation mostly. In short, we learned very quickly to never, never, ever let go of the main sheet. While the natural reaction in a spill is to let go of everything as you brace for the water, a better habit to form is to hang on to the sheet all the tighter. We put an extra knot at the end in case it started slipping through our fingers.

Tethers are often debated and considered too dangerous for the most part. If you're going to be out on the ocean alone with no other boats around, sometimes you have to weigh the greater danger. I offer no advice on that though.

A waterproof VHF radio in your life jacket pocket should be a must if your going to be out where passer by boats are uncommon. It will do you no good in storage on the boat if you fall over and get separated.

Spills happen though.... It's part of the fun. Invest a few dollars in the radio and get back out there enjoying a great sport without worry.


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 Post subject: Re: I fell off my Hobie
PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:47 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 7:02 pm
Posts: 150
Location: Rockford, IL
A few ideas:
Don't cleat the mainsheet when you are alone on the boat, you want the boat to downpower if you aren't holding on. If you are running before the wind, you're screwed.

Teach your son how to bring the boat up into the wind so it won't sail away from you. That said, as you found out, it'll still drift. I'm not sure what you do there if you are in windy areas...maybe rig a sea anchor he can throw out to slow the boat. Along those lines, can you do a man-overboard rescue if your son falls off? It's a pretty basic skill you need to know. I practice it at the beginning of the sailing season, by throwing a bottle or float overboard and recovering it.

When I sailed alone on Lake Michigan (which gets sudden fog and squalls) I carried a marine radio and had flares on the boat. Never needed them, but could have. I felt funny about getting them-it's a small boat I said. A friend had good advice: yeah, but it's a big lake. And you're on a big ocean. Are there rescue agencies within radio range? I had a Coast Guard station just a few miles away.

I've heard of people dragging a long rope behind the boat so if they do fall off, they can swim and grab it. Hobies move quickly though, so I'm not sure that would work dependably.

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Yet another Bob!


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 Post subject: Re: I fell off my Hobie
PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 12:26 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 24, 2004 10:33 am
Posts: 433
Location: Clinton, Mississippi
As a bare minimum....

Always carry a safety (plastic so as to not corrode and pealess so it won't foul) whistle. Even on smaller lakes, in big wind/waves, it can be very hard for someone to see a person in the water. I don't like having things around my neck (choking hazarad), so I have one on a lanyard in my PFD pocket.

Choose high visibility colors for clothing/PFD.

Hold on to the mainsheet. The boat will eventually stall or flip. Holding on to the tiller extension will likely cause damage.

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Jerome Vaughan
Hobie 16


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 Post subject: Re: I fell off my Hobie
PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:07 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 09, 2005 10:25 am
Posts: 2606
Location: Jersey Shore
At 11 years old, your son should be old enough to start learning how to handle the boat on his own. Teach him the basics of how to steer, operate the sheets, tack, jibe, go hove-to, what to do during a man-overboard, etc. When I was that age (even a little younger actually), we had a small dinghy and my father would intentionally jump off the boat and have me execute a man overboard drill to come back and get him for practice.

If you're sailing solo, the best thing to do is always keep a hand on the mainsheet or a foot tucked under the hiking strap. With more experience, you will learn to anticipate how the boat reacts to changes in wind speed or sea state and falling overboard becomes much less likely. Wearing your life jacket was certainly a smart move and hopefully you'll keep doing so.

Keeping a whistle on your person is a good idea. Carrying a cell phone in a waterproof case is also a good idea. Otherwise, the standard precautionary measures like sailing with another boat, letting someone on shore know your "flight plan", not sailing in strong offshore winds always apply.

sm


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 Post subject: Re: I fell off my Hobie
PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:08 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:36 am
Posts: 10
Cheers to all for your good advice.

I'll be buying a whistle before I head out next and getting a waterproof bag for my phone.

There was a knot in the end of the rope too but as I hit the water I felt the rope slip through my fingers. (I had a few grabs at it but just couldn't get a grip.)

I can't imagine how horrible it must be if you fell off a big cruise ship or something similar knowing that they're not coming back for hours.

I definitely made sure the mainsheet was uncleated after I got back on it and we powered off again. And that's a definite if I'm by myself from now on.

By a man overboard do you mean bringing the boat about back to where someone fell off? I've done that a few times on the dam to recover a hat that blew off. The stronger winds out on the bay would have made that a little trickier.

I'll also start to teach the boys how to handle the boats by themselves. That should be a laugh. (Talk about the blind leading the blind.)


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 Post subject: Re: I fell off my Hobie
PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 12:16 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 24, 2004 10:33 am
Posts: 433
Location: Clinton, Mississippi
A few more thoughts.....

Stock rigging for main sheet/traveler line is a continous loop (over 40' long?)...no knot or end. Should not be too hard to hook with your hand or arm somewhere if kept close to you.

Hobie 14 is a very small boat for two people of any size.......very weight sensitive, so one must be careful moving about, especially in big waves.

Definitely practice MOB drills and teach boys the basics as SRM says. Also, the H-14 is fairly easy to flip/turtle/right if the mast is sealed and the water's deep enough to keep the mast from sticking on the bottom. If there are no better alternatives, the boys may be able to flip it (slower drift) or even turtle it (very slow drift).

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Jerome Vaughan
Hobie 16


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 Post subject: Re: I fell off my Hobie
PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 4:01 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 09, 2005 10:25 am
Posts: 2606
Location: Jersey Shore
Muz wrote:

By a man overboard do you mean bringing the boat about back to where someone fell off?


Absolutely. Next time you go out, take an extra life jacket with you or something else that floats and is fairly visible, drop it over the side of the boat, sail on another 30 yards or so, and then turn around and come back to it. This is a very good skill to have and not as easy as it sounds. The general procedure would be to depower the boat, bear off downwind slightly, gybe around, and then come up on the "victim" from downwind so that you're turning up into the wind coming to a near stop as you reach the victim from downwind. If the wind's strong enough that you would risk capsizing during the gybe, then substitute a tack for the gybe. The whole procedure is a test of your ability to steer and handle the sails "automatically" all while never taking your eye off of the victim.

sm


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 Post subject: Re: I fell off my Hobie
PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 5:59 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2011 6:28 pm
Posts: 335
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
A solo righting bag can also be used as a sea anchor to slow down a boat being pushed by the wind. I sail with my kids on a H16 and just keep one tied behind my striker bar. It's easy enough to teach a kid to untie it and let it go in an emergency. That might be just enough to allow you to catch the boat unless you have a strong current and wind in the same direction. Also a big help when you dump the boat. : )

I also keep a small waterproof marine radio in my lifejacket anytime I'm in the ocean. It's cheap insurance.

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Garrett
94' H16 - 114050
www.HobieFleet97.org
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 Post subject: Re: I fell off my Hobie
PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 3:21 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2003 7:11 pm
Posts: 4623
Location: Detroit, MI
GD_NC wrote:
That might be just enough to allow you to catch the boat unless you have a strong current and wind in the same direction.

Current really doesn't have an effect, since the MOB and the boat are on the same "moving carpet". Wind is the dominance force acting here.

Rules when you're sailing by yourself (or with someone who can't handle the boat themselves):
1) Dress for the water, not for the air. Drysuits save lives.
2) Wear a VHF radio and/or a cell phone - the boat is not going to call for help when you fall off. Practice using the cell phone in its waterproof case. It can be difficult with cold fingers. Pre-program emergency numbers (CG, police, 911)
3) Always let someone on shore know where you are and when you'll be back. Check in with them when you return.
4) If you get separated from a capsized boat and another person is still with it, teach them to turtle the boat to stop the wind drift.


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 Post subject: Re: I fell off my Hobie
PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:22 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2005 10:18 am
Posts: 759
Location: Virginia Beach VA
I lost my balance as skipper and fell off the boat once. Fortunately my crew knew how to take the helm and turn the boat around although she flew by me twice on a 10 knot reach. It didn't occur to her that sailboats have no brakes! So a man overboard drill heading the boat up into the wind is very good advice. This got me thinking in general about taking non-sailors out for boat rides though, especially in open water. Now I don't trap out or fly hulls or anything remotely extreme without experienced crew. I usually just travel out and take it easy. I wouldn't recommend taking "passengers" out in even slightly heavy seas or weather either. I also have a safety briefing with any inexperienced crew before leaving the beach on how to uncleat the sheets and push the tiller over. You learned another important lesson that most people never think about. Life vests are not made for swimming.


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 Post subject: Re: I fell off my Hobie
PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 6:33 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:36 am
Posts: 10
Again, all good advice and its very much appreciated. Back out to the Dam on Sunday for some MOB drills and some more honing of the "skills".

Dam here. http://goo.gl/maps/csBNT

Fell off here. http://goo.gl/maps/unLvE Just South of Coochiemudlo Island.

Had a scoot about on ebay and found this. http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/New-Uniden-M ... 4897.l4275

I assume this the sort of radio you are talking about? (Probably half the price in the US.) I'll be getting one if it is.


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 Post subject: Re: I fell off my Hobie
PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 7:06 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2003 7:11 pm
Posts: 4623
Location: Detroit, MI
Muz wrote:
Had a scoot about on ebay and found this. http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/UNIDEN-MHS05 ... 4897.l4275

Is this the sort of radio you are talking about? (Probably half the price in the US.) I'll be getting one if it is.

That's a pretty good one - and costs about the same in the US (although it is a discontinued model). Here are the current Uniden floating hand-helds: http://www.uniden.com/marine-electronic ... dxtfloat=1


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 Post subject: Re: I fell off my Hobie
PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 7:57 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2011 6:28 pm
Posts: 335
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
MBounds wrote:
Muz wrote:
Had a scoot about on ebay and found this. http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/UNIDEN-MHS05 ... 4897.l4275

Is this the sort of radio you are talking about? (Probably half the price in the US.) I'll be getting one if it is.

That's a pretty good one - and costs about the same in the US (although it is a discontinued model). Here are the current Uniden floating hand-helds: http://www.uniden.com/marine-electronic ... dxtfloat=1


I've got this one - http://www.uniden.com/marine-electronic ... nvt/mhs75g

It doesn't float, but it small enough to fit in the pocket of my life vest. I've had it for about 2+ years. Use it in salt water and sand and it's still going strong. Uniden makes good stuff.

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Garrett
94' H16 - 114050
www.HobieFleet97.org
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 Post subject: Re: I fell off my Hobie
PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 8:24 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:36 am
Posts: 10
Talking to a bloke here that runs a marine radio course and he was saying that these radios are line of sight and wouldn't be the best if you were bobbing about in the water. Does that sound right?


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