Well this might be the good thread to share bad experiences I had in the last two days.
Monday morning I left home on the AI having in mind a stay out for the night not very far, on a huge beach I know, where I was sure I could sleep on solid ground and even hang my hammock without any problem. So I went away without much weight on board : just my hammock, a sleeping bag and pad, a few liters of water, some food, a book and light for the night and that was it I guess.
Without hurrying much, I made good progress under sail. I crossed without much hassle a channel where there usually is a heavy and stressful cargo traffic (entrance of one the biggest oil harbours in Europe).
So apart from the weather all was fine.
Now for the interesting bit : as I was approaching my destination, I noticed the main hull was riding rather low, so I turned back to discover in awe that the tail of the boat was almost submerged ! There was a pool of water in the rear storage space and the round rear hatch was under water !! First time I took water in my hull, but big time ! So I had to land in emergency, and thank God at that time I wasn't far from shore. Landing was a bit tricky in the big surf (I met heavy sea right from the start) but it went okay. I had trouble pulling the AI up the shore as it was sooooooo heavy. I guess I must have taken in some 50 liters at least !
The hatches were void of sand at the departure (I mean not particularly leaky) ; I pedaled only five minutes to get out of the harbour at first. So here are the only three explanations I have :
- 5 minutes after the start, I took my drive off as I wanted to avoid unecessary drag having the wind at my back, but I didn't use the grey plastic plug instead, and I did notice I was taking in more water than usual all along the way ;
- I left my trolley upside down in the holes and I noticed it prevents good drain from the holes
- all that in heavy conditions where I took many waves on the deck all day long (but I've already taken as much or more without taking water in the hull)
So to sum up things, I was on a shore too far from home to get back with all my food and equipment drenched (the so-called dry bags were not very efficient...) And not trees to hang my hammock from...
Still, I decided to spend the night in chilly conditions, as hey, that's what 'adventure' is all about.
In the morning after (that was yesterday), there was little wind but still some good powerful waves. I managed to clear most of them, especially thanks to the Mirage drive power which really helped my paddling. At the point where everything flattened and waves seemed to stop breaking, I decided to pull out the rudder. Unfortunately, while doing so (and that doesn't take much more than a few seconds usually), the AI took a slight angle to the waves, and one wave came unexpectedly bigger than the others and made me capsize. Yes, you can capsize the AI in the blink of an eye, I can tell you ! I'm sure I wasn't more than 30 degrees farther than a straight angle to the waves (that's the only way to pass them securely as we all know). Yet I was wiped out in a second, and my literally jumping on the side of the boat closest to the incoming wave didn't have any effect. Once in the water, I had to swim quickly to get back to the boat which was thus upside down. By the time I reached it, swept by the waves, it had gotten to a point where the mast
was in contact with the sandy bottom of the sea. I was really afraid of breaking it or the mast
base. I tried really hard to right the boat by retracting one ama, and making leverage between the main hull and the other ama, and despite the sail being still rolled in, it didn't work, not even close. I also tried with the two amas retracted. Didn't work. I tried to lift the mast
itself, starting from its far end and progressively making way towards the boat, but it didn"t work (as it would for instance windsurfing with a formula 12.5sqm sail). I also tried to simply take out the mast
of its base, but the forces where too great to make that feasible. I was really desperate, most things hanging / floating around from the boat under leash (trolley, GPS, mobile phone, fishing gear, centreboard...) . And then I suddenly had to roll in the sail as the sheeting line hook had found a way to let it go. But with the constant moves of the waves, I was soon shoulder high and with a better standing I could right the boat, away from its increasingly dangerous side-position, with the mast
point on the sand. I then redeployed the amas (with difficulty in the surf as it goes without saying) and everything went OK to shore. No damage to the boat, to my relief, but in the process, I had lost my Crocs shoes + head cap + bottle of water + more significantly my paddle. That's when I decided to call my wife to rescue
Lesson learnt ?
1/ leash your paddle, even on an AI
2/ when the idea of not setting up mast
before launching / landing in surf, crosses your mind, just do it ! I really should have strapped it to the akas as I had thought earlier, then I think I could have righted the boat.
Here are some pictures and videos I made with the mobile phone. Not many because I wanted to keep up the battery for safety reasons... http://www.toofiles.com/fr/oip/document ... etour.html
There also is my GPS track in it.