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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:30 am 
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Hi Guys,

i just recently bought my first hobie cat (15 Club) and although i can't wait to take it out, i'm a little worried about what happens if i fall off without the boat capsizing (e.g. hit a rogue wave or trapeze wire snaps).
I have a water proof VHF just in case and fortunately will be launching from a life boat station ramp, so there will always be help, but i'd rather take some precautions or advice to prevent this being an issue.

I've read different suggestions on safety. The consensus seems to be never tether yourself to a cat, but to try and hold on to the main sheet and pull yourself in.

Do these boats usually fall over when unmanned or is there a real risk of being left stranded? Even if they do eventually go down, is there any chance of being able to swin up to it with the boat drifting?

My past experience of sailing is all in cruising mono hulls, so i've never really had to worry about falling off (i always tied my self on to a jackstay when solo).

Any help or suggestions would be really appreciated for this newbie to the cat world
Thanks

Graham


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:15 pm 
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I can't speak for everyone, but generally speaking, if you're out sailing in regular conditions, you're not going to lose the boat. Someone once told me, no matter WHAT happens, ALWAYS hold on to the boat. They referred to that as the first rule of sailing. I'm not sure that it's everyone's first rule, but it's a great rule. If you convince yourself that in any situation where things go crazy, your first reaction has to be to hang on to the boat, you'll be fine.

I'm sure there are times where you could lose the boat, but I don't think most people worry about that. I know I've read stories on here of people who got themselves into trouble, but if you're aware of your surroundings, you should be fine, and you shouldn't have to worry about losing your boat.

Here's a video where I was hot dogging it, and screwed up. The FIRST thing that entered my mind was to HANG ON!! My hand gripped the tiller as tightly as it could, and what could have been bad, turned into something quite fun. Like I said, if you remember the rule to ALWAYS hang on to the boat, you're unlikely to have any problems (even if you do hot dog it)

In the video, you'll notice that I didn't let go of my mainsheet, until I was SURE that I had my tiller firmly in hand. Even though I was losing the boat, I had both hands on it. It's just a reaction that you pick up, if you make it your first rule.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 5:47 pm 
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A boat with properly adjusted rudders should have some weather helm, meaning that the boat will have a tendency to turn into the wind. When you take your boat out, release the rudder while sailing to ensure that it turns into the wind. If it has lee helm, or downwind turning tendency, you have a real problem. Your boat will turn downwind and sail away without you. If you need to increase weather helm, rake your rudders up. Unless your boat has a newer adjustable casting, you will need to drill new holes for the upper castings. You want enough weather helm that the boat will quickly turn into the wind and stop if you go overboard. This way, if your a decent swimmer, you should have no trouble catching up to the boat. But you do not want so much weather helm that the tiller is tiresome to hold. If you are in conditions where you are particularly concerned with falling overboard, you can drag a long knotted rope behind your boat. Just make sure that an oblivious power boater doesn't pass over it. Also, if you fall overboard, and miss the end of the rope, it will be the "bitter end"!

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:42 pm 
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Location: Lake Norman NC
falling off a hobie is pretty hard to do I don't ever remember just falling off I did have a kid or two fall off though when they were really small I have seen a crew fall off when something happened out on the wire
As the captain you usually have a good grip on the main sheet and the tiller which makes falling off unlikley
My opinion this should not be of great concern
Always wear a life jacket just in case Cold water could be another worry


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:48 pm 
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Location: Oakland, CA
Griminat wrote:
Do these boats usually fall over when unmanned or is there a real risk of being left stranded? Even if they do eventually go down, is there any chance of being able to swin up to it with the boat drifting?
If you fall overboard there are a number of conditions that may cause it to sail away on its own before either heading up or capsizing, but if this happens you may have a bigger problem - the boat can drift pushed by the wind faster than you can swim.

The advice to hold onto the boat and never let go is part of the lecture I give my crew when the wind is up.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:03 am 
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Thanks to all your responses. They have been very helpful in both alleviating my worries an confirming my suspicions that you have to hold on the something at all times.

That video Augaug is brilliant, not only funny but a great learning point so thanks.

Thats a great point about the rudder rake pyroboy, i'll be sure to test this out on my first trip as well as practice righting the boat so that i know i can handle the worst case scenario.

Thank again

Graham


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:44 am 
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Griminat wrote:
Hi Guys,

i just recently bought my first hobie cat (15 Club)

Graham


Hobie made a 15?

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1979 Hobie 16 "Orange Crusher"
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 9:09 am 
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Yeah apparently so. They are normally the models use by resorts and hotels because they have more buoyancy than the 16s. Still have twin trapeze wires though.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 10:09 pm 
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I just did a "solo man overboard" yesterday in San Diego bay, winds about 12kts with gusts at 15+ kts. A gust on top of a gust hit me hard, it happened very fast, was hot dogging it, going as fast as I have ever taken my Getaway. She wents steady into the wind, too fast for me to swim. I got picked up after about 5 minutes in the water, so I was very fortunate.

Looking at tethers now....


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 11:00 pm 
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I just did a "solo man overboard" yesterday in San Diego bay, winds about 12kts with gusts at 15+ kts. A gust on top of a gust hit me hard, it happened very fast, was hot dogging it, going as fast as I have ever taken my Getaway. She wents steady into the wind, too fast for me to swim. I got picked up after about 5 minutes in the water, so I was very fortunate.

Looking at tethers now....


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 2:00 pm 
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Location: Winston Salem, NC
It is not unusual for a Hobie to take off by itself from a beach if pulled in stern first and not far enough. I have had it happen to me and it kept going until a power boater took me to it. If you fall off and the main sheet is not cleated, it most likely will keep sailing. Even cleated it may keep going depending on how the sails were set. Unless there is a strong wind, it probably won't turn over. There was a couple in Alabama a few years ago, that bought an H-18 and sailed out at Gulf Shores. He fell off and she didn't know how to turn it around as it headed out to sea. Someone apparently came to their aid. I was told they wanted to sell the boat but wasn't in a position to buy at the time.

In checking for weather helm, you might want to watch your weight distribution. I would think there would be a difference with the boat empty and with someone with their weight near the stern.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 3:00 pm 
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Definitely she has some weather helm, it was quite impressive actually how steady she sailed herself given the heavy wind. Too bad she was out of reach....

Friend suggested attaching a bungee to the the tiller so that unmanned the rudders will cause boat to go in a circle. Any thoughts on this?

As to the tether, which I am in favor of, I read a good solution is a snap shackle with quick release to safety harness, and tether attached to main traveler. Not sure whether the tether will be a bother getting tangled up etc.

Thoughts, rebukes?? :)


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 3:08 pm 
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The point of my first post, I remember now, is to say that holding on to the mainsheet, tiller, etc. is all nice and well but in practicality this doesn't always works out so well.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 4:05 pm 
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I had a trapeze hook snap on me while out on the wire. Next thing I know I'm in the water, and the boat is sailing away. It was so sudden that by the time my hands starting squeezing shut on the tiller and sheet, it was too late. Sheets were both cleated and sailing solo.

First off, I was in warm water, and less then a half mile to swim to shore with a life jacket. Two, other boats were out. Three, I had my cell phone in my life jacket. Floated in the water until the boat decided to go head to wind, then swam to it.

You've got to balance the risks versus your alternative plans. Crap happens, things go wrong, and backup plans are nice to have.

Ideally, you have a firm grip on the sheet, but it doesn't always work. Tether or trailing line might work, but a cat can drag you pretty fast through the water.

Also, a capsized cat can drift as fast as you can swim. When righting your boat, always keep one hand on the boat.

Sailing is all about balancing the risks with your ability to deal with it. Today was about 15 - 20 mph winds with gusts to 30. Went out, didn't feel good, didn't like the way the gusts were all over the compass, and said it's time to quit. I felt a bit over my limits for the day, and listened to that feeling.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 6:13 am 
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A couple things to keep in mind. It is really hard to make any headway while swimming in a life vest. Try it. If your boat gets away any distance at all you won't catch it by swimming. Several years ago I lost my balance and fell off the boat. My crew, a moderately experienced sailor, had a hard time coming about and picking me up having never attempted it before. I would recommend to anyone to throw a float into the water and practice turning around and picking it up. In most sailing courses you need to do this before getting certified. This is especially important if you sail with little kids.

Falling off the boat is uncommon but not unheard of. A friend of mine who sailed mostly solo in the Chesapeake Bay had a trap line break and put him in the water while his boat sailed away. He was in the water for several hours before a fisherman picked him up. Things could have turned out much worse for him.

Back in the late 70's another friend of mine went out in the Atlantic with two female non-swimmers. He flipped the boat and the two women became separated in the chop. By the time he was able to right the boat the women had blended into the horizon and disappeared. One was picked up fairly quickly by a pleasure boater. The other was fortunate to drift by a weather buoy and hold on until she was rescued.

As others here have stated, the best advice? Stay with the boat!


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