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PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 5:18 pm 
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A smart man once said, "Learn from others mistakes as you can't possibly live long enough to make them all yourself. So school is in.

Last Tuesday I was heading south down Richardson Bay off of Sausalito sailing a broad reach. The wind was extremely gusty and constantly changing. I had the sail reefed one to two turns (Six to eight inches of the flat sail top showing)and had eased the sheet to dump some air. As luck would have it I caught a big gust that forced the leeward ama totally under water at the same time it shifted from a broad reach to blowing dead down-wind. This drove the bows of the boat further into the water. I was in the process of dumping the sheet to ease the sail. As that happened the break away pin broke away and I watched the port (downwind) hull swing in along side the main hull. This is where I leave the boat (unwillingly and ungracefully) and things go over the top. The boat was now vertical nose down and stayed that way for at most several seconds. It rolled onto its port side and started to capsize. I clambered onto the broken ama, grabbed a rope and leaned back against the capsize. Because the ama was unbraced it swung out from under me sending me back into the drink. At this point things are pointing mast down. I climbed onto the overturned boat using the mirage drive as a handle.

I try to roll the sail in but the resistance is too high. By now the boat has rotated and the starboard hull is now down wind. I give it another try and try to right the boat. The hull went down but there was no sign of the boat rotating. I clambered back on board to catch my breath.

Normally this time of day the bay is full of boat coming and going. Not today. I kept an eye on a boat furling its sails and when they got close enough I asked for help. I was pretty sure we could pull the mast out of the mud. As he took up strain under power I could feel nothing then all at once there was movement and I was sure I was free. Once more in the drink on the outhull leaning back and righting the boat. Back on board I thank my rescuers and take measure of my situation.

Looking up I can see a eight to twelve inch mess of mud wrapped around the mast head. I decide to pedal back to the launch site.

Once back ashore I discovered how much water shipped during the event. I would estimate anywhere from five to ten gallons of water got in the boat. Total inversion time was from ten to fifteen minutes.

In the event I lost the broken brace and the plug for mirage drive hole. Oh, and some prescription sunglasses. Glad I did not have to read the instructions on the hand held flares I have.It could have been worse. I left my drysuit at home, and even though I was in and out of the water several times and I never felt cold. I was wearing a couple of layers of fleece both top and bottom. It was topped off with with splash pants, splash top and PFD. The good thing about capsizing in shallow water is that the water is warm, bad thing is it will grab your mast. Now I have a dirty, dirty sail. Any suggestions? Cheers.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 7:05 pm 
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Location: Jerrabomberra, New South Wales, Australia
Hi mate, yeah I've heard of that happening before, you were lucky. 2 mates of mine, Balls Foster, and Kiwi Lee (Rollerboy), were coming back from a fishing trip in AIs at Ballina, North Coast New South Wales (down under) and crossed the river bar, Rollerboy made it but Balls wasn't so lucky. A wave hit him on the port side and picked him up, the starboard ama burried into the water and the aka bolt sheared. With the wave raising his port ama, the starboard ama collapsed and over he went, not pretty.

Collateral damage 1. Broken mast $800
2. Ripped sail $500
3. Lost aka brace, unsure of price
4. 2 Smashed rods, and service of reels

Expensive trip. Lesson learned, priceless.

As for the sail, I'd probably just use a mild detergent and a sponge.

Glad to see you made it out ok. :)

Cheers, XD.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 8:40 pm 
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Location: Forster, NSW, Australia
Thanks for "taking one for the team"! That must have been a very sobering experience, made worse by the shallowness of the water. Sounds like you kept your wits about you. I would imagine that the amount of water shipped was not really significant considering the time the hull was inverted.

I know the brace bolt is designed to sheer, but I sometimes wonder whether the outcome might have been less catastrophic if it hadn't broken...

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 12:00 am 
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Location: Terrigal NSW, Australia
Josh (Yakass) has in the past posted on his blog that he has replaced his aka sheer pins with SS ones, on the basis that more damage is likely to be done by the pin sheering than by it holding, in most situations. I've had a couple sheer on me in the past - neither time has the boat been in any real danger of being damaged.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 3:21 am 
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Location: Forster, NSW, Australia
This is where Kayakingbob's idea (I think it was him) of tying a line from the mast area to the eye-bolt on the middle of the ama, so that if the sheer bolt does its job, the line will prevent instant retraction of the ama. I have experimented with my lines by undoing the brace, and the ama only retracts about 6 inches before the line prevents any further movement. I think in the event of a massive impact, the eye-bolt (forgot its proper name) would be next to go, which I suspect would be repairable.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 6:24 am 
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Location: Fairfax, CA USA
hoo man...when i saw you were in richardson bay, first thing i thought was "the mud"...glad it turned out more or less ok.
wind sure has been howling for the last few weeks it seems. Saturday afternoon was crazy in the central bay.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 11:38 am 
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Location: Aussie living in San Diego, CA
sharrissmith glad you made it safely back and thanks for sharing with us so we can all learn.

For some time now I have had the the thought that both the AI and TI ought to be fitted with mast floats like most of the other Hobie cats have. There are many situations that can tip a AI or TI even when you take care to reef sails as you did etc. Wind and waves are unpredictable and the Hobie Islands rely on the amas for stability.
Capsizing is one thing but when the Islands "turtle" in anything less than about 20ft of water the mast could get stuck in mud as yours did. A mast float would at least significantly reduce the possibility of turtling the boat and give the sailor a much better chance to get it righted and get safely on board quickly.
Its quite possible the float for an existing Hobie could be readily adapted to fit the AI/TI masts.

I wonder if any AI/TI owner has installed a mast float and had that experience yet?

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 1:22 pm 
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Great sailing terminology and description but I don't buy it.
I will test to see if I can recreate it.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 2:26 pm 
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Location: Forster, NSW, Australia
Great! Make sure you get it on video!

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:06 pm 
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xdcammer wrote:
Hi mate, yeah I've heard of that happening before, you were lucky. 2 mates of mine, Balls Foster, and Kiwi Lee (Rollerboy), were coming back from a fishing trip in AIs at Ballina, North Coast New South Wales (down under) and crossed the river bar, Rollerboy made it but Balls wasn't so lucky. A wave hit him on the port side and picked him up, the starboard ama burried into the water and the aka bolt sheared. With the wave raising his port ama, the starboard ama collapsed and over he went, not pretty.

Collateral damage 1. Broken mast $800
2. Ripped sail $500
3. Lost aka brace, unsure of price
4. 2 Smashed rods, and service of reels

I did get off lucky looking at the cost of the carnage.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:31 pm 
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aussieonyak wrote:
Its quite possible the float for an existing Hobie could be readily adapted to fit the AI/TI masts.

Based on the response to my post: http://www.hobiecat.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=69&t=41341, either no one thinks so or doesn't see the need.

I sure wish I had one as not having one is my main TI'ing worry.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:07 am 
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Herbaldew wrote:
Based on the response to my post: http://www.hobiecat.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=69&t=41341, either no one thinks so or doesn't see the need.

I sure wish I had one as not having one is my main TI'ing worry.

I witnessed a TI go turtle on a Hobie event in October at Dana Point. The ama came off the TI for some reason in about 20knot winds and the Ti flipped and turtled very quickly. There were 15 other Hobies sailing close by at the time so the two sailors were quickly given assistance. It took two Hobie guys from the support boat to right the TI and luckily the water was deep enough not to stick in the mud. But as soon as it was righted the TI flipped over again from the weight of the mast acting like a pendulum. So Hobie are well aware of the possibility of the islands going turtle once the amas get get disconnected - it would be a good safety featured to have a mast float. Maybe I could attach the bladder from one of my inflatable PFD into the mast top so it fires when the mast hits the water........ :lol:

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:08 pm 
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The mast float would only be useful when the amas fold. Personally, I'll deal with the turtling over increased windage and weight.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 10:03 pm 
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Yep, in my opinion the possibility of damaging the boat due to not having shear boats is the lesser evil than having leeward bolts shear out at sea, and wrote about my feelings at length here:
http://modernkayakfishing.com/articles/424-to-shear-or-not-to-shear

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 10:20 pm 
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Yakass wrote:
Yep, in my opinion the possibility of damaging the boat due to not having shear boats is the lesser evil than having leeward bolts shear out at sea
On the other hand, Kelly used steel bolts instead of shear-bolts when he broke the originals and all his spares when sailing between islands last year. Without the shear-bolt to give way, when his TI aka was overloaded by a wave, it bent in the middle, and finally broke in two, luckily on landing. This was even with lines tied from the bow to each ama and back for extra support. So, no perfect answer. http://www.hobiecat.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=70&t=42367

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