Managed to pitchpole my 18 for the first time last weekend, which I've heard is a rare-ish occurrence on an 18, so naturally I've got a few questions.
We were sailing downwind, winds were 21 gusting to 30, mast raked as far back as possible, moderately tight rig (top hole on the forestay, 3rd hole on the shrouds, old style shrouds & 7 hole adjuster). Waves 1ft or less, skipper at the rear crossbar, crew just forward of skipper, main travelled all the way out, moderately sheeted. Jib all the way forward & sheeted loose. The apparent wind was shifting between ~75 and 105 degrees, the waterline at the bows was fluctuating between half and 3/4 the way up, and all of a sudden, the bows disappeared, a wall of water hit us, the boat threw us forward, the shroud caught me around the neck, the boat nearly turtled and then came up on it's side. Pretty violent way to go over, and I can't imagine how it would've gone if my crew was on the trapeze. The force of the sudden stop actually snapped the cleat off of my mainsheet blocks. We got the boat back upright fine, I was actually very surprised at how easily it came back up.
So I guess my question is, what could I have done to prevent it? There really wasn't much time to release any sheets, as soon as the bow dug we were going over. It was a hell of a ride up until then, a lot of fun if not a bit frightening. That's a lot of wind for a Hobie, and my crew and I are light weight. Also on that note, is there a safer way to go about sailing in these conditions? How does the crew avoid going into the mast or boom on the trapeze when the worst happens (capsize or pitchpole)? What about a way to prevent going into the shrouds? I was a bit worried for a minute there; my neck & jaw was pretty well bruised afterward.
Also, about the shrouds. I bought new ones recently, but they didn't fit. I hear that now I need a 10 hole adjuster, in place of the older 7 hole adjuster. Why the change? The parts guide still lists part 20830010 (7 hole adjuster) as the appropriate part for the shroud adjuster on an 18, is that incorrect?
'79 H18 standard 'Rocketman II
' sail #14921