Best way to recover a capsized DS?

Moderator: GreenLake

Re: Best way to recover a capsized DS?

Postby BananaCollision » Sun May 12, 2019 7:08 pm

As a data point, my mast is full all the way with old styrofoam, (which being in the mast can't really be waterlogged) and it does nothing whatsoever to prevent turtling. If you cut the noodles small enough to slide down the extrusion you're leaving a lot of airspace unfilled. I feel like a hobie-style masthead float or sealing the mast would be more effective.

Given I was able to right my turtled boat solo (with a righting line) I'm just going to keep righting lines attached.

@GreenLake, you said you had filled your mast with pool noodles. Have you ever dropped your bare mast in shallow water to see if it floats? Mine with its styrofoam does not.

Edit: Correction, @jalmeida51 had filled their mast with pool noodles -- does it float?
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Re: Best way to recover a capsized DS?

Postby jalmeida51 » Mon May 13, 2019 8:57 am

I don't know if my mast floats with the pool noodles. Never tried. Put pool noodles inside of mast when I replaced the mast head & tabernacle. Figured it wouldn't hurt.
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Re: Best way to recover a capsized DS?

Postby Slim » Sat Jan 15, 2022 10:10 pm

Thanks to everyone's worst-case scenario stories, I have prioritized the importance of not turtling from the beginning.
My first line of defense was to fill the top foot or so of my mast with spray foam insulaton which completely seals the mast from further water intrusion and allows any hardware up there to be mounted without concern of sealing screw holes, etc. I then sealed the shroud tangs, spreader brackets and jib halyard block with silicone. The bottom end of my mast is not sealed. Maybe a mistake...
Whenever sailing in stronger winds and almost always when sailing singlehanded, I raise an old lobster buoy to the top of the mast with a dedicated halyard I have set up on the port side of the mast. I know it looks dorky, but it is nearly invisible when the sail is fully raised, and when the wind is strong enough to reef, I don't care how it looks. I figure this is simple insurance and is as effective as any blimp-style masthead float with maybe less windage (under full sail at least). I have yet to actually test the effectiveness of this setup.
Here's a picture of it along with a branch I picked up from an overhanging tree... I think the main must be double-reefed in this picture.
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Re: Best way to recover a capsized DS?

Postby tomodda » Mon Jan 17, 2022 7:11 pm

Lovin' the lobster buoy! Look's "Salty," much better than the usual masthead float. Now the branches just add character :)

On the subject of capsize recovery, my other little dilemma is how to get my fat butt back INTO the boat. I have a little swim ladder on my transom (from previous owner) and it's next to useless, because it doesn't go down far enough into the water. Once I get my foot into it, my knee is somehow digging into my chin! Generally speaking, the problem is always how to do the "first" step, get it down into the water far enough that your leg isn't at some weird angle as you try to pull the rest of yourself into the boat. The few times that I've tried to board my DS from in the water, the only way to do it was from the side, and relying on arm strength alone. Boost my chest onto the side deck and then wriggle the rest of my body onto the DS and land in a heap somewhere in the cockpit. Which is fine (though undignified) when I'm just coming back from a leisurely let's-cool-off dip over the side, but not really feasible in an emergency situation.

Again, as I've written before - I've never accidentally capsized a boat or gone overboard in my life. But I've been in enough "fun" emergencies, usually jumping in to save a non-swimmer who's gone overboard or getting us off a bad grounding, and never in calm waters, otherwise why would it be an emergency? Adrenaline floods thru your body and you do what's gotta be done, but right afterwards you're exhausted and nearly impossible to do something usually as simple as scrambling into the boat. So you need some "I don't have to be superman" way to get back in. The usual solution is a boarding strap, and I keep meaning to rig a good one "one of these days." In the meantime, I have a stirrup that I've rigged up out of 1/2" rope, tied off around the thwart and laid across the side benches where I can reach it from the water (there's one on each side). It's OK, with the usual issue of the stirrup going straight under the boat as I try to climb it (a real boarding strap would have same issue). Also, coming in over the side from a capsize - into a barely-floating boat - risks the old tub capsizing again right on top of you! Not good. However, I just saw THIS little video of a couple doing capsize recover practice (in calm waters) on a EC22 (a North Carolina B&B Designs boat), check it out around minute 2:00:

He has some kind of bungee loop permanently hanging on the stern and uses that as one big stirrup. I like! Going to try rigging something like that this sailing season and give it a try. I thought it would be worth passing along the idea, so check out the video.


P.S. I'm not really loving his capsize recovery technique itself, completely impossible in any REAL conditions. But he was experimenting with scooping up his extremely cooperative wife, so all is forgiven.
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Re: Best way to recover a capsized DS?

Postby GreenLake » Mon Jan 17, 2022 11:20 pm

When coming over the side, the trick is to first submerge a bit before pushing up. That way, the PDF flotation will help accelerate you upwards. I tried that maneuver when exiting the pool at a safety at sea seminar during the live exercise in the pool. The edge of a typical pool is not that different in height of the DS freeboard. So you pull yourself up a bit, then deliberately slip back in the water (you can even push down a bit if you have purchase), and on coming up complete the motion to get up high enough to be able to lean into the boat, at which point most of the remaining effort would be to get your legs to follow.

In contrast the life raft we used for practice did have some straps, but they tended to give, and also would get pushed underneath the raft, and it took people pulling and pushing to board. Here's a picture.
P1040683-c1_600.jpg (40.69 KiB) Viewed 1382 times
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Best way to recover a capsized DS?

Postby tomodda » Tue Jan 18, 2022 11:20 am

Great Tip, thank you! Obviously, my "cooling dips in the lake" were without lifejacket, I'll try getting back into my DS with lifejacket, and using your technique.
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