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 Post subject: Pitchpoled!
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2020 6:39 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:09 pm
Posts: 20
I was pitchpoled late yesterday afternoon in about 18mph winds while going straight downwind in choppy water. Both bows went under and I went flying. When I came to the surface, my Wave was heading downwind on its side with the trampoline acting as a sail. It was moving faster than I could swim! I wasn't wearing my lifejacket :oops:, which was clipped onto the trampoline. Despite my stupidity, luck was on my side. I was only a few hundred yards offshore, with an onshore wind. So I swam, fully clothed (shoes, sunglasses etc) ashore where some friends had gathered and had prevented my boat from being damaged by the rocks. I was exhausted by the time I got to the boat. I righted the undamaged boat and sailed home.
Lesson learned the hard way: ALWAYS wear the lifejacket.
Question1: What to do to prevent the boat floating away from me faster than I can swim?
Question2: How best to prevent pitchpoling? This is the 1st time I have capsized, but not the 1st time the boat has tried to pitchpole.
Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: Pitchpoled!
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2020 6:47 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:09 pm
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One last stupidity: I always have my phone in a dry bag for emergencies. This was also attached to the trampoline :oops: .
In future, I will attach the dry bag to my lifejacket (which I will wear).


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 Post subject: Re: Pitchpoled!
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:42 am 
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Joined: Tue May 27, 2003 12:44 pm
Posts: 14144
Location: Oceanside, California
Both very good lessons learned. I also worry about crazy people in power boats hitting me. Lots can go wrong quickly. Wear your PFD.

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 Post subject: Re: Pitchpoled!
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:51 am 
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Joined: Mon May 09, 2005 10:25 am
Posts: 3977
Location: Jersey Shore
I would say you definitely got lucky on that one.

I don’t think there’s necessarily any real way to prevent the boat from sailing away from you faster than you can swim. The most important thing is to have an awareness that it can happen and how to respond. First thing is to try not to let go of the boat, even if its going over - grab a shroud, hold onto the mainsheet, hiking strap - something. Also, if you do separate from the boat, you need to immediately swim as hard and as fast as you can back to it. Don’t float around for 10-15 seconds enjoying the scenery or attempt to casually make your way back to the boat. Locate the boat and go for it immediately. Every second wasted is less chance you have to catch up to the boat.

To prevent pitchpoling, the first thing to do is move your body as far aft as possible to keep the bows up. Also, try not to sail directly downwind. Sail a broad reach. This will do a couple things for you. Your apparent wind will increase making the boat go faster. This will actually make pitchpoling less likely because your boat speed will more closely match the actual wind speed so the impact from gusts will reduced. It will also give you more manuverability to steer around steep waves. Finally, it will give you the ability to turn the boat downwind if necessary to depower in gusts. The other thing to do is make sure you look behind yourself often to see the gusts before they hit you. This will allow you to anticipate and compensate for gusts ahead of time.

sm


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 Post subject: Re: Pitchpoled!
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2020 1:59 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:09 pm
Posts: 20
I'm a good swimmer and I swam as fast as my clothing would allow for 1 minute until it became obvious the gap between the boat & I was widening.
I certainly didn't hesitate to try and grab the boat when I first surfaced, but it was already too late.
Trying to hold onto something is a good idea, but maybe not possible at times (I was thrown thru the air).
I first thought about tying myself with a length rope to the boat but that could itself be dangerous.
Now I'm thinking of trailing a floating line of about 20ft behind the boat. I doubt if it will snag on anything and I could grab it and try and haul myself towards the boat.
Comments?

I have started to read about many people's different ideas on how to avoid pitchpoling. Several different approaches. At the time of the incident, I was sitting as far back as the tiller crossbar would allow. I notice the very competent Australian gentleman (victor warrior) on youtube shortened the tiller arms, thus allowing him to sit even further back.


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 Post subject: Re: Pitchpoled!
PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2020 9:19 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2008 4:16 pm
Posts: 28
Location: Lake Ontario, Canada
Haven't posted in 5 years, just passing through, when your exciting post caught my eye.

Back when I worked a irregular shift work pattern, I would often sail during the less-crowded week days, which meant of course, less people around to rescue me if things ever went sideways and my Cat got away from me after a capsize.

As a precaution when sailing alone, you are correct, I used to trail a bright-orange 30' floating line behind me, attached to the aft crossbar. Then, after a capsize, instead of swimming forward trying to catch a Cat that I would never catch, I needed only to swim a few feet sideways to catch the line and bring the boat to a halt. After that, it's an easy hand-over-hand in my life jacket to pull myself toward my Cat.

A couple of downsides to this idea:
- if you blow a tack, and get stuck in irons, chances are good you'll tangle your rudders in the line as your drift backwards, but a quick lift of the rudders when underway will cure that problem,
- there's a slight chance, during the capsize, you might get tangled in the line that is supposed to save you, so as previously mentioned, always carry an easily-accessible (sharp) marine knife with you,
- and, lastly, there's always a chance that a low-IQ power boat captain may buzz your Cat from behind and snag your trailing line, but then, if he's coming within 30' feet of you at high speed, he probably deserves a time-out untangling his prop.

Postscript: As a previous owner, I very much enjoyed my Hobie Wave, sold it and graduated to a Hobie Getaway which was a lot of fun sailing solo as well. In my advanced years now, I get to sail vicariously through the posts of this forum. Happy sailing guys and gals.


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 Post subject: Re: Pitchpoled!
PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2020 5:34 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 21, 2019 8:53 pm
Posts: 6
One thing you can do do avoid a pitchpole in the first place is to rake the mast back, especially in higher winds. I rake mine back all the way so it's almost blocked to block when it's fully sheeted in. This will cause you to not have as much power on low wind days, but it really helps add stability to the boat when it's really ripping out there. And as others have said keep your weight ack as far as you can and lean out hard.

Glad to hear you made it back to your boat okay. That must have been scary.


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 Post subject: Re: Pitchpoled!
PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2021 8:54 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:09 pm
Posts: 20
OK, I have tried a few things and read some more of other's experiences.
My biggest problem was caused by the boat floating away from me after the capsize.
Disclaimer: I haven't capsized since the my first post on this topic, so everything remains relatively untested.
I am now trailing a 20ft polypropylene (floating) rope behind the boat. So far it hasn't become tangled in anything.
I have viewed Victor Warrior's recent (excellent) youtube offerings. If you are reading this thread, you should too (IMHO).
Victor Warrior has mounted an anchor just aft of the mast that automatically deploys in the case of a capsize. That seems to be effective at stopping the boat from floating away. While in awe of his skills and ingenuity, I feel that it might be overkill as the anchor will get in my way (as does everything). I would also be concerned as to the length of anchor rode (rope) needed, which would depend on depth of water. Simple when you sail in relatively stable depths of (especially shallow) water. Not so easy when you sail in water of very variable depths or very deep. My (untested) trailing line seems like it should be sufficient. I do accept the point made by a poster above who said a powerboat crossing close behind me could snag my trailing line and cause a problem.
I did follow Victor Warrior's advice concerning getting back onboard after righting the boat. I have now installed a very simple rope ladder in front of the mast. I experienced massive difficulty boarding using this rope ladder - it goes under the boat making boarding virtually impossible. So I used Victor Warrior's suggestion of attaching two lines to the bottom rung of the rope ladder that attach to the forestay attachment points at the bows. This keeps the ladder vertical when boarding. I keep the ladder in a bag in front of the mast and deploy it from the water, the two lines from the bottom rung to the forestay attachment points are permanently attached.
I am not so concerned about preventing capsizing. Providing you can recover from the capsize, it should be viewed as part of sailing. Racing car drivers spin off at corners occasionally, it's how they find the limits of what they can achieve. That said, I really don't enjoy the loss of pride :)
The wind has been howling here lately. I only just managed to get home without swimming 3 days ago.


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 Post subject: Re: Pitchpoled!
PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2021 5:34 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2013 4:49 pm
Posts: 56
Location: Waterloo, ON, Canada.
lurker wrote:
..Victor Warrior has mounted an anchor just aft of the mast that automatically deploys in the case of a capsize...
I'd think twice before implementing something like this. Two reasons not to:
1. Automation fails, and anchor deploys while underway. Boat stops, sailor fly forward. Wave can gain speed that could make it traumatic experience.
2. Capsize happened, sailor is swimming underneath anchor which deploys right into his/her head.


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 Post subject: Re: Pitchpoled!
PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2021 3:23 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2018 4:07 pm
Posts: 6
What is wrong a very long surf leash? I am very good swimmer but I am 62 years old, and sail alone sometimes. I understand the speed of which a Hobie Wave can pull away in a big wind. I have ordered a 10 foot surfers leash but trying to find out the downside of why Victor Warrior would not or others think of this. I think moving back and forth across the trampoline, when tacking, should not be a problem, I don't think.


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 Post subject: Re: Pitchpoled!
PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2021 12:58 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2015 12:01 pm
Posts: 14
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
I've sailed a Hobie 18 for 30 years, and I've been thrown off it in (I hope) every conceivable manner. Last summer I just got washed off, and admired my gleaming boat as it sailed on without me. Not a big lake, and eventually it rolled over before hitting the shore. Imagine how smug I felt that I had on a good life jacket AND a safety whistle. And imagine my amazement at having to wait over 15 minutes before anyone on the busy lake noticed me. I splashed, I yelled, I whistled. But quite a crowd gathered around the capsized boat 100 yards away, all scratching their heads. Finally one genius thought to look around.

On my first time out, I was also impressed with how fast the boat sailed upside down.

So yeah. Life jacket always for me.

Because of the variety of pitchpoles and dumps I've experienced, I would never leash myself to the boat. Nope nope nope. I'd end up hanging upside down with only my head in the water, or being dragged by my ankle across the lake.

Same with a drag line. It's going to snag everything but you. Or worse, snag you around the ankle or neck.

Instead of inventing preventions, spend your time and money learning your boat and having fun.

While you're zooming downwind sitting at the back of the boat, take a second to look over those hiking straps. If the bows start to go down, grab one and hang on. You may prevent a pitchpole just by not sliding forward as the boat grinds to a stop. And either way, you're more likely to end up within grabbing distance of the overturned boat.

Just one disagreement with good advice above: to de-power downwind, bear downwind and sheet IN. It reduces the profile of the sail to the wind. Crummy sailing, but it'll help keep your bows up in a gust. But otherwise, yeah — avoid going dead downwind, but rather zig-zag with the wind at about 90 degrees to the boat. More speed, more control.


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