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 Post subject: Pitchpoled!
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2020 6:39 am 
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Site Rank - Deck Hand

Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:09 pm
Posts: 18
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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Site Rank - Deck Hand

Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:09 pm
Posts: 18
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: 13800
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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Matt Miller
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 Post subject: Re: Pitchpoled!
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:51 am 
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Site Rank - Old Salt

Joined: Mon May 09, 2005 10:25 am
Posts: 3903
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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Site Rank - Deck Hand

Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:09 pm
Posts: 18
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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Site Rank - Captain

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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