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 Post subject: Leason learned
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:44 pm 
Site Rank - Deck Hand

Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:43 am
Posts: 8
I was at the lake this weekend with my significant other and her 2010 Outback along with her friend an her 2012 Sport.
There was a stiff breeze out of the north at 15-20 + Mph. The air was warm but the water was still cold--I estimate about 55 to 60+ degrees.

We decided to sail the Sport and my 2009 Outback, I have been sailing now since 2010.
After 10 minutes out the Sport turned back and removed her sail. We continued on for the next 3 hours.

The wind would drop off and then would gust hard at times. I have sailed my Outback in much rougher conditions so I was very relaxed. I was wearing my Sportsmen pants and shirt over my T shirt along with sandals and life jacket.

On our return I was tacking back and forth crossing in front of the two gals and when I turned to port to come around I felt the main sheet pull hard, I let off the main sheet still turning, I then started to lean over very hard to my star board side.
Never have experienced this much of a lean before. I released the main sheet and at the same time felt the sail rudder loose contact with the water, for a moment there I thought I would be okay, but the next thing I was going in for a swim and
at that moment I felt my right calf cramping up as I went under and the Outback turtled and knew this was not good.

Felt the main sheet getting tangled on my legs as I was still submerged . Got free of the main sheet and felt the cramp easing up.

The women did not see me go in, even though I was about 50 ft. in front of them.
My life jacket was only hooked at the bottom snap so jacket was high up around my head. At this point the gals were aware of the situation and stood by while I tried to up right the kayak.

It took me a couple of tries to climb up on the hull and only by using a scupper hole and mirage drive cut out, even then it was very hard to hang on. After three attempts I was not able to roll the kayak over and I felt my energy level going down and was concerned for hyperthermia in the cold water.

We were about 500 yards off shore and I was about ready to have the Sport tow my Outback to the shore and I could hitch a ride on the other Outback. The lake was very choppy from boats and personal water craft and I had been water 10 to 15 minutes.

A bass fisherman saw my problem and came to help and tow me in but I asked for a rope so that I could use it to right myself.
He wanted to tow me, asked a second time. He then says " do you want to stay out here or a tow? " I convinced him
a rope would be good, he then dug around and gave me a rope which I tied on to the port side handle, tossed the rest over the hull and put my knees against the side of the hull and pulled, it rolled right over.

I pulled my self over the stern, had a rough time for my cart was tied down and the life jacket got hung up on every thing.

Thanked the bass fisherman, grabbed the main sheet and head for the truck. I did stop and furl the sail and peddled the last mile. Did not want to go for another swim .

In the 3 years that I have played around and in some rough water, I have never turtled my Outback. I never sail with
any thing tied on the back for the main sheet can get tangled. I use 2 blocks to run the main sheet.

I want to believe that when I released the main sheet it got hung up and did not release fully----I would like to believe anyway.

When first getting the sail I had practice righting the Outback with no problems--- with out the aid of a rope but that was in the summer and much warmer water.

I am 5'10" 170 lbs. in good shape and 75 years young but started feeling 75 years old while in the water.

Lessoned learned---
Very hard to swim with cloths
Always have life vest on properly
Have rope or strap tied to handle to use for righting (not stored below) kayak. Ore can be broken down and use the
shaft end in the scupper hole. (did not think of that at the time)

All in all we had a good time and maybe learned something from my experience.

 Post subject: Re: Leason learned
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:55 am 
Site Rank - Old Salt

Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2010 12:07 pm
Posts: 1041
Location: Ontario, Canada
emello wrote:
I am 5'10" 170 lbs. in good shape and 75 years young but started feeling 75 years old while in the water.

Wow! I'm glad you're ok! Thanks for posting this, it's a good reminder that cold water can be very dangerous. It's not your age that was the problem, even a very fit younger person will have trouble in very cold water. The water can actually paralyze your muscles. Many people die every year because they cannot swim like they would have assumed they could in the cold water.

Keep safe everyone! Dress for that cold water, and remember to plan for the unexpected. Even if you've never had a problem before, if you're out on the water, you need to be ready to go in the water.

Once again, I'm glad that you're alright emello!


 Post subject: Re: Leason learned
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 1:37 pm 
Site Rank - Old Salt

Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 11:59 am
Posts: 604
emello wrote:
Lessoned learned---Have rope or strap tied to handle to use for righting (not stored below) kayak. Ore can be broken down and use the
shaft end in the scupper hole. (did not think of that at the time)

Just me two cents worth about the scuper holes.. They are a weak spot on the yak... Sticking something in the hole and placing leverage might break the plastic on the inside of the hole... Especially if the ore does not pass all the way through the hole to the other side. Just a caution about the scuppers. But saving your life and damaging the yak would be worth it. Good Luck in the future and hope you won't have this to deal with again.

 Post subject: Re: Leason learned
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:00 pm 
Site Rank - Old Salt

Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2007 5:17 pm
Posts: 675
Location: Auckland NZ
Glad to hear that you are the worse for the experience!

FWIW I have experienced several (N.B not "many") capsizes while sailing. My experience is similar to yours in that the over-riding characteristic of these events is that they happen so quickly that it is very difficult to be able to pinpoint afterwards exactly what you have done wrong... except that marginal conditions, i.e. a strong breeze or sudden gust, and incorrect sail handling are almost invariably involved.

The lack of stability and susceptibility to weather conditions and sea state of these tiny sailboats is one of the things that makes them so engaging and interesting, not to mention challenging, to sail; it is just important to be conservative in your approach, aware of when conditions are getting marginal and to be able to self-rescue when things go wrong... because sooner or later they inevitably will.

Re self-rescue I have expressed some pretty forthright opinions on this subject in the past on these forums - I always remount from the side like a walrus climbing onto an ice-floe. That said, I sympathise (and with every year that goes past increasingly empathise) with the challenge of getting back on board at 75-years young: and I'm full of admiration for such determination and sense of adventure. 8)

Fear, however, is a great motivator and in my case always kicks in immediately upon capsize! In my case I do not fear hypothermia, when I unexpectedly find myself floating beside my upturned kayak, but I always find that thinking about the 7.5 metre great white shark :shock: that was caught in the waters around where I play helps enormously when it comes to righting the boat and getting back on board :P

 Post subject: Re: Leason learned
PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 10:12 am 
Site Rank - Captain

Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:43 am
Posts: 40
Here's a similar story which I wrote about on another forum in February of this year.

I met up with Chris (aka sauerkraut) at 10:30 am as planned on Sunday. He was ther when I arrived. He had a hobie island adventure. I have only seen it on youtube although I own a hobie adventure. The difference is he has amas for stability, as well as a bigger sail. I have no amas and the smaller sail. Normally, it's fine but on days like today when the wind was really gusting, its quite dangerous. Bear in mind only a month or so ago, I made the trip solo.

My friends warned me to not go solo, and Elgeebee, a good friend, recommended I speak with Chris so I not have to go alone. We set out before 11am. At first it was fine, every time the wind would gust up I release sail and slowed the boat in time. But somewhere around the grillage, a gust came suddently and tipped the kayak before I had a chance to release the sail. In the water I went. It was cold. Very cold.
Chris was near, but his yak although much faster turns slower. While he attempted to reposition, I attempted several times to right the yak. But it was full of water and had lots of gear including a cooler, fishing rods, lines, etc. By the time he arrived I had managed to right the yak. But was exhausted already.

Next step was to get back in the yak and out of the water. Without the amas, my 16' long hobie adventure is quite slim compared to other yaks, which means speed, but less stability. Had not Chris been able to get on the other side of the yak and offer his hand so I could inch my way out of the water, it would have been very difficult for me. I slowly climbed out of the water, inch by inch.

What also hindered my climbing back into the yak was all the lines I was tied up and tangled around me, they made it difficult. I swallowed a mouth full of water in the rough waves. That's how people drown. Eventually with Chris's aide I was able to take off my pfd just to climb back in the seat, and then untangle everything and put the pfd back on. So now we decided to shuck the trip and head back, but the tide was really ripping.

Even though we both pedaled and he had his sail out a bit, it seemed we were losing ground. Our goal was the lighthouse. He kept on saying keep paddling. When we finally got there, he opted to head back to the truck, and I headed to the shore.

Once there, I started checking for everything, and getting everything bakc i order. ONe thing I was concerned about is that I had only pulled one rod back in the rod holder, the other rod was dragging by a flimsy leash. I thought the pressure of us heading back to shore and dragging the rod might break the leash but we opted to press on and not stop.

Once we got close to the beach and out of the tides, I got to shore. At the shore, I dragged the yak up on the sand, and drank some much needed water. It was then I discovered the fishing lure had hooked both my pants and life jacket. I tried to pull the hooks out but it was no good. I was so cold my hands didn't function well anyway. I finally talked to a dutch couple and they had a knife I was able to cut the damn hooks out of my pants and pfd. It was then I got the shakes and started to tremble viciously from the cold.

I then called Chris. I thought he said he was bringing his boat back to the shore and coming back with the cart so I could walk it back. But I misheard him, so decided to peddle back. I didn't really want to get back in the water. But had no choice. At this point, everything worked well, and the boat was much more stable since I wasn't sailing but under peddle power. Crossing the grillage was rough the tide was ripping in all different directions. I made it back to Ft. Moultrie, and Chris met me at the beach and was kind enough to walk the yak back the last little distance to the truck.

He decided to go out for a spin after all this. I went home.

What I decided after the adventure.

No more winter trips in the ocean solo, ever. Lewis, Marian and Darrell are all right, the ocean is dangerous, take enough chances and eventually you will lose.

I'm getting the amas for stability. I spoke with Dave at time out sports and he said he'd order them for me. I tried to pick them up today, but he's off on sunday's and will didn't know anything about the order.

I'm probably not going back in the ocean until May or June.

No more solo sailing trips in rough dangerous water in winter.

The Adventure Island kayak is awesome, I want one. LOL

And this is the outcome:

I paid 180.00 for the sidekick stabilizer's (inflatable amas).

I love them. I have been out many times, with and without the sail, and haven't gone
in the drink since. I also, wrote off sailing in the coldest months of the winter. Think October to around April, since the water is too cold if you fall in. That's my story of learning for all to read, learn and enjoy!!

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