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Capsizing the AI - The good, the bad and the ugly
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Author:  drgatsea [ Mon May 26, 2008 7:25 pm ]
Post subject: 

Ahh yes, the wave. It’s been my experience that wave heights tend to be greatly exaggerated, so I won’t go there. Suffice it to say it was big enough. And honestly, as the AI came vertical. I went from my astute observation and analysis mode to survival mode. The real issue was not the size of the wave, but the fact that it was going to curl and break where I happened to be.

Tip of the day. When I got back to my launch point, the surf was significantly greater than when I had left four hours before. At that point I was extremely "wave-shy". I just knew the boat was going to get sideways in a big breaker and I was going to get rolled up again. So as I got closer, I furled all but about 2’ of sail, this would keep me moving to shore. I pulled everything else up, dagger board, mirage drive and the rudder. Then I got out of the boat in about 8’ of water and held onto the little handle on the back.

I kept the boat in front of me and I acted like a sea anchor/rudder. By doing this I was able to keep the boat going straight in through the breakers. It worked quite well and was easy. I would do it again in a big surf.

I have wondering if there was a better way to handle the situation I was in. I was trying to get out of the area that I was in, and the shortest distance out, was to head out to sea. I also thought I might be able to get to and over the wave before it broke. I was wrong. But that wave coming down on me from behind would not have been good either. Any thoughts? Would any of you have done something different?

And yes, I know, I shouldn't have been there at all, wrong day, wrong place. Big lesson learned. But as Yakman said, up until then, it was great fun.

Author:  Roadrunner [ Mon May 26, 2008 11:06 pm ]
Post subject: 

drgatsea wrote:
I have wondering if there was a better way to handle the situation I was in. I was trying to get out of the area that I was in, and the shortest distance out, was to head out to sea. Any thoughts? Would any of you have done something different?

Nobody could possibly know the actual terror and anxiety you actually experienced. It's meaningless for anybody else to ponder what they might have done in a situation that allowed no time for pondering. You obviously did all the right things that you needed to and we all would love to have as good a result!

It's like the old saying "every landing you can walk away from is a successful landing"! :wink:

Author:  theo61 [ Thu May 29, 2008 6:30 am ]
Post subject:  Flipping AI

Two things, we often jump out and swim our yaks in through high surf. We act like a sea achor and control the landing. Gear gets wet but stays in the yak and upright. One word of caution, hang onto the handle but have a backup plan like a leash trailing behind you. A friend had his yak ripped from his grip and it surfed, flipped, rolled and ended up on the beach for several minutes before he could catch up to it. If he had a trailing leash he could have recovered from the lost grip.

Second point, I too pitchpoled my AI this past weekend. The wave was good until it went bad and it was too late to correct. The aka brace let loose on the lee (downwave) side. This actually made it easier to right but it still took three tries in chest deep water. I had to really heave it up and over due to the amount of gear it held.

After all is said and done, I ditto what was said earlier. The AI survived a brutal incident with nothing broken or lost. I love this yak.


Author:  Chekika [ Thu May 29, 2008 7:06 am ]
Post subject: 

Two AIs flipped! Wow.

Theo is right, if you are going to swim a kayak in, have a leash tied to the handle AND have a couple knots in that leash so that it does not slip through your hands.


Author:  Tom Ray [ Thu May 29, 2008 2:20 pm ]
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I think I'm going to continue my policy of keeping my boats away from breaking waves. ;)

Author:  AlohaDan [ Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:09 pm ]
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I never have had a chance to test this sea anchor, but an Assuie used in sucessfully down under. It's a series of small cones. (Click to blow up).


Shows briddle at front. Tail is to the right.


Bridle attachment


There was a pretty good debate on it over on KFS where it's use was poopahed.. However I don't think the surf guys were talking about was as big as your describing.

Question . Could you have not sailed balls to the wall up on the beach?

Author:  gwiz [ Wed Jun 04, 2008 5:52 am ]
Post subject: 

From my experience it is best to match the speed of a fallowing wave and ride with just the nose of the yak hanging over the crest. I furl the sail until I am in the sweet spot and then surf it in. Launching in big surf is another matter, I've hurt myself a couple times.

Author:  drgatsea [ Tue Jun 10, 2008 5:19 pm ]
Post subject: 

AlohaDan asked if I could have sailed “balls to the wallâ€

Author:  Yakaholic [ Sun Jun 15, 2008 9:38 am ]
Post subject: 

Yup, I recently joined the club :wink:

Managed to flip the Island the other day. I launched in the surf in the Atlantic with no problems and pedaled out to where it was deeper and calmer. Well, I got bored because there was almost no wind so I took to surf riding with the sail still up.

Was doing pretty well, but like the tune "Flirting With Disaster" you know what happened next. I caught a decent wave but when I turned to go back out an even bigger wave curled up on me while I was sideways. It was only about 2feet but it lifted one ama high in the air while it buried the other ama into the water and over I went.

It was a slow motion affair and it was more like sliding out rather than be tossed out. The boat never did a full turtle and none of the arms folded up. Boat was on its side, perhaps so because I quickly grabbed the mast to steady the boat. I dumped the water that was cupped into the sail and gave it a heave-ho and got it upright.

I was not hurt and the boat was undamaged - I did startle a few nearby surfers however. I am a little glad that I did flip the boat as the experience is a valuable one.

I continued surfing until the wind picked up and was more keen now on making sure to point nose of boat into waves when going back out.


Author:  Upyaboya [ Wed Jun 18, 2008 12:06 pm ]
Post subject: 

Just wondering Yakman, how did you right the A1?

I see the suggested method is to fold the ama and stand on it to lift the midship handle. Given that you had not submerged fully, did you just pull it over?

I must practice this so that if it happens, I know what to do. You described it very well .....slipping out of the seat into the water. My worry is what happens if one minute you're in the boat and the next in the water!

Author:  JacksonHoleWyoming [ Fri Jun 20, 2008 9:01 am ]
Post subject:  AKA brace mounting ball failure...


I've just posted a report of an aka brace problem in the 6/20/08 subject "AKA brace mounting ball failure".

My aka brace disconnected in 3 to 4 foot waves on Yellowstone Lake. I immediately noticed it, and easily reattached it. I was quartering the following waves like a good doggie, and was nowhere near capsizing.

We have no similar problems on our AI's the rest of the 7 day trip.

It would have been extremely hazardous to lose an ama in that frigid, rough water. My grandma must have been right; I've got a guardian angel looking over me.

Happy Trails!


Author:  drgatsea [ Fri Jun 20, 2008 9:37 am ]
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I read about your brace failure. If that had happened to me, I would have had to start swimming in. There would have been no way to jury rig something in those surf conditions.

I was originally upset about having the amas collapse, but "upon further review" it was probably what saved the AI from being badly damaged.

Glad to hear the rest of your trip was safe. The AI is one fun boat.

Author:  drgatsea [ Fri Jun 20, 2008 9:52 am ]
Post subject: 

Yakaholic wrote;

"I got bored because there was almost no wind so I took to surf riding with the sail still up."

This is one of my favorite things to do in the AI. Anyone else out there surfing their AIs?

The waves greatly increase your speed, so steering straight becomes REAL important. I never surf to the beach because of all the landing/turning issues. I surf/sail into an inlet. I get to ride the waves all the way in until the water calms down. Then I turn around, sail or pedal out and do it all over again.

Try it, you'll become addicted

Author:  Upyaboya [ Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:23 pm ]
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Yes, surfing the waves is one of the main reasons I had to try the A1.

I live by the sea and have been playing with waves since childhood but the sea kayaks are great for surfing because your ass is in the water and the motion is a great sensation.

Often if paddling against the current and waves, the workload is considerable and though I tend to cheat by carving sideways where I can, it's hardwork nevertheless.

The A1 is effortles in this regard and an absolute blast. I again favour a slight sideways motion when surfing the waves as distinct from straight. Slight adjustments of the rudder at the top of the wave create lift and prolong the ride.

I find the A1 is much more forgiving than the paddle kayak into the waves and allows you to take a more relaxed approach as distinct from absolutely head on or a rollover.

Again, I'm only a learning with the A1 and it's early days but so far I'm delighted with it. But a barber hauler for downwind is now and urgent requirement. Today, I had to go way out of my way to get home.....I could have used the peddles but I wanted to test the A1.

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