The advice given on this site is based upon individual or quoted experience, yours may differ.
The Officers, Staff and members of this site only provide information based upon the concept that anyone utilizing this information does so at their own risk and holds harmless all contributors to this site.
Last Saturday we experienced a state wide wind event in Utah. Blew from the south for 2 days. At 10 am it was gusting to 42 knots IN THE MARINA. Looking at several wind apps the wind looked to subside a bit by 2 pm so we delayed our start 2 hours from noon to 2.
By 1 pm the wind had eased to a steady 18-20 with 25 knot gusts and continuing to wane. So we headed out.
We started the race really well. We had our old #2 jib up and full main. I hate being underpowered in the lulls so we made do in the gusts. We lead our class (Schock 34, Ranger 33, Frers 33, Capri 25) to the windward mark.
Turning downwind we had to jibe before our set and then moved the spin gear around. We have had good experience in big breeze with our old 3/4 kite so setting was a no brainer. We enjoyed some excellent 8-9 knot surfs and were handling the boat well. Then suddenly a gust hit and the guy block failed! The pole slammed forward and the whole kite shifted to leeward and brought the boat down with it. Calls to blow the sheet and halyard were too late. The rudder was airborne and the boat ended up on her side. One crew fell overboard in the knockdown. My first thoughts were "right the boat then get the MOB".
I hoped over the side with another crew and stood on the keel. The boat came upright but I fell in. The other crew made it on board.
I swam close to the other MOB and we started toward the boat. The crew was getting the shredded kite out of the water and out of the way and threw us a line. We grabbed on and pulled ourselves to the boat. We climbed back on and assessed everyone's health and then started to inspect and clean up the boat.
There was surprisingly little water in the boat. The only things we broke were the kite and lost the Windex from the masthead. We thought about continuing the race but none were up for it.
We made it back to the dock under power and cleaned up and dried out.
As always, there are takeaways...
1) Having a trustworthy crew. I wouldn't have flown the chute in that breeze if I didn't think my crew could not only handle the sailing but also handle things going sideways. Obviously, this as WAY sideways but none the less, my crew was calm and deliberate in the recovery.
2) $hit happens fast! The only thing I can think of is that the sheet could have been blown sooner. But it would have been milliseconds.
3) Lock the cockpit lockers.
4) Capri 25's are amazing boats. Little Wing handled everything nature and her crew threw at her.
5) The block failure happened when the sheet/guy block slide pin came out of it's hole in the toe rail track. The holes have worn over the 30+ years they've been on our boats. I'm either going to turn them so the pin is forward and pressing into the track or lash them to the stern rail base.
6) Wear life jackets. We were all wearing ours. The water was 55 degrees, cold enough to make being in it uncomfortable.
7) Sailing is so much fun! The challenges, the work, the recovery... what a beautiful sport.
Wow! great story with a mostly positive ending (struggled to not say "happy ending"), no injuries and minimal damage. I bet the conversations over the post knockdown beers were entertaining. And you're right "Sailing is so much fun! The challenges, the work, the recovery... what a beautiful sport."
Notice: The advice given on this site is based upon individual or quoted experience, yours may differ. The Officers, Staff and members of this site only provide information based upon the concept that anyone utilizing this information does so at their own risk and holds harmless all contributors to this site.