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Old 02-11-2008
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Is there a difference

between a knock-down and a broach?

Charlie Cobra said: "Instantly, the chute self deployed and the boat laid over with me on the foredeck." IMHO there is a considerable difference between a broach and a knock-down. This sounds more like a broach.

Having to actually go through stuff to be considered an experienced sailor is clearly nonsense. I have friends who have done three different circumnavs over 25 years and have not had to weather a full-blown storm. They have enormous reserves of experience but not in certain areas.

However, here is a quote from Eric Hiscock (Cruising Under Sail): ". . . fortunate is he who early in his sailing career encounters and successfully weathers a severe blow. No one who has done so can honestly say that he has enjoyed it, nor would he readily seek to repeat the experience but in no other way can he gain confidence in his ability as a seaman . . . ."

We got caught in a squash zone off Raratonga with windspeeds that locked our windspeed indicator at 74 knots and seas that were huge (don't ask how big because I would probably lie). We were all down below lying a-hull waiting for first light when a wave broke and hit us beam on and laid the mast in the water. It smashed all the cabinetry off the starboard side of the boat and we all ended up sitting on the port side port-lights for a short time.

A few hours later, sailing out of the storm, we were again unable to avoid a breaking wave and with two people in the cockpit, the mast was again laid in the water but into the trough of the wave so it was way below horizontal. That is what I consider a knock-down.

In both of these, the boat stood up quite quickly. The cockpit was filled to the top of the coamings and the drains took a while to empty it out so we took huge volumes of water into the boat through the cracks and gaps in the washboards. We soon learned a better way to avoid breaking waves. We never got knocked down again.

What we will never know is how much more it would have taken to turn the knock-down into a roll-over.

This experience has definitely made me less scared of severe weather but as Hiscock said, I have no burning desire to repeat it. And you don't have to experience this sort of stuff to be an "experienced" sailor.

Andre
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