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post #25 of Old 07-10-2012
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Re: 3 Rescued from Sailboat on LI Sound

Listen when you are first learning you get things thrown out at you that you don't know how to handle. When everything goes wrong at the same time, well, experience or no experience things get dicey.

Here's my guess. The wind picked up. When they tried to furl, the furler jammed. So they tried dropping the jib (actually I bet it was a genoa), prob without knowing to take the step of running downwind first and using the main to block the genoa. So they now have this huge sail flapping violently as the wind increases. They try to take it down, and it rips out of the luff and falls into the water. Now it's wrapped around everything under the waterline, waves are bouncing this boat all over the place, gusts are heeling the boat waaaay over (all that drag under the hull makes this worse), they all are beginning to have hypothermia, none of them have ever seen anything like this so they are scared and at this point don't know what to do. Motoring is not an option, and they don't know what to do anymore.

One thing going wrong never downs a plane, it is always many small things going wrong and compounding into a big big problem. Experience allows you to prevent or at least fix the small problems before they spiral. Inexperience leads to the story at the center of this thread. I don't think it is fair to be so harsh on these guys, they clearly were in over their heads but I think any of us could have been there on the first few sails we ever took. They should have known better than heading out into the sound without any real experience or weather forecasting, but only experience could have told them that, no?
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