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  #1531  
Old 10-05-2009
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Ever stoood on your own keel before? That may be what kept us from going down yesterday when the top J/24 sailor in Bermuda DID sink. 20 built to 25, built to 30, okay so no spinnaker hoist once we round the offest, rounded the top mark reaching towards to offset, high 30's BAM 54 (according to the weather station maybe 1000 yards away)
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  #1532  
Old 10-06-2009
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Heh-heh, Pepto, that sounds like a typical afternoon on the water for me.

And Djode - congrats to your daughter dude! Nice racing. Did the jibes break anything Bluto?

ste - a 54 KNOT BAM??? Ouch. That'll definitely leave a mark. I thought J boats had enough reserve buoyancy to stay in top. No?
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  #1533  
Old 10-06-2009
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Actually they were not jibes, IOR barrel role 80% over knock downs.....great action, nothing broke for them. My kids ie 21 and 23 yr olds took out amoretto, they finished dead last on handicap, 2nd to last on actual time, the AS coupler failed, so the spend 10 min fixing it, and being as they were the scratch boat, and the FS Short course basiclly finishing in 10 min group either side of davids group at 10 min, some boat owning upwards of 18 min on the 18 mile course, need less to say, they went for a great downwind sail in 15-20 knot winds doing 6+ happy with everything all things considering. Fastest time in the 3 yrs of doing this race by 20 min, probably would have taken 30 min off with out the spin shackle failure. Still proud of them. Boyz had our drunk PC in our club come in the kitchen where I was setup doing the final stuff, complaining about times etc, wanting to see the score sheets, as I was figureing out I had semi-colons where colons belonged, lundged at me, pushed on twin, he grabed PC, other jumps in............"NOBODY" messes with our dad!

Long weekend great racing, most fleets finished with less than 20 min handicap time.

Marty
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  #1534  
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One of the problems I've always had with this thread is that I can't shake the feeling that it could encourage a bit of reckless/unsafe behaviour amongst people who have just enough experience to be dangerous to themselves or others.

In this story the boat that sank has a helm and trimmer that have been sailing together on J/24s for 30 years, and regularily go to worlds events. The boat I'm on had a helm that's owned the boat for 10 years and has done at least 10 crossings to/from Bermuda and the east coast of the United States. I've done 4 of those crossings and was foredecking (usually trimmer) and the trimmer did one crossing this year and a few more years ago. So minimum 15 gulf stream crossings, 2 valid Safety at Sea certs, and we've all been at this quite a while. 2 other people on the boat are relative novices, just a bit of wednesday night 'round the cans style racing but enough to be competent crew. Names changed 'cause hey, that's the thing to do right. Anyway, here's the email that went out from us yesterday:

So, yesterday morning, pretty windy steady high 20’s, gusts into the 30’s. We are heading to the weather mark, several boats around us, J/24 #1 ahead and J/24 #2 just behind. Even as we got half way up the weather leg I was still considering flying the chute, and was working through the steps in my head to fly it given the wind conditions. The wind started to build further, I was dumping the main to depower and it was becoming a real handful. I that point I shouted "full name", not nickname #1, nickname #2 or nickname #3, but full name to get his attention and said “no chute” he said “no sh*t”.

What happened next is best in his words:

“As we made our last tack into the top mark it was what, low 30's? Then reaching for the offset it was maybe high 30's so naturally I'm still racing and just at super max hike. The lull before the blast hits and I'm suddenly well underwater, then we get slammed and now I've still sorta got the lifeline and my feet are on something which I presume was the keel - pretty convenient place to accidentally end up given the circumstances. So I guess we round up or whatever? I dunno. Anyway, got my armpits hooked over the lifelines (facing out) which is good 'cause I'm not really going anywhere but bad 'cause I have absolutely no leverage anywhere and can't do much to help myself. Now (2 guys from crew) are trying to help me up and after doing the medieval torture rack thing for a while I'm not quite sure what happened but I guess the worst of it was over and the boat really flattened out again, letting me hook a leg up onto the rail and then I think I got hauled on by my belt. I think I was onboard for .5 seconds or less before I blew the jib halyard, got it down, and got a bungee on the thing. So then I look back at the helm to sort of say "okay, WTF do we do now?"


While full name was standing on the keel we were absolutely flat in the water, with the top of the mast and spreaders submerged. The wind was blowing the top off the waves so the entire scene was like being in a snow storm. The sails were flogging and visibility was barely the length of the boat, I had no idea which way we were being blown.

As full name was pulled back on board I noticed what I thought was a white power boat but it turned out to be J/24 #1 capsized with their crew in the water. J/24 #2 were nearby and they picked up one of the girls first, we sailed past and threw lifejackets etc at them, then J/24 #2 picked up another crew. About this time J/24 #1 started to right itself, and unfortunately the buoyancy in the upturned hull was lost and she sank pretty quickly in an upright position. We did a circle and luffed to pick one up, then did it again to pick up another while J/24 #2 picked up the last swimmer. The actual recovery of the crew was relatively straightforward as the wind had abated somewhat, and since J24’s have a small freeboard, we were able to heel the boat to get them onboard.

She went down in about 60 feet if water between Kings Point and Grace Island, and I have just heard she’s been located. One of my crew, was in shock, wet and cold afterwards. The VHF was all but useless in the noise, I called the Race Committee several times and all they heard was static. Hinsons Island weather station recorded 54 knots in the squall.

Totally nuts.

I'm "full name"

Forecast was high teens gust to 25. In those conditions a J/24 has the 100% jib and full main (nobody has reefing points anyway) with the rig cranked on reasonably tight. I've only had the keel out of the water once before, massive but entertaining spinnaker broach. According to the IMS measurements, a J/24 is stable to barely over 90 degrees. Our masthead was apparently in the water, give that one a thought (I wouldn't know, standing on the keel and all that, which in the end probably saved us). A J/24 has no positive flotation and will go down, just needs sufficient water inside (hint: nobody races with the companionway washboard in) - of course if we'd know it was going to be 54 the board would be there but we only had about 30 seconds warning on the squall as it came over the land and then water right at us and even then only looked like the usual +10 ones we get, not a +20. Not that 40-45 is a picnic but at those speeds just turn and run, the boat will plane away and drop the apparent wind to 25 or so - not exactly trivial but not much of a big deal either, just plane off in a hurry

Last edited by ste27; 10-06-2009 at 02:41 PM.
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  #1535  
Old 10-06-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ste27 View Post
One of the problems I've always had with this thread is that I can't shake the feeling that it could encourage a bit of reckless/unsafe behaviour amongst people who have just enough experience to be dangerous to themselves or others.
Ste - great write up and analysis. Thanks dude.

As to whether this thread encourages reckless/unsafe behavior in inexperienced sailors - I think it's definitely a valid point. I'm one of those sailors.

To me there are three basic ways to look at BFS:

1. You can be someone who is totally unprepared who takes a boat into dangerous situations just to cop a thrill and say you BFS'd. You might survive it - you might not. All you have at that point is luck.

2. You can be someone who ALWAYS avoids hairy conditions at ALL COSTS and prays for calm during every passage so you can call yourself a "prudent sailor" who's "always in control".

or

3. You can be someone who ENJOYS edgier sailing and pushing some limits - knowing that you're going to get hit at some point - one way or another. And that the best possible thing to do is prepare for it.

This last one requires that you learn everything you absolutely can from every source you can as you go. You seek out others' experiences and knowledge so you can better know what to do if/when the situation gets dangerous. And you work your way up to bigger winds and seas slowly to prep yourself and your boat.

The goal is still BFS (unlike #2) - but now you're training for it (unlike #1). And even so, just like that very experienced J24 skipper in your story, you very well might still get caught. That's sailing.

The whole point of BFS, in my mind, has always been to enjoy and celebrate the adventurous side of sailing. And typically that has to do with heavy weather, racing, long passages, screwing up, first time under full sail, etc. - or a combination of the above. That's exciting and it's educational. That's cool.

If a newbie sailor reads these stories and decides to be a #1 homey - that's not real smart on his/her part. Just look at the stories.

At the same time, who wants to be a #2 drifter? Not me. If you think about it - that sailor is just as unprepared as #1. That's why I never bought into the whole "chest-beating" thing some people try to put on BFS. That's not it.

I guarantee you that there are many non-racing sailors on this site that would say flying a chute in 25 knots is insane and full sail in 30+ is "irresponsible". I'm not one of those BTW.

It's all just a balance. That BFS edge is relative. And the best you can do is learn and prepare for where you personally want to ride it.

Anyway, as a learning sailor with no certs and very few miles under his keel - I appreciate your story. I've learned a lot. I saw 50 knots in a squall a few weeks ago while I was working on my boat in the slip. I have no desire to be out on a boat in that. Scary freakin' stuff. But I also want to learn to be ready for it...because I don't enjoy the slip that much.

The only question I have is - what will you do differently now? (e.g. - hatchboards in racing? more buoyancy?).

PS - Which newbs out there read this stuff and think that the #1 route is the way to go? C'mon - out yourselves!
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Last edited by smackdaddy; 10-06-2009 at 04:11 PM.
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  #1536  
Old 10-06-2009
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Smack, I guess we all have our different perspectives. I believe in getting from the boat what the conditions allow, but that does not require reckless behavior. Max speeds are not attained with your rail in the water. I am going to exclude racing from my remarks because one has to "push the envelope" in a competition. I certainly ski differently in a Nastar race than I do just skiing for the day. I think the same applies to sailing. I think most of us have been out there in rough conditions, the difference is how much you are going to push the boat and yourselves.

Once you are at max speed, the extra heeling is unnecessary risk taking. I am one of those people who adjusts their sail plan based on the expected winds. That is hardly being a "drifter". I'm all for having fun on sails, enjoying sailing in windy conditions, and even sometimes being at risk of more rough weather than intended. Can't do long term cruising without running that risk. However, I do think safety comes first, and appropriate planning and adjusting just makes sense. I think we all need to find the balance that works for us, but be cognizant of the risks we are taking on - and reduce them where possible.

Happy sailing!
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  #1537  
Old 10-06-2009
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I sailed in the 1981 Chicago to Mackinaw race in a Heritage One-Ton. We had a fair start and a nice first day. This was followed by many hours totally becalmed in dense fog. We were within a few boat-lengths of the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw an listened to his deafening fog horn for many hours. When the system finally cleared mid morning, the wind built steadily all day. We reduced sail to the 3rd reef in the main and alternated between the 2 and 3 jib. Eventually, winds peaked on the nose at 70 and held 65 to 70+ for seven and a half hours. We saw seas to 30 feet and crests running about 100 to 120 feet apart. The mast lights on near boats disappeared in the troughs. By this time we were running overpowered by the 3 and underpowered with the storm blade. Two boats were dismasted and 1/4 of the fleet dropped out. We finished 5th in fleet. In Mackinaw, we took a hose on board to wash the puke off the headliner. This was the race where Dennis Conner famously mouthed off before hand about day-sailing on the Michigan puddle and publicly appologized later after the physical beating handed to him. It was the only time I can remember being really thrilled to walk off a boat.

If you sail long enough, anything will eventually happen. We lost a rudder in a race where we were totally clobering everyone including boats that owed us time. It was a close reach in high wind and sloppy quartering waves. The 4" diameter stainless rudder post fatigued off just outside the seal (thank you boat gods!) and we watched the fleet pass us. It took a hour for the first boat to pass. Coast guard hauled us in. They missed meal call so we fed the lot of them.

We started a simple club race off Cleveland. Last race of the season. Our afterguard noted black water on the horizon so we quietly dumped the kite below and brought the 3 on deck. We pulled the 2 and started the race on the main alone doing 12 knots on a broad reach. Several boats had former kites up and two boats lost mainsails. We watched waterspouts less than a hundred yards behind us. We were first to finish and everyone owed us time. Most fun I've ever had.
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  #1538  
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In Mackinaw, we took a hose on board to wash the puke off the headliner.
One word Nich...wow.

Your sentence there pretty much sums it up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NICHOLSON58 View Post
Several boats had former kites up and two boats lost mainsails. We watched waterspouts less than a hundred yards behind us. We were first to finish and everyone owed us time. Most fun I've ever had.
See - that's exactly what I mean. What is that mysterious thing right there? Chaos and mayhem all around you. And it was freakin' fun. Fun. I relate to that.

So, as a dude that has some very serious racing under his belt - where do you see the balance between balls out racing and "prudent" cruising? I'm utterly convinced there's a whole world of incredible sailing in that space - but the conversation always goes to the extremes. I don't get that. There's definitely something more.

Sailing itself is just too damn fun to ONLY be one or the other. That much I do know.
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Last edited by smackdaddy; 10-07-2009 at 10:01 AM.
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  #1539  
Old 10-07-2009
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BUBB2 IS THE MAN!!! A killer BFS from one of the absolute best dudes I know. And he's another freakin' Eastie!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bubb2 View Post
Smacky, today was the Day.

We had gusts over 40 knots here today. Smack, you have been on my boat and seen her hit 7.3 knots in what I would call a fresh breeze. Today I hit 9.1. I was surfing the Hudson, man!

It was rail down, hell bent to break 9 knots for the first time. This summer has been cooler than most so the bottom growth has not been as heavy as most years. So with a slick bottom and big wind, today was the day.

The boat was acting like my first car. The one with the bad alignment. When she got up to 8.6 she started shaking from stem to stern. But what fun we were having. I had to press on. I eased the sheets a little more and she gave me another 2/10's. She was shaking so much, I was beginning to think something was coming lose. But I was going to press on. I ease the sheets more and she pops up over 9. What a day!

The above may not sound like much until you know I have only 25 feet of water line. My theoretical hull speed is 6.7 knots and my boat is not designed to plane.
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  #1540  
Old 10-07-2009
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Smack - You have to know your boat and crew. We had absolute faith that everyone aboard would perform faultlessly without even a word. That was the best bunch of sailors I've ever been with. Its been over 20 years since we last sailed together but most of us are still in touch, scattered over the US. Most have our own boats. We get together whenever possible. The collective list of boats we own(ed) is: Prindle cat, Hobbie cat, Tornado, Cape Dorey, Sunfish, Laser, Stiletto, Hobbie Tri-foil, 505, 470, Heritage One-Ton, Cal-40, Acadia Yawl, and our Camper 58. I'd gladly take any of them as crew anywhere - any time. We pushed the P out of the Heritage and won a lot of flags and pickle platters even against light weight throw-away sleds. Our crew included engineers, navy meteorologist, pilot, computer geek and two nurses. We surfed the thing once hitting 18 knots with way too much sail up and the bow running submerged to the mast. All crew sitting on the aft pulpit and all loose items crammed into the aft berths. You never forget rides like that.

We have to choose a new #1 jib to replace the one lost by the previous owners to negligence in Ivan. I know I should buy a Yankee with high cut clew. - best on the roller furler and easy to see under. My gut tells me to get a deck sweeper. Forestay is a Profurl 52 with two tracks. If we race the Mackinaw in 2011 I'll wish for the BFS.
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