Purposely swamping your boat to survive a storm - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 20 Old 12-16-2011 Thread Starter
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Purposely swamping your boat to survive a storm

OK, the sailing season is pretty much over in the Northeast (it's finally getting too cold for me at least to comfortably sail) so my thoughts have been in warmer climes...

I was reading an interesting book about outrigger canoe culture on a small pacific island called "east is a big bird".

Apparently, the voyagers of these ocean going canoes would purposely swamp their boats when conditions got truly bad. By doing this, the stresses on the boat were reduced substantially and it would be less likely to fall apart.

I have heard of capsized multihulls in which the sailors survive truly horrible conditions by either cutting a door or entering an "escape hatch" and sitting out the storm within the swamped boat. Considering that it takes a breaking wave of at least the beam of a multihull to capsize it (unless it has no drogue and pitchpoles of course) so most likely these must have been some truly horrid sea states. This all assumes warm seas and survival gear of course...

I'm not sure how this would work with a swamped keel boat that has positive flotation installed...

It seems to me, as an occasional surfer, that being flooded would indeed reduce the forces of breaking waves. But it would also prevent you from being able to dodge breaking waves, or steer the bow into/away from them.

I don't think swamping your boat would be a "storm tactic" lol but hey... I wonder if it would work?
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post #2 of 20 Old 12-16-2011
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As it would destroy all the stuff inside the boat i cant see much upside

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post #3 of 20 Old 12-16-2011
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yeah what tom. said,also it would probablely get rolled/tossed around like a submerged log until there was nothing salvageable,i doubt the s.pacific natives had engines/electronics or miles of electric wire,conections etc to worry about,at sea my master plan is to avoid storms,do the best i can when i can't and stay above the water at all costs
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post #4 of 20 Old 12-16-2011
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A swapped mono-hull would be easier to be capsized and would have a much lower AVS point. When a wavet hit the boat and the boat heel, all the water inside would move to the wrong side of the boat increasing heeling even more.

However that can be useful to bring a capsized monohull to the upright position, for the same reason but you would have to get rid of all that water before getting capsized again

I hope not be never on that situation. The better is never to be capsized and if so have a boat that does not need the help of a partially flooded boat to get back on its feet.

Some years ago I remember to have read a description of a capsize where that happened. They staid turtle for a considerable period of time and only when the boat was partially flooded it went the right side again with the help of some waves.

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post #5 of 20 Old 12-16-2011
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Interesting idea... having tried to sail a semi swamped dinghy a couple of dozen yards to a beach, the lack of stability due to the moving, heavy "ballast" was exciting.. and ultimately unsuccessful. Eventually she turned over and I swam it to the beach....

Ron

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post #6 of 20 Old 12-16-2011
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I know of a couple of older vessels intentionally sunk to save them from hurricane damage. Both were raised after, and survived for years. But I don't think I'd like to try with mine. Also, in a decked vessel not completely full, the water will surge with the passing seas, possibly causing structural damage.
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post #7 of 20 Old 12-16-2011
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Not quite the same but Thomas James (of James Bay fame) sank his ship to prevent ice damage, then refloated the boat when he was ready to sail away.

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post #8 of 20 Old 12-17-2011
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Seawater will get everywhere, knocking out a bunch of sub-systems.
It will soak the crew, and they are very likely to get cold.
This far north, like 57 deg latitude, they will be frozen, and quickly.
I really don't like the idea of it.
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post #9 of 20 Old 12-19-2011
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A swamped keelboat would quickly become a submarine....there's a lot of lead in that keel. Partially swamped...perhaps. Filler up to the top of the nav station?...I don't think so.

Some cats come with positive floatation, but with keelboats it is really a moot point. You would lose an extraordinary amount of the cabin to the flotation.

.
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post #10 of 20 Old 12-19-2011
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I just read Pardeys book "storm tactics", it has a lot of good pointers for extreme storm survival, including those that worked while the author passed through a hurricane in a small sailing vessel.

His main tactic was stalling the hull, using storm trysail, or fully reefed main, set in a heave-to position, keeping the boat located in the slick created by the hull side slipping through the water, (supplimented with sea anchor as needed to insure boat did not sail out of the slick.

He raises a lot of good points, I can't wait to try them out myself.

Flooding the hull was NOT one of his recommended tactics.

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