Newbies, Listen Up...About the BS - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
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  • 3 Post By NCC320
  • 1 Post By Tempest
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  #1  
Old 04-08-2012
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Newbies, Listen Up...About the BS

Elsewhere in the forum is a news release where a man, experienced only in fishing boats, took a sail boat he had just bought out with three small kids in 22 mph winds on a Minnesota lake with water temp around 40F. We don't know the size of the sailboat, but most likely a day sailer since article said he towed it to lake. Result: 2 of the kids are dead.

If you are new to sailing, first learn what you are doing before you tackle the high winds. Go in very low winds first....5-7 mph is not bad. See what the boat does in these winds, and how you control it. Then move up to 10-15 mph. Learn some more. Leave the small kids and lots of friends home until you really understand what you are doing.

As to winds in the 20, 30, 40, 50 mph/kts that you read about in these forums. A good bit of it, in my opinion, is simply BS. Never happened. Bogus. Most people can't estimate the winds well anyway. Story isn't good if you say the winds were 10, gusting to 15. Sounds much better if winds were 20-25, gusting to 35.

Sailing is generally a safe activity if you know the basics and have a reasonably good boat, and take care as to weather and water conditions. Fail to do this, and sailing can become deadly....as in the case above.

Remember, most of those sea stories are like the big fish....they have been liberallly enhanced. Take care.....don't get trapped. Learn sailing first and then expand your window to more trying conditions if you want. But go slow at first...its a learning process.
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Old 04-08-2012
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Re: Newbies, Listen Up...About the BS

What a tragedy! I found several accounts of the story. I can't find anything that discusses whether the boat sank or not. Trying to get out of the water on to an overturned hull is the usual survival strategy to buy time. You don't have much time immersed in 40 degree water. Heartbreaking.
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Last edited by Tempest; 04-08-2012 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 04-08-2012
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Re: Newbies, Listen Up...About the BS

Some people have equipment on the boat that tells them what the wind is doing. I don't. I guess you can go by the weatherman but they're often wrong around here. The way wind will lift around land has to be considered.

I'm not good enough to know how hard the winds are blowing by feeling it on my face.
I can get a close estimate by observing white-caps-sign as that's a definite que to reef on my boat, which generally happens 15-20 kts.


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Originally Posted by Tempest View Post
You don't have much time in immersed in 40 degree water. Heartbreaking.
I've been in 50* water as an adult and it can be hard to move. It's such a shock to your body. Kids are much worse at retaining any heat.

Even down here in the south, the water isn't warm enough until late April for people without a wetsuit. Last year I went out on my dinghy mid April and the water was cold. Survivable, but cold.
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Re: Newbies, Listen Up...About the BS

Fishing two kids out of the water in any condition is challenging at best. 22mph is a good breeze, but even in a trailer sailer shouldn't be capsize weather.

A lake can have sudden gusts in any direction though.

One of my first sails, (I am a fairly new sailer with mostly fishing boat experience), I went in 20MPH, (according to sailflow), winds in a small J24 with no problems),...well the boat was difficult to manage, and it was an uncomfortable choppy day.

I did reef imediately, as when I pulled the main up the boat heeled uncomfortably, but once I reefed and got both the sails up, the rest of the day was uneventful.

I would put this down to a can't wait for a good weather window to try out boat scenario, which for that part of the country probably won't come for another few months.

We don't know all the details yet, but I'm sure several factors may be, was centerboard ALL the way down?

Did new boat have the usual Ballast we all keep, (stores, spare anchors, canned goods, beer, etc...) in the bilge?

Tankage full/empty?

Did he know both how to, and why to reef?

Handling a new boat is a handfull, add two kids? A task for two at least adults.

Sailing on a rough day? You got to have at least one Knowledgable person on tiller, and one on main & jib sheets. If the wind is shifty, both need to be alert.

I remember that day, (I may never be able to forget it), I had a line in each hand, one in my teeth, and was steering with both my knees, (my crew, (Wife & teenage son) were busy chumming).

A few months later the bay was an entirely different world.

The water temp is a big variable, chances are if the boat had capisized in Destin bay in July, we wouldn't even be reading this.
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Re: Newbies, Listen Up...About the BS

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Originally Posted by CapnBilll View Post
Fishing two kids out of the water in any condition is challenging at best. 22mph is a good breeze, but even in a trailer sailer shouldn't be capsize weather.

I scanned the article but it sounded more like a dinghy than a keel boat since there was mention of them not being able to right the boat. Since beginners often think the harder you pull in the sail the faster you'll go, they might have really hauled that sail in which turned it into a big kite and over they went.
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Re: Newbies, Listen Up...About the BS

Learning the basics holds true for any activity, be it boating or otherwise.

Brad
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