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peter428 06-23-2004 11:29 AM

accidental gybe
while on a recent charter i unfortunately was hit by the boom during an accidental gybe (wind shift). though i wasn''t hurt at all, luckily, i was wondering if it was my fault for being in the position to be hit by the boom or would the helmsman be at fault for not paying attention to the wind/sails or is it a fault of both?

eric97217 06-23-2004 12:24 PM

accidental gybe
I would say it was not no ones fault. A small wind shift will send the boom over. I always make sure I watch my head and its height in relation to the boom when running where an accidental gybe could happen.

Tom3 06-24-2004 06:24 PM

accidental gybe
If your looking for some one to blame yourself it saves others a lot of trouble.

If your looking to correct the problem of getting smacked up side the head with the boom you also need the mirror. Sail boats have a whole set of hazards that only you can protect yourself from the boom is just one of them. If you regularly put yourself in harms way on a sailboat you will get harmed and no amount of skill on the helm will save you.

Tom3 06-24-2004 06:28 PM

accidental gybe
(Just noticing the charter) I will add that the captian had some responsibilty to tell you about the danger from the boom and should have reminded everyone on board when the boat started running before the wind. If you were not told to keep your head low then the captain bears some responsibility. I regularly sail with novices (not chartering just for fun) and the first things I tell them are "nothing plastic in the head" and "watch out for the boom."

Silmaril 06-24-2004 07:30 PM

accidental gybe
Yikes, I know it''s dangerous, but an ounce of prevention... That''s why it''s called a Preventer.

Whenever running before the wind I ALWAYS rig a preventer when cruising and there will be people about the boat between the mast and the traveler. Accedental gybes happen, especially in following seas.

It''s a bit lazy to not rig one, so I would blame your charter''s crew for their lack of attention to detail.

c172guy 06-25-2004 07:34 AM

accidental gybe
It is always a good practice to cover your own ass!! Expecting someone else to warn you of dangers gives them control over your life. It is always better to be in control of your own fate, finding someone else at fault has no effect on your injuries. When I am at the helm I try to warn anyone that''s in harms way but when I am in harms way I don''t expect to be warned. Intentionally or otherwise my wife has almost hit me with the boom several times. But by luck or skill I have always managed to avoid being hit. It is foolish to stand/sit in such a way that being struck by the boom is possible.

Denr 06-25-2004 08:04 AM

accidental gybe

The boom got its name from the internal sound of impact as it kisses ones noggin. Of course you were stupid and reckless to allow this to happen but as others have discovered, this repetitive impact softens our gray matter to a point where we continue to buy boats that are 2-4 feet larger than the one previously owned, no other rational excuse could explain the Phenomenon!

Capt. Denr

hamiam 06-25-2004 11:51 AM

accidental gybe
My 2 cents: sounds like a large enough boat (unlike a sunfish, say) whereby you dont need to be standing in a spot where you are going to get hit by the boom.

tauras 06-26-2004 07:00 AM

accidental gybe
Peter 428: The next time you go sailing you have the experience to tell the captain to rig a preventor. Silmaril is correct. When running it''s silly not to rig a preventor. It''s simple and can save you a headache.

Jeff_H 06-26-2004 08:25 AM

accidental gybe
You never know what to expect in one of these threads. You certainly have gotten a wide range of viewpoints here but in thinking about the reality of rigging a preventer on a charter boat it would seem pretty unlikely to find the resources aboard to rig one in a manner that would not endanger the boat.

Properly rigged a preventer needs to be quick and easy to release from the cockpit and the line should be long enough to permit the boom to cross the boat to the other jibe. It should be a nylon rather than a dacron line, and should ideally be attached near the near the end of the boom and lead to a block near the bow. Generally that means a line that is twice the length of the boat rigged (or at least capable of being rigged) on either side of the boat.

Having been aboard boats where the boat jibed and broached, leaving the boom held by the preventer abeam on the new windward side of the boat, or where we dipped a boom held by a preventer and tore the gooseneck apart, perventers need to be stretchy and quick to release. Anything else, endangers the vessel and the crew far more than not rigging a preventer.

The reality is that the line and the blocks to properly rig a preventer simply will not be aboard most charter boats. So what should you do if you can''t rig a preventer.

-Don''t head dead downwind if you don''t have to. Reaching is generally faster,offers a better VMG and a lesser chance of a jibe.

-At deep reaching and running angles, pay attention to the boom and mainsheet and always move around or sit in a matter that assumes that the boat could jibe at anytime. As you walk up the deck, keep an eye on the boom, be prepared to duck, as you get near the boom place your hand on it as a way to guage your position relative to the boom and its likeliness of moving towards you.

-As helmsman, you need to really concentrate and while accidental jibes will happen to the best sailor, staying alert at least means that the helmsman can shout a warning. As helmsmen you need to take a mental inventory of where everyone on the boat is located. You are usually in the best position to see who is at risk and it is not inappropriate to say, "Peter, we are on the edge of a jibe so please stay low as you move about the boat and keep an eye on the boom." (I wish I have had a penny for everytime that I have said something like that in my sailing career. I could buy a newer boat for that kind of cash.)

I would not assign fault here. There are things that you both could have done to minimize the likelihood that you might have gotten hit by the boom.


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