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Old 06-07-2010
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One more thing to point out...
suddenly all wind died.

For me and my experience, this is usually a good indication that things are going to get nasty very soon. The dreaded calm before the storm, those with meteorologist experience can probably explain why, but I think it's because the two systems are colliding and the stronger one prevails.

During the collision there is dead calm, which to me means, get everything ready because the stuff is about to hit the fan.

I would think that after this you would find a new respect for your boat, often times the boats bail us out instead of the other way around. Keep sailing and listen to your boat. The C22 will teach you a lot.
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If a man is to be obsessed by something, I suppose a boat is as good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most - E.B. White
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Old 06-07-2010
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Your story brought back lots of memories as I owned a vintage 1973 C22 for many years and had been caught a time or two in winds that I out not to have been in. I think that you mostly did the right things and you should be commended for keeping a cool head. If anything, you need to do just a little bit more in the arena of boat preparation.

Can you supply me with a little more background information? Do you primarily trailer sail or is the boat kept in a slip? What are the frequency of storms in your area? How much are you willing to spend in boat prep for windy conditions? Can you provide a photo or two of your boomís clew and tack? And perhaps the mast base and a general rig photo? And most importantly, what are your intentions for your boat? The kind of upgrades you can do to your boat can get expensive in a hurry and you will not recover the cost when you eventually resell the boat.

From a sail point of view, you really only need the standard, single reef in the main. The mainsail luff on a C22 is pretty short to begin with and single reef will depower it significantly. You really need a 110% working jib as your #1 is way to big when the winds are in the teens and above (with the exception of a broad reach or run). The big downside is you need time to change a head sail. Besides Baconís used sails, try the Sail Warehouse website (Theyíre physically located in Monterrey, Ca.) as they specialize in Catalinaís and have pretty fair quality as well as a used sail inventory.

Your big issue is running rigging. You really need to rig an adjustable outhaul. When the wind pipes up, you really need to stretch and flatten the foot of your sail. You will want to rig the (new) clew line so it cleats off near the mast so you can do all the reefing functions at one time and at one place. You can attach the new tack to a Ramís Head or use your Cunningham tackle. For the jib/genoa you want to rig a downhaul by adding a turning block at the base of the headstay and a cam cleat further aft. You attach this line to the jib halyard shackle and pulling on it alleviates the need to be on the bow to take down the jib. On my 22, I ran my halyards aft so I could drop sails from the cockpit. The traveler on the older C22ís is almost non-existent and you absolutely need a Boom Vang to keep the mainsail flat. By keeping the sailís leech taught, dumping the mainsheet will change the sailís angle of attack without causing it to ďbellyĒ and catch more wind. It also has the benefit of keeping the boom down during a gybe and not hanging up on the back stay.
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Old 06-07-2010
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Originally Posted by alanr77 View Post
I told the girl to hold the tiller and keep the boat pointed downwind as I went forward to wrestle down the genny and secure it. I managed to do this without to much fuss though the jib halyard broke free and flew around near horizontal for the remainder of the storm. (at this point we could not turn into the wind to take down sail as it would have capsized us)
I think turning would have been a mistake even if you could. You did this just right in my opinion. If you head down wind enough to blanket the sail with the main it is much easier to drop and contain the genny. If you turn into the wind you do three bad things: 1) Lose the protection from the wind the main provides 2) increase the apparent wind by ~10 knots (which can easily double the forces on the sail) 3) make the motion of the boat much more erratic, which makes foredeck work harder.

I would also ask if you ever were really in danger. It is scary and uncomfortable, but as long as you do not fall off the boat or run into anything, the boat should do fine in most conditions [although unlike most keel boats, a swing-keel Catalina 22 might never come back up from a knockdown]. The key is to not fall off the boat. Tie yourself to the boat and wear a life jacket.
Pacific Seacraft 34 #142
Kemah, Texas

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Old 06-07-2010
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It's been said before, but congrats. I have sailed a Cat 22 from time to time and I learned early on to practice reefing. I always reef early, as I feel no embarrassment in taking the reef out if it turns out not to have been necessary.

My only other thought would be to make sure you are tethered to your boat. In the weather you sailed through, it sounds to me that should you go overboard, the other person on board was in no condition to perform a person overboard maneuver. And the last thing you want to see is the boat sailing away from you in such weather.

The Cat 22 is a good little boat, and your post-incident review seems pretty complete.

Eric Read
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Old 06-07-2010
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My V-21 came back up from a knockdown just fine and it's a swing keel with less ballast than the C-22. I got hit with the gust front of a big thunderstorm, had to be 60+, an the masthead was in the water. She shook it off, stood up and hauled to wind. Wind alone won't capsize a keel boat, even a swing keeled boat. Sliding down a wave beam on surely will though. He got real lucky there...
Baggett and Sons Marine Restoration
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Bellingham, WA.

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Old 06-07-2010
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Iíd have to dig up my old C22 files, but Iím sure that the C22, like other swing-keel trailer sailors have a point of vanishing stability of somewhere between 90 and 100 degrees. My biggest broach was somewhere close 80 degrees as I was standing on the side of the lower cockpit seat (and my crew hanging on for dear life on the high side) when I released the mainsheet. IMHO, way before you challenge the point of vanishing stability, you will be subject to down flooding and sinking. There are no bulkheads to speak of and even a lazarette hatch flopping open could be terminal. We were pretty lucky insomuch as the next wave righted us (you are right Ė you do not want to beam reach if at all possible) and our main sail did not go under water. It is heart stopping to see the boom end skipping along the water. We were not so lucky on my second broach, although not as severe from an angle standpoint, we did break the headstay. The gods were again smiling on us as we had our #2 up which had a wire luff that kept everything together long enough for us to jury-rig the spinnaker halyard.

Swing keel trailer Sailors are really made for more calmer conditions. Your best bet is to run for cover at the first hint of trouble, or better yet, listen to the NOAA forecast before you go out. Yesterday, we had winds up to the low-mid thirties on Bay. On the way home in the Estuary, we encountered a Macgregor 25 with a badly bent mast and a couple of broken shrouds. I donít know what happened (could have been a broach or very bad gybe) but a replacement spar and rig could exceed the scrap value of his boat (if he even had insurance). So letís be careful out there!
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Old 06-07-2010
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GeorgeB, At this point I primarily trailer sail, though I am tiring of the setup and take down so a slip may be in the works in the near future. I.m very hesitant about keeping a swing keel boat in warm salt water for any extended period of time. Working that issue separately.
We get storms here in the summer a few times a week, mostly late in the day. They do come up quickly though. As I gain experience I will be able to see the onset of them though, plus a barometer will soon find its way on board.
I am willing to spend what is necessary to ensure the safety of myself and my crew. Though a bigger boat is on the horizon- for no other reason than the ability to stand up inside and to get rid of the high maintenance swing keel. The trade off in draft is worth it to me given the fact that I can sail here near year round, basically the boat needs to be able to be stored in the water most of the year. Swing keel boats are not designed for this, to many moving parts to get fouled up.
I am going sailing tomorrow so I will take some photos of my basic setup.
As far as the boat goes, I have already replaced all standing rigging, installed backing plates to everything and upgraded all the eyebolts from 3/8 to 1/2. I have sealed all hatches and lockers, installed four locking hatch dogs on the forward hatch and the poptop. I have also installed locking tabs for the crib boards so that when engaged, the boards will remain in place upside down. Everything inside is secured with hold downs and straps. If the boat turtles, I believe the only things that will fall are my charts and the cushions. In addition, I have installed thicker seals on the cockpit lockers so that they have to be compressed to close. This ensures that they remain locked to operate the boat. If i forget to secure them they sit open about 2" as a reminder. My headstay is attached to my bow eye so it won't pull out of the deck. Basically, every safety upgrade noted by Catalina and Catalina Direct has been applied. I am now installing new running rigging, and as many of you pointed out, justifiably so. I can't rely on my outboard to get me out of trouble (prop out of the water) so being that it is a sailboat, she is being set up to sail out of trouble.
I just ordered a Harken single line reefing system, internal outhaul and a boom vang. Should be here next week so I'll have some new hardware to learn how to use. I like to sail alone sometimes so I am working on running everything to the cockpit. I think jacklines are overkill for my small boat so I'm rigging up a tether to my tiller. That way if I fall off, my weight will overcome the tiller tender and force the boat to turn back towards least in theory.
From what I have seen, there are not a lot of sailboats sailing in my area. Though there are hundreds of them tied up at the marinas. Most seem to stay in the sounds. Guess I'm one of the few fools sailing my Catalina 22 3 miles offshore. I find it peaceful out there and worth the risk. More to follow, thanks for the advice- it is all well taken. Alan
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Old 06-08-2010
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Originally Posted by alanr77 View Post
[snip] 35 more minutes and we would have made it. [snip]
"The searchers all say she'd have made Whitefish Bay if she'd put fifteen more miles behind her."

-- Gordon Lightfoot, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

The rule of thumb is the first time you think about reefing is the time to put in a reef. The first time I did it on my boat (a Newport 28) I did it with sail ties at each reef point. It didn't look pretty, but Lordy, the difference it made in handling the boat. I already had the small jib up, so that kept the trim balanced and we had zero weather helm.

The question I always ask myself whenever I'm making a decision is "What if things don't work out as I planned?" When you decided you could beat the storm in did you ask yourself "What if I don't beat it in?" You made your plans based on a steady five knots -- did you ask yourself "What if I can't make a steady five knots?"

Contingency plans are vital. "Hoping for the best" is not always a viable plan. But you did good by surviving to sail another day.
S/V Free Spirit

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Old 06-08-2010
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I have this mysterious reputation as an "anti-reefer", but I have to agree with the guys above. Just a few weeks ago may wife and I were out with steady winds around 25 gusting to 30. I'll typically keep full sail on my C27 to 20.

But, on that day, I ducked in behind a hill, put a single reef in the main and headed back out into it - still flying a full 150 genny.

It was amazing the control just a single reef in the main gave us.

Though I'm firmly in the grab all the wind you can and wet your rail camp - that doesn't mean I don't appreciate the art.

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Old 06-08-2010
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sounds like you're doing a good job of spring cleaning.

One suggestion, you should get a solid boom vang if you haven't. In addition to providing the boom vang function, a solid vang will also solve your topping lift issue. Having a topping lift to take up the boom when you are throwing in a reef helps the whole process go more smoothly as you dont have the boom dropping into the boat, or water...a solid vang would also do that job.
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