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Capsize recovery - small cats


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This has occasionally occupied my mind and I thought perhaps the brains trust might have a solution.

Last season on a breezy day one of the Maricats (sincle handed, cat rigged) capsized. Nothing unusual about this of course it always happens, however the skipper (we'll call him Fred) took an inordinately long time to right the boat and it ended up fully turtled with the mast stuck in the goo at the bottom of the lake by the time the crash boat turned up.

Couple of weeks later the VC Cats came along and did an 'audit' of our righting lines because apparently the boat above didn't have one long enough to effect a proper recovery.

Now, I think that Fred had just got exhausted and had run out of options to right the boat. Of course in this situation he could just sit there and make himself comfortable the mast was providing a good anchor so there really wasn't any safety issue.

I heard from the 'auditors' that someone from the crash boat had to jump in the water to help and its this that I wanted suggestions about.

If for example the crash boat had a say 5m line (10 or 12mm) which had a hook on the end, would it be better to have got Fred to hook this to either the dolphin striker or to the chainplate at the end of the front beam (where the striker cable is attached) or to the chainplates on the shrouds (so, windward shroud, clip the hook onto the lowest part and lead over the hull and to the crash boat).

Crash boat then gets Fred to stand right at the back of the leeward hull and they then gently reverse. Fred on the back will dig the leeward transom into the water lifting the windward bow, reversing crash boat will aid that leverage and they can then either stop when the mast is on the surface or keep reversing till the boat comes upright.

At Manno this year we'll (apparently) have six junior cat sailors so this is possibly more important. I would envisage that we (or any club) would provide some sort of instruction to the crash boats.

Clearly from a safety aspect if any concerns exist the crash boat should just retrieve the skipper and take him back to base, then round up some help when and if it's safe to go back and retrieve the boat.



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I ran the junior program at our club and was mostly on my own on the rescue boat with 8 to 12 year olds on Arafura's and Arrows. If they had trouble righting, I started by tying a line around my waist then just jump in, right the cat and get on the boat. The cat and 15ft rescue boat both seemed to drift at the same speed. I then made a special blunt hook out of 10mm stainless steel rod attatched to a rope which went through a 10ft length of 25mm electrical conduit with an extra 30ft of rope. At the end of the righting lines I made loops that I could just put the hook through and help pull the boat up. At times I also put the hook around sidestays. The extra length made it easy to retrieve people back to the boat especially our disabled sailors as I didn't need to pull up right next to them. If I havn't explained the hook well let me know and I will post pics

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