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Started by tjspiel, Apr 27, 2023, 08:57 AM
QuoteWARNING: as I write this, the "Cuddlefish" is covered by about 28 feet of water! I now am the "2nd known" sinking of a precision 18. (not a title that I am proud of). I can tell you what, when, and how it happened so listen closely. My wife and I were sailing back home from a weekend date using the sailboat. We were in well known waters that I travel and fish in often. the winds were so lite in the beginning that we could not make more than 3.5 mph with main and a jib sail up, so i started motor to help. while moto sailing, the wind picked up and filled the main. I cheered and cut the motor off and lifted it out of the water. sun was out and the wifey went below and put on her bathing suit to get some sun. While she was down in the cabin, I felt the boat surge and lean over....wifey asked "what was that? "Wind gust" I said. "Come on up and let me step into the cabin, I want to lower the main sail". We switched places and before I could reach up and undo the main sheet to lower it, we were hit from behind by a "wind sheer"...(a very strong wind). I had the main sail set just off of the port side corner and the jib pulled to the starboard side. That gust hit so hard and fast that the boat started surging forward and pushed the bow to starboard which really loaded up the main sail. I would normally be setting where I could have unloaded the main by simply letting it all the way out and turning/rounding up into the wind. However, I was not in the cockpit when this happened I was in the cabin near the mast. The boat went sideways and laid over ...a knockdown. I heard my wife scream and when I pulled my self up right I saw that the mast was in the water, My wife had been thrown down and was on her back in the water, laying on the back support and the lifeline on the port side. I rushed out of the cabin area and grabbed her and helped her sit up. this put all of our combined weight on the port side. I reached out and turned the main loose at the blocks and slapped the autotiller off the rudder so if she decided to up right, she would release the water on the sail and turn up into the wind. No such luck. What I did not know was that with the mast in the water, it was acting like an anchor and the boat was now acting like a balloon on the water. the wind quickly spun the boat so that the waves were now hitting into the cockpit and the cabin. the first swell washed my wife overboard and entered the cabin thru the cabin door. The second swell knocked me off my feet and it to entered the cabin. I felt the boat settle lower in the water. the third wave pushed me out of the boat and it too entered the cabin. it was at this time that the boat began to turtle. I screamed for my wife to grab a floatation and get away from the ship. total elapsed time about 15 SECONDS!!! I grabbed a vest that was near by and swam around to the rudder and grabbed the end of it an started trying to climb up on it to help the keel upright the boat. no good as i felt the rear of the boat start sinking and the bow began to raise. elapsed time was less than 45 seconds. a gentleman drove up on us and asked if we needed 911? I hollered to him to rescue my wife. While he was getting her out of the water, I swam up to the bow of the boat which was about 3 feet out of the water and I grabbed the bow line. I know that the bow line was about 50 feet long and I started pulling it thru my hands trying to locate the tag end. I found it and immediately unbuckled my life vest and tied the bow line to the vest as a visual of wear the boat was at. elapsed time was less than 2 minutes now. It was at this time that Marine Patrol pulled up on scene asking if anyone needed medical. I must tell you that that initial gust has now turned into a howling wind coming straight down the river and the water is pushing 3-5 foot narrow rollers with whitecaps blowing off the tops (really nasty stuff as the ride back to the landing in that 32 foot parker boat was teeth breaking rough). I have given much thought about what caused this capsizing and what I could have done to avoid it. the only thing I can think of is maybe I could have had the cabin door closed... (wildlife officer said that it may have helped but the force of those waves would have probably knocked that door in anyhow. CONCLUSION: My p18 sank on the port side, not the starboard. the time from sitting upright to totally upside down was FAST, and it never happens like you imagine. There was nothing to stand on. Water was everywhere, and the life and well being took precedence over anything in, on, or about that boat. looking back I wish that I had a boat with a LOT of keel weight. Perhaps there will be another sailboat for us in the future, but the wifey has said no more for her. please keep in mind that there was only a mild wind and before I could even drop the sail muchless reef it, it was over. stay safe, stay strong. love ya, scott and rhonda.
Quote from: Straander on Apr 27, 2023, 11:58 AMScary. Is heaving-to the correct thing to do in this situation as tjspiel said? It seems like it would present a lot of sail area broad to the wind and would really increase heeling.Does the P18 not have positive buoyancy like the P165?
Quote from: DBthal on Apr 27, 2023, 12:41 PMI would also want to heave-to in that situation. Easy for me to say it as a Monday morning quarterback. Probably a lot tougher when everything is hitting the fan.
Quote from: Brian N. on Apr 28, 2023, 10:05 AMFrom the description his point of sail is unclear (broad reach?). Also was he in the process of trying to hove-to and then decided to reef? The point I was making about having the swing keel was that while it does add some weight lower down, often it is better to have some leeway in a blow. People may criticize the anemic keel of the P165 when going to windward, allowing too much leeway, but I've been out in 20 knots, and never felt in danger of going over. On the Ensign (a full keel boat, with a smaller main and huge jib) we sailed through a storm with 30 knot gusts and the boat handled like a champ, but the crew did have to work to avoid a broach, and more importantly ACTIVELY sail. Not minimizing his terrible experience, but too many things all seem questionable.
Quote from: tjspiel on Apr 28, 2023, 12:45 AMIt sounds like he was headed downwind with the sails wing and wing (kind of). Except that the main was trimmed more like he was headed upwind or on a close reach. Not sure why. I think some people do that to lessen the severity of a jibe, but it makes one more likely.