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Close call?

Jul 27, 2011
4,529
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
So, we were racing in strong wind (SCA) last week in Long Beach Harbor on a course that required gybing around a mark to lay the finish. It was pretty windy, probably at least 20. (The anemometer is out so I don’t know the exact wind, apparent or true.) One boat saw its jib blown out reaching for that turning mark and retired. We were left trailing the leader by over a minute but less than two. We did the gybe after a short reach along the seawall to get into position. I had set the Wichard boom brake (Gyb’Easy) to the correct tension. We we swung through and recovered our course a bit more quickly than the boat ahead even though we were only three crew to their five (Boom brake works good!). Finished the race second. Rolled up the 120% Genoa with some effort and headed toward harbor.

To enter and align in the channel we had to gybe from Starboard to Port tack. (Essentially, a left-hand turn into the channel.) The brake was still set. I was basically in the pit working the mainsheet, helm was fixed on steering the course between the ripraps lining the channel. We went through again and straightened out only to gasp at seeing our third crew backward, and head down against the starboard lifeline, clinging to it, the boat heeling strongly toward starboard.:yikes: Jacket on but not tethered. After a couple of minutes we got him up and back into the cockpit. Whew!! Sitting on the cockpit coaming slight inattention was enough to lose balance and go tumbling. Even though I announced “prepare to gybe”, I did not wait for all to acknowledge. Just a reminder that crew cannot “relax” from working the boat until it is safely back in the slip!
 
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Aug 28, 2006
484
Bavaria 35E seattle
Yikes! Definitely a close call. All souls returning is a good thing, indeed.
 

PaulK

.
Dec 1, 2009
756
Sabre 402 Southport, CT
Since you'd already finished the race it was not necessary to have all the crew still on the boat to finish. Let him know that you would have let him swim home if he had wanted to. He'll be more careful next time. ;)
 
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Jul 27, 2011
4,529
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
Since you'd already finished the race it was not necessary to have all the crew still on the boat to finish. Let him know that you would have let him swim home if he had wanted to. He'll be more careful next time. ;)
Good point! But race or not, s**t like that can happen at anytime. Must always be aware; situational awareness it is sometimes called. Practice it daily, like a daily prayer:pray:. That goes for skippers too. Best advice to the newbies out there.
 
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Nov 8, 2010
11,385
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
King,

If you gybed from one downwind tack to the other, why was the boat heeled so much during the recovery? Something not get released in the gybe? Normally thats a flat-to-flat kinda deal. Lucky the AP held course.
 
Jul 12, 2011
973
Catalina 36 1771 Ft Pierce, Florida
Seen many a screw-up after races, with people concerned with opening beers and telling stories, not sailing the boat. We recovered one fellow off a boat in one of those easy-run-to-harbor lines that happen after many races. Fellow was standing on the coach-roof drinking a beer, when a slow gybe sent the boom into his stomach, and lifted him gently over the starboard lifelines. We scooped him up and he stepped onto his boat on the way back to the dock with only the loss of his glasses, but it could have been much worse. Good reminder, @Kings Gambit
 
Jul 27, 2011
4,529
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
King,

If you gybed from one downwind tack to the other, why was the boat heeled so much during the recovery? Something not get released in the gybe? Normally thats a flat-to-flat kinda deal. Lucky the AP held course.
The new tack was quickly higher than the one we came over from; kind of a hard left from a broad reach to wind nearly abeam; had to keep distance from seawall to starboard. Not the best:snooty:. Heeling was of short duration; just long enough. A crew at the helm.
 
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Nov 8, 2010
11,385
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
The new tack was quickly higher than the one we came over from; kind of a hard left from a broad reach to wind nearly abeam; had to keep distance from seawall to starboard. Not the best:snooty:. Heeling was of short duration; just long enough. A crew at the helm.
yea I get that for sure.

The other culprit here are these mid-boom- cabin top mounted main sheets. You get zero control and zero feel with them, and absolutely no way to control a gybe. The huge loss of mechanical leverage vs end-boom means the thing is always on a winch, making playing it hard especially after it flies across. The brake helps some but not in any way that really matters.
 
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DArcy

.
Feb 11, 2017
1,193
Islander Freeport 36 Ottawa
People do let their guard down after a race. A few years ago we were heading in on a blustery evening We had the jib down and were heading back to the harbour. A gust, a wave, the boat healed a bit and one of the crew went right over the side barely touching the life line. He was about 30, in great shape and very used to being on boats so it can happen to any one. We assigned a spotter, did a figure 8, dropped the ladder, came up head to wind, he climbed aboard and we headed in. He was only in the water a minute or so and was not injured but it's a good reminder that stuff can happen and we all need to pay attention.
 
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Jul 27, 2011
4,529
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
yea I get that for sure.

The other culprit here are these mid-boom- cabin top mounted main sheets. You get zero control and zero feel with them, and absolutely no way to control a gybe. The huge loss of mechanical leverage vs end-boom means the thing is always on a winch, making playing it hard especially after it flies across. The brake helps some but not in any way that really matters.
The brake has helped more than I thought it would. I can tension it on each side at the spinnaker winches. The brake can slow the boom and prevent a “hard stop” at the end of mainsheet The gybe around the race mark was in 21 kt true I was later told. Helm gybed when required with little prep (trim) at the mainsheet winch beforehand. I expected worse. The boat ahead, a J109, fouled its mainsheet on the binnacle :doh: causing it to round up hard. Lots of commotion. Pursuit race so we close to each other near the finish. Having the mainsheet out of the cockpit might offer something positive.
 
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Nov 8, 2010
11,385
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
The brake has helped more than I thought it would. I can tension it on each side at the spinnaker winches. The brake can slow the boom down and prevent a “hard stop” at the end of mainsheet The gybe around the race mark was in 21 kt true I was later told. Helm gybed when required with little prep (trim) at the mainsheet winch. I expected worse. The boat ahead, a J109, fouled its mainsheet on the binnacle causing it to round up hard. Lots of commotion. So having the main sheet out of cockpit might have some attribute.
Sorry but thats just making sour grapes. Of course mistakes can be made on any boat, but the best way to handle the main is end boom sheeting. Mid boom is a collection of compromises, made to allow for convenience, space, and biminis.. You've never ever see a real race boat with it.
 
Jul 27, 2011
4,529
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
Sorry but thats just making sour grapes. Of course mistakes can be made on any boat, but the best way to handle the main is end boom sheeting. Mid boom is a collection of compromises, made to allow for convenience, space, and biminis.. You've never ever see a real race boat with it.
Just reporting what happened. The Bavaria 38E is definitely a cruiser. But, good points.
 
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