Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Sailing Canoe - Capsize Recovery Practice

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Peterborough, England
    Posts
    1,393

    Default Sailing Canoe - Capsize Recovery Practice

    During the Coniston Water meet last month, a few of us decided to see how each of our canoes could cope with a capsize recovery and this was captured on my video camera, so I uploaded it to YouTube.

    The capsize recovery tank fitted to the new Shearwater's work a treat. What a great idea.

    For those unfamiliar with it, I'll try to explain.

    As the canoe goes over onto its side, some water is allowed to drain into a separate tank on the starboard side through a reasonable size hole just under the leeboard mount. Then as the canoeist pulls down on the port side gunwale to climb back in, the weight of the water in the tank acts as a counter weight, allowing the canoeist more time to pull himself in. The rate of roll is much slower so the canoe doesn't roll back over onto him as quickly. Later once inside, the water in the tank drains from the tank through a small hole back inside the canoe for it to be bailed out in the normal way. Nice, simple idea.



    In part of the video, Gavin and I (Yes it took two of us) submerged my canoe so it was full to the gunnels and then I sailed off to see how it performed. With front and aft buoyancy bags, plus two side airbags and two outriggers it was very, very stable. Though heavy, I could have sailed it around all day and at one point I could be seen walking around the flooded canoe.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Bridgewater Canal, Cheshire
    Posts
    1,541

    Default

    The flooded tank looks to be a very useful modification although I am not convinced that in order to recover one should be reducing the overall buoyancy of the boat - but it appears to work well. Presumably the tank could be divided internally so as to limit the amount of flooding to only the lower section? In which case, a hand air pump, kayak bilge pump (or Jurassic's electric bailer) could be used to expel the water directly over the side. I have found recovery of the canoe without the amas fitted to be difficult and something like this would certainly add confidence. How much did the full tank affect the boat balance, would it be possible to leave it full? In my experience of small boats a capsize is frequently followed by another - or a near miss - as the conditions which caused the first dunking usually prevail (unless it was due to stupidity!).

    In my limited experience, with the amas fitted I have found it very easy to lie on my back holding the support beam and hook a leg into the canoe and then follow this with a rolling action similar to the "new" method of re-entering a kayak. This avoids the effort of climbing up across the gunwales which is not easy with an expedition type BA filled with goodies. It also used the big leg muscles and not the arms which tire quickly (well mine do!). This technique probably depends a lot on the canoeist weight and buoyancy of the amas.

    I love the part where you walk around the boat - for me this is a great attraction of sailing canoes as I often want to stand in a kayak and strech my legs - which then get exercised by a swim

    Graham

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    grange over sands, cumbria
    Posts
    931

    Default

    The floodable part of the side tank is quite small. It is a small part that is partitioned off. Enough to hold about 30lbs of water. The rest of the tank is still buoyancy. The 30lbs counterbalances the weight of the rig and the person climbing back on board. Without it it is easy to capsize the boat on top of you as the weight of the rig comes over towards you. The canoe still rights without taking on any other water, so all that ends up in the cockpit is the 3 gallons that went into the floodable tank.
    I struggled to get myself high enough to reach the far gunwale, and tired myself out with the effort. I usually get an asthma attack when i do capsize practice. Not sure why as it doesnt usually bother me much, but i had to pause to get my breath back. I think my buoyancy aid caught on the nearside gunwale as well. This shows why it is important to practice this as what you think was easy a few years ago can suddenly become only just manageable.(need to get fitter and also lose some weight!)
    The outriggers really make a difference in balancing the canoe for re-entry. The bent beam holds them out of the water most of the time when sailing, but also allows the canoe to heel well over when climbing back in. The Shearwater, because it comes up dry, has a lot of freeboard to get back over , which makes it much harder than a canoe partially flooded. The plus side though is that it doesnt need bailing after.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Bridgewater Canal, Cheshire
    Posts
    1,541

    Default

    Very clever and well thought-through Dave!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Poole Dorset UK
    Posts
    2,282

    Default

    Ive tried to get back in mine like you did, but simply cant.

    Ive too much stomach and not enough strength.

    So I hold the near gunnel, kick my feet until Im flat on the water as if I was swimming, then hook my foot up over the amas and half kick and half pull myself flat over the canoe.

    If I dont kick off the amas with my foot, I cant get back on.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    West Yorkshire
    Posts
    3,656

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveS View Post
    I usually get an asthma attack when i do capsize practice. Not sure why as it doesn't usually bother me much, but I had to pause to get my breath back.
    Throughout the 1980s, I'd join an annual Easter canoe-club trip to St Davids for a week of sea canoeing and "surfing" (actually getting repeatedly wiped out in 6'-8' dumping waves). At some point in that week, I'd always start really noticing tightness in my chest and difficulty breathing. The Doc said Asthma... and his top tip was to "avoid prolonged or strenuous activity, particularly in a cold or damp environment"!

    Given that I spent most of each winter kayaking... and wherever possible, WW kayaking... and that my other loves were windsurfing (cold any time of year) and climbing (which I've done with the snow being blown UP grit-stone edges)... and that I now paddle and sail colder, wetter boats... I don't suppose I can claim to have been a very dutiful patient

    Knowledge and understanding of such things has presumably moved on in the 25+ years since I last consulted anyone on this matter: might be time for my Quinquennial visit to the GP

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Peterborough, England
    Posts
    1,393

    Default

    Dave, you know you said that my canoe came up with more water inside it on Coniston Water in October than it did earlier in the year when testing the capsize arm/ float device, well I've figured out why that is!

    In order to get the canoe back round the right way up with the outriggers fitted, I needed to stand on one outrigger to submerge it while pulling the leeboard and other outrigger. In doing this, my weight is pushing the gunwale deeper in the water, which in turn is scooping more water in.

    Without the outriggers fitted and just using the arm/ float device, the canoe simply rolls over first without needing my body weight, so comes up fairly dry and then I pull out the arm and fit the float before getting back in.

    It bothered me that I couldn't figure out why with more buoyancy of the outriggers fitted, I ended up with more water inside the canoe. Now I know why. Best to still have the outriggers fitted when conditions take a turn for the worse and help prevent the capsize in the first place, but should it happen, it will take a little longer to empty the canoe.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    South Coast
    Posts
    328

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Steamerpoint View Post
    Dave, you know you said that my canoe came up with more water inside it on Coniston Water in October than it did earlier in the year when testing the capsize arm/ float device, well I've figured out why that is!

    In order to get the canoe back round the right way up with the outriggers fitted, I needed to stand on one outrigger to submerge it while pulling the leeboard and other outrigger. In doing this, my weight is pushing the gunwale deeper in the water, which in turn is scooping more water in.

    Without the outriggers fitted and just using the arm/ float device, the canoe simply rolls over first without needing my body weight, so comes up fairly dry and then I pull out the arm and fit the float before getting back in.

    It bothered me that I couldn't figure out why with more buoyancy of the outriggers fitted, I ended up with more water inside the canoe. Now I know why. Best to still have the outriggers fitted when conditions take a turn for the worse and help prevent the capsize in the first place, but should it happen, it will take a little longer to empty the canoe.
    I can see what happened. You were still standing on the outrigger as your canoe fast righted past the point of it being on its side. The reason you righted the boat so quickly from completely inverted was because there was no sailing rig. The damping effect of a sailing rig makes it all happen more slowly. Once the boat is on its side there is no advantage to be gained from standing on the outrigger, which would only serve to sink the boat a bit and ship more water (as you found) without giving you any more leverage to get it fully righted. You should try it again with a rig.

    Outriggers do also provide a much more stable platform to get back aboard. This can be especially important for self recovery in wind and waves - which is something we need to practice more.
    Last edited by GavinM; 26th-November-2012 at 06:46 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    grange over sands, cumbria
    Posts
    931

    Default

    I think Gavin has it there. If you stand on the outrigger to turn the canoe over you will sink the canoe lower. Once it reaches the balance point you need to get your weight off it. The buoyancy in the outrigger will more than support its extra weight, but once it gets beyond the balance point it will quickly right itself. The trick will be to support the canoe at the balance point and let it rise and empty the extra water, and let it slowly rise. With your 44sq ft rig this will be much slower, but at the same time the extra weight of the rig may mean that it still takes on more water. Need to practice this some more to find what works best with your canoe. Without outriggers, removing the rig before righting the canoe can mean that it comes up with less water in, and it can be easier to get back in, and be more stable while you bail the canoe out. You do need to have a rig that stays together, and attached to the canoe by its sheet. A knot in the end of the sheet is needed to prevent you losing the rig.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Peterborough, England
    Posts
    1,393

    Default

    Because I don't have anything to keep my mast connected to my canoe, Dave & I were discussing the idea of just pulling the mast away from the canoe if it hadn't dropped out by then anyway and then right the canoe. I would imagine that with outriggers fitted, the canoe will be completely inverted anyway and a big chance that my mast is now acting as a sand anchor (If it is shallow enough) or hanging 20-feet below the canoe by it's sheet.

    Until I upgrade the setup with something that stops the mast from separating from the canoe, I feel that capsize recovery practice without the mast fitted represents the likelyhood scenario at present.

    This image shows the tipping point or just after it. While the rudder and leeboard are now horizontal, the outrigger in the water is now trying to lift the canoe up the right way.



    My foot is actually forward of my body (Directly under the elevated outrigger) I am effectively pushing the outrigger away from me with my foot rather than pushing down at this point, so the buoyancy should already be lifting the canoe slightly.

    All in all, it's not a problem if the canoe comes up with more water in it. It took the weight of Gavin and I on the back of the canoe to fill it up to the gunwales and even then it lifted out of the water once he got off! If the canoe has another 6-inches of water inside once it has been righted, I guess I could still carry on sailing without any dramas or bailing out the remainder. Just sail to shore if it is possible or bail it empty again.

    It's all good stuff though and nice to know what it possible following a capsize.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Helensburgh, Scotland.
    Posts
    1,740

    Default

    I'd be wary of trying with the rig in place unless you secure the mast in the foot/thwart Chris, remember the old mast punching through the bottom scenario? Even if it comes partly out of the the thwart it would probably break the thwart as you right the canoe. I reckon you're on the right tracks dumping the rig before righting the boat unless you can find a way of locking the mast in place (as you mention).

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    South Coast
    Posts
    328

    Default

    Jurassic - unshipping the rig avoids the risk of breaking the thwart as you say. However, I've tried pulling the mast right out of the mast thwart a few times and found subsequently recovering the rig and setting sail again without going ashore (either by furling the sail, re stepping the mast and unfurling the sail or just bodily heaving the whole rig back into place) at best awkward and I really wanted to avoid this in conditions which would be likely to cause a capsize, where it could be a lot more difficult. The remedy in my first open sailing canoe was to ask Solway Dory to add a mast tube between the mast thwart and the mast foot - not total protection against breaking the mast thwart if the mast half came out, but better than no tube. In practice my mast never did show any tendency to fall out when the boat was inverted but I agree it could have happened. The remedy in my current Shearwater (and yours?) is a turnbuckle to stop the mast falling out when inverted. I reckon this is the best way for others to go, if possible.

    Steamerpoint - in the picture your body is half out the water and quite close to the hull. Pulling down (or pushing down if the starboard gunwale is in the water) on the end of the leeboard with your body away from the boat as much as practical will give more leverage with less weight sinking the boat. It's a pity the wind had dropped so much by the time we got round to trying capsizes on Coniston because it would have been good to practice self-recovery in a bit more wind and with waves, but maybe at a meet next year? I'd like to have a go at capsizing and recovering your boat if you'd let me?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    grange over sands, cumbria
    Posts
    931

    Default

    Gavin is right. You have half your body weight out of the water which suggests an extra 85lbs? sinking the canoe. This could easily amount to several inches or many gallons of water being scooped up into the canoe on righting. It would certainly sink your side bags.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Peterborough, England
    Posts
    1,393

    Default

    Hmm. I have thought about what it might be like to lift the mast & rig out of the water and re-step it in strong winds and big waves! Near on impossible I think, certainly the bigger, taller Bermudan rigs. Best is to keep it in place, connected to the canoe, much like my Enterprise rig if I can.

    Because the mast needs to turn for reefing, the only option I can see is what has already been developed on the Shearwater's and a turn buckle.

    Of course you are welcome to try capsize drills on my canoe Gavin, goes without saying. Just watch yourself on that normal tiller extension! It'll take your eye out!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •