Ann goes over - Part 4 - by Dale Davenport
(left) and Jay were on their fourth annual cruise in Rebecca Ann
(a CY) and Sara (a NY). With crew Doug, and Emma the dog. But
it all went very wrong as Dale has described in Parts 1-3.
this final chapter of the story Dale reflects on just where flotation
should be, how the electronics survived and describes a number
of changes he has now made to Rebecca Ann.
the experience put him off? Is he looking for a bigger boat? Perhaps
confining himself to small ponds in the future? Not a bit of it.
As he wrote to me a few days ago, "Jay and I are starting
to plan for a return to Core Sound in late May. Doug is coming,
and Cal who did the Georgia trip with us two years ago."
And Emma the dog? Sadly Emma has passed on.
thoughts on water on the wrong side of a CY
did we learn from all this about where to put flotation? Before,
I had hoped that putting flotation at gunwale level might keep
the boat from sinking down if it went over. I have to think that
the big dry bag tied high in the bow and the two big fenders aft
helped in that regard. However, by the time the bow bag would
engage the water, the front end of the boat, lying on its side,
would be quite far down in the water. The sleeping platforms,
which although lower are also considerably farther off the centerline,
would probably do more good in preventing the boat from sinking
down so much when at ninety degrees.
suspect whatever good the flotation did in preventing the boat
from sinking down at ninety degrees, when the boat flopped from
side to side it must have scooped up more and more water each
time. So, when we got the mainsail down and it righted it had
all the water it could take, having defeated the benefit of high
flotation if any there was.
thinking now is that I want more low flotation. There has been
a view expressed on the Classic Marine website that you can overdo
buoyancy. You can read the debate here.
of the electronics
did a saltwater bath do to the electronics? If I had demonstrated
the presence of mind to immediately flush batteries with fresh
water as soon as we crawled up the beach, it might have been better,
but I didn't. By the next morning the following had developed
orange grunge: the battery pack for the fishfinder; the battery
pack for the Standard Horizon VHF, (although the unit still works
fine with the rechargeable battery I had back in my truck); the
LED headlamp, which was supposed to be waterproof; one of the
battery LED navigation lights, although the other one is fine
and I may not have screwed the one that failed tight enough; several
flashlights; every butane lighter we had, except that later at
home I managed to revive a high quality one in my pocket. The
Garmin Venture Etrex GPS was the winner of the submersion test.
It had not a drop of moisture in the battery area and shows no
sign of any problem.
mobile phone and digital camera were in an Otter
Box tied to an aft knee. It was submerged but leaked not a
drop. Of course I would have run a big risk taking the phone out
to call for help. A non-flip phone in a dry bag probably would
be better, but it wouldnt be as protected as in the box.
On the other hand, what good is a protected, unusable mobile phone?
I note that since the alkaline battery tray for the Standard Horizon
260 VHF leaked enough to ruin the AAs, obviously it wasnt
working once it leaked. It doesnt do much good if the unit
itself is waterproof if the power supply shorts out.
made to Rebecca Ann
first and foremost given what happened at Lookout Bight, I have
a short lanyard on my new rudder that secures it to the boat.
bought two more very large fenders and have secured them along
the outside of the aft gear boxes. This gives more low flotation.
allow the boom the needed slack to move it forward, I adjusted
the downhaul so that the maximum length of line can rise above
the partner when the downhaul tackle is loosened. This lets me
shove the boom forward, which due to the balanced lug geometry
is necessary to fully drop the yard when the foresail is fully
bought a halyard hook from Classic Marine, so I can very quickly
release the yard from the line. This lets me get the foresail
all the way down, out of the wind.
enlarged the dumbsheave so the splice can go into it, allowing
the hook to move farther up.
here is a longwinded explanation for something that is fairly
simple in use. One substantial deficiency I identified was the
need to uncleat the foresail halyard at the partner, in order
to drop the sail and get the power off the boat in a hurry. That
meant somebody had to go forward and uncleat the halyard from
a horn cleat or belaying pin. To avoid this, I cut a notch in
the aft side of the partner so the halyard can come down from
the masthead into the notch. Lined up below the notch is a camcleat.
I raise the foresail I temporarily cleat the halyard in the camcleat.
From the camcleat the halyard is reeved through a single block
on a tail that is tied to a padeye on the planking. After I get
the sail up, I tighten the downhaul so that the aft end of the
boom rises up, and get the boat sailing and under control, I then
can pull the slack out of the halyard, pulling on it from my helmsman
position back of the trunk. Before I do that, I loosen the downhaul
some but not completely. As the halyard becomes taut on my side
of the single block, it raises the block up in the air, pulling
it against the tail that goes to the padeye. I experimented with
the location of the padeye and the length of the tail, so that
the halyard is completely taut it snaps out of the camcleat and
lines up just aft of the partner. It also is at just the right
height to make the horizontal run of the halyard clear the center
bench and trunk top.
finally cleat the halyard I fixed another camcleat on top of the
trunk. As I tighten the halyard the last few inches, I cleat it
on that camcleat, before it snaps out of the partner camcleat.
That is the last step, and at that point the halyard is running
down alongside the mast to the single block, which turns the halyards
direction so it can come aft to the top on the trunk to the camcleat
there. To prevent accidental release from that camcleat, I fixed
two short horizontal brass rods an inch or so fore and aft of
the camcleat, with the rods open on opposite sides. I have to
zig-zag the halyard under both of them to reach the camcleat.
The rods reduce the chance of inadvertently kicking the halyard
loose and dropping the yard.
it takes only a second to grab the halyard and move it under and
away from the rods, popping it out of the camcleat. At
that point, if I let fly the halyard, the yard and sail drop like
a rock.If I loosen the downhaul, too, and push the boom forward,
the yard will come on down to the gunwale level even if the sail
arrangement lets me get back to the helm after raising sail without
having to spend a few seconds cleating off the halyard while the
boat sometimes is sailing herself. More important, it really works
when I want to drop the foresail in a hurry.
it was a mistake at Cape Lookout to drop anchor, I realizedthat
being able to get an anchor out quickly is important. I now have
the 5T Danforth on a short length of chain, which together with
the line is fifty feet long. The anchor is clipped next to the
motor well, with the rode led forward on thumbcleats to a horn
cleat near the bow. I can unsnap the Danforth and drop it overthe
side with one hand from the helm, and estimate pretty well where
the boat can go.
my capsize incident I benefited from having much of the gear and
equipment well secured. (Two other things we did right were (a)
wear the PFDs and (b) use dry bags. Those should be so obvious
to any reader who plans a trip away from easy third-party assistance
that I havent even mentioned them up to now.) Henceforth,
everything will be tied down. I have installed over a dozen bronze
to electronics, Standard Horizon now has a US$100 VHF with a waterproof
alkaline pack, and I bought one as my primary unit. I junked the
fish finder/depth sounder. The more I sail the more I believe
that I can learn more from looking outside the boat rather than
watching electronics. I bought a marine flashlight and another
headlamp; both look like they may actually be waterproof. I bought
a flint and steel.
final change is planned, having to do with crew training. I have
never educated my crew like I could. Over the years, the same
people do return for more of these trips. Taking the time to teach
them is a compliment I have inappropriately never paid them. While
being able to drop the foresail from the helm is very important,
having a crewman who knows how to do is even better. We plan to
return to Core Sound this year, and this time I intend to fully
utilize our very capable human resources.
were some very good things about that trip. First, we learned
a lot, more than on trips when things went better. Second, while
its nice to have good traveling companions any time, its
even better to have folks around you who pull together, dont
complain and keep their sense of humor in adverse circumstances.
So in that way the trip was the best weve had.
behalf of all readers I'd like to thank Dale for sharing this
all with us. For collecting his thoughts, crafting a most educational
and readable story, and taking the photos to illustrate it. And
good luck with Core Sound this year. Nick