Michael Storer Boat Design


Capsize and Recovery


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One of the main criteria for the OZ PD Racer was that it could self rescue from capsize:
  1. The boat would be easy to pull upright in under a minute without any athletic requirement.
  2. It would come upright with a minimal amount of water aboard
  3. It would not blow away from the sailor in the water (not float too high on it's side)
  4. Wouldn't turn upside down - mast was to be sufficiently buoyant to prevent this
  5. That it could be sailed effectively immediately after capsize without any bailing
In hindsight this was a complete success - Yay!  Everything worked as we had hoped and the boat came up from repeated capsizes with either no or very little water aboard - probably the maximum amount was equivalent to a single bucketful. - the combination of side buoyancy and bow buoyancy tanks keeps the boat floating quite high so not much water can get into the cockpit.  The pic right shows how the boat floats with the cockpit well clear of the water.

Most of the PD Racers come from colder climates where ending up in the water can be a matter of life and death.  A boat that recovers within a minute and comes up without much
water aboard could save a life.  The sailing picture right shows the boat without being bailed out after the capsize sequence below.  There is only a small amount of water in the boat - not enough to affect stability.

The only downside we were able to discover was that some people - often women - had difficulty getting back aboard the boat after it was righted - a similar effort to climbing out of a swimming pool.  Most people managed fine.

We recommend that you do some practice capsizes in your boat to find the best way to get aboard after capsize.

Tim Wrote: The capsize test is encouraging for those of use wondering
what it's 
like to self-recover a PDR.  What did it take to turn the hull over?
I'm guessing you could stand on the corner deck and still not tip over?

The Australian Tradition - capsize, recover and sail on

Hi Tim,

First I should preface this discussion.

Our small sailboat racing tradition is that a capsize is a short event that is not that uncommon.

From that point of view we have set up our boats to be easily righted.

The Practicalities of capsize

I was able to pull the boat upright simply by swimming/pulling myself round the boat to the centreboard and pulling it down.  With many larger boats it is necessary to actually climb onto the centreboard to right the boat which can be a bit hard (at my age) - but the hull and mast of our boats is so light it is easy to grab the centreboard and put some weight on it.

As far as getting the boat to turn over in the first place - in about 8knots of wind I hauled on the sail and moved to the wrong side of the boat - not enough to get it to capsize so I had to hold onto the centrecase and stick my bum out further - finally went over.

I made the attempt - as I did in my youth to just climb onto the side of the boat as it went over directly onto the centreboard.  I am tooooooo slow nowadays so I failed and just dropped back into the water - then swam round in position.

We do have a video clip of the whole episode taken by the girl next door - capsize and righting.  It was through a digital camera which can only take 30 secs of moving pic - so the try to capsize/fail to capsize/try harder/capsize/right boat sequence was less than 30seconds.  I did it twice just to check :-) about the same time both times.

Doing the Numbers

The boat came up with less than an inch or two of water inside, was quite stable and sailed well with the water aboard - I would estimate the water as being about 1 to 1.5 cu ft - 60 to 90 lbs.

We have set up the buoyancy tanks big one in the bow - at a guess  6 cu ft - 360lbs buoyancy two either side at the stern 2.5 cu ft ea - 2 x 150lbs buoyancy

On the deficit side of the account
Hull is 54lbs (or whatever midge quoted a couple of weeks ago)
Rig - Mast (hollow square timber - made from pine floorboards) Sprit and sail come to 20lbs (mast is 17ft above the deck

The result of this is that the boat floats quite high which you can see from the pic on the top of this page.  This was taken with the mast tip on the beach but the boat fully supported by its buoyancy tanks.

As far as I can see standing on one corner of the boat is probably not all that useful as a capsize criterion - what purpose would you have to be there?  The modes of capsize will most always be over the side and maybe over the bow under press of sail - but we haven't been out in enough wind yet.

Bit more wind today - see my other post - Australia Planing PD Racers

Best Regards

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