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  1. #21
    Ubergeekian's Avatar
    Ubergeekian is offline Registered User
    Location : Me: Castle Douglas, SW Scotland. Boats: Kirkcudbright, Loch Ken, Port Bannatyne
    Join Date
    Jun 2004


    Quote Originally Posted by Searush View Post
    Very sad story & sorry for the people concerned, however there are techniques people need to now. If the dinghy floats, you need one either side while one gets in. If solo, try getting in over the stern.
    Last year I capsized a wee dinghy I was taking for a test sail. There was no possible way for me to get back into it: if I tried over the side or stern it just sank under me. So I hung on to the transom and headed for the shore on a run, moving the rudder by hand to steer. After a few minutes of this I had a further thought - I was at Rockcliffe on the Solway so ... yes, the water was about 3' deep. I could have stood beside the capsized boat.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jul 2005


    I 'think' i can climb out using the windvane struts, something to try but right now the multithingy readout says 13 deg sea temp.
    A simple rope ladder part hanging off the transom would work too
    Last edited by Blueboatman; 06-05-11 at 09:01. Reason: sp.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Oct 2006


    Quote Originally Posted by Ubergeekian View Post
    Last year I capsized a wee dinghy I was taking for a test sail. There was no possible way for me to get back into it: if I tried over the side or stern it just sank under me. So I hung on to the transom and headed for the shore on a run, moving the rudder by hand to steer. After a few minutes of this I had a further thought - I was at Rockcliffe on the Solway so ... yes, the water was about 3' deep. I could have stood beside the capsized boat.
    You have inadequate bouancy. I capsized my Heron many moons ago & the bouyancy bags slipped, so she was swamped to the gunwhales. I got in over the stern & started baling, but she was so deep the centreboard was under water DUH! I sailed her back - mostly downwind, but every time a gust hit, she submarined, diving to the bottom of the lake before bouncing back to the top. I have some pics of baling her with the kids' potty, but hard copy only.
    Boaty junk clogging up your shed or lockers? Chuck it in

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  4. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2006


    On a sailing dinghy, you can normally climb in over the windward side, and sheet in the main a little to stop it coming over on top of you. In a wide tubed inflatable, it might be possible to tie the painter on to something for a step.

    For the big boat, I've a plan forming in my mind to have the ladder tied up with a looped knot (i.e. one that frees when pulling the loose end), and the free end tied off so that it can be grabbed from in the water, so pulling it first unties the knot, and then pulls the ladder, so I can pull it down. Whatdyareckon?

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Dec 2010


    Great to see all these responses, both tragic and hilarious.

    Re. the crews' dilemma in the film, in extremis, mightn't any irregularity in the hull's side provide something to grip whilst working upwards? For instance, drain-ports?

    A blank hull rising three or four feet above the waterline will doubtless defy any attempt to grab the deck, but a hole, big enough to put two strong fingers in, must make reaching up a lot easier. Maybe it depends how genuinely desperate the situation is?

  6. #26
    planteater is offline Registered User
    Location : From Soho down to Brighton....
    Join Date
    Dec 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by Lakesailor View Post
    For transom-hung rudders

    What a great idea. A couple of folding mast steps on the rudder would probably work.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Jul 2006


    Many years ago in Greece the crew of a charter yacht all jumped in for a swim, it was flat calm, no sails up. Typically in Greece the wind, at about 12.00 to 13.00, can go from 0 to 20/25 knots and that's what happened. The boat shot off, they couldn't catch it, and all drowned. The boat was found later and the the cockpit had been set up with food and drinks. A salutary lesson, leave somebody competent on board.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Dec 2010


    I suppose any yacht with a transom or a square stern that reaches the waterline, could have steps built-in or attached, without causing any drag under way.

    I seem to remember seeing a launch or tug, some sort of workboat, with a length of line along each rail, slack enough so that between the stanchions, each bight dipped to within a couple of feet of the waterline. Not exactly slick, but totally practical.
    Last edited by dancrane; 06-05-11 at 11:14.

  9. #29
    Seajet's Avatar
    Seajet is offline Registered User
    Location : West Sussex / Hants
    Join Date
    Sep 2010

    Default Lessons learned the hard way

    I posted about this experience I had the other day, under a thread ' Boat Sunk & Man Overboard, How Was Your Bank Holiday ?! ' on the Scuttlebutt forum.

    Please note, I would have had no chance of getting back aboard alone, despite my precautions, and it was almost beyond us with my very fit, marathon running chum helping from the cockpit.

    Since I posted this on my sailing club forum, 3 other people have mentioned they have also been in the water, transferring between dinghy and cruiser.

    One drifted for quite a while, and was only spotted because his dinghy had a yellow bottom for just this eventuality.

    Another was swept by wind and tide, managed to grab another boat and was stuck there, hanging to the mooring buoy.

    The 3rd went in, alone like the others, in January in a wide part of the harbour.

    Like the others, he was only spotted by pure luck, by a passing boat; he was taken into hospital with no feeling in his limbs, - he is a tough bloke too - and they called his wife, " you'd better get here fast " !

    They were only spotted by luck, all were wearing lifejackets - I am against mandatory lifejackets but in the tender I now think they are esential - and like me had no chance of getting back aboard - a rigid ladder ( forget flexible jobs, if you try climbing them when cold and in heavy wet clothes you'll soon see why ! ) extending well below water level and a means of summoning help - waterproof handheld VHF, flares ? - are essential.

    Here's my bit of fun, this took place after a strenuous day helping salvage a friend's sunken boat, but in good, warm weather...

    I had been sure there was a sleeping bag aboard as well as the duvet I use in the forepeak ( and gave to my chum ), but there wasn’t so I had a cold night, possibly a partial result of sunburn & getting soaked, with no sleep.

    Whatever, after over 41 years without getting close to going overboard, I managed it on Bank holiday Monday !

    I must have put a foot wrong, maybe because the painter was tied upwards and tight the tender pivoted around it, but anyway as I stepped into the 8'6" dinghy it went over on top of me extremely quickly.

    This could have been quite traumatic in itself, but I am used to being in the water with racing dinghies & sails etc on top of me.

    I have only just started wearing a harness / lifejacket in the dinghy, so this auto-inflated, handy but a bit of an encumbrance.

    I have various MOB ideas on my boat.

    The guardrails at the cockpit are on pelican hooks, which were already detached.

    The lower mainsheet block is held to the traveller by a large snap-shackle, and the topping lift is dyneema, to allow using the boom as a crane.

    My chum ( whose boat was on the bottom nearby ) was still in the cockpit, so I was able to instruct him to pass me the snapshackle & mainsheet; hooking it on gave a feeling of security as waves were washing over me and I couldn’t have held on for that long.

    Now the interesting bit; despite this, the Anderson’s low freeboard aft and my chum pulling me from the cockpit, it was a real struggle to get me back in.

    I have a folding step on the transom near water level which has worked when swimming, but with the weight of my wet clothes it was a non-starter.

    If I’d been alone my only hope would have been to swim to shore ( avoiding the soft mud ) a fair distance, in waves and significant tide.

    I might quite easily have died, off the sheltered mooring in a few feet of water – take note please !

    The life jacket would have made swimming quite hard, that and the fact I collected quite a few scrapes and bruises makes me think a buoyancy aid, easier to swim in and with it's protective 'body armour' effect may be better; but one would lose the very important harness eye.

    If this had been offshore, maybe the waves and the boat heeling might have made getting back in easier, but I’d sooner not try it.

    The only solution I can think of is one of those rigid alloy boarding ladders which hooks over the coamings; I have a flexible plastic one but it’s useless, one’s feet shoot away under the boat.

    To cover initial boarding this ladder would have to be carried to and fro in the dinghy, but they’re very light.
    Last edited by Seajet; 06-05-11 at 11:31.
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  10. #30
    Join Date
    Dec 2010


    Very frightening. The shift from fun to acute danger can be alarmingly quick, and in anything but high summer, the cold is crippling. The idea of swarming up an anchor chain when you're up to the ears in ten-centigrade brine, isn't realistic.

    Maybe every yacht ought, (by a sort of "Yachtsmen's Code"), to have a hand-line that dangles visibly but unobstructively over the side, so that pulling on it breaks threads that retain some sort of ladder.

    The principle would of course be that no assistance is required from on board the yacht. I hate rope-ladders, too, but some form of telescopic tubing between the rungs might allow a stiff frame to live in a compact collapsible bag on deck, secured so the ladder extends and slides overboard to a point that the average swimmer can make use of.

    Maybe a short length of shock-cord too, so the swimmer isn't concussed by the bottom rung as the thing slides off the deck.

    I expect such a thing already exists? If not...well, you read it here, first! Patent pending...
    Last edited by dancrane; 06-05-11 at 12:28.

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