|Example of a "cassette" emergency steering rudder.|
Courtesy of Jim Antrim, Naval Architect.
Jackstays, trolley lines, or jacklines: whatever you call them, they are an integral part of staying onboard in rough conditions. They can be made of webbing or wire; many prefer webbing since it is less of a tripping hazard on deck. Jacklines do not have to run to the transom, but should run within 2m of the bow and stern. Don't use standard flat webbing of the kind that might be used to reinforce the corners of sails. Use heavy nylon, or preferably polyester webbing with a strength of at least 6000#. You can use a luggage hitch on the forward anchor point (something strong, like a pad eye, toe rail, or mooring cleat) and then lash the aft eye to another strong point using small Spectra line. By taking several passes of Spectra single braid through the sewn eye and the fixed point, you can create a turnbuckle of sorts that can exert lots of tension and be as strong as the line you're attaching.
|Galley fires can spread quickly. Photo courtesy of BoatUS.|
|Under the sole, but why is the stock cut off?|
If your boat is equipped with an aluminum anchor, like the Fortress, Guardian, or some of the European anchors, there's generally a "steel equivalent" number on the anchor to give you an idea of what it would weigh if made from steel. For example, a Fortress FX-23 weighs about 14#, but has approximately the same size as a 23# steel Danforth anchor. So, one way to get the performance of a larger anchor is to buy a premium aluminum anchor. Regardless of the material, race boats should have legitimate anchors with high holding power, like Rocna, Manson Supreme, Fortress, or Danforth Hi-Tensile.
Chain size should be related to the anchor size (no need having a high holding power anchor with a chain that will fail), although the need to have a boat length is debatable, and the Special Regs are silent on the size and length of chain and line used. A rule that has worked well is to select line diameter is 1/8" of line diameter for each 9' of boat length (36' boat could use a 1/2" nylon line). A related rule is to use chain that is half the line diameter (1/4" in this case.)
|MD, call home! One of the best reasons to|
have a satellite telephone may be to call
a tele-medicine service like WorldClinic.
Section 4.10 requires that you have a passive (non-transmitting) radar reflector. Radar reflectors are remarkably hard to measure and to state their performance in a concise manner. (See the 1995 test of radar reflectors on the US Sailing web site.) Octahedral reflectors (those that have three planes intersecting at 90 degree angles) are required to be 18" across according to ISAF and 12" across according to US Sailing. That includes models like the Davis Echomaster reflectors.
|Akela's storage diagram is among the best.|
Depending on the nature of the race you're entering, and the instructions given to the inspector, the requirement for emergency steering can be anything from a general discussion of using a spinnaker pole and floorboards off the stern, to having to demonstrate a replacement rudder and sail upwind and down. The Pacific races have had a long history of steering and rudder failures, so it's not without cause that Transpac and Pacific Cup inspectors look upon explanations of how racers will sail 1500 miles downwind by moving drogues from side to side with a certain amount of incredulity.
|Beautifully made, but can it take the strain of a 77' boat?|
|For want of a bolt, the race was lost. On a SC52, this single|
bolt required lots of jury rigging, but the boat made it safely
to Kaneohe YC due to the skill of the crew.
What are some possible solutions to emergency steering?
- A separate rudder and tiller, attached with pintles and gudgeons to the transom of the boat. If you build a second rudder, it's recommended that it extend far enough into the water to be effective, not be too large so the loads don't overwhelm its strength, and be able to be installed at sea. The shape should be fat, and the rudder does not have to be smooth to be effective.
- An improvement to to a rudder hung on pintles is a rudder which slides inside a "cassette". The cassette is above the waterline and pivots on pintles and gudgeons. The rudder blade slides down inside the cassette, which makes it dramatically easier to install at sea.
- Several boats have demonstrated their ability to be steered upwind and down with a spinnaker pole which is attached to a universal fitting at lowest extremity of the transom. Using a line to pull the pole down into the water, plus lines which allow the pole to be swung from side to side, the pole/rudder has enough force to swing the stern from side to side. "Commodore" Warrick Tompkins developed this method in the late 90s.
John Jourdane and crew sailed Brooke Ann for hundreds of
miles using this sweep. Impressive, but next time use a rudder?
- Spinnaker poles can also be used with floorboards or other flat materials to create a "sweep". This is what sailors generally think they can do, but relatively few boats have made this work. John Jourdane has a picture of his crew sailing Brooke Ann in the Caribbean using this method.
- Finally, and it's sort of unrealistic to say "finally" since I suspect there are a hundred other possibilities, several boats have been successfully sailed using a drogue off the stern which can be pulled to one side of the transom or the other. By moving the attachment point of the drogue, the boat can be forced to point in the intended direction. This is generally a method of last resort, and when your landfall is downwind.
|You can't fix your Honda with these tools; they're intended|
to allow you to get back to port after something has broken.
|Everyone who has used a Band-It tool at sea becomes the best|
salesman possible. Band-Its allow you to compress things
together so they can be put back to use. Examples are boat
structure, booms, spinnaker poles, masts, goosenecks, etc.
If your boat sinks, you want your rescuers to know that it was you and not someone else. That's why it's required that you put your vessel name on stuff that is likely to float away in case of a sinking.
Section 4.18 requires that floating items that begin with the letters L-I-F-E need to have retro-reflective tape on them. Life rafts, life buoys, life slings, and other safety gear will be dramatically easier to see at night when it has "SOLAS" tape on it. Note that this only works for the person with the searchlight; it's retro-reflective after all, which means that it reflects in the direction opposite from the incoming light. Those with the light get an immediate brilliant return, while everyone else wonders what all the excitement is about.
4.19 requires that you have an EPIRB. Few marine safety items have made as great an impact as Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons to sailors who sail in Category 1 races. Buy one with a built-in GPS receiver, register it, and make sure everyone on board knows where it's stored and how to operate it.
|Life rafts: expensive, infrequently used, and absolutely|
necessary when crossing oceans. Note orange bottom
in case your rescuers are looking for an upside down raft...
Everyone seems to agree that insulated floors on rafts are a good idea, and yet most of the longest examples of survival have happened on rafts with uninsulated floors. To convince yourself of the desirability of an insulated floor, sit in a raft in relatively balmy conditions without one (say, in Newport Harbor with 60 degree water). In less than an hour, you'll wish that you had something between you and the ocean to keep your heat loss to a minimum. The colder the water, the sooner this will occur to you.
|Charter boat in Tortola. While the raft is sort of in the way, |
it's a hell of a lot easier to launch it when it is above decks.
|This pint of water was inside the author's own|
raft, complete empty, having rusted through.
|The Lifesling really works. See the US Sailing web site for a |
write-up on the 2005 Crew Overboard Symposium on San
Francisco Bay by John Rousmaniere.
|When you deploy a "MOM", what are you actually providing|
to the victim? Here's one in use on San Francisco Bay.
|MOMs need to be inspected on a two year interval.|
|Generally, signals will have the date of manufacture, and |
then a date 42 months after wards which is when the it's
no longer legal. It may actually work for a decade...
|Rescue swimmer demonstrating a small smoke flare in Hawaii.|
4.23.2 also requires a flashlight (with spare bulb and batteries) and a white spotlight for collision avoidance. These two devices are not well defined. We suggest having a compact LED flashlight for every sailor onboard, and consider having a supply of quality headlamps (again, LEDs work well) for at least half the crew and preferably all of them.
The heaving line requirement is best met by a heaving line in a bag, sometimes called a (Rescue) Throw Rope. This should have a permanent place at the helm or pushpit, and should be 70' long. The one doesn't have to be particularly strong (perhaps 1,000# is sufficient), since you can use it to pull a larger line to a vessel that is going to be towed or going to do the towing. Heaving lines are a great way to get a line to a person in the water without maneuvering the vessel too close by. (4.24)
|What's wrong with this picture?|
Rather than try to figure out what you need in the way of storm sails, you are probably better of going to your sailmaker and asking him/her to make you a set. Storm sails are tiny, flat, and extremely strong. In survival conditions, very few sailors argue that their sails were too small. Some races have allowed boats to sail offshore without storm trysails on the grounds that, historically, the races had not been run when storms were likely. We hope that this false economy has been put to rest.
|You can't be sure that your boom will still be in one piece, so |
it cannot be counted on to help in trimming the trysail. Photo credit:
John Jourdane, who has lost more rudders and masts than any
other living sailor, or so it seems.
- Trysails are commonly at odds with batten car systems on modern mainsails because the external track does not allow the trysail to share the track with the main. IN that case, a secondary track, parallel and offset to one side of the main track, is virtually the only answer. Some new masts have actually come with gates that allow the two sails to share a common track, but it's generally built into the boat at the factory.
- Trysails should not sheet to the end of the boom, or require that a boom be present. A trysail sheets like a jib, with two jib sheets and no interaction with the boom. One of the common reasons to use a trysail is because your boom is in pieces after a round-down.
- Furling headsails create a challenge for bending on a storm jib. You either have to unroll your furling jib entirely and tack it off the furler (which can be difficult to do on a windless day at your slip), or you have to use a different stay, or you have to use a sail that goes over your furling jib. ATN makes a storm jib called the Gale Sail which attempts to solve this issue by allowing the luff of the storm jib to be zipped around the furled jib while it's in place.
Here's my take on drag devices, since many sailors swear by them. These two items are completely different in construction and use. A sea anchor is a very large drag device shaped like a parachute, which is deployed off the bow and designed to reduce the sternway of a boat to less than a knot. It must be used with a long nylon line, which can be the anchor rode, to absorb the shock of waves hitting the boat. A drogue is deployed off the stern, is far smaller (perhaps 5' in diameter), and is used to keep a boat from accelerating to surfing speeds on the face of a wave. Properly sized drogues roughly halve the speed of the boat. Para-Tech and Fiorentino are two popular brands of drag devices.