Sunday, January 16, 2011

Crash Boat Operation; Tip #2; Go for the Mast

When the crash boat goes in for a rescue it's usually for two things; a breakdown that has rendered the sailboat unsailable or a capsize situation that has rapidly deteriorated (a capsize, then a righting, to another capsize, to another righting, to a capsize, to a very tired crew sitting on the daggerboard). For that second situation, when I'm faced with an exhausted crew or a crew that has had difficulty in righting the boat, I make a beeline for the mast. My goal is to get the mast pulled up and then laid across the crash boat. It may take some work (I'll even work extremely hard to pull up a mast of a boat that may be attempting to go turtle) but it makes much shorter work of a rescue. For a tired crew, the key is to get the sails down. It is extremely difficult to get the boat righted, a crew onboard and the sails down, without capsizing again. If one can get the mast stabilized on the crash boat, it makes it much easier for the crew to work at the halyards from the water. The boat is stable on her side, the sails aren't flapping a mile a minute. The crash boat operators can help lower the sails, or if need be, release the halyard shackles if there is a problem with the halyards being snarled up. Many times it makes the situation more manageable if the crash boat operators just takes the sails from the capsized boat and stuff them onboard the crash boat. Once the sails are off, getting the boat righted and under tow is much easier. I've gone for the mast rescue on dinghies as big as a Lightning and catamarans as big as a Nacra 20.

Links to my other crash boat posts;

The Lowly Crash Boat Operator
Crash Boat Operation, Tip 1
Crash Boat Operation, Tip 3
Crash Boat Design

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