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Author Topic: The famous 'Lee Shore'  (Read 4768 times)
davidc
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« on: July 18, 2011, 09:03:18 am »

Just a remider to all sailors of the dangers of the dreaded 'Lee Shore'.
I took our Trintella 29 'Trianti' for a classic regatta in Glandore West Cork Ireland last week.
The event was well attedened with most classes but we found ourselves classed wtih the class 1 cruisers and although we had a number of last places for the few days, we were rewarded with a 3rd in class.
Unfortuantley during the last race, we found ourselves pointing close in an F5 and near a lee shore of rocks.
I tried to tack through to get clear, but my inexperience misjudged the situation and we ended up out of drive and being blown onto the rocks.
We let all sails out and went to start the engine, the key for which was below.
The key was not in place as the main sheet has a tendencey to remove it from the panel and throw it away.
This caused a delay of a half minute or so to locate the key and start the engine. By which time we were being driven closer to imminent contact by a flogging main which had wrapped onto the shrouds.

I ran the enigne at full tilt in reverse but the boat was now beginning turn to 'beam on' to the wind and so I had the tiller full over to try and put our stern directly into the wind and away from the danger.
I felt the prop hit the rudder as it must be over extended at this severe angle- also I knew that trying to get the prop to grip with the tiller full over was not going to work in time.

The crew at this stage droped the main halyard and physically pulled the main sail down to reduce the drive.
My wife was at the pulpit and she saw that the rocks were under the stem and bow roller and she was about to jump ashore to fend off ( I didn't know this at the time)
 
Against my intuition, I straightened the tiller to get some movement across the rudder and the boat miraculously began to track backwards away from the rocks.

We continued against the wind - sternwards until we were a boat length away from the rocks.
Again I went against my intuition and drove the boat forwards, under full tiller lock away from the wind and danger.
I was in automatic mode at this time just trying to save the boat and was also aware that one of the flogging sheets could easily foul the prop. (from previous experience).

When clear, we regained some composure and although disqualified, we continued the race course and stopped before the final mark to retire.

A few lessons learnt my me :-
1. Don't be cocky with a new boat in tricky conditions
2. Don't assume that a long keeler will turn the same as a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey (last boat)
3. Always have experienced crew for the first few outings on a new boat
4. Don't get carried away racing especially if you're last

Any hints from anybody to help prevent the above would be greatly appreciated, as I am still feel sick at the thoughs of my wife jumping over board thinking that she could fend off a 4 tonner in an F5.
I am also sick at the though of wrecking a classic yacht and sick at the thought that I was responsible for such a stupid perfomance in front of my wife and friends

Thanks in advance

David C - Ireland
 
 
     
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Cormorant
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« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2011, 01:15:25 pm »

Loved the story David - thank's for sharing :)

Your wife sounds very heroic, she's a keeper!

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sonosail
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« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2011, 08:35:08 am »

Yes, thanks for sharing. Even the most experienced sailors can get into a tough situation like this. 
Long keeled boats (despite their 'seakeeping' advantages) don't repond to the helm as quickly (under power especially) as ones with short, fin keels.
I guess my only comment/question would be, (and very easy to make after the fact) did you have a problem getting the sails down, (rather than just letting them out)?
I have heard some people say that they don't like furling mechanisms, (main or jib) because they can jam at the worst possible time. I don't know about that. But you do always want to have the ability to at least shorten sail as quickly as possible.  We all know the weather can turn ugly, sometimes without much warning. 
And then, having a good reliable engine can be lifesaver, as you well know.

Sailboat racing isn't generally thought of as a dangerous sport  But that doesn't mean there aren't dangers.  2 people died this past weekend after a capsize during the Chicago Machninac Race. (the first fatalities ever for this event that has been run for more than 100 years.)The people who died both had more than 20 years experience.  Everyone on the boat was wearing PFDs with radio transmitters. (had this not been the case, the toll could easily have been higher.)     
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sonosail
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« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2011, 09:18:48 am »

Loved the story David - thank's for sharing :)

Your wife sounds very heroic, she's a keeper!

Apropos of nothing, other than sailing tragedies: (and it may have been before you were born) but do you remember the single hand sailor Loic Caradec? Lost at sea during the Route de Rhum, in the early 1980's? (they did later find the boat)
I met Loic in Newport RI and went aboard his 80', wing masted, catamaran ROYALE.
It's hard to appreciate how immense this thing was until you stood next to it. Just standing on the dock, the hulls were practically above my head and I had a hard time just climbing on to the thing. The netting that spanned the hulls seemed about the size of a footbal field. The wing mast was just massive, with a cord length of at least 5' and more than 100' tall.
Just a wonderful, friendly man. Not much more than 5'tall. I just remember asking what it was like just raising the sails by himself. He just smiled and said, it's not so easy. I was convinced that he must be a superman, and also crazy. (unfortunately, it was the 'crazy' that did him in.)

Here's a saying that I've heard attributed to the French: (tell me if I'm wrong)
There are old sailors, and bold sailors, but no old AND bold sailors.

rb 
 
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Cormorant
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« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2011, 11:08:36 am »


Quote
There are old sailors, and bold sailors, but no old AND bold sailors.

It should be "Il y a des vieux marins et des marins imprudents, mais pas de vieux marins imprudents." which should be:
There are old sailors and careless sailors, but no old careless sailors". And yes, it's a VERY good thing she stayed in the boat  :o



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davidc
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« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2011, 09:29:35 am »

Thanks for the replies and advice.
As I think it through, I was too close to shore for my boat- simple as that.
There was not enough room for error and unknown to me a couple of dragons went up-wind of me as we were turning, which may have shadowed the wind from us during the tack turn. This was again my fault for not making a definite turn in front of them as they were the faster (read overtaking) boats.
With regards to my wife, we are freinds since were were 13 and we're 50 now, so keeping her is the only option.
You are also correct about the tiller position and the long keel effect, all logged in the memory banks for later use.
Day cruising for me for the next few weeks - til I get my heart rate down

David C- Ireland
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sonosail
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« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2011, 10:02:43 am »

Sorry; The 'old and bold' bit was directed at my friend 'comerant'. Didn't mean to imply that you were overly bold, careless, or anything like that.
We are all in agreement about your wife.

rb
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davidc
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« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2011, 09:10:31 am »

No offence taken, we are a bit more thick necked than that.

One of the many reasons for posting is to see if there are any indicators to prevent the Lee shore situation happening. Such as a 'rule of thumb' for distance over wind over speed etc.

Another reason for posting is to rid myself of some of the ineptitude flet after the event

David C
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Cormorant
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« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2011, 11:43:54 am »

The regatta tactics that are taught over here stress how the wind direction changes depending on the various shorelines and topography, and a lot of focus is made on choosing your route to take advantage of the changes in wind direction as to how far you are from a coast, the topography of that coast, whether or not it is a lee shore or not etc. We also have massive tidal issues to deal with...

Anyway, tho one thing I would have been sure to do is to look and see of the coast's shape might cause a pocket of wind rolling back by the shore given the wind direction (you'd have the waves pushing you towards the rock, but the wind would be all wrong for your course), or just some massive turbulence. You'd have a hard time seeing it in the thick of things so it would be in the planning phase with a good weather/wind forcast printed out to help.

This is all that came to mind when I read the story, but I didn't want to add a lot of koulda shoulda. Hindsight and all that you know...

update: found a link in english that shows a bit this effect: http://weather.mailasail.com/Franks-Weather/Coastal-Wind-Variatios
« Last Edit: July 21, 2011, 12:09:05 pm by Cormorant » Logged

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davidc
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« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2011, 12:41:02 am »

Thanks for the link, interesting study.

Shows that there is no sustitute for experience and local knowledge
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sonosail
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« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2011, 08:43:38 am »

Thanks for the link, interesting study.

Shows that there is no sustitute for experience and local knowledge

Yes, Cormorant digs up the greatest stuff.  Never seen this one either. The part about the seabreeze in this same group is also excellent. Convection does not CAUSE the seabreeze, but is, instead, the result of it. Makes sense when you think about it. When you see those clouds, the seabreeze has already started! Of course, if you're sitting there becalmed, there's little you can do but wait for it to reach you. And sometimes it never does.

rb
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