Posts Tagged 'terror'

sunfish sailing terror [video]

this video was posted a few days ago on the Sunfish Forum (link).  it is a little long at 21+ minutes, but it is interesting for a few reasons:

  • for those wind and wave conditions, it sure seems like he started with the sail set too high – lowering the sail rig would’ve helped with the overturning moment he would see and have to counteract with his body weight, position, and healthy dose of hiking out.
  • he has multiple capsizes, with the Sunfish going full “turtle” and flipping upside down.
  • he has a rigging failure out on the water, with the halyard attachment to the upper boom coming loose, I think during the first capsize.  it seems as if the upper end of the halyard has maybe a snap shackle attached to it (about 6:30 in the video) and he uses a strange knot setup to re-attach the halyard.  typically, the halyard is attached to the upper mast with a clove hitch.
  • he has a lot of trouble raising the sail back up – this is certainly not an easy task out on wavy water, but it appears his halyard was twisted around the mast, and that certainly wouldn’t help at all. instead of pulling towards himself, he would have had better luck holding the sail with his left hand and pulling down on the halyard alongside the mast.
  • he has an older swivel cam cleat at the cockpit lip (I think he hooks the tail end of the halyard into it?) but also a mainsheet block there as well. it might be simplest to remove whichever isn’t getting use to help with confusion while sailing.
  • he could probably use a good Sunfish rigging guide to familiarize himself with the key knots to use and the optimal setup for his mainsheet and halyard.
  • he has a green “lifeline” that he attaches to himself and the boat – while this is probably not a bad idea, I felt like there was just a tangled mess of lines each time he capsized.
  • overall, he did keep pretty good spirits despite each setback, and found a way to limp back to shore and safety – probably with a newfound realization of his level of sailing skill and what he needs to learn from and improve upon.
  • it’s never easy to admit failure, so kudos to him for sharing it – hopefully he and now the video viewers can learn from it.

full warning: this was filmed live during the event and he certainly uses some rough language, quite understandable in the situation, but watch your volume if you’re around young children when watching.

any other thoughts and comments?


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