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Safety

Catapult Broach! 20 Knts to Dead Stop!

A great video showing a catapult broach on a Pacer 27 in Table Bay, South Africa. The boat is flying it’s asymetric spinnaker in a high wind and goes from blasting downwind at nearly 20 knots to a dead stop. The crew is sent tumbling by the huge g-force and the skipper is flung overboard.

Lessons

  • Practice your man overboard drill with an alternate skipper. In this case, it was the skipper that went overboard, a scenario they had not practised.

  • Make sure your life jacket has enough buoyancy for open water. The skipper found he still had to doggy paddle to keep afloat – something he would have struggled to keep up for a long time in 11°C. water.

  • The red cap the skipper was wearing really helped the crew spot him in the water. Make sure your sailing jackets has a brightly coloured hood …

  • The crew should have left the jib down and gybed immediately and approached gently under reefed main only. That would have reduced the recovery time by 70% according to the skipper.