Recovering From A Capsize

The PDRacer is a very stable boat, both when sailing, AND when the hull is completely inverted. Recovering from a capsize can be difficult unless you know how to do it and have practiced. With practice and good techniques, a capsize becomes an inconvienence rather than an emergency situation.

Further more, if you are good at recovering, you can push your boat closer to the edge while sailing, which seems to be the reason that the more experience a sailor you are, the more likely you are to knocking your boat over.

Konk On Head WARNING!!

Below are techniques to get the boat upright again. As the hull turns, just past when the hull is sideways in the water, it will start to fall upright very quickly. If you are in it's path, it will konk you on the head with great force.

One good technique is to place your spare hand on the hull as it turns over, or hold your hand in the air so that as it falls, you can sort of "catch" it. The force of the falling hull will push you underwater, even wearing a life jacket, so be ready for it.

Pull On Board

If you have a leeboard, daggerboard or centerboard, you can grab it and lean back to get the leverage to rotate the hull.

Pull On Rope

You can toss a line over the hull, and then pull on that line. Often the main sheet will be available for this, and possibly tie onto something like a cleat or oarlock socket.

Mast Head Float

A mast head float is a great thing - what it does is keep your boat from capsizing. The most it can do is lay down on the water. Just a simple chlorox bottle tied to the mast head works fine, or possibly a boat fender.

Climbing Back Aboard

Now that your boat is floating upright again, you will discover how difficult it is to climb back aboard in deep water. Some people have the upper body strength to lift themselves up, when I do it, I look a lot like a walrus moving up a beach. Wamp, wamp, wamp.

A great helper is a loop of rope. Tie it onto a cleat, and you can step in the loop, so it works like a one step ladder. Takes a little practice, but works great once you get the technique.

Bail The Water Out

The best water pump is a scared sailor with a bucket. The device I prefer for bailing PDRacers is a chlorox bottle that has the bottom cut off. Using a swooshing motion that flings the water, I can bail 30 gallons a minute. Tie the handle to your boat so it won't float away when you capsize.

Furthest to the right in the photo is Ken Abrahams's picante bailer (a bottomless plastic salsa bottle).

Sailors that forget their bailer often use their hat.