Ocean sailing in a modern race boat or multihull with a high horsepower rig makes double-digit boat speed attainable and complicates a MOB rescue. Our research suggests that no single MOB tactic works for all occasions.
The key to safe, stress-free ICW cruising (or less-stress at least) is proper planning. Get the most up-to-date ICW guidebooks and charts, and study them well in advance. When planning the field-test trip down the ICW for this article, PS tester Capt. Frank Lanier came up with a general timeline and lists of major stops he wanted to make along the way, but he let his day-to-day progress drive his schedule. He always planned out the next days run prior to heading out (typically the night before), which also gave him a chance to review the latest weather forecasts and its potential effect on travel plans.
Alright, we know what youre thinking: A pedal boat in Practical Sailor? Thats what we thought, too, when Hobie sent us the Mirage i12s in response to our search for an inflatable kayak that could serve as a secondary tender for a cruising sailboat. The 12-foot PVC hull has overlapping glued and welded seams and a slick, abrasion-resistant bottom. The chambers are inflated to a modest 3 to 5 psi (compared to the 6.5 psi for the Walker Bay Airex reviewed in July 2008), which limits stiffness. For the tropics, PS prefers Hypalon to PVC, but that would add weight and push the price up. The hull carries a two-year warranty, not enough for an $1,800 boat (MSRP), in our opinion. Five years would be our minimum. The stern of the boat has bungee cords and an area for lashing down a dry bag, tackle box, or snorkel gear, but potential for provisioning runs is limited. A compartment in the bow will hold small items. To our chagrin, the space was too small to easily stow the hand pump. What sets this boat apart is the drive system. This is not your Camp Hiawatha paddle boat.
Many years ago, when I was shopping for a boat to sail around the world, I sought out wiser sailors for advice. A recent college graduate, I had a ridiculously low budget but lucked into finding a boat that appeared fit for the task. It was a 32-foot gaff-rigged William Atkin ketch, a double ended Thistle design based on the Colin Archer lifeboats.
The following is aimed primarily at boats that are unable to leave an alongside dock or bulkhead before wind and seas become dangerous. Any fetch beyond 200 yards is dangerous, and there may be nothing you can do to protect the boat. However, if you are in a protected marina, well up a creek, and the storm is moderate, these actions can help. Just remember that low breakwaters will be overtopped, wooden breakwaters fall apart, other boats will come loose, and there will be lumber in the water from broken docks.
Should you find yourself cast in icy water, there are few things you can do that may help.
MARINE INSURANCE REDUXI have been reading with much interest your articles about marine insurance this year (April and May 2006).
From sea anchors, drogues, and trysails to forereaching and heaving to, tactics and gear for surviving a storm at sea vary greatly. During a high-latitude circumnavigation, Evans Starzinger and Beth Leonard, aboard their 47-foot Van de Stadt sloop, had several opportunities to test heavy-weather sailing tactics. The couples main storm gear was a Galerider sea drogue, made by sailmakers Hathaway, Reiser and Raymond, is a webbing bowl with a wire hoop. Deploying the drogue involved a bridle of strong nylon lines connected to the Galerider rode via an oversized galvanized swivel. Starzinger and Leonard used the Galerider when running before the wind in gale-force conditions. The drogue helped slow the boat, kept it from surfing down the face of a wave, and provided directional stability, which allowed their autopilot to maintain control. Drogues and other storm-survival gear and tactics are particularly necessary for short-handed crews and boats that tend to surf in heavy weather. Other storm gear for sailboats that Practical Sailor looked at included the Jordan Series drogue and the Seabrake drogue.