Really need help getting back into boat

Discussion in 'Sunfish Talk' started by wardie, Jul 17, 2015.

  1. wardie

    wardie Member

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    New Sunfish sailor. Had the boat out twice last year and finally today got her out. My friend says before going out into deeper water let's try capsize and recovery see if you can get back into boat...well I couldn't. Here are a couple of problems age 64, size 5'8" weight 250 lbs. . From motorcycle racing I have a pin and arthritis in one shoulder and a full torn rotator in the other. This hampers my ability to pull (initially) myself into the boat and push myself quickly enough to lung into the boat so it doesn't tip over. I've tried looping the rope around my foot and tying off under the main sheet hook and I almost get in but just can't grab the opposite side of the cockpit to pull myself in. I was really bummed and am afraid I might have to sell the boat if I can't get some ideas on how to get back in. Last year I got in using same method because another boat held the boom in the opposite direction from my entrance. Help sinking fast on this one.
     
  2. JohnCT

    JohnCT Active Member

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    Have you tried coming aboard over the stern?

    Or add a grab loop to your rope so you have a hand hold and foot hold.

    I could fabricate a web boarding ladder if I had dimensions, I don't have a boat to measure.
     
  3. wardie

    wardie Member

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    Thanks John I am looking at buying a ski rope and cutting to a length that will give me the correct leverage. I need a way to keep the boat flat while entering. I almost make it in but cannot grab the opposite side of entry and the boat tips over until I realease and go back in the water. Hoping someone will share a method or two or I'm going to have to sell her and find something else. Sad
     
  4. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    I can't reach (far enough) for the opposite side either. One strong and desperate "butterfly kick" gets me inside the cockpit—and I need a "new" knee.

    I once suggested filling the cockpit with water and floating in, but have never tried it. (You'd have to bail once inside—but you'd be inside!) Find whether fore or aft is a better entry for you and your shoulder—our task is to "get our butts" into the cockpit (literally). The Sunfish cockpit must be securely sealed to the deck for this to work. (My '76 isn't, and water leaks into the inner hull). :oops: Here I am, with a dozen colors of silicone sealers, and no time to get this done! :rolleyes:

    Perhaps a better option is an outboard starter rope replacement. You'll need two at $6.50 each—less for Briggs & Stratton). Determine how far you can painlessly reach, then attach the rope's end to a point inside the cockpit (or deck) that would work for you. A 3/16" hole in the deck and a "figure-8" knot would be the simplest answer. You'll have to get wet again ;).

    Attachment locations will likely be a different place (non-symmetrical) due to your hurt wings. You could Velcro the handles to the forward cockpit bulkhead to keep from tangling with the mainsheet.

    [​IMG]

    If you religiously wear a PFD you might consider adding a crotch strap to gain extra lift. I've salvaged straps and buckles from old and torn PFDs. (Use contact cement if you don't have access to an industrial sewing machine).

    Or buy new:

    https://www.morganscloud.com/2015/0...ejacket-failure-and-crotch-straps-in-general/[​IMG]
     
  5. Kevin Mc

    Kevin Mc Member

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    You don't mention if you're wearing a life vest - the extra buoyancy can make a difference in how easy/possible it is to reenter the boat. I wonder if a pair of flippers (stowed and tethered for use after a capsize) would aid enough in providing some extra "lift"? If you can't come up with a way to get back in unassisted then rather than getting rid of the boat consider either sailing with a passenger/crewmember or only go when there's another boat present. "Don't give up the ship!"
     
  6. JohnCT

    JohnCT Active Member

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    Try attaching a paddle float that kayakers use to your boarding rope, that will give you a little extra buoyancy on your boarding side.

    If you decide to sell as a last resort, let me know, I'm looking for one.

    Good luck
     
  7. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    Now that I think about it, the starter cord handle might be a bit short to fit one's hand. Instead, try a 5-inch length of electric (gray) PVC pipe with an inside diameter of ½" or ¾".

    [​IMG]

    Good idea. Check out this video, see how it "worrrks" in Scotland:



    Inflate, then put the float on the flat end of your paddle, then put the handle on the cockpit edge. Leverage yourself aboard.

    Your halyard's always there. If you carry an extra few feet of halyard, a bowline can be tied in the end for your foot, secured to the hook, and used for hefting oneself aboard.

    .
     
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  8. beldar boathead

    beldar boathead Well-Known Member

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    I don't know if these ideas will work, but pls be careful when tying ropes that your foot could get tangled in .That would be extremely dangerous.
     
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  9. wardie

    wardie Member

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    Thank you to all who took the time to respond with great info much appreciated. Larry
     
  10. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    Been there—done that...:(

    Seeing that a pair of huge cruisers were going to pass on either side of my catamaran, I released the mainsheet, stood up on the trampoline and grabbed onto my catamaran's mast with both hands. Both wakes combined to throw me through the multi-block mainsheet cluster—then overboard. The mainsheet had caught on both feet, and dragged me behind—face-up—for at least a hundred yards. My situation wasn't helped that my PFD was funneling a rooster tail of lake water into my face! When I finally hauled myself back aboard, I looked around. A fisherman had been following my situation—and even his Yellow Lab in the bow—had looks of concern!

    Mainsheet blocks on a typical cat:

    [​IMG]

    "Less is more", and why I like Sunfish. :)
     
  11. wardie

    wardie Member

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    wow glad you were able to untangle. Fisherman did nothing but watch??
     
  12. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    It wasn't a matter of "untangling". I reached down to my feet, and grabbed the mainsheet pile—which was like picking up a bundle of snakes! It didn't help that pulling on the mainsheet "pile" caused the catamaran to speed up!

    I'm not sure the fisherman could have done anything—I would have "waved him off" anyway. Too many boaters don't understand sailing, and "the help" might have been the unwanted kind! However, I was glad he took the time to "stand-by". :)
     
  13. cnovark

    cnovark Member

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    I'm not sure if someone has already said this, or if you've already tried it, but I always have to grab the opposite inside lip of the cockpit when I'm boarding. I'm short (almost 5'3) and cannot reach the opposite side, but I can grab the cockpit and pull myself in that way.

    Also, I have no idea if this would work at all, but could you like hang on to the side and float your feet up so you're kind of floating on your stomach, and the more crawl/slide onto the boat?

    Good luck!
     
  14. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    Here's how I added a crotch strap to my favorite PFD.

    Removed a wide strap from a discarded PFD, glued it up the back to over the seam. (Contact cement worked the best of the two adhesives used). Wrapping the strap over the top seam, I riveted a wide (fabric) pop-rivet with a leather buffer and zinc washer.

    [​IMG]
    The front of the PFD got the same treatment, attaching the strap to the inside right corner of the PFD.

    If I had it to do over, I'd move the buckle location closer to the front. Here's the finished (but yet-untested) product, hanging upside-down.

    [​IMG]

    As for the "starter-cord" handle or a wooden grip-handle, I'd use polypropylene line (it floats), and attach it high to the front bulkhead of the cockpit. It should "float to hand" when it's needed.

    L&VW
     
  15. Xmas

    Xmas senior new member

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    I tried 10ft rope with loose bowline around top of center board. On capsize the other end of rope fell in the water so I was able to tie a loop on that end at about knee height.now pith push of leg and pull I scrambled on board like a beached whale.I am 80yrs old and 225 lbs
     
  16. jpjanke

    jpjanke Member

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    Not sure if this will help, but we did it years ago for my mom 4'11 and very heavy, not for the sunfish, but the swim ladder on our stinkpot. Skibelt, tied to a rope as a step. It floated, was wide, she could grab it put her foot into it, and use it as a step. She had a ladder rung to grab onto, but maybe a ski rope type handle attached to the boat could be yours. The ski belt could fit in the cockpit. They also now make the sitting PDF;s don't know much about them, but they may give you buoyance in the right area.
    Always believed kids should wear PDF, now I think old folks should too. I know I wont be going out without one.
     
  17. Webfoot1

    Webfoot1 Active Member

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    Wow, first of all, don't tip over in shallow water, 13 feet or less. The gaff will get stuck in the mud and it becomes
    almost impossible to get the boat upright. Usually results in a bent gaff or boom.

    I'm going to go in a different direction and say as much fun a a Sunfish can be, it's not worth the risk of tearing
    up your shoulder more than it already is. That's not to say you have to stop sailing, just a matter of
    finding the correct boat for you. Look in to something designed for stability like a O'Day 16. With
    calm to medium light winds you can enjoy stress free sailing. Take a friend, a life jacket and
    a boat ladder with you and it's pretty well covered. If you have a local yacht club give them
    a visit and see if they have something like a Rebel you could try out. Sort of as a introduction
    to dingy sailing. There's a boat out there that's right for you, just a matter of finding a deck
    shoe that fits.
     
  18. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    I came across a series of Russian-geezer photographs, and had to put these someplace here!

    Fullscreen capture 10162017 22457 AM.bmp.jpg

    Fullscreen capture 10162017 21310 AM.bmp.jpg

    EDIT:
    'Should have added,

    1) that I've installed a "prototype" starter-rope and handle below the port cockpit deck, and just haven't had to test it as yet. It's long enough to swing clear of the cockpit floor, and the handle is wood, so it can float to the hand if needed.

    2) my modified PFD slipped off the rear deck one morning, and was never found. I expect to add a new crotch strap to the replacement PFD next season.

    .
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2017

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