Heel! Heel! Oops! Gurgle!

Mon, 24 Aug 1998 17:39:46 EDT

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West Wight Potter Website at URL
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Sailboats with weighted keels/centerboards/keels locked down and fully
extended do not turn turtle (upside down with the keel pointing at the sky).
They just lie on their sides (knockdown) until the wind slows down (scary but
not fatal). For this reason it is recommended that the cabin hatch be closed
at any time you feel unsafe. This will prevent the cabin from filling with
water and make it easier to recover from a knockdown.

My Sovereign Island Express 12'9" with weighted daggerboard (60lb.) has been
sailed in 20 - 30MPH winds (Dwyer wind speed indicator). She will lean but not
flip. Wind distorts the hell out of the sail though (bubbles out between the
seems)... To test the weighed daggerboard, I and a friend ( it took both of
us), pulled the main halyard from shore until water filled the cockpit. she
filled with water and as soon as we released the main halyard she slowly
righted herself up as she dumped the water out of the mainsail. We sat in it
and bailed for 1/2 hour with 5 gallon buckets. That cured us from trying that
stunt again.... With the (unweighted)wood daggerboard she went over once
during a run downwind and turned turtle. I tied a rope to a seat and leaned
over on the other side to right it. It was unsteady full of water but I
managed to sail her in that condition to shore. I stopped using the wood
daggerboard real quick... I use only the weighted daggerboard now :^)

My new P19 has been sailed in up to 25MPH winds (Dwyer wind meter) without
excessive heel, only a lot of spray flying. Quite a wet ride in the ocean in
3' - 6' chop.

I believe all Potter's that have ever turned turtle (upside down) have done so
with the keel or centerboard lifted completely or partially :^(. It is
impossible to turtle a Potter with the keel fully extended in any kind of wind
below 50MPH :^). If you lower your keel as the designer intended you should
have no fear of flipping your boat upside down. You may lay it flat on its
side (knockdown) but never upside down (turtle)... Once on its side gravity
will take over and haul that keel under lifting the boat back up.

Before you untie from that dock - lower that keel <BG> It it's windier than
you like - close that hatch...


In a message dated 98-08-23 21:42:12 EDT, you write:

<< Subj: Re: Heel! Heel!
Date: 98-08-23 21:42:12 EDT
From: hlg@pacbell.net (Gordon)
To: wwpotter@tscnet.com

> Hello: First I'd like to thank everyone for your responses to my
>heeling question. I have received a lot of good information and advice.
>I still have this strange desire to put my poor Potter to its limits, so
>I plan to intentionaly capsize it. (In fresh water, without the engine,
>etc.) I plan to do this on a calm day by just jumping in the lake and
>slowly pulling on the boat. According to those who know much more about
>the technical side of getting wet, this experiment will only loosely
>relate to real capsizing condtions. (Wet sails, hard wind, two people
>leaning over the railing, center board position, etc.) Anyway, it will
>probably be about a week before I am able to do this. I first have to
>convince one of my sailing buddies, get it to a lake (I have never sailed
>except in the Puget Sound) get a warm day and build up my nerve.
>However, I'll let everyone know the results. Thanks again! Doug P14
>588 Olympia, WA "Sputnik"


Many years ago, the Potter Yachters conducted a similar experiment on two
Potters - a gunter rig and a Mk I, as I recall. In calm water, alongside a
dock, the mast of each empty and open Potter was pulled down until it was
parallel with the water, then released. Both boats righted themselves,
taking in little or no water. That is probably why the Potters are
advertised as being self righting. But, as you say, the results can be
quite different, depending on sea, wind, boat loading, and whether the boat
was closed up and the centerboard down and secured. There have been many
accounts of Potters turning turtle, and the boat is quite stable in the
inverted position apparently. There are a few "turtle tales" on the Potter
Yachter web page at <http://songbird.com/py/story/Turtles.htm>.

Looking forward to reading your test results. Be sure the water is deep
enough that your mast won't stick in the mud in the event you do manage to
go inverted. And tie your CB so that it doesn't fall into the cockpit. My
guess is that the boat is unlikely to turn turtle with the CB tied down and
hatch secured.