Re: Turning Turtle

Gordon (
Sun, 9 May 1999 09:20:02 -0700

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West Wight Potter Website at URL
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Perry W. Phillips wrote:

>I've been curiously reading about this matter of a Potter doing a turtle...
>Hmmm! I may be misinformed, but it seems that there is a difference between
>being knocked down, capsizing, and turtling.

No argument there.

>I've always associated the turtle
>with catamaran's or trimarans where the mast is straight down under the water
>and the keel straight up, ...

Potter 15s are also stable in the inverted position. That's what we mean by
turning turtle. If the centerboard hasn't been secured, it will retract
into the trunk, making righting more difficult.

>A much different circumstance than being capsized or knocked down (lying
>on the
>side, gunnels under and sails parallel to the water). When a boat is
>self-righting, it doesn't necessarily imply that it will do so without a
>load of
>water aboard.

(You meant "WITH a load of water," didn't you?)

We once tested two models of Potter 14s in quiet conditions with no one on
board. We pulled the mast down to the water and then released it. Each boat
bobbed back to the vertical position without taking on water.

But in wind and waves and crew on board, there have been many instances of
Potters turning turtle and staying there, with most of the hull under
water. A combination of wind, waves, open hatch, unsecured CB, crew weight
in the wrong place, is usually involved. It can happen very quickly. There
is a collection of first hand reports of turning turtle on the Potter
Yachters web page at <>.

Removing the mainsail, connecting some bottles on the halyard, and hauling
them down to the end of the inverted mast would seem to be a difficult,
underwater process, but if you could do it, the buoyancy at the end of the
mast should be helpful once you rolled the hull enough to have the leverage
work for you. If the boat were only capsized and not turtled, how-to-sail
books suggest attaching a lifejacket or some other float to the top of the
mast to prevent turtling.

>Of course this is nit-picking, but it seems that this group
>rather likes that sort of thing. Seems to encourage more lively discussion or
>something. <smile>

Welcome aboard!

Harry Gordon
P14 #234, Manatee
Mountain View, CA