Re: picture in the brochure

Lars S. Mulford (
Thu, 13 May 1999 08:55:15 -0400

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West Wight Potter Website at URL
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The Costas wrote:

> I've also wondered about that. According to the reports on turtled boats
> that I have read, the absolute floatation in a P-15 is just enough to keep
> about three foot of the bottom of the bow above water. Maybe tests are in
> order... anyone want to volunteer their boat?


No tests are in order if what Brett and I did on Rehoboth Bay counts for
anything. A former ECPA member (who shall remain nameless) jammed their
centerboard in the trunk to the point that it would not come up - they reduced
sail and were literally pulling ont he lanyard for all they were worth when a
passing powerboat wake rocked the boat and over this individual went, along with
their P15. Brett and I got there almost immediately, as we were on our way out
to help him anyway. When we arrived, the owner had gotten it back upright
somewhat (although the P15 did not go all the way over, making it easier to
bring it back up). The cockpit and good chunk of the cabin were filled with
water. This, by the way, was a fairly new boat (back in 1995) and lightly
equipped in comparison to other P15s.

It most certainly did NOT float as high as those pictures indicated, nowhere
close to that. It was low to the water, bow slightly higher than the cockpit.
A passing wake would have added water to the cockpit, it was that low. The P15
wallowed considerably and despite the centerboard being down (it was jammed
after all), the boat did not sit up on her feet and the wallowing motion
threatened to send it over if not controlled.

It WAS afloat, but a more accurate description would be that it was also AWASH.
With two children's buckets, we took turns flailing the water out while using
the Scorpion as a breakwater to prevent wakes from upsetting our operations.
While Brett and I concentrated on getting the water out, the owner removed all
sails from the boat. Eventually, we were able to drive the boat up onto the
beach where we got the rest of the water out, put the boat on it's side, and had
to literally cut away the centerboard and pull it out through the slot in the
bottom. (We discovered the centerboard had a slight bow to it, making it damned
hard to pull it through as well as raise and lower.)

What Brett and I took away from this was that when sailing the P15, it should be
your #1 priority to ensure she stays on her feet. If you do go over, it would
appear that sailing away from it could be a remote option. (By the way, this
owner had the hatch in place and cabin sealed off, but when the boat went over,
water came in the vent forward and the hatch became dislodged and partially
open, worsening things.)

"Sea" ya!

--Lars S. Mulford, President East Coast Potter Association (ECPA) Come visit us at "Forgive, and live. Life is worth the challenge of living." --LSSM