Mon, 30 Aug 1999 00:39:51 EDT

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West Wight Potter Website at URL
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I have a suggestion for those that fear turtling a WWP-15. Note I said fear.
The technique's main virtue is to give the user a little peace of mind as he
gains confidence in his ability to sail boat in a variety of conditions.
This confidence eradicates the fear. Since it is a passive safety measure,
it has little downside.

I use two round (12") orange fenders when I dock my boat. When sailing I
sometimes tie one around each shroud with a loose loop. This loop holds the
fender as close to the shroud as possible. The loop is loose enough that the
fender can move unimpeded up and down the shroud and associated hardware.

If the boat suffers a knocked down, the fender should slide up the shroud
until it hits the mast a couple of feet off the deck. At this location, the
fender and mast provides a large lever with significant effort to keep the
mast near the surface of the water preventing the boat from turtling.
Considering the loop in the line might hang up on the shroud rigging,
attaching them to the shroud with a carabiner (metal ring) would help ensure
the floatation would move up the mast to achieve significant leverage. The
fender should return to its original position when the boat rights.

This method has limited practical value.. I have never heard of a WWP-15
turtling or even swamping with the keel locked down and the companionway and
hatch secured closed. I, as may novices, feared capsizing until I gained a
wee bit of confidence through experience with the boat.

Judson O. Abbot's article "Almost to Hell and Back." SMALL BOAT Journal
October/November 1987, is a fine account of a P14/15 caught in a survival
storm on Lake Michigan. (See this article at
http://home.worldnet.att.net/~e.zeiser/sailing/sosmall.htm), thanks to some
thoughtful Potter Pilots.

In the article, the author gives sage advice for all Potter Pilots and I add

Potter P-14 and P-15 Safety Tips

1. Keep the centerboard lashed down so that in the event of a capsize, the
centerboard will stay down. (Secure the hatch closed and plug large vents
to prevent water from rapidly filling the cabin *my addition).
2. Don't go on the foredeck when sailing alone.
3. If you are not comfortable with the weather, return to shore or stay
4. Keep the main sheet free unless you are very sure of the conditions.
5. Keep weight forward.
6. Have proper safety equipment - life jackets with whistles, flares,
(strobes, radar reflector, mirror, chart of hazards and havens and GPS *my
addition) VHF radio.
7. Reef before you need to. (Have PFD (life jackets) on before reefing *my
8. Have enough gas to return under power.
9. Let someone know where you will be sailing and when you will return.
10. Do not heel over beyond about 10 degrees. Nothing will be gained in terms
of performance.
11. Watch out for other boats and navigational hazards.
12. Install larger scuppers or have TWO buckets available in the cockpit for
rapid emptying of the cockpit of water. *my addition).
13. Bring your cell telephone waterproofed in two plastic bags with you. *my
14. Develop your sailing skills, trust in God, and sail your boat!!!! *my

I close with comments regarding my additions to the list: strobes, radar
reflectors, GPS (with chart) and cell telephones are now relatively
inexpensive devices that can help others find you. Radar reflectors can be
as simple as balls of aluminum foil in a bag hoisted up the topping lift, but
are surprisingly effective.

Michael D. Campbell
P-15 #1683 "CAMPBELL's SLOOP"
Elmhurst, IL
Lake Michigan