View Full Version : Flotation and the Small Reach Regatta
07-16-2007, 10:07 AM
I am preparing for the Small Reach Regatta and want to make sure that I have what the organizers want for flotation. Postings here do not indicate how much added bouyancy is considered enough and the techniques suggested vary from gold plated to what seems inadequate to me. The Coast Guard has no regulation on small sail boats.
Flotation bags sold for whitewater canoes would be a quick and easy way to go. Ads for them on the Internet gave few details. The only one I found with an indication of the material said "light nylon." My thinking is that the heavy PVC/nylon portage bags I already have would be more rugged than that. Their seals may not be absolutely airtight. They seem so, but I would not trust them to hold for an extended time. By filling them with airtight containers (plastic bottles) many air chambers would have to be breached to cause a significant loss of bouyancy. Key to this idea would be in securing the bags in such a way that they would stay in place during an overturning, collision or other "event."
As for the amount of flotation needed I plan to calculate enough to float the ballast, anchor and chain, and other non-floatable items, the weight of the crew plus a safety factor. Ideally the swamped boat should float at or above the top of the centerboard trunk with the crew sitting on the seats but I don't know yet if that is feasable.
So, what do you advise?
07-16-2007, 10:23 AM
The white water canoe float bags are plenty durable. They are nylon with a urethane lining so they are air tight. They should be removed before highway travel and installed before launch, however, because they can either: (1) over-inflate in the sun, or (2) chafe through if left under inflated.
All flotation needs to be securely anchored so that it does not rise up in a swamped boat and let the boat sink lower into the water. See what is recommended for open whitewater canoes. Usually it is a tight strap over the top and down the center, with a lace line going back and forth across the gunwales.
07-16-2007, 10:38 AM
How about these?? :D http://tinyurl.com/2emdep
The description says that they float the boat above the water... no danger of sinking that way! Hell, you don't even need antifouling paint!
07-16-2007, 12:35 PM
Without a lot of specific details on your boat and gear, it is very hard to give an accurate recommendation. For example, is the top of the CB case sealed or open -- if the latter, you've got to float the boat a fair amount higher than the top of the case to deal with crew movement and waves while bailing.
You might consider buying some of those folding soft plastic water jugs, as they can hold drinking water, air, or seawater as ballast. Some sort of strong netting (cargo or fish net) should hold them in place, and they can be semi-inflated to fit odd spaces.
07-16-2007, 06:42 PM
The boat is a Caledonia Yawl (G. Kerr built). The centerboard case is open. A motor well has an insert that is expected to reduce water intake there to a manageable level. I am confident that I can put together flotation that will save the boat and crew if the boat fills with water - I'm not so confident that whoever inspects it will accept it and then it will be too late to change.
Anyone know what was allowed in last year's pilot event or in some other event put on by WB?
Thanks to all for the advise.
rbgarr, I checked out the "yacht saver" out. What a hoot! There doesn't seem to be a regulator on the CO2 canister. That would make me suspect that opening the valve would give the hapless boater something new to worry about - red plastic jugs exploding. Maybe that's how it get the boat above the water. Blow it out!
07-16-2007, 07:43 PM
I don't think that flotation is the solution. One wants to keep the water out of the boat.
07-16-2007, 09:13 PM
There is floatation and then there is self rescue. I don't think that ready self rescue which is achievable only really by self bailing and serious floatation is expected. If you can get your boat to centerboard trunk level you are doing pretty well. Float boat, crew, gear and something in the bank would be the least you could expect. Most traditional plank built boats with out ballast are there.
That said, Annapolis Sailboat Supply imports the British buoyancy bags that come in a variety of sizes and can get under places. As an example I have sausages of varying sizes fitted under the side seats of my Harrier running from the stern to where the seats go away. There are strap bands on these and I have run ( laced ) a line under the seats at the seat stringer onto which these are strapped as there was nothing on the hull surface, a disadvantage of plywood. Then I have a canoe triangular bag under the foredeck. Harrier being a 1/4 inch ply boat, it would float the crew with it being pretty much awash. The bags take it so that the trunk is out of the water and it could get bailed.
If you are carrying gear and your rig a net or otherwise lash drybags into place you will also have floataion.
On a warm summer day take your boat to a pond and fill it up. It better to do it when its fun.
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