Looking Good 3 Capsize and Take-Aways

The underside of Looking Good 3 with the Coast Guard standing watch. Photo courtesy of Truls

Rafi, David Kuettel and Dan Mone, were thankfully OK after capsizing during a jibe just east of the GG bridge by Horseshoe Bay. Rafi described the capsize to Evan in a phone interview which is summarized below:

Looking Good 3 passed under the GG Bridge flying the spinnaker on a port tack, with the intent of gybing to head towards Blossom Rock buoy and the SF waterfront. Winds were estimated at 15-17 knots on the west side of the GG Bridge before passing under the bridge into the bay where the winds increased to 20kt with 25kts gusts . The skipper and crew were not concerned about the gybe because they did it numerous times on the way from Lightship back to the GG with no drama. A fleet of club dinghy sailors were clogging the intended course with a club tender minding the small boat fleet, so Rafi decided to continue on port tack until they could gybe into clear water. The capsize happened very quickly after the completion of the gybe. Rafi believes it was a combination of things that led to the capsize: a slight over-sheeting of the asym and a slight oversteering of the boat after completing the gybe, and an underappreciation for how high the winds had become. In addition to gusty conditions, the slowing of the boat through the gybe suddenly increased the apparent wind as the boat passed through the jibe. It happened very fast, and Rafi and Crew were going over with little time to correct.

After landing in the water, all crew were back on board the immersed nets within a minute. Rafi described the experience on the nets as one where there was little to hold on to, with the crew standing on the nets and leaning against the slippery hull. Given Rafi’s experience racing and capsizing Hobie Cats, the capsize of LG3 wasn’t a panic situation for him or the crew, but he was surprised by how cold he became in what was a very speedy rescue by the Coast Guard stationed in Horeshoe Bay.

Take Aways: Rafi noted that his recent experience has him seriously considering a dry-suit for offshore sailing. He reckons that he would have gotten dangerously cold if he fell overboard and couldn’t get out of wet foulies within 30 minutes. He also noted, while standing on the inverted nets, that the hatch on the outside of the hull allowing access to flares and other emergency equipment was on the opposite side of the boat! The boat was too slippery to cross, and accessing this equipment would take a swim around the boat. Something to consider. In hindsight some actions could’ve been taken to anticipate and prevent the situation. One of them would be to have gybed before going under the bridge.  Another, use the sock to douse the spinnaker before entering the bay and then determine if it is safe to re-hoist inside the bay.

If all goes well, Rafi hopes to have LG3 back in the water and underway by late July.