Above photo taken by Steve Domjan at the Bowl. Thank you Steve, you could have been sailing you

  • Above photo taken by Steve Domjan at the Bowl. Thank you Steve, you could have been sailing yourself instead of taking photos of me.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Stolen from the Peconic Puffin

 Stolen from the Peconic Puffin

Michael posted up about self rescue. He did this because last week we had both a windsurfer rescued, and the crew of a Commercial fishing boat.
While there has been a lot written on how to salvage your rig and get back to shore...I am a firm believer through personal experience in lose the rig and save your self. Especially in cold water.

The following is stolen from the Puffin. My comments are after.

How To Self Rescue On The Water

Ted Bretter has been telling me for months about an old Windsport article that did a thorough job of explaining how to derig at sea.  He told me that it once got him out of quite a jam.  “You’ve got to find a copy,” Ted’s been saying.
Windsurfing self rescue
Now after the Wolf’s misadventures on the Peconic (getting separated from his gear during at attempted derig) Ted reminded me again.   So I reached out to Windsport windsurfing magazine and said “Hey, a guy here says 8 years ago you had quite the article about emergency derigging...any chance you can find it and republish it?”   In less than an hour it was on Windsport’s website.
Spend some time checking out (I will be).  It is thorough.  It is Ted tested.  And it could save your gear (or your ass.)
Thank you Windsport! Good idea, Ted!

While I believe the above is accurate. I just don't believe it is appropriate in cold water.

In my experience: It is better to just lose the rig, and stay with the board. Any time I have tied up my rig in a neat little package [especially when you are in big seas] the energy expended trying to save the rig would be better spent rescuing yourself.
1. Stay with the board
2. Kiss that $2,000, mast, boom and sail combo goodbye
3. Paddle to safety, your life is worth more than your gear!
Resources [personal experience]: one hour and a half swim, in the open ocean, Air temp 50's, water 50's.
One hour swim in the sound, air 30's, water 30's.
One two hour swim in a protected bay; air 60's, water high 30's. This was the only time I actually saved my rig. It was difficult. My center of effort was too high and I kept falling of the side of the board in dead flat conditions. I ended up swimming behind my board, and salvaged rig. Not worth it. I was in the early stages of hypothermia, and was having thoughts like "maybe if I take off my PFD I could swim faster". The reason I survived that one was because Mike DaBaker paddled out to me on a longboard. We traded boards and he paddled my gear in the rest of the way.
The other two swims were later in life, and I jettisoned my rig without hesitation both times. All three swims were in a drysuit.

1 comment:

PeconicPuffin said...

Here's how I responded to your comment on the Puffin:
"Frank, I agree completely. Unless conditions (sea state, water temp) are friendly, ditch the rig and paddle the board.

That's worth a new blog post, I think. Will cogitate, ruminate etc-ate.

Thanks for making the point!"