Forums > Windsurfing General

self rescue

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Created by sboardcrazy A week ago, 4 Oct 2019
sboardcrazy
NSW, 6750 posts
4 Oct 2019 3:53PM
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Researching self rescue. Here's an old thread.
www.seabreeze.com.au/forums/Windsurfing/General/Self-Rescue-Thread?page=1

I've been lucky whenever there has been gear failure there has been a passing boat or rescue boat plus I sail on a lake so I'd end up on the shore somewhere.. I often imagine trying to do this stuff in 25kts of wind with waves crashing over you. I've had the adjuctable outhaul come undone a few times and even in water where I could stand up ( chop breaking )it was a hell of a job to rethread. Trying to hold all the bits together as you unrig to self rescue must be impossible!

Swindy
WA, 309 posts
4 Oct 2019 4:54PM
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Never had one of these come undone on my adjustable outhaul. What knots are you using, a bit of a worry if its happened a few times.


40knots
VIC, 72 posts
4 Oct 2019 9:11PM
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My thoughts are you plan to leave your gear. If you out sailing and something goes wrong you should quickly put your plan in action. The chance of a boat is slim and to rely on your friends is putting them in danger. If I ever do leave my gear my family know I will be straight down to the shop for a replacement.

philn
261 posts
4 Oct 2019 7:44PM
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40knots said..
My thoughts are you plan to leave your gear. If you out sailing and something goes wrong you should quickly put your plan in action. The chance of a boat is slim and to rely on your friends is putting them in danger. If I ever do leave my gear my family know I will be straight down to the shop for a replacement.


Don't leave your board.

Gestalt
QLD, 12138 posts
4 Oct 2019 9:51PM
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40knots said..
My thoughts are you plan to leave your gear. If you out sailing and something goes wrong you should quickly put your plan in action. The chance of a boat is slim and to rely on your friends is putting them in danger. If I ever do leave my gear my family know I will be straight down to the shop for a replacement.


when you teach self rescue through windsurfing courses you teach to never leave your board. your board is buoyancy and will possibly save your life.

the hardest part of self rescue is paddling on your board when your rolled up rig is also tied to the board. in that case ditch the rig amd just paddle the board.

if you ever ditch your rig you are supposed to contact water police or local VMR to let them know so they dont start a full scale search and rescue if someone finds your rig.

LeeD
787 posts
4 Oct 2019 11:57PM
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Ditch the sail.
Tow the boom and mast, which you tied together with your uphaul, harness lines, and uphaul. Leave a bit to tie to rear strap.
Mast base goes thru rear strap.
You can save the sail if situation is not life threatening.
In waves, your rig will wash in immediately and you will follow in minutes. I'd you're outside the surf, go back to the first option.

sboardcrazy
NSW, 6750 posts
5 Oct 2019 7:19AM
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Swindy said..

Never had one of these come undone on my adjustable outhaul. What knots are you using, a bit of a worry if its happened a few times.



Since it happened I've added extra tail to the bowline and taped the end off.
It hasn't happened since. It just happened 2 x in a short time.Both times when I was in the middle of a 30 minute GPS freerace.. grr

sboardcrazy
NSW, 6750 posts
5 Oct 2019 7:25AM
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philn said..

40knots said..
My thoughts are you plan to leave your gear. If you out sailing and something goes wrong you should quickly put your plan in action. The chance of a boat is slim and to rely on your friends is putting them in danger. If I ever do leave my gear my family know I will be straight down to the shop for a replacement.



Don't leave your board.


Years ago at the beach I was trying to get out through big shorebreak in light winds. The first set got me and before I could get ready to start I could see the next one would too.
The first time I've decided to ditch the gear.
Bad move .I was sucked out onto the sand bar and tumbled. I thought I was going to die.. ( probably not but scary as ).
Won't do that again.

clarence
TAS, 900 posts
5 Oct 2019 9:51PM
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If you ditch the rig, make sure you are somehow tethered to your board.

A board without a rig (or with rig rolled up on top) will move very quickly if you become separated

Ditto if you need to do any "in water" adjustments to the rig offshore (which require rig to be separated from board).

In that case tie both yourself and the rig to the board.

Sometimes it is easier to tie downhaul or outhaul to back footstrap and do adjustments while sitting on the board rather then trying to float clew and do it in the water.

Always take a few metres of 4mm cord just in case.

Clarence

sboardcrazy
NSW, 6750 posts
7 Oct 2019 7:09AM
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clarence said..
If you ditch the rig, make sure you are somehow tethered to your board.

A board without a rig (or with rig rolled up on top) will move very quickly if you become separated

Ditto if you need to do any "in water" adjustments to the rig offshore (which require rig to be separated from board).

In that case tie both yourself and the rig to the board.

Sometimes it is easier to tie downhaul or outhaul to back footstrap and do adjustments while sitting on the board rather then trying to float clew and do it in the water.

Always take a few metres of 4mm cord just in case.

Clarence


I suppose it's common sense but that's something I hadn't thought of. Good idea.

Foghorn
WA, 304 posts
7 Oct 2019 9:02AM
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How long would it take to paddle in from a 3km outer reef.Was prepared to ditch the rig while out the other day.
Using uphaul as leg rope is a good idea.

bhc
VIC, 116 posts
7 Oct 2019 12:56PM
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I find it difficult to paddle even stay on a waveboard with no rig connected to it. It rolls especially if it is choppy. I saw another technique on a different seabreeze.com.au thread: lay the rig on the nose of board, face the back of the board and paddle. I tested and it works. The rig creates some drag but also stability against rolling.

LeeD
787 posts
7 Oct 2019 10:12AM
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Depends on width of board and your balance skills.
Formula, you SUP in.
Speed needles require you to tow everything, feet spread wide.
That sail is a rock.

Mr Milk
NSW, 1645 posts
7 Oct 2019 1:52PM
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I find it's hard enough to pull a mast out of a mast sleeve on dry land. And that's without using cammed sails. Unrigging as part of self rescue belongs to history.
On bhc's comment about paddling on a wave board.....
January 2018 I broke my ankle sailing way out in Jervis Bay. 86l Kode overpowered with a 4.5m Ezzy. The chop was short knee to waist high and the wind was just at the point where gusts start tearing sheets of water off the top.
A quick look at my ankle told me I wouldn't be sailing in. Common sense told me that I had to ditch the rig and start paddling the board alone. About 2.7km as the crow flies, but I had to angle upwind to get back to Callala Bay. I can confirm that you get knocked off the board from time to time, but it's easy to pick the steeper, larger bits of chop to be ready for. Probably happened at least 20 times during the hour and a half or so paddling.
That afternoon was the only time I have ever wished that a jetskier was buzzing around being an offensive twit, but there weren't any. Not even any fishing cruisers came past on their way to the boat ramp despite it being in the middle of summer holidays. They must have all heeded the weather forecast and headed in early.
I finally got to the beach about 1km south of the boat ramp and got somebody on the beach to call an ambulance.
Dunno if anybody ever found my rig, but I expect it has gradually broken into small bits of plastic and will have a long future of killing fish, birds and invertebrates.

LeeD
787 posts
7 Oct 2019 11:28AM
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Learn to surf a shortboard.

sboardcrazy
NSW, 6750 posts
7 Oct 2019 2:32PM
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Mr Milk said..
I find it's hard enough to pull a mast out of a mast sleeve on dry land. And that's without using cammed sails. Unrigging as part of self rescue belongs to history.
On bhc's comment about paddling on a wave board.....
January 2018 I broke my ankle sailing way out in Jervis Bay. 86l Kode overpowered with a 4.5m Ezzy. The chop was short knee to waist high and the wind was just at the point where gusts start tearing sheets of water off the top.
A quick look at my ankle told me I wouldn't be sailing in. Common sense told me that I had to ditch the rig and start paddling the board alone. About 2.7km as the crow flies, but I had to angle upwind to get back to Callala Bay. I can confirm that you get knocked off the board from time to time, but it's easy to pick the steeper, larger bits of chop to be ready for. Probably happened at least 20 times during the hour and a half or so paddling.
That afternoon was the only time I have ever wished that a jetskier was buzzing around being an offensive twit, but there weren't any. Not even any fishing cruisers came past on their way to the boat ramp despite it being in the middle of summer holidays. They must have all heeded the weather forecast and headed in early.
I finally got to the beach about 1km south of the boat ramp and got somebody on the beach to call an ambulance.
Dunno if anybody ever found my rig, but I expect it has gradually broken into small bits of plastic and will have a long future of killing fish, birds and invertebrates.


Sounds like a horrible experience. It would be bad enough without the pain!

LeeD
787 posts
7 Oct 2019 12:38PM
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Easy.
G/f today derigged as wind died to opposite direction and SUP'd home, about 1.3 miles. But breeze came back to changing 17 as she paddled.

bhc
VIC, 116 posts
8 Oct 2019 12:13AM
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Mr Milk said..
I find it's hard enough to pull a mast out of a mast sleeve on dry land. And that's without using cammed sails. Unrigging as part of self rescue belongs to history.
On bhc's comment about paddling on a wave board.....
January 2018 I broke my ankle sailing way out in Jervis Bay. 86l Kode overpowered with a 4.5m Ezzy. The chop was short knee to waist high and the wind was just at the point where gusts start tearing sheets of water off the top.
A quick look at my ankle told me I wouldn't be sailing in. Common sense told me that I had to ditch the rig and start paddling the board alone. About 2.7km as the crow flies, but I had to angle upwind to get back to Callala Bay. I can confirm that you get knocked off the board from time to time, but it's easy to pick the steeper, larger bits of chop to be ready for. Probably happened at least 20 times during the hour and a half or so paddling.
That afternoon was the only time I have ever wished that a jetskier was buzzing around being an offensive twit, but there weren't any. Not even any fishing cruisers came past on their way to the boat ramp despite it being in the middle of summer holidays. They must have all heeded the weather forecast and headed in early.
I finally got to the beach about 1km south of the boat ramp and got somebody on the beach to call an ambulance.
Dunno if anybody ever found my rig, but I expect it has gradually broken into small bits of plastic and will have a long future of killing fish, birds and invertebrates.


I had a different experience 3-4 weeks ago in Elwood, Port Phillip Bay that I will share later but first let me start with the lessons learnt from the experience as well as the research I did after that.

The below is based on my subjective consideration of value vs practicality:

Safety Gear:
- a helmet...
if you are knocked unconcious you have very little chance to survive
-a PLB if you need to be rescued asap due to an injury, drifting offshore, risk of hypothermia or a combination of them. I bought a RescueMe PLB1 around $300, smaller than a pack of cigarettes that fits comfortably under the chest flap of my wetty.
- a good wetsuit suitable for the water temp. Without a wetty you will get unconcious in 10-15 degree water within 1-2 hours and die within 1-6 hrs. I swam for 3.5 hrs and covered roughly 3kms when the water temp was 10.5 degrees, wearing a good 5/3 wetty and booties. My feet got called but I had no sign of hypothermia e.g. shivering, loss of grip strength and dexterity
- an impact vest to protect the ribs ..low probability but you won't survive a puctured lung by broken ribs for more than 10-20 mins
-a storm whistle: easy to carry and much more effective than shouting at the passing boats or people on the beach
a paracord bracelet: again easy to carry and 3.5-4m strong rope can be very useful when tying things etc. I carry one on my harness hook. It has a knife and whistle in the buckle.
- a PFD (type 2 or 3)...not critical in my opinion but mandatory if you are sailing more than 400m from the shore (the rule is a little more complicated)

Other considerations:
-Know your limits...how long can you swim, tolerate cold water? Don't go further than you can swim or paddle back.
-Keep calm, you won't survive if you panic.
-Remind yourself that your judgment maybe impaired depending on your physical and emotional condition. Carefully plan steps e.g. tying the board to your harness etc before disconnecting your rig, etc
-Learn self rescue techniques for various gear failure scenarios e.g. use your harness for fin failure, reverse broken boom if needed to sail back, etc
-check your gear before getting on the water
-Practice paddling techniques. As I mentioned above, paddling backwards with the rig still connected was not intuitive but can be pretty handy. As Mr Milk said, you can also paddle a smallish board effectively even with a broken ankle.
-Make sure somebody is aware that you are out sailing and can call the police if you are not back

Now the story:

I went out sailing on a Northerly that is side-off in Elwood around 9am. I am 85 kg, was sailing with a 93l Ultrakode, 5.0 sail in 20-25knots very gusty wind.
I was sailing close to the boating channel where the wind is cleaner, roughly 3km away from the shore. I heard a creaking sound and stopped to check my rig. My mast was breaking at the joint - I probably rushed rigging and left a gap in the mast joint. I tried to waterstart but it obviously didn't work. I decided to derig carefully and dump the broken mast and sail but keep the extension and my carbon boom. I did it carefully by first derigging the boom and tying the outhaul rope to the backstrap, then removing the top of the mast, undoing the downhaul and ditching the sail and the bottom of the mast. While derigging the sail, I put my leg through the boom that is in the water but tied to the backstrap. I secured the extension and the base to the boom, put my harness back to front and tried to get on the board to paddle but it was too hard. Decided to swim and tow my gear. Put the mast base and extension back in and tied the downhual rope to my harness hook, put the boom on the board and swam backstroke from 11:30 to 15:00 - backstroke was more practical then freestyle. I was happy to see that I was covering a good distance despite the offshore wind and was on track to make to the Brighton Marina. This was my primary objective as with the offshore wind, had I missed the marina, next stop would be Rosebud :)... I saw a few sailboats passing by some as close as 100-150m but they couldn't see me because of the chop and couldn't hear me in the wind. Finally, when I was a few hudred meters away from the marina a yacht saw me and picked me and my gear up. When I told them I had been in the water for 3.5 hrs they thought I must be getting hypothermia but I managed to convince them that I was OK by spelling a few words backwords and showing my pink and warm hands :). They took me back to the marina and offered a hot shower but I declined. They put me on an electric golf cart to drive back to Elwood while I was holding onto my board that didn't fit in the cart. It was a little unconfortable. I thank the older gentleman driving the cart and decided to walk back to Elwood, approximately 1.5km away.

When I got back to Elwood Beach Kiosk around 16:30, I was greeted by two police officers and a few of my friends. Steve the owner of the kiosk was closing but the coffee machine was still hot so I had a nice cappuccino :).

Apparently a couple of my sailing mates from Elwood Sailing Club saw me sailing around 10am but lost sight of me later. They went to my house and asked my wife to call the police. My wife wasn't too worried as she has confidence in my survival skills from past experince and she had also made sure that my life insurance didn't lapse :). After a few more visits by my friends and not to look as a bad wife, she finally called the police and when I arrived at he kiosk they were about to send out a search and rescue boat and a helicopter.

I was pretty much in control during the whole thing and I know I wouldn't have used a PLB even if I had one. BUT later I thought, had I been injured and wasn't able to swim or paddle, it would have been a far more serious case. That's why I immediately ordered a PLB and since then I never go out sailing without it.

Every situation is different but I hope you find some useful info in the above.

LeeD
787 posts
7 Oct 2019 11:32PM
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You guys REALLY need to learn to surf a shortboard....really badly.

Manuel7
302 posts
8 Oct 2019 2:31AM
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If the bottom breaks, ditch the broken top half piece. Slide the mast top out and place it back in upside down. Then, insert the top into the bottom. It'll make a shorter mast with a wrinkled sail which lets you sail back in. If the top breaks, you can still sail.

LeeD
787 posts
8 Oct 2019 3:08AM
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And a broken boom head is tied with uphaul and opposing harness lines.
30" is plenty to tie a broken rear boom end.
You can sail home across the wind without any fin, but don't plane.
When your board breaks in 2 in front of front straps, waterstart the front half to shore.

bhc
VIC, 116 posts
8 Oct 2019 7:04AM
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LeeD said..
You guys REALLY need to learn to surf a shortboard....really badly.


There's no waves but chop in Port Phillip Bay. How do you surf chop in side off shore wind?

bhc
VIC, 116 posts
8 Oct 2019 7:06AM
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Manuel7 said..
If the bottom breaks, ditch the broken top half piece. Slide the mast top out and place it back in upside down. Then, insert the top into the bottom. It'll make a shorter mast with a wrinkled sail which lets you sail back in. If the top breaks, you can still sail.


Good idea but didn't work with an rdm mast that was broken at the female part of the joint of the top half.

LeeD
787 posts
8 Oct 2019 4:13AM
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BBC, are you an engineer or a mathmetician?
Expand your thinking.

Manuel7
302 posts
8 Oct 2019 5:54AM
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bhc said..

Good idea but didn't work with an rdm mast that was broken at the female part of the joint of the top half.


Then you sail with a floppy top.

bhc
VIC, 116 posts
8 Oct 2019 9:24AM
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LeeD said..
BBC, are you an engineer or a mathmetician?
Expand your thinking.


Got an engineering degree but not sure if it is relevant here. Common sense says fit the solution to the problem not the other way around. Open to hear your suggestion about surfing the chop in offshore wind.

bhc
VIC, 116 posts
8 Oct 2019 9:33AM
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Manuel7 said..

bhc said..

Good idea but didn't work with an rdm mast that was broken at the female part of the joint of the top half.



Then you sail with a floppy top.


Tried but with half the sail violently flopping it didn't work.

Also tried to tie the strap of the adjustable top of the sail to the clew to control flopping; it din't work either. Might need more skills than I have but I can't see how to waterstart and sail with half a sail that has significantly disturbed dynamics.

I haven't tried uphauling which is challenging for me on that board even with a sail in a perfect condition.

Sea Lotus
46 posts
8 Oct 2019 6:44AM
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LeeD said..
BBC, are you an engineer or a mathmetician?
Expand your thinking.


You need to see a psychiatrist...

LeeD
787 posts
8 Oct 2019 6:46AM
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B H C....
Spellcheck won't allow correct spelling, sorry.
You think just like an engineer....your world is black OR white with no shades of gray.
Spell it out?
Expand your horizons!
What's everyone's real problem here....self rescue.
Lack of knowledge for sure, but more important......
Total lack of comfort..which mostly is mental, of being on the water.
And complete lack of paddling skills, physical and knowledge wise.
How to solve these posters problem? Acclimate to water...storyboard surfing skills, and common sense.
You might not understand.

LeeD
787 posts
8 Oct 2019 6:47AM
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Storyboard won't show as shortboard.

LeeD
787 posts
8 Oct 2019 6:48AM
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Sea Lotus.
You are a land based person.
Learn to be sea based to expand your horizons.



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"self rescue" started by sboardcrazy