How to do a capsize drill

One of the activities our fleet is planning for this summer is a capsize drill. We have many members, experienced and novice, who would like to go through the process of righting the Scot in controlled conditions so they will be ready should the time come when they have to do it for real. Have any of you ever done that and if so how did you do it? My general idea is to work in waist-deep water with the Scot anchored bow & stern in a bit deeper water and with a line to the masthead. Couple of people sit in the Scot while several of us with the rope pull it over. That way, they can get the feel for when it is going past the point of no return, practice getting out on the centerboard, etc. One concern I have though is putting that sort of stress on the rig multiple times during an afternoon. Given our fleet size, we'll probably go through this at least a dozen times. Any feedback or advice is much appreciated. /chet ensign fleet captain fleet #184; Clinton, NJ



Hello. Any capsize drill should be in deep water to avoid the mast getting stuck in the mud or the sails getting muddy in case for some reason the boat goes over all the way. Also, the sail should be on the boat and fully hoisted. The wet sails tend to scoop water and without a full release of the mainsail cleat I was not able to right the boat after my capsize. The thing that you can do without any capsizing of the boat is to train people to get aboard the upright boat from the water. As a result of my one and only capsize in over 30 years of Scot sailing I found that getting on board from the water was the hardest part. I have since installed a stern ladder. I would think hard about embarking on such a project. Doing a demonstration where others watch from a nearby boat or dock is one thing. Given the litigous nature of our society I would never have the individual students participate in the capsize drill. FS3512

I discovered the link below on the web shortly after I bought my

I discovered the link below on the web shortly after I bought my Scot. Still haven't practiced righting the boat, but agree it's a very valuable skill to have. Also share the other writer's concerns about liability. You may want to contact the club at the link for their ideas/recommendations (and permission to use their informtion, too, perhaps). Kurt

Kurt Steinbock

FS 3879

Hey Chet, Phil Scheetz here from NSC.

Hey Chet, Phil Scheetz here from NSC. I capsized last fall at Nockamixon, something I knew was coming someday. We were leading the race at the first mark and the wind was somewhat gusty and shifting about 45 degrees. We got cocky and decided to fly the spinnaker to extend our lead, when we knew that we might be a little high or close to the wind to fly my old spinnaker. The wind went left in a puff and we went for a swim. The mast starts sinking pretty quickly, which may be a good reason to have the masthead float, and is also a good reason to get on the centerboard quickly. I was very surprised by how quickly the boat came back up. I fell in the water initially. My crew and I were already wearing lifejackets, which is helpful. I swam between the boom and cockpit and stepped on the seat then the mast and over the high side to stand on the centerboard. The boat comes up fast. I have the swim ladder, which saves a lot of grief. Retrieve the crew, and wet spinnaker, and away you go. We had about 3 scoops to bail, mostly brought on board by wet crew and spinnaker. I have used a line of the mast, secured at the hounds, to roll my boat over on shore. I would think that rolling it in the water would be less stressful on the rig. Just be sure you are in deep enough water to prevent the centerboard from hitting bottom as the boat comes up. This seems like it would stress the boat in a bad way. Phil Scheetz FS 4086

Phil Scheetz

Flying Scot 5919

Fleet 163, Nockamixon Sail Club

Thanks Phil.

Thanks Phil. I remember MIke writing about your adventure in his fleet report. We also had an incident early in the season. Windy and very gusty conditions and Gary, coming second around the windward mark, decided to fly his chute & roll over me. A gust hit just as it got up and his sheet jammed. He went right over. In Gary's capsize, he had the mainsail flotation up but it failed. The foam had gone bad. It soaked up water and he turtled. His boat righted easily too - but he had to be towed back to shore. I am happy to hear that an un-turtled Scot comes up easily. With all that freeboard, it was one of my concerns. I will also share the link and comments with the fleet and see what people think. Thanks much for your feedback. /chet ensign fleet captain, #183

Chet: I thought of a couple of factors that seem to have made

Chet: I thought of a couple of factors that seem to have made it easier to recover: 1 Flat water, and moderate winds, probably around 15, with gusts higher. Waves would have made it more likely to swamp. 2 I had the centerboard down slightly and I was able to release the waco cleat and get the board down to lever the boat up. 3 I asked my crew to swim to the mast tip and see if he could keep it from sinking. He had a nice swim, but the mast tip was on its way back up before he got there. My sail had gone under, to about the numbers, which puts the mast tip about 4 or 5 feet under the surface, I would guess. As soon as I was on the board, the mast started surfacing as the boat started righting. 4 I highly recommend the swim ladder. The bow flotation bag and the transom port are required for racing soon and just a good idea. The mast flotation is used by many in our club, and doesn't seem to slow anybody down. I don't use one, but I don't really worry about capsizing all that much. I am a pretty strong swimmer and if it looks dicey, I tend to wear a PFD. Have fun, be careful, and shoot video. It could be some very interesting Youtube content, that could be very useful to others learning this valuable skill. Phil Phil Scheetz FS 4086

Phil Scheetz

Flying Scot 5919

Fleet 163, Nockamixon Sail Club

I am definitely putting on the swim ladder this season.

I am definitely putting on the swim ladder this season. I had an interesting swim trip into Raritan Bay in October and the boat's swim ladder made it simple to get back aboard. I decided right then to put one on my Scot for this season. Thanks for the advice! /chet

Chet, Check out the video clip at the Flying Scot website ww

Chet, Check out the video clip at the Flying Scot website This clip shows a smooth and quick recovery of a predetermined capsize. Also the Deep Creek Sailing School has a series of photos on the capsize drill. Check it out at My wife and I took sailing lessons at Deep Creek Lake and the capaize drill was the first on water lesson. Each student took turns at the mast (to keep from turtleing) and walking the centerboard (to right the boat). This built a lot of confidence amoung the newbees. [^] For safety an instructor was in the boat with us to help get the Scot to capsize and then to give us in water instructions. A safty boat with 2 aboard was also watching. The most difficult thing was getting the board walker back into the boat! Andy FS 4957

We do capsize drills frequently in Flying Scots as part of our j

We do capsize drills frequently in Flying Scots as part of our junior lesson programs at the Ephraim Yacht Club. Suggestions: 1. Only do capsize drills in light air and calm water. 2. Have a motorboat standing by as a rescue vessel if anything goes wrong. 3. Attach flotation to the mast tip (a small boat bumper or a PFD works if your sail does not have built in masthead flotation). This is a capsize drill, not a turtling drill. 4. To capsize, all the crew sits on the windward side, hiked out, while sailing upwind. Now tack but don't move the crew. The boat should capsize and everyone falls in the water. 5. Discourage crew from trying to stay dry and climbing over the hull to get to the centerboard. While the climbover maneuver might work in a real capsize (and if it does work can shorten the time to recovery), it can also lead to a quick turtle and swamping. Furthermore the drill is more realistic if everyone is in the water. 6. Emphasize safety (first check that everyone is OK and not underwater or tangled in anything). Emphasize that someone must swim around quickly to get a hand on the centerboard and prevent turtling. 7. Goes without saying that all drill participants must be wearing PFDs. We do the drill in deep water. It seems like doing it in shallow water at the beach where everyone can stand up would not be very realistic -- would not give a real sense of what it takes to right the boat when you are swimming. Note that our EYC-owned Scots, because of frequent capsize drills and people standing on the centerboards, take a lot of wear and tear. The boards get soft eventually, and the centerboard trunks get widened -- from the leverage with people standing on the boards. So use old boats if you are going to capsize a lot, boats which you don't mind beating up on. J. Lott