Failure of Mainsail Flotation

I had the experience of viewing the bottom of my Scot yesterday. I was surprised since I had the mainsail flotation in place. I broached with the spinnaker up. The boat went over in a big gust. The boat briefly floated on her side while I was standing on the centerboard trunk trying to climb over the side to bring her back over. The boat then turtled. When I finally recovered the boat and gear, it seemed that the flotation was "soggy" and had absorbed a fair amount of water that could be wrung out. I can't remember exactly how old the mainsail flotation is, but i bought it soon after it was available.

Has anyone heard of this happening[:(!]

Addendum: It was blowing 10-15 with minimal waves on a small fresh water lake.

Hi Gary,

Your message about the apparent failure of the Flying Scot Flotation Device -- anti-turtling device -- was extremely disconcerting to us "old folks" who put a lot of faith in the concept!!. As I mentioned in my earlier message to you, for many years I have put great faith in that device and never sail without it. However, I have never had the misfortune to have to use it!! So I performed some testing at the Lake this afternoon!!

My Flotation was delivered from Flying Scot Inc., with my new boat in December 2001, and has been on the boat ever since.

I used weights from our R/C boat today to load the Flotation until it began to sink. At 40 lbs of weight, the device floated with about 20% out of the water. With 48 lbs of weight, the device just began to sink -- I applied a spring balance until the device was "neutral" buoyancy and this took 2 lbs -- therefore I determined that the total buoyant uplift force from the device is about 46 lbs.

I left the 48 lbs weight on the device so that it was fully immersed for about 1 hour in the lake (with a retrieval line so that I did not lose the float!!!). After a full hour, I retrieved the device, applied only the 40 lbs of weight, and the device floated as before. I then removed it from the Lake and weighed the device as it was draining -- it may have picked up about 1/4 lb in all of the wet fabric. It then drained and dried quickly to its original weight of about 2 lbs. It was about 85 degrees at the Lake today, and the water was about 60.

It may be that your device has some defective foam, and your "bathtub" tests may determine that -- if it gains weight like a sponge there is something wrong!! Otherwise, since Chet described winds over 20 when you capsized, and your board was fully "Up," it could be that there is enough force from the wind on the bottom of the boat to force the flotation device under the water?? Perhaps Harry Carpenter could comment if this is likely??? I would think that 46 lbs of buoyancy at the end of a 25 foot mast would keep the boat on its side??

I am relieved as a result of the tests today, and will await the further examination of the Flotation Device from your boat.

Mike Noone, Secretary, Flying Scot Fleet # 163.
Sailing -- always with the Flotation Device -- on the Beautiful Waters of Lake Nockamixon in Bucks County, PA.

I too sail with the mainsail floatation. I hope you post the results of your examination.
Richard B. Murray