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The Pitchpole Experience ! #81471
08/01/06 03:20 PM
08/01/06 03:20 PM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 292
Ontario, Canada
Captain_Dave Offline OP
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Captain_Dave  Offline OP
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Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 292
Ontario, Canada
Well,

I just got back from a few days of sailing and I thought I would take this opportunity to share my first pitchpole experiences with the other relative newbies out there.

Myself and my crew (combined weight of 355lbs) were sailing on a large inland lake in winds of about 20 mph (sometimes higher) and had a real blast. Thankfully, my good buddy is stupidly fearless (...you gotta love that in a crewmate eh?) and had never been on an H16 before. Besides having the greatest of fun and getting high on adrenaline, we pitchpoled twice and nearly a third time. The good news is; I am no longer afraid to pitchpole my H16...Now, that is not to suggest that I actually enjoy pitchpoling - It`s just that I am no longer afraid of it like I once was.



We setup the boat with about 9 inches of mast rake and headed out onto the partially white-capped lake. Within 30 minutes, we flawlessly performed a not-too-violent pitchpole while on a broad reach...what a rush! My buddy was stoic as ever, but instantly stopped complaining that since he "hit 40" he no longer gets adrenaline rushes out of life. He won`t be saying that anymore!

We righted the unruly boat and took off again. Promptly we picked up speed and immediately burried the bows (and half of the tramp) whilst we scrambled like rats to the back of the boat and saved yet another slow-motion flip. I am certain that my good friend was still trying to digest the previous surge of adrenaline, so there seemed to be little need to talk about the latest close-call. He just looked at me as if to be reassured that I wasn`t actually insane.

I am not sure why, but for some reason when things get tense on the water (due to the elements) it seems to result in silence. I have found this to be the case in my other "big-water" boating experiences as well as in many nautical adventure books. In any event, I just tried to fake it - as any good captain should. However, my friend has known me for more than 30 of my 40 years, and I suspect he was wondering if HE was actually the crazy one for going sailing with me!

About 45 minutes later, while we were rocketing along on a close reach (nearly close-hauled) my crewman turned the "whites-of-his-eyes" towards me just as the leeward bow was beginning to pierce the occassional wave at high speed - threatening to dig in. At that moment, I laughed like some sort of kooky adrenaline Pirate, and, with all the confidence that my "book-smarts" catamaran expertise could muster, I proclaimed victoriously above the wind; "don`t worry, H16`s never pitchpole while going upwind". Within seconds - as if on cue from the Gods - BLAM, a violent pitchpole!! I was launched into the air, close-lined by the windward shroud, and spun around while airborne before crashing onto the jib just as it (and me) hit the water.

All I can say is ...WOW! Now, I am truly addicted to this catamaran sailing thing. I admit it can certainly scare the [email]SH@T[/email] out of you. But, it is simply a blast; something my buddy and I will talk about for many years to come. I loved it and he did too.


Morals of the Story...(1) H16`s CAN pitchpole while going upwind - I know for sure! (2) It is a surprisingly easy manuvre to accomplish and doesn`t appear to require any practice at all (3) My first pitchpole experience wasn`t the "show-stopper" that I was afraid it might be. In fact, I would even venture to say that the threat of it occurring again actually enhanced the overall sailing experience. (4) One should probably refrain from any "proclamations" in the face of Mother Nature - I knew this one already but forgot.




Whew! I can`t wait to push the envelope again.

I GET IT !


Dave <img src="http://www.catsailor.com/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />

-- Have You Seen This? --
Re: The Pitchpole Experience ! [Re: Captain_Dave] #81472
08/01/06 03:47 PM
08/01/06 03:47 PM
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,187
38.912, -95.37
_flatlander_ Offline
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_flatlander_  Offline
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Congratulations are in order <img src="http://www.catsailor.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> Shouldn't you be buying us all a round of beers??<img src="http://www.catsailor.com/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />

The fear elimination is a good thing. You'll be faster now. Pitchpoles are definitely more easily survived from the wire. Sorry to hear of your encounter with the shroud. <img src="http://www.catsailor.com/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" />

I had never had that happen to us (upwind pitch) until our first race this year. I'm still unsure exactly what happened...all of the sudden the lee bow was buried to the crossbar and Paul was hanging by the wire in front of the crossbar, and somehow I was able to save us from going over. Indeed a rare occurance you and your friend can lavish for a long while.

Nice work Dave!! <img src="http://www.catsailor.com/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />

Last edited by flatlander18; 08/01/06 03:48 PM.

John H16, H14
Re: The Pitchpole Experience ! [Re: _flatlander_] #81473
08/01/06 03:54 PM
08/01/06 03:54 PM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 292
Ontario, Canada
Captain_Dave Offline OP
enthusiast
Captain_Dave  Offline OP
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Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 292
Ontario, Canada
I`m glad to hear that pitchpoles are easier to tolerate from the wire. Having no experience in that regard, I would have thought otherwise. As for the beers, a few rounds were consumed in the re-telling of events. Actually, quite a few rounds!

Thanks

Dave

Re: The Pitchpole Experience ! [Re: Captain_Dave] #81474
08/01/06 05:33 PM
08/01/06 05:33 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 349
Fort Loramie, Ohio
jmhoying Offline
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jmhoying  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2002
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Fort Loramie, Ohio
Your crew fared better than my crew did for our first violent pitchpole. She (my wife) ended up with large, deep bruises and a few bleeding abrasions. I think she went through the bridal wires at high speed. I also was dripping a little blood after the event. I would advise that you respect a truly violent pitchpole, as they happen fast enough that you have no time to even raise a hand to protect yourself. She never did lose the fear on that boat, and was one reason that we moved to a larger ride.
I'm not saying that it isn't a good thing to push the limits of your boat, but it's wise to respect what could happen.


Jack Hoying Fort Loramie, Ohio
Re: The Pitchpole Experience ! [Re: jmhoying] #81475
08/02/06 10:31 AM
08/02/06 10:31 AM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 29
Banner Elk, NC
Bill K. Offline
newbie
Bill K.  Offline
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Posts: 29
Banner Elk, NC
It really can be dangerous. My father dislocated his shoulder and lacerated his arm after pitchpoling and being flung into the mast while on the trap. I don't know how he managed to right the boat, get back on and sail to shore with a dislocated shoulder and cut arm. I guess that's where my fear comes from.


83' Hobie 16
Re: The Pitchpole Experience ! [Re: Bill K.] #81476
08/02/06 01:04 PM
08/02/06 01:04 PM
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,187
38.912, -95.37
_flatlander_ Offline
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Will,

Nasty story!! We should be thankful for no serious injuries.

Here's my pp experience (my definition of violent being from high speed to stop), if one or both are on the tramp, the likelihood of hitting the shroud, mast, jib stuff, the other person/s is high. When one or both are on the wire the tendancy is to become like a rock on the end of a string and be flung clear of the boat. I try to jump and avoid falling in to the boat. If trying to save it (usually fruitless [read violent vs. slomo]) is when myself or someone gets hurt. Even when blowing over we always try to jump away from the boat (in this case off the back). Attempting moves like sliding between the boom and tramp more times than not result in injury.

In pitchpoling or blowing over, I liken it to that miracle shot out of the woods on the golf course ("I know I can save this hole!!"). I'm way better off if I take my lumps (we're going over) and take the easy way out.


John H16, H14
Re: The Pitchpole Experience ! [Re: Captain_Dave] #81477
08/09/06 08:51 PM
08/09/06 08:51 PM
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 47
California
Skipshot Offline
newbie
Skipshot  Offline
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Posts: 47
California
I undertand not to tempt the gods with proclamations of invincibility. While out with an uninitiated crew I was having fun flying a hull in 16-18 mph winds. After coming down he remarked how close we came to capsizing, to which I contemptuously responded with something like, "Capsize? We weren't close! I have control of how high the hull flies and this boat doesn't do anything without me telling it." I was almost finished with the last sentence when I was given the most ferocious pitchpole I've ever had, and we both were violently flung from the boat. Luckily we were completly uninjured, and the first thing he said, in his classic French acccent, after regrouping was, "You were saying. . ." He was right, I deserved to be punished for my hubris.

Re: The Pitchpole Experience ! [Re: Skipshot] #81478
08/13/06 06:48 PM
08/13/06 06:48 PM
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 56
yankyfan2000 Offline
journeyman
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Posts: 56
i was going to start a new topic but i saw this so i'll ask my question here. I finally got my boat in the water and i noticed that it seemed to be burrying the hull in the water a little more than i remember. Does mast rake have to do with this? Is my mast raked to far back or not raked enough? (or is that even the rememdy?) I know these boats pitchpole easy but i think i remember reading soemthing on adjusting the mast to help.

thanks, anthony


Anthony-----H14
Re: The Pitchpole Experience ! [Re: Captain_Dave] #81479
08/18/06 01:43 PM
08/18/06 01:43 PM
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 306
St. Louis, MO
hobienick Offline
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hobienick  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 306
St. Louis, MO
I remember my first pitch pole very well. I had just started sailing the H16. At that time I was not aware of the cat forums and basically taught myself from reading books and experience. I didn't know what I did was a pitchpole until 2 years later after I started to sail with other cat sailors.

I was on a small lake in northern Indiana, a storm front was on the way so there was lots of wind. I was on a nice broad reach with the windward hull just skimming the water. I was enjoying the rush of the speed. The leward bow was getting close to burying in the wind driven waves, but I never felt that deceleration so I didn't do anything about it. I also just finihsed reading a book (I forgot which one) that said to keep the fore-aft balance as close to the center of the boat as possible for the most speed. So, I was hiked out about 1 foot behind the shroud. I was not in a trap harness so I had my glutes placed firmly on the side rail fo the tramp.

As with many lakes in Indiana, as soon as the wind starts to create chop the powerboats all rush back to the docks. One of them was crossing my bow at a decent speed. For some reason instead of maintaining that speed, they thought it would be helpful to slow down. In doing so they went from creating a very small wake to creating a huge wake.

I had seen pictures of Hobies ramping off of waves so I sheeted in to get mroe speed before hitting the wave... bad plan.

The leward bow started to press further down and as I hit the wake it submerged... and didn't come back up. Not expecting to pitchpole I did nothing. The next thing I knew I was in front of my boat. This also happend to be my first attempt at righting the boat. Once I figured out what happend I started to swim to the side of the capsized boat. I notice that my left side was really hurting. I thought I had just pulled a muscle. As I climed onto the bottom hull I learned that it was not just a muscle. I had broken a rib. Fortunately the power boat came back to offer assistance in righting. Without it I don't think I could have righted the boat on my own. I just couldn't hang on the righting line long enough to do anything.

fortunately that was near the end of the season so I didn't loose much time healing. I learned plenty that day and like Dave gained much confidence. I also started to really pay attention to that leward bow.

As my father says "It's not a sport if it can't kill you." That must be why cat sailing is so much fun.


Nick

Current Boat
Looking for one

Previous Boats
'84 H16
'82 H18 Magnum
'74 Pearson 30
St. Louis, MO
Re: The Pitchpole Experience ! [Re: hobienick] #81480
10/28/06 02:55 PM
10/28/06 02:55 PM
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 902
Norman,OK
gree2056 Offline
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gree2056  Offline
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Posts: 902
Norman,OK
I sail a 14T, they pitchpoll in about half the time that a 16 does. There just isn't much in front of you on a 14 but that doesn't matter she is a great boat. But m first pitchpoll was alone on a broad reach. I was just screaming along out on the trap when I saw the leeward hull just bury into a big wave. Before I could do anything I was swimming out by the tip of the mast. There were no injuries but I was a little shaken up, after that I realized how to avoid it most of the time. Simply put more weight back!

My next experience sadly involved someone else. There is this amazingly good looking girl in my organic chem class. We had been talking and I had somehow convinced her to go on a couple of dates. After she learned that I sailed she wanted to go. Thinking that this was perfect chance to show her myself in my element I was pushing the boat in fairly high winds. I was letting her hang out on the trap with one hull way up in the air. Then all of a sudden !wham! the lee hull sunk and we both went flying. I hit the mast with my leg and she detatched from the trap and went flying. I am not sure how but her bathing suit top somehow came undone. So there I am, half naked girl, flipped boat and a giant bruise on my leg. I figured I would never see her again. We couldn't find her top so I loaned her a shirt I had in a dry bag and we righted the boat.

To make a long story slightly shorter, she is now my most common passenger. I don't know how I lucked out on that one.


Once you go cat you never go back! Nacra 5.2 (Elsies)#1499, running an inter17 spin!
Re: The Pitchpole Experience ! [Re: gree2056] #81481
10/28/06 04:45 PM
10/28/06 04:45 PM
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 5,582
“an island in the Pacifi...
hobie1616 Offline
Carpal Tunnel
hobie1616  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

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Posts: 5,582
“an island in the Pacifi...
Quote
I hit the mast with my leg and she detatched from the trap and went flying. I am not sure how but her bathing suit top somehow came undone. So there I am, half naked girl, flipped boat and a giant bruise on my leg. I figured I would never see her again. We couldn't find her top so I loaned her a shirt I had in a dry bag and we righted the boat.

To make a long story slightly shorter, she is now my most common passenger. I don't know how I lucked out on that one.
Dude!! <img src="http://www.catsailor.com/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" />


US Sail Level 2 Instructor
US Sail Level 3 Coach
Re: The Pitchpole Experience ! [Re: gree2056] #81482
10/28/06 11:50 PM
10/28/06 11:50 PM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 1,383
Kingston SE South Australia
JeffS Offline
veteran
JeffS  Offline
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Joined: May 2006
Posts: 1,383
Kingston SE South Australia
I would have hidden the dry bag <img src="http://www.catsailor.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />


Jeff Southall
Current boats
Nacra 5.8 1703 Animal Scanning Services
Nacra 5.8 1667 Ram Raider
Nacra 18 Square
Arrow 1576
Re: The Pitchpole Experience ! [Re: JeffS] #81483
10/29/06 02:13 AM
10/29/06 02:13 AM
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 902
Norman,OK
gree2056 Offline
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gree2056  Offline
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Norman,OK
Believe me that thought went through my mind, but I figured she was already going to hate me and if I ever wanted to see her again I had better give her a shirt.

Like I said, I see her more than ever now, and I can't keep her off my boat. Even now that it is winter and the boat is taken apart for painting she is over all the time helping on it. I think I might have found a winner!!!


Once you go cat you never go back! Nacra 5.2 (Elsies)#1499, running an inter17 spin!
Re: The Pitchpole Experience ! [Re: gree2056] #81484
10/29/06 10:15 PM
10/29/06 10:15 PM
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 270
Nepean (Ottawa) Ontario Canada
Frozen Offline
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Frozen  Offline
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Nepean (Ottawa) Ontario Canada
Quote
Believe me that thought went through my mind, but I figured she was already going to hate me and if I ever wanted to see her again I had better give her a shirt.

Like I said, I see her more than ever now, and I can't keep her off my boat. Even now that it is winter and the boat is taken apart for painting she is over all the time helping on it. I think I might have found a winner!!!


Sounds like my sweetheart.... <img src="http://www.catsailor.com/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />


Cheers
Alan F

Tiger
Re: The Pitchpole Experience ! [Re: gree2056] #81485
10/30/06 08:28 AM
10/30/06 08:28 AM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 206
Virginia USA
CMerrell Offline
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Posts: 206
Virginia USA
Hmmm... a girl that loves cat sailing, takes a body slam for the team and doesn't mind showing the goodies? Hang on to her like a dog on a bone, my friend!

Re: The Pitchpole Experience ! [Re: gree2056] #81486
10/30/06 09:32 AM
10/30/06 09:32 AM
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,187
38.912, -95.37
_flatlander_ Offline
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_flatlander_  Offline
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38.912, -95.37
Quote
Believe me that thought went through my mind, but I figured she was already going to hate me and if I ever wanted to see her again I had better give her a shirt.

Like I said, I see her more than ever now, and I can't keep her off my boat. Even now that it is winter and the boat is taken apart for painting she is over all the time helping on it. I think I might have found a winner!!!


Sounds as if you need another 14 for her or a two up boat she can crew on <img src="http://www.catsailor.com/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

You definitely are a winner <img src="http://www.catsailor.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />


John H16, H14
Re: The Pitchpole Experience ! [Re: _flatlander_] #81487
10/30/06 09:51 AM
10/30/06 09:51 AM
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 902
Norman,OK
gree2056 Offline
old hand
gree2056  Offline
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Posts: 902
Norman,OK
Hey, that is funny that you said she needs her own boat. She suggested that last night while we were working on my boat. She mentioned that she had some extra money right now and being that it was the offseason she could find one cheap.

So looks like I am looking for another 14 that is in good shape.


Once you go cat you never go back! Nacra 5.2 (Elsies)#1499, running an inter17 spin!
Re: The Pitchpole Experience ! [Re: Captain_Dave] #81488
10/30/06 02:54 PM
10/30/06 02:54 PM

A
Anonymous
Unregistered
Anonymous
Unregistered
A



Pitch poling is less frequent for me since dicovering the downwind safety valve. The upwind safety valve is to luff up or ease sheets and spill wind. The downwind safety valve is to bear off and reduce apparent wind. This is counter-intuitive and requires discipline. The inclination is to head up a little in that puff and get totally screwed.

Pitch-poling is less tramatic since rerigging my trapeze line. The dog-bone attaches to a short length of dacron line, which then goes through a fairlead on the bottom of the side-rail and located fairly far aft. The dacron line then attaches to a shock cord criss cross under the tramp and hence to the other side. As the unfortunate panic stricken sailor starts to hurl forward after stuffing the bow, the end of the dacron line stops in the fairlead, forward progress is stopped. If the boat continues to tip, you can unhook, step down on the main boom which is conveniently placed 2 or 3 ft above the water, start your righting procedure whatever, and walk calmly and dryly around to the lower hull passing forward of the fore cross-bar.

It's important to keep the mast from sinking and turn the bow into the wind. Both objectives are achieved by throwing a righting line over the high hull and leaning back. Walking way forward at this time buries the bow and the windage of the everything else turns the boat.

Doesn't this sound easy?

Regards
Chet

Re: The Pitchpole Experience ! [Re: gree2056] #81489
11/24/06 11:19 AM
11/24/06 11:19 AM
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 47
California
Skipshot Offline
newbie
Skipshot  Offline
newbie

Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 47
California
Quote
I am not sure how but her bathing suit top somehow came undone.

What? No lifevest?

Re: The Pitchpole Experience ! [Re: Skipshot] #81490
11/25/06 11:02 AM
11/25/06 11:02 AM
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 902
Norman,OK
gree2056 Offline
old hand
gree2056  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 902
Norman,OK
Wow, this is an old thread but... not we had them laying on the tramp that day. I always wear mine if I am solo or if we are really pushing things but that day we had been taking it somewhat easy, and sorry but I would really like to see her without the lifevest!
Kinda funny actually, she does a tiny bit of modeling for a local company, when I got my new nacra she asked if she could take some pictures on it, who knows my new boat might make some magazine.


Once you go cat you never go back! Nacra 5.2 (Elsies)#1499, running an inter17 spin!
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