The capsizing of the boat occurred during a freak storm that passed
through New Bern on May 23. We say the storm approaching and took
the sails in and started motoring to the marina. The storm was t
raveling much faster and far worse than I could imagine. It was
acking 85+ mph winds and pushing a wave that I estimate was 6 to 8
feet in front of it.
The wave caught to left rear of the boat and lifted it so that the
boat rolled to the right and as it started to slide down the wave
then the wind hit rolling us over. Stan has said that a Rhodes will
not capsize when the sails are up and if it does you get the boat for
free. Stan says that it would not have happened if we had the sails
up and that I needed to go through the whole thing again to prove him
wrong about capsizing a Rhodes. No thanks.
The storm was incredibly violent. There were lots of knockdowns and
capsizings in the area, as well as tornado damage. Fortunately there
was no loss of life that I am aware of. I did not buy the Rhodes
because of the built-in flotation but I now consider it one of the
most attractive features. The boat did not sink. We clung to the
boat through the storm. After the storm passed (which it did
quickly), friends from Blackbeard's Sailing Club went out and got
the boat upright (they had to cut the stays on one side of the mast
because the water in the IMF and Genoa kept pulling the boat back
over). They brought the boat to the slip full of water and two men
aboard with the pulling the rigging, mast and sails. I know that
without the flotation, the boat would have gone to the bottom and
cost a small fortune to have a salvage company come to recover it.
I have no doubt that we could have probably taken on the storm
without loss if I had understood what we were getting into. By
turning into the storm and taking the waves on the bow, it would
have been a nasty ride but do-able. I frankly, never imagined that
the Neuse River could generate that kind of wave or that we would
encounter a storm of that ferocity without some kind of warning.
I will do things differently in the future. Don't rely on the TV
weatherman, check the marine weather and watch for cold fronts
moving through. I am spending some money and getting some inflatable
life vests that come in the pouch that you wear around your waist
which I will insist that everyone wears while aboard. Even on a
nice day, if someone goes overboard, I may not get back to them fast
enough. Wet clothing can make swimming difficult for someone who is
not a good swimmer.
I will put photos on the net when the interior modification is
complete. Having used my boat as the prototype, my guess is that
Stan will have the templates to make the conversion in much shorter
time if anyone else is interested in this kind of converted interior.
As a novice, you have given me more to think about before I plunge in
with my family to extensive cruising; especially with my resistant
wife. I don't think I will show her your e-mail. Glad to hear you
survived intact. It does sound like a freak experience. Let us know
what your further experience is like.
Just read your exciting adventure.
We say the boat is non-capsizable under sail. So you will have to
do this again since you were under motor this time.
Re "just" floating, the boat floats very high right side up - but the
very design that keeps it high in the water if it develops a leak,
keeps it low in the water when upside down.
Delighted that the only thing everyone has to bring from the
experience is the story.
31 May 1998