Kids in boats

I’ve been reluctant to take my younger son sailing in the Skerry because he has been nervous about it and I have not been sure how he would react in any kind of unusual situation.  Today, he went through a complete self-rescue course without even realizing it.  He likes to play in the water on big floats tethered to the dock.  Today, I tethered the Skerry to the dock (with a 60 ft ski rope) and we just played on it.  First we played by jumping out of it, then climbing back in, several times.  Then we played by swamping (easiier said than done) it, then capsizing it.  After playing on and around the capsized boat we played by righting it, climbing in and bailing it out. He had a blast, he now has no fear of a capsize and neither one of us is nervous about him sailing in the Skerry.



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RE: Kids in boats

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RE: Kids in boats

 I applaud the fact that you and your son went out of the way to have a fun time in the boat while wet.  Checking out the self-rescue capabilities of a boat isn't just "child's play."  It is a critically important aspect of knowing the capabilities of your boat, and yourself.

I'm almost embarrassed to admit that it was over a year before I gave my NE Dory the "tether to the dock and tip her over" treatment this summer.  I'm glad that up to this point the most I'd every done while under sail was dip a rail for an instant or two.  I'm not the type of person that likes to have to be rescued. 

Apart from the per-plan under seat floatation, my dory is modified with a bow seat (near mirror image of the stern seat, but slightly smaller) and some side seats, both with added floatation under them.  In total probably somewhere between 2 and 3 cubic feet more than the per plan floatation - so not that much added, but more than a per plan boat, and some of it in that critical location on the side of the boat that will help it roll up with less water onboard.

Even so, (and not being at all disappointed with the boat, I knew before I started the build that this might be the case) I was disappointed to discover that, in my opinion, the boat will be nearly impossible to self-resuce in any of the conditions that might cause a capsize in the first place.  I was able to enter the boat and get it bailed out in the calm harbor (I had both a hand pump and a bucket/bailer), but with any significant wind or waves I doubt very much if I would have been able to gain those critical first few extra inches of freeboard necessary before a wave or shift of weight would have undone all the bailing that had been done up to that point.  I did my test with the (lug) sail rigged and left standing.  I now know that if in extremis I'll have to lower that as a first step to have any (slim) chance of a self rescue out on the water.

With these characteristics of the boat confirmed, at least know I know what limitations I might want to place on where I go and how far I might go with respect to wind/wave/temperature conditions and taking risks with sails up (chances of a capsize) while far from a shoreline or without a high probability of friendly boaters passing by. 

RE: Kids in boats

   How did you find recovery of the Skerry?  I'm building one right now and researched it a lot before committing.  It's been the only worry point I have with the boat as my daughter is quite young and Seattle doesn't have very warm water.  From other experiences I've ready it rights fairly easy without the sail however with the sail it is quite difficult.  

RE: Kids in boats

My experience with self-propelled boats is pretty much limited to canoes, but I can’t imagine how recovery could be any easier than in the Skerry.  To begin with, it’s pretty hard to get into trouble with it.  It feels tippy at first, but the closer the gunwale gets to the water, the more it floats (good secondary stability, I guess)  It takes a very extreme heel to ship any water and a whole lot more to swamp it.  I weigh 150 lbs.  The first few times I climbed over the side of the dry boat, I jerked up with a sharp kick and rapidly got some weight onto the opposite gunwale to minimize shipping water as you would in a canoe.  I have since discovered that I can just climb over the side as you would climbing out the side of a pool.  The gunwale stays above water, for me.  Climbing into a swamped boat is even easier, with a minimum of balance required to keep it upright.  The top of the dagger board trunk will be submerged if there is any extra weight at all.  With two adults aboard, mine is about 4 inches under water.  I can stuff my shirt into the slot and bail normally and it only takes a minute or two to bring the trunk top above the waterline.  

Last summer I turtled mine while running in 15+ knots surrounded by wake boats (I hate those) with the Gunter rigged main up and the jib stowed.  I had read about the Skerry being hard to right with the sail up, also, but it was actually very easy.  I started to pull on the dagger board and the boat was up before I had a chance to put any serious weight on it. You do have to lower the sail to keep it upright in a breeze while swamped.  I think I could get it bailed in fairly rough seas - might have to start over a time or two.                                                                                                                                     Hooper

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