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Old 10-11-2009, 08:05 PM   #1
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What one supposed to do when the trimaran capsizes upside down?

Sorry for being ignorant.
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Old 10-11-2009, 08:34 PM   #2
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Very many years ago now (early 70's) I was a young cadet on a steam turbine container ship charging our way across the Pacific at 27 - 30 knots (the ship could make 36 knots at the fantastic coast of 550 tonnes of heavy fuel oil per day) when midway between the continental US and Hawaii we came across a capsized trimaran.

It is a long story and I have told it here in the past so you can search for the longer version if you wish but the short version follows here. The boat, a plywood trimaran, was being sailed by two men and a woman from Washington State to Costa Rica where the one guy was planning on doing missionary work. His wife was accompanying him. The other guy was the brother-in-law and a lecturer at Washington State. He was going back home after the voyage. In fact, he was the only one to go back home.

In bad weather off southern California, if my memory serves me correctly, the boat flipped over. Of course, being a trimaran, it could not be righted. Using the big buckle of the university lecturer's belt (I prefer not to name the people despite remembering their name's well) they cut through the plywood of the centre hull and thus gained access to a form of shelter and, importantly, to some supplies of food and drink. These, however, rapidly dwindled away leaving them with just a few tins of juice. On these meager supplies that would even have stunned Dickens, a man well used to describing hardships, the three lived on until the lady died.

When we came across the upturned hull there was no sign of life whatsoever but the ship was stopped and a boat launched. We could not get alongside the yacht due to the large number of trailing lines which could have caught in out propeller so the last bit was a swim. (Strange feeling swimming in water a couple of miles deep!) Once aboard the yacht I recovered the trailing lines allowing the boat to come alongside whilst the boatswain clambered over to the centre hull and found the two men there in an extremely sorry state. We got them aboard our boat and made all speed back to our ship.

Once in the sick bay we did everything we could for the two men and they rapidly improved but after a few days the one of them became worse again. We stopped at Midway Island and handed the guys over to US military medics but, by this time, the sickest of the two was really in a bad way. He died shortly afterwards of hepatitis.

The gentleman who survived said he would write a book about their experiences. I do not know if he ever did.

That incident put me off trimarans for life! But, there again, each to his own. Don't let me put you off.

Aye // Stephen
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Old 10-11-2009, 08:54 PM   #3
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After writing the above, I googled a bit and found that a book was written about the incident, but not by the gentleman concerned but by a man called Thomas Thompson. The book is called Lost, isbn13: 9780446300957.- It was published in 1977, four years after the incident.

Aye // Stephen
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Old 10-11-2009, 09:53 PM   #4
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I don't know about trimarans but when I was at the Miami Boat Show a couple years ago with some friends we looked at a couple nice catamarans. In the cabins I was surprised to see portholes near the bottom of the hull. They were still above the waterline but not by much. I asked the rep. there why they had put them there. He said that it was required in case the boat turned over so that anybody trapped in the hulls could escape. Or use the hulls as shelter and access to food and water.

What I do not remember is where the catamarans were made. I got the impression that the requirement was a legal one. Made sense to me.
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Old 10-11-2009, 11:10 PM   #5
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I did the reading.

http://www.f-boat.com/safety/index.html

Bottom line:

Be prepared, switch on EPIRB, and wait for rescue. Do not try to right it when offshore without help.

Quote for multihull fans:

"There are some who would say a capsized multihull is still more comfortable than a monohull the right way up"
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Old 10-12-2009, 01:04 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magwas View Post
What one supposed to do when the trimaran capsizes upside down?

Sorry for being ignorant.
Returning to the question "What one supposed to do when the trimaran capsizes upside down?"

The Answer :- It depends! Where, on the size, on the design, what call for help communication equipment is functioning, what safety equipment is accessible, what tools are available, What is the make up of the crew, What ability do they have, how much food and water is available. Hand powered water maker, Fishing equipment. etc.....

The Same Question is equally applicable to Catamarans and Monohulls - the same answer is also relevant.

Monohulls seldom float upside down when they capsize - friends of mine on Jelek lost their keel returning to Hong Kong - Jelek sank.

Tony Bullimore in his 60ft monohull , Exide Challenger, capsized 500 miles from Antarctica in 1997 during the Vendee Globe. He survived for five days in the hull of his upturned yacht before being rescued by the Royal Australian Navy. He had been given just a 10% chance of survival.

The Answer in Short = It depends.
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Old 11-30-2009, 11:10 PM   #7
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The big question is: would you rather be upside down, or swimming?
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Old 11-30-2009, 11:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
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The big question is: would you rather be upside down, or swimming?
Answer = Neither! Would rather be the right up in an upside down boat.
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Old 07-29-2010, 04:51 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by magwas' date='11 October 2009 - 12:59 PM View Post

What one supposed to do when the trimaran capsizes upside down?

Sorry for being ignorant.
It is almost impossible to capsize a cat or tri. The most stable orientation is, however, floating upside down. On the other hand the most stable orientation of a monohull is on the bottom of the ocean. If one were to flip a cat or tri, one would live in the boat upside down until rescued. With an EPIRB, that should not be very long.
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Old 07-29-2010, 01:58 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by doublewide' date='28 July 2010 - 11:45 PM View Post

...the most stable orientation of a monohull is on the bottom of the ocean.
I rather disagree. In an intact hull a monohull can float around on the ocean for years, as has happened with several of them. The Queen's Birthday Storm of 1995 and the Fastnet storm of 1979 have well-documented stories of monohulls abandoned in the worst of those storms that came through relatively undamaged. I read of a boat found and eventually salvaged by two sailors that had been abandoned when the two crew were evacuated due to botulinum poisoning. That monohull, a small one, drifted around in the Pacific for several years before being found.

If a monohull is knocked over, even rolled 360 degrees, it will almost always come out of that right-side-up and still floating. Even Michael Plant's boat was finally found floating upside down in the Atlantic, sans keel, sans Michael, several months after he was reported missing.

I think it is still true that multihulls are for young people, monohulls for older people because they are more forgiving of mistakes.
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Old 08-12-2010, 05:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doublewide' date='28 July 2010 - 08:45 PM View Post

It is almost impossible to capsize a cat or tri. The most stable orientation is, however, floating upside down. On the other hand the most stable orientation of a monohull is on the bottom of the ocean. If one were to flip a cat or tri, one would live in the boat upside down until rescued. With an EPIRB, that should not be very long.
Or you could do as these guys did...

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Old 02-20-2012, 01:05 PM   #12
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I suggest that all who are interested in reading, look for a copy of the " Rose Noelle " its a fascinating story of a Trimaran, which came out of Wellington ? / South Island of New Zealand and was heading North. The boat was travelling too fast, and the skipper " allowed the crew " to muddy his command, and the boat tipped over.

The crew and skipper survived for Three months ( ? ) and then all came ashore on the Great Barrier Island near Auckland ! The Rose Noelle was wrecked as they came close to shore.
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