Emirates Team New Zealand coach Rod Davis comments on the team's rescue plan in the event of a capsize
Following the dramatic capsize of ORACLE Team USA’s AC72 (read previous story here) ETNZ have been concentrating on a contingency plan. Coach Rod Davis tells us more:
“At Emirates Team New Zealand we have spent a great deal of time studying the Oracle 72 capsize – pitch pole to be precise. Every team has a contingency plan in the event of a capsize and hopes it never has to use it. The reality is that nothing can prepare crew for the real thing… and when you are the first, as Oracle was last week, the problem is magnified many times.
Team plans are based on AC45 capsizes and recovery which have been adjusted for the bigger boats which are more difficult to recover. We learned an enormous amount from the Oracle recovery operation. Here is the hypothesis for capsize and recovery when we launched our 72 back in July.
1. We may be dealing with injuries, possibly significant injuries, as well as the capsized boat. An AC72 is 14m wide and, when a crewman falls, and someone will fall, he will have a good chance to hitting something nasty on the way down. Wing, rigging, wheel, grinder pedestals – something hard.
2. Crew members will be separated from the boat. If there is enough wind to capsize the boat, there will be enough to blow it along on its side, faster than crew can swim.
3. Recover people and deal with injuries first, boat recovery second.
4. The plan for righting the boat is straight forward enough. Just like the 45 “righting” lines, ropes run under the forward beam and attach where the hull and beam meet, on both sides as you don’t know which tack you will be on when you roll her over.
The 45s have taught us a lot about righting cats. For example, use a short towline to the righting line, 45 degrees from the high hull down to tow boat is about right. This will allow the hull in the water to dig in and trip the boat so it can be pulled up right. If the towline is too long, the cat will just skip over the water and never “bite”.
Have strong tow/righting lines, we broke several at Newport, and when they break, they come flying back into the chase boat, so stay out of there, or you will join the injured list. The quicker the boat is head to wind and righted the less the damage. A problem is two of our three chase boats can’t keep up with the cat in anything other than smooth water.”
Go to the team’s blog to read more.
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