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We’ve owned a racing Mk4 for about four months now and haven’t yet had the pleasure of a capsize (the boat seems more forgiving than our old +S), so we’re interested to hear about the capsize experiences.

When we’ve had fast downwind windward capsizes in any make or type of boat it almost always inverted immediately because the sail was end-on (rather than parallel) to the water when it hit the surface and the crews’ weight also helped it in.

On the other hand, regarding Mk4’s, we saw Danegeld IV experience a knock-down flat to leeward at Bough Beech last November at the same time, same place as a woodie. Both were up in about the same time (ca.20 seconds) but the Mk4 then covered two legs of the course in the time the Woodie made one because in emptied so quickly – emptying quickly is a great safety as well as performance benefit.

When we had an Enterprise with transom flaps, we found a useful trick to empty the boat really quickly after a capsize was to release the transom flap shock-cord closer, both move to the front of the boat with the water following as the bow dropped, then move quickly to the back with the water again following as the stern dropped and surging on straight out of the flaps, after which the shock-cord closer was quickly pulled shut with 95% of the water gone. Again, we haven’t had the need to try this in the Mk4 yet

However, we (and another racing Mk4 at the club) have fitted foot-ropes under the gunwhale turnover (like some of the RS’ and Lasers) after the crew of other boat found it more difficult to get back after a capsize beacause it floated higher than a waterlogged earlier mark and there was little to get hold of.

The footrope acts as a step to get into or onto the boat whether it is upright, on its side or inverted. It can also be used as a handhold along the length of the boat and we will also be attaching throwing lines to it.

The barber-hauler fairlead through-bolts were used to fasten deck clips under the gunwhale. Rope sas passed through the deck clip and secured aft with a stopper knot through the spi-sheet turning block deck clip. Foreward a plastic ball was added and stopper knotted.

When the rope is stood on at about the level of the thwart, the ball is stopped by the deck clip under the barber hauler deck clip leaving the the lowest point of the rope about 40cm below the gunwhale.

When out of use (always, I hope) shock cord attached to the forestay loop fitting on the keel band at the bow takes up the slack and the rope is hidden out of sight behind the turnover.

Works brilliantly on dry land! Will update when used in anger.