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- 02/03/2009 at 7:18 pm #3862Overdraught1Member
Having had such helpful advice from fellow members on my previous enquiry regarding outboard brackets, I am encouraged to ask a further question on a different subject, namely mast head buoyancy, about which I have little knowledge and no experience.
Many cruising articles talk about mast head buoyancy as being essential for off-shore sailing. I have tried to contact the advertisers of such a product in older magazines but they appear to have moved or gone out of business.
Has anyone any first-hand experience on this subject? In particular, does it work? What particular system and from where? What happens if inflated – i.e. can one deflate; if not, are there problems with windage? Are there any complications in setting it up on a Mk 1 Wayfarer with ‘gold’ mast?
As a new member, I look forward to advice and assistance.
Mike02/03/2009 at 8:50 pm #7756W10143Member
A search for masthead AND buoyancy brings up many topics – most relevant are these:
David02/03/2009 at 10:48 pm #7757Overdraught1Member
Thanks for your prompt advice. Will follow up.
Mike02/03/2009 at 11:02 pm #7758W10143Member
No problem. As you will probably ascertain, I used to use an Echomax 60L inflatable radar reflector fitted on an uphaul with a downhaul to hold it tight to the mast. I now have a 40L secumar on the same fittings – the Echomax was permanently inflated and suffered from chafe which eventually permanently deflated it….. 😕
David04/03/2009 at 7:59 pm #7768
In addition to the other threads, to which I have contributed, I have in-sail buoyancy at the top of my sail. There is much discussion as to how well this works – all I can say is that last year when my crew (honestly – she was helming!) tipped my World over in Ullswater the in sail buoyancy kept the boat level, not only giving me time to release the jib sheets but then climb up the inside to get onto the centreboard without getting wet. All much to the amazement of those watching on shore who were convinced she would go right over. The advantage of the in-sail buoyancy is that it is discreet, no windage when used, no difficulties drilling masts etc and gives multiple uses. As to how well it works when reefed I cannot say but I am now much more confident than I was.
Adrian05/03/2009 at 1:54 am #7774AnonymousInactive
Adrian is correct when he says it is discreet (unlike his crew Kati who attracted a great deal of attention, she was lovely and we all told she was helming) however back to bouyancy, bear in mind in-sail bouyancy is great untill you start reefing then it loses some of its leverage as it comes down the mast with the sail head.05/03/2009 at 6:15 pm #7779SwiebertjeParticipant
@Simon McE wrote:
Adrian is correct when he says it is discreet (unlike his crew Kati who attracted a great deal of attention, she was lovely and we all told she was helming) however back to bouyancy, bear in mind in-sail bouyancy is great untill you start reefing then it loses some of its leverage as it comes down the mast with the sail head.
Point taken but then again the foam in the sail head can’t spring a leak. And what happens if you capsize a second time with a self inflating balloon? The CO2 cartridge is then empty or?05/03/2009 at 7:07 pm #7780AnonymousInactive
If you use a Secumar anti inversion cushion on a halyard it can be rearmed after an inflation, however it is quite difficult to get the release trigger area dry. If I have to do it again I think I will use a windproof lighter to dry the area.05/03/2009 at 7:47 pm #7781
I have an inflated ‘pillow’ in the sail head, not sure about the relative buoyancy between that and the original foam mat I was given – I have never done a practical test. I suppose I shall have to get wet trying them both out (with reefs as well) this summer to put a more definitive result to this discussion.
Adrian01/08/2009 at 6:10 pm #8430
Well I finally did a test with two reefs in today. I will admit I took everything out of the boat that was not vital to sailing out and coming back in. Wind was strong (jib and two reefs) but water was sheltered and sea state low.
She stayed on her side for some time – I was able to swim around and even take a photo. The in sail buoyancy held her neutral in the water although with not too much positive buoyancy. With two deep reefs she only inverted when I tried (as part of the test) to apply weight to the mast and climb up the inside. I would have had plenty of time to get to the CB if I had not wanted a picture and swam around to get it!
My righting lines helped bring her back but it was still hard work and I was not best pleased when my crew was too eager to get back in as she righted and pulled her over again! This time for some reason she inverted again.
1. In sail bouyancy works with no reefs (see posts above) and I would be confident with one reef (although I may try more trials in ullswater if the weather is good). With two deep reefs it does work in sea water but is not perhaps as 100% as a masthead system.
2. When on her side it is hard to reach the righting lines; whether they lie along the gunwhale or are taped to the shroud. Oddly, inversion makes it easier!
3. It does take two to right her from inversion (but righting lines make it much easier). It takes time. If you can avoid the inversion do!
4. A footloop on the end of the righting line may make it easier to climb up the hull onto the CB when she is back on her side.
5. She remains unstable when full of water and the transom flaps will drain her very quickly but if they are sealed then you much prolong the period of critical instability; as the self bailers require more forward movement to work or you have to move about to break the seal on the flaps. A tense moment.
6. It is still tiring to recover from inversion – so don’t do it twice.
I did not test the closed cell foam mat that the sailmaker gave me when I had the pocket put in but instinctively I feel this would give less buoyancy than my inflated pillow.
I may look at a small masthead system to complement the (preferred by me) in sail buoyancy for some conditions.06/10/2009 at 8:25 pm #8646
Going back through my summer photos I came across this one I took when I did the test above. Although she was unladen it is interesting to note how high the keel sits above the water. It does make the turning moment of buoyancy and mast obvious. It also explains why getting onto the centreboard, in order to right her, was so tricky and tiring.28/01/2010 at 9:59 pm #firstname.lastname@example.orgMember
Hi I’ve just purchased a 9 litre Crewsaver Mast Float for my Wayfarer 2085. I intend to hoist it only on very windy days or when I am sailing alone. I’m not too sure if the capacity will be sufficient to stop an inversion.
The only other version was 40 litres and looked huge and would appear very odd flapping above my masthead. Has anyone any experience please.
Also on windy days I trail righting lines over each side and on a practice capsize recovery I was able (at 72 years) easily to hoist myself up on to the centreboard and right the dinghy (and scoop up the crew) by myself.29/01/2010 at 9:47 am #8931SwiebertjeParticipant
I think 9 liter is just fine but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. May I suggest (to everyone) to start the season with some capsize recovery practice.
The Crewsaver balloon looks like it would damage easy (spring a leak), but then again I know the product only from a picture on the Internet. Since everything on a Wayfarer should have at least two purposes, why not simply hoist a fender?
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