Latest News: Forums General MKIV Capsize/Inversion

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  • #3959
    Dave Bevan

    Following a capsize and rapid inversion in our MKIV which proved difficult to recover, we’re planning to do some further practice/trials this weekend.

    I’ve capsized our MKIV twice, both inland, at Grafham:-
    First time was on a spinnaker reach during a race (Inland Championships). We were both able to get on the side of the boat, and avoid inversion. Crew was able to step back into the boat, and I climbed back in over transom. Only issue was water-logged spinnaker wrapped around spreaders – we sailed on and sailed it out, finishing the race!

    Second time was following a gybe in quite nasty conditions (F4, gusting F6), and resulted in a rapid and unavoidable inversion. Recovery was very difficult, and we tired quickly. Assistance from the rescue boat allowed us to get her up, but she came over again and inverted immediately. We were forced to anchor her and returned later, with a fresh crew and with two of us on the hull, she came up easily, and we then took time to stow spinnaker (which had self-deployed from the chute) whilst the rescue crew held the mast-head, before we righted her fully.

    In both cases, once we got her up there was minimal water in the boat (compared to our swamped MKII), and used the self-bailers to clear the rest – the transom flaps don’t seem to help at this point!

    I’ve read other posts about capsize/inversion, but there doesn’t seem to be much on the MKIV. We were suprised by the rapid inversion – Does anyone have any experiences?


    Not wishing to miss out on any Wayfarer experiece I too have capsized twice and inverted almost immediately .

    Both times have been on the beat when I tacked and the jib remained cleated and the second time when I was trying to shoot a mark .

    Both times Philip has found the absense of anything to pull on a disadvantage .

    This AM I intend to put a line round each shroud and tape it to the forward bulkhead so that should we go over again Philip has something to grab as he goes over the side and can lever the boat up once he reaches the CB .

    Will report progress but not for a while I hope !


    Not sure about the MkIV but a World also inverts rapidly. Two things that I have that help. The first is mast head buoyancy (the jury is divided as to whether in sail flotation or a secumar device is better – I have the former and it has worked so far). Secondly, whilst in Ullswater last year, John Mellor suggested a line that is wrapped around the mast coming out on both sides though the shroud chain plate and the free ends kept by a small piece of elastic on the spinnaker blocks near the back. Thus if you go over you have a line, easily reached as it lies along the side of the boat, that gives leverage from the mast and over the the side to pull on (thus enabling you to get back on the hull and avoiding stressing the centreboard as well). It should help with recovery but I have not needed to use it since then.



    Do you think you could add a simple illustration of the lines you mention, as the idea sounds excellent.


    I was out on Carsington water last autumn in my mkIV in some very gusty conditions. At some point it all went wrong and she turned over. As I swam around the hull, she turned turtle. I couldn’t get her up by myself and had not fitted any heaving lines. I got the help of the safety boat and with two of us on the hull, we got her up.

    I found out quite a lot that day including:
    My rear storage locker was not waterproof and filled up with water
    The transom flap factory setting was too tight for them to operate.
    All of this water made the boat too sluggish for the self-bailers to work.

    Since then I have:
    Always made sure the storage locker is held tightly and I have fitted a drain plug in it.
    Bought some detachable masthead buoyancy for gusty days.
    Changed the fitting of the jib sheets from a loop to ones that can now be thrown over the gunwales to the person on the dagger board to be used as a heaving line.
    changed the arrangement of the transom flap bungee so that it now has tight and slack settings.

    Finally I recently did some capsize practice in calm weather and with my 13 year old. His 8 stone could bring the boat up on his own and we had plenty of time to swim round to the underside of the hull without inversion.

    I now feel much more confident in my boat.

    Dave Bevan

    Thanks for the advice.

    Andrew (crew) and I (helm) did two capsize tests today in light conditions, our findings were similar to Roger’s.

    On the first test, our aim was to prevent the boat from inverting, which we did (it’s easy when you’re expecting it to happen). I climbed over the gunwale as she went over and could reach the Genoa sheet once I was on the centreboard. The boat was righted easily from the capsize, Andrew was scooped into the boat as she came up, and I then swam around and climbed aboard over the stern.

    On the second test, we deliberately allowed the boat to invert. It didn’t need any encouragement, and quickly went over whilst we swam out to the rear. Andrew passed me the Genoa sheet (not so easy to find under an upturned boat), but I was unable to get her up from the inversion alone (she came up about 30deg, but no further). We then tried a different approach, with the Andrew standing on the gunwale, holding the sheet whilst I stood on the bottom and hung on the centreboard (not pulling, just leaning back). She came up on her side more easily, and I stayed on the CB to prevent a re-inversion whilst he swam around and once he was ready, I completed the righting and again climbed into the boat over the transom.

    We’ve learned the following:-
    • Do everything you can to prevent the inversion.
    • It’s easier to right from inversion if both crew and helm work together to get the boat on its side – maybe impossible alone?
    • Once on its side, pause to properly prepare for righting.
    • Communicate to each other throughout
    • Mark the hull with tape so you know where to look for the Genoa sheets or righting lines

    We considered furling the Genoa, but realised the sheet would then be too short to be useful (but righting lines described in other threads, and by Adrian and Bigal are a sensible alternative – I did consider having a suitable line in my buoyancy vest that could be used if necessary, but attaching to the shroud even in today’s’ mild conditions would have been difficult).

    I’m going to get sail-head buoyancy put into our cruising main. Whilst sailing with the family I sail much more cautiously (reefing early/staying ashore) so I don’t think the Secumar-type solution is for us, I just need something that would give us more time to prevent the inversion in the unlikely event that we did capsize.

    I was quite un-nerved by our experiences a couple of weeks ago, but we learned a lot today, and are now more comfortable.

    I now plan to practice with my 7yr old daughter in a couple of weeks – she’s keen!


    I will add a diagram shortly when I get back to my own computer.

    My experience with my world was you need to prepare so righting lines and mast head buoyancy need to be set up in advance. There is little time in an inadvertant capsize and once inverted it is too late. The first time I capsized I struggled to get her back level (mast flat on the water). It was not my weight (or lack of it) that was the direct problem but the position of the boom that caused me problems (it was trying to come up ahead of the mast for some reason) however i do now beleive the righting lines would have made it all easier. I learnt that once over if you can free the sheets it makes righting much easier and any buoyancy at the mast may prevent/delay an inversion for long enough to do this. Even easier to sort yourself out in the first few moments if you can furl the genoa prior to righting (but I am sure there will be someone who will tell me the genoa is essential for stability once back up right). As to the asymetric floating out and getting wrapped up – all I can add is the faster the boat is righted the less time it has to float out!

    Dave Barker

    Just a brief note – Adrian, the boom may have been in that position because you capsized to windward on a broad reach or run. The wind and water pressure tend to keep the boom in that position even after the mast has reached the water’s surface.

    On the plus side the mast is less likely to be driven into the sediment in shallow water following a capsize to windward, but you need to let the boat come head to wind or hull to wind before righting to avoid flipping straight back over the other way.


    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.

    10255 crew

    Crew’s weight? Cheeky monkey!!
    10628 crew


    Tempest 51 and others. As requested:

    The line is hitched at its centre around the mast and passes out on either side through the chain plate. It is held at the spinnaker sheet blocks by a small elastic loop so it will release when pulled.


    Thank you Adrian.




    Different boat, but it may help….
    The Laser2000 also inverts fairly quickly. Quite a light boat compared to the W, so you dont need much weight on the plate to prevent it turning, but you do need some.
    If it does go fully upside down, the suction on the hull prevents it coming back up level. People find its LOTS quicker if one person stands / grabs / puts weight on one transom corner: sinking one corner of the stern seems to break the suction on the water allowing the boat to become level much quicker than both leaning on the centreboard.

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