We fished this Youtube video, filmed aboard a Hanse 630, where we witness the unfortunate accident that occurred during a gybe to a crew member who fortunately did not suffer any more serious consequences than a nagging dislocation of the collarbone. The action takes place in what would appear to be a regatta, near the stern buoy.
Apparently there seems to be a medium wind condition and the boat sails safely without gennaker or other load-bearing gaits sails, so a situation with few critical issues to handle. Be careful, however, because at carrying gaits a boat with a medium-heavy displacement like this one, already in the medium wind if it sails slowly without gennaker will have very significant loads on the mainsheet and the gybe will be violent, so care will have to be taken. Let’s go through the sequence to see what is not being done correctly.
THE SEQUENCE OF ERRORS
- First, it is noticeable that no crew member pays attention to the jib. Even if it is an auto tacker, on a gybe the sheet should be tensioned to prevent it being too loose from going round the forestay. Never jibe with the sheet completely loose as in this case.
- The mainsail sheet is left from slack, which is fine for going on the upright but before the gybe should be partially recovered to avoid too much boom travel.
- The man in the yellow oilskin, is positioned with his back to the bow, whereas he should have positioned himself aft of the mainsail sheet to always look toward the bow and have cognizance of what is happening ahead of him.
- Thinking of hand-accompanying the mainsail sheet of a 63-footer on a gybe requires significant physique, failing which it is far better to bring the mainsail to amidships and then jibe by leaving it immediately.
- And finally we come to the injury. The man in the blue-white oilskin wants to help his companion but he too places his back to the bow and also makes an even bigger mistake: positioning himself exactly at the height of the mainsail sheet, which changing tack violently runs over him. The correct position would in fact have been aft of the sheet, downwind of it that is, on what would have been the windward after the gybe.