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Forums / General / Knockdowns and Righting?  
The discussions for this thread include the following:

Posted: 03 May 2010 at 11:53pm
Hi everyone,

I'm (somewhat) looking for a coastal cruising boat and am going to look at a Yankee Dolphin that's currently for sale in my neck of the woods. I live in a part of the country that regularly experiences high winds--sometimes really high. As a matter of fact, I lost a boat last year when winds drove me onto a reef off the coast of Texas. So, this topic is of concern to me.

Here's my question for the forum. What is the Dolphin's reputation for dealing with knockdowns and self-righting? I realize that several have taken long trips and that testifies to their seaworthiness. But, could anyone here describe how their Dolphin behaves in heavy weather and nasty seas? What does her righting motion feel like?

Many thanks in advance!

Posted: 04 May 2010 at 7:59pm
Hi John
Dolphin owners are remarkable in that they know how to read/understand weather forecasts! I've had my boat for 15 years, occasionally race her, and often single hand her. My rule - I don't go if the forecast is in excess of my LOA, and get nervous if over my waterline length. If caught out in heavy breezes I always ease down the traveller, reef early, and deep if necessary, and go to a blade type 80% close sheeting headsail. 30 knots is not Dolphin weather, although when I have been caught out we always got home.

I have never experienced a 'self righting' moment, thankfully. I have broached a few times close reaching under spinnaker and she comes up ok but sail handling is the key there. Dolphins are not 'stiff', and in my opinion, not fast sailing on their ear. Going to weather in a heavy, steep chop is not fast for Dolphins. Unless you have enough meat on the rail you can't carry enough sail to power/punch through the waves. Easing off a bit and going faster helps but you give up pointing.

Dolphins have a sizeable bridge deck so the cockpit well is small and the companionway has some protection. I would prefer 4 larger cockpit drains instead of the 2 smallish ones I have.

I have always felt I was in a seaworthy boat but I always sail it conservatively. Hope this helps.

Ron Breault
Marionette, #12

Posted: 04 May 2010 at 8:16pm
Thanks, Ron, very helpful. Since I posted that question, I found the Oct '05 Good Old Boat article (which includes your beautiful boat). Reading about the Dolphin's pedigree and hearing some testimonials probably gives me the best answer.

I hope to see #137 next week. Hopefully, I'll like what I see.

But, if anyone else has any experience in dealing with heavy weather situations, I'd love to hear it. We do weather here.

Posted: 08 May 2010 at 3:32pm
I saw the boat on Friday, but only had about 30 minutes to spend on her. I'll go back again this week and spend some quality time with her. A flashlight and screwdriver should reveal her secrets. But the hull looked fine and the decks seemed solid, on first inspection. Fingers crossed.

Edmond, OK

Posted: 11 May 2010 at 11:35am

I have sailed my Dolphin often over the years in winds over 30 knots a couple of times approaching 50-60. Prudent reefing is the key. My boat is equiped with a roller reefing main and I've rolled it down to the equivalent of 3 or 4 reefs. I also carry 4 headsails with 2 very small storm jibs. My Dolphin has no trouble with the wind, when it's heavy, I usually err on the side of too little sail. The boat has always sailed well and I have never come close to a knockdown. This has always been in fairly protected waters. What does scare me is heavy seas. I wouldn't take my little boat out if I knew there were going to be large breaking seas for fear of being rolled over. Generally, despite the few offshore adventures in Dolphins I've read about, I don't think of a Dolphin as an offshore boat, they're so small and lack a deep full keel.
Jay Picotte

Posted: 11 May 2010 at 11:54am
Thanks Jay. That's very helpful.

I'd hoped to go look at her again yesterday, but a little tornado or two got in the way. I hope she's still sitting there after all the chaos.
Edmond, OK

Posted: 15 May 2010 at 9:50am
Folks I have the Falcon model Sparky, In NewZealand.
I have put my baby through some Trials, most accidentally. We have heavy tides gusty wind in some of the bays. a number of times I have laid her flat, Without exaguration one time my wife was standing beside the Port Mast Shrouds, a gust hit she said later that she was standing on the side of the cabin. She laid over and as soon as slackening off the main sheet she came straight up. no hesitation. The only worrying part of the situation was the verbal abuse I received afterwards. She still holds it against me and we are separated(not because of this) Her pattern is lay over, gunnel and to the cabin to deck join and sit there. When the main is eased she pops up no worries. Big seas, she lifts her stern every time although sometimes you wonder how.

I have driven my girl in the open water. about 2.5-3mt swell rough sea, with full main and no2 jib and SE 25-30knts. I wanted to take her offshore and pushed her. At no time did she misbehave, in fact by letting out the main, I put her on Autopilot. She still held her head up and sailed well although heeling well over. My boat has a dirty bum, but with wind on the quarter and large sea she peaked at 7.8 kts. Does not happen alot.
Although I wont try to put my boat in outragous conditions, I am sure she will look after me if caught out.
I wear my boat as a suit of armour. Unless I do something really stupid she will look after me and get me home. I have total confidence in her design.

Ahoy U

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