We Try To Capsize Coconut And Can’t! 6-15-2019
40 years of sailing trimarans and catamarans didn’t prepare us for how Coconut sails. It’s practically impossible to capsize her!
The first time we went up (like in the photo below), we thought we were flipping over! This is because a trimaran or catamaran does this just before it capsizes, and then the boat comes down on your head.
It’s really scary to imagine your catamaran or trimaran doing this! But a canoe like Coconut doesn’t!
(Below) Once we realized Coconut was only going part way up, and ALWAYS came right back down, we started calling it “tipping up” and we do it for fun!
(Below) A photo from a different angle of Coconut tipping up; you can even see daylight between the leeward bouyancy pod and the main hull!
To see a 20-second video of “How Coconut Doesn’t Capsize”, watch this:
To see Coconut sailing at a 30-degree angle of heel for almost two minutes, watch this:
To see a 2-minute video of “Coconut Just Sailing Along”, shot from another boat, watch this:
To see a 49-second video of “Coconut Sailing Fast”, watch this:
In addition, I was stunned by how DIFFICULT it is to keep the boat tipped up like this! For you experienced sailors, it requires the same kind of split-second steering reactions and attention necessary when flying a hull on a Hobie 18 catamaran.
The difference is that Coconut was trying to come DOWN the whole time she was tipped up, and I was working hard to keep her UP, while the Hobie is trying to go OVER and you have to work hard to keep her DOWN!
Once we were sailing off Kawaihae on the Big Island of Hawaii when we got some 25-30 knot offshore winds with gusts over 40. We got up to a 50-degree angle of heel during one of these gusts, riding on the pod, of course. And she came right back down after the gust passed, of course.
The Hawaiian word for this dangerous local wind is “Kamakani Ai Kanaka” or “The Wind That Eats People”, because in ancient times there were many fishermen in canoes blown offshore by it, never to be seen again.
We used to lose one or two kayak paddlers a year, back in the 1980’s when there was a kayak rental place in Kawaihae. I don’t mean “lose for a few hours”, I mean they didn’t find them at all, even after Coast Guard planes, local Fire Department helicopters, and others had been searching for them for days. It was a tragedy, because the kayak shop always made sure to tell the people that if this wind came up, they should abandon the kayak and swim ashore; the people who were lost were the ones who froze on the kayak out of a misplaced sense that it was safer than swimming ashore.
We weren’t in any danger, though; we were in Coconut, and she’s practically impossible to capsize! Sailing on the pod like this slows the boat way down, of course.
I’m certain it would be possible to capsize Coconut. However, my gut and 50 years of sailing multihulls tells me that it would take a minimum of 40-50 knots of wind, in 12 to 15-foot seas, and that even then she would probably capsize by pitch-poling (that’s sailor talk for going “fanny over teakettle”), when she stuck a bow too deep into a wave, rather than capsizing by heeling too far sideways due to the force of the wind.
And what sailor in their right mind would take a 24-foot open daysailer out in 40 to 50 knots of wind and 12 to 15 foot seas, anyway?
If you’re interested in videos, our YouTube video channel has over 80 videos of us building and sailing these boats.