What if you capsize?
Bit depressing, but OK!
The sort of waves that might be encountered out in the Indian Ocean, are a) massive, and b) steep, and both of these factors are conducive to us ending up the wrong way up, and that’s a bad thing for three reasons:
- The drag coefficient of an upside-down boat would mean we would not be able to row very fast,
- We would be able to see all the beasties that we keep telling ourselves are not beneath us, and
- We would not be able to breath.
All bad things.
Luckily the clever boat designers have thought this one through and they’ve made two crafty design features:
Firstly, the boats are all compartmentalised, i.e. beneath deck is not one large open space, it’s split into lots and lots of waterproof compartments. Aside from creating handy storage for all our food and kit, this also means that if we hit another vessel, some random flotsam, or suffer a chance Megalodon attack and a hole is pierced into the hull, then only the affected locker will flood, and the rest will still be watertight. This stops the boat from sinking, and makes us ‘unsinkable’, just like the Titanic…
The second thing the designers did was create narrow lockers that run along the centreline of the length of the boat. Before we set off, we will fill these lockers with full drinking water bottles. We already have a watermaker, and a back up watermaker, so these bottles are not for drinking (unless we have catastrophic failure on our equipment), they are there to add ballast, so that when the boat does roll, even if it goes completely upside down, it will self-right – like a fat Weeble…that wobbles…but doesn’t fall down…
In the unlikely case that the boat goes under and doesn’t come back up the most important thing is NOT to open the cabin door. If the cabin door is opened underwater, the cabin will fill with water and apart from the annoying risk of the occupants drowning, the boat will no longer self-right and Hercules himself would struggle to flip the boat back the right way up. The people inside the cabin need to rock the boat by moving their weight from side to side until the boat finally flips the right way up The people on the outside will be tied to the boat, so need to prepare for the boat to self-right very quickly, if the boat doesn’t self right then they need to climb on to the hull and try and right it themselves.
If, for some reason, the boat is unrightable, then it’s time to call it a day; we have an EPIRB system on the boat (EPIRB stands for Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) as well as Personal EPIRBs on our life jackets, we will activate one of the EPIRBs which will send a distress message to Falmouth Coastguard, they will then know that we are in need of a rescue and they will know exactly where we are, they will then liaise with the relevant coast guard to request the closet vessel capable of taking us onboard to come and rescue us. In the meantime we’ll get our flare on to ensure that vessel can see us.
It’s important to talk about the worst case scenarios, so that we are prepared for it if it happens, but it doesn’t make it any less depressing. I think I’m going to go away now and listen to some music that is cheerier than this blog – like Johnny Cash’s ‘Hurt’ or anything by Morrisey…