Self Rescue of Day Sailer

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Self Rescue of Day Sailer

Postby Guest » Thu Aug 28, 1997 12:00 am

The home page of the Cape Cod Boat company that now makes the Day Sailer says that "at last" the boat can be "self rescued". Does this mean that older models can't be righted if they capsize?

I am a new owner of an old boat and know little about it. Also, does anyone know what angle of heel these boats can take without going over?

Steve Max (

Postby Guest » Thu Aug 28, 1997 12:00 am

I've wondered this myself. From a few pictures of Day Sailers that I've seen, they seem to have a "door" that seals off the cuddy cabin (the enclosed area in the front). My boat (1972 Day Sailer II) has no such door, and it doesn't look like there's any place to attach one.

Should the cuddy area be sealed off?

Mike Boone (

Postby Guest » Thu Aug 28, 1997 12:00 am

I have tried diligently to heel my DS to the point at which it would turn over. IT WONT DO IT! I usually get quite a bit of water in the back part of the cockpit when it heels alot but no turning over. I have had it in some pretty stiff wind but nothing that was scary yet. I once got it heeled so much that I was able to crawl out to windward and stand on the centerboard while she was still sailing. ("Crew" was steering.) When it came back down I was swept off the centerboard as the boat was moving too fast. (I did get wet that day.) My boat has a self bailer in the stern that is used quite a bit, especially after one of these rail dunking sessions. I think the boat has such a wide beam and shallow freeboard in the stern that the stern is the first place for water to come in when heeled and this slows the boat enough that unless things are happening really fast, you have plenty of time to let up on sheets to spill wind.
As for the cabin doors, mine does have a set of wooden 'doors' that can be put in the cabin opening to somewhat seal it off from the elements. I usually sail with them both off as I like access to the cabin contents while underway. (to change the Jimmy Buffett CD and such) I don't think that it would be any advantage or disadvantage to using them exept for storage. Mine need refinishing pretty bad too.

Taylor Scott (

Postby Guest » Fri Aug 29, 1997 12:00 am

Thanks Taylor,

I ran in to an experiance Day Sailer owner here on Cape Cod the other day who also said that much water will come in but the boat won't go all the way over. Your report in most reassuring to me.


What do you mean by the "Cuddy"? Is it that narrow little compartment way up in the very bow of the boat? I have two small doors that close that up. If you are refering to the larger area where the mast goes through, I haven't seen doors there, at least not on the 17 Ft. model. I think the bigger O'Days have doors.

Steve Max (

Postby Bob Hunkins » Sun Aug 31, 1997 12:00 am

I used to think the Day Sailer wouldn't capsize. Then one day last September, I learned a few lessons the hard way. We were close hauled on Starboard tack and hiked out and a puff hit us. I wasn't able to break the mainsheet free, I tried three times before too much water came over the port gunwale. In my ignorance I had left some opening to the floation tanks unsealed. (It was foolish, I know.)

By the time I was able to right her she was full of water and just flopped on the other side. We ended up having to tow her back to the dock on her side. After a lot of work we were able to get enough water out of her so that she would stay righted, then one person got in carefully and bailed for all he was worth. After that we were able to get the water out of the tanks by using a hand pump.

So, Daysailers <em>can</em> capsize, and it can be a nasty experience.

I really had wished at that time that I'd looked for the holes. I think that if the lake I was on hadn't been a shallow one she would have sunk.
Bob Hunkins
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Postby Guest » Tue Sep 02, 1997 12:00 am

<P>Here's a response I received about this topic from Wendy J. Goodwin-Kelley of Cape Cod Ship Builders (<A HREF=""></A>):</P><BLOCKQUOTE><P>I could never have responded to this question without experiencing daysailers capsizing during the North American's in California two years ago. The winds were extreme for that area, and the water very cold. The cruising boat I was on rescued 2 teams who had capsized, and there were a few other rescue boats that did the same. It didn't matter if the boats were going up wind or down, the wind direction would change abruptly, and catch people off guard.</P><P>The DaySailer as built by O'Day had an open cuddy cabin, and when capsized, water immediately flows into the bow and sides of the boat. he boat then almost immediately turtles due to the weight in the cuddy and bow. By getting two people on the centerboard the boat will right, but swamped (filled with water). A tow to shore is nessessary in order to bail the boat out. Having spoken to several O'Day owners they tell me capsizing is a rare thing. It seems as once you know the boats capsizing limit, you know to avoid it. The hull shape makes it a sturdy daysailer, so I don't want to scare you away from pushing your DaySailer to the limit. I'm not quite sure what the exact angle of the point of no return is. My advice if you have never capsized, is to capsize the boat under controlled conditions so you know what to do when it happens by accident. Make sure you are in deep enough water so the mast doesn't get stuck in the mud, and have a motor boat close by to tow, once the boat is righted.</P><P>When Sunfish Laser re-designed the cuddy cabin to be closed off, they solved the swamping problem. When the new style DS is capsized, it will stay capsized longer, in order for you to get to the centerboard before it turtles. The air tanks along the length of the cockpit do that.</P><P>While capsized, water is unable to flow forward into the cuddy cabin, and when the boat is righted, the only water that needs bailing is in the cockpit, so the boat sits high enough to continue sailing. This is what we mean when we say self rescuing, as you can sail away from the capsize. This new style bulkhead raised quite a lot of eyebrows with DaySailer owners because they feel the space inside the boat is sacrificed. Sunfish Laser's hatch was also a concern, as it was so small that most adults would struggle to retreive gear through the cuddy hatch.</P><P>The only change Cape Cod Shipbuilding has made since aquiring the molds two years ago, was to enlarge the hatch, and have it open inward. We think this new style hatch is the best of both worlds. It can still be self rescued, but with the larger hatch you are able to move in and out easily. When the hatch is open, it is out of the way, and perfect for dousing your gear, or a chute.</P></BLOCKQUOTE>

Mike Boone (

Postby Guest » Tue Sep 09, 1997 12:00 am

This has been a most helpful discussion.

Let me ask about the flotation tanks which several people mentioned. My boat is one of the old ones made by Day Sailer. Of course I have the two tanks on the sides which are also the seats, and a rubber plug in each which is at the front end. I asked the guy at the boat yard what the plugs were for, and he said they were to let water out of the tanks. I then asked how water got into the tanks, and he said through the plugs. I then removed the plugs, and sure enough one tank had a quart or so of water in it.

Where does the water come from? Is it really through the plug or is there a more serious leak than can let the air out when it is needed. Why are there plugs in the first place?

Steve Max (

Postby Guest » Sat Sep 13, 1997 12:00 am

Hi all,

I am the President of the Washington University Sailing Club in St. Louis, MO. Our club owns a Daysailer; we bought it from an older gentleman who knows a heck of a lot about boats and especially fiberglass. He pointed out on our boats two ridges, one along each outside edge of the two gunwhales. These ridges, he said, were supposed to aid in keeping the Daysailer from capsizing. I have never never flipped one, so I do not know the validity of this story, but we have come close, and they do seem to work. It would seem, then, that the boat is not "self-righting", if they put so much design work into keeping it from going over in the first place.

Eric Lagally (

Postby Guest » Tue Nov 04, 1997 1:00 am

I think that a few people are getting the DS 1 and the DS 2 confused. (and I may be too,) Everything I have seen about the daysailer is that there are three (at least) upgrades to it. the DS 1 has only a cuddy cabin, much like the Rhodes 19 if you are familar with that, and a small storage area in the forpeak. the DS 2 has an enclosable cuddy with a large opening, usually closed off by a set of wooden doors. This model is also self bailing. Then the DS 3 is the one written about by the Cape Cod rep, that has a watertight Cuddy and is self righting. All three have the same hull shape, and were made by various people at various times (Mine is a 1983 DS 2 made by O'day)
At least that is the way I understand it. Has anyone heard anything else? As far as self riting, I haven't tried it yet. I plan to next summer, when the water is warm and boaters are more frequent. (I hope not before!)

J.P. Clowes (

Postby Guest » Tue Dec 02, 1997 1:00 am

"Self-Rescue" means that you can right the boat and sail away. I have an SLI DSI (same hull as Cape Cod) and have done just that. We capsized in the '96 NAC tune up race while jibing. We righted the boat and sailed away, still under spinnaker. The suction bailer removed the inch or two of water left in the cockpit. We lost two boats.

In a pre-SLI DSI, when you capsize you are outof the race. When the boat is righted, it is literally full of water. Attempts to bail in any kind of sea conditions are fruitless as the water continues to come over the side faster than you can bail. Extra flotation helps to make bailing productive but will not get you back in the race.

Itis reported that the McLaughlin (lastbuilder before SLI) hull can be righted and sailed. Steve Sherman reportedly demonstrated this at the Midwinters one year. Since there are only 14or so of these boats it is not significant.

The DSII is also self-rescuing provided there are no serious breaches of the double hull integrity. In fact, the DSII will not only right in fairly dry condition, it will subsequently drain dry as the cockpit sole is above the waterline with a drain hole.

You can heel a DSI until the leeward rail is in the water, provided you are hiked out on the windward rail. After that, the problem in old DSIs is that as the water comes over the rail, the rail sinks lower, slowing the boat and causing it to round up and broach. The fact that the DSII, SLI, and Cape Cod boats have sealed gunwales eliminates the sinking and slowing problem so that if you both hike your #&%@'s off, the boat will come back from being rolled way onto the rail.

Bob Lemaire (

Postby Guest » Sat Dec 06, 1997 1:00 am

Thanks for your post Bob. I am not sure of some of the terminology. What are you refering to as the rail and as the gunwhals? My DS I has a narrow strip of wood around the cockpit that I have heard refered to as the coaming. Where does that fit in your discription? I am new at this, last summer having been my first with a Daysailor


Steve Max (

Postby Guest » Wed Jan 07, 1998 1:00 am

Sounds like Steve and I are probably sailing the model. Mine has the wooden rails and wooden "L" shaped benches with no air tanks under them. I have a rubber plug in the bow and the stern, I suppose those must be air tanks since there is no drainage on the outside of the hull.

So, it sounds like I can push as hard as I want, but when I see water entering the cockpit over the leeward rail it is time to ease up.

2 questions, the Cape Cod rep said the older models will immediately "turtle." Does that mean they go all the way over - centerboard up, mast down? Cause that sounds like it would be way at the top of my list of "things that suck!" Also, once righted, are those air tanks I think I've identified enough to keep her afloat or do the really old models ('59) just sink?

This is a great discussion. Enough discussions like this and maybe we can compile a Daysailer Sailing/Handling FAQ.


J.T.Ellis (

Postby Guest » Sat Jan 31, 1998 1:00 am

Non self-rescueing means the boat can be righted but it will be full of water. I have not tested this as yet!! I have a 1967 daysailer also, any hot leads on sails?

barry kelleher (

Postby Guest » Sun Feb 01, 1998 1:00 am

I have a 1976 Daysailer II and have never noticed any plugs anywhere except the stern. Hmmmm... No doors on cuddy either. Not planning on dunking it either (I hope!!) A little useful tip you might be interested in though is that I have difficulty getting the boat out of the lift and into open water to raise the I bought an inexpensive electric trolling motor at K-mart <$100 and a deep-cycle battery which sits in the stern well. It has reverse and easily clamps onto the existing transome. When the wind dies I can just "motor" home. I even towed a 38ft A-scow a distance to get (the crew of six!!) back into some wind !! If I do happen to turtle the boat someday and lose the motor, I won't be out that much money!!!

Jeff Piersons (

Postby Guest » Tue Feb 03, 1998 1:00 am

I own a 1975 Daysailer (DS2?). I once swamped it in strong, gusty winds while raising the main. It became quite unstable and it took on more water and threatened to capsize with each large wave, but with two of us bailing furiously, we managed to lower the water line before it capsized. The boat did NOT seem to have significant secondary stability compared to my old boat - a Flying Scott.

Does anyone know if my model is sinkable? Is there air sealed in the space between the backrests and the outer hull? Can water leak into the space between the floor and the outer hull, through the holes for the centerboard cable? Are these two spaces separate? Can/should one retrofit closed-cell foam into these spaces? (I suggest that the new builders consider this.)

-- eric posmentier

eric posmentier (


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