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granny ropes and aids to getting back on boat

Postby C. Arras on Tue Jan 18, 2005 6:58 am

I'm sitting here black and blue feeling like I've got a broken rib from climbing back on after having capsized twice on my first voyage on my little sabre.
Just hoping for insights into aids for getting back on...like granny ropes or some sort of rope with a loop at the stern. Saw a foto on the home page of McCullaugh ?sp with some granny ropes on her hull.
Thanks for any tips; I'm very wet behind the ears in sailing.
C. Arras

Postby Andrew Bradshaw on Tue Jan 18, 2005 10:37 pm

Hi Christie

Some people have elastic from their side stays to the thwart on each side.
But I have also seen boats with a fine rope all the way round under the gunwhale.

It is a bit of an art which you hope not to use too much, but when the boat starts to wright push down on the gunwhale and in the same motion pull yourself in.

Also, if you know your going over try and go over the top and onto the centre board.

Same as anything, practice makes perfect.

cheers and happy sailing.

Andrew Bradshaw
Andrew Bradshaw

Getting back on

Postby C. Arras on Wed Jan 19, 2005 7:05 am

Thanks for the tips. I think I'll try the thin rope under the gunwhales as you suggested. Also, I've put a U bolt on the stern to which I'll attach a rope that I wear as a belt. It will have a clip on one end and a loop on the other to put my foot in. When I go in and the boat has righted I'll clip the belt on the stern u-bolt and step up and wiggle over. Thursday I'll see if I need to put it in practice.
Will let you know how things go. I shortened the tiller extension which was the biggest culprit in tipping me over when coming about. It just got stuck everywhere.
I will also try my darnedest not to go over. It was exhausting!
C. Arras

Postby Guest on Tue Feb 01, 2005 9:55 pm


I use the granny ropes to both right the boat and also to hold on when i fall out. Stops the boat sailing away and having to swim after it.

The ropes go from the bow to just past the thwart with metal saddles ( loops ) attached under the gunwales.

Some people also have rope ladders which they attach to the back of the boat to help climb back in once the boat is up again, which would be similar to your idea.

Where do you sail at so if i'm ever at the club I can give you a demo.


Fiona McCulloch

Postby fitzwarryne on Fri Feb 04, 2005 9:50 pm

The best system I have seen was on a Victor Harbor club Sabre which is often sailed in large SA swells.

The system is a rope under the gunwhale from the thwart area to the stem then though a shackle and attached to shock cord back towards the mast. The shock cord keeps ithe rope tight but stretches to a stop knot to give a loose rope when pressure is applied when you grab it after going overboard. This makes it easy to bring the boat upright.
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granny ropes

Postby C. Arras on Fri Sep 09, 2005 8:19 am

Thanks folks for all your suggestions. I have graduated to no granny ropes as my sailing ability has improved. Once I learned I didn't have to jump over the tiller extension I stopped going into the water. Yes!
C. Arras


Postby Eliza C on Tue Jan 16, 2007 7:02 pm

Eliza is still having allot of trouble getting her sabre back up again after a capsize. She is relatively light and can't seem to get the sail out of the water. Once the sail is up she is Ok.

Does the ropes under the gunwhale help with this stage?

Do they only need to go to the thart or all the way to the stern?

Any tips from lighter sailers would be great.


Eliza C
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Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2006 8:04 am
Location: Bardon/Hollywell Brisbane

Righting a capsized Sabre

Postby Slow Hand on Tue Jan 16, 2007 7:23 pm

Hi Shane and Eliza,
The ropes under the gunwhale can be used to support foot when hoisting onto the centreboard. I don't see them being useful aft of the thwart. They are also handy in waves if you are in the water beside the boat to avoid getting separated from the boat.

I would suggest the following alternatives to perhaps help:

- seal the mast as much as possible to reduce the amount of water 'in the mast' when capsized, you could use foam inside the mast as well. use sealant on rivet heads, and gaff tape on any exposed holes (if there are any). Then try a flotation test to see how quick it fills with water. If there are a number of holes water can get into, do the flotation test before and after to see the effect you have made. If you use foam, it will reduce water in the mast and aid flotation if you cannot seal it.

- try sealing the boom section as well, mast plugs and or foam. Again the aim is to avoid the rig being 'heavy' to get out of the water.

- leverage on the centreboard would be the next area to focus on. Is Eliza able to pull it thru to maximum under the boat when in a capsize. Also have a look at her technique on the board - can she increase leverage by placing her body in a different direction from what she is doing now.

Good luck and see you,

Winnie the Pooh
Slow Hand
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Location: ... somewhere ...

Postby Eliza C on Tue Jan 16, 2007 9:39 pm

Hi Sue,

Thanks for the info. I might try putting some foam in the end of the mast, sealing it and see how that goes.

Would pointing the nose of the boat into the wind also help. When I watch her the hull seems to sit quite high and square on to the wind working against the righting movement.

For your info I have bought another Sabre no 838 "lizzie". We both did the SYC race on Sunday and Eliza beat me by 2 minutes which was a bit embarrassing. However it was very light conditions, I missed the start and I was quite over weight with my son Dan in the boat. Sounds like I'm making excuses.......... Anyway we all had allot of fun including Wendy who was happy to see some more Sabres on the water.

PS I tried ending you an email but couldn't get thru.


Eliza C
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2006 8:04 am
Location: Bardon/Hollywell Brisbane

Righting ... great moments

Postby Slow Hand on Tue Jan 16, 2007 10:34 pm


Yes having the bow into the wind can help, in particular if it is windy.
Great news on you getting a boat. And even better that you all had fun.
Sealing the mast should help, as once it is below level the water in the mast is counteracting the righting efforts of the sailor.

Also I forgot to mention before, make sure the mainsheet is NOT cleated when righting the boat.

My email address is shextell@webone.com.au in case you had it wrong.

Another idea ...... not serious, but maybe worthy of a giggle ... instal an airbag at the top of the mast.

Oh and finally, advice for Eliza from Winnie the Pooh ... "eat more hunny"

Slow Hand
Posts: 182
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2004 12:57 am
Location: ... somewhere ...

Postby susannah on Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:36 am

Recovering from a capsize in the sabre has been one of my biggest challenges. It seems to be a common problem for female sailors which is why I was hoping to continue the discussion and get some ideas about how other women manage.

I am fairly light but can get the boat upright by hanging underneath the centre board by my hands and ankles (like a monkey).

Getting in is difficult. The boat sits between head to wind and abeam. I pull the windward side of the boat down, hook my left arm around the stay and put my right leg over the gunwale. By this time to boat is heavily heeled to windward. This is generally not a problem in windy weather because my weight is balanced by the sail filling. I then grab the toe straps and pull myself in. All this takes ages by the way. The rest of the fleet are having hot showers.

My big problem is the not so windy weather. If the vang is off when I pull the boat to windward there is not enough pressure in the sail to counter act my weight and the boat comes down on top of me.

I need a more efficient system. I am nervous about ladders and such in case my foot gets caught. I am not very fit despite loads of good intentions. I would love some ideas.

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Location: Australia

Granny ropes

Postby Randal on Fri Dec 09, 2011 9:02 pm

I have a light cord (3 mm spectre so no stretch) from front to rear, tied to the sidestay - this is great to grab the boat before it gets away.
If you put feet on the cord, it helps reach the centreboard, plus gives you lots more leverage to bring the boat upright.

I wouldn't sail on the bay without it. - Weighs nent to nothing, but halves capsize recovery time & is great for confidence to know the boat won't get away.

No, I am not female but I am well past 21.

Hope this helps

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Joined: Sun Nov 19, 2006 11:49 pm

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