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Adventure Island down

Adventure Island down

Postby Fish Grylls » 31 Jan 2018, 12:09

A bit hard to sweep this one under the carpet seeing there was a witness or 50. Also I am a big believer that others can learn from this type of incident.
On Australia Day Portland NSC18 Comp day with the AI, no sail and with the single ama I was approx. 5km offshore when I first felt some sluggishness, I stopped and looked and did a rudder check and that seemed fine. I also checked the level the kayak was sitting and again that seemed ok. I continued on for another 30 seconds before stopping to have another look just in time to see the kayak start to sink somewhat spectacularly in about 15 seconds or so.
I immediately called out to Keiran, also in an AI who was within calling distance. Keiran came over and held up the rear and checked the bungs.
My plastic bilge pump had been unsecured and floated away along with a small tackle box. Keiran handed me his one but it was obvious that it would be futile to make any attempt, as all the hatches were under water and we had no idea at the time what the cause of the leak was.
I decided to call it in to Eoin, on the VHF comp channel, who immediately dispatched the SLSC inflatable boat – Rescue 1.
We waited for a while for Rescue 1 to find us and as it was having some trouble locating us I got out the flares, giving one to Keiran as a backup. The boat found us before the flares were needed.
I transferred my gear to the SLSC boat and then swam to it and got pulled in.
When we came alongside the AI I immediately noticed that the rear round hatch was open, with the battery cradle missing (fallen into the hull). I shut the hatch and suggested we try to bail her out. The SLSC crew disagreed and suggested a tow in.
After a few attempts to begin a tow the large coastguard boat came over and attempted to place the kayak on the hydraulic lift at the back, however this proved difficult with the AI smashing against the hull and the lift. I was extremely happy when they gave up that approach.
The AI was then towed slowly back upside down to shore. I was hoping to sneak her back and pretend nothing had happened but unfortunately met by a crowd of kayakers, phographers etc.
What went wrong?
At this stage I am assuming the open hatch caused the yak to sink. It is possible that the hatch popped after the fact with the man handling of the flooded hull but I don’t believe this is the case.
Why was the hatch open?
I am sure I closed the hatch. I have only recently purchased the second-hand 2011 AI and had been out in it previously about 6 or 7 times, including the previous 2 full days. However, I have an extremely well-used Hobie Revo for about 10 years and in that time I have accessed the hatches hundreds of times. It has become second nature to press down on the hatch to feel the seal locking in and the hatch flush with the kayak.
So what happened then?
The hatches on the Revo are difficult to open. I use industrial quantities of Armourall to keep everything lubricated to the point that I can open and close them. I had given the AI hatches a liberal going over with Armaourall before leaving as a precaution. Both AI hatches were extremely easy to open and close as a result. Interestingly, with the heat driving back on both the Saturday and Sunday the hatches were more difficult to open. Since it has cooled down they have reverted to being quite easy.
Speaking to Eoin there are some cases of the Hobie hatches popping open when they have been fitted onto Stealths particularly in surf launches. I have spoken to hobie dealers who have said they have not heard of this happening.
I have been doing some tests on dry land and have come up with a plausible explanation of what may have happened. I was using a large improvised dry bag as a catch bag. The rolled up end has a clip loop. The bag was at the back with the clip towards the rear. I grabbed the bag about 15 minutes before I sank to access the tackle box inside. I did notice that it was briefly caught on something as I pulled it towards me.
I believe if the T handle of the hatch was up I may have caught that with the bag loop twisting the hatch enough to set it open. I can consistently replicate this on dry land. Of course, as I am not sure exactly what happened this is just a plausible theory, but it does seems to fit.
What am I going to do?
Eoin has kindly offered to send me a strap that will ensure the hatch cannot open inadvertently. I will also have to rethink my bilging strategy. No point bilging through an open hatch when water is covering the deck and there is a bit of slop. I am looking at an electric bilge and also a manual airsealed/watersealed bilge port that I can access to pump out a submerged kayak. Any suggestions to this end would be appreciated.
Reinforcing kayaking safety.
Regardless of experience, problems can occur whether it is due to a mistake or a failure. On this occasion there were several layers of safety precautions. Marine radio, flares and PLB (and an EPIRB) as well backup of an experienced kayaker with a second set of all the safety gear. I would recommend anyone travelling any sort of distance to always set out with the basic equipment as well as a buddy.
Thanks again to Keiran for his help and particularly his calm response. And to Eoin for organising the safeguards in place and an efficient response to the incident. And ofcourse a big thanks to the SLSC volunteers for their time and effort.
In the end I did not end up losing too much. A broken paddle half already replaced for $40. A spare bilge lost and about $100 of tackle. Amazingly the Lowrance Chirp 5 that remained on the kayak and was dragged upside down back to shore still works fine (card is silastised in) – hopefully this remains the case.
Biggest damage is to my pride, but lessons learned and steps will be put in place for it not to happen again.


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Re: Adventure Island down

Postby mingle » 31 Jan 2018, 12:27

Glad to see you made it back in with minimal drama...

It's hard to see how the rear hatch could pop open once the t-handle is locked and pushed into the flush recess.

You could always make some sort of cover that slides into place, on top of the t-handle if you think it could be 'snagged' open again?

Last edited by mingle on 31 Jan 2018, 13:09, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Adventure Island down

Postby Kiwidundee » 31 Jan 2018, 12:57

Thank you for you honest report and very pleased it ended as well as it did. Something for everyone to consider.
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Re: Adventure Island down

Postby vicyak » 31 Jan 2018, 13:38

Good report. Lucky it happened on comp day where the support was there. Good you made it back safely.
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Re: Adventure Island down

Postby shane » 31 Jan 2018, 13:40

I'm glad it all worked out in the end Tas. It was concerning hearing it unfold on the radio and then to find it happened to one of the most experience kayakers in the comp as well.:eh:

I know that sinking feeling and nowadays have my bilge pump clipped to the rear bungee. I've also done the pump out bung mod that Josh used in the LHS cup mold. This requires an extension to the bilge pump to reach the bottom along with some sealing foam around the pump base so you can pump water out even if everything is underwater. I also considered making a threaded connection to the pump but have ended up just going with a seal. I don't rate electric bilge pump systems due to the vulnerability, reliability and maintenance issues with electric pump systems.

With the rear hatch I find it's not something I need to access regularly and I mainly use it with a tackle tray to hold spare parts (in addition to what's in my seat back bag). An option could be to get a round Hobie tackle tray and screw/silicon it in place. You would also need a blanking piece around the lock cut-out to seal it all up. This would allow you to access the tackle tray through the hatch lid while keeping the remainder of the hull waterproof.

I hope you get it all sorted quick smart and rebuild the confidence to get her back out into the rough stuff. :up:

After the other rescue I was involved in with Cruiser, I would also upgrade your aka support strut bolts to stainless steel pins ASAP. The other alternative is adding lines to prevent an amma collapse while giving some damage protection to the yak.
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Re: Adventure Island down

Postby laneends » 31 Jan 2018, 14:09

I used to open the rear hatch to lift by the hatch rim to install and remove trolley. launched a couple of times with it not closed properly. It is scary to realize as you can't reach it on the adventure hull. Especially without amas. As a result I no longer use it in this fashion and I have installed the railblaza flag mount on the lid, so that if is open it is obvious. As for catching the hatch toggle, this is something that I find a pain even on the centre hatches.

I think in this case it was just a fluke and you will be wary of how you load stuff on the back. There has been enough tales of AI's filling up and relying on amas to keep them afloat that does make me apprehensive about taking the single hull revo 16 offshore, without back up flotation and stability aid of amas.
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Re: Adventure Island down

Postby peatop » 31 Jan 2018, 15:19

Tyvm tas, telling of your misfortune can help other think about issues they may face in the future, also manufacturers/retailers fix issues that maybe caused buy design faults, dont feel any loss of pride as you did nothing to warrant it, im sure we are proud and thankful that you are safe and wrote a report on the situation you found yourself in :up:
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Re: Adventure Island down

Postby Fish Grylls » 01 Feb 2018, 09:55

I should add that the previous owner had a fair bit of foam in the hull, mainly under the centre area. Not a huge amount but 10 litres plus.

I am planning to order the bilge ports from Whitworths and go the manual bilge pump route first. I will be giving it a good test before heading out to wide. I carry a bit of Aqua Bog in the emergency bag, the stuff you have the knead with your fingers before it becomes active, might include a section on flat roofing stop leak as well.

With a working bilge I am pretty sure I can overcome last week problem fairly easily. More of a worry is flipping it in full sail mode. I have already got the stainless pins and I would echo Shanes concern and suggest that AI/TI owners install them ASAP. Also keen to see how other brace their aka arms.

Here is a video I found demonstrating how to right an AI/TI.

Anyone for a flipping the AI day on WP. I can easily organise one or two standby boats.
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Re: Adventure Island down

Postby Fish aholic » 01 Feb 2018, 18:21

Nice modifications planned taz, just goes to show how quickly things can turn to crap in this game and only hope other take it on board :thumbsup:
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Re: Adventure Island down

Postby mingle » 01 Feb 2018, 18:30

Glad to see you're not giving up!

I stand by my comments to you when you first took my A.I. for a spin - The Adventure Island is a huge pain in the arse: it's bulky, heavy, hard to move around on land, slow to set up, ropes, slow to pack up, takes ages to wash down...

HOWEVER, once on the water it's the best fishing platform you can get. So versatile, so fast, so stable, so much fun just to sail. NOTHING else comes close.

Hopefully I'll be able to get down for a trip out in the next week or so...


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