Bulls-Eye Sinking?

Dinghies, day sailers, world cruisers. Many small sailboats make ideal rowboats or low-speed power boats.

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Bulls-Eye Sinking?

Post by csuh13 »

Hello all,

I was wondering if anyone had any experience with a Bulls Eye tipping over...

If so, how hard is it to right? Will it easily sink?

Just a few questions running through my head as I build...

Steve Miller

Post by Steve Miller »

I have not sailed a Bullseye but a fellow next to me at a wood boat show last year had one. I sail a 12' boat with 65 sf of sail so am going on that...

First - sinking? not likely at all. It has sealed floation compartments formed from the front seat in the bow and the two side seats. It is a wood boat and without a motor will float on its own even without the compartments. The compartments help her float higher after righting.

It is 4.5 feet beam so capsize could be an issue with the sloop rig of 74 sf, a light skipper and some nice breeze. Of course any small sailboat can go over. It is good practice to do recovery drills so you can sail more confidently and worry less knowing you can get the boat back up and reboard. The other rigs have less sail area and a lower aspect rig (sail not as tall) so will be more stable. But learning to sail and keeping the boat upright is part of the fun!

Righting the boat in a capsize would be fairly easy in a boat this size and the floatation tanks will help hold her higher in the water - a plus. It will likely be like my boat. You can dip the lee rail and take water in good wind if the skipper is not hiking or balancing right but almost impossible to capsize fully since the boat will take water somewhere before 90 degrees since the boat will not pivot on the surface of the water but dip some as she goes over. I would have to fall out to leeward before my boat would go all the way over I think. Even then sinking a wood mast is tough unless you have cleated your mainsheet and the sail fills with water . (and I know you would never do that!)

I would imagine that re-boarding would be fairly easy since she is not all that deep at 15". I'd test this in warm water but I would think a quick scissors kick to push you up as you pull the side of the boat down will let you roll right in. A bunch of water will come with you but so what. You should have a bailing bucket anyway.

Bullseye is a really nice size for a daysailer. She should really scoot!

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Dave Grason
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Post by Dave Grason »

Steve Miller wrote:It is good practice to do recovery drills so you can sail more confidently and worry less knowing you can get the boat back up and reboard...... ......But learning to sail and keeping the boat upright is part of the fun!
Absolutely!! Hear hear!

Small sailboats are for people that are good swimmers. If you have a phobia of the water and do not consider yourself to be a good swimmer, choose a different type of boat.

Anything in this size range can and will flip given the right combination of events. I haven't sailed in at least 20 years. Here in middle Tennessee, there are not a lot of places to go sailing except Lake Barkley or Kentucky Lake. But my twin brother has always been a real sailing enthusiast. He had a 15ft single hander called a US1 for many years back when we were in our late teens and through our 20s. I have no idea how much sail it carried but it was a LOT for the hull and speedwise the boat was easily on par with a Hobie 14 on a broad reach. In fact, it was the only monohull I've ever seen to hold it's own on a reach with the Hobie cat 14. But flipping the boat was a way of life and both my brother and I got used to righting it once it went over. A few times we even completely turtled it. (that is when the lake was deep enough for the mast to point straight down. You'd be amazed at how shallow parts of Kentucky lake are.) The procedure is pretty simple and when we first started sailing that boat, we'd get a friend with a powerboat and rope to be close by just in case. Then we'd intentionally lay her over to practice righting the hull.

If/when this happens, just think in terms of the laws of physics. Make sure that your mainsail is NOT cleated but that the boom is flopping loose. Like what was posted before, you can't scoop up the entire lake. Also when the mast comes up, the sail will not be catching wind and fighting against you. Unless the boat was completely turtled, it would be a simple case of swimming around to the dagger board, climbing up on it, which will push it into the water deeper. I would want the wind at my back. As the dagger board went down under my weight, I'd grab the sheer and shift my weight onto the gunnel. With a little practice, you can do this manuever and end up in the boat.

BTW, my brother and I used to borrow a friend's Hobie 14 and we'd race all over the lake taking turns in each boat. So we each got used to righting the monohull AND the catamaran. The cat needs to be righted with the mast pointing into the wind - just the opposite from the monohull. That way, the wind catches the trampoline and helps push the boat up. If you completely turtle a cat, you might as well pop a cold one and wait for help in a powerboat to arrive. I never could right one by myself once completely turtled.

Hey, one final thought. MAKE SURE EVERYTHING YOU'VE GOT WITH YOU IS IN A FLOATABLE CONTAINER.....'cause you're gonna lose it when you tip over. You'll need to run around and collect it all once the boat is upright again. :oops:
Isn't it amazing!! The person that never has the fortitude to pursue his own dreams, will be the first to try and discourage you from pursuing yours.

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Post by csuh13 »

Thanks for the thoughts!

The floatation compartments under the seats hadn't even occurred to me... Naturally, they would make things easier!


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Gayle Brantuk
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Post by Gayle Brantuk »

Okay, I'll admit it--I capsized the Bull's-Eye test model. Tried to convince everyone that I was testing it to make sure it could be easily righted, but I don't think they bought it. I felt it going over and could have stopped it, but hey, what fun would that be! It was very easy to right by myself by standing on the centerboard and I even sailed it back to shore half full of water--we had no additional flotation besides the seat chamber.

Now you know--I even de-masted a boat while sailing. I may not be the best sailor (or perhaps rigger), but I do know how to get out of a bind! It's all good...
Gayle Brantuk
Glen L Witt's daughter
Past Glen-L Marine President

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Post by Andre »

Hi there,
I recently finished building my Bull's Eye in June of this year. I have even sailed it a few times since. Just this weekend a friend and I were out sailing when we got swamped. We took on enough water that it was almost to the top of the seats. Even though it took some doing, we bailed out all the water using my bleach bottle bailer, (except for about 2 litres), while still under sail!
In my humble opinion, this boat is unlikely ever to sink. PS - it's a sweet little boat under sail.

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Post by leakcheck »

Gayle, there wouldnt happen to be a picture of you rowing that boat is there ?


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