Capsizing is one of the most serious risks it is possible for an ocean row boat to experience. A capsize which is poorly managed by the crew can result in water entering the cabins or a poorly ballasted boat results in the same net outcome, a boat which stays the wrong way up. Clearly these scenarios spell the end for any ocean row. However, a well managed capsize, although scary and dangerous, is a situation which can be recovered from. Of course the best thing to do is to avoid a capsize altogether by keeping a boat well ballasted, avoid broaching (allowing the boat to become perpendicular to the waves) and deploying a para-anchor or drogue if conditions are angry.
Not all capsizes can be predicted and so it’s important that crews and their boats are prepared so that if they do turn turtle during their row on the Pacific, that they will manage the situation well, remain as calm as possible and respond to the situation in a calm manner which won’t force them to cut short their adventure.
To get all our crews as prepared as possible for a potential capsize during the race, we conduct two inversion tests in Monterey Harbor. The first test is without any of the crew aboard. Secondly, we add the crew into the cabins so they get the experience of turning upside down and literally dancing on the ceiling before the boat comes back up the right way again.
Of course we’d prefer that no crews capsize, but if they are going to then we want them to be prepared. This short 360 degree video shows Ripple Effect successfully completing their inversion test in Monterey. Spot how fast the boat whips back around to remain the right way up. Whomp! There it is!