What is the issue?In a collision or grounding against rocks the hull may be holed.
Why address this?Once the hull has been holed the gap needs to be staunched very quickly or the vessel is lost.
How to address this?Have a heavy ten feet square heavy canvass hull mat with eyelets and solid double stitched rings prepared for this purpose - see figure 1.
Connect lines to the mat and pull it around the hull and over the hole then lash it in place. The pressure of water will create a seal against the hull and slow down the rate of the water intake to such a rate that the bilge pump may cope buying invaluable time.
A sail will perform the same role but is unwieldy in an emergency and difficult to lash down. The hull mat can find a multitude of uses aboard when not fulfilling its emergency purpose so that it may earn its keep on a daily basis. It may be turned into service as an awning, a dingy UV cover, a dust mat, an apron to protect topsides from fenders, an anti chafe matt when loading heavy provisions aboard, privacy cover for the push pit, a picnic ground cover and in fact a hundred more purposes. All of which are good for the emergency moment, as out of sight generally means out of mind. The more frequently the mat is used the more likely it will be remembered in the heat of the moment.
With thanks to:Michael Harpur, Yacht Obsession
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