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Old 12-28-2012, 02:47 AM   #1
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Do you raft?

We don't raft because we like our privacy but one of the things that I don't understand is when I see boats around 25ft and up rafted together. I mean 2,3, and 4 at a time. Mixed length, height and weight all reacting to waves and wakes differently. Even after rub rails are damaged and gel coat chipped they stay put. Is it just me?. but I don't need to be that close or to take that risk.
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Old 12-28-2012, 03:32 AM   #2
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We raft frequently to Happy Destiny, Carey's 36' lobsterboat, when we go out together. We have also rafted to a 30' Newport sloop on several of our longer cruises up north in BC.

The yacht club we belong to has a cruise every Labor Day to Garrison Bay on San Juan Island. This is always in the form of a large raft, sometimes over 20 boats. I think the most we've had is 27. We often go on this cruise as it serves as a good jumping off point for our longer cruises into BC in September.

Fortunately one of the long-time members of the yacht club is an extremely experienced cruiser and anchorer and he takes charge of setting up the raft. This year's cruise had about ten boats and the wind blew upwards of 20 knots the first day. Our resident anchoring expert had the anchors places so that no matter which way the wind veered we stayed put.

The photos below are of us rafted to Happy Destiny (in this case on a dock instead of a buoy or anchor), La Mouette, and the club raft from several years ago.

The photo of us and Happy Destiny is quite old, probably from the mid- 2000s as we still have our old Bruce anchor. We don't get to cruise with Carey and his wife as much these days as Carey is often away working disasters for FEMA.

Neither our boat nor Happy Destiny were in the club raft depicted below which I copied from the club's website.

Neither we nor the boats we have rafted to have ever experienced any damage even when the wind kicked up and the water got rough. However we and Happy Destiny carry several very large fenders in addition to our regular fenders for just this situation.
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Old 12-28-2012, 06:52 AM   #3
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different strokes...I like it all as long as it's cruisin'...

Damage no matter how you get it or prevent it is nothing more than experience/seamanship. Also some people will accept damage as "using" a boat...not willingly but things do happen in a pinch sometimes.

Me...I like boats that can withstand a little abuse...boat owners that ask me to remove shoes or wear sissy shoes...I tell them to meet me at the bar ashore...
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Old 12-28-2012, 07:46 AM   #4
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We raft often with different boats when conditions allow. Never had a problem with damage because we use fenders properly.
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Old 12-28-2012, 11:07 AM   #5
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We raft with other yacht club members with a "raftmaster" in charge. Every boat must put out an anchor, alternating bow, stern, bow,etc. When we break up to leave, we start at both ends.
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Old 12-28-2012, 11:28 AM   #6
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We have rafted up several time, but mainly with the yacht club outing and opening day of boating. Most pleasure boater donít particularly like rafter next to a big ugly trawler that is twice their size, until they need/want something! When going through the locks we were put on the wall being a large bot with smaller boats rafted/tied to us. We are moored on a parallel long dock so other boats visiting will moor/tie to us. We usually have 6 fenders on a side. Being the Eagle is painted I can fix/repair marks quickly and easily, so no big deal.
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Old 12-28-2012, 11:39 AM   #7
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We tend to spend most of our summer vacaion rafted to as few as one or as many as 8 other boats. Never had any difficulty, as every member of the raft has/uses their own fenders, placed where they will do some good, their own lines, also placed appropriately.
On thier first raftup, newbies sometimes need a little nudge to get things right.
For example, lots of folks have a tendency to leave their fenders at "dock height" which is too low for rafting. The fenders need to be at the height of the most likely contact between the boats, should there be a Bayliner going past. If that means buying larger diameter "Scotchman" style fenders in order to get the margin of safety needed, that is what most of us do.
Also, tying the lines so that gates will line up, or at least so the boats will stay put in their positions, sometimes requires a little nudge.
The most difficult boats to raft to are those without a side deck just where you need to board them, so we try to keep those boats to the ends of the raft, to minimuze the need to cross over.
Some rafting locations can present other challenges, like cross currents. These are common in the Desolation Sound area we frequent, but with experience, are easily overcome. To join a raft in a cross current, the newcomer may need to raft on first, then carry an anchor out in the dinghy, rather than the normal order of anchor, then raft.
Multiple anchors are verboten in a swinging raft, so there we like to have the boat with the largest anchor arrive and set anchor first, then other boats tie on. In a stern tie situation, anchors are set from all the heavy boats.
Naturally, there can be no hard rules when you don't control, or even know who is going to arrive next, or at all, so adaptation to the situation is always required.
On an organized vacation, with more boats, we have done circular rafts of as many as 35 boats. There, an organizer was required, as everyone arriving at once would creat total chaos. Once the circle was complete, we had a great venue inside the circled sterns for games, dinghy races, etc.
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:28 PM   #8
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We frequently raft up with others and, while we enjoy our time alone, we also like to have company. We've rafted with as many as 15-18 others and often with just one or two.

It's all about properly placing the fenders and lines and making sure one can go from boat to boat with a minimum of fuss and hazard.
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Old 12-28-2012, 03:16 PM   #9
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
Me...I like boats that can withstand a little abuse...boat owners that ask me to remove shoes or wear sissy shoes...I tell them to meet me at the bar ashore...
.....where you buy them a drink with a little umbrella in it?


Sweet.
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Old 12-28-2012, 03:24 PM   #10
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We raft-up with friends often. Usually just one other boat, sometimes two. Makes for some great socializing, drinks and eats. As mentioned by others, proper use of fenders and lines help keep things in place and minimize any damage to a scuff at most.
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Old 12-28-2012, 04:23 PM   #11
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Last time we were in Block Island Gt. Salt Pond, there were 4 40-50ft boats rafted in deeper (40ft) water. All relying on one anchor, with questionable scope. Come evening when all crews went ashore the wind blew at 20kts and all boats began moving around en mass!! Long story short, TowBoat US made a lot of money. That is they are trying to -- they charged salvage rights at 20% of assessed values for moving the vessels to "emergency" moorings. I guess my points are: (1) maybe it's OK to raft a small boat to a larger well-anchored one; (2) probably not such a good idea to raft multiple boats of any size to a single anchor; (3) better make sure there is enough scope and anchor for the job; and (4) better know what you are doing!! My sense is that many people raft without understanding the consequences of their actions. They put their boats and others at risk, especially if they then go ashore leaving their combined flotsam to the elements!!
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Old 12-28-2012, 05:08 PM   #12
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Hi Ya'll. I thought "rafting" was a Redneck thang! You see it all the time down here in the northern GOM (Gulf of Mexico). Never done it myself. Too modest, I guess. But with the right company, I could see where it might be a kick!
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Old 12-28-2012, 05:41 PM   #13
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Once, for drinks and dinner.
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Old 12-28-2012, 05:47 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jleonard
We raft often with different boats when conditions allow. Never had a problem with damage because we use fenders properly.
My experience exactly.
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Old 12-28-2012, 07:17 PM   #15
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Occasionally we do, generally I rather not, it adds issues to overcome and removes some independence. One thing I recall (been a while), tight spring lines are essential, plus of course well placed fenders.
I`ve seen violence done to laid moorings due to excessive loads from multiple rafted up boats, eg The Basin at Pittwater.
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Old 12-28-2012, 07:22 PM   #16
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The marine parks in Washington have rafting regulations which limit by length the number of boats that can raft to a park buoy. Above a certain size only one boat to a buoy, and boats over 46 feet cannot use the park buoys, period.

British Columbia goes a step farther with their marine park buoy policy and simply doesn't allow rafting at all.
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Old 12-28-2012, 11:21 PM   #17
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We usually just raft with one friend. However our Yacht Club has a mooring on Block Island where up to three boats may raft. Every time we have had to share, the other boaters have had the same concerns as us and have lots of big fenders!

The attached photo is the first Northeast North Pacific raft up. We are on the left. Everyone had plenty of fenders and concern for others.

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Old 12-29-2012, 08:37 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrisjs View Post
Last time we were in Block Island Gt. Salt Pond, there were 4 40-50ft boats rafted in deeper (40ft) water. All relying on one anchor, with questionable scope. Come evening when all crews went ashore the wind blew at 20kts and all boats began moving around en mass!! Long story short, TowBoat US made a lot of money. My sense is that many people raft without understanding the consequences of their actions. They put their boats and others at risk, especially if they then go ashore leaving their combined flotsam to the elements!!
I anchor and raft often at Block Island and I know that drill very well. I have dodged drifting boats on several occasions. Part of the fun at BI is watching the "anchor follies".
When I raft we are cautious about leaving the boats, never if the wind is up. When we do we always drop a stinger if in doubt, not only of the wind, but of idiots who run over your rode. I have seen many anchors clipped off there.
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Old 12-29-2012, 09:46 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jleonard View Post
I anchor and raft often at Block Island and I know that drill very well. I have dodged drifting boats on several occasions. Part of the fun at BI is watching the "anchor follies".
When I raft we are cautious about leaving the boats, never if the wind is up. When we do we always drop a stinger if in doubt, not only of the wind, but of idiots who run over your rode. I have seen many anchors clipped off there.
I'll second that one!

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Old 12-29-2012, 11:20 AM   #20
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The first time we tried rafting with a boat with an extremely different roll period. This led to a broken handrail when waked by a bayliner.

Our roll period is substantially different from any of our boating friends, so we always anchor by ourselves and visit via dinghy.

Additionally, my boat has never dragged at anchor, with the one exception of when we had this same boat rafted. Then we moved around quite a bit.
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