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Old 04-06-2012, 07:24 PM   #1
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Best way to tie up at at beach

Last night was a bit dramatic.

Following our normal practice at a small beach when we go to this particular spot on the Gippsland Lakes I gently nudged Gemma onto the beach ensuring that I had a sturdy tree at 30 degrees port and starboard so I could tie a stern line on each side to secure her.

Unfortunately overnight an unexpected storm with 40ish Knot winds and waves arrived. Around 10pm a 30 foot yacht whose danforth anchor had let go was blown/drifted and collided with Gemmas starboard side.

After five hours of defending Gemma and the yacht bouncing off my big round orange fenders for that time, we were able to see her motor off during a lull in the wind. Quite an adrenalin inducing experience I must say.

Fortunately Gemma only sustained minor damage (hopefully covered by the yacht 's insurance) and no one was hurt although the yachties and my female partner were very frightened.

However during the involuntary raft up, as the wind was from the starboard aft quarter Gemma was blown to port and ended up almost 30 degrees off the port shoreline. Whilst the ropes held, the bow had shifted to starboard so that instead of a triangle shape ie both trees at the triangle base at opposite ends and the stern at the apex, the bow ended up in line with the starboard tree line whilst the port line was completely slack. Fortunately after the yacht had gone but whilst still tied up ( I didnt want to untie as the winds were still full on) by motoring forward, whilst beached, with rudder on hard port and alternating backing off and going forward I was able to partially swing the bow to port back to the optimal triangular set up.

Some questions. Is there a better way to tie up to shore in this situation to prevent the bow moving? So for instance would an alternative mooring with perhaps the port aft line going around the bow to the starboard tree and the starboard aft line to the port tree be a better idea as the crossing lines would "capture" the bow to some extent in theory?

Would you have struggled to help the yachtie for 5 hours and incur damage to your boat (and none to his) or should I have told him to get on his way more or less immediately?

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Old 04-06-2012, 08:15 PM   #2
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In my neck of the woods we would not , ever, put the boat on any beach intentionally - too rough, the so called beach as such.
However, I understand your practice.
Personally I would simply use another set of lines to the same trees, or to different trees, from the bow.
Wrapping the lines, crisscrossing, around the bow will introduce chafe on the line and maybe the bow and cause other trouble. At least with independent lines if one starts to show a problem you have a chance of dealing with one line for one corner at a time and can make adjustments one line at a time.

I think you can be commended for helping another boater. Sometimes you can only make the best of a bad situation. If you had forced him off, the boats may have been worse off ultimately. Can't guess here.

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Old 04-06-2012, 08:46 PM   #3
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Not sure if it would have helped but some of my friends do a form of "beaching" in the California Delta. They actually tie the bow off to a substantial amount of Tule reeds that grow naturally along the bank of the river or slough they are on. They tell me that when doing this for overnight they tend to use a stern anchor too.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing that we learn many lessons from. Forums are a wonderful way to share the benefit of these incidents and how to avoid/deal with them in the future.

I share C lectric in his sentiment. Boaters should assist other boaters whenever it is safe and prudent to do so. Property damage can be repaired, boats can be replaced. But human life is far more important regardless of cost. Your assistance considering the conditions you described could have prevented someone being injured or worse.

Thank you for sharing this experience.
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Old 04-06-2012, 08:47 PM   #4
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C lectric,
Thanks. Appreciate your suggestion of separate bow lines. Duh... I should have thought of the that, its so obvious :-)
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Old 04-06-2012, 10:00 PM   #5
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We use to anchor out behind the U of W stadium for opening day of boating. The area is
shallow and soft bog sea weed growth. We pulled in bow first dropping a stern anchor while pulling foward to drop a bow anchor and tighten up between the two. If it got windy we would drop a second bow and stern anchor. However we dragged anchor and go a ground taking along several smaller boats with us. After the wind died down take the ski boat with 200 ft of rope and drag the Eagle out of the bog. A couple of times the Seattle police boat pulled us off.

That is why we have 4 anchors. I hate anchoring
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Old 04-09-2012, 07:04 AM   #6
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Jan, frankly I don't think I would ever moor against a shore, unless the forecast was highly favourable and for a decent length of time. I have seen things change just too fast. I would recommend anchoring out then backing in and tying to a tree or equivalent on a lake during the day, so you can wade ashore if conditions are good, but always pulling out and just anchoring normally with as much swing room as possible for the night. If the boats are packed in too tight, I'd go somewhere else for the night. I think the Lakes there are not that deep, so you would have plenty of choice. In other words...with apologies to Star Wars & Alec Guinness....trust the Force Luke...trust your Sarca...

PS. sorry if I'm wrong, but I doubt that sort of front would have been unforecasted, but it is when boating on such 'sheltered waters' like the Gippsland Lakes you are most likely to let the old guard down over checking forecasts. (Personal experience here)
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Old 04-09-2012, 04:34 PM   #7
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Similar to what CPseudonym mentions of his delta friend. In SF delta we are lucky in that tule growth can act as a full-on buffer on each side where we often nose in, no matter what direction the wind is blowing or tide is going. See pict

My way: I first nose bow-bottom of the boat firmly/securely up onto the tule shore-bank (it is soft and causes not even scrapes on bottom paint). With engines in idle/neutral I go to bow and with a special anchor on line only I throw like a cowboy straight ahead into the tule (40’+/-) and reel it in with winch till very snug in mass of tule overgrowth; then snug line down on a center chock and cleat. I go back on bridge and put both motors in reverse and gently accelerate till bow-bottom slides off tule bank and I back down till I’m dam sure the anchor is firmly in the tule mass straight ahead. Shut off engines and adjust bow anchor line length as necessary. Depending on tide height at time of anchoring I adjust line-slack accordingly so at low tide the bow doesn’t get raised too high on newly exposed soft tule edge. If we feel there will be a big blow (barley ever happens where we play in delta) then we set aft anchor with plenty of scope. BTW - 19' deep off swim step with pretty clear running water that is usually warm enough for swimming end April to mid November... bath water warm in mid summer, stay in for hours - times per hot day!

Can’t say exactly how I would have handled your situation... would have to be there. Can say that you were very nice to (for five hours!!) keep helping the offending boat that was slapping into your boat side. I question why the other captain didn’t want to ASAP get free and away from your boat (40 knot wind is surely stiff but not completely paralyzing) under his own power and able to chose his own location/moorage? Too scared, boat did not run correctly, simply too windy to be able to push off, no way of other moorage?? Back in “the day” NY to Maine and points between, I’ve been in nor’easters as well as other tumultuous weather conditions in harbors, at docks, and even in open water... man, one thing I know is make sure your boat is always ready in every way for action – cause when you least expect it – Expect IT!

Glad it worked out for you and hope his ins covers your boat repairs.
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