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Old 02-20-2013, 09:17 PM   #1
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Bridge panic

This last Sunday, went up the Napa River. While passing under the Mare Island Causeway Bridge, my passenger/guest feared the Coot's mast would strike the raised bridge and quickly moved from the cockpit to the saloon. Vertical heights are difficult to judge from close up.





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Old 02-20-2013, 10:45 PM   #2
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Your chart should show height above high water when lowered, and when raised. With those numbers you should be able to estimate the height at each of the crossbars on the towers.
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:50 PM   #3
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Your chart should show height above high water when lowered, and when raised. With those numbers you should be able to estimate the height at each of the crossbars on the towers.
Yeah, he knew that. ,he was just looking for a 'scuse to post more pics of his fancy mast, eh Mark.
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:55 PM   #4
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When in the lowered position, there isn't sufficient bridge clearance for the Coot under any circumstance. The bridge isn't raised to its highest position if the bridge attendant doesn't believe it is necessary. In the Coot's instance, the bridge isn't raised to the maximum height. So, those chart numbers are irrelevant. Heck, how tall is the Coot?

Did I say I paniced?
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:56 PM   #5
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Yeah, he knew that. ,he was just looking for a 'scuse to post more pics of his fancy mast, eh Mark.
Paid a lot for it. So why not?
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Old 02-20-2013, 11:11 PM   #6
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.....he was just looking for a 'scuse to post more pics of his fancy mast, eh Mark.
That's OK with me...I enjoy the pics! (And so do you, Peter.)
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Old 02-20-2013, 11:46 PM   #7
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Old 02-21-2013, 06:00 AM   #8
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About 30 years ago, I was sent down to Napa to observe and make recommendations on a tug/barge transit between the Leslie salt flats in Napa to/from Pittsburg, which included navigating through the pictured area. The navigation challenge was safely making the bridge opening with a 300' x 50' tug/barge unit with the prevailing winds sweeping across the channel. Made several trips through here and it was always pucker time

How far up the Napa River did you get/normally cruise?
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:06 AM   #9
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In a situation like that I've just asked the bridge operator what his clearance is, or better yet told him what my air draft is. Takes the pucker out, at least in theory.
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:18 AM   #10
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Another alternative could be to mount a small waterproof video camera pointing forward on the top of the mast and graphic overlay module that can generate a horizontal line at what ever pixel row you select. With a little calibration you could get the horizontal line to indicate the level of the top of the mast. That should eliminate the guesswork and provide a good lookout.
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:32 AM   #11
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I agree that judging height is very difficult. When I had a sailboat, the mast height was about 48', but I would pass under the 65' fixed bridges on the ICW and it'd always look like I was barely scraping by.
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:38 AM   #12
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Just curious - does everyone know their air draft? We have a bridge here with an operator who we all fondly call the "bridge Nazi". He's constantly busting people's chops over not knowing their air draft. Lots of people want him to open when they can get under just fine. It's the second busiest draw bridge on the eastern seaboard, so I can understand his frustration.

Lots of places air draft doesn't matter at all, but in other areas, like the NY and Canadian canal systems, it matters a lot.
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:42 AM   #13
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In Seattle the only bridge I could not pass under with our small San Juan 23 sailboat was the Freemont Bridge. The Freemont has a clearance of 30' in the center, and my mast is 32'. Never had to wait more than 5-10 min. for the operator to open the bridge.



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Old 02-21-2013, 12:02 PM   #14
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How far up the Napa River did you get/normally cruise?
Usually to the former Kaiser pipe plant.

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Old 02-21-2013, 12:06 PM   #15
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In Seattle the only bridge I could not pass under with our small San Juan 23 sailboat was the Freemont Bridge. The Freemont has a clearance of 30' in the center, and my mast is 32'. Never had to wait more than 5-10 min. for the operator to open the bridge.



I cut the mast of the Eagle so we could get under the bridges with out waiting. I hated darn sails boats as they sually took up the center of the chnale and many time were cross wise. PITA.
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Old 02-21-2013, 12:15 PM   #16
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Old 02-21-2013, 03:02 PM   #17
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The reason we got a great buy on our sailboat several years ago is because the dreaded previous owner--an airline pilot--used to get liquored up after a long duty rotation and pass out below while his wife--not a boater--would motor all over the lake. The boat had a tall rig, with 45 feet of air draft, and one day she ran it into a power line. Not as much damage as you might expect--a burned genoa and partially melted forestay--but at least they weren't dismasted or electrocuted. Shortly after that, they had a "fire sale."
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Old 02-21-2013, 04:23 PM   #18
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A burned genoa?

Genoa is that a social thing, IF I had genoa, I probable would want to get rid of it to, but having it burned off sound painful.
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Old 02-21-2013, 04:41 PM   #19
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A burned genoa?

Genoa is that a social thing, IF I had genoa, I probable would want to get rid of it to, but having it burned off sound painful.
His forestay melted too! Now THAT sounds painful, glad I don't have one. Thanks mom & dad.
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Old 02-21-2013, 04:54 PM   #20
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Another alternative could be to mount a small waterproof video camera pointing forward on the top of the mast and graphic overlay module that can generate a horizontal line at what ever pixel row you select. With a little calibration you could get the horizontal line to indicate the level of the top of the mast. That should eliminate the guesswork and provide a good lookout.
a small change in trim may affect that idea...
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