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Old 07-18-2018, 02:09 PM   #1
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Holy crap!! What was that?

I had an interesting 15-day trip on the California Delta that ended with a wild ride home on Saturday. I was travelling through Suisun Bay during a period of a strong "king tides" ebb and higher than forecast opposing winds. I had just passed Port Chicago and turned SW toward the Benicia Bridge when I faced a series of 5-6 ft waves with a period of about 3 seconds. The boat handled the pounding very well which fortifies my confidence in the hull but what happened next really caught my attention.

As I was rounding wave crest 2, I began reducing power further from my already reduced thrust when I felt something hit the prop. "Holy crap!! What was that?" I exclaimed to no one.

I immediately reduced power to idle and shifted both engines to neutral. A rev of the engines seemed normal as I continued my hobby-horse ride through the next crest or two. Returning to fwd gear resulted in no unusual noises or vibrations and I continued to negotiate the remaining waves assuming perhaps the prop had cavitated or I had hit some floating wad of grass or weed. When I reached my slip, I found the nature of the problem.

After tying up at my slip, I noticed that my rubrail was missing and a section of it was trailing behind the boat still attached to the aft port corner. The portion attached to the starboard side was missing. Pulling the remnant onto the dock, I found only about 30 ft remaining with a diagonal, rough slice at the tag end.

Apparently, my 2 year-new Mate-USA Radial 52 rubrail peeled off from the bow during the wave pounding and passed under the boat like a 'U', suspended from each aft attach point. The wave action caused the rubrail to impact a prop which sliced the rubrail in two. It's mounted on a T track and is installed by reverse-bending the vinyl insert to open the channel allowing it to pass over the T track.

On Monday I called Mate-USA to discuss the event and price a replacement insert. I spoke with Charlotte Sundquist who listened to my brief recollection of the story and quickly offered to assist in the remedy by sending me a replacement insert with end caps on VERY favorable terms. She stated that she had only heard of this happening once before and it was in very similar conditions in Florida...standing 6 ft waves on a short period.

So now, I have a new project facing me...installing the new insert when it arrives next week. I love learning new skills!

Two minute video showing the installation process.

Another loss to the trip was more my fault. My 41 year-old boat has a few extra mounting holes from removed equipment in the FB console that were never properly sealed from the elements. I normally keep my boat in a covered slip with a canvas completely covering the FB console and bench seat. In the past during some wet transits with the canvas stowed, I have had water dripping from the inside console to my lower helm header, then onto the lower helm. It's always been a few drops that were quickly resolved with a small towel and soon forgotten.

This time, I had the canvas cover off the FB helm and took MUCH MORE water over the FB than I had ever experienced in the past. I was cleaning up water with a second towel when my Xantrex LinkPro SOC meter began giving me readings of high amp draw (600A!) and a quickly diminishing % SOC. Battery Voltage was 0V. The steady 600A and 0V indications were suspected as erroneous by me but I needed to confirm I didn't have a serious short. A quick look at my analog voltmeter confirmed normal voltage. I suspected the water had seeped into the LinkPro but needed to confirm no short just in case. I immediately went to my Master Battery Switches located outside my fwd ER door. (Important point: I have these wired to control LOAD only, not the alternators' charges.) I switched the house to OFF rendering all nav, comm and house equipment inoperative. A quick look at the analog voltage confirmed I still had normal voltage with no change. Since I did not have a short, I re-connected the house bank and ignored the SOC readings, monitoring the analog voltmeter instead. My new SOC meter arrives on Monday.

All together, this made for a very memorable ride home after an idyllic trip in the Delta. Over 14 days, the deck and windshield never got wet. Conditions were perfect for summer cruising. Day 15....not so much!

Live and learn!

I'd like to give props to Charlotte Sundquist and Mate-USA for their outstanding customer support. Although I would have preferred my rubrail never depart my vessel, if it does, it's nice to know the company will stand behind it. At this time, I'm seriously considering adding some fastening hardware to the bow bend of the new rubrail to reduce the chance of the new one peeling off in similar conditions.

Below are some pics from my yard repair a couple years ago when the rubrail was originally installed. At the very bottom is a shot of the sliced rubrail.







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Old 07-18-2018, 03:42 PM   #2
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The eastern portion of Suisun Bay is often rough, with short-period five-foot waves with bow plunging and spray going eight feet above the pilothouse. I'm sure the mirror in my forward cabin cracked that last time through. The spray, however, did a good job washing off the thousands of little green bugs, acquired in the Delta, clinging to the boat.
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Old 07-18-2018, 04:01 PM   #3
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That sounds a little two exciting!
The rubrail looks well designed. I see they offer a joint cap. You might put one of those on each side of the bow to make sure the rail stays on in the future.
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Old 07-18-2018, 04:07 PM   #4
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Maybe sneak a screw in every now and then to stop it from peeling off.
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Old 07-18-2018, 04:12 PM   #5
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Well, dang, it's not often you hit a piece of your own boat while underway.

I second the suggestion of finding a way to mechanically fasten that replacement at at least a point or two.
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Old 07-18-2018, 05:54 PM   #6
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Aren’t there enough problems in the world without running over your own rub rail!
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Old 07-18-2018, 06:12 PM   #7
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Now Larry, that was darn funny. Al, perhaps you could petition your state legislators for financial aid. They've given money out for a lot of causes that make less sense that your request would.
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Old 07-18-2018, 06:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by healhustler View Post
Aren’t there enough problems in the world without running over your own rub rail!
Quote:
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Well, dang, it's not often you hit a piece of your own boat while underway.


If there's a way, I'll find it.
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Old 07-18-2018, 06:18 PM   #9
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Now Larry, that was darn funny. Al, perhaps you could petition your state legislators for financial aid. They've given money out for a lot of causes that make less sense that your request would.
Somehow, I think a yacht subsidy to a white traditional patriot in California is highly unlikely.
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Old 07-18-2018, 06:30 PM   #10
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Greetings,
Mr.FW. An adventure to be sure. Glad it ended well (no injuries or losses other than your rub rail).
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Old 07-18-2018, 07:19 PM   #11
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Whoa momma, that was one wild ride. Glad you got in safely. My hat is off to you rough water captains. That probably would have ended my boating .
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Old 07-18-2018, 07:29 PM   #12
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Whoa momma, that was one wild ride. Glad you got in safely. My hat is off to you rough water captains. That probably would have ended my boating .
That's the odd part, Marty. I'm no rough water captain. I'm used to the benign and predictable California Delta. With 14 idyllic days under my belt, I wasn't mentally prepared to enter the ride from hell. But in hindsight, it was kinda fun!
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Old 07-18-2018, 08:21 PM   #13
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Wow, sorry I missed it.
Wild rides are ALWAYS more fun in someone else's boat!

I wish I was there ti help install the new one.
See you in September.
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Old 07-18-2018, 09:00 PM   #14
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Wow, sorry I missed it.
Wild rides are ALWAYS more fun in someone else's boat!

I wish I was there ti help install the new one.
See you in September.
Careful what you wish for, Richard. It's not installed yet! September might be just about right.
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Old 07-18-2018, 10:21 PM   #15
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That's the odd part, Marty. I'm no rough water captain. I'm used to the benign and predictable California Delta. With 14 idyllic days under my belt, I wasn't mentally prepared to enter the ride from hell. But in hindsight, it was kinda fun!
Were those conditions at all forecast?
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Old 07-18-2018, 11:49 PM   #16
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Were those conditions at all forecast?
The winds were 8-10 kts higher than expected but there were no advisories. Other than that, there was no weather to speak of. It was clear and a million with temps in the mid-high 70s. It was just a localized condition that existed in a very small area where the wind was most opposed to the current.
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Old 07-19-2018, 12:24 AM   #17
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So what's rub? ... Rail that is - LOL

No shat - pleased to hear nothing too lasting for damage and no injury.

Congrats Captain! You handled things well.

IMHO; with a good boat, a bit-0' rough water is pretty much enthralling!

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Old 07-19-2018, 03:15 AM   #18
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The winds were 8-10 kts higher than expected but there were no advisories. Other than that, there was no weather to speak of. It was clear and a million with temps in the mid-high 70s. It was just a localized condition that existed in a very small area where the wind was most opposed to the current.
And the waves not forecast?
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Old 07-19-2018, 03:17 AM   #19
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I had a couple of boats on the lake that rubrails over time just grew. They'd come out and have extra length so could just cut them off and put them back in. Amazing over time how much stretch. Kept thinking eventually would have to replace and never did and the strange thing was they didn't have any nicks or scratches, looked like new. Guess it was temperature changes as the extra was always in summer.
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Old 09-25-2018, 01:23 PM   #20
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I finally was able to get around to installing the new rubrail last weekend with the help of my buddy, Sean. It went on just like shown in the video. We installed it from the dock with the boat on the water. In about an hour, the entire 72 ft piece was on the track.

I needed to move my dink float out of the way to access the stbd side so I had a little fun that Sean captured on video. I now have a way to ride my dink but keep it dry at the same time! (Sorry for the grainy video, but you get the idea...)



Once I installed the new rail, I saw how a small gap under the rail at the apex of the bow could have allowed water pressure to peel the rail off its track at that point. I will use some 4200 to seal and secure this area. I've also added a couple of Joint Caps to each side of the bow to prevent the rail from peeling off again. Unfortunately, my drill ran out of juice before the job was done so the final few screws will be installed later this week or next. I'll post pics at that time.
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