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Old 09-15-2018, 02:42 PM   #1
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Okeechobee?

2 Questions:
1. Is there a time of year when the Oke Green Soup is expected to be reduced in level or toxicity?
2. In your opinion, is it safe/permissable to single hand a 40' trawler from one side of Florida to the other, using this waterway? Assuming one has the experience and knowledge to safely single hand, and the boat is properly equipped, are there variables involved that would make this a bad idea?
(For example, there are lock systems where they will not let you enter without at least two people on board.) How 'bout the Okeechobee?
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Old 09-15-2018, 02:59 PM   #2
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The Algae bloom dies off in the fall, typically.

I've taken my 45' boat across the Okeechobee waterway 10 + times going in both directions. Done it single handed more than half the times. It's fairly easy to do. The only issue with the locks is that they flood and empty the locks by opening a door a little bit. When locking up. There will be a modest to moderate current coming in. You want to be at the back of the lock away from the opening. These locks use a bow and stern rope to hold position. It takes numerous trips from one rope to the other making adjustments. This is all very doable, just be prepared before you go. If you need more information, don't hesitate to ask.

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Old 09-15-2018, 03:31 PM   #3
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The St Lucie lock has been the trickiest for us. Biggest drop with the most turbulance. The lock tender can help out by opening one gate a little less than the other which directs the turbulance against the far wall. Tell them when you are going in that you are single handed.
If you can work both lines from the middle of the boat, that will help.
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Old 09-15-2018, 03:55 PM   #4
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Thank you, Ted and Archie!
Usefull information - the boat in question (not yet finalized) has full side decks, so I will indeed be able to handle both bow and stern lines simultaneously.
Are the lines at these locks looped around a vertical down pipe/chain, or are they secured at the top of the lock wall?
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Old 09-15-2018, 04:01 PM   #5
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Secured at the top. They are the lock's lines, not yours.

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Old 09-15-2018, 04:24 PM   #6
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Good to know!
So, I can run the lines through fairleads to gain even more control.
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Old 09-15-2018, 04:29 PM   #7
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When locking up, it's very important to keep the stern against the wall and limit the bows ability to be pushed toward the middle. The back of the lock is generally the best position going up. Have seen a couple of boats get some lock rash from being the first boat at the St Lucie lock going from low tide to high water. If you are looking at a 10' lift, when the door cracks open, there is a lot of water pressure at the bottom half of the door pushing water in. There can be quite a bit of flow in trying to push the bow toward the wall or away from the wall. The bow line keeps the bow from going to far away from the wall. It's the stern line that keeps the bow from hitting the wall. The force in the 1st position can be 5 times greater than th last position in the back!

Positioning fenders:
Set one on the stern quarter.
Set one forward of mid ship so that the boat will sit against the wall on those two.
A third fender just below the cap rail so that if the boat pivots on the middle fender, the third fender will keep the bow from smacking the wall. While I use ball fenders at all 3 positions, the bow one is more important as the flare of most bows makes it much tougher to keep a smaller cylindrical fender in place.

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Old 09-15-2018, 04:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SlowGypsy View Post
Good to know!
So, I can run the lines through fairleads to gain even more control.
Don't over estimate the length of the lines provided. For my boat, the lines need to be loosely cleated especially at low tide, and me walking back and forth making adjustments as I go up.

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Old 09-15-2018, 04:41 PM   #9
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Going down is easier as the boat wants to move forward. The stern line holds you in position and against the wall (like a dock spring line). The bow line keeps the bow near the wall, but can have a fair amount of slack. The important part of going down is that you need to be vigilant as the lines need to be loosened as the water level is dropping. Don't want to pull a cleat out.

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Old 09-16-2018, 06:10 AM   #10
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The lock lines provided are usually heavy 3/4inch or better , a good sized set of cleats is required , going up or down.
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Old 09-16-2018, 09:34 AM   #11
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Thanks everyone for all the positive, helpful replies!
I now feel very comfortable with the idea of completing at least the first part of the homebound trip solo. I do have plenty of experience single handing my old schooner, but this will be the first time with a trawler, and I couldn't remember the locks on the Okeechobee.
Thanks again for your input.
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Old 09-16-2018, 11:13 AM   #12
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We crossed east to west in July with Lake O at 13.5'. We were alone in all but two locks, one with a small powerboat and another with a manatee. We have a fairly high topsides but still found the provided top lines rather short. In some cases just enough to reach cleats much less run through a fair lead. There are ways to tie off on the walls and we would consider using our own lines on the next transit. Overall the locks are rather benign and attendants helpful.
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