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Old 08-16-2017, 12:25 AM   #1
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School of hard knocks

Care to share any lessons you've learned the hard way?

Mine came recently on day two of our summer holiday when our dinghy tow rope got wrapped up in the prop. The towing harness has floats, but the line to the dinghy didn't and wasn't floating line.

There was a bight in the rope, which held the dinghy close to Badger's stern which I'd always remembered to clip into the boom while moving slowly or setting the anchor, but for whatever reason, I forgot this time.

We tried cutting it; nope. We tried spinning the shaft by hand to loosen it up; nope. I tried to dive on it, but couldn't take a deep breath after my chest hit the cold water.

There were a couple good things however...the new radio put in just before we left worked much better than the old one did, and we'd just anchored when I noticed the rope slide under the stern so my wife could go into neutral right away.

First Pan Pan...never had to call the Coast Guard before. They managed to contact a commercial diver in Klemtu later that afternoon, and he had the prop cleared in about 2 minutes. Took him longer to suit up.

The lesson is; I'd thought to myself a few times, "You know, you should have a floating line to the dinghy" but put the idea way down on the to-do list.

Listen to that inner voice.
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Old 08-16-2017, 12:47 AM   #2
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Murray,
I'm curious, when you turned the shaft by hand, did you have the snagged line in hand? And did you try to turn the shaft in both directions?

I still have a non functioning bow thruster since 2 years ago.
I had noticed my anchor buoy line had fallen in the water.
I meant to retrieve it, but forgot of course.
Then a I'm having to make a U turn in a tight canal, the bow thruster stops working as the boat for half way thru the 180°
Of course the boat now directly astern of Dauntless was a restaurant barge.
Backing and filling got me around, just.

It taught me never to depend on the bow thruster.
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Old 08-16-2017, 01:05 AM   #3
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Yes, we had the line in hand and could feel it shortening and lengthening as the shaft was turned, but could only turn it a few revolutions either way.

If we were out of radio contact way up some mountain lined inlet, there may have been a way. We could have brought the stern close to shore with a stern line at low tide, then work at clearing the prop in waist deep water as the tide came up.

Being safely anchored at the time sure helped, and hiring the diver was the safest thing to do.
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Old 08-16-2017, 01:19 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wxx3 View Post
...
Of course the boat now directly astern of Dauntless was a restaurant barge...
Our pucker factor was bad enough without witnesses
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Old 08-16-2017, 06:57 AM   #5
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The feeling of a 70,000 boat crabbing astern in a marina on one engine with absolutely no controls is not one I EVER want to experience again!

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Old 08-16-2017, 08:08 AM   #6
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Sometimes boating feels like a major university of hard knocks, with high tuition and lots of incidental fees.
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Old 08-16-2017, 08:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MurrayM View Post
Yes, we had the line in hand and could feel it shortening and lengthening as the shaft was turned, but could only turn it a few revolutions either way.

If we were out of radio contact way up some mountain lined inlet, there may have been a way. We could have brought the stern close to shore with a stern line at low tide, then work at clearing the prop in waist deep water as the tide came up.

Being safely anchored at the time sure helped, and hiring the diver was the safest thing to do.
I had the exact same thing happen to me, but fortunately I was anchoring in four feet of warm water and a sandy bottom. Took me a while to clear the rope from the water. I'm not sure I could have done it in cold deep water or waves. It was a relatively cheap lesson :-)
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Old 08-16-2017, 09:31 AM   #8
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Was thinking about putting a bicycle on the boat before leaving on the Great Loop, and didn't. Decided I needed one but didn't want to spend a bunch of money as I thought it would be on the upper deck rusting all summer. Bought a returned mountain bike from Walmart for $50. It's junk! Brakes need to be readjusted before each use. Going down hill is a death defying act. The seat is painful and really painful on a bump. Have decided to buy a folding bike and won't spend a dime on this one. Every time I hit a bump I'm reminded of how bad being cheap is.

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Old 08-16-2017, 01:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MurrayM;
Listen to that inner voice.
Running at night in familiar waters, something just didn't look right. I wrinkled my brow, thought about it, but carried on.

The further I went the more unfamiliar it became until I stopped, got out the chart, reoriented and realized I missed a turn and was in a bay instead of a channel.

I went back and cast a light.
Sure enough there was the beacon with a non-functioning light.
Could have been deadly.
Should have listened to my gut.
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Old 08-16-2017, 02:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawgwash View Post
Running at night in familiar waters, something just didn't look right. I wrinkled my brow, thought about it, but carried on.

The further I went the more unfamiliar it became until I stopped, got out the chart, reoriented and realized I missed a turn and was in a bay instead of a channel.

I went back and cast a light.
Sure enough there was the beacon with a non-functioning light.
Could have been deadly.
Should have listened to my gut.
We had that same close call a few weeks ago. Entering an unfamiliar harbor at night, and watching an unlit day marker slide by two feet from us, was a real adrenaline jolt!
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Old 08-16-2017, 03:21 PM   #11
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"don't approach the dock any faster than you want to hit it"
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Old 08-17-2017, 12:18 AM   #12
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I got a crab pot line caught in my props once while anchored at Sucia Island in the San Juan Islands. Stoopid me, I used a floating line to run down to the pot rather than a weighted line. As we swung in the wind/current the line got wrapped around one prop and the shaft.


With margarita in hand I lay down on the swim platform and looked the situation over. Ummm, time for another margarita before jumping into the water.


Whilst drinking that next margarita I got an idea. I used the boat hook to grab the line below the prop. Once I got it in hand I let loose the bitter end of the line and slowly but surely was able to pull the line through the prop/shaft until it came free.


Ahhh, mystical powers of a well mixed margarita!
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Old 11-08-2017, 02:25 PM   #13
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I thought I might revive your thread, Murray.

I've had my share of learning on the go. Here's a few lessons I won't forget.

A mate and I set off for a 5 day cruise after waiting out some bad weather. The winds finally dropped right off after several days of 30+ knots.

First lesson - it takes another day or two for the seas to die down after a storm. To make it worse the calm winds made the steadying sails useless, so we had a big swell on the beam creating a rolly journey.

A few mechanical issues held us up and we drifted in deep water while making repairs, with the boat rolling wildly. Lesson 2 learned - stow things very securely.
Much of the contents of the boat ended up dumped in a big pile.

We finally made it to the intended first day destination at about 10pm. - An outlying marina which used to be the launching point for the ferry to Kangaroo Island.

We negotiated the entrance, past the breakwater in the darkness, turning towards the bright lights of the marina. The spotlight couldn't be found in the mess mess down below, but my buddy was on the bow keeping an eye out.

Suddenly he yells "Look out! Turn hard starboard!" I start to turn and immediately see a pylon about 3 feet away from the helm window on the starboard side. I correct the steering to port and miss the steel pylon by inches. Meanwhile my buddy is freaking out about the near miss on the port side. Big sigh of relief.

The next morning in the daylight we have a better look. It turns out we passed through the old ferry berthing pylons. There were 6 heavy steel poles (2 foot diameter) about 12 feet apart from each other. Each pair had a steel crossbar connecting them about 6 feet above water level. It was all painted black with no lighting and not marked on the charts. Almost impossible to see when looking into the bright marina lights directly ahead.

We just got very lucky and happened to slip between the pylons that were not connected by a crossbar. It could have been very ugly.

Another lesson learned. Always be 100% prepared when making landfall.
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Old 11-08-2017, 04:17 PM   #14
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School of Hard Knocks?.... naw everything has been easy-peasy..



Ok so I do have a graduate degree and wrote a theses on newly discovered OS* advances.


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Old 11-08-2017, 04:33 PM   #15
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Old 11-08-2017, 05:01 PM   #16
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We were coming off the Neuse River in NC heading down into Adams Creek just after dark (poor planning). I saw some lights moving relative to the house lights in the background and determined that there was a tug/tow coming out of the Creek.

It was easy to determine that we would miss him based on the direction the lights were traveling as we approached the channel. There was also a constant spotlight from the tug trained on our boat, occasionally moving temporarily port and starboard.

As we got closer, the all of the tug's moving lights also became closer, but I still had plenty of margin ---- as I KNEW which direction he was going.

As we got close to crossing his bow, I thought I'd better give him a courtesy call on the radio just in case - so I called and calmly told him I would pass him to his port side as that was what I determined our present course would take us. I even started turning slightly more to starboard to increase the margin.

A very urgent and alarmed reply came back - "CAPTAIN, YOU DON'T HAVE TIME FOR THAT!!!" ---- and before the last syllable even came across the radio, a HUGE bow wake from a barge came by the STARBOARD side of our boat less than 100ft away at 10+ knots!!!!

YIKES!

2 lessons learned:
  1. The North end of Adams Creek has a "Z" shape to the proper channel. Most locals don't follow it as the depths nearby are no problem. However, commercial vessels or other boats may be constrained to using a channel other than what you think you "know"! The progress through the "Z" shaped channel made the tug's lights appear that it was going in a different direction than it really was from our perspective.
  2. Know your tug/barge/tow lighting signals. All of them. Especially those that indicate what is being pushed or pulled and at what distance.
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Old 11-08-2017, 05:43 PM   #17
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It seems to me that reading the TF is about twice as interesting as reading the latest best seller.
When I consider the adventures I have had none of them compare to my boating adventures...misadventures...
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Old 11-08-2017, 06:39 PM   #18
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This happened to someone I know.
They tied off fore and aft to posts, and went to dinner.
Between the piles,hidden underwater, were old decayed shortened posts. The tide dropped, the hidden posts met the hull and came through it with predictable results.
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Old 11-08-2017, 07:08 PM   #19
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MurrayM - writing up several of my dumb **s expeiences now. Glad you initiated this. I think quite a few of us will benefit.
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Old 11-08-2017, 08:47 PM   #20
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Thanks for posting, we all learn from it.

People that never had any issues, don't leave the dock much.

Caltex, your photo wins best picture.
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