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Old 08-15-2017, 11:25 PM   #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 08-15-2017, 11:47 PM   #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, 12:05 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, 12:19 AM   #4
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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, 05:57 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, 07:08 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, 07:31 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, 08:31 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, 12:57 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, 01:03 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, 02:21 PM   #11
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Old 08-16-2017, 11:18 PM   #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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