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Old 01-06-2010, 10:48 AM   #1
Jon
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Starting the New Year with a Bang

Getting cold in Kemah with more artic weather on the way, so with my 4 year old grandson, and my wife, we left* at dawn and then, just after entering the Intra coastal I got slammed by a tow.
Brief synopsis, I was just moving a little faster than an east bound tow, so I called him and asked if I could come past him on the 2. He OK'd and then with a differential of only 0.5 mph I crept by him. There was an oncoming light boat so I favoured the tow I was passing ( probably a liitle too close as events transpired). I heard someone calling my tow telling him he was getting thin and all of a sudden he accelerated and turned to port, went up my starboard side then when I started calling he slowed down and came back down the side. The scariest thing was watching the bow of the lead barge knock off my courtesy flagpole which I have fastened to the forward stanchion, and NOT being able to turn away to port.* He stopped and I got down into the bilges to check for water but that was ok. Damage consirted of some crushing and scraping of the outside edge of the europa bridge, a 4" X 4'' oak midship bitt punched out, and 2 folded stanchions. My grandson was upset 'cos the impact scattered all his dominoes onto the salon floor.
The coasties visited, did a safety inspection (my first) and wrote up the accident and we proceeded east to Taylors Outfall.
Lessons learned -
Careful with differential speed in tight channels.
15 feet ain't enough clearance
tows with empty barges can move faster than a snake
Tows with empty barges can easily lose sight of you when you get to the third barge.
Once you get pinned up against the side of a barge the only thing you can do is not get too far ahead and get under that bow - you can't turn away (or at least I couldn't)
In an argument between a bottle and a rock, the bottle loses EVERY time.
Jon
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Old 01-06-2010, 02:36 PM   #2
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RE: Starting the New Year with a Bang

Wow.
** Stroke of luck that was. That no one was hurt. *Glad all is well.

SD
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Old 01-10-2010, 06:17 AM   #3
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RE: Starting the New Year with a Bang

That's scary! I go up and down that area a lot. There's one tug that actually will pass me with two loaded barges...he travels at about 9 knots! Siever's cut is always iffy for passing or even meeting situations. You're right... I call it the "rule of gross tonnage". The big guy always wins and steel trumps fiberglass every time.
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Old 01-11-2010, 11:12 AM   #4
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RE: Starting the New Year with a Bang

What did Cap't Ron say?

The'll get out of the way.

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Old 01-11-2010, 11:27 AM   #5
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RE: Starting the New Year with a Bang

Yea, but Captain Ron was at the helm of the Saratoga!!
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Old 01-11-2010, 11:46 AM   #6
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RE: Starting the New Year with a Bang

Managed to chisel fair the broken stump of my midship bitt, and the dockmaster at Houma gave me a lift to Lowes to get some 1/2" birch ply so as soon as it warms up to allow the resin to work underway, restoration will commence!
I'll probably replace the bitt with a galvanised dock cleat on 3 layers of 1/2" , 2 resined on to the outer fibreglass shell and1 transverse over those 2 and resined on to the inside of the bulwark.
The original bitt looks to be a very heavy oak 4" X4'' actual.. Any ideas on a replacement?
Jon
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