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Old 16 January 2017, 05:15   #1
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A lesson in keeping things shipshape

You know how it is when you've been doing it for ten years or so and think you've got everything pretty much sorted.

I had a quick rap on the knuckles yesterday to remind me of the dangers of complacency.

There's been a stern mooring line on one of the A frame cleats for a while now, probably six months anyway. I use it occasionally if mooring to something else, it is left there for convenience as much as anything. I used to make sure it was tied off to something but lately haven't bothered and it just sits coiled on the deck.

Out yesterday, the engine was running a bit warm so I figured there might be some kelp on the leg, a good toot astern brought some water over the transom so I thought "oh well, quick deck wash" and wooshed it around a bit before letting it drain out. So far so good. I set off again, and still a little warm, so I thought there might still be something on there. A squirt astern again ended almost instantly with a "gronk" and everything stopped. That didn't sound happy.

Quick assessment: downwind is a nice sandy beach but that's an Argentine minefield, so that's no fun. Fire up the aux, and ten minutes or so to putter in to a safe beach. I looked over the stern and saw what I thought was the rope from the trunk tight towards the prop. How did that happen? It isn't supposed to reach! Then I spotted the attached ... my loose stern line had obviously been picked up by the water on deck and out through the trunk, then been picked up by the prop when I went astern to clear kelp.

Having cut the rope off so I could tilt the engine up I beached her, cut the rest of the rope off the prop, re-launched and went on my way. No damage done except to pride, but re-floating the boat was a bit of a fight as it had been pushed up the beach by wave action while I was sawing rope.

Lessons learned

1. Always have a knife (tick, had my penknife on me but also carry a knife in the console)
2. An aux is a damn good investment and needs to be exercised regularly (tick)
3. As somebody once said on here, the best thing you could do with paddles is write HELP on them and wave them at passing traffic. Which would have been fine if there was any. I wasn't far from shore but would not have got anywhere without the aux.
4. Directional control of a large boat with a small engine, running at displacement speed, is actually pretty tricky in a crosswind. It was breezy (but only 15 knots or so) and the direction of travel was probably 20-30 degrees off the heading with the wind right on the beam - and keeping a straight course was quite difficult. I couldn't steer with the main engine as I usually do (because it was tied tight to the A frame and wouldn't turn the way I needed it to). I usually only exercise the aux on calm days. I must do a bit more in challenging conditions.
5. Beaching a boat to fix a problem side on or stern on, on a beach with any amount of wave action, produces a surprising amount of boat movement, and getting it off again can be interesting.
6. If you know something is out of place but think "it'll be OK", deal with now!
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Old 16 January 2017, 05:28   #2
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downwind is a nice sandy beach but that's an Argentine minefield
you should consider that for your signature line...
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Old 16 January 2017, 07:45   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BogMonster View Post
You know how it is when you've been doing it for ten years or so and think you've got everything pretty much sorted.

I had a quick rap on the knuckles yesterday to remind me of the dangers of complacency.

There's been a stern mooring line on one of the A frame cleats for a while now, probably six months anyway. I use it occasionally if mooring to something else, it is left there for convenience as much as anything. I used to make sure it was tied off to something but lately haven't bothered and it just sits coiled on the deck.

Out yesterday, the engine was running a bit warm so I figured there might be some kelp on the leg, a good toot astern brought some water over the transom so I thought "oh well, quick deck wash" and wooshed it around a bit before letting it drain out. So far so good. I set off again, and still a little warm, so I thought there might still be something on there. A squirt astern again ended almost instantly with a "gronk" and everything stopped. That didn't sound happy.

Quick assessment: downwind is a nice sandy beach but that's an Argentine minefield, so that's no fun. Fire up the aux, and ten minutes or so to putter in to a safe beach. I looked over the stern and saw what I thought was the rope from the trunk tight towards the prop. How did that happen? It isn't supposed to reach! Then I spotted the attached ... my loose stern line had obviously been picked up by the water on deck and out through the trunk, then been picked up by the prop when I went astern to clear kelp.

Having cut the rope off so I could tilt the engine up I beached her, cut the rest of the rope off the prop, re-launched and went on my way. No damage done except to pride, but re-floating the boat was a bit of a fight as it had been pushed up the beach by wave action while I was sawing rope.

Lessons learned

1. Always have a knife (tick, had my penknife on me but also carry a knife in the console)
2. An aux is a damn good investment and needs to be exercised regularly (tick)
3. As somebody once said on here, the best thing you could do with paddles is write HELP on them and wave them at passing traffic. Which would have been fine if there was any. I wasn't far from shore but would not have got anywhere without the aux.
4. Directional control of a large boat with a small engine, running at displacement speed, is actually pretty tricky in a crosswind. It was breezy (but only 15 knots or so) and the direction of travel was probably 20-30 degrees off the heading with the wind right on the beam - and keeping a straight course was quite difficult. I couldn't steer with the main engine as I usually do (because it was tied tight to the A frame and wouldn't turn the way I needed it to). I usually only exercise the aux on calm days. I must do a bit more in challenging conditions.
5. Beaching a boat to fix a problem side on or stern on, on a beach with any amount of wave action, produces a surprising amount of boat movement, and getting it off again can be interesting.
6. If you know something is out of place but think "it'll be OK", deal with now!
I have a set of paddles on the boat and tried to move it they are as good as useless I didn't think my boat would be hard to move in the water the only thing they get use for now is pushing off is there anything else looking back that you would have reacted differently i.e. possibly throwing out the anchor or a drogue to give you enough time to cut off the rope instead of beaching I've had something similar on the south coast of mull and the boat got swamped in the waves that was down to inexperience and wrong anchor type
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Old 16 January 2017, 07:47   #4
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was it really a Argentinian minefield or just a figure of speech I am thinking top gear in Argentina
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Old 16 January 2017, 08:23   #5
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was it really a Argentinian minefield or just a figure of speech I am thinking top gear in Argentina
No - bogmonster is based in the Falklands, and there are still thousands of mines waiting to be recovered from the conflict in the 80's so I think he was being literal!
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Old 16 January 2017, 12:15   #6
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Quote:
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you should consider that for your signature line...
Agreed
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Old 16 January 2017, 15:22   #7
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Quote:
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Quick assessment: downwind is a nice sandy beach but that's an Argentine minefield, so that's no fun.
Priceless

In all my years of RYA Powerboat training if only I had that as a practical example of an "awareness of hazards"

Back to the OP - I once had a stern line go thru the elephant trunk and foul not one but two props
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Old 16 January 2017, 17:04   #8
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In fairness in a similar mistake to not keeping the boat shipshape I had a similar occurrence last summer.

I'd been out after midnight doing some safety cover and was heading back up the swash channel into Poole and with perfect calm conditions and excellent visibility from a full moon I decided to go for a bit more speed.

Shortly after accelerating to around 35kts something suddenly came from outside my direct vision and smacked me in the face.

I must have taken me 20-30 seconds to realise I'd left the lid of my thermos flask in one of the cup holders on top of the console.

Easy to forget something simple like that.
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Old 17 January 2017, 03:13   #9
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Ouch! I bet that made you jump

I haven't had a rope go though an elephants trunk, but I have had one float clean over the top of the transom. Luckily it didn't go into the prop because things could have got very complicated.

I think ropes are probably best not left on A-frames really, even if you're pretty good at keeping them secure. Sure it's convenient, but it really doesn't take long to grab a rope out of a locker and attach it when you need it.
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Old 17 January 2017, 04:34   #10
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This is the reason why most my ropes have stainless steel carabiners on the end ... I found that Italian marine carabiners are the best and not rusty after Med Sea.

http://www.roburitaly.com/catalog/ar...bur/__filters_

They are from the Steel 316 and have not sharp edges:
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