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Old 02 February 2007, 05:25   #1
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Correct breakdown procedures?

Ok
You are 10 miles off shore, blowing force 4-5, on your own,and the engine conks out. What do you do?
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Old 02 February 2007, 05:35   #2
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After I'd finished swearing a lot and kicking the console.... I'd drop a sea anchor to slow movement. First I'd check the fuel levels and breather, then I'd check engine warning lights (if it's an overheat most likely seaweed or a plastic carrier bag on the water intakes), fuel lines (could be a kink etc) and try to turn over the engine. I'd take off the cowling and see if there was fuel in the internal filter and that there was nothing obvious like a loose HT lead etc. Prob a good idea to tie a rope to your lifejacket and a cleat whilst you are leaning over the back at the outboard in a F4-5!

If all else fails, get on the radio and request assistance.
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Old 02 February 2007, 06:58   #3
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After I'd finished swearing a lot and kicking the console.... I'd drop a sea anchor to slow movement. First I'd check the fuel levels and breather, then I'd check engine warning lights (if it's an overheat most likely seaweed or a plastic carrier bag on the water intakes), fuel lines (could be a kink etc) and try to turn over the engine. I'd take off the cowling and see if there was fuel in the internal filter and that there was nothing obvious like a loose HT lead etc. Prob a good idea to tie a rope to your lifejacket and a cleat whilst you are leaning over the back at the outboard in a F4-5!

If all else fails, get on the radio and request assistance.
Fraser,

Unless i was confident that it was just a glitch I think I would be putting out a Pan Pan as soon as the problem happened - in a F4-5 - and before trying to fix it. That way if you do go overboard the C/G knew where you were and that you had a problem. And likely that the lifeboat crew will be at the station by the time you have gone through the basics.

Easy enough to call them ten minutes later and explain your mechanical prowess - and stand down the help.

Of course the preferred answer would be: "pop the aux in the water, pull the cord and head for shore!" - doesn't work for those of us with such small boats though, but then you are unlikely to find me 10 miles off shore in a F4-5 with no other boats around.

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Old 02 February 2007, 09:59   #4
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Of course the preferred answer would be: "pop the aux in the water, pull the cord and head for shore!" - doesn't work for those of us with such small boats though, but then you are unlikely to find me 10 miles off shore in a F4-5 with no other boats around.
That would be my solution! Once I had got things purring in the right direction I would immediately try and raise somebody on the radio/mobile so somebody was aware of my predicament and ready to come to help. And then I'd start trying to get the main engine running again.

You wouldn't find me 10 miles offshore in a F4/5 even with an aux though... it would be 2 hours back on the aux even in ideal conditions and I hate to think how long it would take into the wind/sea.

In fact I'd probably not go 10 miles offshore even in calm conditions but then I suppose it is a bit different here as the nearest thing to see "offshore" is 4000 miles away so there's not a lot of point in "going for a look"

Maybe when we get our next oil rig back I will go for a peep but till then...
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Old 02 February 2007, 10:11   #5
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Okay,

I was ten miles off shore on my own the other day in a Force 4. No boats around and wishing I wasn't, but heck I've gat a RIB and I want to use it. So I decided to take a chance.
What would I have done If I'd broke down !

1) Throw the anchor out. Then depending on how the boat was riding the waves do the following.

2) If I'm taking on water, immediately give out a Mayday.

3) If I'm not taking on water, I would spend 5 minutes deciding if I could fix the engine. If not then I would give out a Pan Pan.

4) As I am a member of Sea Start I would then call them myself if I could get a signal or if not ask the Coastguard to contact them.

5) Then its time to wait and once you've been rescued thank everyone.

At the end of the day as responsible boat owners we shouldn't be letting the fact that 10 miles seem a long way put us off going out. It might as well be a mile for all the use most Auxilleries would be in a headwind and for those of us without, it makes no difference.
If you service your engine regularly and check everything else that could go wrong then you can't really blame yourself if the worst happens.
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Old 02 February 2007, 14:54   #6
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Great replies guys keep them comming
I was out last week in pretty rough conditions on my own. It occured to me that it took 35 mins to get where i was going and if i broke down it would take the lifeboat probably an hour to get to me. It kinda worried me..................
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Old 02 February 2007, 14:57   #7
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I think I'd much rather be stranded 10 miles off shore than 1/2 a mile off shore. Gives you more time to think. Also means you shouldn't have to worry about getting pushed on a beach or rocks.

Only downside is that long slow tow in.
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Old 02 February 2007, 16:00   #8
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Okay,

I was ten miles off shore on my own the other day in a Force 4. No boats around and wishing I wasn't, but heck I've gat a RIB and I want to use it. So I decided to take a chance.
What would I have done If I'd broke down !

1) Throw the anchor out. Then depending on how the boat was riding the waves do the following.
Would your anchor be any use if you were 10 miles from shore? Only 2 or 3 miles offshore from here and you are in 60 metres of water ... don't know what the depths are like around most parts of the UK though.

I agree about not being put off using the boat, but there is a fine line between being adventurous and ending up in a situation where lots of people ask "what the &^*&%^ing hell were you doing out there" when the fan gets dirty, the line often moves with hindsight
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Old 02 February 2007, 17:07   #9
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Hi Stephen,

The average depth where I was is 15 meters. Over 20 miles out and you get an average of 40 meters. If it was that sort of depth I would only chuck the anchor out as a means to slow my drift.

With regards people commenting on my actions in case of an emergency. Well the boat is fully serviced and in overall good condition. We had two VHF radios, (Needed that due to my losing an antenna), two mobile phones, lifejackets were worn, drysuits on, food, water and flares on board. Along with first aid kit. The sea state was what I would consider moderate. Although it was a Force 4 I considered it to be well within my capabilities. The waves weren't breaking and we were able to average a 13 Knot speed with only a little bit of weaving needed. The only variable was the engine. I took a risk which I considered to be only small in that the one thing that was going to cause a problem would be engine failure. Because it is serviced and not that old I considered the risk to be small.

Unfortunately if that small risk had happened then yes I would have required assistance. But it wouldn't have been an emergency and I would probably have had to do some explaining to do. But I don't think I was reckless.

I've tried to build my experience up over a few years just operating in one area. If I went to another area then once again I would be very careful and build up my knowledge carefully.

Certainly if I was in your area then I would take things very different.
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Old 02 February 2007, 17:17   #10
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I think I'd much rather be stranded 10 miles off shore than 1/2 a mile off shore. Gives you more time to think. Also means you shouldn't have to worry about getting pushed on a beach or rocks.

Only downside is that long slow tow in.
Couldn't agree more - in my home stretch of water I would feel quite safe 10 miles out - the last place I would want the engine to cut is when making a mad dash 300yds from the harbour mouth - would soon end up on the rocks. I MUST fit my aux and keep it running when leaving/entering the harbour in dodgy conditions!!!
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Old 02 February 2007, 22:10   #11
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Has anybody any experience of using a traction kite from their rib ?

We carried two of different sizes on our trip to La Turballe last summer (where we were asked to leave an empty beach by a traffic warden lifeguard. She walked about 3/4 of a mile across uninhabited sand just to tell us off )

I kept saying that we should experiment with one of them from the boat to see what kind of course, if any, we could make across the wind but we never quite got around to trying it.

I think it would be possible to launch it with two people and some industrial gloves to prevent burns while paying out the lines. You could carry a small one ( 1.5 metres ?) for use in strong winds. I proposed to fly it from the locker seat in front of the consol, with the operator wedged in behind the special handrail we had. Unless you're built like Arnie, I would think that 5-10 minutes would be as much as you could stand before it pulled your arms from their sockets.

The kite might also attract attention from other boat users ?

Anyone ever tried anything like this ?
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Old 03 February 2007, 02:56   #12
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it.

I think it would be possible to launch it with two people and some industrial gloves to prevent burns while paying out the lines. You could carry a small one ( 1.5 metres ?) for use in strong winds. I proposed to fly it from the locker seat in front of the consol, with the operator wedged in behind the special handrail we had. Unless you're built like Arnie, I would think that 5-10 minutes would be as much as you could stand before it pulled your arms from their sockets.

The kite might also attract attention from other boat users ?

Anyone ever tried anything like this ?
You could use what the kite surfing boys use. A pulley wheel conected to the boat. You simply wrap the connecting line between your handles around it. Takes the force instead of your hands.
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Old 03 February 2007, 03:02   #13
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I MUST fit my aux and keep it running when leaving/entering the harbour in dodgy conditions!!!

I have an idea... Why not fit an electric start and a remote operated damper so you can drop the aux and start it from the console?

How does your aux fit? On a bracket or straight to the transom?
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Old 03 February 2007, 07:10   #14
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The average depth where I was is 15 meters. Over 20 miles out and you get an average of 40 meters.
Around my home port, there are many areas where the water depth approaches 500' within a mile of shore, so anchoring sometimes isn't practical. Also, we don't have anywhere near the boat traffic that it seems like you have in the UK... but probably more than Stephen has.

On the upside, you can reach the Coast Guard from anywhere. I carry two VHFs, and a cell (which isn't much use), as well as two GPS'. I'd love to fit an aux. on my boat, but there just isn't room...

When all else fails, I'll chuck the Missus over the side with the bow line in her teeth. She does a mean dog-paddle and eventually we'd get to terra-firma!

It's funny listening to you guys, since we routinely head 20 - 30 miles out and I never gave it a second thought... until now!
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Old 03 February 2007, 07:23   #15
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Around my home port, there are many areas where the water depth approaches 500' within a mile of shore, so anchoring sometimes isn't practical. Also, we don't have anywhere near the boat traffic that it seems like you have in the UK... but probably more than Stephen has.


It's funny listening to you guys, since we routinely head 20 - 30 miles out and I never gave it a second thought... until now!
My first ever trip was 90odd miles - didn't bother me either.

Having said that our waters can be really dangerous - the Atlantic gives us quite a battering.

British waters are very shallow which makes things worse most of the time. On the West coast I would have to go over 300 miles to find water over 300' deep - Scotland has deep water though and the West coast of Ireland is pretty close to the Atlantic deeps.

It seems to me boats are really only in trouble when they meet the land!!!
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Old 03 February 2007, 09:56   #16
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It seems to me boats are really only in trouble when they meet the land!!!
Or when they have no power and end up side on to the waves and capsize...
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Old 03 February 2007, 11:35   #17
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It seems to me boats are really only in trouble when they meet the land!!!
Kind of like falling from a roof... It's not the fall that hurts, it's the sudden stop at the bottom!

I didn't realize the water there was so shallow. Combined with the North Atlantic weather, that explains the miserable conditions you folks must face at times... and the large number of RIBS.
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Old 03 February 2007, 13:10   #18
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Sea drogue

I dont think its possible to carry and pay out the amount of rope that would be required for any sort of depth. If the anchour does not have the ncessary "lay on the chain" it will not work.
Furthermore, If you have a heavy amount of anchour out, it may stop the bot from Bobbing with teh waves causing very uncomfortable jerking and possible swamping.

A sea Anchour (of the right size for the boat, normally they are too small for the boat) and on the correct length of "light but strong enough line" is the ideal choice to bide you time. The length of pay out is important to be able to adjust given different sea conditions. If used incorrectly (such as Rope tightening as the boat is about to rise up steep crest can cause swamping), the sea anchour can cause swamping, if used correctly it is an excellent and light (also folds away) way of stopping drift (especially lee shore).

my 2p worth..
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Old 03 February 2007, 13:41   #19
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A sea Anchour (of the right size for the boat, normally they are too small for the boat) and on the correct length of "light but strong enough line" is the ideal choice to bide you time. The length of pay out is important to be able to adjust given different sea conditions. If used incorrectly (such as Rope tightening as the boat is about to rise up steep crest can cause swamping), the sea anchour can cause swamping, if used correctly it is an excellent and light (also folds away) way of stopping drift (especially lee shore).
I know very little about sea anchors and I am thinking about getting one.

What would you say was the right size sea anchor for your boat.
How long would the line need to be ?
What sort of breaking strain is needed ?

Sorry, but I am just asking questions to learn.

Thanks

Tim
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Old 03 February 2007, 14:13   #20
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biggest you can get usually does the trick - within reason!!! The largest size conventional one is great as they all fold up so small. The most important thing is to have plenty of rope - say 300' or so - otherwise they just pull out of the waves - you often have to fine tune the length depending on conditions. Remember they can also be streamed astern as a drogue.
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