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Old 05 December 2006, 12:32   #1
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Flotsam and Jetsam

I suppose that I am a coward at heart. Once going over, say, 20 knots I become afraid of hitting something. Around here, off the West of Ireland, I find both on the shore and afloat plenty of baulk timbers. Some of this stuff is 12" x 12" and up to 20' length and can be semi-submerged. There are also logs of substantial size. Once there is any wave on the sea, it can be near impossible to see this stuff.
I would image that there is also a good deal of debris in the English Channel, being a busy shipping lane. I have heard of containers bobbing along ! So, how do you guys feel about the risks that I am afraid of?
It could be, statistically, that there is little risk in hitting something. Surely, however, even with a commercial type hull it would be catastrophic to hit a big lump of timber at 40 knots.

P.
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Old 05 December 2006, 13:08   #2
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I don't think you can worry about it. Think of all the high-speed commercial operators; they don't slow down. I too have heard of containers, floating along just below the surface. Never seen one though.

All one can do is trust to luck and if one does spot a dangerous object, radio its position to the coastguard.
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Old 05 December 2006, 13:59   #3
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We have intermittent problems here with bits falling off old wooden wrecks into the harbour and causing a hazard. I've fished a couple of little bits out and you sometimes see the harbour launches towing bigger bits but not that often and its in an enclosed space.

I keep an eye out but to be honest I don't worry about it too much.

If you hit a 12x12 timber end on, it'll go through just about anything and even side on it won't do you much good though I suppose if you are planing you might get away with losing the engine and whatever it was bolted to....

One of the Halmatic launches belonging to our company (GRP lifeboat hull but heavy duty commercial stuff - I think the Speedwell weighs about 12 tons) hit a drifting steel buoy or something in the dark some years ago and punched a hole right through the hull - doing about 18 knots. If it had been a RIB with half the hull thickness (maybe less) doing twice the speed it would have been pretty messy I think!
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Old 05 December 2006, 14:26   #4
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It is a worry.

The other owner of Renegade collected a railway sleeper coming into Portsmouth a few years back. I don't know how fast he was going (but I do know he has a very heavy right hand).

The hull suffered a few minor scratches, but the end of the trim cylinder was pulled out by the impact on the engine. Cost a few quid to repair.
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Old 05 December 2006, 15:01   #5
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A lot depends on the time of year - after heavy rain loads of stuff is carried out to sea from the rivers. A bloke I know spotted a piano and a settee floating in the Bristol Channel....

I keep a very good eye open as much as possible for debris - I have seen quite a few nasties but managed to avoid them.
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Old 05 December 2006, 15:18   #6
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Among other job lots in the Solent...

A load of fridges bobbing about out there at one stage!

And enough railway sleepers to keep MFI going for a year.

Kathleen & Paul
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Old 05 December 2006, 15:20   #7
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Among other job lots in the Solent...

A load of fridges bobbing about out there at one stage!

And enough railway sleepers to keep MFI going for a year.

Kathleen & Paul
I would salvage all the sleepers - great for my woodburner!!!
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Old 05 December 2006, 16:50   #8
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No railways in the Falklands so I think we are safe from that
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Old 06 December 2006, 02:09   #9
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There's plently of debris on the Thames. I lost one boat 8 months ago from hitting a large semi submerged log or branch at 35 kn in the dark. The result was that the engine leg provided excellent leverage to split/crack the hull where it joins the transom. All looked fine when I moored it up, so I left it for a week or so while I went on holiday.............had a nasty surprise when I got back........but at least it was insured for collision damage!!!!!!!

Debris can be problem, but try and keep a permanent look out, and slow down at night!!!
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Old 06 December 2006, 04:26   #10
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I too have heard of containers, floating along just below the surface. Never seen one though.
Whilst there undoubtedly are containers in the sea around the world, I think that the danger of hitting one is wildly overestimated. This isn't helped by the fact that it is the standard excuse given for mechanical failures for racing yachts and boats on record attempts!

A few things will float just below the surface, but most hazards are avoidable if you look where you're going and keep your hand on the throttle. Around the coast you're more likely to snag a crab pot than hit any substantial floating debris, but places like the Thames (especially at the top of the tide) can be quite interesting.

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