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Old 02 March 2014, 13:53   #1
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Hitting debris with a tiller

I am posting this here, even though it happened to me with my Sib, it applies to any tiller boat.

We went to depart a couple boat trips ago from Fort Baker on the North Side of the Golden Gate Bridge. This is where the Coast Guard is stationed, whom I am happy to have around for piece of mind, plus they are always friendly, and have never hassled us. Anyhow we left the harbor and right as I went to accelerate straight line, while crossing a tide line, I hit a submerged board or something and the tiller was yanked from my hand. As it was pulled from me to port, and I fought to hang on, the throttle was twisted to full throttle. So now the boat is being turned to starboard at full throttle, unexpectedly. Fortunately it quickly returned to idle, and everyone stayed in the boat. I was also glad everyone was wearing a lifejacket. FWIW our water is pretty cold and if getting in the water, drysuits are the way to go.

This event turned out okay, but showed me just how fast I can loose control of my boat. Has anyone else with a tiller suffered a similar event? Just trying to figure out if this is something that happens every once in a while.
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Old 02 March 2014, 15:18   #2
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Yep,had a few over the years,can happen real fast,lots of rubbish in the water these days
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Old 02 March 2014, 16:26   #3
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Is there a kill cord on your engine?
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Old 02 March 2014, 16:32   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boilermaker1 View Post
Is there a kill cord on your engine?
Yes, and I was wearing it, but I didn't fall out of the boat, and the cord reaches that far for me to steer.
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Old 02 March 2014, 17:09   #5
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Hi Peter C, Pleased that you came out of this ugly little incident without any injuries or damage to your boat. Without sounding boastful, I take great pride in being a qualified RYA Powerboat Instructor; regularly teaching Level 1, Level 2, Powerboat refresher courses and RYA Safety Boat Training Courses. My advice is as follows: -

1. Always wear a 'Kill Cord' of appropriate length around your lower leg nearest to the transom/outboard engine (Don't be tempted to wear a kill cord either around your wrist or attached to your clothing).

2. Always keep a lookout for any debris/obstructions in the water and be able to take the necessary safe action in good time to avoid a collision.

3. Operate the boat at a safe speed taking into consideration the climatic conditions, sea conditions etc.

4. In the event of a collision as you describe, keep your hand on the tiller, try not to make any erratic/sudden steering movements, decrease power smoothly if you can.

5. Simply pull the 'Kill Cord' with your other hand; thereby disengaging the cord clip from the emergency cutout switch on the engine.

6. With the engine power immobilised; place the gear selector into its neutral position.

7. Remove any immediate debris around the stern of the boat; Raise the engine and check for any prop damage, clear any immediate prop fowling.

8. Lower the engine back into the water, reattach the 'kill cord' (to your lower leg nearest the transom/engine).

9. Prime the engine with fuel and start up in accordance with the manufactures instructions.

10. Check the engine coolant 'telltale' is visible, select the appropriate gear and desired revs, continue on your journey.

11. Report the debris/obstruction ASAP to the relevant authority/organisation warning other craft in the vicinity of potential danger.

12. Always wear an appropriate personal floatation device before going on the water.

Hope the above helps? Consider enrolling on an RYA Powerboat Level 2 Training Course.
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Old 02 March 2014, 17:17   #6
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Consider enrolling on an RYA Powerboat Level 2 Training Course.
Not sure they have those courses in California.....
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Old 02 March 2014, 17:35   #7
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(Don't be tempted to wear a kill cord either around your wrist or attached to your clothing).
... there is a school of thought that securely attached to a lifejacket may be better than to the leg - depending on the particular ergonomics involved...

Quote:
In the event of a collision as you describe, keep your hand on the tiller,
I assume you've never held a tiller that hit an unexpected object at speed...

Quote:
reattach the 'kill cord' (to your lower leg nearest the transom/engine).
general advice is to attach ABOVE the knee not the lower leg (where like a wrist there is some possibility it can slip off).
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Old 02 March 2014, 18:29   #8
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Quote:
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... there is a school of thought that securely attached to a lifejacket may be better than to the leg - depending on the particular ergonomics involved...
He's been on a training course leave him alone. If its on the course it must be correct for all boats.

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Old 02 March 2014, 18:52   #9
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1. Always wear a 'Kill Cord' of appropriate length around your lower leg nearest to the transom/outboard engine (Don't be tempted to wear a kill cord either around your wrist or attached to your clothing).
No way I lost grip of my Y class tiller on a cruise, the engine went one way and I went the other leaving the sib to start going round in circles. I was still in the boat but with the kill cord around my ankle so it didn't kill the engine as my foot was against the transom.

No problem? well yes it was because I had loads of ribs following me and it took a few seconds to get myself back to the tiller.

There is a video of it, probably by PeterM? that shows it best.

I would say that you need the kill cord around the wrist that you are using on the tiller. But not just clipped on to its self but clipped to something almost like what surfers have on their leashes?

I'll have a look for the video
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Old 02 March 2014, 19:37   #10
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Had it happen to me in an old Redcrest with a DT2.2 on it. I slipped when it started (no floorboards) and no killcord fitted (is now!).

I landed on my backside in the bottom of the boat, knocking the throttle open with my foot on the faceplate as I fell. It's surprising how fast a 2.2 will spin a small sib.
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