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Old 29 October 2007, 10:33   #1
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Country: UK - England
Town: Poole
Boat name: Grimalkin
Make: Ribcraft 750 Sport
Length: 7m +
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What would you have done?

I had some excitement on Saturday when my solo return from Lymington to Poole took somewhat longer than expected due to the wind/sea that had got up (as forecast) through the afternoon. As a result, the tide (low spring) in Poole was somewhat lower than I had calculated on but I decided nonetheless to try to get home into Parkstone Bay Marina where access is theoretically not possible at low water springs. In the past, I have always been able to get in by trimming the engine right up and putting one or two crew at the front of the boat to keep the nose down (and, therefore, engine up). Using this method, I have certainly got in on lower tides than the tide as it was on Saturday.

In the absence of any crew, however, there was no additional weight to keep the nose down and with the engine therefore low the prop duly hit the muddy bottom about 100m from the (dredged) marina entrance. No damage done, but with a strong wind from behind, I couldnít get enough power on to bring the boat round into the wind in the narrow channel (moored boats each side) and so exit without the prop hitting the mud again.

A very slow exit in reverse was therefore the only solution and, with the tide still falling and evening coming on, I eventually got to the end of the channel where the boats are moored and tried again to turn into the wind. As the boat started to come round, however, the engine stopped. Two attempts to restart it failed and with the GPS indicating that I wasnít drifting, I concluded that I was aground. In an effort to find out which part of the boat was aground, I tried punting the boat in a variety of directions with one of the on board paddles. The depth of the water was about 1m. No joy. I therefore concluded that I must be aground on the prop which I lifted to find that a thick mooring rope was tightly wrapped around it with a length of anchor chain attached to it (and presumably the sea bed) only four inches from the prop!

Given that Iím writing this, I obviously extricated myself and, I am pleased to report, without damage to the boat. There are a couple of things that I might do slightly differently next time (like not attempt a solo entrance at low tide! ) but I am reasonably happy with what I did. What would you have done?

I look forward to your views in the hope that further lessons may be learned.
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Old 29 October 2007, 13:29   #2
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Sometimes I find that in your situation as the prop comes nearer to horizontal that the forward thrust turns into downward thrust almost negating any trim on the engine. In my case either me or my mates would have drysuits on so any water shallow enough to beach us would enable us to jump in and tow to shore. We always test with a paddle first before jumping into 3 feet of black harbour mud.
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Old 29 October 2007, 14:32   #3
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Would've gone into Parkstone yacht club and waited for the flood given the weather. Saves prop/leg/impeller etc.
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Old 29 October 2007, 15:41   #4
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Had a similar situation recently myself. Wearing a drysuit, I did as keelhauled suggests and tested the depth of water and firmness of bottom before sliding into the water and pushing the boat off the sand. However, the sand bank shelves incredibly deeply and I was soon swimming.

After much paddling by my crew and orders being given by me, we got into deep enough water before lowering the engine and getting the hell out of there!
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Old 29 October 2007, 16:20   #5
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Send a message via Skype™ to Limey Linda
Maybe you could have used your anchor to kedge it off?
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Old 30 October 2007, 00:39   #6
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Country: UK - England
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Keelhauled's point of testing the bottom is well made. Although I hadn't purposely done so, my forelorn attempts at punting had shown that the bottom was firm enough to stand.

BassBoy obviously knows the area: the boat spent the night in Parkstone Yacht Club once I had extricated myself!

With no crew, Northern Tim's situation was my main concern and one I was hoping to avoid.

Unfortunately, Limey Linda's suggestion was unworkable: too much rope was wound too tightly around the prop which was unreachable from inside the boat.

Any other suggestions before I say what I did?
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Old 30 October 2007, 01:19   #7
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Well, since you were anchored of sorts, and not likely to get into any more trouble, I would have tied off the the boat to your temporary mooring, cleared the prop, checked the engine would start, cracked open a few tinnies, made a few phone calls and waited for more water.
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Old 30 October 2007, 10:49   #8
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Never tried it, but given that when you trim the engine up and put it in fwd it drives the stern down, what happens if you reverse? Do you get some lift? In that form could you make it?
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Old 30 October 2007, 11:26   #9
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I grant you that i'm a diver but I would always have a pair of fins in my boat and I would simply swim in backwards the way it came. The advantages of having fins is they can help you get back onboard if your feet don't touch the bottom anymore.
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Old 30 October 2007, 11:30   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avocet View Post
my solo return from Lymington to Poole took somewhat longer than expected due to the wind/sea that had got up (as forecast) through the afternoon.
What conditions where you out in? What conditions will slow down a 7+m Ribcraft with 250hp on the back? Are you sure you didn't leave a bit late?
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