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Old 07 June 2012, 14:58   #1
boristhebold's Avatar
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Bit of advice from lessons learnt

Last weekend I did it again ! I was messing about in the large rolling waves in the main swash channel near poole, however I over did it, enterily my own fault and hit a wave bow on at the wrong moment in a following sea condition (large waves).

I ducked behind my console at the right moment as what I can only describe as a wall of water came over the bow and over my head. The bow went underwater momentarily and I was standing in water upto my knees behine the console.

I stopped and rushed to the back to open the plugs on the new trunking and values I had installed which goes through the rear seat and out through the back of the hull. There was 3 inches of water in both bow lockers and the compartent under the rear seat had about a foot, all my plastic container boxes under the rear seat were full of water, opending the rear seat (I have a cobra) upper part to look into the back where batteries are located the water was half way up the battery boxes.(must have been a lot in the hull to come up that far)

Bilge pump self activated, I returned to the console and restarted the engine as in my rush I had pulled the kill cord out, engien started fine after I remembered I had the throttle still in gear and had to disengage.

Still being in the middle of the swash channel I tried to power up which was rather difficult to move due to the vast weight of the extra water on board, could only manage about 6 knots with the bow up at a stupid angle.

I did consider at one point in my panic about calling a mayday or pan pan but after composing myself I considered the fact I wasnt actually sinking, the engine was running, the bilge pump was on, the valves were open and water was slowly draining, I also had two working VHF's a lifejacket and a personal location beakon and was close to shore, so I decided to head slowly for calmer conditions at shell bay and waited a while for more water to drain.

After a while I limped back to the marina, once on the dry stack fork lift I opened the bilge plug, a huge amount of water came out.

Lessons learnt

Never panic, compose yourself and think through a problem.
Consider where water might get into your boat, worse scenario and ensure you have appropriate escape route for water and a decent bilge pump, im actually going to buy a bigger bilge pump just in case.
Main lesson for me would be to stop messing about in large waves. LOL

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Old 07 June 2012, 15:02   #2
Country: UK - Wales
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Glad you're fine. Though how come you didn't have trunks down if you were intentionally messing about in big waves? (if you have them)

Agreed, when it goes wrong, stress and adrenalin kick in, then simple things like the kill chord and engine in gear are things we can easily overlook and think we're stuck and engine flooded. Then panic ensues.

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Old 07 June 2012, 15:26   #3
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Am sure its something we have all done or done similar to.

I tend to with the theory that if you have the plan of what do I do before it happens then everything become far less paniced. I think this is referred to as the whole ' dynamic risk assesment' concept.

This is why you hear pilots talking through what will happen 'if' something goes wrong' ( the CG helpcopter footage is good for this - ie they will say to each other 'if an engine goes we will do this or that') .

Its not unusaul round there - at least you didn't set off you life jacket !
And at least in RIB you tend to float adn make progress even if slowly. I bet you heart rate went up a bit though

Nothing broken , made it back , note taken and stuff drying out at home?
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Old 07 June 2012, 16:03   #4
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On the plus side sounds like excellent fun.

I have to say we were out on Tuesday doing just what you were doing although in smaller seas by the sounds of it. We had a "moment" and i decided to remove the handheld vhf from the bag (i know i know ) and put it on my lifejacket. Theroy being that if boat did go upside down or elecs died, we still had a radio.
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Old 07 June 2012, 16:05   #5
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One thing I did think about after is the design of some ribs, while the new trunking and valves did work a bit, proper elephant trunks would have been more useful. The problem with the new trunks which go through a one way valve as fitted is that they go through the bottom of the rear seat unit and as the rear seat unit does have a small gap under it and on both sides of a maybe three centremeters at the side much of the water went under and around the sides into the back and into the seat box itself and out the back, and obvisouly once out the back the only thing getting rid of it was the bilge pump.

So unless the seat unit is a sealed unit water will bypass the trunking and valves and just flood into the stern area. I guess you have to have a cobra to know what I mean. So design wise its not so good and while it helps I think proper elephant trunking straight through stern would have been more useful.

Im either going to fit a secondary bilge pump or replace current trunking with the old elephant style trunking off the stern or both or just stop messing about in big waves. LOL
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Old 07 June 2012, 16:14   #6
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I would be surprised if you found someone who during their boating life had not done a similar act of filling the boat. Generally it will happen when you take your eye of the ball and fail to see the next wave that has built or your direction/speed and trim over the waves was wrong.

Getting a bigger bilge pump will never remove that amount of water ( I am guessing a ton in weight) If the Cobra rear seat opens down to the bilge area rather than a closed box seat , yes you had an immense amount of water to deal with. On your lift I would guess twenty minutes or more of draining? Get some serious water repllelant foam stuck between seat base and seat and make sure three solid clips hold the seat down as with that pressure of water it will lift the seat.

I would now look to rinse / wipe out these areas and get the battery terminals cleaned and re- greased. Any wiring in the wet areas again I would clean and spray. You will know how the salt water will corrode wires, joints etc etc

You thought through the situation i.e do I need help and if so what level of response.
You were still moving and able to maintain this. Keeping the engine running is primary starting position

As an extra you could have considered a coastguard call to advise them of what had happened and that you will update in ..... mins when safe in harbour. That way they are aware if a problem then develops.
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Old 07 June 2012, 16:22   #7
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Can't beat elephant trunks, same situation as you a few times lately but so easy to pull away and the boat drains within a few seconds just from one 4" elephant trunk. After fishing and diving I deliberatley reverse and trim down into small waves to flood the deck and clean away all the grit and fish blood / bait before going home to wash down in freshwater.
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Old 07 June 2012, 17:25   #8
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The cox'ns at our sailing club rig the elephants tubes onto a clip right by the helm, up the tube. Wen they swamp they just unclip and the tube opens. They then have a retrieval line so they can close them again on the move. Keep thinking I should add that mod but maybe this is the weekend!,

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