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Old 10-04-2014, 14:30   #1
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Sailboat hits Main Street bridge in Jacksonvill, FL

Im not one to read the news but I got a good chuckle out of this. Please how the heck besides drifting down the river with a dead engine... How can you forget about the mast? How about dropping the anchor to stop drifting? Id want to stay away from these people.

If they forgot about the mast great for a Darwin award....



WJXT Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A sailboat hit the Main Street bridge on Thursday afternoon, according to the Florida Department of Transportation.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission officers initially reported the sailing vessel Celer hitting the bridge, according to Karen Parker of FWC.
There is no significant damage to the bridge, according to a FDOT contractor who was already on the scene due to ongoing work on the bridge.


The contractor has a safety boat in the water and tried to help get the sailboat untangled, according to Gina Busscher of FDOT.
Busscher said the boat did not hit the lift span, which is the part cars drive on. The bridge will remain open to vehicular traffic, but boating traffic will likely be impacted.


According to the Coast Guards, the two mariners on the boat were not injured.


Coast Guard Mayport Petty Officer Anthony Soto said their 25-foot boat arrived on scene along with FWC and Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department.


The sailboat sustained a broken mast and was towed by JFRD to River City Brewing Company marina, Soto said.
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Old 10-04-2014, 14:42   #2
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Re: Sailboat hits Main Street bridge in Jacksonvill, FL

Darwin awards are great, but the whole point of the award is that the person is taken out of the gene pool. Either by death or by not being able to reproduce. So if they forgot about the mast and died, then it would be a funny Darwin award.
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Old 10-04-2014, 15:01   #3
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Re: Sailboat hits Main Street bridge in Jacksonvill, FL

The current there can run out fast on a falling tide, sometimes as much as 7 knots. Sort of a venturi effect as the river narrows thru that area. It's been awhile, but I think there are depths of 40 + feet in the channel near the main street draw bridge. With those currents and the soft muddy bottom, getting an anchor to set in time could be a challenge if he was near the bridge. We crewed on a Hunter 356 for a Blessing of the Fleet once and at full throttle, we could only manage 1.5 knots against that current, though it was fun holding up the powerboats.
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Old 10-04-2014, 22:17   #4
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Re: Sailboat hits Main Street bridge in Jacksonvill, FL

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Originally Posted by tdominic_97 View Post
Darwin awards are great, but the whole point of the award is that the person is taken out of the gene pool. Either by death or by not being able to reproduce. So if they forgot about the mast and died, then it would be a funny Darwin award.

Oh booo someone has to die.. Oh well... My mistake.


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Originally Posted by Steve W View Post
The current there can run out fast on a falling tide, sometimes as much as 7 knots. Sort of a venturi effect as the river narrows thru that area. It's been awhile, but I think there are depths of 40 + feet in the channel near the main street draw bridge. With those currents and the soft muddy bottom, getting an anchor to set in time could be a challenge if he was near the bridge. We crewed on a Hunter 356 for a Blessing of the Fleet once and at full throttle, we could only manage 1.5 knots against that current, though it was fun holding up the powerboats.

I guess maybe poor timing on their behalf then when trying to pass through. Maybe just the tide and lack of local knowledge could of been the deciding factor in hitting the bridge. Good lesson learned to know the currents and be sure to know the tides.
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Old 10-04-2014, 22:31   #5
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Re: Sailboat hits Main Street bridge in Jacksonvill, FL

It's really hard to say why it hit the bridge. Bad timing, engine failure, couldn't get the anchor to set. Lots of reasons and not always the fault of the crew but sometimes it is. I'm glad it wasn't me and there were a whole bunch of folks watching to point fingers and tell me what I did wrong.
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Old 11-04-2014, 03:23   #6
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Re: Sailboat hits Main Street bridge in Jacksonvill, FL

For those who are not familiar with Jacksonville and the downtown area where this bridge is located.....
Steve w. is right the current can be fast...
You can't always toss out an anchor and stop on a dime.....Or is there more to anchoring that I don't know about? Maybe wonderinglost can teach me?
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Old 11-04-2014, 12:52   #7
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Re: Sailboat hits Main Street bridge in Jacksonvill, FL

We have a similar bridge here in New Orleans. A few years ago a friends Melgus 32 was transiting the bridge with her two full time paid crew and lost a rig in the exact same way. The current was too strong for them to even hold position with the motor going full out.
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Old 11-04-2014, 13:07   #8
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Re: Sailboat hits Main Street bridge in Jacksonvill, FL

We have a train bridge just below Ballard Locks in Seattle. When you go through the locks you have to signal the train bridge that is only about 1000 yards down stream to open, all the while you are throttling in reverse to keep up with the strong current. if for some reason you loose power or break a shift linkage you only have about 30 seconds to stop before you hit the bridge. fun fun!
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Old 11-04-2014, 15:59   #9
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Re: Sailboat hits Main Street bridge in Jacksonvill, FL

7 knot current in Jacksonville???!? Lololol. Ridiculous sea tale (river tale). You don't have the tides to support it given the river dimensions.

Here is a list of the strongest currents in the USA. Hmmm.. Don't see Jacksonville or many places with 7 knot currents. Do you realize that exceeds the hull speed of the majority of sailing vessels inside the main steet bridge, including your own boat?


FAQ - Tidal Current Predictions and Data - NOAA Tides & Currents


Here is the real current.

Tidal Current Predictions - NOAA Tides & Currents

Nothing in the entire St John's River exceeds 3 1/2 knots. lol

How did I know? Been just about everywhere, including several places at the top of the current list. The st john's river has no current in comparison.
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Old 11-04-2014, 16:17   #10
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Re: Sailboat hits Main Street bridge in Jacksonvill, FL

Been close a couple of times.
-Once coming down the ICW at Crab Cut. It was our first bridge on the ICW after our offshore hop. Our mast and rigging had just been rebuilt to the tune of about $17000 Our mast was reportedly 64'6" and the spans are supposed to have 65 ft clearance. We entered the cut slowly creeping along. All of a sudden we realized we were in a fast current taking us to the bridge... I tried to slow down from about 5 knots using reverse, all this did was turn the boat sideways, we went under the bridge sideways with the fleible VHF antenna rattling on the girders...
- Years earlier I was finishing a 2 week solo vacation outing. The last day I did a 10 hour jaunt to Seattle and had to get thru the locks into Lake Union. I was windblown and braindead. Using the binocs I saw that there was room to park waiting for the locks to open on the "seawall" just at the locks. I was focused on the other boats and the seawall. As I was motoring toward there I looked up at the last minute to see that the opening railroad bridge that usually just sits open was closed! A panic U turn and my mast missed the bridge by maybe 6 feet. arghhh!
-On the ICW in Florida I was timing the bridge openings, a couple boats were going through so I just keep going at max speed to get near the rear of the last boat. The bridgetender almost took my rig closing the bridge. It wasnt an accident, he knew I was there. I had committed the mortal sin of not calling as I knew the other boats were gong thru. Of course when you DO call they act like you are interrupting something half the time. My bad though.
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Old 11-04-2014, 16:25   #11
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Re: Sailboat hits Main Street bridge in Jacksonvill, FL

I almost went under a restricted clearance bridge once.

I lost engine power and spent so much time trying to get it to restart, I lost track of where I was.

I literally had to run up on the bow and drop the anchor; while praying it set the first time and I didn't drag down on the bridge.

This may have been the case here.
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Old 11-04-2014, 18:07   #12
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Re: Sailboat hits Main Street bridge in Jacksonvill, FL

I grew up sailing in one of the places on the list.

Seamanship tip:

If you are approaching a bridge, with a following current, waiting for it to open or gingerly checking to see if your 64'6" mast will fit under the 65' bridge, do the following.

DO NOT PUT IT IN REVERSE. You have limited steerage should eddys spin you.

DO NOT USE THE TRANSMISSION. Slight potential for problems.

Instead, point the bow into the current away from the bridge and ease off the throttle if you want to get closer to it. Up the RPMs or lower them to control your approach to the bridge. Much, much more safe.
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Old 11-04-2014, 18:17   #13
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Re: Sailboat hits Main Street bridge in Jacksonvill, FL

And a story of my earlier days in strong currents. The currents here are so strong, the pull the channel markers underwater completely at max ebb.
...............

It is so strong, you have to face away from the bridge you are waiting to open and gun it to maintain your position.

One time, I had to go under one of the fixed bridges but the sign for clearance (as a function of tide) was broken off.

In order to approach the bridge slowly enough to see if my mast would clear, I had to turn and face the bow away from the bridge, pushing 2800 RPMs on twin Yanmars to hold my position relative to the bridge. I backed the rpms down to about 2600 to start approaching the bridge, stern first.

As i got to the point where I could see my masthead made it under, I put the port engine up to 3200 rpm in forward and the starboard engine at a similar rpm in reverse, spinning the boat 180 degrees as I passed under the bridge. I popped out the other side at around 10 knots over land to the cheers of a few commercial fishing boats. Made that maneuver up on the spot because it was either do that,or be smashed into the bridge if my mast didn't clear.
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Old 11-04-2014, 18:23   #14
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Re: Sailboat hits Main Street bridge in Jacksonvill, FL

Jacksonville is my homeport crusiing area. The max current near this bridge is approximately 2.5 knots. There are free public docks both up and downstream and even running under this bridge. There may have been a problem with the vessel being secured to these docks or during the approach or departure from these docks. I have no knowledge of this specific event, but I doubt if it represents anything of striking importance.
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Old 11-04-2014, 18:36   #15
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Re: Sailboat hits Main Street bridge in Jacksonvill, FL

no way could you get an anchor down 40 or 50 feet with the current running at the main street bridge. could be he rounded up waiting for the bridge to go up and stalled out. when things go wrong there it can be a tough situation.
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