Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 06-02-2010, 11:33   #1
Registered User
 
doug86's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Between Block Island and Bahamas
Boat: Marine Trader 40' Sedan Trawler, 1978. WATER TORTURE
Posts: 715
Involuntarily Singlehanded

On Monday, a trash fire just up wind of the Staniel Cay town beach anchorage caused a few boats to "strike a new berth" and find a more breathable spot. It was after 5 pm, and I thought I would just move north about 1/2 mile, as another boat did. I had about half the anchor chain retrieved when chain started to pile on deck. This happens occasionally when the pile of chain below hasn't tumbled down, and the chain backs up in the hawsepipe. The usual remedy for this is to just let about 20' of chain back out, and retrieve again. But sometimes, even that doesn't do the trick, and plan B is to pull the chain off the gypsy by hand and give it a few good jerks up/down. This action can be done more rapidly by hand than the windless can by reversing the motor. I have to resort to this solution about 1 in 20 retrievals, I would guess.

Most of the time, I use a handheld control box to activate the windless, but I also have some foot switches installed on deck. With all the regular moving around down here in the Bahamas, coupled with the shallow depths and short retrievals, I have been lazy and not used the remote control, but rather I just use the foot switches.

What happened on Monday is that I didn't move my toe from the UP switch (which needs a pretty good press to work) when I reached down to grab the chain, and the boat rocked and my foot instinctively pressed down on deck to keep my body balanced, which activated the windless. Before I could let go, got my hand pulled into the gypsy and badly jammed under the chain. All four fingers. My palm was facing UP, which was fortunate, as my knuckles sort of went into the notches in the chain wheel. OW OW OW! I was able to move my foot to the DOWN button and release my hand within a second or perhaps two, but the damage was done. Somehow, my pinky was spared. The middle finger is gouged up, but seems ok otherwise. The ring finger is still very swollen after 5 days, but moves without pain. I'm pretty sure the first bone on the index finger is broken.

(lets skip the medical topic on this thread... I have it splinted, OK?)

I've worked around power tools since high school. I ran large set shops in Hollywood. I was a stage rigger for years. I have worked in machine shops with giant lathes and presses and around all manner of dangerous moving things all my life, and I have always been proud to still have all 10 digits. But, the strangest accidents do happen. This one was preventable with one simple thing: I should have been using the hand held remote, with it's "momentary" buttons that one must push and hold to keep the windless running. Or, I suppose I could make a rule for myself to never grab the chain unless I put the switch covers over the buttons first; that too would have prevented this.

Other contributing factor. I replaced my 5/16 proof coil chain with 3/8 BBB this year, and the BBB seems to hang up in the hawse more easily than the 5/16 did. The only fix for that is to build a new hawsepipe run, which isn't practical on this boat. The real problem is that the chain must follow a pipe that runs as much aft as it does down, which means that gravity isn't pulling the chain into the locker they was it would if it was a straight fall. So, my system is prone to error that requires extra intervention on my part once in a while, and I got lazy.

Back in the early 90s, I was a Harbor Patrolman at Catalina Island, and we always said the most dangerous piece of equipment on a boat was an anchor windless. At least one finger per year was lost (or, in one case, found floating, packed in ice and sent to the mainland with the patient. It was successfully reattached). Never thought it would happen to me.

Let it be a lesson. You can't be too careful. Typing this admission in part for the physical therapy aspect, using my fingers.

Fair seas,
Doug
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_0801.jpg
Views:	246
Size:	400.5 KB
ID:	13024  
__________________

__________________
"When one is willing to go without, then one is free to go." - doug86
doug86 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2010, 11:50   #2
Registered User
 
James S's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2008
Location: Yemen & Lebanon... the sailboat is in Lebenon, the dhow is in Yemen
Boat: 1978 CT48 & 65ft Cargo Dhow
Posts: 5,816
Images: 139
Ouch!
Thanks Doug.....scarry story ....happy ending....good picture.
__________________

__________________
James
S/V Arctic Lady
I love my boat, I can't afford not to!
James S is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2010, 12:14   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Lakeland, FL
Posts: 1,296
Ouch!

For some reason this reminds me of an incident with my old 1965 Sunbeam Alpine. It was having strange ignition problems and I had the hood up and was leaning into the engine compartment, but I was having no luck with my usual expert diagnosis. I spotted an odd red rubber covered push button switch which looked for all the world like a circuit breaker. So, of course, I pushed it. Apparently, this was a remote starter switch - who knew?

The car was in gear and proceeded to grind forward about 1 foot - causing the left front wheel to stop on top of my left foot. Which, of course, caused me to fall down, breaking my left ankle. It also prevented me from getting up, but it did make my vocabulary more colorful. This caught the attention of my girlfriend who informed me that swearing at cars did not make them run better. In the end I had to explain about the red switch and have her push it so that the car could cheerfully grind its way off my foot.
__________________
"There's nothing . . . absolutely nothing . . . half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats."

Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows (River Rat to Mole)
slomotion is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2010, 06:24   #4
Moderator Emeritus
 
GordMay's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario - 48-29N x 89-20W
Boat: (Cruiser Living On Dirt)
Posts: 31,573
Images: 240
Ouch!

I don’t suppose nurse (& Saint) MaryLou Fadden is still operating Saint Luke's Clinic?
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Staniel-StLukesClinic.jpg
Views:	232
Size:	75.3 KB
ID:	13046   Click image for larger version

Name:	Staniel-StLukesClinic3.jpg
Views:	237
Size:	8.1 KB
ID:	13047  

__________________
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"



GordMay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-02-2010, 17:00   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Kingston, Ontario
Boat: Saugeen Witch, Colvin design vessel name: Witchcraft
Posts: 383
Images: 14
We were just there, and in fact she and the clinic are still in place. The clinic appreciates donations of bandages and peroxide.
SV Witchcraft
Fair Winds
__________________
witchcraft is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-03-2010, 09:19   #6
Registered User
 
dzhiurgis's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Silute, Lithuania
Boat: Minerva 32 - Frostas II
Posts: 17

Ouch. Last sunday I went snowboarding, to a small track. My country has literally no mountains, so this 100 meter high slope was almost out of the snow, mostly covered in ice. I decided to turn to litlle bit less used track, nearby bushes, where still some more snow was left. I've seen some remains of the bushes sticking out of the snow, but speed was adequate to flip me over when making a curve. Result - broken right radius & ulna and a finger as a bonus.
Despite having to write my final thesis, I have a short sailing trip next weet at Red Sea (fathers friend having a two year voyage round the globe, Ragaine II | Vuelta al mundo 2008 - 2011). Lets just hope the salinity of the Red Sea will make my rehab faster
__________________
dzhiurgis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-03-2010, 09:42   #7
Freelance Delivery Skipper..
 
boatman61's Avatar

Community Sponsor
Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: UK/Portugal
Posts: 20,189
Images: 2
Send a message via Skype™ to boatman61
Quote:
Originally Posted by slomotion View Post
Ouch!

For some reason this reminds me of an incident with my old 1965 Sunbeam Alpine. It was having strange ignition problems and I had the hood up and was leaning into the engine compartment, but I was having no luck with my usual expert diagnosis. I spotted an odd red rubber covered push button switch which looked for all the world like a circuit breaker. So, of course, I pushed it. Apparently, this was a remote starter switch - who knew?

The car was in gear and proceeded to grind forward about 1 foot - causing the left front wheel to stop on top of my left foot. Which, of course, caused me to fall down, breaking my left ankle. It also prevented me from getting up, but it did make my vocabulary more colorful. This caught the attention of my girlfriend who informed me that swearing at cars did not make them run better. In the end I had to explain about the red switch and have her push it so that the car could cheerfully grind its way off my foot.
Ahh.. the joys of simple old fashioned Brit Technology... those were the days...
__________________


Born To Be Wild
boatman61 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-03-2010, 11:57   #8
Senior Cruiser
 
skipmac's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: 29° 49.16’ N 82° 25.82’ W
Boat: Pearson 422
Posts: 12,373
Sounds like a close call but you will come home with all digits intact. I have to say that my anchor windlass inspires great respect in me. I also pay pretty close attention to the jib sheets, winches and associated blocks.

Since Slomotion already started it I have to follow with my own British sports car story. In defense of my blatant thread drift (did I say Slomotion started it?) this does illustrate an additional risk to be aware of in boat work.

An old friend had a classic Bug-eyed Sprite that he was restoring. One day while working on the engine he had to reach way under the block to access some part. Apparently the starter, instead of a hot wire and ground through the block, has + and - terminals wired directly to the battery. My buddy had neglected to remove his SS Rolex which shorted across the two terminals, turned instantly red hot and welded itself to the starter

Due to the awkward position of his arm up under the engine he couldn't pull himself free. Finally reached the band, released the catch and pulled his arm out of the watch. Of course the watch was still welded to the starter and since it was a Rolex he wanted it back. With both hands he was able to jerk it free but ended up with a pretty good burn across the back of his hand and the front of his fingers.

Moral of this story, don't forget to remove jewelry, watches, wedding bands and for the speed boaters the gold chains when working around machinery.

PS He took the Rolex to the shop and with a lube job and new gaskets ran like new. He did have a small hole in the top of the case and had to get a new band since the first two links were melted. Oh, and his hand was OK too.
__________________
The water is always bluer on the other side of the ocean.
skipmac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-03-2010, 13:00   #9
Writing Full-Time Since 2014
 
thinwater's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Deale, MD
Boat: PDQ Altair, 32/34
Posts: 4,328
Thanks for the post.

So easy to do, and I can the motion being the cause.
__________________
Gear Testing--Engineering--Sailing

Writing full-time since 2014.
Bookstore:http://sail-delmarva.blogspot.com/20...ook-store.html
thinwater is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-03-2010, 13:00   #10
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Cowes (Winter), Baltic (Summer) (the boat!); somewhere in the air (me!)
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 19,737
Boy are you lucky you didn't lose a finger. The sea gods were smiling.

You need a flaking stick. I've never been on a sailboat which didn't have the problem of chain piling up in the chain locker. I think it's universal. We have always kept a wooden or metal stick with a handle on it (you can store it in the pipe, usually). Just knock over the pyramid of chain from time to time, and you will never need to grab the chain, which to me seems a singularly bad idea.
__________________
Dockhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-03-2010, 08:53   #11
Moderator Emeritus
 
GordMay's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario - 48-29N x 89-20W
Boat: (Cruiser Living On Dirt)
Posts: 31,573
Images: 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
... You need a flaking stick. I've never been on a sailboat which didn't have the problem of chain piling up in the chain locker ...
I recomment a minimum of 12-16” fall, to the top of the complete pile, for an all chain rode, to allow gravity to properly self-tail the anchor rode through a 90º vertical turn into the anchor locker.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Windlass-chain_fall.gif
Views:	255
Size:	24.3 KB
ID:	13862  
__________________
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"



GordMay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-03-2010, 14:00   #12
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,594
Quote:
Originally Posted by slomotion View Post
Ouch!

For some reason this reminds me of an incident with my old 1965 Sunbeam Alpine. It was having strange ignition problems and I had the hood up and was leaning into the engine compartment, but I was having no luck with my usual expert diagnosis. I spotted an odd red rubber covered push button switch which looked for all the world like a circuit breaker. So, of course, I pushed it. Apparently, this was a remote starter switch - who knew?

The car was in gear and proceeded to grind forward about 1 foot - causing the left front wheel to stop on top of my left foot. Which, of course, caused me to fall down, breaking my left ankle. It also prevented me from getting up, but it did make my vocabulary more colorful. This caught the attention of my girlfriend who informed me that swearing at cars did not make them run better. In the end I had to explain about the red switch and have her push it so that the car could cheerfully grind its way off my foot.
I owned an 1960 Sunbeam Alpine and I can tell your girl friend that cussing it DID make it run better. Or at least as well as most other methods and I sure felt better for it! As for the Lucas electrics, no amount of cussing or anything else made them work any better.
__________________
Randy

Cape Dory 25D Seraph
rtbates is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-03-2010, 13:33   #13
Long Range Cruiser
 
MarkJ's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Australian living on "Sea Life" currently in England.
Boat: Beneteau 393 "Sea Life"
Posts: 12,828
Images: 25
Thanks for the story.

Chain always worries me, as does the piling up of chain in the locker.


Mark
__________________
Notes on a Circumnavigation.
OurLifeAtSea.com

Somalia Pirates and our Convoy
MarkJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-04-2010, 06:34   #14
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: North Fort Myers cruising to the Chesapeake Bay real soon.
Boat: Carri Craft, Casa Grande, 57' "White Feather"
Posts: 69
Images: 1
The wife is constantly on me about not wearing my wedding band. When working on engines and in the electrical lockers I have a fear of shorting out something or catching the ring on engine or other parts.

When in the military I was working on a helecopter. I went to jump down to the ground and my ring caught on a track overhead. Needless to say, my weight pulling down caused my finger to break and nearly get cut off. I still have that scar to this day. Luckilly, I still have the finger too. From that day to this I do not wear rings, watches or any necklaces. My wife still gets on me but I tell her, I know I am married so no ring is needed, I don't care what time it is so I don't need a watch and I am to old to be worried about looking pretty so why would I need jewelry? It is just plain dangerous wearing such things when working in close areas and around electrical equipment and moving belts and pulleys. Also, being a boater and mechanic I am never off duty as far as not working goes. I never know when something is going to require getting into the engine or electrical panel besides just plain not liking to wear rings or jewelry. Ladies, please take our safety into consideration when trying to demand that we wear rings and jewelry at work. Besides, before I got married I told the future wife that I did not wear rings and would not wear a wedding band. She had the preacher take the word OBEY out of the wedding ceremony. We each have our own quirks. The ring we used for the wedding is in the jewlery box where it has been for 12 years and it will stay there. Constant nagging will not change anything.

Ladies, this is a personal choice and has nothing to do with how much I love and honor my wife. Don't rag me because you were taught by your mommy about keeping a ring on your man so another woman would know he is taken. A ring doesn't keep him tethered nor does it keep him faithful. That has to come from the heart. The same goes for the wife. If she is dedicated and faithful she knows when to go home. I never demanded that my wife wear her rings. It would do no good anyhow if she wants to run around.

doug86, I'm glad you came away with all digits and still type pretty good.
__________________
White Feather is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-04-2010, 06:57   #15
Senior Cruiser
 
DeepFrz's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Winnipeg
Boat: None at this time
Posts: 7,930
I had a close call with a windlass myself, although luckily it just resulted in damage to the windlass. I was trying to kedge off a sandbank on the east coast of Mexico. I had a bar on the windlass that I was using to manually wind in the chain and I lost balance and stepped on the foot switch. The bar was pulled out of my hand just before it hit the deck and the lug on the windlass snapped off. Needless to say the adrenalin was flowing.
__________________

__________________
DeepFrz is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Singlehanded Watchstanding? latitude0 Seamanship & Boat Handling 75 27-02-2009 19:53
Singlehanded TransPac, 2008 TaoJones Cruising News & Events 3 02-12-2007 18:14
Singlehanded sailing Aquah0lic General Sailing Forum 2 13-10-2007 22:10
cutters-easily singlehanded? Scott k Monohull Sailboats 17 09-10-2005 00:15



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:17.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.