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Old 27-12-2008, 09:26   #1
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Knot ready yet?!?

First let me say that if you are a newbie to sailing like me, please learn from this!
We are in Yankeetown, FL in a river called the Withalahoochie. No I have no idea if that is spelled right, lol. That is in the big bend of the west coast of Fl.
My brother and I wanted to do some Grouper fishing on my 38 DE. We picked up Faith's Wind (38 DE) a few month's ago. We are fixing her up to move aboard. She is actually in very fine condition and only needs a lot of TLC, we just want her to look the way she was intended :-). She had a few power issues and her cutter halyard has to be replaced, but in all, she is very sound!
The plan was to go out for 3 day's total and enjoy the Gulf... Right?! The first day we spent replacing the altenator and trying to fix a few other power issues. After we "thought" we had fixed that, we then tended to a few odds and ins on the deck. After waiting for the right tide we headed out to the gulf.
The forcast was 10-15 knots with 2-4 foot sea's. Not a problem for the DE... We left with the fuel gage reading 1/4 tank. Plenty of fuel for a short trip like this. She has a 30hp perkins. Great on fuel.
It takes about 1 1/2 miles to get completely out of the markers. The farther out we went, the worse it got. At 3-4 miles out we found ourselves in 6-8 foot seas.
At this point we decided to anchor out and wait until morning for calmer waters. I let out 160 feet of chain in a 14 foot dept. After about an hour the seas went up to 10-12 feet. WAY too much for a chain alone. The anchor started snatching at her 8 foot bow sprit. The tie in cable that attaches from the front of the bowsprit to the bow at the water line came of the spreader under the bow allowing for my mast to jerk the bowsprit around sharply.
At this point I decided to call it a day and spent the next hour in 10-15 foot seas pulling in the anchor. I could not use the winch because the chain had broke free and was now coming up from the side of the bowsprit over the forestay!
While being dipped into the water over and over again, I heard a very loud cracking sound from aft. It would seem that our dingy had dipped into the water and ripped one of the davits off. Not a pretty sound. Scared the crud out of me!

So... to bring you up to speed: We are now 4 miles out with 10-15 foot seas and 20 knot winds, I am hanging off the bowsprit that is coming apart, pulling in the 160 foot of chain and being dipped into the gulf over and over and now pulling our dingy that has ripped one of our davits off and now pulling vigorously at the other one!... Sound like a great trip so far??

I finally got the anchor up and started heading home. Having to go directly into the wind we were only going about 3/4 of a knot per hour under power dragging my loose dingy and davit. I finally had to cut the dingy loose when the prop came out of the water on a rouge wave and smacked the prop!
We got about 1/2 mile from the first marker when,.... she died! It would seem that the fuel gauge did not work!! I don't know if you know how much of a PAIN it is when a deisel runs out of fuel, but WOW, it is a big deal...
We are now drifting in these wonderful seas and wind that is WAY above my sailing level. We bled the thing 5 times and it would not start.
Not wanting to cause any further damage, I called it a night and called SEA TOW at what is now 2am... Due to tides and depts, we would not see SEA TOW for another 8 hours. Not wanting to drift away, I threw the anchor back out and put out all 180 foot of chain and 300 foot of rope in 15 feet of water! That was one sleepless night. We moved 120 feet over all in the 8 hours. The mast did not fall over despite the bowsprit coming apart, and Sea Tow was there at 10:25am to take us in.
I know that there are A LOT of things that I could have done better, but I learned more from that one trip than I could have learned in a lifetime of books.

Now that I read this...... It looks more like a long list of DON'Ts... lol

Critisism is accepted, however, please try to be nice! :-p
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Old 27-12-2008, 09:37   #2
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WOW what an adventure. Thank God for SEA TOW. Did you have a SEA TOW membership ?
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Old 27-12-2008, 09:43   #3
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Yes, the one thing we did do was get the membership the day we took delivery of the boat!. :-D
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Old 27-12-2008, 09:56   #4
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Quite a start to your sailing career! No-one got hurt so I guess it was a success....

I sail a sister boat to yours and so far shes been fine, though I've never anchored in 12 foot swell and don't really intend on it! What broke exactly at the bowsprit? Sounds like the bobstay but where?

Anyway - welcome back to dryland

Oh - our fuel gauge doesn't work either, reads a 1/4 fuel or completely empty depending on its mood.

-Tom
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Old 27-12-2008, 10:35   #5
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I think your right. It was the cable that connects the front of the bowsprit to the bow at the waterline. It goes over a "stay" in the center for support. It came off of that stay. I was able to repair it when we were back at the dock. Seems it came off because it was just loose.

I am taking out the original gauges and installing custom gauges and a "peek" through tank. :-).. No more surprises for this sailor! lol

And thx, it is great to be back.
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Old 27-12-2008, 10:48   #6
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Wow! When I got to the part about dragging in 160 foot of chain by hand I was thinking, "Why not just buoy it off and get it tomorrow if you are getting smacked around so much.

I would have been a sorry camper a few hours later...
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Old 27-12-2008, 10:48   #7
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Your engine dying could be muck in the tank getting stirred up. What a maiden voyage! "The Sea is a Harsh Mistress..."
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Old 27-12-2008, 11:01   #8
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The thought never occurred to me. It's a good thing it didn't considering later events... LOL...

The Tank may have some junk in it. I am filling it this weekend and bleeding it a few more times. I will know then. Thx.
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Old 27-12-2008, 11:53   #9
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As far as I know the line of force from the bobstay goes up past the bowsprit through the headstay to the top of the mast and back down the the backstay (via the mizzen mast if you're sailing the ketch version) to the stern of the boat.

If the bobstay is loose I would also check the head/backstay tightness but wouldn't advise trying to tune this yourself. Others will know more here (the wonderful thing about cruisersforum) but I would guess you might want a rigger to check things out.

Glad though that you weren't talking more severe damage - I was imagining the chain plate pulled free, or some other more critical failure. What happened to the anchor? As a sister ship we'd love to see pictures of any equipment failures so we can compare with our own boat setup!

As for muck in the tank - do you have a primary fuel filter with a nice glass bowl? If not then its easy to install one (I have a racor 500) with all that space back there.

Given your baptism by fire if you pick better weather windows everything should seem nice and easy for a while!
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Old 27-12-2008, 12:03   #10
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atraitees,

Take a bit of comfort in the fact that we've all had those "learning experiences" in the beginning of our sailing careers. Most of us hope nobody noticed at the time. Thanks for sharing your trials and tribulations with us, especially with such a good-humored tone. Don't worry, it gets better (usually).
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Old 27-12-2008, 12:54   #11
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Thx Hud,
I appreciate the comfort. I am SO looking forward to better seas and longer voyages. :-)
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Old 27-12-2008, 14:59   #12
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Myths, theory and real life...

Thanks for your story. It's information like that that that helps me to assess potential complex situations.

I've just fabricated davits for Boracay and I was surprised how the stresses and fatigue could get out of hand even being rocked around in the slip.

And I'll be carrying a extra fuel and double checking my filter before I go out next.

20 knots of wind is right on my borderline for going at the moment. I'd reduce but it seems to be much more common than one would expect.
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Old 27-12-2008, 15:03   #13
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Id trust a politiction before id trust a fuel gauge in a new boat!
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Old 27-12-2008, 15:20   #14
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Hell anybody can sail in calm seas and a light breeze!! It takes character to withstand what you went through, and realize all you learned You did not panic, you did not call the Coast Guard!! All of us have done some (in my case), REALLY dumb things!!! But I try not do the same dumb things twice
I have to ask, how is the partner handling it.
Now for a bit of advice, check the buoy weather reports for current conditions
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Old 27-12-2008, 16:11   #15
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A good rule to follow is always keep your tank full. If you dont algae will grow on the inside where fuel isnt contacting tank even with algaecide in fuel. Its a good practice to top off on the return from every trip. Hey Jusdreaming, I think I saw you on bohicket this summer, remember seeing a morgan outislander anchored north of the marina at the bend?
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