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Old 18-07-2016, 13:05   #1
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My boat nearly sank

My Tophat 25 sailing boat is moored in the Fitzroy River, Rockhampton Australia. In summer we have floods where I move my boat to a safer area. A couple of days ago, in our dry season, winter, we had a summer-like flood, totally unusual and forecasts did not give full credit to how bad it was going to get.

Apart from several days of gale force winds, the rain bucketed down. The coast had a half metre of rain in the several days of the event. Rockhampton had about 200 millimetres. When I went to bed on Saturday night, I believed the rain was easing. Inland, the river was in flood but would take a week or so for those waters to reach my town. No need to panic. Wrong.

The rain did not ease but intensified. The local area flooded.

By morning, the river was up and huge amounts of floating weed and logs, some of them longer than the boats in the river, were sweeping down and causing havoc with the moored boats.

I went down and put my eleven foot aluminium dinghy with 9.8 hp outboard into the torrent and worked my way down to where Windchaser was moored. Very dangerous conditions.



Weed and logs had piled up on Windchaser's bow, she was about to go under. Given the conditions, there was nothing I felt I could do. Risk was way too high.

So with a heavy heart, I went back to the shore.

However, a couple of guys in a sharkcat managed to position their boat in the fast flowing water and toss an anchor onto the weed mass. Then pull it off. My boat popped up as the debris was dragged away by the flood.

A second time I approached my boat but this time I was able to climb on board and do all the necessary things to prepare for casting off the mooring, then I was able to cast off and move to the side of the river out of the main current and floating weed.

Certainly a most exciting morning. I could do with a little less excitement.

Louis
full story and more pics in my blog
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Old 18-07-2016, 13:26   #2
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Re: My boat nearly sank

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Originally Posted by troppo View Post
..................
...................... a couple of guys in a sharkcat managed to position their boat in the fast flowing water and toss an anchor onto the weed mass. Then pull it off. My boat popped up as the debris was dragged away by the flood.
.......................................
It's good to hear of your good fortune overcoming the risk and especially nice to hear of those who come to the aid of others in need.
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Old 18-07-2016, 13:42   #3
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Re: My boat nearly sank

We were anchored up the Clarence a few years ago during a flood and can sympathize! Even in a much larger and more buoyant vessel, the weed and debris buildup is frightening when there is a 6+ knot current bashing you. Your good Samaritans helped you dodge a bullet; hope you were able to thank them properly.

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Old 18-07-2016, 14:03   #4
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Re: My boat nearly sank

Here in Florida it's hurricane plans, an integral part of any insurance policy. And again, it's not what your boat can handle, it's the debris and other boats that are the real problem. I can moor ours six ways and ready for a six foot surge, but what's going to come up the river at us? Some of the South Florida hurricanes ended up with piles of boats at the dead ends of canals leading to bays.
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Old 18-07-2016, 14:15   #5
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Re: My boat nearly sank

Wow, troppo,

Your mates with the shark cat saved your boat. Good on them and you.

It was scary on the Clarence in the flood, the water hyacinth and parts of trees hang up on the anchor chain, and are almost impossible to deflect with the boat hook. Good on you for turning your back on it, and not risking your life for Windchaser. But I must say I'm glad she survived.

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Old 18-07-2016, 14:55   #6
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Re: My boat nearly sank

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It's good to hear of your good fortune overcoming the risk and especially nice to hear of those who come to the aid of others in need.
Yes, very decent chaps, I don't know them but will chase them up and give them a carton of beer as a 'thank you'.

Louis
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Old 18-07-2016, 16:51   #7
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Re: My boat nearly sank

Yeah, you owe them.
What is a Shark Cat?


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Old 18-07-2016, 17:00   #8
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Re: My boat nearly sank

So glad you didn't lose the boat. In the fall on the Sacramento River there can be loads of water hyacinth and flood debris coming down. We spent an eerie night moonlit anchored behind Decker Island during floodwaters. There were 4 boats there and all struggled to keep the huge tree limbs from loading onto the bows and catching so much hyacinth. When the tide and current were flowing together it was almost 5 kts. Luckily all boats were safe but largely because one fellow had a big rib with huge outboard 25+hp to pull things off the smaller boats.


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Old 18-07-2016, 17:04   #9
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Re: My boat nearly sank

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
Yeah, you owe them.
What is a Shark Cat?


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A Shark is an old style Beach Cat with a 10' beam. Not sure if that is what he means though.

They are quite old but guys love to rebuild them. Some are made of wood

Most beachcats these days have around an 8' beam except for the older Tornado which is about 10' also with sail area/disp of 83.99 like most beachcats

https://www.google.com/search?q=shar...UIBygC&dpr=1.5

http://sailboatdata.com/viewrecord.asp?class_id=4218
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Old 18-07-2016, 17:33   #10
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Re: My boat nearly sank

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
What is a Shark Cat?
Shark Cats were an Australian designed twin hulled powerboat. No longer in production. Plenty of them and other brands around.

Some history here: Shark Cat 18, 20, & 23 Review - Yacht & Boat

Apparently this is how they were started:
The story goes that in 1962 Bruce "Sharky" Harris won the contract for meshing sharks off the beaches of Queensland's Gold Coast, working from Southport. As a resident of the Gold Coast he was familiar with the Quickcats sailing in the surf at Kirra Beach, at Coolangatta, an Aussie icon years before Hobie cats were thought of. So in the late-'60s, when Bruce decided to build a small boat as a Christmas present for his father-in-law, he figured he could do worse than adapt the catamaran configuration as a powerboat. The Christmas present turned out to be 16ft long and 8ft wide, for the simple reason that in those pre-metric days plywood sheets were 8ft by 4ft.
Also this blog shows some pics of a Shark Cat and the author writes of meeting the designer and using a Shark Cat.

Richard Freeman - My 5.6 metre Shark Cat.

Louis
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Old 18-07-2016, 17:55   #11
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Re: My boat nearly sank

I would have expected dragging the mooring or gear breakage prior to being inundated. Heck of a mooring!
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Old 18-07-2016, 18:17   #12
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Re: My boat nearly sank

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I would have expected dragging the mooring or gear breakage prior to being inundated. Heck of a mooring!
Yeah, mooring is strong. My boat survived on it when a Cat 4 cyclone came over the top of it. Heaps of others dragged and went aground. I lost the solar panel and that was all.

With the cyclone, the rains were not local flash flooding so after it had gone over, the river was running a bit but the up-country water had not yet come down as flood. I was able to then move the boat down river and around a corner for protection for when the flood hit.

Someone said to me that I should have a mooring that would drag before my boat went down but I am not sure I agree. First, I don't think the mooring can be engineered so exactly that it would drag to stop the boat going under and not drag every storm. I could be wrong.

Second, the river is full of moorings that drag and every time there is a storm, boats drag and often smash into other boats.

In fact, one year I almost lost my boat when I had taken her around the corner before the flood hit only to have someone else's boat drag all the way from town around the corner and snag my anchor, taking my boat with it. Someone I know saw it happen just before dusk and it was a phone call I was not expecting as I thought my boat was safe.

Strangely enough when so many on the river are helping others during floods, I hear stories of boats dragging and smashing other boats and the owner's of the boats that dragged saying, "Too bad, I am not paying damages.". Appears some boaties play nice and others don't.

Louis
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Old 19-07-2016, 01:50   #13
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Re: My boat nearly sank

Some of the east coast rivers have barrages with auto opening spillway gates which tend to cause a sudden flush of weed and debris down the river.


One of the trick I have used is to shackle the anchor chain into the mooring line and let a few metres of chain into the water, when debris piles up on it I hoist it out of the water with the anchor winch, makes it easier to topple off with the boathook, then I let it out again.


Very important to let the folks who helped you with your problem, I helped a guy rescue his dingy during a flood years ago, he did not even say thanks and I don't think I would bother again particularly since it involved a degree of risk on my part.
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Old 19-07-2016, 02:02   #14
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Re: My boat nearly sank

Raymond: Haha, I can imagine getting a big shock with sudden opening of those auto barrage gates. Be a big load of floating stuff coming down when they open.

Interesting trick with the anchor chain. I'll have a think about that.

You are spot on about giving some positive feedback, like a carton of beer, to those guys who helped. People such as yourself who try and help in dangerous situations are risking yourselves and your property. Not to mention using fuel etc. In my opinion, it is only right for someone who was helped to at least say thank you.

Louis
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Old 19-07-2016, 09:17   #15
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Re: My boat nearly sank

Quote:
Originally Posted by troppo View Post
My Tophat 25 sailing boat is moored in the Fitzroy River, Rockhampton Australia. In summer we have floods where I move my boat to a safer area. A couple of days ago, in our dry season, winter, we had a summer-like flood, totally unusual and forecasts did not give full credit to how bad it was going to get.

Apart from several days of gale force winds, the rain bucketed down. The coast had a half metre of rain in the several days of the event. Rockhampton had about 200 millimetres. When I went to bed on Saturday night, I believed the rain was easing. Inland, the river was in flood but would take a week or so for those waters to reach my town. No need to panic. Wrong.

The rain did not ease but intensified. The local area flooded.

By morning, the river was up and huge amounts of floating weed and logs, some of them longer than the boats in the river, were sweeping down and causing havoc with the moored boats.

I went down and put my eleven foot aluminium dinghy with 9.8 hp outboard into the torrent and worked my way down to where Windchaser was moored. Very dangerous conditions.



Weed and logs had piled up on Windchaser's bow, she was about to go under. Given the conditions, there was nothing I felt I could do. Risk was way too high.

So with a heavy heart, I went back to the shore.

However, a couple of guys in a sharkcat managed to position their boat in the fast flowing water and toss an anchor onto the weed mass. Then pull it off. My boat popped up as the debris was dragged away by the flood.

A second time I approached my boat but this time I was able to climb on board and do all the necessary things to prepare for casting off the mooring, then I was able to cast off and move to the side of the river out of the main current and floating weed.

Certainly a most exciting morning. I could do with a little less excitement.

Louis
full story and more pics in my blog
I hope you ran them down and bought them a brew.
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