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Old 14-08-2016, 16:27   #1
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Rope around prop

I just had a bit more of an adventure on my shake down cruise than I planned.

Took the new to me boat out to a little cove. Had a great time getting out and anchored in 20 foot of water. Had a grand night under the stars on anchor.

Woke up in the morning, anchor came up just as I planned.

On the way out of the cove the entrance channel is maybe 100 feet wide but 15 to 20 foot feet. I figured plenty for my 15 foot wide 5.5 foot deep trawler, even at low tide.

On the way out I miss judged the channel and ended up running into the mud bottom. Damn. Eventually got a steel danforth copy anchor rigged to my hydraulic anchor drum, and with the help of the rising tide got myself off the bottom. It took everything my RIB had to drag out the anchor and chain. But I'm still in the middle of a narrow channel with a single screw trawler, now facing the wrong direction. And since the anchor was rigged through a stern fair lead, I can't easily recover the 100# thing. Equally problematic is the 3/4" rope and float I used as a trip line to set the anchor.

So I leave the anchor hanging by the chain through the fair lead while backing and turning just like I practiced and spun the boat in its length. I did it to the port so the wash would push the line away from the screw. It worked like a charm!

Now on my way back out the dingy comes untied. Great so back and turn again, again to the port. My wife takes the wheel and I go for a swim. I get the dingy back and it's time to back and turn again. Except this time I forget the trip line and go to starboard.

Clunk!!!!

Again into the water I go, but this time with a serrated knife in my teeth. Girrr!!!

Well the water is currently 74 degrees in the Columbia River, and I'm really a Texas boy. After a swim to get the dingy, I was cold. I got all the rope I could get off, but one of the things my shake down cruise has identified is that I need a diving mask. I had to stop because I was standing in the mud cutting rope and didn't want to be pushed to the bottom again.

I know I didn't get all the rope. I can hear it ticking at the stern as we motor. It sounds a bit like a quiet version of a drive shaft on a pickup with a belt attached to it. The 471 Detroit is ticking over just fine. We still reach the same speeds at different rpms as we did yesterday.

Attached is a photo of the shaft, zinc, prop and rudder. It's on a 53 foot custom steel "passage maker" design. The shaft packing is up a steel tube ~ 6 foot long. I would guess in the tube is a bearing of some sort.

Thoughts on damage?

I have a few ideas on stuff to do differently. 1. don't get out of the channel. 2. Knife with cord, 3. Diving mask, 4. Grab trip line, 5 make sure dingy knot is really secure.

And other suggestions or comments?Click image for larger version

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Old 14-08-2016, 17:29   #2
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Re: Rope around prop

Sounds like you still have some rope around the prop. You gotta get that off immediately, before you use the engine again.
Sorry, but its another cold swim for you, but its gotta be done.
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Old 14-08-2016, 17:38   #3
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Re: Rope around prop

Sounds like some good work with the dink. As well as in getting the mother ship free. I'll have to look up that ship handling trick. It’s good to have picked up something new. As to my below “thesis”, odds are you know most of it, though there are enough newbys here that much of it bears repeating. And my thinking aloud on the topics refreshes them for me.

One tip is that often times it's easiest to put the kedge, along with it's complete rode into the dinghy, instead of towing the rode behind the dink. And some even put the rode into a bag with or next to the kedge anchor. As, lots of sailors use smaller anchors for such duties. Such as 1/3 - 1/2 the size of the mother ship's anchors. Including Fortress's, since they're so much lighter, yet still have plenty of holding power. Plus, usually a lot of chain isn't needed on this hook, or you can go to a lighter weight schedule G40/G43 chain.

On anchor retrieval, you might look at adding a few padeyes for some Big snatch blocks, so that you can lead the rode to your windlass or powered winch. It's a handy trick which gives any boat a lot more pulling power to get free, or use their windlass for lots of things in addition to pulling up the primary ground tackle.

Look into a line cutter on prop shaft, & floating line for dinghy painter. Polypro rode for kedge anchor too? As the stuff floats. You can also get Dyneema cored Polypro, as well as other lines which don't sink, which helps with keeping them out of the prop. Aa well as aiding in keeping track of where the anchor is, and for towing the rode, should you elect to. The catch is, some of these lines are a bitch to cut. So shop wisely, AKA try'em out before buying.




When onboard, ALWAYS carry 2 knives: On the boat, on the dock, up the mast, & in the water. And NEVER loan them out. Everyone onboard needs one on their person, 24/7.
I say as much as I've had friends severely hurt/almost killed as they broke this rule. Plus I've used mine lots, & lots of times to sort out situations that could have become major emergencies had I not had them. And when such transpire you need a knife right now. Like in 5 sec. or less. Literally.

Also, lanyards rock! The below linked snap shackles are what I use on my lanyards. And I slide the lanyard under my belt, & clip it to itself for a more secure connection. While the knife's also clipped to a pocket at the same time with it's integral clip. Well, my primary knife is. The other's elsewhere on me, & reserved for emergencies.
Both are Spyderco folders. Though something bigger, & fixed, is used for in the water activities: with a backup, of course
Here's the lanyard clip link. I'm a fan of the bronze, bottom one in the pic. They're easier to open with one hand. -> WEST MARINE Swivel-Eye Boat Snaps | West Marine

And keep a few inexpensive knives around for guests. Including several mounted on PFD's. Along with a few sharpeners onboard.

Then, as importantly as your carry knives are. Let the Mrs. pick out her own, & get her 2+ as well.



As to impromptu swim trips, please don't read this as a criticism, rather as a caution. However, be exceedingly careful about getting into the water. And talk out the plan, as well as possible problems that could occur, & their solutions (multiple) with everyone onboard. As it's very, very easy for such situations to go sideways... Such as getting stuck in the mud. You, not the boat. Possibly underwater. Intentionally or no.

Also, wetsuit dive hoods are really handy. As ice cream headaches encompassing your whole head SUCK. And some floatation for the swimmer's always a good idea. Be it a regular PFD, an inflatable, a buoyancy aid PFD (1/2 - 2/3 the buoyancy of a regular PFD), or (cringe) a wetsuit.
Though be sure that which ever you use, it doesn't stop you from diving while wearing it. As for instance, I can easily dive down 40' wearing 25lbs or more of buoyancy, but my Dad can't submerge while wearing 10lbs, & he's not a weak swimmer.

Plus I've used the extra buoyancy to swim an anchor or three out, when it was truly needed & we were short on other options.
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Old 14-08-2016, 18:04   #4
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Re: Rope around prop

MARKJ and Uncivilized gave some great advice.

Here is a little reading on a topic that is fitting. Line cutters.

https://cse.google.com/cse?cx=011403...ter&gsc.page=1
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Old 14-08-2016, 19:26   #5
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Re: Rope around prop

Uncivilized,

I can't say I disagree with anything you've said, but I also can't say I was properly prepared for that at all.

Then again no one ever plans to miss judge a channel and find the bottom!

As far as the turning technique goes, I guess the proper name is back and fill. At least on my boat with a large flat rudder directly behind the screw, it works quite well. I can go around in either direction in not much more than my boat length. Reversing straight is also possible, but a challenge.

I'm at a dock now, after 4 hours of motoring. Toward the end the ticking sound went away. My guess is the rope wore apart some, but once I have better gear I'll check it again.


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Old 14-08-2016, 19:37   #6
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Re: Rope around prop

It may have worn away, but also the friction may have made it melt to the shaft. Yep, even while submerged. I had to cut some polypopoline off some guys boat years ago and it melted solid. Pain in the lungs that one...
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Old 14-08-2016, 19:46   #7
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Re: Rope around prop

The jam nut on your shaft is in the wrong position. The jam (thinner) nut should be against the propeller hub.
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Old 14-08-2016, 20:11   #8
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Re: Rope around prop

Don't sell yerself short there Viribus... Ya done a fine job getting outta a mess with only a small learning curve...

Unciv has some spot on advice... Taking your kedge to the spot, and knives


Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
It may have worn away, but also the friction may have made it melt to the shaft. Yep, even while submerged. I had to cut some polypopoline off some guys boat years ago and it melted solid. Pain in the lungs that one...
Seen it too... WHATA pain!!!

Now is the time to consider the consequences of what unciv had to say about spectra cored poly...

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatpoker View Post
The jam nut on your shaft is in the wrong position. The jam (thinner) nut should be against the propeller hub.
Great catch Mr. Poker!
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Old 14-08-2016, 20:38   #9
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Re: Rope around prop

Quote:
Originally Posted by ViribusUnitis View Post
Uncivilized,

I can't say I disagree with anything you've said, but I also can't say I was properly prepared for that at all.

Then again no one ever plans to miss judge a channel and find the bottom!

As far as the turning technique goes, I guess the proper name is back and fill. At least on my boat with a large flat rudder directly behind the screw, it works quite well. I can go around in either direction in not much more than my boat length. Reversing straight is also possible, but a challenge.

I'm at a dock now, after 4 hours of motoring. Toward the end the ticking sound went away. My guess is the rope wore apart some, but once I have better gear I'll check it again.


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Yes, sometimes when folks want tips, my posts are a bit like drinking from a fire hose And you got out okay, along with learning a few things. It'll make a good tale soon if it hasn't already.

If you do have line melted onto the shaft, it varies as to what tool's the best. Anything from a bread knife, to a hacksaw, or a filet knife. And melted on monofilament bites!
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Old 14-08-2016, 21:18   #10
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Rope around prop

Mark

Where on my set up would friction have gotten it melted? Having a lack of imagination at the moment. I can see where that might happen with a strut and cutlass bearing system. All I could find under the water before was rope around the blades but aft of the zinc. Any extra places to check or something?

Mr Poker

Thanks for the note on the jam nut. I honestly had forgotten. I think the surveyor mentioned it. They have probably been like that since shortly after the boat was built in 99. Apparently many many boats have 'em on backwards? And many yards habitually install them that way?
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Old 14-08-2016, 21:30   #11
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Rope around prop

Oh and the courage of stupidity!

I picked the cove while motoring on active captain because it was "reasonable" to get a deep draft boat in with a 10-20 foot deep channel, it had good holding, and was well sheltered and it was about right for where we were time wise. We weren't going to make where I originally planned to stop.

Afterwards I asked a couple at the dock that have been cruising a deeper drafted vessel in the area. They said "Good for you." And "That entrance is a bitch!"

Damn now I know better. Even still the back and fill practice paid off. Narrow channel and single screw boat, it was still easy to get turned around and pointed the right way when i needed too.
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Old 14-08-2016, 22:33   #12
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Re: Rope around prop

Sounds like you taught yourself several valuable lessons, with very little consequence. I agree that you should revisit your prop shaft and make sure you have cleared everything out. You did well to get yourself out of a fix.
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Old 15-08-2016, 00:39   #13
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Re: Rope around prop

Let's start before you go to anchorage. One of the things we do going into any port, harbor, or anchorage is to set the chartplotter on track - we lay a track line in so if we make it we can follow the track line out and not worry about sun or clouds or not being able to see well. We did it going into Rio Dulce for example as we followed another boat in who was experienced with it and when we left we unfortunately were the lead boat so just followed our track line -
We just came into Odessa Ukraine - a huge port and we laid a track line. Do we need it probably not but just in case.

Second - we picked up a couple of lines over the years but last year wrapped a line around the prop in Kos Greece while backing into the dock. We did get tied up but I spent over 2 hours underwater cutting the line off. Hauled this spring and put spurs shaft line cutter on. Not at worried now.
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Old 15-08-2016, 07:09   #14
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Re: Rope around prop

Quote:
Originally Posted by ViribusUnitis View Post
Mark

Where on my set up would friction have gotten it melted? Having a lack of imagination at the moment. I can see where that might happen with a strut and cutlass bearing system. All I could find under the water before was rope around the blades but aft of the zinc. Any extra places to check or something?
Any part which can spin a rope, or spin inside a rope, as it pushes it against a fixed part... So yes, the shaft and the cutless baring would be the Only one on yours. But it could be round the shaft anywhere if there was a large blob of rope.
You just gotta check it all carefully. Hope the water is clear!
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Old 02-09-2016, 08:26   #15
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Re: Rope around prop

The water was far from clear. I ended up having to hire a diver to pull the rest of the rope off. I just couldn't hold my breath long enough to get to it in the murky water. It also was a good idea to have the prop, keel and zincs checked in case I damage something else. He had a lot more time under the water to take pictures and run his fingers over things to notice stuff that I would never be able to see.

One interesting thing that I learned is that the rope rubbing against itself can melt. It did not melt and attach to the propeller or the shaft. It did however melt to itself in several of the coils that it made around the propeller. It was not connected together enough to form a knot but was headed in that direction.

Otherwise as best as I can tell there was no damage to the prop shaft rudder or bearings.
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