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Old 04-04-2016, 12:52   #1
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Fenders

I would like to hear some ideas about the use of fenders under extreme conditions. Last year I was in Corinth harbour lying against the quay in very high winds and a nasty swell. With each wave the boat was being picked up and thrown against the harbour wall. All the fenders burst but they did continue to provide protection until the lifeline broke. There is more to this but I will leave it at that. It seems to me that the ropes for the fenders need some elasticity because as the boat meets the wall it also rolls and that places huge stresses on the way the fenders are attached. Although I have often read reports and comments on Cruisers Forum, this is my first post.
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Old 04-04-2016, 12:59   #2
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Re: Fenders

Just use old tyres, they are cheap if not free and easily replaced. Never attach the fenders, whatever kind you use, to the lifelines. They should be tied to the toe rail in spite of the extra effort to reach it. Or you could tie the cord to the base of a stanchion.
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Old 04-04-2016, 14:05   #3
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Re: Fenders

Welcome to CruisersForum, Rualda
IMO, it's safer to move elsewhere when the swell sends the boat crashing against the quay. Fenders have only a modest ability to absorb the kinetic energy of a yacht.

As northwestsailor writes, fenders are not to be tied to lifelines for long. Lifelines are intended to prevent you from going overboard, nothing else.

Alain
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Old 04-04-2016, 14:33   #4
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Re: Fenders

1) if they burst, you should not have been there,
2) if they burst, they were too small (or too old, etc),
3) vide 1)

You want better fenders. You do not want to be in the same position again.

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Old 04-04-2016, 14:39   #5
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Re: Fenders

Rualda,

For the sake of this discussion, I shall start off with the assumption that had you been able to go elsewhere, you would have. One possible scenario is that the engine was disabled, and that you either blew down or were rescued to the quay.

The other guys are right that there are better places on many boats to secure the fenders to than the lifelines. On our boat, two of our favorite locations are the pad eye for our double preventer, and from the top of the s/s bracket where the boarding gate is, on the forward side of the gate. These two locations are where the beam of the boat is greatest. For lying alongside a quay, we would use our fender board, which is quite stout, although when the boat is rolled a lot, they still try to pop out, unless they are secured to the board. [It seems to me there's a thread here on CF somewhere that addresses this issue.]

Possibly, larger fenders, and more of them, would have helped in your situation; I have certainly seen boats tied up with fenders too small to really provide the needed protection. Many boats only carry 4 fenders. If they have to deal with the mass of the boat, they really need to be large. We have 5 very large fenders, and all would have been deployed.

Finally, I think that knowing surge would be coming in, it would have been a good idea to deploy a kedge. If you were by yourself on the boat when it came loose and blew down on the quai, you probably had your hands totally full just getting the fenders out, but obviously, having a little anchor out to hold you off the wall would have helped a lot.
[We have perforated aluminium toe rail, so it is easy to secure a snatch block, to lead the kedge's rode through, and back to the sheet winch. Perhaps, on your vessel, you could secure one around the base of the shrouds, or to a midship cleat.]


It could also be that if the fenders were not inflated hard, but slightly squishy, that might help by spreading the load a little more evenly, but they have to work together against the mass of the boat, and the immovable object of the pier, and are subject to extreme loads.

By the way, I went to your profile page to see what kind of boat was involved, but you show no information about yourself, the boat, or your location. Ultimately, lacking the info, we have to make guesses, and therefore, you may get info that does not apply.

Ann
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Old 05-04-2016, 06:55   #6
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Re: Fenders

As others have said...first option is don't be there. If you get stuck there for some reason out of your control..


Reality in the conditions you described, it's a crapshoot. Oversize fenders help and check them for damage periodically (kind of hard if you are being thrown around like that).


Tying them to the toe rail sounds nice but is often impractical. If the dock/quay is high, they won't sit nicely if tied at the toe rail.


Another option: Was it possible to set an anchor or two to help hold you off or at least absorb some of the force, med moor style? Our spain boat is in a quasi med moor (side to but with lazy lines to hold her out). Normally, we leave her close for easy boarding but if strong winds are forcast or we will be away, we tighten up the lazy lines to pull her away from the dock.
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Old 05-04-2016, 07:32   #7
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Re: Fenders

I like that idea and it is seamanlike. Properly suspended there would be plenty of give. Only problem is i would have to find room for two or three old tyres.
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Old 05-04-2016, 07:46   #8
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Re: Fenders

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
Rualda,

For the sake of this discussion, I shall start off with the assumption that had you been able to go elsewhere, you would have. One possible scenario is that the engine was disabled, and that you either blew down or were rescued to the quay.

The other guys are right that there are better places on many boats to secure the fenders to than the lifelines. On our boat, two of our favorite locations are the pad eye for our double preventer, and from the top of the s/s bracket where the boarding gate is, on the forward side of the gate. These two locations are where the beam of the boat is greatest. For lying alongside a quay, we would use our fender board, which is quite stout, although when the boat is rolled a lot, they still try to pop out, unless they are secured to the board. [It seems to me there's a thread here on CF somewhere that addresses this issue.]

Possibly, larger fenders, and more of them, would have helped in your situation; I have certainly seen boats tied up with fenders too small to really provide the needed protection. Many boats only carry 4 fenders. If they have to deal with the mass of the boat, they really need to be large. We have 5 very large fenders, and all would have been deployed.

Finally, I think that knowing surge would be coming in, it would have been a good idea to deploy a kedge. If you were by yourself on the boat when it came loose and blew down on the quai, you probably had your hands totally full just getting the fenders out, but obviously, having a little anchor out to hold you off the wall would have helped a lot.
[We have perforated aluminium toe rail, so it is easy to secure a snatch block, to lead the kedge's rode through, and back to the sheet winch. Perhaps, on your vessel, you could secure one around the base of the shrouds, or to a midship cleat.]


It could also be that if the fenders were not inflated hard, but slightly squishy, that might help by spreading the load a little more evenly, but they have to work together against the mass of the boat, and the immovable object of the pier, and are subject to extreme loads.

By the way, I went to your profile page to see what kind of boat was involved, but you show no information about yourself, the boat, or your location. Ultimately, lacking the info, we have to make guesses, and therefore, you may get info that does not apply.

Ann
Thanks for your detailed answer. As so often in Greece the bad weather was not forecast. 6 fenders, 8 inches in diam which is about right for a forty foot boat. I did consider moving but with the wind in excess of 8 it was not practicable. Also I was on my own. Certainly the fenders were too old and should have been replaced.
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Old 05-04-2016, 07:51   #9
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Re: Fenders

I have a couple of these
Polyform A-3 Commerical Grade Buoy / Fender - 17" x 23"

Where I'm from we just call them red balls, mine are white though. Tires would I'm afraid leave marks and cause damage themselves to the gel coat, the red balls are tough.
I keep them deflated and they still take up a lot of room, but not as much as tires.
If it really hits the fan, tires would be about the toughest thing there is, but if properly sized, I've never seen a "red ball" busted.
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Old 05-04-2016, 07:57   #10
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Re: Fenders

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
I have a couple of these
Polyform A-3 Commerical Grade Buoy / Fender - 17" x 23"

Where I'm from we just call them red balls, mine are white though. Tires would I'm afraid leave marks and cause damage themselves to the gel coat, the red balls are tough.
I keep them deflated and they still take up a lot of room, but not as much as tires.
If it really hits the fan, tires would be about the toughest thing there is, but if properly sized, I've never seen a "red ball" busted.
Thanks, I will follow that up. The problem of course is storage but I like the idea of storing them deflated.
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Old 05-04-2016, 08:02   #11
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Re: Fenders

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rualda View Post
Thanks for your detailed answer. As so often in Greece the bad weather was not forecast. 6 fenders, 8 inches in diam which is about right for a forty foot boat. I did consider moving but with the wind in excess of 8 it was not practicable. Also I was on my own. Certainly the fenders were too old and should have been replaced.
I would consider 8" fenders marginal for a 40' boat. We have 12" we place at the ends and a couple 10" fenders in the middle (relatively straight sided 34' cat). Yeah, toss it hard enough and those can pop but it gives a lot more cushion.
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Old 05-04-2016, 08:25   #12
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Re: Fenders

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Originally Posted by northwestsailor View Post
Just use old tyres, they are cheap if not free and easily replaced. Never attach the fenders, whatever kind you use, to the lifelines. They should be tied to the toe rail in spite of the extra effort to reach it. Or you could tie the cord to the base of a stanchion.
A good solution and seamanlike too. Properly suspended the tyres would have plenty of give. Not sure what the neighbours would think, and there is also the problem of stowage.
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Old 05-04-2016, 08:46   #13
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Re: Fenders

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
I have a couple of these
Polyform A-3 Commerical Grade Buoy / Fender - 17" x 23"

Where I'm from we just call them red balls, mine are white though. Tires would I'm afraid leave marks and cause damage themselves to the gel coat, the red balls are tough.
I keep them deflated and they still take up a lot of room, but not as much as tires.
If it really hits the fan, tires would be about the toughest thing there is, but if properly sized, I've never seen a "red ball" busted.
+1 on the Big Red Balls.
Also agree that 12" diameter cylinders are much better than 10"

We carry 4 twelve inch cylinders and 4 smaller ones (the smaller ones came with the boat) plus 2 balls. Deflated they take up space but not as bad as you would think. We nearly always have 4 big cylinders inflated and ready to go. We can inflate and deflate with a shop vac run off the inverter so it doesn't take forever to configure as required. When running a bunch of canal locks we buy several exercise balls from wally world and several mesh laundry bags (2 bags per ball as they are a little wimpy) very cheap and we put 3 on each side, backed up by real fenders. This keeps most of the crud from the lock walls off the good fenders and gives a lot of cushion. These exercise balls would not stand up to real surge.

One other note. I used to keep my fenders inflated too firmly. I had a friend travel with me from Racine Wi down to Tennessee who had much experience (In his youth he had crewed on Ticonderoga in the days of cotton sails!) and he mentioned that a little softer would work better. After trying his way I agree. They seem to stay in place better a little soft.
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Old 05-04-2016, 10:52   #14
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Re: Fenders

Another solution would be to make a batter board up with either fenders or tyres. That way the wood would take most of the abuse from the harbor wall.
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Old 05-04-2016, 14:13   #15
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Re: Fenders

I have been in a marina that provides tires encased in white PVC-coated canvas, to be used as fenders when there is some swell in the port.

In addition to my set of "normal" PVC fenders, I have 2 flat foam ones (useful in case of strong beam wind or current) and 2 of these 12"x28" inflatables: Cylindrical inflatable fender 30 x 70 with cover - Certec

Each is supposed to resist to more than 600lb of force but I didn't test that.

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