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Old 09-05-2011, 19:57   #1
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Flying Floorboards

I always just kind of accepted the concept of floorboard that were lockable as one of those offshore "requirements". But lately I am questioning everything as to being a real requirement or just a case of overblown paranoia. Floorboards being locked down seem like a must have on the face of it, but are they really?

Lets hear stories of people who have gotten caught in a sailing condition that caused their floorboards to go flying around the boat! Include what the conditions were, how you came to be in the it, why or why not you couldn't have choosen a safer route or passage based on forecasting etc. And if you have gotten caught in something that that caused your floorboards to go flying around the boat how many miles and how often have you had it happen (is it a 1% of sailing time, 0.1%).

I could easily be wrong but I suspect flying floorboards is right up there with the perfect storm and other legends of sailing. Yes they happen, but the amount of worry greatly exceeds the odds of it occurring.
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Old 09-05-2011, 20:27   #2
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Re: Flying Floorboards

I recall that the Hiscocks, the Smeatons and David Lewis on Ice Bird encountered knockdowns that sent stuff flying.

Keep in mind that they had full or partially full keels, with stores stowed in the bilges, so there was weight and velocity involved. I have a full keel and it's logical to keep certain heavy tools and stores in the ample space beneath the floor hatches and access points, and I intend to make those hatches lockable. I've been in a situation where I saw a sliding acrylic door open itself and a ceramic coffee mug leave the interior at speed, miss my forehead by about two inches, and pulverize itself on the opposite bulkhead. The rest of the stuff in the cabinet merely fell out and down, making a mess.

So I was schooled. Now you can be without the adrenaline spice.
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Old 09-05-2011, 20:46   #3
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Re: Flying Floorboards

I've not had the floorboards come up but then they are a bear to get up anyway and there are not many on my boat bigger than about 10 inches that don't have hinges. On the other hand I've had just about everything else not tied down and a few things that were tied down, like TV's flying about. I went through two TV's that were strapped down, torn out and sent across the cabin, as well as pots, pans, and so on.

One time was coming back from the Dry Tortugas, the winds were around 30 kt but the killer was a vicious, steep cross sea. VHF radio is out of range in the Tortugas and I could not get the park rangers to give me a forecast. Their much taller radio tower could receive but I guess for perceived liability they would not relay the forecast. Apparently there was a tropical depression approaching Texas when we left the fort and it made for a miserable night. At 3 am my wind generator tower decided it want to be gone and I ended up hanging over the stern trying to retrieve it. It was far too rough to use the stove and I would have dearly loved a cup of coffee. Roughly 20 hours later, it calmed enough for me to put on an oven mitt and hold a pot of water onto the stove. So, I had no forecasting since I didn't have a SSB on board.

The second time, coming home from Key West, there had been zero wind all the previous day and that night. We didn't even have the sail covers off. Just about dawn we started to pick up VHF and although broken up we could make out "Severe Weather Alert". It was just about then that there was enough light to see the blackest sky on the horizon that I could remember. Ten minutes later we were in it. We went from 0 kt to 30 to 40 and gusts to 55 kt in a matter of minutes. A severe squall line. Since we left from Key West, I did have the weather but this was not in it. We spent about 3 hours in that one. Since the water on the west coast of Florida is shallow, like about 15-30 ft where we were, you can imagine what that wind did to the sea state.

Does it happen often? No thank god or I'd have a Winnebago. On the other hand, my wife refuses to leave the dock unless EVERYTHING other than a pillow is secured. When I ride my motorcycle, I'm wearing about $1,000 worth of safety gear in the form of helmet, special jacket, and special boots. I don't expect to crash or be crashed but I wear it just in case.

In my opinion, locking down floorboards, reefer covers, and the bloody stove, they are all optional. You pays your money you takes your choice. For myself, a lot of these type of things are weekend projects. Why not, and feel secure and then not have to wonder?

Reading what I just typed makes me think I'm being a bit melodramatic, perhaps so. Its just that I've learned most forecasts suck, that 10-15 easily becomes 20-30. My wife's first voyage was supposed to be for 10-15 and ended up 40kt. Sea state is even harder to predict especially if there is a cross sea in our shallow water. So bottom line, I prefer to prepare for the worst and be pleasantly surprised if it doesn't show up.

With respect to all of you with better skills, and experience,

Rich
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Old 09-05-2011, 22:12   #4
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Re: Flying Floorboards

Once in over 30,000 miles; 10,000 blue water.

Close hauled, 20 knots, 6 foot seas, comfortable heel. Floor board came loose; missed the boat owner's head as he slept on the passage way sole.
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Old 10-05-2011, 00:22   #5
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Re: Flying Floorboards

Never locked down floor boards. Hurricane force winds off Cape Flattery. No flying floorboards. Gimballed stove okay to cook on if only I could have stood to do it. Nothing flying from lockers or etc. But the boat was full keel, hard chine. Fin keelers and such throw a serious problem in these conditions.
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Old 10-05-2011, 01:12   #6
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Re: Flying Floorboards

Never had floorboards locked down, and never had a problem with them. There's one, on the port side against the hull that slides down if you stand on it when we're on a starboard tack - but it's outta the way, and people hardly ever go there.

I am, however, anal about stowing things properly - which mostly means behind doors, or packed in tight. But I kinda just gave up worrying about other people's stuff. HWMO a tool box empty it's contents over the floorboards last month. To be fair, I had asked him several times if he could find a better place for it than sliding around the cabin.

And crew gear... They have the entire quarterberth, but still love to leave it on the chart table (on account of us never using charts). Now I tell crew once that "If we have a blow, you'll completely forget about the stuff you've left loose, and it will fall on the floor, and if the bilges have water in them, your stuff will get covered in oil."

Then, when it happens, if they start moaning, I say "Oh, I'm sorry, did I forget to mention...?" And they say "No, you did say". But it gets annoying, even to me, being right the whole time.
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Old 10-05-2011, 01:46   #7
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Re: Flying Floorboards

I wasn't all that fussy about securing everything until I was knocked down. The floorboards weren't the problem, it was the spare chain, dismantled anchor, boxes of shackles etc that were underneath that caused all the damage. 100 ft of chain in the galley makes quite a mess quite quickly.

But i dont think screwing down the floorboards would have made a difference.....I now tie the chain down.
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Old 10-05-2011, 02:38   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bewitched
I wasn't all that fussy about securing everything until I was knocked down. The floorboards weren't the problem, it was the spare chain, dismantled anchor, boxes of shackles etc that were underneath that caused all the damage. 100 ft of chain in the galley makes quite a mess quite quickly.

But i dont think screwing down the floorboards would have made a difference.....I now tie the chain down.
Word . . .
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Old 10-05-2011, 03:01   #9
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Re: Flying Floorboards

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nobleshift View Post
Word . . .
Eh?...
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Old 10-05-2011, 03:10   #10
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Re: Flying Floorboards

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nobleshift View Post
Word . . .
Quote:
Originally Posted by bewitched View Post
Eh?...
It's an out of date term, dating back to the nineties, in fact (think Lethal Weapon), meaning 'yeah, dude!' or soemthing like it.

Quote:
word
I concur, my fellow African American friends.
"Man, she's got some fine titties!"
"Word."
Urban Dictionary: word
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Old 10-05-2011, 03:52   #11
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Re: Flying Floorboards

Oh... I.missed.that one

Perhaps it was because I was in yorkshire in the nineties

But we won't go there.......
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Old 10-05-2011, 04:48   #12
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Re: Flying Floorboards

So it sounds that by the time floorboard ever go flying the missles from all the other stuff would have made it a non issue. I pretty much thought this would be the case.
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Old 10-05-2011, 05:46   #13
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Re: Flying Floorboards

Don,

I thought about installing floorboard hatch locks, but the time, effort and expense just didn't didn't seem worth it to me. The only time they'd come into play is in a knockdown or roll. I decided that if the weather looked like it was going to get that bad, I'd tape them shut with duct tape.
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Old 10-05-2011, 05:56   #14
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Re: Flying Floorboards

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Lucas View Post
... I could easily be wrong but I suspect flying floorboards is right up there with the perfect storm and other legends of sailing. Yes they happen, but the amount of worry greatly exceeds the odds of it occurring.
There shouldn't be any cause to worry at all (about flying floorboards), if your floorboards are fastened down.
The "other" worries about flying objects should be similarly remedied.
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Old 10-05-2011, 06:02   #15
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Re: Flying Floorboards

Kinda like double clipping the hoses - 99.99% of the time for 99.99% of people it won't ever matter........but just one less thing to go wrong and can be sorted in advance (I figure that if upside down for a time there will be plenty of other things to deal with ).

My guess is that the builder didn't fit primarily for cost reasons (mine were originally all screwed down - but I like quick access to the bilges).

Having said all that My floorboards are a combination of screwed down and lift up - with no catches Not yet........whose to say when fitting those will ever get to the top of the list?

You makes yer choices and lives with it.
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