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Old 15-11-2010, 01:46   #1
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When You Hit a Container . . .

Whales, timber and tuna nets will very rear make a really critical situation. Strong build boats makes through such incidents. Another case it when you hit a container. In these cases the odds to manage through is limited.
In some years I have wondered if I should mount a steel profile from the windlass-point at the bow down and back to the point where the bow flattening out horizontally and where the bow goes from being the bow to be the hull. Such a solution can at least prevent total destruction when hitting the container by the bow.


Anyone with practical experience?


Fair wind,
Gunnar
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Old 15-11-2010, 02:31   #2
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The last 20 years or so, containers are designed to sink if they fall off the ship.
Timber is really serious danger, especially if you sail close to land full of trees and rivers. The days after a strong rainfall are the most dangerous.
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Old 15-11-2010, 04:22   #3
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In the near 30,000 nms in the last 2.5 years we have never seen nor heard of anyone seeing or hearing first hand of a container at sea

- Unless on a container ship
- Unless on an internet forum

As for trees, as Lucast says, after rains near large river mouths. However we have only seen a few. Those seem to be dangerous but mitigated by several factors: boat speed, depth in water, strength or number of small branches, angle its hit.
So on the 5 or 6 trees we have seen, though a couple quite monstrous in size I don't think we would have been holed had we hit.

Most of the jungle areas we have been through are out of the trade winds so the water is calmer, easier to spot the logs, and boat speed is lower. I wonder the value of trees to that many may be removed from rivers by locals?

I have not sailed lumber cutting areas like the Pacific North West, but I understand that to be a completely different situation because of the large numbers of cut logs. (however could you hit 20 or 30 before one holes you?)

Palm trees are a completely different kettle of tree.... They are everywhere floating about Asia and after about a day are soggy, squashy and too lame for your prop to even use them as a tooth pick.

The only 'real' source of concern is hitting moving ships and fishing nets. Theres different techniques to get out of each type that you will learn. For long line and deep ocean nets etc when the engine is off DO NOT STOP! See which way its across you keel, pull the shorter end up with the boat hook and start cutting away. (Careful of the hooks!) The longer, heavier, end will finally take control and rip the whole thing past its side.

Tuna nets will always be associated with a tuna boat so let their dinks come and help you. I doubt you will ever get near one.

Local set nets are always attended by locals. They WILL race out to help/guide you are the net is worth vastly more than we imagine. Its their only asset (with their boat) its their livelyhood and their means of avoiding starvation.

Crab pots (how you tell them from nets is the rope goes straight down) can, just about, be run over the top of. I always stop the donk those if motoring.


Large floats holding long nets are fine to roll straight over midway between the floats. If the Large floats have little floats between them, then you must go around as the net is on the surface (but a local will be close with his boat.)

Lights on nets mean NOTHJING except: 'Theres something here'. They have NO concept of red and green so they are not nav markers to tell you which side of the net to go past. If it flashes beware.

A large flashing light may mean several nets. Thats where it gets difficult.

As a generalisation, nets are along the coasts. Check your chart if you are in 1,000 meters theres nothing secured to the sea bottom, if then there is an underwater ridge 30 meters deep coming from the land then you are odds on to find nets.

Large blocks of foam in Asia 20 feet x 20 feet are mooring bouys for fishing boats. They are unlit. They may be quite deep!

learn the types of fishing boats for each region. They do bizarre things that are quite logical to them and their methods.
Some fishing boats have only 2 or 3 crew so no one has time to be at the wheel looking out. Other fishing boats (in asia) may be the same size as the 3 crew one but have 100 crew. They have many on the bridge but still can not keep any sort of lookout.

All boats in Asia, ships, ferrys, fishing boats, play a game called lets cut the devil off our tail. The cruisers belief of their belief is that Asian boats have Devils hanging onto the back of their boats. If they can get another boat to pass close by their stern they will have the devils cut off and the boat astern will get the devils.
This means that Asian ships will make several course and speed corrections to AIM at you and get just across your bows.
Indonesia is the worst, by watch them all.
The best way around it is to know about it and bear away/tack/gybe and aim for their stern.

All in all their are far more particle things to be concerned about at sea than errant sea serpents and containers.

By the way, there was a ship -lost?- in a storm in the English Channel a year or so ago that dumper a huge amount of cut timber into the sea. It was a real problem, but only for a week or so before it all landed on some froggy beach. So keep aware as possible on the VHF etc.


Mark
PS that was going to be a 2 line reply
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Old 15-11-2010, 04:51   #4
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You're having a bad day

when you hit one of these. This was in Jervis Inlet on the BC coast. To give an idea of size it was about two feet thick
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Old 15-11-2010, 06:15   #5
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Have seen trees, commercial freezers, 45g oil drums semi submerged... presume its waste oil been dumped over the side... and a variety of other objects including a giant wheel from a truck or something... thats in the day time.
Shrek knows whats gone past in the night... but hell... as the guy who jumped of the Empire State building was heard to say as he passed each floor..
'So far... So good...!!'
Oh... don't forget weather bouys mid ocean
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Old 15-11-2010, 07:03   #6
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Oh... don't forget weather bouys mid ocean

You are still sailing in civilisation if they have weather buoys!

One day we were sailing along and Nicolle says: "Theres a small island in front of us."
That was quite surprising as I thought we had a depth of about 1,000 meters.
But she was right! A small island with 2 palm trees!
With someone living on it! I could tell because the washing was on a clothes line between the 2 palm trees!!!!!!!

I rechecked the chart quickly and saw there's 1,000 meters of water.

We found Dr Doolittles floating Island?!

The funniest things we passed were Indonesian FAD's -Fish Aggregating Devices. A raft with 2 palm trees holding up a set of metal radar reflectors! They would let them drift for a few days till the fish had swum underneath and then came along in their boats and fished for them!

Bizarre!


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Old 15-11-2010, 08:09   #7
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By the way, there was a ship -lost?- in a storm in the English Channel a year or so ago that dumper a huge amount of cut timber into the sea. It was a real problem, but only for a week or so before it all landed on some froggy beach. So keep aware as possible on the VHF etc.
Mark
PS that was going to be a 2 line reply
And its now been used to made some very nice garden sheds in Southern England
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Old 15-11-2010, 11:05   #8
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when you hit one of these. This was in Jervis Inlet on the BC coast. To give an idea of size it was about two feet thick
Yep, those deadheads are why I refuse to sail in heavy fog.
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Old 15-11-2010, 15:58   #9
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You asked for experience.

1 - I wacked a "piling" in the Chesapeake and Delaware canal a couple of weeks ago. It was charted as a piling, but was submerged 5 feet. So no place is safe. I was way off the centerline of the channel making room for a sailboat being overtaken by a tug pushing a barge.

2 - I once got 'caught' in a fish net. Well, not the net really but, when you see the fellows on "Deadliest Catch" throw out two bouys, it is so they can throw a graple between them and haul them up. I was coasting along at about 1 knot, down below making tea, then the sun light was wrong. Damn if I hadn't split the two buoys with my keel and was not firmly moored. Not another soul in sight and out of sight of land in 360 degrees. I tied a new rope between the two buoys (they were big) and then cut the old rope. The the boys figure that one out!

3 - Going up the Cabot Straight one day it got worse than I expected. Remember those big buoys? Well the waves would wash over them, they would be submerged a couple of feet through the wave. That was worrysome. The waves were topping out at about 12', maybe a little more (3-4 meters according to Canadian Coast Guard) and tangling a line then could have been interesting. It was impressive watching the buoys being pulled through the waves.
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Old 15-11-2010, 16:27   #10
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I've had friends break blades off props, and snap driveshafts, from collisions with semi-submerged logs. If I see something, or think I see something, I give it a wide berth.

As for containers... I suspect Mark's right, they aren't exactly common. They don't seal air- and water-tight, and will eventually sink unless they're filled with buoyant cargo. But if you do hit one- or if you hit anything with similarly hard, sharp edges and corners (rocks, coral)- you'll pray your hull is up to the challenge.

Local reinforcement, such as a metal keelson, isn't likely to help much. There's still plenty of hull on either side of the bow that will take the hit instead. At the design stage, it's a relatively easy problem to deal with: multiple watertight compartments, stronger hull skin or plating, and a hull shape that tends to deflect debris off to the side, rather than under the boat (where it'll attack the prop and rudder). On an existing boat, you're often quite limited in what structural reinforcing can be done; even so, it may be possible to add watertight bulkheads, reducing the need for an appeal to probabilities.
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Old 15-11-2010, 16:59   #11
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This guy on his way to Azures say a fridge
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Old 15-11-2010, 17:01   #12
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We wrecked a prop on our Californian hitting a dead head like twenty years ago, and that was with three of us on the flybridge looking out for them. It was the PNW, so there's always logs in the waterways.

I've seen all kinds of floating crap between the west coast and Hawaii. You wouldn't believe. The things I've actually seen are:

Upside-down smallish sailboat that must have been magnificently engineered because there wasn't much of it above water, but the growth on the thing was truly tremendous below its new 'waterline.' (we did report this, but it was already logged)

Hundreds of floats between 12" and 36" diameter, most of them ceramic or plastic.

An entire raft of logs, complete with metal bundlings. Not sure how that one worked its way out that far, but it too was already 'logged' by the authorities.

And finally I saw what could only have been one of those orange cold climate survival suits with, again, an tremendous amount of biology below the 'waterline.' Tried calling it in, but must have had some issues with my SSB transmitter at the time.

Also, during the Vic-Maui we did, there was a shipping container with a few feet out of the water. One of the race leaders spotted it first, and amazingly a third of the boats in the race also reported sighting it. We were bringing up the rear, and one of the last people to view it said something like "But don't worry about them (us), if they hit it it will probably do more damage to the container than their hull."

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Old 15-11-2010, 17:37   #13
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going up the Pongo river this summer we hear on the radio of a large log floating, about 2 hours later I had 3 feet of water on the depth meter for about 5 seconds, then back to 20, never saw a log or anything else.
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Old 15-11-2010, 17:38   #14
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Interphase 200-C. Think of it as underwater radar. Under $3000.

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Old 15-11-2010, 17:57   #15
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That piece looks familiar, ahnutts. Think I lost it out of a bundle boom back in the 50's or 60's. Floating logs are a diminishing hazard in the PNW today. The increasing value of timber has seen better boom construction, barges rather than floating booms and aggressive beachcombing. In addition, I believe cut timber is being sold to Japan and shipped on massive barges across the Pacific so it stayed out of local waters. The real danger are the 'widow makers' where one end gets waterlogged from long exposure to the ocean and one end sinks... hard to see and of little value, similar to the photo you posted. That's why you usually don't see many commercial boats moving around after dark on the BC coast. Most have caged props and reinforced metal stems forward to ward off being holed. Spent many years towing flat and bundle booms down the coast as well as a fair bit of beachcombing when the bush was shut down for strikes or fire conditions. Marvelous country though, even with the unexpected hazards... Capt Phil
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