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Old 15-11-2012, 16:33   #1
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Blue Water Survival

I was just thinking we have all these threads on Blue Water Capable boats etc but not a lot on handling routine problems that may occur. For sailors that have been doing this for a while no problem, but for the new guy that comes online and plans to sail around the world after a few months learning to sail, dock, and anchor plus buying the boat he may not have planned for certain calamities. He may not even know there is a hose on the propeller shaft stuffing box on some boats or on the tiller stuffing box. These hoses can and do split, and that's just one thing that could happen.

Being a new owner of an old monohull myself, I was surprised at all that could go wrong with an old boat.

(all my prior boats had been new model catamarans with sealed hulls except for the plug. And even when I pitchpoled them, all I had to do was hang on to a hull while I caught my breath then right the boat. We're talking 16' -20' racing catamarans)

Fortunately for me, I bought a boat that had been owned by an old salt. He decided to sail from Massachusetts to Florida and back at about 78 years of age. He had owned the boat for maybe 25 years. I noticed while replacing a couple old diesel engines on this boat that all the hoses from stuffing box hoses to cockpit drain hoses had been changed. The rigging had been thoroughly gone over and suspect parts replaced.

Being a technician/mechanic most of my life, I picked up on this. But some folks may not have. They may have bought an old boat that hadn't been taken care of and had rotten hoses throughout and worn out rigging.

So, what if new guy suddenly sees that there is water coming up over the cabin floor/sole. What does he do? What does he think he should do. (or) what if the mast suddenly falls over when the wind comes up a bit and he's 1200 miles from the nearest continent or island.
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Old 15-11-2012, 17:19   #2
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Re: Blue Water Survival

Quote:
Originally Posted by thomm225 View Post
(...) So, what if new guy suddenly sees that there is water coming up over the cabin floor/sole. What does he do? What does he think he should do. (or) what if the mast suddenly falls over when the wind comes up a bit and he's 1200 miles from the nearest continent or island.
a) the water challenge - start the engine, start the pumps, find the leak, stop the inflow, keep on pumping,

b) the mast challenge - build jury rig, go on

b.
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Old 15-11-2012, 17:32   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barnakiel

a) the water challenge - start the engine, start the pumps, find the leak, stop the inflow, keep on pumping,

b) the mast challenge - build jury rig, go on

b.
While this is a nice answer its not true

Most boats have no significant emergency large capacity flood pumps. Most are overwhelmed by any sort of large leak. Unless you find it fast and can slow the inflow, you'll loose the boat.

Most masts today are deck stepped, generally everything goes over. If you don't have a spare spinnaker or whisker pole, your not in much of a shape to rig a jury rig.

In many cases, today, it will a case of hitting the red button., for a lot of people. In previous times you just drowned.
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Old 15-11-2012, 17:51   #4
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Re: Blue Water Survival

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
a) the water challenge - start the engine, start the pumps, find the leak, stop the inflow, keep on pumping,

b) the mast challenge - build jury rig, go on

b.
We're talking new guy that just learned sailing etc. Bought the old full keeler and took off. I not sure what starting the outboard would do?
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Old 15-11-2012, 17:54   #5
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Re: Blue Water Survival

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Originally Posted by thomm225 View Post
We're talking new guy that just learned sailing etc. Bought the old full keeler and took off. I not sure what starting the outboard would do?
he's referring to starting the engine to keep the pumps running thus not killing your battery
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Old 15-11-2012, 18:14   #6
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Re: Blue Water Survival

You say you are a mechanic. You didn't start your own shop your first day, right? You worked up to it. The same in any endeavor, you work up to it. Hire on as crew is the answer.
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Old 15-11-2012, 18:48   #7
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Re: Blue Water Survival

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You say you are a mechanic. You didn't start your own shop your first day, right? You worked up to it. The same in any endeavor, you work up to it. Hire on as crew is the answer.
More of a tech than mech but whatever, my point is to support the folks that are continually coming to this site planning to sail the seven seas with almost no experience. There are people on this site that have experience and may be able to throw out a tip or two that could save a life.

I am 57 years old and have had boats since age 16. Sailboats since age 37 with 15 years racing catamarans against some of the best cat sailors in the US, but that isn't the same thing as trying to keep a boat afloat 1200 miles offshore. Or knowing if you are totally dehydrated and in a life raft that you can use the crappy stinking brackish water in the bottom of the boat in an enema to save your life or the lives of others.

When I was a kid in the 70's a man bought a sailboat at age 65 or so. He was sailing it down the Chesapeake Bay in earlier March or April and something happened. They found his body tied to the mast after a few days. The boat had sunk.

I don't ever remember him owning a boat until then.
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Old 15-11-2012, 18:56   #8
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Re: Blue Water Survival

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Originally Posted by AirBoyzT View Post
he's referring to starting the engine to keep the pumps running thus not killing your battery
Yeah, we all own cars. I'm talking about the guy that bought the cheap outboard to get his old full keeler out of the slip. It probably doesn't have an alternator anyway even if he had left over gas in his spare 2 gallon tank to run it long.
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Old 15-11-2012, 19:36   #9
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Re: Blue Water Survival

In any instance where an emergency comes up, water, broken line, anchor rode...whatever, the first this to do is remain calm and assess the situation.

Water over the floor boards.....remain calm find the source of leak, can it be found? once found can it be stopped if so how.....that sort of thinking. Slow, logical and methodical.

Another thing I always do is keep anyone onboard calm and informed. This helps keep the stress of an already stressful situation at a minimum level.

Just my .02.... everyone will deal with situations differently
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Old 15-11-2012, 20:59   #10
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Re: Blue Water Survival

The dirty water enemas brings up the memories of (what I consider) one of the stupidest abandonments of a vessal at sea that I have ever heard of. I think the name was Dugal Robertson, who put his family into a small fiberglass dink and a rubber raft becouse he had water over the floorboards of a 30+ foot sailboat. He then rowed far enough away to take a picture of the boat that was in calm waters and only sitting a little below its lines. He and his family spent some 80 days in the raft and almost died becouse someone seemed afraid to get his face wet and look for the leak in the hull. This was calm clean water to swim in and just putting your hand over every thruhull to see which one pulled on your hand probably would have solved the problem. It was a twin keel boat, so maybe there was a crack someplace at a joint, but stuffing a tee shirt or some underwater epoxy into it should have slowed it down. Maybe if all of the seacocks had been closed at the first sign of water, none of that would have happened? Of course all of us carry tapered soft wood plugs, dont we? (How many people are going"what are they"?). I realize that the calm clean water example is not the norm, but being unprepared and giving up way too soon is not what seaman should do. Sorry if this seems harsh._____Grant.
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Old 15-11-2012, 22:00   #11
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Re: Blue Water Survival

Quote:
Originally Posted by thomm225 View Post
I was just thinking we have all these threads on Blue Water Capable boats etc but not a lot on handling routine problems that may occur. For sailors that have been doing this for a while no problem, but for the new guy that comes online and plans to sail around the world after a few months learning to sail, dock, and anchor plus buying the boat he may not have planned for certain calamities. He may not even know there is a hose on the propeller shaft stuffing box on some boats or on the tiller stuffing box. These hoses can and do split, and that's just one thing that could happen.

Being a new owner of an old monohull myself, I was surprised at all that could go wrong with an old boat.

(all my prior boats had been new model catamarans with sealed hulls except for the plug. And even when I pitchpoled them, all I had to do was hang on to a hull while I caught my breath then right the boat. We're talking 16' -20' racing catamarans)

Fortunately for me, I bought a boat that had been owned by an old salt. He decided to sail from Massachusetts to Florida and back at about 78 years of age. He had owned the boat for maybe 25 years. I noticed while replacing a couple old diesel engines on this boat that all the hoses from stuffing box hoses to cockpit drain hoses had been changed. The rigging had been thoroughly gone over and suspect parts replaced.

Being a technician/mechanic most of my life, I picked up on this. But some folks may not have. They may have bought an old boat that hadn't been taken care of and had rotten hoses throughout and worn out rigging.

So, what if new guy suddenly sees that there is water coming up over the cabin floor/sole. What does he do? What does he think he should do. (or) what if the mast suddenly falls over when the wind comes up a bit and he's 1200 miles from the nearest continent or island.
Water over the sole? To be blunt. He will probably send a mayday and climb into his raft.

Unless the guy "is" experienced or at the very least mechanical, chances are that panic will set in and the ocean will claim another boat.

Broken stick. He will probably start the motor before he clears the lines out of the water- wrapping everything around the prop. At which time he will spend two hours trying to cut away the mast (while wishing he bought the bolt cutters the old salt at the bar suggested). Once the mast has gone to neptune his VHF wont work. So he will try to call in a mayday via the handheld set, which is under powered and out of range. So he will turn on the epirb and wait for the chopper and the press conference.
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Old 15-11-2012, 22:26   #12
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Re: Blue Water Survival

Dougal Robertson ???

His wooden schooner was holed by killer whales.
Find the story here:
Dougal Robertson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 15-11-2012, 22:26   #13
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Re: Blue Water Survival

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Originally Posted by gjordan View Post
The dirty water enemas brings up the memories of (what I consider) one of the stupidest abandonments of a vessal at sea that I have ever heard of. I think the name was Dugal Robertson, who put his family into a small fiberglass dink and a rubber raft becouse he had water over the floorboards of a 30+ foot sailboat. He then rowed far enough away to take a picture of the boat that was in calm waters and only sitting a little below its lines. He and his family spent some 80 days in the raft and almost died becouse someone seemed afraid to get his face wet and look for the leak in the hull. This was calm clean water to swim in and just putting your hand over every thruhull to see which one pulled on your hand probably would have solved the problem. It was a twin keel boat, so maybe there was a crack someplace at a joint, but stuffing a tee shirt or some underwater epoxy into it should have slowed it down. Maybe if all of the seacocks had been closed at the first sign of water, none of that would have happened? Of course all of us carry tapered soft wood plugs, dont we? (How many people are going"what are they"?). I realize that the calm clean water example is not the norm, but being unprepared and giving up way too soon is not what seaman should do. Sorry if this seems harsh._____Grant.
Read his book, "Survive the Savage Sea." They were hit (attacked?) by 3 whales, the planks below the waterline were stove in, they watched her sink. It was not a thru-hull issue and a t-shirt was not going to stop a leak like that. Fortunately they had a rigid dinghy with a sail because the life raft fell apart quickly.
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Old 16-11-2012, 07:59   #14
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Re: Blue Water Survival

Dougal Robertson also wrote a manual on Sea Survival which includes a map showing normal currents throughout the worlds oceans, and tons of other information.

As far as those stuffing box leaks, my idea is duct tape. I'm hoping if I ever have a leak like that I can slow it or stop it with duct tape. I removed the diesel engine on my old boat so access isn't a problem, but on others it may be. I only have the rudder stuffing box to deal with now though.

Plus, I guess I need to rig up a secong bilge pump. Problems with seacocks and plugs will be different type problem.
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Old 16-11-2012, 08:53   #15
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Re: Blue Water Survival

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We're talking new guy that just learned sailing etc. Bought the old full keeler and took off. I not sure what starting the outboard would do?
So. You say they took an old full keeler and one with an outboard too? ;-)

Many outboards have an alternator so I would start mine, if that's what there is. You need juice to run your pumps over any longer period.

If no inboard, then no shaft seal, then the only way water can get stealthily inside is around thru-hulls. If there was a bang there will be hole in the area of the bang.

I have to re-read the thread - I clearly fail to see where the challenge is. Not sure where a new guy differs from the old one - people are either smart or dumb, much as being required to be PC stops us from saying this.

I think any new guy has chances of survival as good as anybody else.

b.
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