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Old 08-07-2010, 21:58   #1
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Angry Hitting an Object While Motoring

Hello sailors, recently my wife and I were sailing back from Koh Lippie (southern Thailand) islands on our Hunter 33. On our way home(Port Dickson, nearing Penang's bridge, while motoring about 3 to 4 knot, We hit a piece of wood in the morning, about 6.30am, it is still dark. The wood hit the front bow and went under the boat and hit the feathering propeller and the next second there was a vibration. Luckily, we were near a ship's yard. We lifted the boat out and saw the damaged done to the Propeller's bracket or P bracket, one of feathering blade bent, stern tube worn on one side and stuffing box leaking. We managed to do a temporary repair and sail home the next day.

What I like to know from experience sailor is that how to avoid a accident like this and what should I do do avoid this incidence again. Your advise on this matter is much appreciated.
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Old 08-07-2010, 22:06   #2
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Sorry to hear of your bad luck.

You can only be reasonably sure that you wont hit something if you sail only in good light, calm water and have a sharp eyed lookout at all times.

I sailed around the Vancouver area and logs were a constant hazard. Not many people boat (pleasure boaters that is) in the Pacific Northwest, BC and Alaskan waters after dark. However, the number of people who hit logs each year are relatively small in comparison to the number of boats on the water. Its pretty much luck of the draw aided by vigilance.
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Old 08-07-2010, 22:20   #3
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There is a lot of junk in the waters around Singapore and the straits of Mellaca.

Unless you restrict your sailing to days with a sharp lookout the only other idea I have is to build a shroud or cage around your p bracket and prop.

We hit a 3 inch diameter log last week. I suppose one advantage to a saildrive is that the log would have to be submerged pretty good to get the prop.
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Old 08-07-2010, 22:38   #4
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After the global tsunami, we also had a problem with debris in the water sailing from Thailand and across the Indian ocean. There were some humongous logs in the water.

We hit some of the debris in the night, but did not damage our rudder, prop shaft, or propellor.

Check out the following links for the full story:

GLOBAL TSUNAMI - EXIT ONLY SURVIVES GLOBAL TSUNAMI WITH BARELY A SCRATCH.* PRIVILEGE 39 CATAMARAN.
DEBRIOSAURUS* REX* THE TREE THAT WANTED TO EAT MY BOAT* Once upon a time there was a tree that wanted to eat my boat

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Old 08-07-2010, 22:45   #5
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At night it is highly unlikely you will you will see anything in the water. I hit a log in April just off of Powell River in BC. It was 2345 and we had just altered course to avoid impeding a tug and barge. We were probably more focused on them. We would not have seen the log. There was fairly extensive rudder damage but we were able to continue.
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Old 08-07-2010, 23:08   #6
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There's lots of crap in the water around Asia. If you sail at night, you will hit things. You will even hit things during the day - I know I do.

There's really not a lot you can do about it. I've tried using night vision, but it's really just a placebo - you can't spend the whole night looking through them.

Turning off the engine quickly and whacking it into reverse (if you have a feathering prop) when you hit may restrict damage - it certainly helps with the nets

Other than that, it's really the ability of the boat to deal with the clunks.

Hitting stuff is just part of sailing in Asia i'm afraid.
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Old 09-07-2010, 00:42   #7
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This is just about the only justification for a long keel boat.
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Old 09-07-2010, 06:16   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonnysoh View Post
Hello sailors, recently my wife and I were sailing back from Koh Lippie (southern Thailand) islands on our Hunter 33. On our way home(Port Dickson, nearing Penang's bridge, while motoring about 3 to 4 knot, We hit a piece of wood in the morning, about 6.30am, it is still dark. The wood hit the front bow and went under the boat and hit the feathering propeller and the next second there was a vibration. Luckily, we were near a ship's yard. We lifted the boat out and saw the damaged done to the Propeller's bracket or P bracket, one of feathering blade bent, stern tube worn on one side and stuffing box leaking. We managed to do a temporary repair and sail home the next day.

What I like to know from experience sailor is that how to avoid a accident like this and what should I do do avoid this incidence again. Your advise on this matter is much appreciated.
Frankly, I don't think there is any way one can avoid such events. In the late '80's we hit a "dead-head" and like you, bent a prop-blade and broke the shaft strut. Fortunately we had enough wind to be able to sail back to our slip. Unfortunately, the ensuing repair was not inexpensive. One can only keep a sharp eye and one's finger's 'n toes crossed!

FWIW...
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Old 09-07-2010, 06:35   #9
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Unfortunately it is a risk we all take when we motor sail at night.

My prop is very protected but still vulnerable to heavy lines or fish nets.

Safest solution if you are underway at night is to sail only…. ghosting along at slow speed would cause only minor damages, then power on at dawn when you can see ahead
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Old 09-07-2010, 06:36   #10
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If your boat has a skeg, attaching wire rope from the bottom of the keel to the skeg will help.
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Old 09-07-2010, 15:52   #11
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1. Buy forward looking sonar with a proximity alarm. That might pick up a big tree trunk, probably not a smaller log.

2. Get a full keel boat with a prop and rudder protected by a skeg.
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Old 10-07-2010, 09:41   #12
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Check out this blob of fun. 400 miles north of Virgin Islands, middle of nowhere. Right into the prop.
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Old 10-07-2010, 09:54   #13
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Unless you only want to motor during the daytime, its all luck of the draw.

I hit things occasionally at night usually going 17 knots. It sure makes me jump when I hear a log hit the aluminum hull. The whole boat vibrates...and so do my nerves. Fortunately my props are somewhat protected by two inch diameter shaft guards which run under and parallel the the shafts and below the propellers terminating at the base of the rudders. The boat originally came from the East Coast and the guards I think were put there mostly to keep the float lines from lobster and crab pots out of the props. They do work pretty well for keeping other debris out of the props.

I'm wondering how well this idea would transfer to sailboats. I would imagine that much depends on the sailboats design.
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Old 10-07-2010, 10:30   #14
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I have forward scanning sonar, an Interphase SE200C. It's better than nothing, but it won't pick up very shallow floating logs, lobster pots or fishing net bouys. Sailing at night, or in nasty weather isn't for the faint of heart. We are all taking our chances.
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Old 10-07-2010, 10:34   #15
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Quote:
I'm wondering how well this idea would transfer to sailboats. I would imagine that much depends on the sailboats design.
I don't see why it wouldn't work, but what would be the drag figure for such a guard?
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