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View Poll Results: What Sinks Sailboats (wood excluded) Survey
Hitting something or being hit - damaging the hull 12 24.00%
Failure in the hull/deck construction 1 2.00%
Leaking thruhulls 25 50.00%
Shaft log or packing failure, Loss of propeller shaft 12 24.00%
Loss of keel 4 8.00%
Bilge pump failure batteries, wiring, plumbing or pump 20 40.00%
Rigging failure chainplates, couplers, shrouds, stays, boom or mast 0 0%
Rudder failure 5 10.00%
Fire or Engine explosion 6 12.00%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 50. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 16-03-2006, 12:59   #46
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Deep Cove - North Vancouver, BC
Boat: Catalina 27 - Leaky Cauldron
Posts: 350
Water, water, water everywhere

My apologies to those who have read this story elsewhere, but here is one experience I had.

So imagine you're out sailing with a couple new to the sailing experience. You are sailing a Tanzer 26 out on the pond off of The University of British Columbia area. You plan to sail into the dark evening and see the city lights. As you are sailing, without any warning such as a thunk or tell tail noise, the boat begins to fill up with water. The couple you are with becomes alarmed but you tell them no big deal, we'll pump out with the electric bilge pump. You turn it on and "no go;" the battery is flat. So you say, don't worry we'll use the manual bilge pump. So you begin to pump and pump, only to have the handle snap in two.

Imagine being out on the pond in the dark, with a boat with no VHF, filling up with water and a panicky couple on your hands. This story occured in 1985 when many boats didn't have VHF then.

So you announce that at the fill rate of the boat, you feel you have enough time to get back to the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club before you actually sink. Needless to say, the couple is nervous; why do these things seem to always happen with new people aboard? So you point the bow towards the yacht club, and with a hope and prayer, and crossed fingers, you sail as quickly as you can.

My estimate is good and we tie up to the slip at the club, but the water is still coming in; about two and a half feet of water through out the entire boat. The lines at the jetty are what's keeping you afloat. The night watchman comes on board with his flash light and I explain the problem to him - water, water, everywhere - but you can't locate the problem.

As the night watch man searches the boat, the female of the couple lets out a loud yell and says she sees light shining through the hull. I come out quickly and sure enough, at the rudder, you can see light shining through. On the Tanzer 26 the rudder is on the outside off the transom. Now here's what we think happened.

About a year earlier, my buddy and I had been out sailing with his wife. They were learning night navigation and taking fixes from the lights around. The only problem with this plan is they were reading the lights wrong and our "fix" was mythical; we weren't even close to where we thought we were. My buddy walks forward and as he does, I hear "Oh, Oh!" and "WHAM!" we hit a submerged rock. I fly forward and hit the traveller, thus opening a sizable cut above my eye.

So we pull into a RVYC out post and call out "Doctor." Normally at RVYC if you yell doctor, a third of the people poke their head out to see why they are needed. A chap responds with a suturing kit like I have never seen. He has everything except Novocaine, but he says: "don't worry, your drunk enough you won't feel a thing." He's wrong, but I still get stitched up.

Approximately a week latter we lifted the boat to see what damage occurred to the boat and are happy to find very little damage, easy to fix. What we didn't know is that this bang must have also affected the rudder. The thorough hull bolts that hold the rudder onto the transom had become ever so slightly loosened.

A year latter in the said above night sail with the new couple, the bolts became really loose, the nuts fell off and the bolts went to the briny depths of the ocean. There were four open holes through the under water protion of the transom.

A great "whew! from my buddy (we shared the boat) and I; and a vow from the female companion of the visiting couple to never sail again. More bolts were put in, a VHF added, and life was good till our next adventure.

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Old 16-03-2006, 20:06   #47
Kai Nui

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messingabout, by that logic, it would be fair to say that all boats that sink underway have a skipper aboard, so with that logic, the skipper is the cause of all sinking underway
rsn48, I agree, it seems everytime I have problems aboard, I have inexpereinced crew. Glad to hear you only had a screw loose

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Old 16-03-2006, 21:26   #48
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Gabriola BC
Boat: Viking 33 Tanzer 8.5m Tanzer 22
Posts: 1,034
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Rudder bolts

The bolts on the transom that hold the lower gudgeon are above the water by a few inches. They can drop down to the waterline when the transom squats while under power.
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Old 16-03-2006, 22:21   #49
Kai Nui

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I hate problems like that. They are difficult to find, and the potential for disaster is very real. I have seen boats sink at the dock because a leak above the waterline (such as a thruhull) did not leak until a big storm, or the cockpit drains clogged and filled the cockpit. Suddenly, the boat is taking on water, and no one is around. That exact scenario took place in our harbor durring storms last month. The guy lost allot of equipment, but at least someone saw the boat was sinking, and managed to get a pump going. The culprit was a damaged hose on the galley sink drain. 40kt winds heeled the boat to the point where the thruhull was under water.

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