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Old 05-12-2010, 19:07   #1
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Could Have Been Really Bad !

I've been sailing most of my adult life and accidents and disasters usually get the most attention. My favorites are the close calls, especially when they turn out OK. In October I sailed with a good friend on his pride and joy, a 43' Alden on a cruise from NC up to Annapolis. The Dismal Swamp lock tender asked us to enter the lock and advised us to be careful of a following wind and current. As we entered the lock at a pretty good clip the owner /skipper suddenly realized that he had no reverse when he attempted to slow the boat. In another 150 feet we would come to a sudden halt when we would hit the 30 ton gates that would cut into the boat about two feet above the water line. The skipper threw it into reverse and gave it power but the boat only accelerated in forward. The Lock Tender charged out of his little control cabin yelling "throw me a stern line" which he caught on the first attempt. The lock tender (Robert Peek) did a remarkable thing, he proceeded to coil and uncoil the line around the bollards at least three times as we headed for the gate and certain disaster. The dock line actually burned the paint off the bollards but eventually held and stopped us 20 feet short of disaster, the boat was still under power, the linkage had separated and the transmission could not be disengaged. The repeated coiling prevented us from blowing out the stern cleat or breaking the line to bring 30,000 lb to a sudden stop. It was just amazing. Kudos to the quick thinking staff.
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Old 05-12-2010, 22:32   #2
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Excellent story...
Did the lock tender get his share of thank you...thank you..thank you...
I guess these guys see all sorts.
Its nice to know they all aren't just button pushers.
Thanks.
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Old 05-12-2010, 23:04   #3
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That's great. Last time I knew someone who's linkage seperated, they had to choose between hitting a nice wooden boat, or T-boning a cement pier. Luckily, they had a 1960's HEAVY fiberglass boat and chose the pier. A very minor fiberglass repair later (about 1.5" notch in the stem) and everything was back to normal. Glad you guys didn't even have that problem.

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Old 06-12-2010, 04:51   #4
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Someone on here has a saying"approach the slip at the speed you wish to hit it".Apparently applies to locks?marc
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Old 07-12-2010, 16:11   #5
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Originally Posted by James S View Post
Excellent story...
Did the lock tender get his share of thank you...thank you..thank you...
I guess these guys see all sorts.
Its nice to know they all aren't just button pushers.
Thanks.
On a follow-up trip through the same lock we delivered a case of Yuengling and a big thank-you to the lock tender. We also sent a note of commendation to the US Corps of army engineers noting our appreciation of the lock tenders quick thinking and reaction to our dilemma,
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Old 08-12-2010, 05:38   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wbuckl View Post
On a follow-up trip through the same lock we delivered a case of Yuengling and a big thank-you to the lock tender. We also sent a note of commendation to the US Corps of army engineers noting our appreciation of the lock tenders quick thinking and reaction to our dilemma,
Well done guys. It's always easy to complain, and too few really extend thnks when the jobs a good one. Sounds like you did it well.
Cheers
JOHN
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Old 08-12-2010, 07:52   #7
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Well done guys. It's always easy to complain, and too few really extend thnks when the jobs a good one. Sounds like you did it well.
Cheers
JOHN
Absolutely...good on ya guys!
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Old 08-12-2010, 08:36   #8
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WOW, thats some quick thinking. Maybe he's seen that one before?
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Old 13-12-2010, 14:30   #9
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Aloha and welcome aboard,
Thanks for the great story. I've had that very same thing happen to me with the transmission linkage. It has made me a very cautious and slow skipper when approaching a dock.
kind regards,
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