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Old 08-05-2010, 05:24   #1
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Close Quarters Handling - What Would YOU Do?

Had this happen to me the other day. Thought it would be fun to see what the forum members would do in this situation.... then I'll share with you what I did to get out of it.

Winds were South 18-25kts and I was maneuvering in a narrow marina channel that runs east - west. Boat is a 42ft catamaran. Channel is not very wide - my lee shore is a breakwater that runs east - west beside the channel. Turning basin at the end of the breakwater. I must approach from the west, turn 180 degrees around the end of the breakwater and then maneuver to the slip (first time in this slip of course).

So with that basic scenario..... people waiting at the dock to help with lines and all... As I passed along the breakwater, mid-channel, I got a severe vibration in the stbd engine. Became unusable as I didn't want to damage things.

The only safe area lies to stbd about 50 yards to windward. The port engine and rudder is not enough to turn the boat into the wind, and I am slowly being set down upon the breakwater / slips to port. To help matters this channel is busy as it also leads to a public boat ramp nearby.

So - what would YOU do in this situation?
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Old 08-05-2010, 06:01   #2
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How does the boat lie naturally? If its bow down then you back out of the situation to windward.
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Old 08-05-2010, 06:07   #3
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Well, since the only cat I every sailed was a 16' Hobie I'm kinda guessing here but might have tried putting port engine in reverse and backing into the safe area to windward and drop a hook. Or use port engine and reverse to at least get away from the lee danger to allow more room to turn around the end of the breakwater, maybe back all the way to the slip?

Plan B, since it was a busy channel maybe ask a passing monohull for help?
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Old 08-05-2010, 14:23   #4
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Originally Posted by markpj23 View Post

So - what would YOU do in this situation?


I haven't read the other replies.

if I understand your situation correctly... and after ringing the Insurance Company making sure I have paid my account...

Theres 2 thoughts I had

1) Drop the anchor where is and lay back to the lee shore

2) Do a 180 in the channel by the port hand and sail back out on a reach and drop the pick somewhere else or head to sea to fix errant donk.

3) other possible choice is to run the starboard engine as normal and stuff the damn vibration! It may just be a plastic bad on the prop not affecting performance.

4) Panic



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Old 08-05-2010, 14:28   #5
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If its bow down then you back out of the situation to windward.
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putting port engine in reverse and backing into the safe area to windward and drop a hook.
Damn, I knew I shudda looked at the other answers first.


Nice answers gentlemen.

OK Mark, what did you do? Actually, don't tell us yet, there may be some more ideas.


Mark
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Old 08-05-2010, 17:13   #6
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Sound four blasts of the horn and hope others recognize that you are about to so something strange.
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Old 08-05-2010, 18:00   #7
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In a catamaran it can be a real problem. Going too slow you loose steerage, and the bow will not respond to the attempt to turn to stbd. I think using the port engine in reverse may pull the port stern around and into the wind. You may have to use more power, so as to get some steerage back into the rudder. By backing around counter clockwise until I am facing out the channel from where I came in, I would go forward with enough power to gain steerage, until I could steer the boat straight out of danger into clear water.
If this fails, or it's too crowded, drop the anchor until you can sort things or wait for help.
Cats maneuver great with 2 engines, but when one is out, they're a nightmare. I've been there.
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Old 08-05-2010, 18:02   #8
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I know 5 short blasts are the danger signal, but what the heck are 4 blasts?
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Old 08-05-2010, 18:20   #9
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I know 5 short blasts are the danger signal, but what the heck are 4 blasts?
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Oops!

errr.

All he had time for before one hand to the wheel and the other on the throttle?

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Old 08-05-2010, 18:30   #10
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Quote:
So - what would YOU do in this situation?
Let you steer the boat.

Situations unfold in some sense and as they do you have time to change your mind and think of alternates. In the scernario you did none of that. You present a situation where you assumed all the preceding information and expect we can pull a rabbit out of the hat. I would just pull the boat into the hole and expect the line handlers to haul me in if I got that far.

It may be possible you screwed it up before you got there. If you go too slow then you are unable to make way - out of control. Might have been better to drop the hook and aim for something cheap. You generally don't go into a situation without an out. If you go in without out knowing the out then you were just too arrogant to know better and being lucky still counts. I'm quite lucky.

As Napoleon said: "I know he is a great general, but is he lucky?"
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Old 08-05-2010, 19:00   #11
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Paul -
I think you need to go practice driving cats with one engine in narrow confines with a strong crosswind, then restate your opinion.
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Old 08-05-2010, 19:42   #12
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You've got to keep steerage, as soon as you loose it, you're a dead duck. You don't say if you've got a current, so I'm assuming it is insignificant.

Since you're on your Manta, with that very nice helm station and single winch "do everything", I'd raise your main to your 3rd reef point, keeping it tightly sheeted. That will keep you in forward motion and you can use your port engine to combat any leeway.

Hopefully, that's enough to get yourself to the turning basin, loosen the main sheet, drop anchor, figure out what's going on with your starboard engine and assess your options.

Tough situation. So, what did you do?

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Old 08-05-2010, 19:52   #13
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Mark,
I'm all ears.
You're safe?
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Old 08-05-2010, 21:35   #14
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I think the boat might be able to crab in a fairly straight line since the wind offsets the turning force of the port engine. Perhaps you could go along to the turning basin and drop the hook? That would turn your bow into the wind. From that point, it would be pretty easy to raise anchor and complete the turn to stbd with your port engine. Now the question is how far do you have to go once you make the 180? It would be a judgement call if you could make your slip, given that you would be sideslipping to stbd very fast. If you didn't drop you hook, you could perhaps reverse the port engine in the turning basin and crab backwards (or rather sideslip to port) into the slip. The other option is to wait on your hook for help. Very hard to tell from this distance.

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Old 09-05-2010, 02:07   #15
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I'd go with LtBrett, just hope he's on board when it happens to me!!
Raising the main would help to balance the boat fore and aft, to a small size wouldn't overpower the boat, i.e. prevent the single engine from stopping the boat. It might generate some space around you too, some sailors would recognise that you are not going to be able to stop easily, most boaters will recognise an idiot that's trying to sail into a compact and busy situation and give the idiot in charge some room to crash.
In my second year I'm getting into those sort of 'advanced' boat handling situations and recently spotted a pontoon provided by the Cowes harbour Authorities for 'Practicing Mooring - No Stopping'. Perhaps I'll try that solution in light winds, and also work out how to fast my boat goes sideways using the engine to stop any forward motion (i.e. will the fenders burst on contact with the pontoon/neighbour). I'll pretty soon find out how much sail it will need to keep the bows pointing in the intended direction too.
I think, in that situation without pre-thought, I'd have reversed across to the chosen parking space, hoping to get somewhere near enough for the land crew to haul me in. Dropping the hook, wait 'till it's quieter then dinghy to shore with a long line the haul her in to a berth.
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