All good points, especially the need to be thinking ahead more so that one might do when just powering in. I think that just powering around can lead to a mindset where the engine becomes a requirement in the plan..so when something happens and it quits things can get interesting quick! (grin)
I delivered a Fuji 32 to Charleston years back. When the owners handed the boat over to me, it had 3 broken engine mounts..and the mounts had been replaced just a few hundred miles back..hmmm. Seems the Pices three cylinder engine had a wee bit of a vibration to it…like we could never tell what was in any of the cans we were opening because the labels were all rubbed off! We also had to reassemble our glasses after they sat on the counter while off watch..it was bad! The offshore
run from Titsuville to Charleston harbour was uneventful, no obvious problems but I decided to check to be sure that I would have reverse etc. before actually docking
so I gave it a try. There was a loud noise
, the engine tone changed and then there was no forward or reverse! I opened the cockpit locker to have a look and the engine was laying on it's side in the bilge
still running..of course it had to fall on the side with all of the controls..has anyone else experienced the joy of trying to strangle a diesel
? (grin) One thing I learned really quick was to NOT try and use your bare hand alone! ALL of the mounts had sheared off and apparently the only thing left supporting the engine was the rubber flex coupling which sheared when I shifted into reverse. In part due to a lack of trust in the boat, I had set up my intended docking
just as I would have if I had been under sail, so when I lost
the engine, I just calmly fell off the wind, rounding up and docking just as I would have with the engine except for having to do the final braking with lines instead of the engine. We docked in the only open spot, between a giant cruise
boat and a nice sport fisherman. The engine strangling ended up taking quite a long time to accomplish btw despite feeding almost a whole towel into the intake twisting it as tightly as possible and then covering with my hands all the while the blackest soot you have ever seen was belching out of the exhaust
and covering the tourists…think Captain
Ron and his infamous docking! Ahh the situations that we sailors get into sometimes eh?
Sailing to a mooring or even to a dock
is common in Maine
and some of these boats are unpowered and well over 100'. (grin) A few things that I do if I am going to sail into a crowded area include:
1. Reduce to the working jib
which is easy to tack and pretty much never gets hung up on something. The sail is also high cut improving visibility.
2. Study the mooring area from a distance and have a plan. Where is the deep water
, how far can I go in each direction, what boats appear to be about to leave/ who else is entering the mooring field.
3. Study the wind a bit. Entering a sheltered harbour can radically change the wind direction or cause to to become gusty/ erratic. You can see this sometimes in a no current
situation where the boats are not all pointing in the same direction and also from the winds disturbance on the waters surface.
4. Keep the boat speed up, speed is control. Getting caught with a wind shift during an uncompleted tack with low boat speed is not a good thing.
5. My boat carries exceptionally well and I normally approach the mooring I want to pick up on a broad reach if possible with a plan to round up and coast up to the mooring. With a good head
of steam and the wind behind me, I leave plenty of room to take down the jib
and clear the foredeck.
6. Have back up plans. If I judge wrong and I can see that I will have too much speed as I come up on the mooring, I just bear away and set up for another pass. It's rare but sometimes a really strong gust will fill in as I round up and begin slowing the boat too much, if this happens, I again just bear away and set up for another pass. Avoid the mental mindset that you are going to get the mooring no matter what..be flexible.
The mizzen I find is a wonderful "air rudder". I can leave a mooring on whichever tack I want by back the mizzen to rotate the boat.
Rod Stephens once singlehandly backed the engineless (the engine was removed for racing) 53' 11" Stormy Weather
into her slip using just the mizzen… I can't say that I have tried that one just yet! (grin) Handling boats under sail alone used to be quite normal...
Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED
+1, & also, as mentioned, racing
in a fleet where boats are in close proximity to one another helps a lot too. Watch & or participate in a mark rounding where a pack of boats all reach the leeward mark at once, & simultaneously have to drop their spinnakers & transition into upwind mode.
(It's fun :-)
Plus, & this is a biggie: You have to think ahead several steps, including giving yourself several "outs" if something goes awry with your Plan A & B for your next necessary course alteration.
As well as asking, okay, what could go wrong on/with this next tack/manuver, & what are my options to fix it so that I don't T-bone another boat.
Whether, for instance, that means you have to IMMEDIATELY cut a sheet which has jammed on a winch
(preventing you from tacking) & then select "escape plan B".
Or quickly & precisely spin gybe around a different "obstacle" in another direction; & keep reformulating your options. All the while, still asking yourself, "what can go wrong, & what are my fix-it/escape options"?
In the circles I "grew up" in, it's called "War Gaming", but there are other terms for such thinking. But at the moment they escape me.
I imagine that if you've driven in heavy traffic at speeds significantly higher than the traffic flow, then you get the idea. It's the same thing with boats, in the inquired scenario.