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Old 01-01-2016, 17:37   #1
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So what did I learn? Nothing!!

I have been sailing for over 30 years. And even ran my own sailing school for some years. No matter the experience we all screw up. So heres the story.

Heading into a bay for NYE fireworks. It had about 200 boats anchored to leeward of where we found a spot.

I went up to the bow to lower the anchor, my mate was at the helm. I had told him he would need to apply reverse help us set the anchor. He did what he was told. The next thing the engine died. At this point I knew I couldnt let out much more scope do to the boats directly behind us. I also didnt know why the engine wouldnt restart. (sounded like a dead battery_ strange).

I ran to the stern to yell to the boat directly behind and let them know our problems. (though the anchor was appearing to hold at this point). This is when I saw the dinghys bow lodged under the stern of the boat. My mate had reversed over the painter. Arrg.

So now we cant motor out of the bay. Its dark and there are going to be 200 boats to leeward for the next hour or so. Plus I have no idea if we have enough scope on the anchor. *h Sh&T!!

By this time, I knew we had rope around the prop shaft, thats what killed the engine and why it wouldnt restart. My next concern was "what if the prop shaft is now bent"? Double *h Sh&T.

Now, 15 mins in, the anchor appeared to be holding (thank whichever god). We had lots of cold beer on board. But we knew we had to stay sober "just in case".

Eventually, the fireworks went off and they were great. We attempted to be happy and excited. But we knew we were stuck there for the night and if the wind picked up, we would be in for a long night.

Luckily, 20 mins after the fireworks, our leeward neighbor motored away. That allowed us to increase the scope substantially. It held over night.

The next day we dove on the prop shaft and cleared the spaghetti of painter.

Then with some trepidation we started the engine and put it slowly into reverse then forward gear then reverse to listen for bangs or sounds of bent shaft. WOOOHOO.. No bent shaft. So we were able to motor off safely.

So what did I learn? Nothing! I already knew not to run over the painter. I already knew to let my crew know of these things. I simply forgot to mention it and for got to bring the dinghy in closer. Sigh!
There is only one thing to blame for the events that unfolded. ME!
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Old 01-01-2016, 17:47   #2
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Re: So what did I learn? Nothing!!

One of my favourite lines is from Bill Gates; "Success teaches nothing."

I would suggest you learned a lot last night.

We took out a transmission in the middle of the Pacific high when a small piece of fishing net wrapped itself around the prop and shaft while we were under power.
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Old 01-01-2016, 18:09   #3
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Re: So what did I learn? Nothing!!

Use floating poly rope for your dinghy painter?

Did you try reversing the prop shaft to see of the line would free before diving? Worked for me one time.
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Old 01-01-2016, 18:16   #4
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Re: So what did I learn? Nothing!!

I'm not understanding why the motor wouldn't restart. Was it still in gear?
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Old 01-01-2016, 18:47   #5
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Re: So what did I learn? Nothing!!

Yikes. Glad it all worked out for the best! Whew. Sometimes SH&T happens, right?! It certainly sounds like you kept your cool and everything turned out no worse for wear, except maybe a few grey hairs

My biggest fear is exactly this -- having the engine cut off in close quarters. Often I am alone and when the motor is on, the sail is down or coming down, which would be extremely hard to raise in a jiffy; the jib is so small to be practically useless. If this happens, my thoughts are to run below, flip the switches to the windlass, then anchor until I can get everything stable and can start thinking things through. At 20K lbs and a wheel, often with ripping currents and high winds, it's just not feasible to scull the boat and I certainly won't be able to turn it into the wind to raise the fully battened mainsail. If the water is too deep, then I would drift purposely until close enough to anchor. (Ugh, that thought gives me heartburn.) Anyway, I hope this is the right thought process -- and I hope I never have to test it!
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Old 01-01-2016, 20:47   #6
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Re: So what did I learn? Nothing!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 44'cruisingcat View Post
I'm not understanding why the motor wouldn't restart. Was it still in gear?
I kinda rushed the post I guess. The motor wouldnt restart as my mate had left it in gear and the transmission was locked due to the rope around the prop.
Later, we simply put it in neutral (as I assumed it was) and it started just fine.
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Old 01-01-2016, 20:49   #7
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Re: So what did I learn? Nothing!!

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One of my favourite lines is from Bill Gates; "Success teaches nothing."

I would suggest you learned a lot last night.

We took out a transmission in the middle of the Pacific high when a small piece of fishing net wrapped itself around the prop and shaft while we were under power.
Ouch, thats not a fun place to have to dive on a prop..
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Old 01-01-2016, 21:05   #8
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Re: So what did I learn? Nothing!!

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Ouch, thats not a fun place to have to dive on a prop..
Actually quite nice. No wind (which is why we were under power) no waves.

After a couple of attempts to cut it off, I realized I would pull it off. That worked.

No wind, no means of propulsion. Halfway between Hawaii and Vancouver. That was not fun.
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Old 01-01-2016, 21:24   #9
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Re: So what did I learn? Nothing!!

OZ

Got my respect! Takes a man to freely admit he caused the issue vs. throwing the crew under the bus errr ahhhh under the keel....
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Old 02-01-2016, 09:39   #10
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Re: So what did I learn? Nothing!!

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OZ

Got my respect! Takes a man to freely admit he caused the issue vs. throwing the crew under the bus errr ahhhh under the keel....
Taking responsibility for ones actions, and inactions, is an admirable attribute. Good on ya.
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Old 02-01-2016, 09:49   #11
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Re: So what did I learn? Nothing!!

The dingy painter is just one of those things that is super easy to forget about. You think about it before you actually get to the point of anchoring, but then watching depths, other boats, wind etc distracts you and...... I went to floating painter myself, although not sure that always works either.
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Old 02-01-2016, 09:49   #12
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Re: So what did I learn? Nothing!!

No,no,no. You must learn to shift blame and take no responsibility. If your crew was inexperienced that was a perfect opportunity to blame him/her for the screw up. How can you assert command if you don't blame everyone else for the errors and mishaps?😉😉


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Old 02-01-2016, 09:58   #13
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Re: So what did I learn? Nothing!!

I commend the OP for starting this thread. I'll bet more people have done this than would care to admit it. Several lessons here: always use floating tow line, always snug the tow line when motoring through a congested area because you never know when you might have to throw it into reverse, always take the motor out of gear when it dies & lastly, if you know you've wound a line around your shaft try bumping the boat into reverse while someone pulls on the line, you might get lucky.
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Old 02-01-2016, 09:59   #14
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Re: So what did I learn? Nothing!!

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lastly, if you know you've wound a line around your shaft try bumping the boat into reverse while someone pulls on the line, you might get lucky.
If you have manual fuel stop - pull it out. That will prevent the engine from starting.
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Old 02-01-2016, 10:04   #15
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Re: So what did I learn? Nothing!!

I learned 30 years ago never tow a dinghy
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