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Old 26-11-2012, 11:01   #1
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Question Tips for Coming Along side and Rafting off

Hi, looking for your input on the best way to come-along-side another boat and tie off either at anchor or drifting free. What about difference in the size of vessels.
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Old 27-11-2012, 20:08   #2
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Re: Tips for Coming Along side and Rafting off

Best way to come alongside another boat and tie off? Slowly. When we raft up we always make sure the masts aren't lined up together. Tangling rigging has been known to drop masts. It is probably best to raft with boats of similar or closer sizes together - offsetting the masts. Our club sponsors a race with a raftup at the finish. Sometimes as many as a half dozen or more boats together. (47', 45', 40', 38', 36' 35', 34', 30' etc.) Biggest goes in the middle, with diminishing sizes out to the sides. We try to have at least four fenders aboard to avoid dings, and don't do it if there's too much wave action. In a large raft, more than one boat should probably have an anchor down. Quiet harbors without waterskiers or passing lobsterboats are better, and be aware of what changing winds or currents may do to the raft.
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Old 27-11-2012, 20:16   #3
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Re: Tips for Coming Along side and Rafting off

Don't forget to plan for any tidal current reversals.
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Old 27-11-2012, 21:13   #4
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Re: Tips for Coming Along side and Rafting off

We did it a very long time ago in a very sheltered Americas Bay.

Left to right my Gindie (Hartley RORC 32), Rick's Cockatoo II (Adams 40) and Philip's Isolde (Sampson 34).

Now I know why I like digital cameras so much.
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Old 27-11-2012, 21:37   #5
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Re: Tips for Coming Along side and Rafting off

We off load to the deadliest catch guys all the time, the key too side tying is mass fenders and one boat is always anchored.
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Old 27-11-2012, 22:01   #6
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Re: Tips for Coming Along side and Rafting off

Prepare a spring line from a fwd cleat, drop it over an aft cleat on the target boat, motor ahead slowly, adjusting the spring*, and pass bow and sternlines and add the opposite spring line.

*Adjust the springlines to keep the shrouds out of line as mentioned above. Rafting without springlines is often done and often causes problems, not just because rigs tangle but because fenders pop out.
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Old 27-11-2012, 22:16   #7
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Re: Tips for Coming Along side and Rafting off

It is way easier is one vessel is anchored. If one moving then there is a suction between the two vessels that pull them together.

In these videos the container ship is moving at 3 knots.

From our boat



From the container ship



The bow got away on us at about 2:55 and we pulled apart. We got us back along side and completed the evacuation.
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Old 27-11-2012, 22:21   #8
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Re: Tips for Coming Along side and Rafting off

Biggest boat with biggest anchor uses its pick.

And now for a giggle at the expense of Stink Boat owners.
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Old 28-11-2012, 06:03   #9
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Re: Tips for Coming Along side and Rafting off

Thanks everyone. A few days ago, a buddy and rafted to eachother. My boat is larger than his, and his boat got beat up by mine. Now I know why. Neither of us were anchored. It was like a boxing match. Lesson learned.
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Old 28-11-2012, 08:45   #10
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Re: Tips for Coming Along side and Rafting off

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Originally Posted by Danosimp3 View Post
Hi, looking for your input on the best way to come-along-side another boat and tie off either at anchor or drifting free. What about difference in the size of vessels.
I believe that an appropriate amount of bumpers should also be used, depending on the lenth of the boats involved.
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Old 28-11-2012, 09:10   #11
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Re: Tips for Coming Along side and Rafting off

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I believe that an appropriate amount of bumpers should also be used, depending on the lenth of the boats involved.
The fenders should be mounted higher than "normal". Tie fenders off so that they are along the rub rail. Stagger the spreaders. Use both spring lines and breast lines to prevent vessel movement. Biggest boat with most secure ground tackle is the one who should anchor. Be prepared to break up the raft in case of deteriorating weather or problems on the other vessel.

If you raft at a dock, cross other vessels on the foredeck.
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Old 11-12-2012, 14:29   #12
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Re: Tips for Coming Along side and Rafting off

Quite often I raft up with friends. My boat being much smaller than most of theirs (Hunter 23.5) I have to be very carefull how I do this. If there is much chop, I will often tie up stern-to with them using their wind shadow and size to make our ride much smoother. I generally leave 6-10' between us and if we want to swim between boats maybe a little more. This also reduces sailing on anchor and makes for a nice way to visit cockpit to cockpit. When we do this we just need a couple of fenders just in case the wind does something fluky or dies and lets us drift together. (Usually doesn't happen.) Rafted side to side, my little boat is more apt to get tangled with their rigging etc.

Kevin
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Old 11-12-2012, 15:05   #13
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Re: Tips for Coming Along side and Rafting off

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Rafted side to side, my little boat is more apt to get tangled with their rigging etc.

Kevin
Just stagger the rigging. Use breast lines and spring lines to stabilize the raft.
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Old 11-12-2012, 16:20   #14
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Re: Tips for Coming Along side and Rafting off

A trick I learned many years ago if you were doing any offshore passage making was to have a 2"X12"X25' plank aboard and lashed down against stanchions/ shrouds. Any one who has tried to come along side of a larger commercial vessel for parts or fuel will understand how badly a smaller sailboat can get beat up if there is a bit of a sea running, particularly if it is steel against wood or fiberglass, regardless of how many fenders you have out. Have a couple of holes drilled in each end of the plank. Place your fenders a little higher than you would at the dock and secure the plank on the outside of the fenders, closest to the vessel you are going to tie to by running a line through the drilled holes and tying off forward and aft of the fenders.
The plank reduces the possiblity of fenders riding up and the two hulls coming into contact. I've used this technique a few times with commercial fishing vessels and large Mexican Navy vessels and never had a scratch on my boat. With the advent of RIB's used by most Government vessels, the problems are reduced but larger commercial vessels are problematic. Phil
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Old 11-12-2012, 16:29   #15
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Re: Tips for Coming Along side and Rafting off

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A trick I learned many years ago if you were doing any offshore passage making was to have a 2"X12"X25' plank aboard and lashed down against stanchions/ shrouds. Any one who has tried to come along side of a larger commercial vessel for parts or fuel will understand how badly a smaller sailboat can get beat up if there is a bit of a sea running, particularly if it is steel against wood or fiberglass, regardless of how many fenders you have out. Have a couple of holes drilled in each end of the plank. Place your fenders a little higher than you would at the dock and secure the plank on the outside of the fenders, closest to the vessel you are going to tie to by running a line through the drilled holes and tying off forward and aft of the fenders.
The plank reduces the possiblity of fenders riding up and the two hulls coming into contact. I've used this technique a few times with commercial fishing vessels and large Mexican Navy vessels and never had a scratch on my boat. With the advent of RIB's used by most Government vessels, the problems are reduced but larger commercial vessels are problematic. Phil
You should have told me about this earlier.

This is not dissimilar from the fender boards that are used when docking against a fixed dock in tidal waters.
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