Scared the CRAP out of me! - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 20 Old 05-31-2013 Thread Starter
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Scared the CRAP out of me!

Motoring along last weekend on a drizzly, rainy, mostly windless Memorial day at 7knots (SOW) with a following current of about 1.6kts. Trying to stay awake as my overly warm foulies and the loud humdrum of my perkins engine try and convince me that I should be asleep at the wheel.

I deserve sleep after all. My kid is teething, so I've forgotten what sleep looks like. A couple long blinks feel so good......

BANG!

The sound, and even more so, the feeling of the "bang" come from directly under the boat. I unconsciously look down at the cockpit sole from whence the sound came.

Brain to medsailor: "Panic stations! Damage report! Bowels evacuated!"

Did the transmission just explode? No. While I've reached down for the throttle and am throttling down to idle in 1.4 nanoseconds, I realize that the engine still sounds okay and there is no vibration. Can't be the transmission or engine.

We hit something.

I immediately think of my prop, and the fact that I just spent (actual amount censored) dollars on my new prop shaft, coupler, and prop and we only splashed a couple weeks ago. But wait, if I hit something and it folded over the blade of a prop, the prop and shaft would be trying to shake the boat apart. I've been there, done that on another boat. Nope, we hit something, but it didn't hit the prop. I turn around....

A couple seconds later, maybe 50ft behind the boat a 30ft log of about 10" diameter surfaces from the deeps. It's a typical Puget sound log, with all the edges rounded and bark gone from floating and banging into things for a while. I wonder how much she weighs?

I go below and check the bilges for the in-flood of water, which is a throwback from my wooden boat ownership days. Nope, not sinking. I go forward and check the bobstay and dolphin striker. Intact.


Plus one for my overly built, ridiculously thick fiberglass hull and full keel. It's got lots of disadvantages, but the other day, I was in love all over again with my heavy full keeler. We must have hit that log square on and it just rolled under the boat and popped up behind us. My prop is contained in an aperture and it a couple feet above the bottom of the keel so it was saved.

While I wasn't ever asleep at the wheel, I was certainly not at my sharpest at the wheel either. Makes me wonder if that's how it is while doing single-handed passages. On watch, but not really....

S/V Fairhaven +1. Logs -0...... for now.

MedSailor

PS +1 also for choosing baggy brown colored foulies.

I have a sauna on my boat, therefore I win.
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Last edited by MedSailor; 05-31-2013 at 11:53 PM.
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post #2 of 20 Old 05-31-2013
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Re: Scared the CRAP out of me!

glad to hear no damage. but honestly, with no wind, I am assuming almost no waves. Would you have even seen it if you had been wide awake?

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post #3 of 20 Old 06-01-2013
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Re: Scared the CRAP out of me!

You came out unscathed...that's good.

Sometimes I wish I had a full keel. I think I've hit a few logs over the years. I have a skeg hung rudder but my rudder sticks down a bit below the skeg. The last one I hit did a bit of damage to the rudder but generally not bad. At some point I will hit another no matter how careful I am. The PNW as you know is like this and always will.

Here are some photos I took of Campbell River after some storm force winds coupled with high tides rolled in a couple of years ago. This crap lasted over a month or so before most of it washed ashore until the next storm.









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post #4 of 20 Old 06-01-2013
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Re: Scared the CRAP out of me!

I know the feeling. I was on a friend's boat a few years ago when we hit a big piece of dunnage (or something that look an awful lot like dunnage; it was about 12"x12"x10') in the Santa Barbara channel late in the afternoon, after sailing almost 24 hours. The skipper/owner was taking a nap below, and I had just left the least experienced guy on the boat in the cockpit while I went below to make some tea. When the BANG happened the skipper and I both tried flying through the companionway at the same time (initially, we both thought we must have hit a mooring buoy associated with a nearby oil platform). Fortunately, the only damage was a fair-sized scuff mark right at the edge of the bootstripe.

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post #5 of 20 Old 06-01-2013
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Re: Scared the CRAP out of me!

I think that a GRP hull can take a lot, even a "production" boat.
Maybe you have seen this before, but it is interesting, and remember this boat is standard german production boat.

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post #6 of 20 Old 06-01-2013
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Re: Scared the CRAP out of me!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morild View Post
I think that a GRP hull can take a lot, even a "production" boat.
Maybe you have seen this before, but it is interesting, and remember this boat is standard german production boat.
Why dont people ask me to crew on days like that!
Looked like great fun.

Amazed there wasnt more damage.

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post #7 of 20 Old 06-01-2013
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Re: Scared the CRAP out of me!

Glad to hear its just a bar story now! If I were telling it, that log would get bigger and bigger, the weather would get worse and I would have been knocked unconscious by a breaking rouge wave, not teething sleep deprivation.

You might send a diver down to take a peek. I've popped both the leading edge of a rudder and the prop and never knew until the next haul. No bang. Glass on the rudder was compromised and there was quarter inch nick in the leading edge of the prop. No vibration. I know your full keel limits these, but the hull may have damage that didn't breach.


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post #8 of 20 Old 06-01-2013
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Re: Scared the CRAP out of me!

In the late 1980's after a fairly blistery ride back from Catalina in our, then, Cal 2-29, my wife and I entered Long Beach harbor through Angles Gate and began a motor sail down to Alamitos Bay behind the breakwater. Suddenly we felt a heavy bump under the hull, immediately followed by a heavy banging. I pulled the engine into neutral, which stopped the banging, and rounded up into the wind so we could check the below-decks. While so doing we observed what appeared to be a black piling, bobbing vertically, with the top just awash in our wake. We had no flooding/leakage and so flopped around and headed back toward Alamitos Bay. With the engine idling I pulled the trans into forward and the banging immediately resumed. We shut down the engine and proceeded under sail with failing wind. Getting down the Channel to Alamitos Bay against an out-bound tide was a bit of a challenge but was a reach so we made it with only slightly frazzled nerves. While we would normally have rounded up and turned into our slip at the Alamitos Bay Yacht Club, we continued on under jib only to the temporary tie-up dock at Marina Ship Yard near the 2nd Street Bridge. We secured the boat and left the keys and a note in the key drop-box at the Office and made the long hike back to ABYC.

The following morning--a Monday--our boat was given an emergency haul out to reveal a mangled prop, one blade severely damaged and a broken shaft strut. One blade had evidently hit the piling and bent over until the strut snapped. The banging we heard, evidently caused by the broken strut slamming the underside of the hull, had fortunately only caused minor damage to the hull that was easily repaired. Replacing the strut and the bent prop shaft was somewhat more costly however. We also learned that rotting pilings floating vertically in the harbor--dead heads--were fairly commonplace near San Pedro/Angles Gate and an on-going revenue source for Marina Shipyard. The only cure was extreme vigilance in that area.

FWIW...

"It is not so much for its beauty that the sea makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from the waves, that so wonderfully renews a weary spirit."

Last edited by svHyLyte; 06-03-2013 at 10:14 AM.
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post #9 of 20 Old 06-01-2013
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Re: Scared the CRAP out of me!

Hakai Pass area, lots of logs in the water. Very bad to hit one at these speeds. One of our group, fishing alone hit one and was thrown overboard. Luckily, he survived.


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post #10 of 20 Old 06-01-2013
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Re: Scared the CRAP out of me!

Things that go boom in the night is better than a cup of coffee with a red bull chaser. "I'm not sleepy any more".

Glad your boats okay. It will be interesting to see what kind of ding such a loud bang made in the hull.

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