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post #1 of 14 Old 07-27-2008 Thread Starter
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encounter with boulders?...

Today, we were motoring back to the dock on return from Loch Ness and we have to pass this weir, staying clear of it. In this (Winter) picture it is flowing aggressively, but it was less so today. That's the canal to the left, and River ness to the right...

Image of Dochfour Weir - Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I moved a bit to the right to make room for a big long barge that was heading toward us, mindful of staying a reasonable distance off the weir.

To my horror, my ship encounterd something on the bottom and slowed radically. I wheeled left with the remaining speed, but could not cut hard to the left as the barge was approaching. I had to cut the throttle to stop the prop, fearing a prop smash up. My trusty American depth alarm sounded a warning, but there was no time to react. You simply cannot stop your ship that quickly.

My ship rode up, and leaned left with a horrible rumbling beneath it, threatening to stop, with a weir to the right. I sent one of the crew below to get the klaxon ready to sound a warning to the barge but my ship did not quite stop and rolled free.

It must have been a tree or something, though I. I kept glancing back to see if if I had gone too close, or broken the approach protocol or something, or gone the wrong side of the bouy. I had not.

Later, I spoke to a local, and that section has a history of building debris up close to the weir, but I was not that close and it's not marked. It must have been boulders or something. In heavy flood, the water can get debris-laden, apparently, and has to be dredged.

Damn it guys, if that river is in flood, and you get stopped dead, and drift right with no headway, your ship is going to get pinned on that weir, or worse.

There is no way I am going past that weir unless I am well to the left in the picture, and there is no approaching traffic. Sticking to traffic separation has its risks for the right-most ship if you are heading NE, it seems.

I will write to the canal company in the morning.

I never want another heart-stopper like that again.

Lessons learned? Be wary of debris build-up in front of a weir, and far greater than you will imagine.

Maybe I should stick to salt water or something?

Rockter.

Last edited by Rockter; 07-27-2008 at 09:35 PM.
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post #2 of 14 Old 07-27-2008
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Aggravating to be in marked channels and run afoul...makes ya want to point fingers at someone for sure...are ya going to have her hauled to inspect for dammage?
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post #3 of 14 Old 07-27-2008
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Maybe it was Nessie?
Close call there Rock...glad it all worked out in the end!

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post #4 of 14 Old 07-27-2008
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Rockter,

What's the maximum recommended draft for the Caledonian ?

From memory you only draw about 5'6" ?? Apart from your boulder, any other problems, depth wise ?

cheers

Andrew B

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post #5 of 14 Old 07-28-2008
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Sorry to hear you hit something... you should be nicer to Nessie. It would be nice if the local charts had a note mentioning the fact that debris builds up in those spots...so you'd at least know to avoid them without finding out the way you did.

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post #6 of 14 Old 07-28-2008 Thread Starter
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Thanks there guys.

Of the approx 66 mile system, about 22 miles are cut. On Loch Ness (25 miles) and Loch Lochy (about 12 miles), it's very deep indeed. The summit, Loch Oich, is shallower, but marked ok.

I have a diver friend who will dive on the ship to check, but I did not stop dead with a crunch, more a rumble and a slowing. It still stops your heart guys, far more than any wave ever has done.

Max draught it rather deep.... 9 ft is stated.

It's a good place, and can be quiet, especially in autumn and winter. On more than one occasion I have had the entite Loch Ness to myself.

Rockter.
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post #7 of 14 Old 07-28-2008
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Yikes. Glad you got off okay.

Those weirs and low damns always intimidate me -- many folks have come to grief on them. It would be anxiety-evoking to have to pass along the edge of one while transiting a narrow channel. Now that you've pointed it out, it's not hard to imagine how debris could fill-in on the upstream side. Thanks for the warning.


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post #8 of 14 Old 07-28-2008 Thread Starter
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I will stay well left next time. If there is a barge coming the other way, I will stand off to the left and wait for it to pass.
On one occasion after a big flood, I am told that even the shallow-draught cruisers could not pass.
I don't think i have hurt anything, but we shall see.
There was none of the "pitch forward" response i would have expected from a hard rock contact... more a rumble and a rise up, so I am encouraged.
The prop is good and the rudder also.... I felt no kick at the wheel.
Looks like I will be all right.
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post #9 of 14 Old 07-28-2008
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good to hear that...keep us posted.

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post #10 of 14 Old 07-28-2008
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Rockter- I'm trying to figure out the photo. Is it a river to the left that falls over the weir and then continues to the right of the pic? Or is the main channel that you were traveling parallel to the weir? I'm not familiar with river systems, but that looks like a scary place to be in a boat, especially a sailboat. You wouldn't happen to have lat. and long. so I could look it up on Google Earth would you?

Thanks, and glad to hear there was no serious damage.

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