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  #1  
Old 02-26-2012
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Keep your eyes on the road. Keep your brain in gear.

Ok then , pull up a chair, pour yourself a dram of your favourite poison and thank the good noodley appendage on high that this wasn't you.

Cos if it was you'd be feeling pretty damn stoopid right now.

Shall we begin ?

First up please remember that we use our girl more often than most. We pretty much live on board six to eight weeks of the year and use her three out of every four weekends. Why do you need to know this ? Familiarity breeds contempt thats why, and if not contempt then lack of concentration at the very least.

So, this weekend we get down to our mooring field, launch dinghy, row out, load supplies onto boat and get her ready for a weekend runaway. Heck, we really like to get this done Friday evening so we can either head out Friday or at worst Saturday morning round dawn. Not to be alas, for we have chores to attend to and don't get on board until past noon Saturday by which time a fresh wee breeze has settled in, I guess by now 15 to 20 knots and building, helped along by an incoming tide.

Covers off, engine warmed up, ready to roll. Not taking dinghy with us so I tie it off to the mooring buoy and leave the Wombet up front to drop the mooring.

Usual procedure, we drop the mooring, let her drift back then steer away and motor off. Done it a million times, never had an issue. Today though with wind blowing and tide running the W signals she needs strain taken off the mooring line or she cannot get it off the cleat. No biggie in that and as the thing eases I see her holding up the line and signalling we are free.

Now do I follow procedure and let her drift back as per usual. Errr, ummm, well no I don't. Instead in a moment of utter stupidity I simply motor forward, in my defence thiinking that the buoy and dinghy were sliding down starboard side of boat. Which they were. Unfortunately however the mooring line itself went to port, forcing the buoy line under the keel and back to .... well you know where this is heading now don't you ? Begins with P, end in R, has ropello in the middle.



Mooring buoy has disappeared as has most of the dinghy. Engine of course has stopped and we are oh so firmly attached to the bottom .... by the propellor.

Who's a clever boy then ?

Not me.

On with the flippers and face mask and we go down to have a peak. OK, if I could cut away the dinghy we might have a chance of sorting this mess out. Lets give it shot then shall we ?

Righto ... back on deck, 'get me a bandaid will you dear ?' Oh come on you didn't really think I was going to get that dinghy clear and keep all my fingers (thumb actually) intact, now did you ? Silly you if you did and of course my head hurts from being bashed about by the hull. Man this really sucks.

Seems to me we have of course more than one problem here. With the engine out of commission and a gearbox that may well have cogged its last what happens if we do eventually get the mooring untangled from the prop ? Drifting down onto our nearest neighbour does not sound like the perfect plan so first things first lets get anchored. At the very least we are secure no matter what.

That done, now I'm thinking diver. No way can I hold my breath long enough to safely (wow NOW I'm thinking of safety) cut away the mess so diver seems a good idea. Rang a mate to see if he knew someone who could help and he, oh wise wise man, made a suggestion. "Have you thought about going below and turning the shaft by hand ?" Well no I hadn't and I have to say it took more than a couple of turns, jaysus more than a couple of dozen effing turns, each turn quite a struggle combined with the obligatory skinned knuckles. But but but , eventually the Wombet yells out that she can see the buoy and that the dinghy is further out the water than it was.

Ran a line down to the buoy and made it fast to midships cleat. Back below and keep on turnin'. Wee squeals of girlie joy* from on deck suggests success and so it comes to pass. Dinghy has popped, buoy is floating free and we are now moored by a dock line to midships cleat. Wow. Ran another line forward through anchor roller and using a combination of sheer rodent strength and halyard winch we haul her to the mooring itself and oh frabjous day we make her fast.

So we dragged the dinghy up high enough to drain it and set it afloat. Little bit the worse for wear but repairable. Cleaned away all the various lines we had been using and went for the engine which starts first pop but as I suspected gears have we none. I can feel the dollars draining out of our bank account but in one mad final optimistic leap of faith I went back down below and seizing the point where the gear linkage joins the gearbox gave it a good talking to. Must have been listening cos after a couple of minutes we get a very satisfying click and yep, when we fired her back up she engaged forward and reverse plus she motored back and forth happy as a clam and with no vibrations so hopefully prop and shaft are OK.



What can I say ? A complete and utter cockup that amazingly enough was not the utter disaster it might have been. Yes there was a absolute communication failure in the windy conditions but even so had I simply stuck to normal operating procedure all would have been well. Instead, complacency won out and I got bit on my arse. Probably, deservedly so.

Just as well I'm not the skipper of an Italian Cruise Liner eh what ?

* .... squeals of girlie joy does not really describe a chirpy Wombet who will probably have my balls when she reads that line but allow me a wee tadge of artistic licence. Please.
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Last edited by tdw; 02-26-2012 at 08:49 PM.
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  #2  
Old 02-26-2012
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Old 02-26-2012
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Thanks for sharing.
Yes it is a good lesson that no matter how many times we have done a procedure only one small misjudgement can have bad results.
At least in your case you didn't go the wrong way like some people I know.


I'm really surprised the turning the shaft trick worked.
Glad for you but surprised as when it has happened to me the nylon line melts to the shaft.

What do you think happened to the transmission that it didn't work but then worked later?
I don't understand that part.
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Old 02-26-2012
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Clearly you're living right... and 'got off with a warning'...

The thumb and bruises will heal. As ever, a well-told tale that makes it all worthwhile!!
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Old 02-26-2012
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David,

Interesting point re the line and thinking on my feet here, I'm thinking that it was the dinghy painter that saved us, coupled with very low revs. Dinghy painter was an old piece of covered spectra and didn't melt, everything else wrapped around it. Maybe this was saving grace. Low revs because I saw something was amiss and was in the process of throttling back when the line met prop.

Again trying to make sense of it all, I'm guessing that the jolt of the line stopping the prop messed up the linkages to the gearbox intself. By jiggling it around a bit I think I simply reset everything.

Cheers

Andrew




Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
Thanks for sharing.
Yes it is a good lesson that no matter how many times we have done a procedure only one small misjudgement can have bad results.
At least in your case you didn't go the wrong way like some people I know.


I'm really surprised the turning the shaft trick worked.
Glad for you but surprised as when it has happened to me the nylon line melts to the shaft.

What do you think happened to the transmission that it didn't work but then worked later?
I don't understand that part.
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Old 02-26-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdw View Post
* .... squeals of girlie joy does not really describe a chirpy Wombet who will probably have my balls when she reads that line but allow me a wee tadge of artistic licence. Please.
"Squeals of girlie joy"??? .. you are in sooo much trouble when I tell her you said that!

Seriously though, glad you got out of that without any serious damage, TD. Could have been really ugly on any lesser boat than the Mighty Malo.
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Old 02-26-2012
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"It's not a question of "if" it's merely a question of "when". Now that you have that out of the way Fuzzy it should be smooth sailing ahead! Glad nothing was damaged more than your ego:-)) Thanks for sharing, it takes a pretty big Wombat to admit something here for all to gloat over (until it happens to us).
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Old 02-26-2012
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Nicely told.

Glad it all seems to have worked out.
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Old 02-26-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdw View Post
....

Just as well I'm not the skipper of an Italian Cruise Liner eh what ?

....
Naw. Our italian "hero" would have flagged down a passing water-taxi ("I fell into the water-taxi and I'm coordinating the repair from here.") and let the "Wombet" fend for herself.

As it is, it sounds like "Sweet Fuzzy Jesus" just worked another miracle (however minor) getting things untangled without resorting to divers, B-F-Hammers, cutting torches, or explosives.
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Old 02-26-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdw View Post
Again trying to make sense of it all, I'm guessing that the jolt of the line stopping the prop messed up the linkages to the gearbox intself. By jiggling it around a bit I think I simply reset everything.
Don't want to be wet blanket but you might be wise to assume something is loose that needs tightening or worn and need replacing. Then ask around to get a better sense of where you are with this.
It might be something that is easily fixed now that will get much worse.
I remember suffering for weeks with a car that wouldn't shift properly and when I finally dug into it found it was just a loose bolt.

It's better to know, usually.
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