First time singlehanding, bad things happen, the sound of breaking fiberglass, etc - Page 4 - SailNet Community
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post #31 of 40 Old 07-20-2013
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Re: First time singlehanding, bad things happen, the sound of breaking fiberglass, et

I have a question for the OP.

Have you tried getting back aboard your boat from the water. If you can not then consider weather it is worth being tethered to the boat in a situation where you can go overboard. The jacklines that came with my boat ran alongside the toe rail, useless as I can not get back aboard from the water when amidships.

The second thing to consider is assuming you go overboard while sailing at say 4 knots, can you get back onboard, in fact can you even prevent yourself from drowning. This issue is well documented and thereare unfortunate cases where people have died while teathered alongside and being towed along. Can you release your teather under load? Most can not and the only way some people survived was by somehow slipping out of their harness or jacket with incorporated harness.

I single hand a fair bit and there are two rules to survival

Rule 1 Don't go overboard.

Rule 2 See rule 1

I do use a harness but keep myself teathered to things that would prevent me from going overboard. Now mine is 44 ft and it is easier to do this on a big boat than but it is still possible. A single jack line on the centre line of the boat works for me. Also eyes on the mast waist high are good.

Re docking problems. I am assuming you have a wind or current pinning you against the dock.

Learn to use a doubled spring line to get the bow of the boat away from the dock. This goes from the stern round a cleat on the dock that is forward on the stern and back to the stern. With the engine at tickover and in reverse gear release all the other lines. Now increase the engine revs. The bow will move away from the dock. Let the boat move back a little if you need forward space. Now release and recover the spring line. If you need to move the stern away from the dock a burst of power ahead with the rudder on full lock works for me. Should be easy for you if the OB steers. It is now when it may pay to be bold and get the boat moving quickly so as to have steerage way.

All of this comes with the standard disclaimer as sh*t happens especially in tight marinas.
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post #32 of 40 Old 07-20-2013
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Re: First time singlehanding, bad things happen, the sound of breaking fiberglass, et

Good point about getting on the boat. It has been discussed many times here but is relevant to the OP. I installed a telescoping ladder on my transom that can be pulled down from the water. If there's no one to turn the boat around and pick you up, at least you need to cling to the boat like a barnacle and have a plan to get back aboard.

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post #33 of 40 Old 07-21-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: First time singlehanding, bad things happen, the sound of breaking fiberglass, et

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Have you tried getting back aboard your boat from the water. If you can not then consider weather it is worth being tethered to the boat in a situation where you can go overboard. The jacklines that came with my boat ran alongside the toe rail, useless as I can not get back aboard from the water when amidships.

The second thing to consider is assuming you go overboard while sailing at say 4 knots, can you get back onboard, in fact can you even prevent yourself from drowning. This issue is well documented and thereare unfortunate cases where people have died while teathered alongside and being towed along. Can you release your teather under load? Most can not and the only way some people survived was by somehow slipping out of their harness or jacket with incorporated harness.
No, I haven't tried, primarily because the water is pretty cold, and I'd be afraid that something could even go wrong in the test run to cause a serious incident. But I probably have to get past that. I could try it with a wetsuit, for instance, to give myself a little additional buffer the first time.

My tether has a quick-release on my end, so I'm pretty confident that I can get the thing off fast if I need to.

I expect that the freeboard will be a pretty serious problem. I do sport climbing recreationally, so if I can get ahold of anything at all, I should be able to pull myself back on board some sort of way; but realistically, if I fall off on the high side, under autopilot, I could see this being seriously difficult.

So far, I've actually rigged the jacklines all the way fore and aft. I understand this is not recommended; however, it lets me get to the stern, where there is a swim ladder.

There's another threat back there, under power, which is the outboard; I probably should be clipping in to the outboard kill switch as well. (However, the risk of falling out under power is much reduced, since I generally don't motor in bigger seas, and there's also less heal or need to go forward.)

When in the cockpit, I attach directly to one of two padeyes in the cockpit, and I'm pretty confident (although I have not tested) that I'd be able to get back into the cockpit if I was attached to either one, because of their positions.


Yeah, when you put it that way, it seems like reversing against a bow line actually would have worked really well. I wish I had thought of that on the spot; that would have worked really well, and probably avoided damage.
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post #34 of 40 Old 07-21-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: First time singlehanding, bad things happen, the sound of breaking fiberglass, et

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You've got to start thinking in terms of "risk vs. gain".

Was the risk of damage from the old wharf worth the gain of calibrating your wind instruments? Maybe... depends on your skill level. Be objective about your abilities.

Was the risk of further damage worth the gain of recovering a nasty old fender that you were going to throw away anyway? Nope. Not at all. Not even a little bit. So you learned from your mistakes which is great! Slow down, be deliberate, think "risk vs. gain" next time you're out there.
I've been reflecting on this, and I think this model really resonates with me. I've learned through my training and profession to be very quantitative about things. I think that consciously deciding to consider the risk, every time I try something risky, might really help improve decision-making.

The part I've been considering the most, though, is that I don't really have a good way to assess the risk of various activities. I'm not experienced enough to know how things can go wrong. In this case, it seemed that docking to a wharf wasn't much different from other stuff I've docked to before; what I didn't consider were the effects of wind. It's obvious in hindsight, but ahead of time, it's hard to really see everything that can go wrong.

Tied up in this is basically the reality that I'm going to have to keep pushing myself out of my comfort zone if I'm going to continue to improve my sailing skills. I have to try new things, that seem slightly harder than things I've already done.

I still can't believe I went back for that crappy fender though. I have no idea what I was thinking.
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post #35 of 40 Old 07-21-2013
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Re: First time singlehanding, bad things happen, the sound of breaking fiberglass, et

The specific situation of docking against pilings is always difficult to assess. Many of the non-floating piers/docks will have spanning boards for boats to lie against. With no boards, all kinds of bad things can happen. It's questionable to even attempt it singlehanded even in good conditions. One thing to think about is keeping everything (solar panels, etc.) inside the gunwale so there is nothing to catch while rubbing up against high docks. Some boats have so much paraphernalia hanging off them that getting anywhere close to a dock can be a disaster. Bow rails overhang and as such are vulnerable. I came close to bending mine a couple of years ago in exactly the same situation, trying to get into a fuel dock.

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post #36 of 40 Old 07-21-2013
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Re: First time singlehanding, bad things happen, the sound of breaking fiberglass, et

this is one of the best vids I've seen. I've done this! lol

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post #37 of 40 Old 07-21-2013
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Re: First time singlehanding, bad things happen, the sound of breaking fiberglass, et

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this is one of the best vids I've seen. I've done this! lol
Thank you Denise that is what I was trying to describe.

To the OP it sounds like you have a good chance of getting back on board, I could mantleshelf at 16 but now at 66 and with a damaged shoulder there is no way I can, that is why I installed a set of steps and a pull down extending ladder on the stern. .

Re the release of your clip please do not take this for granted. Most clips supplied on sailing harnesses do not allow release under tension. You have to get some slack before you can disconnect. This may not be possible if you are being towed alongside.
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post #38 of 40 Old 07-21-2013
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Re: First time singlehanding, bad things happen, the sound of breaking fiberglass, et

Thanks to the OP for sharing his challenging day and to the many who provided great advice. I cant tell you how much I learn from discussions like this and am able to avoid similar problems or at least have potential options for when they do arise.
I started using springlines more this year even in conditions that didnt warrant their use just to practice. They can be very helpful.
The most important single handed lesson I have learned is always think/plan well ahead and have your bail outs/exit considered
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post #39 of 40 Old 07-25-2013
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First time singlehanding, bad things happen, the sound of breaking fiberglass, etc

I've used a line looped around and back to the boat rather then tied to a dock cleat. Then after the boat swings I'd just let it slip off and haul it in. Using spring lines is or can be a fun learning curve.--Denise, that's brilliant! I'll have to try that. That would alleviate needing some to throw you the line when you cast off.

Elan

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post #40 of 40 Old 07-25-2013
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Re: First time singlehanding, bad things happen, the sound of breaking fiberglass, et

I remember from MARS rapport s one went overboard in the solent and crew couldn t
hauled him in .They concluded that ,it could not have happend if he had used a short
lifeline 0,80 instead of a long one.
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