Sailboat creamed by tugboat and tow - Page 4 - SailNet Community
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post #31 of 37 Old 01-24-2019
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Re: Sailboat creamed by tugboat and tow

That ain't gonna buff out.

Happened to a big cruiser here years ago after the fireworks. Properly lit tug in the harbour entrance - idiot skipper of the powerboat went between the tug and the (short) tow of a barge.

Tow line cleaned the flying bridge off the cruiser. Can't remember if there were any injuries.

I, myself, personally intend to continue being outspoken and opinionated, intolerant of all fanatics, fools and ignoramuses, deeply suspicious of all those who have "found the answer" and on my bad days, downright rude.
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post #32 of 37 Old 01-24-2019
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Re: Sailboat creamed by tugboat and tow

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Originally Posted by Minnesail View Post
I read a couple of those articles. I'd say "in a panic" is generous; "a real jerk" might be accurate.

He was able to make way, but was slowed by mechanical issues. It sounds like he was asking everyone around him for help (like a 25' sailboat is going to tow a 36' powerboat) and was mad that people weren't responding faster. If I'm reading the articles right they pulled alongside the tug (?), then got pulled behind it.

Anyway.

I think the take home message is to stay a long ways away from tugs and tows and barges.
I recall the tug boat crew saw the powerboat leave the tug in a snit and deliberately cut behind the tug, apparently oblivious to the tow line and barge. It did not seem like the power boat got sucked into the tugboat wake.

P.S. I also recall the 25’ sailboat (OB powered IIRC) story and recall there were others who were not able to help. It appears the skipper of the powerboat was disoriented and lost his way trying to cross LI Sound in the dark from NY to CT. It isn’t clear what the powerboat skipper expected these folks to do, nor was it clear that any of them were about to tow him, since he still had one engine operating. I do recall that the Coast Guard was advised that this guy was out there looking for some kind of help.
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post #33 of 37 Old 01-24-2019
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Re: Sailboat creamed by tugboat and tow

I used to tow a water barge between Roosevelt Roads Naval Station and St Thomas a few times a week. I can't count the number of sailboats, both in daylight and dark, that seemed totally oblivious to the tug and barge scheme and tried to cross the tow cable. All you can do is turn the tug around as fast as possible and run at full speed back towards the barge hoping that the cable sinks before a catastrophe occurs.
This is extremely dangerous for the tug because, should the cable foul her prop, the barge may eventually run her down. Never mind the wear and tear on the crew's nerves when the boat goes from a lazy cruising speed to full on with a sharp turn, unannounced. Poor cook on a number of occasions.

"Any idiot can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one." Spike Africa aboard the schooner Wanderer in Sausalito, Ca. 1964.
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post #34 of 37 Old 01-24-2019
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Re: Sailboat creamed by tugboat and tow

Note to future inventors:

L.E.D--type fibers strong enough to make a (very bright) seagoing towing hawser.

;-)
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post #35 of 37 Old 01-25-2019
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Re: Sailboat creamed by tugboat and tow

I see a fair amount of tugs towing in LIS. It doesn't take much to figure out that they are traversing either east to west or the reverse or coming in and out of a few ports like Norwalk, Bridgeport and so on. Tugs tow or push. Best practice is to stay well clear. Don't cross astern nor their bow and if need be assume a parallel course until you can cross well behind, Same for the Sound Crossing Ferries whose courses are shown on many charts.

Best practice is to stay well clear of ANY vessel.

pay attention... someone's life depends on it

Last edited by SanderO; 01-25-2019 at 04:36 PM.
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post #36 of 37 Old 01-26-2019
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Re: Sailboat creamed by tugboat and tow

Quote:
Originally Posted by nolatom View Post
Note to future inventors:

L.E.D--type fibers strong enough to make a (very bright) seagoing towing hawser.

;-)
Or one that is not strong, just loosely attached to the tow line would work.
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post #37 of 37 Old 01-26-2019
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Re: Sailboat creamed by tugboat and tow

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Originally Posted by ianjoub View Post
Or one that is not strong, just loosely attached to the tow line would work.
Some of the tugs operating in open waters off RI, MA, CT with higher winds can have tow lines up to a mile long. This puts the sizeable fuel barges (bigger than the seagoing tugs) far enough behind the tug to appear as an independent vessel—albeit following the tug. Given the necessary strength, the tow lines are massive and SINK BELOW THE SURFACE, with the catenary providing the shock absorbing effect as the barge plows into the seas.

When the prevailing winds and or tidal currents are crosswise to the tug track, the barges will tow off the tug track, so you need to keep well clear of the tug track to avoid being swept up by the barge. A separate, lighted floating line would not necessarily locate the tow line accurately.

Best to give the tug with tow a wide berth. If you have radar, you can use it to visualize the situation and plan your avoidance before getting too close.
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