Boat sunk & man overboard; how was your Bank Holiday ?!

Seajet

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I've had a rather busy weekend, I had a call on Sunday morning from my next door neighbour, who I converted to an Anderson and club member quite a few years ago.

He was on his mooring, and called me " there's an Anderson here sinking ! ".

I worked out which it would be, so called the owner with the news then grabbed a few things I thought may be useful and set off.

The boat had only just been launched last Thursday; it looked as if he'd forgotten a seacock or something, but when we got to her it became clear she had been holed by the mooring.

We got the outboard out of its' locker underwater and took it ashore to rinse out like mad with the plug out, then crashed out on my boat.

I had been sure there was a sleeping bag aboard as well as the duvet I use in the forepeak, but there wasn’t so I had a cold night with no sleep.

Whatever, after over 41 years without getting close to going overboard, I managed it on Bank holiday Monday !

I must have put a foot wrong, maybe because the painter was tied upwards and tight the tender pivoted around it, but anyway as I stepped into the dinghy it went over on top of me extremely quickly.

This could have been quite traumatic in itself, but I am used to being in the water with racing dinghies & sails etc on top of me.

I have only just started wearing a harness / lifejacket in the dinghy, so this auto-inflated, handy but a bit of an encumbrance.

I have various MOB ideas on my boat.

The guardrails at the cockpit are on pelican hooks, which were already detached.

The lower mainsheet block is held to the traveller by a large snap-shackle, and the topping lift is dyneema, to allow using the boom as a crane.

My chum ( whose boat was on the bottom nearby ) was still in the cockpit, so I was able to instruct him to pass me the snapshackle & mainsheet; hooking it on gave a feeling of security as waves were washing over me and I couldn’t have held on for that long.

Now the interesting bit; despite this, the Anderson’s low freeboard aft and my chum pulling me from the cockpit, it was a real struggle to get me back in.

I have a folding step on the transom near water level which has worked when swimming, but with the weight of my wet clothes it was a non-starter.

If I’d been alone my only hope would have been to swim to shore ( avoiding the soft mud ) a fair distance, in waves and significant tide.

I might quite easily have died, off the sheltered mooring in a few feet of water – take note please !

The life jacket would have made swimming quite hard, that and the fact I collected quite a few scrapes and bruises makes me think a buoyancy aid, easier to swim in and with it's protective 'body armour' effect may be better; but one would lose the very important harness eye.

If this had been offshore, maybe the waves and the boat heeling might have made getting back in easier, but I’d sooner not try it.

The only solution I can think of is one of those rigid alloy boarding ladders which hooks over the coamings; I have a flexible plastic one but it’s useless, one’s feet shoot away under the boat.

To cover initial boarding this ladder would have to be carried to and fro in the dinghy, but they’re very light.

We then had the fun of recovering the sunken Anderson, which turned out to be a club effort in the best traditions.

Two rescue boats were used, a heavy traditional job with a big slow revving diesel, and a 10’ job with a 10hp outboard.

As the Anderson’s bow was just underwater despite the 4 large buoyancy bags ( I’d hoped to fit a tent groundsheet as a fothering mat over the hole but time & tide prevented this ) she was towed by the stern by the large rescue boat, the small one trailing and helping to steer.

The tow was not easy !

I and another member were kept busy tailing the bridle of the tow line side to side on the quarters while the helmsman really had his work cut out, doing a good job.

The tow kept trying to shoot off to one side, with a lot of inertia of course; getting through the road bridge then the moored boats with a cross tide was ‘interesting’.

Anyway we got her to the hoist where she was slowly lifted as she drained, and eventually onto her cradle.

The damage is bad; about halfway between keel and waterline, an area a good 2’ square is cracked through, with a hole clear through in the centre.

So please take note all, I’ve always been a great fan of staying on one’s boat overnight on her mooring now and again, and especially when just launched; don’t take moorings done by someone else for granted.

And Man Overboard is really not just a theoretical exercise to discuss in the pub – do consider this, how would you have done it, especially if alone ?…
 
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Seajet

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Eek. How did that happen?

It would appear that this club mooring sticks up very prominently, I haven't seen it myself at low water but the boat remained skewered on the eye & chain for two tides, and the ballast bulb has scrapes, presumably from the concrete sinker.

The club is all volunteer, but we are quite used to moorings work; all I can say is, sinkers are normally lowered into a pre-dug hole ( marked by pairs of bamboo canes at 90 degrees to give position of the hole by transits, when muddy water obscures vision ).

The fact that this happened after only 3-4 days use might say something.

Normally the Anderson is well off in this regard, as the ballast bulb extends 10" below the hull; but lately we have noticed the wind and tide conditions have led to a lot of the boats heeling when dried.

This case was so bad I don't think she could have got away with it even if the sinker, eye & chain were right beside the ballast bulb.

If it had been something like an E-Boat with a flush bottom ( with keel up ) and light construction I suspect it could well have been a write off...
 
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Searush

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Agree about using a BA if you need to self-rescue. You can easily add a seperate harness. When using a boarding ladder, I find I can get a knee on the lowest rung & pull myself out of the water. Then I can get my other foot on the bottom rung & climb out.

But I made sure the ladder has at least 2 rungs below the water level.
 

prv

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And Man Overboard is really not just a theoretical exercise to discuss in the pub – do consider this, how would you have done it, especially if alone ?…

Alone, I'd be in trouble as the swimming ladder lives in the cockpit locker - not a lot of help. I'd probably be aiming to use the waterline fitting of the bobstay as a step. Further aft the freeboard is fairly low - not low enough to climb onto directly, but I can reach over the rail to grab a headsail sheet, which could also provide a step if tied to a stanchion.

Crewed, things are better. My running backstays have hefty tackles on them, and I have made the lower ends removable with fair-sized carbine hooks. Hence I have, ready rigged, each side, a lifting line from the masthead which can be used independently of anything else. It's worked from the forward end of the cockpit, which is the centre of motion of the boat, and a winch is to hand to back up the tackle if required (I can't imagine not being able to lift someone with a 4-part tackle, rove to advantage, in a position you can put your back into, but I hear it's harder than you think).

I just need to find a suitable wide strop with a ring at each end, to put round someone who's not conveniently wearing a harness, and add that to the "emergency" locker.

Pete
 

ProDave

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Eek. How did that happen?

It would appear that this club mooring sticks up very prominently, I haven't seen it myself at low water but the boat remained skewered on the eye & chain for two tides, and the ballast bulb has scrapes, presumably from the concrete sinker.

Here's the bit of that I don't understand.

I'm assuming there is just one sinker, and one mooring, i.e a swing mooring.

So the boat will always be downstream of the mooring.

So on an ebbing tide the boat will be downstream of the ground tackle, and will settle on the bottom when the water runs out.

So how does a boat, attached by the bow to the ground tackle, end up impaled amidships to the ground tackle?
 

Searush

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Here's the bit of that I don't understand.

I'm assuming there is just one sinker, and one mooring, i.e a swing mooring.

So the boat will always be downstream of the mooring.

So on an ebbing tide the boat will be downstream of the ground tackle, and will settle on the bottom when the water runs out.

So how does a boat, attached by the bow to the ground tackle, end up impaled amidships to the ground tackle?

Wind over tide; so wind will push boat against the tide. You often see boats pushing against their strops rather than lying back to th etide.
 

oldharry

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Here's the bit of that I don't understand.

I'm assuming there is just one sinker, and one mooring, i.e a swing mooring.

So the boat will always be downstream of the mooring.

So on an ebbing tide the boat will be downstream of the ground tackle, and will settle on the bottom when the water runs out.

So how does a boat, attached by the bow to the ground tackle, end up impaled amidships to the ground tackle?

Wind over tide. There was quite a breeze that day down here, ad a light shoal draft cruiser like the A22 will ride around quite a bit. If the tide is running against the wind, the boat will go all over the place, and no doubt in this case ran up and grounded on the projecting mooring tackle.

Seajets experience at MOB recovery has certainly set me reviewing my own MOB drills to make sure they would (I hope not 'will') actually work, shorthanded.
 

Seajet

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Well I've been beaten to it as usual. Yes, wind over tide. Happens at most moorings - and at anchor too, when a lightish boat with a fin keel -like an A22 with her keel down - can 'sail the anchor', wrapping the anchor warp one side of the keel.

One can usually manouvre out of that one, but not so easy in the dark.

To avoid that I can stream a sea anchor off the stern, but that extends the boat out to full scope, which will be a lot wider swinging circle than any nearby boats using chain, also it of course increases load on the anchor.

Which is why I use an 'angel' on the bower warp in this situation if staying more than half an hour.

Rather than carry around an otherwise useless weight, I use a folding grapnel as an angel, as it can be used as a second anchor, and in emergency will have a chance of penetrating weed and holding on rock, which no normal bower will do.

Incidentally a lot of people think that at swinging moorings like mine, the boats only describe a 180 degree arc, with flood or ebb tide.

I take aerial photo's of my club every now and again, and it is clear from the marks in the mud that the boats describe a full 360 degrees.
 
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Searush

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(snip)
Incidentally a lot of people think that at swinging moorings like mine, the boats only describe a 180 degree arc, with flood or ebb tide.

I take aerial photo's of my club every now and again, and it is clear from the marks in the mud that the boats describe a full 360 degrees.

Yes, that's why swivels are so important. Badly twisted risers will easily break due to the additional loads - be they chain or rope.
 
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