Mistakes and Misdemeanour

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Waka Tiki
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Mistakes and Misdemeanour

Post by Waka Tiki » Tue Aug 18, 2015 7:48 pm

Hi there,
In the spirit of the excellent "What have you done with your Westerly.." topic on this forum and the "Confessional" page of a well known yachting publication what about a WOA topic around foul-ups and the lessons learnt? I'll start the ball rolling

So there I am in North Wales a couple of Fridays ago. My wife and three little ones patiently waiting for me to row out to my 1979 Berwick on its trot mooring and then bring her along-side the wall by the club house to load the several tons of I-pad, Nintendo's, DVDs, baked beans and the assorted paraphernalia needed for a short family holiday afloat. How do I survive on my own with one bag and a few Big Soups?

Aboard I climb.. batteries ok, bilge ok... Volvo MD17c spun over with decompression levers off, then fired first time with the levers engaged.

By the time the pick up was line sorted out and the fore and aft lines ready to slip the engine had been ticking over for about 20 mins (probably too long...) and off we go. With the mooring slipped and I turned to motor up stream to where I knew there was a gap in the trot moorings behind a beautiful Westerly 33 ketch. I recall thinking that the engine wasn't pushing us along as well as it usually does but...

I was just about to turn behind the W33 when there was an awful clattering noise from the engine... it sounded like jangling chains. I'd heard a similar noise a many moons ago on a friends Dolphin 31 when the Yanmar tore itself apart. It was an expensive sounding noise. A quick glance over the stern looking for anything round the prop ... no exhaust water!!!!

Had I run the engine for 1/2 an hour with the raw water intake SHUT...? I steered into the centre of the waterway and leaped as quickly as a fat man can down the companion way into the saloon which was now filling with smoke. Uttering a few words, which I shall not record as this is a family site, I practically tore off the engine compartment boards and reached for the raw water intake... I've no idea what I hoped this would do and I cannot recall if it was open or closed when I got my hand to it.

Back in a cockpit surrounded by a cloud of fumes I tried to think what to do... pick up a buoy... go alongside somewhere... any where... how much is all of this going to cost...? The original wall by the club house, just past a huge and massively expensive gin palace, seemed as close as anywhere so in a cold sweat I put the engine into slow forward and came alongside where my wife and a club member (and Centaur owner so it goes without saying a gentleman) took my lines.

"Everything all-right dear?" My wife. " I liked the three point turn you did by that big boat... it's a westerly isn't it? Hasn't it got a knuckle bow like us?"

At this point, day one of the holiday golf was looking like a very good option. Opinions from assorted club member ranged from blindly optimistic "Those old Volvos are pretty solid..." to ominous uses of the phrase "... cylinder could be cracked..." with realistic "... burnt out impeller.." comments somewhere in between.

It turned out that both of the two large jubilee clips holding one of the stainless steel ends to the exhaust silencer box had fallen off. That explained the clatter as the clips and the stainless steel end rattled around in the engine compartment. With the box now detached the exhaust fumes and cooling water had been dumped into the bilge via the engine compartment.. hence no water coming out of the stern but a very full bilge. The more agile club member and Centaur owner who had taken my line contorted himself trough the cockpit sole hatch and had the whole thing re-assembled in 15 minutes and wouldn't even accept my proffered bottles of wine.

The reduced engine power was explained the following day when I scrubbed off so many barnacles that I am expecting a protest from Greenpeace about my destruction of an ecosystem.

Soon it will be the end of the summer hols and at work my colleagues will come out with the usual "Did you have a relaxing break on your boat...?" Funnily enough yes.

Lesson learned er.......

Uncle Albert
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Re: Mistakes and Misdemeanour

Post by Uncle Albert » Tue Aug 18, 2015 10:26 pm

Yep done that, but only once.

You will only do that once, I assure you.

The phrase 'Learn by your mistakes' comes to mind

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Re: Mistakes and Misdemeanour

Post by MisterE » Wed Aug 19, 2015 7:12 am

I took MrsE and the dog on their first overnight stay on our new to us Pageant on Sunday. On the way out to Aberdaron there was not wind so used the main engine.
I later took the dog ashore in the dinghy and she had a great time running on the beach. Then when I tried to get the engine started she was trying to bite the thing and jumping about. The breakers were only about 1 foot but I was still getting wet, when a very nice men offered to push use of the shore (I could not row and hold the dog in at the same time).
So after a push I started to row to get a bit further out before trying again with the outboard. Same result barking dog jumping about me trying to hold on to her with two hands while string to start the outboard with the spare ones.
In the end I gave up and rowed back to the boat with the dog thinking that my hand movements were to stroke her so moving about for that. So much so that I kept missing the water with the left oar. Lots of amused people on the beach and MrsE had a laugh as well watching this not straight rowing.
So now if the dog goes ashore so does MrsE as well.

Oh and we ran out of diesel the next day.

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Re: Mistakes and Misdemeanour

Post by aquaplane » Wed Aug 19, 2015 8:46 am

Previously posted on YBW.

When parked near Tinkers Hole we decided to go ashore to look out of the lighthouse signal station.
We pulled the dingy up the beach right to the top but there wasn't anything to tie it to so just left it.
On getting back to the dinghy it was floating about 20yds off where we left it, the beach was completely covered, right up to the grass.
By the time I had stripped to my pants it was further off.
I swam after it pell mell trying to catch it before it got too far.
By the time I was half way out of the inlet it was just passing the rocks at the end so I started wondering how much it was going to cost me to replace the tender and outboard and whether it was worth killing my self chasing the thing.
When I got to the rocks at the end of the inlet I was done in and the dingy was away, lost as far as I was concerned.
I got out onto the rocks to recover and think about what to do next.
We hadn't seen any traffic all day but just as I got to the top of the rocks two kayakers were just there, "is that your dingy"?
What a relief, they got it back before it disappeared into the sound of Iona.
Centaur now sold. Boating from Tarbert.

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Re: Mistakes and Misdemeanour

Post by TyroSailor » Wed Aug 19, 2015 2:58 pm

First cruise as a 'qualified' Dazed Kipper. Booked a Victoria 34 from Joint Services at Haslar and got a crew together. Knew the boats well, the local waters pretty well and some of the crew hardly at all.

I was very aware of my responsibilities so went round the boat very thoroughly with the CPO in charge, then later showed the crew how everything worked. Including the engine cooling water seacock, which we opened.

After all the usual preliminaries we started the engine and of course, checked there was cooling water coming out of the exhaust. Since it's under the curve of the hull on those boats I sent someone onto the pontoon to check too, and they confirmed that all was well.

Twenty minutes later, motoring out through Portsmouth Harbour entrance, an alarm sounded. "That's odd", remarked the Mate, "the depth alarm shouldn't be going off here - we have plenty of water". Flustered by this hiccough so early in my first command I didn't check any gauges but opened up the ship's book and looked for the echo-sounder manual. Seconds later, and to the general consternation of all concerned, there was a cloud of what looked like smoke from the engine . We stopped it, and got the main up double quick before we drifted into the main channel or onto the wall (as habitues of Portsmouth Harbour will know, they're pretty close!). Fortunately the 'smoke' had turned out to be steam from the secondary cooling circuit and nothing was on fire.

Having averted disaster we continued on our merry way to Cowes. Not wanting to risk re-starting the engine, we managed to sail onto a pontoon (good job the Mate was a good sailor!) and breathed a huge sigh of relief. Then on stowing the jib we found the sail locker (under a cockpit seat) had a liberal supply of slightly dirty water in it. We duly pumped it out, wondering where it had come from. The temperature gauge wasn't working either.

On inspection, the seacock turned out to be closed, of course. To this day I have no idea how it happened: it was definitely open before we started the engine and there was definitely water in the exhaust immediately afterwards. And the handle wasn't so loose it could've worked itself closed. The water? The exhaust pipe, not having been cooled by the water, had burned/melted away in a couple of places, and once the seacock had been opened, the exhaust water had found its way out into the locker. And the needle on the temperature gauge had been forced past its stop.

On return to Haslar, I had an interview without coffee. We were lucky, the OiC remarked, not to have set the boat on fire!

Only once. :oops:
Experience: That which would have been most useful five minutes before you acquired it.

Tyro (Centaur 1361)
at Southampton

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Re: Mistakes and Misdemeanour

Post by philipstevens » Fri Aug 21, 2015 12:22 pm

I knew for sure that my rope cutter worked!

I ran over my pickup buoy/line, and it chopped the top and bottom off the fibre-glass pole, and just left the buoy floating free. :oops:
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