Sea trials and sorely tried by power boats

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Sea trials and sorely tried by power boats

Postby DigitalMechanic » Sat Dec 26, 2015 7:49 am

So you should know by now that I love the movie "Captain Ron", and is really hard to run out of ways to quote that movie, so here you go...

Image

And may the Christmahannukwanzikas be with you too!
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Re: Mainsheet setup and Purchase System

Postby DigitalMechanic » Tue Dec 29, 2015 9:53 pm

We did make it out again this Sunday afternoon. Was 80 something degrees, as we are at record temperatures here apparently. It was strange to see girls on power boats in bikinis right after Christmas, even here in Florida. This sail was much more mellow (once underway) than the previous Sunday. On paper, the conditions seemed similar. However, we had a rough time with the waters indecisive behavior. The waves in the river were a little all over the place. Wind direction shifted constantly, which probably contributed. On top of that, the power boaters were out like crazy, and as far as I could tell, being rude and inconsiderate. Once I got out past my series of bridges I always love to talk about, where I usually hoist sail... It seemed as if there was a constant trickle of power boats leaving the "No Wake/Manatee Zone" and hammering the throttle on thick as soon as they were allowed. They come up quick because the spontaneously appear on the other side of the bridge with you. I probably should have powered down the rive some more, but it seemed like every time I started to hoist the main, a power boat would zip by (abnormally close), and then another one would come hammering through on the other side of the boat. I felt like I was riding around in a constant circle of wake management for about an hour. Really, really, annoying. Actually felt like they were doing it on purpose. Maybe they hate little sailboats, lol. Learning experience... power boaters are apparently superior to us. Anyway, once we were finally underway, we had a much more relaxing time. It never felt like we had the boat moving fast, but all the controls had become familiar, comfortable, and convenient to use, and we just took our time cruising slowly through the confused/chaotic waters... I think the wind speed was there, but the water condition was probably not conforming to allow us to get up any significant speed, at least nothing like last week. Was a good cruise for some music and beers ;)
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Re: Mainsheet setup and Purchase System

Postby jeadstx » Wed Dec 30, 2015 4:09 pm

In central Texas, the power boats dominate the area lakes from Memorial Day to Labor Day, so I don't sail on area lakes much during that period. And yes, they can be rude as well and the air is thick with the smell of burnt fuel. Fortunately, the lakes belong more to the sailboats from Labor Day to Memorial Day.

John
1976 Day Sailer II, #8075 - Completed the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Texas 200
1952 Beetle Boat Swan Catboat
Early Rhodes 19
1973 Mariner 2+2, #2607 - Completed 2014, 2015 and 2016 Texas 200
1969 Day Sailer I, #3229
Fleet 135; Canyon Lake, Texas
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Re: Mainsheet setup and Purchase System

Postby DigitalMechanic » Wed Dec 30, 2015 7:43 pm

Yep. It really felt like they were trying to purposely take advantage of the fact I was trying to raise my sail and thought I was not paying attention. I think they wanted to see me take a swim.
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Re: Mainsheet setup and Purchase System

Postby TIM WEBB » Wed Dec 30, 2015 8:56 pm

Yup, the stinkpotters are pretty much everywhere, and while you cannot get away from them while going under bridges, with our shallow draft DS, we CAN go to places they cannot. That is why I stay out of the channels as much as possible when cruising the inland waterways. You can get out of the channel to hoist sail and play.

Don't get me wrong - I have no love lost for stinkpotters, and I'm not fooled into thinking for one minute that they give a sailboat a second thought - but I really think it's just a matter of ignorance, not malice. 99.9% of them have never sailed, let alone sailed a small boat. They go zooming past each other in close proximity all the time, but because of the speed and hull shape, they don't even notice the wakes. Some of the ones that have buzzed me I think were just curious, wanting to get a (possibly their first) close up look at a sailboat, yet not even realizing that they were doing more harm than good. And let's not forget that, when a small sailboat gets in trouble, it's often a "Good Samaritan" stinkpotter that comes to the rescue, helps right the boat, or provides a tow to shore ...

On the lakes, around here at least, there seems to be a bit more "symbiosis" between the stinkpotters and the sailors, as the fishing boats and the wakeboard boats seem to hug the shore (the latter for smoother water), so the blowboats get the middle, and it all works out. It's only at the ramps that there seems to be friction there.

Me personally? I hate the jetskiers the most, because where there is one, there's usually more than one, and they are as annoying as no-see-ums! They love to buzz the ramps and make wakes there, and they love to buzz you on the water. They are usually looking back at their carnage instead of where they are going. One time at the local lake, I had two of them buzz me from behind, one on either side, and I saw and heard them laughing as they did it. Their laughter stopped abruptly when they both looked forward again and realized they had both veered towards each other in front of me and damned near collided with each other! Guess who had the last laugh as they went sailing merrily onward? THIS guy ... ;-P
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1979 DS2 10099 The Red Witch
(I used to be Her "staff", in the way dogs have owners and cats have staff, but alas no longer ... <pout>)
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Re: Mainsheet setup and Purchase System

Postby DigitalMechanic » Wed Dec 30, 2015 10:12 pm

I understand that fisherman want you to stay clear of their trolling areas, as not to disturb the fish... understandable. Kayak and canoes like a little clearance as well (100 yards or so), as wakes are not great for them. Powerboats do not want you to cross them up perpendicular, as that will make them have to slow down and get off plane. These are all common sense things. I do not care how freaking dumb you are (and it is okay to be legitimately dumb), but if you have owned any boat for a minimal amount of time you are not that damn dumb. You know what a wake is, how to create it, and what it does. Even this dummy knows that. One or two completely ignorant boaters may be the exception. I probably experienced at least a dozen that day, in less than an hour. You do not zip by another boat that is stationary, or near stationary (including fisherman, trollers, canoes, kayaks, boats at anchor, or marinas) at full power from 30 yards or less away, unless you are intentionally trying to be a duche bag. Just saying....

Now to be fair, I typically go out on a normal weekend and seem to have a lot of great conversation with powerboats at the dock or on the river. We wave and say hello, all is good. I think that the special holiday weekend brought out some of the "special" characters, so I am not going to read into it too much. I think for the most part, boaters around here respect each other, at least on the part of the river I am on. This day was literally the first time I have ever been frustrated with power boats, but then again my experience is limited.

Here is a war story... there was the dreaded "de-masting" weekend where the wind snapped one of the tangs off my mast and slammed it onto the river, where there were at least a half dozen fishing boats catching crab or shrimp under the bridge less than 100 yards away and not one came over to help. We were not in any real threat, as the current took us into one of the footings of the Fuller Warren bridge, in which we stopped the boat with our feet. Well, it was actually stressful at the time, but now I look back it is kind of funny. My brother-in-law pushed the boat off the footing of the bridge with his feet and I turned the tiller to pull us around backward and drift with the current out the other side of the bridge. Once we cleared the bridge, we got caught on a crab trap, which stopped us and allowed us to recover the mast and sails, etc. At the time, we did not know we were on a crab trap or why we were stopped, as I remember after we recovered everything and then turning on the motor and wondering while we were still not moving. Then a few seconds later the motor rose up out of the water and a big ball popped out of the water and we took off, lol. Crazy day... Never the less, we were at that point... feet from the power boats under the bridge crabbing/shrimping and not one checked on us. Pretty bad...

On the opposite side of the spectrum, we did run out of gas by the Jacksonville Landing one day, and the current was going out. It was right after the Jaguars game. We were drifting into the bridge (I know, yet again...), and a power boat saw what was happening and came over with a line to try and tow us away before we hit it. Fortunately I got us fueled back up and underway in the nick of time. Still, it was nice to know that the power boat had my back... at least that day ;)
Last edited by DigitalMechanic on Thu Dec 31, 2015 12:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mainsheet setup and Purchase System

Postby TIM WEBB » Wed Dec 30, 2015 10:35 pm

The way I break it down is like this: we all use the roads. Some of us are in cars, some in trucks, some on suicycles, some on bicycles, some on foot. All should follow the rules of the road, but all are out there for different reasons: some for fun, some for work, etc. Those guys you saw under the bridge shrimping? There's a very good chance that they are trying to make a living, or at least feed their family for that day. Yes, it's true. They are/were not obligated in any way shape or form to help you any more than the 18 wheeler is on the highway when you are pulled over with a flat tire.

Bottom line is that one needs to be self-sufficient out there, be it on the water, highway, or the top of Mt. Everest. Be thankful for whatever help you get, but don't get all poopy-pants if you don't get any ... ;-P
Tim Webb
1979 DS2 10099 The Red Witch
(I used to be Her "staff", in the way dogs have owners and cats have staff, but alas no longer ... <pout>)
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Re: Mainsheet setup and Purchase System

Postby DigitalMechanic » Thu Dec 31, 2015 12:05 am

I wasn't being a poopy-pants, lol. I actually pride myself on having pretty think skin, and certainly being self sufficient. I was not expecting anything from anyone, I was just trying to relate to your comment about them coming to aide. Just took a moment to share a couple of stories about different experiences in bad situations where power boaters tried to save the day vs others caring less. Like I previously said, I did not feel like I was in grave danger that day with the mast down, and certainly do not want or expect my mishaps to ruin another boaters experience. If it was really bad I would have called it in on the VHF. Trust me, I am more than conscience of the the other boaters. I know I am slow compared to the power boaters, and often will go out of my way to get out of their way, as there are a lot of them, and with very different agendas (which is appreciable). I am not in a hurry, and I appreciate the common respect between us even if it is not always reciprocated back. As they say, one bad apple does not ruin the bunch, and does not mean I will not continue to show respect and courtesy to all on the water :)

At the end of the day, any boater (sail, power, canoe, kayak, jet, etc) can be just as inconsiderate as the next, or just as helpful as you could ever expect or imagine. As a relatively "green" sailor, I have already experienced both sides... as pretty much any other arena in life. I was just frustrated it took me nearly an hour to set sail that day from all the wake management that was going on. Next time I will know better and spend a few more pennies to troll my 3.5hp down the river another couple hundred yards into a protected shoal. All learning experiences for me! every single time I am out ;)
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Re: Sea trials and sorely tried by power boats

Postby GreenLake » Thu Dec 31, 2015 3:27 am

OK, the topic having drifted irrevocably off the "rigging" related themes, I moved it here, for now.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Sea trials and sorely tried by power boats

Postby GreenLake » Thu Dec 31, 2015 3:51 am

Big boat, my recollection says tour boat, on a big lake with open water all around. I'm on a tack that will take me into shore, have been on that tack for half an hour (at least); tour boat is following the shore line more or less, also for many minutes. They absolutely must try to pass between me and the shore. Really, totally, have no understanding for why he had to violate the colregs and go for a close-quarter situation. Going behind me would have made the situation safe at a cost to him of a shallow angle turn. Less so, since, as I recollect, he was a commercial operator (won't call him "professional" after that).

I know, some powerboaters have weird ideas of "traffic lanes" on the lake; but those are all in their heads.

Now, we do have other places where vessels may be restricted by their draft and forced to follow the buoys. One midnight sail, we're sailing along such a channel, following the last wisps of a dying breeze, wherever we can see a slightly darker patch on the water. There's a big flash of light from the distance, then another one. The local gravel barge is making a midnight run. By then we are out of wind, but of course we paddle over to the side. Get a nice dip of the searchlight as they are passing. Now, that's what I call professional.
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Re: Sea trials and sorely tried by power boats

Postby jeadstx » Thu Dec 31, 2015 4:22 am

I think one of the problems with some power boats is that their owners really don't know the first thing about boating. Many modern power have control systems that if you can drive a car (even poorly), you can drive a boat. I think that nowadays there are many out there that really don't have a clue as to right of way rules, and getting drunk while operating a power boat doesn't help. I think that many modern power boaters think they are expert boaters because they can push a button to start the engine, push a throttle to go, and turn a wheel to turn. I think most sailors if you put them in an unfamiliar power boat could master it's operation in a very short time, but put a power boater in a sailboat, he probably won't have a clue as to what to do first.

I had a friend many years ago that got rammed by 4 young college students in "daddy's brand new 20' ski boat". They intentionally came as close to his bow to give my friend a thrill. My friends boat was a heavily overbuilt fiberglass 23' sloop, non structural areas where 3/4" glass and the bow was very solid. They hit him, tore a chunk out of his bow the size of half a basketball and didn't pierce the hull. Their boat didn't fair as well however. Entire side of their boat was ripped off and it sank quickly in 400' of water. My friend had to rescue them while he contacted the police to wait for him at the marina. Other than jail, at least one of the students had to explain to "daddy" where his brand new boat was.

John
1976 Day Sailer II, #8075 - Completed the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Texas 200
1952 Beetle Boat Swan Catboat
Early Rhodes 19
1973 Mariner 2+2, #2607 - Completed 2014, 2015 and 2016 Texas 200
1969 Day Sailer I, #3229
Fleet 135; Canyon Lake, Texas
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Re: Sea trials and sorely tried by power boats

Postby DigitalMechanic » Thu Dec 31, 2015 10:18 am

@Greenlake. I guess you never really know who your crossing paths with on the water. I have had to become the "give way" vessel while under sail for power boats a few times, as they insist on crossing my bow, probably because they know they can pass before I would get to them. I also recognize that they might have to slow down some or get off plane to change their course to circumvent my path, which could inconveniently negate the purpose for the only thing that they are out there enjoying... going in very fast straight lines. I agree, it would probably be simpler for everyone involved if they would have just crossed behind behind me, but I guess i can kind of relate to them... even though I am the one that ultimately inherits the imposition. For the sake of "clearance" of the wake, I will change course when I see they are not going to. Then once they pass, I have to re-alter my course so I am not getting the wake directly abeam. I think that the Daysailer maneuvers pretty quickly, and I am usually not on a strict course anyway, so I really don't mind "giving way". The only time they really bother me is when "ignorance of boat etiquette" is replaced with pure arrogance. I am pretty sure the latter was the issue I was experiencing last Sunday.

Fortunately for me I have not had to really deal with the commercial vessels, as most all of them stay on the north/east side of the Matthews Bridge more toward the delta of the river where the St. Johns and Atlantic Ocean meet. I have yet to sail those waters.

@John. That is a great war story your friend has. I am glad to hear that everyone came home in one piece that day. However, I am sorry to hear about your friends boat, and actually said "Daddy's" boat as well. It is never good when damaged property, injury, or jail is involved. I bet the ride back to land was very awkward for those kids, having to be rescued by the "offended". I doubt they got the hull back out of 400' water for repair. It must belong to the fish now. Let me guess, they were trying to show off for some girls? Classic case of little brain getting in way of big brain scenario? Maybe I am being stereotypical because you said "college kids", lol. I wonder if his "Daddy" took his tuition money back to buy a new boat with :lol:
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Re: Sea trials and sorely tried by power boats

Postby jeadstx » Fri Jan 01, 2016 2:45 am

DigitalMechanic, oddly enough the college kids weren't showing off for girls, they were in the middle of the reservoir near the dam (deepest part of the lake) trying to show a sailor how close they could get to his boat and give him a little scare. He said his boat just shuddered a bit as he saw the side of their boat rip off. I think they were the ones who got the scare, especially one of them. I doubt the boat was ever recovered as even the Corps of Engineer divers were reluctant to dive near the dam when work was required. It probably sits there to this day with some big catfish using it as his lair.

I sailed with my friend a time or two, he was a good sailor. Unfortunately there are those out there that are intentionally dangerous. As with Tim, I find this mostly with those on a jet ski.

John
1976 Day Sailer II, #8075 - Completed the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Texas 200
1952 Beetle Boat Swan Catboat
Early Rhodes 19
1973 Mariner 2+2, #2607 - Completed 2014, 2015 and 2016 Texas 200
1969 Day Sailer I, #3229
Fleet 135; Canyon Lake, Texas
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Re: Sea trials and sorely tried by power boats

Postby GreenLake » Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:31 am

John, you get the "first post of the year" award.

I don't know why being motorized triggers the "we got to show them how superior we are" complex in so many people. But it is, what it is.

DM - the Colregs are concerned with avoiding collisions. So, if very early, you can do something definite to avoid crossing paths with someone, I'd say go for it. However, once you are in a close quarters situation, or approaching one, having the "wrong" partner do the avoiding can create an uncertain situation where a collision becomes more likely. You therefore have a duty, unless you are the "give way" vessel to "stay on", which effectively aims at making you predictable.

Many collisions between ships over the years were traced to the wrong ship giving way; however, once you have determined that the other party is not giving way, you are allowed/encouraged to do all you can to avoid colliding with them. So, no T-boning the barge that cut you off, just because you are the "stay on" vessel :).

There's an unwritten law of "tonnage", which means that you keep clear of large ships, whether or not they are actually constrained by draft. That's just common sense, because they can't really maneuver well enough to pass safely close to you (and some leave 6' wakes that you don't want to sail in anyway). But, again, the time to apply that is early. Had the wind served us, that night, we would have sailed out of the channel altogether, for example, for as long as possible, and from the beginning.
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Re: Sea trials and sorely tried by power boats

Postby DigitalMechanic » Fri Jan 01, 2016 11:01 am

I almost ran over a jet skier once. On the south side of the dock on the ramp I use, the dock turns into a seawall that has an elevated "boardwalk" on it. You usually fight current coming in, so you come in at an angle for safety, in which makes that particular side of the ramp/dock unidentifiable. This in general is not usually a problem, as boats are easy to see. However, the height of a jet ski, or this particular one and the exact positioning of it at that moment made it impossible to see. Now, if you have followed me thus far (hope that I explained that good), this particular jet skier was not on your normal jet ski either. He had one of those water rocket pack pack things hooked up to it (looked fun, lol). So, when I was approaching the dock, coming around that blind spot, neither of us saw one another, and he hammered the back pack on and when flying into the air above me... He realized I was there pretty quick, and turned the back pack off and landed in the water right in front of my boat. This is when I about wet my pants, as I though I was about to crush him, the water is pretty shallow at the ramp. Also, my little motor has no reverse on it. Even if it did, I do not think I would have had time to shift it into reverse. Fortunately, I was able to veer away from him just enough while he repositioned himself just in time and turned the backpack back on and shot back out of the water from in front of the boat. I was able to steer clear of the unmanned jet ski that was powering the whole rig as well, and get my boat to the dock without anyone's property or person being injured. Lucky moment...
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