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Wrong turn=Bad boating day!

 
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gulfcoast john



Joined: 14 Dec 2012
Posts: 803
City/Region: PENSACOLA
State or Province: FL
C-Dory Year: 2010
C-Dory Model: 255 Tomcat
Vessel Name: Cat O' Mine
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2021 7:08 pm    Post subject: Wrong turn=Bad boating day! Reply with quote

A 42 foot sailboat (mast stepped) didn’t take the turn into the lock and ended up pinned on the Mississippi River Chain of Rocks near St Louis. The crew was rescued by St Louis Fire/Rescue boats. This mishap is being discussed on the AGLCA forum (open to members only). Local news helo footage:

https://fox2now.com/news/missouri/boaters-rescued-after-vessel-stuck-on-chain-of-rocks/

This link may be moved or deleted.

I hope that detailed info regarding what happened and lessons learned (there are ALWAYS lessons to be learned) come out some day. Tow Boat US reportedly declined to pull the boat off the rocks as an unsafe option; a barge and crane will be required when the water lowers some.

Insurance companies may not cover ‘navigational’ or other skipper errors, just as they may decline to cover a boat that sinks at the dock due to a cracked through-hull as a failure to keep the boat ‘seaworthy’ (as my Progressive policy terms it).

We’ve found lots of instances where following a Garmin Autopilot Route generated by a touchscreen button push could lead to disaster.

The most obvious was a 2018 chip ‘magenta line’ Oswego canal (NY off the Erie Canal) Garmin recommended route that goes over the dam and falls rather than into the lock; this has not been corrected on my 2021 version. NEVER follow an automatic route until you’ve verified it manually. (I’m not implying this skipper did that; I have no facts re that).

We have found many examples over the years where the ‘correct’ route looks like we’re heading into some tiny slough or wrong turn rather than the lock or the correct route.

After some embarrassing and preventable errors, we recommend our current agreement that EITHER of us can offer ‘Hey, I think I’ll veto that for now’...and STOP until we’re BOTH totally satisfied re our situation. We again advise you and your crew to consider that option, if you haven’t already. We didn’t invent it; we learned it from far more experienced cruisers than us and found that it works well for us as well.

Since postings are slow this week, I’ll offer another lesson learned: When moored to a town wall with no security/cipher lock on a river, or in a current, run your dock lines from your boat, through the cleat EYE under the horn of the dockside cleat, then back to your boat to cleat off again on your boat ...rather than cleat off at the town wall. The only downside is that this requires lines twice as long as usual. One upside is that it can make pushing off in the morning easy, since that line can be freed without getting off the boat. That line can also act as a fulcrum point to get off the dock.

The kids don’t carry knives to cut lines and they don’t step aboard boats.

We learned on segment loops over the past few years that there are several areas (including some of our favorite stops) where juvenile delinquents and drunks will untie boats at the town wall cleats, allowing them to drift into the downstream current. Some very experienced Loopers have noted that some boats ended up on the bank in the mud a mile or so downstream, but none have gone over a dam or been injured or killed. However, I can imagine how that COULD happen in some areas. (Again, I am not linking the loss of the sailboat in any way with un-tying of Looper boats from town walls).

One multi-Looper chained his anchor and chain to the town cleat with a padlock with no issues. Others use a smartphone anchor drag app (many available) or drop the anchor (but many of these ancient walls have old rebar, fridges and rusted bikes to hook onto).

Last month, a member of a group of Loopers (8?) posted that they got to the Joliet, IL wall late after a long day and tied off. At 2AM, one skipper woke to shouting and found a lady busy un-tying boats, and they had a shouting match which awoke some but not all of the others. One boat drifted out into the current with only his shorepower cord securing his boat to shore; the boat behind him caught that boat with a boat hook.

Several boats were using the ‘cleat only on the boat and never to the shore’ method, and they weren’t touched.

Comments invited…

Hope these suggestions and observations are helpful to you and your crew!

John

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colbysmith



Joined: 02 Oct 2011
Posts: 3520
City/Region: Madison
State or Province: WI
C-Dory Year: 2009
C-Dory Model: 25 Cruiser
Vessel Name: C-Traveler
Photos: C-Traveler and Midnight-Flyer
PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2021 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps the lady untying the boats should have been pulled into the water and dragged along like a sea anchor for a little ways! In my grouchy old age I have no more time for idiots like that! Regarding the sail boat, I've been through that Chain of Rocks canal a few times. I suppose if one wasn't paying attention to the chart notes or familiar with the area, it might not be that hard to stay in the main channel. The main channel heads off to the starboard side, while there is a big signboard pointing out the canal on the port side. I'm not sure where the dam is there since I've never chose to check out the rapids. Mr. Green There is a lock in the canal, so I suppose the dam is near there. Looking at Navionics, there is even a note that says navigation not recommended due to low water dam and low vertical bridge clearance. Actually, while looking at my navionics, I see that dam on the main channel is a bit farther upstream from where the lock is on the canal. And all the nav aids, if you are following them, take you into and down the canal. While I like my garmin chips that allow for routing guidance, I find too many times it doesn't route in the navigable channel!
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localboy



Joined: 30 Sep 2006
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City/Region: Lake Stevens via Honolulu
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Vessel Name: 'Au Kai (Ocean Traveler)
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2021 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have zero desire to do the “Great Loop”. Big cities, dirty water, rivers...yuck. The entire mid-west portion of the route, to me, has nothing that attracts me. Give me a white sand beach or a quiet cove any day. I’ll do the ICW, the Gulf etc, but the Mighty Mississippi is not my cup of tea.
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ssobol



Joined: 27 Oct 2012
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City/Region: SW Michigan
State or Province: MI
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2021 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

localboy wrote:
....The entire mid-west portion of the route, to me, has nothing that attracts me. Give me a white sand beach or a quiet cove any day. I’ll do the ICW, the Gulf etc, but the Mighty Mississippi is not my cup of tea.


I don't know. I was watching a program the other day about the Mississippi. The upper part looked pretty nice.
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thataway



Joined: 02 Nov 2003
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City/Region: Pensacola
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Photos: Thataway
PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2021 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We have done the upper part of navigable Mississippi, and the St. Croix Rivers. Also the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers in their navigable entirety

There were not problems with vandalism at the docks. There a number of really great places on the heartland rivers.

Same for St. John's River.

We didn't get the do the Erie Canal this year, but that is life. Maybe, it was fate not to take on these "dangerous waters" frequented by the ":Loopers"

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Thataway
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hardee



Joined: 30 Oct 2006
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City/Region: Sequim
State or Province: WA
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2021 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ssobol wrote:
localboy wrote:
....The entire mid-west portion of the route, to me, has nothing that attracts me. Give me a white sand beach or a quiet cove any day. I’ll do the ICW, the Gulf etc, but the Mighty Mississippi is not my cup of tea.


I don't know. I was watching a program the other day about the Mississippi. The upper part looked pretty nice.


Well, I figured if Tom Sawyer could do it on a raft it can't be tooo hard, Then again, he wasn't in a 40ish sail-cruiser.

Harvey
SleepyC Moon


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Pat Anderson



Joined: 02 Nov 2003
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2021 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

localboy wrote:
I have zero desire to do the “Great Loop”. Big cities, dirty water, rivers...yuck. The entire mid-west portion of the route, to me, has nothing that attracts me. Give me a white sand beach or a quiet cove any day. I’ll do the ICW, the Gulf etc, but the Mighty Mississippi is not my cup of tea.


Each to his own cup of tea I guess. We loved the Atlantic ICW, the Chesapeake, the New Jersey ICW, the Hudson, the Erie Canal, the Trent Severn Waterway, Georgian Bay, the North Channel, Mackinac Island and Lake Michigan.

But we also really enjoyed the cruise from Chicago to Mobile too. There were a lot of cool stops on the Illinois River, and the really only nasty spot on the Mississippi was Boston Bar, just before we started up the Ohio (about 30 miles). We were only 14 days out of Chicago on the Illinois and Mississippi before we were at Green Turtle Bay and Kentucky Lake, which is spectacular. Pickwick Landing State Park is also very cool. At Aqua Yacht Harbor we entered the Tenn-Tom Waterway, and had a fun cruise to Mobile, although there were some tense moments when we went up the Alabama River to anchor for the night and Baxter got his leash tangled around a tree. I had to go untangle him in alligator territory! But these are all WONDERFUL memories for us, and we would not have missed it for the world!

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