Friday, October 28, 2016

Hinckley Yacht Services at Savannah - At their dock, a long day, many errors

This boat goes for about four Fleetwings
We got up in good cheer intending to reach Kilkenny Marina which would have put us a day ahead of schedule but it was not to be. Our slip at Skull Creek Marina was buried deep into the slips. The long face dock with fuel was wiped out by Matthew, it's all in pieces now. The current was pushing us into the slip at a 1.5 kt rate so we opt'ed to back out and once we had steerage, just to continue backing out all the way rather than trying to make a quick turn in a 1.5 kt current in a narrow fairway. So far so good, it was an okay plan. The backing out part worked just fine. The problem came in that we had to rev the engine so much to make headway in reverse against a 1.5 kt current that the dinghy got caught sideways behind the boat and flipped over. Still not a big problem since it floated fine that way.

What's left of the fuel dock at Skull Creek Marina
What was not so fine was that once we made it out of the marina and prepared to flip the dinghy upright by hauling it with the motor hoist, I noticed that one of the two oars was hanging on by a thread. So I was carefully trying to reach the oar which, naturally, was at the farther point from my reach and in the process the oar let go and started to float away. At least it floated so we turned the boat around and did a man overboard drill which we flunked. After three tries we couldn't get close enough to snag the oar until we put Fleetwing into reverse and backed up to the oar. Got the oar!

However, in the process of doing that, there was a line off the aft of the dinghy (not the painter) that we had used to tie the dinghy to a dock that found its way to the propeller! Not a nice sound! I do not have "spurs" on the prop but it still cut the line and we had propulsion but all was not right. There was a vibration and our top speed was cut by a knot.

Finally we decided to motor on at a reduced speed to Hinckley Yacht Services in Savannah where we've always had excellent service in the past. Dustin, the yard manager, made room for us and even had a diver waiting for our arrival. Ann docked Fleetwing in a 1.5 kt current (a Captain Ron maneuver for those who know the film except those on the dock didn't flee) and the diver had the rest of the aft line from the dinghy off the prop in less than five minutes, just outstanding service. If you even need anything done right on your boat, come here.

So today was a learning exercise. We've been in boating since 1985 but we still have a lot to learn:
Problem 1: Flipped over the dinghy
Error 1: I should have put out enough line so the dinghy could trail along side the boat and not be stuck directly behind sideways.
Problem 2: An oar came loose and floated away
Error 2: I knew that one oar was not securely fastened, I should have fixed that  before it became a problem. Oars should stay with the dinghy even when it's upside down
Problem 3: Wrapped one of the aft dinghy lines around the prop while backing up to retrieve the oar.
Error 3:I saw the line in the water but it didn't register due to sensory overload from backing up and tracking the oar. Besides, are those extra lines really necessary?? A second besides, they should at least all be floating lines. On the dinghy only the painter was floating, the aft lines were not. Those extra lines are no longer on the dinghy!!
Problem 4:  Although we could still motor, part of the dinghy line was still wrapped around the prop and when the diver cut it off, it was apparent that it had melted part of the shaft bushing, not good.
Error 4: I motored about 20 miles to Hinckley and probably made the problem worse compared to stopping at Skull Creek and having the line removed before extended motoring could damage the shaft bushing which is a plastic sleeve.

The diver confirmed that the prop was okay but thought he felt a slight wobble in the shaft. We took Fleetwing out for a test run after removing the line and Ann ran it through a series of rpm's while I was down below feeling the shaft for any vibration (there wasn't any) and ensuring I could see water entering the shaft bushing for adequate cooling. There was no water leakage and the shaft felt cool. After all that excitement, we're going to move on Saturday and plan on anchoring at Wahoo Creek. I hope tomorrow will be less exciting...


Anonymous said...

Bob'n Ann,

On yachts, as in life, "shoot" happens. At least you were uninjured and the yacht's damages are insignificant. You might consider, however, buying a few fathoms of floating "dinghy Painter" line from West Marine the next time you're near one. In that way, if a line does come adrift, at least it remains on the surface. BTDT!!!

Scott'n Kitt
s/v HyLyte

Bob423 said...

From here on out, any line that goes on the dinghy is a floating line! (Close that barn door!)