Lessons Learned – by Pat Carson
Is It Right Or Is It Wrong 12
It is January and finally 2020 is over. I thought it would be a good time to start out the new year with an installment of “Is It Right or Is It Wrong” recapping the hits and misses for 2020. For the past year, I have been collecting photos and saving contributions from readers of things that we know are just not right, some things we know are right and sometimes we see things of which we are not sure. I thought that I would share a few of my latest observations in installment 12. I do appreciate reader submissions as I may not see all that is right or wrong as I boat around the Bay, Delta and the Pacific Coast.
Fenders And Their Purpose
Fendering is an important part of securing our vessel to protect the hull from the incidental contact with fixed objects and to assist us when docking. Tying the fender to the vessel takes a bit of practice to get it right as every boat is different. We see many examples of yacht owners who are still searching for that perfect combination of ease of deployment and adequate protection. In this first example I believe the fender whip is a bit on the short side.
It does not appear that the fender is offering any protection from incidental contact with the dock. It would be OK if there were other fenders and this was just an extra, but I did not see any other fendering. Wrong.
In this example of securing the fender whip to the vessel we find a unique application of a screw pin shackle. Although the whip is attached with a round turn and two half hitches, securing the bitter end with a wire tie looks funny and it might look better if the tail of the plastic wire tie was clipped. The other issues I see are that the shackle is used upside down and the bare metal is already leaving marks on the gel coat surface. Wrong.
I boarded a 57-foot Carver Voyager recently and saw what I thought to be eight fenders neatly stored on the bow in fender baskets. I am not a fan of fender baskets, especially the rigid ones, as they always seem to be in the way when moving around the foredeck. Eight fenders are a lot, but as I examined them closer, I discovered a line storage container designed to look like the other fenders.
I am certain that this might not be new to you, but it was certainly the first time I have witnessed it and I am beginning to rethink my dislike for fender baskets. Brilliant. Wonder if they make it in white?
I had to include this photo of a new boat with quickly aging fenders that are not properly installed.
Not much to say about this other than this marine growth did not occur overnight. This fender cover draw string has been hanging in the water for some time to get that much growth. Perhaps if the fender cover was installed correctly and not upside down…
The forward fender on the same vessel was so far forward and so high up that it did not provide any protection from fixed objects. Perhaps the owner should take a few additional minutes in setting the fendering to provide the most protection possible while keeping the lines out of the water. Wrong.
Not sure if this is fender inventory, fender discards or borrow a fender if you need one, but just about every size boat fender is here and all have whips attached. You simply cannot have too many fenders protecting your hull sides. Right?
I do not know what happened to the starboard bow of this boat, but it evidently could have benefited from some additional fendering.
A nice boat that was marred from bow to midship.
Remember that it is rope in the store, when I cut off a section and bring aboard my boat we refer to it as line, and when we give it a job it has a name. I spotted this boat at a marina along the Oregon coast and just had to stop and take a few photos.
This is a great transition photo as it has an improperly deployed fender floating in the water, and it looks like they used their dog leash as a midship forward spring line. Even more interesting is that just two boats away I saw nearly the same application of a dog leash.
However, for this application using the vessel midship cleat was too much effort so it was just tied around one of the stanchions. Look closely at how the leash is secured to the dock. Guess the cleat is not strong enough so they wrapped it around one of the planks. Bosun Carson says WRONG and she wants her red leash back.
A reader from the Northwest sent a couple of photos illustrating that even the sailing yachtsmen from Washington have trouble with the proper application of line aboard their boats.
With dock lines passing through the anchor roller and tied to various parts of the railing, surely these are set to fail in the first strong wind. Think the foredeck lines look improper, let us take a look at the stern of this same boat.
Worn out lines that appear to have previously parted are chafing on the gunwale leaving marks on the fiberglass and teak rail. Wrong.
Just about all of our boats are connected to shore power at one time or another and in some cases I think that they are permanently connected. Here are a few examples of how not to connect and secure shore power. Shore power connections deserve more care than they get. Remember this is 120 volts, and in some cases 240 volts, and has the potential for severe or fatal injury.
This is a perfect example of everything that can be done incorrectly except that they used the correct size wing nut household grade wire nut. Wrong and totally unsafe.
In this next example of improper shore power connections, the owner must have been in doubt if the connection is watertight, so the solution is to just add silicone. Look closely and you can see the electrical tape that was used first.
Although the silicon may offer some level of sealing out the environment, it appears the mechanical connection designed for strain relief is not engaged. Wrong.
This is not exactly the best method of coiling that excess shore power cord on the dock. Not only is it difficult to remove to take with you, but a section of the cord is hanging down in to the water. Also, the coils extend far enough out that contact with the boat is possible. Having just met the owner I helped him to remove this mess and coil the cord correctly. Wrong.
A few random photos of observations this past year. Why don’t we start out with a photo demonstrating the intensity of the unfortunate fire at Ox Bow Marina.
This boat was moored just a few slips away from the fire and suffered minor damage. The hot ash ruined the recent exterior wax and melted not only the spotlight, but the foredeck vinyl cushions and some gel coat.
On a recent outing with a client we were on our way back to Willow Berm Marina and had just turned from the San Joaquin River into the Mokelumne River. We slowed to reduce our wake at Korth’s when we fortunately spotted this large hazard.
This appears to be a utility pole that had somehow got loose and was floating horizontally with the current. Good thing that we had been at no wake speed, any faster and we may have not been able to avoid hitting it.
That is all for this installment and I will end with a couple of “what is it?” Spotted these wires on a marina dock, and I did not have the courage to touch them to see if they were electrified. They do serve a purpose and I was told that, yes, they are electrified.
What do you suppose is the purpose of these geometric shapes hanging from the bow of this well-cared for Motoryacht?
I am sure that they serve some purpose, but I do not know what that is and unfortunately there was no one around to ask. If you know the answer to this mystery, send me an email, we can all learn.
Now I can sit back and enjoy that fine cigar and glass of port as I consider the new year, 2021, and hope things get back to something resembling normal. We are right in the middle of the winter boating season and some of the best Bay and Delta boating is this time of year. Be safe around our fellow yachtsmen and yachtswomen and if you do see something that you are not quite sure if it is right or is it wrong, take photos and email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I may include them in the next edition of “Is It Right or Is It Wrong” so that we can all learn from your experiences.