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Archive for the 'DEJA VU’S … Mis-adventures' Category

PENANG-LUMUT, MALAYSIA … 4/5TH MAY, 2009

 

* THE TRAFFIC BRIDGE LINKING `PENANG ISLAND' TO THE MALAYSIAN MAINLAND! *

This leg was to be an over-nighter … distance to Lumut from Penang, about 80nmiles, taking seventeen hours.

Déjà vu arrived at the Lumut Yacht Club at 0300, on the 5th May. The Skipper was very tired (Yep, solo again) and was quick to drop the anchor and hit the bunk … hard!

I was rudely awakened at 0630 by the hysterical screams of a woman? You couldn’t ignore this noise … plus, the background of shrieking from a large group of males? There was some sort of pandemonium up there … so a splash of water on my face to wake me up and I headed on deck.It’s difficult to describe the scene … about 100 metres astern of Déjà vu, was a 60 by 15 metre sand barge with one of the Rally yachts hard against the side of it.  

 

* A BETTER VIEW OF HOW THE TUGS MANOEUVRE THE BARGES IN A CONFINED SPACE ... VERY UNSATISFACTORY! `LUMUT YACHT CLUB' *

My initial reaction was: This bloody great 500 tonnes of metal had hooked the yacht … pulling it into the barge, which had stalled. Well I was partly right … the barge had hooked the anchor chain of the yacht and pulled it hard against its side (and this was the cause of the French woman’s screams … and the chorus of background shrieking came from the crew on the barge).

They were shrieking MOVE, MOVE, MOVE, MOVE! That’s the only English word they uttered … and they were directing it at Déjà vu! The barge hadn’t stalled at all … it was heading our way, very slowly, but, uncontrollably! And it was going to hit us … and then scoop Déjà vu up with the French yacht!

Déjà vu only had one motor working … so I started the Starboard motor and went forward to detach the bridle from the anchor chain. Another glance at the unstoppable juggernaut barge quickly convinced me there wasn’t time for this … plus, the barge crew was still shouting for me to MOVE, MOVE! The barge hit Déjà vu … by some miracle it had cleared the starboard steps and hit the protruding end of the rub-strip … splitting it open for about 100mm … then continued, rubbing down the full length of the yacht. I have never, never been so scared in my life … looking up at this out-of-control juggernaut was scary, very scary!

* THE SAME BARGE TYPE THAT `CRASHED' INTO ME (JUST ANOTHER TIME) ... THEY DON'T HAVE MOTORS AND RELY ON THE ATTACHED TUG TO START AND STOP THEM! *

I took an executive decision and ran back to the engine control, putting the starboard engine full astern. With all due modesty I have to say … this was a gutsy move … as this action could take Déjà vu back to meet the French boat even quicker! But, this was a Catamaran … and to have the starboard engine going hard astern should take the cat away from the barge … and this it did! By the time the French yacht was adjacent to Déjà vu’s bow we had enough clearance to let the barge and the yacht pass-by with out collision … and Déjà vu was now doing a 90° pirouette on her anchor … we were clear and safe.

 
 

* THESE BARGES ARE HUGE ... 60 BY 15 METRES AND WEIGHING 500 TONNES EMPTY ... *

 I went forward to pull the anchor and move Déjà vu … when my knees gave out … from shock I guess? I’ve read about people being weak-at-the-knees but couldn’t understand, or believe the feeling. My knees were knocking and they were about to collapse … I sat down until the feeling passed.

The French yachts Skipper was thinking clearly by this stage and he let all his anchor chain out until the nylon rode was feeding out from the chain locker … and this he cut! His yacht was free … and he quickly moved to a safe anchorage … damaged, but floating!  

 

* THIS IS HOW CLOSE THE BARGE CAME ... ANOTHER 100 MM (4 INCHES) AND DEJAVU WOULD HAVE BEEN PUSHED UNDER! *

The next morning representatives of the barge company were down from Kuala Lumpah and made offers to the Frenchman and me … an offer of MR1600 (about AU650.00) to me, which I accepted. Good compensation for the physical damage to the yacht … but not for the TERROR of the experience. The French wouldn’t settle and left it to their Insurance Company to work it out.A Dinner that night … a tour of a Marine University and Turtle Farm … and the fleet was on its way south to Port Klang and Port Dickson.

 

MECR-2

ooOoo

posted by admin in DEJA VU'S ... Mis-adventures,Lumut ... Malaysia,Penang ... Malaysia,SAIL MALAYSIA - Passage To The East ... 2009 and have Comment (1)

A GREAT LEARNING CURVE! 25TH MARCH 2005

The location of this incident was four nmiles south of Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, Australia.

Coffs Harbour is a coastal city located on the north coast of New South Wales about 291 nmiles north of Sydney … 240 nmiles south of Brisbane.

Apart from this incident it was a great sail … until the breeze picked up to 35 knots.  Despite 3 reefs in the main and the jib 50% furled, Tsunami was topping 13.8 knots at times and that was too, too fast! In fact, it is my top speed recorded so far in my sailing experience.

* Tsunami/Deja vu with 4 reefs in the Main ... and small jib! *

 I sense readers thinking; “What does 3 reefs in the main mean?”?  Well, a yacht’s primary `engine’ (source of power) are the sails … and as with a car the bigger the sails/engine the faster the boat will go as the breeze increases in strength. To reduce power one must reduce the area of the sails. The `main’ (meaning mainsail, being the largest sail on the boat) can be reduced in area by folding it up onto the boom, at the base of the mainsail. This action is called reefing. My yacht has 4 reefs and the reefing lines are rigged to allow me to reef the 2nd and 3rd reefs without much fuss. (Q)  “What about the 1st and 4th reefs, you are going to ask?”  (A) “A yacht needs one line per reefing point and Tsunami only has two reefing lines. Therefore, I can only instigate two reefs”. (I did something about this and explain what, later! )

I usually reef-the-main before I leave the mooring for a day’s sailing, as it can be quite difficult at sea. 

* The colourful `Spinnaker' ... seldom used as it requires the `Screecher' to be removed! *

About three miles from Coffs Harbour I radioed Coastal Patrol to advise of my arrival … giving an E.T.A. (Estimated Time of Arrival) of about 20 minutes.

When Tsunami topped 13.8 knots I felt it was time to seriously slow down. But … with a 35 knot wind (gale force), steeply peaking waves and Tsunami travelling at such a fierce rate, my common-sence told me it was unsafe to try to turn around into the wind! To steer across the wind to turn Tsunami towards the harbour seemed an invitation to disaster and possible capsize … the worst possible scenario!

* Tsunami/Dejavu with 4 reefs in the main ... and full jib! *

 My Plan #2 … was to sail close to a small island adjacent to the entrance to the harbour and turn into the lee of it, hoping for calmer waters in which to turn into the wind to drop the Main? 

I was perched on the starboard bench alongside the barbecue, holding on with fingers bleached white from over-stressing.

Tsunami had had enough of this treatment … and took the situation in hand.  She dug her port bow under a wave and buried it … I was looking through the forward windows at neat, deep, Tasman Sea ocean water … only God knows how deep down the bow went.  In a split-second, Tsunami pivoted on this sunken hull and spun the entire yacht around 180˚… heading her back in the direction we had come from.  And I was still clamped to the bench seat, later wondering why I wasn’t catapulted over the side during the pirouette.  It only took a few seconds to appreciate our new position, which was facing into the wind, just right for dropping the mainsail … and this was done without hesitation.  With both engines already fired-up, it was a short drive to Coffs Harbour.

 
 

* Schreecher, Jib and full Main ... *

A humorous ending to this extraordinary experience was on entering the harbour, I radioed to finally sign off with Coastal Patrol.  “Congratulation Tsunami that was the most spectacular turn I have ever witnessed”.  The radio operator had been following our approach to Coffs through binoculars, knowing it had the potential to be something special … and seriously thought I had engineered this manoeuvre purposely.  I didn’t spoil his belief with the truth!

 A great ride … and what a remarkable little ship Tsunami proved herself to be … despite the massive stresses incurred by the pirouette, nothing bent or broke … and I developed a great feeling of confidence in the build of the yacht to carry me through anything that may come our way in the future.

 

What did you learn from this experience Lloyd?  

(1) Take more notice of SWW (Strong Wind Warnings)

(2)  Re-rig the mainsail to be able to take in a 4th reef.  This was done shortly after!

(3)  Reef the mainsail earlier … although I had three reefs in the mainsail … if there’s still too much power one must drop the mainsail all together.  Very, very difficult to do in the situation I found myself!

6-6

ooOoo

 

posted by admin in AUSTRALIA,Coffs Harbour ... N.S.W., Australia,DEJA VU'S ... Mis-adventures,QUEENSLAND ... AUSTRALIA and have No Comments