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Old 07-26-2007, 09:44 AM   #1
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Nobody likes to admit mistakes, particularly when no damage was actually done. In our case, we're so far from home that only if I open my big mouth will many people know about our mistake.

Yet every experience, good and bad, is an opportunity to learn something, and sometimes to pass on that knowledge to others.

We have been traveling through the Gota and Trollhatte canals. There is a great deal of work involved in going up the canal locks, especially in the Gota Kanal. When we reached the Trollhatte canal, the last leg that would bring us to Gothenburg and the Western Baltic, we found the locking down to be gentle and much easier.

In the second lock down, however, we made a serious mistake that could have caused injury to people and possibly serious damage to our boat.

When our boats arrived in Finland, most of the boats discovered that their very good double-braid lines had disappeared from our lockers. The not-so-good dock lines and utility lines were all still there, but the expensive and most important lines were gone. Not just from our boat, but from most of the boats. The ship's master bought a spool of line in Rauma, but all that was available was 3-strand line, and much heavier than we would need. Regardless, we were forced to use this line because we could not find double braid without searching, spending time we just did not have because of the month's delay in our boat's arrival. Hindsight says we should have tried harder to get decent line, but we didn't really think it was that important. It would not have been that important if we hadn't made a mistake.

The mistake was that in the Trollhatte canal locks the lowering is very gentle and with traffic as heavy as it is, the lockmaster starts emptying the lock as soon as the last boat enters the lock. In our case, the second lock we had some problems and I cleated off the line expecting to have a bit more time than we actually had. I discovered that the line, too thick for our cleats, had jammed. By the time I was able to get the knife to cut the lines, our stern quarter was several feet in the air. Peter, in running to help me, cleated the other line, and we had the same problem again. This was terrible.

We were told. We knew. You do NOT cleat your lines when locking down. Credit must be given to PDQ for the strength of its cleats that they did not fail - if they had, we would have had holes in our deck.

Only our egos were bruised, but that is because, as I say over and over again, "good seamanship is no substitute for blind luck."

Please, stay safe everyone.

Jeanne
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Old 07-26-2007, 09:53 AM   #2
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Jeanne,

Well done in the circumstances - another experience to add to your lives chronicles !

Richard
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Old 07-26-2007, 09:59 AM   #3
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Jeanne,

A mistake anybody could make. Thanks for sharing it, so others can learn.

It is a lot less scary learning from other people's experience!

Glad you and Peter were quick witted, with a knife close by.

ps the cleats and mounting on your boat must be darn strong.

cheers

duckie
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Old 07-26-2007, 10:13 AM   #4
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I am pleased you got off so lightly and no one is injured.

I know these locks very well and am sure this kind of thing has happened many times before. The Göta Canal is easy as the locks are small but Trollhätte Canal is a different thing. The locks accomodate ships going to and from ports in lake Vänern and they are fast filling/emptying. During the summer months, when pleasure boats use the locks, the lockmasters take it a bit easier but the rate of flow is enormous.

On the good side, the locks are filled from tunnels built into the lock floor and not through sluice gates so there are fewer eddies created.

Thanks for sharing your experience with us Jeanne. We are all a bit safer for the knowlkedge we now have gleaned.

Aye

Stephen
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Old 07-26-2007, 02:46 PM   #5
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Just when you thought you could relax...

Thanks for sharing that with us, Jeanne. I immagine it looked a little like a Chinese Fire Drill when you felt the decks begin to lurch under your feet!

This could cause a Black Eye for Dockwise Transport and I think every boat owner involved should file a written protest.

Last time I was aboard a D.T. ship the captain told me there was no need to lock-up the yacht which I'd just delivered to their care... and now I hear about lockers being rummaged through by the crew... while in their care.

And... what caused the delivery to be delayed a month?

Never-the-less - it sure sounds like you and Peter are having a fun and interesting time!

To Life!

Kirk
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Old 07-26-2007, 03:29 PM   #6
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Man! That would have pulled the deck right off my boat!
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Old 07-26-2007, 11:49 PM   #7
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I'm glad you are all okay and that the boat survived unscathed. Looks chilly! Do many Scandanavian sailors wear pleated skirts?

David.
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Old 07-27-2007, 04:30 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Auzzee View Post
Do many Scandanavian sailors wear pleated skirts?

David.
Only the women and only in bad weather, such as that which we are now experiencing. Otherwise we tend to wear much less.

Aye

Stephen
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Old 07-28-2007, 09:15 AM   #9
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Kirk, it wasn't Dockwise. It was another that carries the boats as deck cargo. Unfortunately, they were the low bidder, and we got what we paid for, apparently. I am still seething, but they have to take us home, so I'm swallowing my bile until we are safely back in the USA.

If I ever have time and good internet access (in a week, perhaps) I will finish uploading photos. On the same day we would see people all bundled up with full foulies, and another boat with everybody barely clothed.

This has been a very cold summer here, and the weather hasn't been good. It hasn't caused us any inconvenience until this past week, when we've been trying to cross over the Denmark, and our little light displacement boats are not suited to 50-miles of 20-knot plus wind on the nose across the Western Baltic.

the marina we're in is packed. Boats are rafted up 3 boats deep, you couldn't believe the traffic jam.

bye.
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