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Thread: Could have, should have ... been a disaster but ...

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    Member ocnfish's Avatar
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    Default Could have, should have ... been a disaster but ...

    Northeast end of Fox Island in Resurrection Bay there are a couple of pinnacles in otherwise deep water. Showed a guest from the lower 48 the rock arch on the SW part of Fox Island and wanted to get back over to Thumbs cove, we wanted to anchor up for the night. At the time we were going about 20 mph because of winds and waves. All of a sudden a big bang and loss of power but still moving forward in otherwise deep water. Looking back you could see the rock popping out with each wave. Discovered the outdrive was 3/4 up and props out of the water.

    Family and friends wanted to know if we should get the inflatable off the top of the boat and grab the ditch bag with the eprib and other safety essentials. First thing out of my mouth was I do not know .... let me check a few things.

    Lifted the dog house cover expecting the worst, to my surprise looked totally normal maybe an inch of water with none coming in. The engine compartment normality told me that we did not rip the outdrive out of the transom. next see if the outdrive would go back down. To my surprise it operated normally. Next can I put the boat in forward, yes and we are moving at trolling speed. OK lets add some power, no problem no major vibration but it was a bit slow. We went to thumbs at about 2800 rpm and 16 mph. Once at Thumbs cove in calm water inspected the outdrive. Damage had been done bent SS prop (not bad) and skeg broken (later I would find that the outdrive had two holes in the casting and I was loosing oil from the lower unit).

    We decided (unanimous vote by hardcore fishermen & women) this boat needed to be out of the water. Drove back to Seward and put her on the trailer. Additional damage was a semi crushing of the drivers side chine involving an area about three feet long We smacked the center tail breaking loose gel coat but that is about all. The out drive had two gouges at the top of the outdrive a broken skeg and a slightly bent blade on one the front prop.

    The boat is at SHIP in Seward and Jerry will get the gears out of the compromised lower casing and get the salt off them.

    I discovered that the money spent on the Osprey and Volvo Penta outdrive was well worth it and is a potential live saver. With three inches of fiberglass below the water line I can't imagine the force necessary to poke a hole in it. No breeched hull. The Volvo Penta outdrive is designed to give way on impact and still be usable after, outstanding technology. Want to change the name of the boat to "Timex, takes a licking and keeps on ticking".

    The thick fiberglass and an outdrive designed to absorb sudden impact changed this from from and emergency ditching with a loss of boat and threat to life into a real yawner.

    An older boat or a modern aluminum boat would have had a comprised hull and an engine that was broken, it would hve been taking on water and emergency measures would have had to be taken for survival.

    I think I own the safest, no best! boat on the planet. A old guy like me in the parking lot at seward with a 24' Orca Skagit looked at what happened and said "this is why I will never own an aluminium boat, it never would have survived this"

    I agree.


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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    I attempted a SCUBA dive on a pinnacle northwest of Fox Island many years ago, but the top of it was at 84 feet. I say "attempted" because at the surface we were reading 84 feet, but when I descended the line I go to 80' and still was not on the bottom (I could see bottom, but it was at least fifty feet below me). The dive tables give you 40 minutes at 80', which is plenty of time to spear some fish, so I thought I would let go of the line and swim forward, catching the pinnacle at my depth (I thought the anchor had fallen on the back side of the pinnacle). I let go of the line without adding air to my flotation system, and sank to 130' before I realized what was happening. I ended up punching out and did a free ascent to the surface, logging my maximum time at 130' (ten minutes).

    I did not know there were other pinnacles out there. If one was breaking the surface, how did you not see breaking waves in the area?

    You guys were very fortunate, as you know.

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    Member Cap'n Ron's Avatar
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    Glad you survived and made it back OK for repairs and no harm done to people. But, I had the same thing happen to me in an aluminum boat, old '78 Crestliner 22' cuddy with a Mercruiser. We went airborne we hit so hard...uncharted rock near Bidarka Point south of Tatitlek. Put a huge crease in the hull, but no leaks. Broke the skeg and messed up the prop, with a slight bend in the shaft...put spare prop on and limped it back to Valdez. Don't want to start an argument, what we all need to do is not hit rocks, but it will happen to the best of us. But, my old aluminum boat took a heck of a wallop and bent but did not break. My new boat has 1/4" hull, even better!

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    Member ocnfish's Avatar
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    Should have explained it a little better .... South East corner there are two rocks in otherwise deep water. Two '*' on this years C-map data base for the Simrad GPS/Chart/Radar/Sounder. I had been at it for 12 hrs stright, driving trucks an trolling for silvers, 21 at Pony cove, 3 short of boat limit. I was in new water for me and I missed a detail. I think the point I was trying to make is that great equipment can, in some situations. protect an old fool like me. What happened was scarry but amazing, I was very unlucky to smack that rock and the equipment made all the difference in the world.

  5. #5
    Sponsor potbuilder's Avatar
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    Glad your safe and sound !! but ??
    salt off the gears ??? i'd bet you busted/chipped some teeth off those gears and if they don't fish ALL the pieces out of your drive that drive will self destruct in short time or if they install those gears in a new case your throwing away your money. Ask them to show you the coupling between the top box and the gear case, take a look inside it and i bet you'll see a bunch of squiggly lines of what used to be straight splines !! The beauty of fiberglass is that it takes the shock of inpact well but usually some of the layups delaminate, i'd get somebody that knows his stuff well to check out that hull. Did you look at the inside of the hull where the impact was ??? You might be cutting out the spot and molding in a big patch. If your insurance is paying for the damages get a good surveyor to look the hull over well.
    "3 inches of fiberglass below the waterline" ???

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    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    Ocnfish,
    Glad to hear your OK and the crew is safe. I completely diasagree about your aluminum assumption though.

    First, I have taken a serious wallop in the jetboat on the Deshka that would have cratered a fiberglass hull. It went to the shop and was literally pounded out by Greatland welding. Second is the fact that my aluminum airboat is tough as nails and we load it with 2000 lbs of gear/moose and run across dry ground with it....a fiberglass hull wouldn't stand a chance!

    Again, I'm very glad to hear you limped home, Potbuilder is offering wise words on your repair, but I would argue your aluminum statement all day long with ya. Hope your repairs are speedy.
    BK

  7. #7

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    Ugh. Made me queezy to read your account, and I don't even know the place. I think we've all had close calls, but seldom as close as yours while managing to keep on.

    As for the fly spots on the chart in new waters.... I never believe them. They can be off far enough to hurt. It can go the other way too. We have a spot with the charts and GPS showing two exposed rocks with shallows between them, and they simply don't exist. There's 40' of water throughout. But right next to them are a couple more that are most certainly more than fly spots on your chart.

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    Member ocnfish's Avatar
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    Thanks for the thoughts Potbuilder. Right out of the water at the docks the duoprop turned freely, after it sat all night and drained out the oil / seawater foam from the lower unit it turned stiffly at first. Jerry at SHIP, thank god he still comes up in the summer, was at the business even though it was closed on Sunday. After knocking on the shop back door he came out and took a look and his initial evaluation was that it "did not look too bad". Do not know about the glass work yet I will talk to CAC Plastics in Wasilla about repairs to the hull. I am not too concerned, the layup for that hull is 3 inches of fiberglass cloth & resin below the water line (built like tank & kind of heavy) and the damage is all exposed under the trailer.

    OK guys ... did not not want to start a glass vs aluminum boat thread here, if you re-read the post, it was the guy parked next to me in Seward that said that. The Osprey is way overbuilt and designed specifically for ocean use, a no compromise boat, you will never see one out at Big Lake. That is why we cross Blying Sound on a regular basis I have confidence that she will get us there in back in a planned out situation. BTW ... weather was not as forcast, blowing at I would guess 40 mph, white caps, moving towards the rock, rock was a little below the tide line and my visual might have been just another white cap ...

    I will be flying the C-180 for a while now, hopefully catch the tail end of Silver season ...

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    Member ocnfish's Avatar
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    Rebuild in process, I have the props off and Odies Marine had the tool I needed to remove the big inboard prop. To overhaul the props they suggested West Coast Propeller in Homer, will call them and see if they can meet me and the C-180 at the Homer Airport ... not far away. My freind and airplane mechanic John (gave John in Halibut, Red Salmon, Silver Salmon, and Rockfish, he takes them to the Reno Air Races for the traditional AK Salmon Bake), helped me drop the lower unit and the spline connecting the upper unit, the spline showed that there was no siginificant force transfered to the upper unit ... thanks again Odie. I think I am going to buy a reman lower unit to replace the entire lower unit. Does anyone have any thoughts or opinions on who would provide a quality reman?

    Lastly, called Steve at CAC in Wasilla and took the boat there this afternoon, he could not quote a price for the repair of the hull he said he needed to remove all the damaged fiber glass on the chine and keel and rebuild. assured me that it would ber as strong as new.


    Only question out there is who / where to get a quality lower unit reman ....

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    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    Odies should have an idea on the outdrive replacement.
    CAC does excellent work.
    Glad she's getting fixed, won't be long till your back out there.
    BK

  11. #11

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    Million Dollar Rock I think it's called ? Shows a lot in swells good to fish but can suck you right in on a wave, tried once in a 18' Zodiac and turned and left.

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    Member ocnfish's Avatar
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    This is what I am really talking about .... hit a big rock at 20 mph. Everybody ... 4 SOB thought we were toast ... break out the raft and grab the ditch bag with a $1000.00 EPRB, row the dingy like a madman to stay out of the rocks and then wait for a rescue, it did not happen, arrived in Seward harbor a short time later at 50% power on step in the big boat. The winds were at beteween 30 & 40 mph.

    Again it is an aluminum vs. fiberglass thing, if the fiberglass is thick enough in a very though through out boat (flotation engineered into the hull) you do NOT end up in this situation. looks like a wave over the bow did them in. Fact is the aluminum boat sank, metal boat if there is a hull comprise or water over the bow is more heavy than water, they sank. Couple of guys lost their lives sad news.

    http://www.adn.com/2013/08/03/300692...of-island.html

    I only have to deal with $12,000.00 in damage, much better problem than telling loved ones someone is dead.

  13. #13

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    Fiberglass vs Aluminum.....

    Everyone has read the postings from the aluminum guys of how they can hit rocks in their 10,000 plus pound boats and survive with minimal damage. I am not questioning the truth to this. Nor, do I have a terribly hard time with a well built glass boat hitting a rock and being able to make it back to port. Both of these scenarios happen everyday. This is called bad luck followed by good luck......

    Sadly though, no matter the construction of your boat, if you hit something big on step there is a good chance your boat is going to sink - even steel boats.....If you tear the outdrives off you are basically done. If you hit something hard in any boat and do it just wrong, you are going to breach the hull and possibly sink. It is amazing to me how many people in this very forum are in denial on this and swear their boat will make it. I hope they never have to find out.

    Rocks and boats are like airplanes and landings. Anytime you hit a rock on step in a boat and drive it back to port is a lucky day. Even if your boats sinks and everyone lives, consider yourself lucky. Airplanes and landings are similar - any landing you make in an airplane that you walk away from is a pretty good one. Equipment we can replace, loved ones we cannot.

    OCNFISH, you were very fortunate as to how this all turned out and I'm really glad you made it home. When is you boat done?

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    Quote Originally Posted by T.R. Bauer View Post
    Fiberglass vs Aluminum.....

    Everyone has read the postings from the aluminum guys of how they can hit rocks in their 10,000 plus pound boats and survive with minimal damage. I am not questioning the truth to this. Nor, do I have a terribly hard time with a well built glass boat hitting a rock and being able to make it back to port. Both of these scenarios happen everyday. This is called bad luck followed by good luck......

    Sadly though, no matter the construction of your boat, if you hit something big on step there is a good chance your boat is going to sink - even steel boats.....If you tear the outdrives off you are basically done. If you hit something hard in any boat and do it just wrong, you are going to breach the hull and possibly sink. It is amazing to me how many people in this very forum are in denial on this and swear their boat will make it. I hope they never have to find out.

    Rocks and boats are like airplanes and landings. Anytime you hit a rock on step in a boat and drive it back to port is a lucky day. Even if your boats sinks and everyone lives, consider yourself lucky. Airplanes and landings are similar - any landing you make in an airplane that you walk away from is a pretty good one. Equipment we can replace, loved ones we cannot.

    OCNFISH, you were very fortunate as to how this all turned out and I'm really glad you made it home. When is you boat done?
    Well said. Rep pts your way. :-)

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    Member ocnfish's Avatar
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    CAC plastics is the challenge, I took the boat to them within a week of the incident, they put it up on jacks did an inspection and they said the engine had to come out. The big smack in the keel cracked the motor mount bulkhead. Back to SHIP in Seward, Matt had the engine and outdrive out in a day. Back to CAC plastics, they will get started on the boat about the 18th. a few days away, BTW, SHIP got a good price on a Volvo Penta 290 DP outdrive ... only $8800.00.

    West Coast Propeller In Homer was outstanding, flew the c-180 down there today, and Steve drove out to the airport and delivered two like new stainless steel props for only $150.00.

    I still want to get out to SW Ellerington Is. to catch a few big lings and on the way back stop at Little Johnstone bay and troll from there to Cape Junken early morning and late evening to catch some monster Silvers.

    May or may not happen.

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    Sponsor potbuilder's Avatar
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    So what happened to the "3 inch thick hull" and the drive that was " an outdrive designed to absorb sudden impact" ??? sounds like quite a bit of major fiberglass work has to be done and your drive was pretty much destroyed ??? By motor mount bulkhead do you mean the engine stringer ??? thats what the motor mounts get bolted to, with a outdrive you don't have rear motor mounts(the outdrives transom shield takes care of that) so i'd also worry about the transom having some inner shear/delamination around the transom shield from the impact, if that starts leaking/soaking up water and freezing into the plywood core of the transom that will start rotting/separating and you'll be putting a new transom on the boat next. Since you have the motor out and the drive off i'd pull off the transom shield and have a look at the condition of the glass and core of the transom.

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    Member ocnfish's Avatar
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    Thanks potbuilder, your eariler PM (I called and was gald I did) along with some help from Odies, SHIP and John (master airplane mechanic, we haven't had a mechanical failure with airplanes begining 1987)) convinced me that this was a replace and not a repair to the outdrive. Deep down in my heart though, if salt water did not get in the gear case I believe that ... not too much damage really happened to the outdrive. For instance, the spline connecting the lower and upper drives was examined and there was no stress at all to that coupler, upper half of the unit was not stressed. John the aircraft guy helped me drop the lower unit and when we got the lower unit off his first observation was that I had stuck bering on the upper shaft, the race showed where the bering had rusted into the race. He thought that it was a short time to failure on that component. John's second thought was that we needed specialized tools to work on the outdrive, this thought was also confirmed by others.

    As to the claims about the thickness of the firberglass, Steve the owner of CAC kind of simled at me and shook his head at the remark (apparently the claims of marketing and sales people are not entirely true). In addition, he did think that Osprey was a well made boat. Yes the lower seam on the engine mount stringer is cracked about half way forward to the front. Monday the boat goes inside at CAC and they start to dig out the fractured fiberglass to determine the true extent of the damage. I have confidence that they will explore and repair all of the damage.

    Will not be cheap to fix but we will find a way.

    I still am in awe of the safe outcome based upon the the accident that we had, the boat and outdrive exceeded all of my expectations by a huge margin. Bottom line is that this is an expensive lesson that teaches me that when I am at the helm, and I am the captian, that is a huge responsibility and will be taken seriously in the future.

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    Certainly glad you made it back safe as that could have been a catastrophic outcome. Years ago I went to the Osprey plant & saw how they were building there boats...needless to say I'm not a fan of foam stringers, nor foam in the hull. whoever told you 3" of fiberglass hull must be quite the salesman. I know when I bought my Parker one of the deciding factors was solid glass layup....anyhow good luck with the repairs

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    Member ocnfish's Avatar
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    Last update .... almost back in the water, less than $4k to repair of the hull, by the way potbulider, CAC found 2 to 2 & 1/4 inch layup on the hull and damage was mostly confined to the actual areas of surface damage. As for the outdrive it is junk, took a while for "yours truly" to accecpt that reality, could be back out on the water by Monday or so. About $13k total bill but I think I have a hull rebuilt to new standards, a new out drive with rebuilt props to new specs. For a 10 year old boat not bad, there are some really good service providers in AK that know how to do it right and and be honest about the value of their work.

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    Member Rob B's Avatar
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    Ouch. Glad to hear you are getting back up and running before the end of the season though. It's so interesting that those fiberglass hulls are so tough. I'd think my tin boat would be sitting on the bottom still if I hit what you did.
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