Exposed Rudder

I ran over a rope in one of the coves close to Tantallon on Monday.  We were traveling parallel to the shore maybe 400 feet out and I noticed a line of buoys outside of us, then at the last moment saw that the line went all the way to shore.  It was very tight, and some of the floats directly in front of us may have been submerged.  We went across it at 90 degrees.

I reflexively did what I would have done in Mazurka when I realized the situation.  Cut the throttle and go into neutral.  In Mazurka I could go over lines and debris that way with relative impunity.

Escapade has an exposed spade rudder, and it’s a real vulnerability.  I knew that when I got the boat.  But I was reminded of that when the rudder hooked the line and we came to a stop.

I was pretty quickly able to determine from the swim platform that the line was clear of the prop.  I tried without success to push it down with a boat hook to clear the rudder, but there was a lot of tension on the line and regularly spaced floats.

Fortunately it was calm and fair.  After several minutes of study, Greg suggested we try the thrusters, and after a couple of attempts we managed to rotate our way free using the bow and stern thrusters. Greg operated them while I directed from the swim platform.

It’s got me thinking more defensively about the next part or my trip.  A knife taped to a boat hook could have easily and quickly extricated us from this situation, and if it were rough I’d go there pretty quickly.  But the prop is somewhat exposed as well.  I think I’m just going to have to be super observant and diligent in avoiding pots and lines and cross my fingers. 

My other takeaway is not to go into glide mode.  Had I assertively acted to stop the boat when I realized we were going to cross the line I could have avoided going across it.  In hindsight that’s what I should have done.  I need to work on that.

I should also note that driving this boat into narrow dead end coves and turning around in a boat length is a blast.  I’ve been doing a lot of that lately. The thrusters are my get out of jail free card, but the boat is extremely maneuverable with that rudder and broad flat section aft of the keel, and I can easily do a 180 in less than two boat lengths without thrusters. As with many things, it’s a compromise.

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