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Nasty situation narrowly avoided - Lesson learned

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Nasty situation narrowly avoided - Lesson learned

Old 06-03-2020, 08:42 AM
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Default Nasty situation narrowly avoided - Lesson learned

I was, and still am a little hesitant about posting this but in the end felt if it could help one person avoid the potential disastrous event that I barley avoided yesterday it would be worth it.
I have a 25’ Pathfinder, fish quite a lot on my own and yesterday there was a nice weather window so I had dolphin on my mind.
Got to the ramp about 5 and proceeded with my normal solo launch routine which includes having a line from my bow cleat to the trailer post. This is 1/2”, loop at each end, with some elasticity.
I normally don’t back in far enough to totally free the boat from the trailer though I have seen some you tube videos of folks bumping brakes and then using the ropes elasticity to draw the boat back towards trailer.
Well, it was difficult to exactly judge how far my trailer was in the water, and I reversed deeper than I normally do. When I stopped reversing the boat slid right of the trailer and the rope snapped.
This left my unlit boat heading into the ICW right at the time a bunch of sportys are heading out.
long story short I managed to grab the boat before the bow got past the trAiler guides. Hung onto it and got it far enough up the trailer that I could jump on and gain control. But it was very, very close.
so, needless to say I’m rethinking my launch routine. Will probably use the winch strap in conjunction with a rope.
So, I post this as there might be people reading this,who like me looked on line at ways to launch solo and are doing what I did without realizing the potential dangers.
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06-03-2020, 09:01 AM
dorado II
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You stopped the truck, put it in park, jumped out and ran down the trailer quick enough to catch the boat!!!
You are the man!!!
Good job bro!!!
Old 06-03-2020, 08:49 AM
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longer rope?
Old 06-03-2020, 08:59 AM
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I launch my 2870 Pursuit in this same manner. As mentioned, longer bow line and attach to the winch post if neccessary.
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Old 06-03-2020, 09:01 AM
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You stopped the truck, put it in park, jumped out and ran down the trailer quick enough to catch the boat!!!
You are the man!!!
Good job bro!!!
Old 06-03-2020, 09:05 AM
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Great job. I think having the anchor light on might be good, in addition to the other things mentioned.
Old 06-03-2020, 09:07 AM
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My grandfather taught me trick to never let one end of the the boat get away when launching solo. Tie a line to bow cleat, line to stern cleat, and tie the two ends together with a simple overhand knot. i keep this at the bow when i'm undoing the bow winch strap, and then hop up on the ramp finger pier to walk it down. Probably wouldn't hurt to toss the stern line over the trailer guide so in a pinch you could pull the trailer back up the ramp to retrieve the lines.
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Old 06-03-2020, 09:08 AM
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Where was the bystander camera when we needed it! If you popped 1/2 inch line then you dunked the boat at a higher speed than necessary. You may want to try out for the next Olympics .
Old 06-03-2020, 09:16 AM
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I launch my 21 cc solo all the time and have a roller trailer, so the boat wants to fly off. If I wrapped my bow line around the winch post after unhooking the winch cable, it would snap like yours did. I fabricated a "Samson post" out of some galvanized pipe and put a rod through the center. I back down the ramp and then take a couple of turns around the post. Then slowly back off the winch cable until the bow line has the strain. Then unhook the cable and pay out the bow line until the boat's off. It allows me to keep it under control w/out cutting the line on the square corners of the winch stand. I did the same thing on my last boat (18' cc) after having the same experience that you did.
Old 06-03-2020, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by dorado II View Post
You stopped the truck, put it in park, jumped out and ran down the trailer quick enough to catch the boat!!!
You are the man!!!
Good job bro!!!
That's what I'm saying... plus he put the ebrake on!! Dude was ON-Freaking-FIRE!!!! But seriously.. I'm currently looking at ways to solo launch so this is good info. Thanks for the post.
Old 06-03-2020, 09:25 AM
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I leave the strap on, climb onto the boat from the front start engine put in forward just a touch to ease tension on my strap, lean over the front and detach the strap from boat. Back boat off and done. Same when I retrieve, put boat on and leave in forward just a touch, go back up and hook the strap to boat and tighten. Go back turn off engine and pull out. I was able to do this with both the 26 and the 20. I would never consider using a line to stop my boat. The momentum of a 25' boat could probably break just about any dock line given a bad drop in.

P.S. I have plastic on my bunks to help slide off an on.
Old 06-03-2020, 09:27 AM
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I just creep back to a point that my boat is still securely on the trailer but a little reverse throttle has me floating free. I back off the trailer, tie it to the dock, then go park. Our ramps here don't have steep angles.
Old 06-03-2020, 09:33 AM
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assuming there is a dock you can secure to, there is a way to tie the boat up before you unhook the winch.
I run a line from a stern cleat to a spring line cleat around a piling on the dock (or around a dock cleat) so the line is loose but still captures the dock.
So the drill is this, back in most of the way, grab the line from the stern, and put it around the dock piling (not in a loop around the piling, just on the dock side of piling), then secure it to the spring line cleat, this keeps the boat secure to the dock, but lets it slide back. Usually the boat only needs to move 4-6' more and you are floating.
This works well in both current directions, but it's NOT ideal if you are backing in close to another boat as you will let your stern swing a little bit wide once it's floating.
And nice work saving your boat, might be time for a new set of dock lines, 1/2" line should break at cleat damaging loads.

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Old 06-03-2020, 09:34 AM
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I use a long line (25 ft.) on the side cleat, and then tie the other end to the dock. THEN I back up. I get out of the truck and walk over to the dock before all the slack is out of the line.
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Old 06-03-2020, 09:37 AM
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Great save.

I have solo launched forever. My method is back the winch strap off enough that the boat can float back a foot or so, then lock the winch. Back in until the boat fully floats, and momentum will take it back far enough to not damage the bow with the bow stop (depending on how steep the ramp) and floats there there waiting for me. If the ramp is empty I unhook, float it back and tie off in the ramp while I park. If not, hop on, back it off and park it, then hop out and park the truck.

Retrieval is leave the truck on the ramp with enough bunk dry to keep the boat in one spot. Drive on until about a foot short of the winch stand. Leave boat in gear to hold it, and walk up to attach winch strap. Shut off motors, hop out, and pull up the ramp. On flat ground either winch the boat the last foot, or in most cases stomp on the brakes and let it slide forward, then tighten winch.

*** Disclaimer: I am in the boat biz, so boats are usually new inventory, factory demo, etc. - So my method is specific to keeping the bow off the stop on the ramp. It might be overkill for some, but using a lot of mis-matched trailers / boats, or assorted trailers of dubious history, it saves having to deal with preventable gelcoat damage. Your results may vary.
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Old 06-03-2020, 09:38 AM
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I loosen the strap about a foot and tie a bow line to the trailer with the same foot of scope. Boat floats off a bit with both still attached. Climb up detach both and I'm done.
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Old 06-03-2020, 09:47 AM
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Humblebrag:

I just have one of my dockmasters have it running when I get up in the morning....
Old 06-03-2020, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Design59 View Post
Great save.

I have solo launched forever. My method is back the winch strap off enough that the boat can float back a foot or so, then lock the winch. Back in until the boat fully floats, and momentum will take it back far enough to not damage the bow with the bow stop (depending on how steep the ramp) and floats there there waiting for me. If the ramp is empty I unhook, float it back and tie off in the ramp while I park. If not, hop on, back it off and park it, then hop out and park the truck.

Retrieval is leave the truck on the ramp with enough bunk dry to keep the boat in one spot. Drive on until about a foot short of the winch stand. Leave boat in gear to hold it, and walk up to attach winch strap. Shut off motors, hop out, and pull up the ramp. On flat ground either winch the boat the last foot, or in most cases stomp on the brakes and let it slide forward, then tighten winch.

*** Disclaimer: I am in the boat biz, so boats are usually new inventory, factory demo, etc. - So my method is specific to keeping the bow off the stop on the ramp. It might be overkill for some, but using a lot of mis-matched trailers / boats, or assorted trailers of dubious history, it saves having to deal with preventable gelcoat damage. Your results may vary.

Same way I do it except I always drive it off of the trailer. I also usually leave it in gear then crank the winch up on the ramp. Up here our ramps aren't really conducive to walking the boat off of the trailer since we have big tides and floating docks.
Old 06-03-2020, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Design59 View Post
Great save.

I have solo launched forever. My method is back the winch strap off enough that the boat can float back a foot or so, then lock the winch. Back in until the boat fully floats, and momentum will take it back far enough to not damage the bow with the bow stop (depending on how steep the ramp) and floats there there waiting for me. If the ramp is empty I unhook, float it back and tie off in the ramp while I park. If not, hop on, back it off and park it, then hop out and park the truck.


.
I use a similar method but often wonder how I would do it with a boat too big to climb into from the bow. A Pathfinder you can probably climb over the bow though
Old 06-03-2020, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by USCG Safe Boating D8 View Post
I just creep back to a point that my boat is still securely on the trailer but a little reverse throttle has me floating free. I back off the trailer, tie it to the dock, then go park. Our ramps here don't have steep angles.
Yeah when I had a trailer boat I knew by how far under water the fender guards were that I was in the sweet spot that I could untie the boat from the strap and safety chain but still have enough friction that it would not float away but not have so much friction that I would not back it off the trainer.
Old 06-03-2020, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by briclark904 View Post
I use a similar method but often wonder how I would do it with a boat too big to climb into from the bow. A Pathfinder you can probably climb over the bow though
Get a ladder welded or bolted on to your trailer. I climb up the winch post on mine when I have the TM on the bow. Without it I can get up there from the tongue.

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