View Full Version : Raising a Sinker

11-13-2001, 02:09 PM
I know I know - if I do everything right, I won't have to worry about it. Still, I worry about it. I mean, we all know doo-doo happens, right? http://media5.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/wink.gif Even Kasanoff's Content sank at the dock in a recent WB. http://media5.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/frown.gif
So - anybody been through a raising-a-sinker-in-the-marina routine, something similar, have thoughts, observations, costs, information. I just want to be as prepared as possible IF I have to deal with it - :\ - should it happen. Last time I had to deal with marina sharpies, I got keel-hauled (the traditional way of initiating a newcomer - you know, like throwing 'em overboard - ha ha - - - on their first crossing of the equator.)

[This message has been edited by johnh94927 (edited 11-13-2001).]

Ian McColgin
11-13-2001, 03:34 PM
Depends on the boat. Been involved in lightish boats that we just brought up on slings between two other boats. Once, back when I had ear drums that allowed diving, I got involved in bringing one up by lashing on some empty (but flooded) drums and then blowing air in gently to lift.

If you're going in on a trailor or railway, it's usually easy enough to stop at about the water line and see how fast she's making water. Travel lifts are usually associated with yards that do all frozsnot may not be used to letting her hang in the slings for a half hour or so and they may be a bit rushed to allow for that.

"Er, she just needs to take up some."
"Yeah. All ready took up half the (*#@&% bay."

Art Read
11-13-2001, 03:45 PM
This reminds of one of those, "I have a 'friend' who...." stories. C'mon... 'Fess up! What REALLY happened? ;-}

11-13-2001, 10:44 PM
Okay - what really happened is... I had the impiety to apply the e-word stuff (you know, e*p*o*x*y) to the side deck of the barky - an area 8-inches wide by 17 feet long, composed entirely of plywood.
Well, no sooner had I finished than the skies clouded, the storm broke, the rain poured, fishes and frogs began to mate, rot flowed out through open seams in the ground, three-headed sheep were born, the wicked smote the righteous, the tides rose against the moon, Elvis appeared - and my boat sank.
Damn and Begorrah, if'n things didn't right their selves in a trice, as soon as the poor old barky's poor old beak dug into the mud.
The skies cleared, the sun shone, little birdies sang. The lame rose from their litters, soiled virgins were restored (somewhat improved for the experience, by the way), lepers leapt, politicians repented, lawyers hanged themselves in droves, people abandonded their cars in mid-highway and resolved to walk to work; income tax was repealed, a cure for TV was announced, Bill Gates revealed that he is Elvis; the entire Congress of the United States turned themselves in; Osama bin Laden revealed that he is Bill Gates; AIDS was cured, everyone got divorced and went back to banging everyone else at random; Jerry Garcia came back from and went back to the Dead.
Then, as luck would have it, the poor old barky bobbed back up to the surface, shook herself free of all that brown water and river slime - and then, suddenly, the skies clouded and the storm broke...

[This message has been edited by johnh94927 (edited 11-15-2001).]

11-13-2001, 10:50 PM
Dang John,that boat sounds like it's been blessed by Islam http://media5.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/biggrin.gif
Hope your luck turnes.

Dave Fleming
11-13-2001, 11:03 PM
And I had heard that that Petuluma MUD was beneficial!!!! What with all the chicken ****e and leftovers from the Old Bale Mill thrown in it should stuff any seam but only those which are legimately seams, no deck boo-boos....

11-14-2001, 12:12 AM
John. sounds as if you and me have similar boats. You can read all about my adventures at www.morebutter.com/patience (http://www.morebutter.com/patience)

Anyway my boat came really close to sinking at my mooring. It didn't, but only because I got out to her in around 22 seconds. The timing was amazing. I would estimate that my 25 foot boat weighing 5000lbs, took on around 1000-1500 gallons of water, and had around 3" before she totally sank. I worked fast and bailed like hell. Anyway, I narrowly avoided having to deal with big problems. Estimates I got were around $1000 bucks to have gotten my boat out of only 7 feet of water. Maybe more.

Be diligent, and don't let it happen.
Let teh fear drive you to fix your boat right. I speak from experiance when I say that it won't be enjoyable when you are constanly worried about sinking. Your guests might not know they are about to go swimming, but you will. Really, it isn't worth it.


All that said, the best way to learn a lesson is to live it. Just use your judgement. My boat isn't named Patience for nothing. It is one thing that I learned in this whole ordeal. BTW I got my boat for free in June, and had it sailing in August. I should have done more work....

John R Smith
11-14-2001, 05:24 AM

if your boat is failrly large (over 20 foot), and it has a cabin, an engine, AND electrics and batteries and stuff -

Sinking is just about the messiest, most destructive, most expensive thing that can happen to you. Especially in a muddy salt-water estuary like ours (your water may vary).

Avoid at all costs.


Chris Coose
11-14-2001, 06:26 AM
There is something to this sinking mentality though. I bet it could be conidered an authentic mental health diagnosis.
Imagine all the good times that happen to a person who has this mind-set? A look out to the mooring and a tear rises up to see that she is on top of the water. Raise the sail and holler out with joy that it is air going by the sail rather than herring. Letting your boat companions know how fortunate they are that an hour of bailing is preferable to swimming down to their place on board.
Any other thought of the benefits?
It'd have to be pretty hard on a person though, nevermind the boat. The burn out rate would be high. I wonder how many mid-westerners are in "geographical cures" due to this condition? What sort of medications might be used as an intervention?

[This message has been edited by Chris Coose (edited 11-14-2001).]

11-14-2001, 07:33 AM
I know that most folks on the forum are concerned with smaller boats than what I play with...but.....the problems are the same...my worry was cruising at night at hull speed under a full spread of sail and finding a half submerged container. I have a "Y" valve plumbed to the sea water cooling intake for the diesel engine that opens into the bilge and will move a lot of water in a hurry. Under such circamstances I have several large capacity electric bilge pumps which I would turn on immediately and then start the engine to suck the water in and discharge over board while I try to stuff something in the hole. Procedure is the same for through hulls. I have a couple of wooden plugs at each through hull installation that I can pound into the hole in case something lets go....all this stuff is inspected regularly....

jerry s
11-14-2001, 08:54 AM
The best way to avoid a sinking is to buy hull insurance. Once you show the boat that you are covered and you don't give a hoot if she sinks or not. All your leaks will dry up and you will be able to sleep all night long.

Ian McColgin
11-14-2001, 09:44 AM
I'm one of those who has found no value to insurance in the reality of life on the water.

I carry a liability policy on my lisence both to protect my sole asset from the hurt or rapacious and to assist anyone who might be harmed by my actions, but no hull insurance. The way those blood suckers charge, if I stay afloat more than a dozen years, I'm ahead, and that's only when they even contemplate an older wooden boat that is lived on and sailed all year. Which they don't.

Like a previous generation of sailors, I'd rather invest the $$ in the boat - good maintenance, survival suits, raft, and anything else to maintain life at sea - than in 'insurance' that will not help me a few hundred miles off-shore.

A collision mat and knowledge to use it.
Tools and the willingness to turn cabin furniture into a new deckhouse.
Proper huge expensive wire (not bolt) cutters.
And most of all, watchfulness.

Even such a great as Slocum lost a ship or two and was himself eventually lost at sea, but he was not lost with his last thought being, "Well, at least I'm insured."

John B
11-14-2001, 04:21 PM
It's quite a popular thing to do. Even at the "pinnacle" of the sport of sailing. Certainly there will be some fisherman looking for some "sinker " material in the near future..

Ian McColgin
11-14-2001, 04:39 PM
Wouldn't it be nice to loose your keel because you're straining the limits rather than like the guy I saw standing on an awash schooner hull down east . . ."Shuddah reboahed and replaced them keel bolts last wintah. . ."

capt jake
11-14-2001, 04:42 PM
Went throught the 'raising from the briny' thing about 18 years ago. Friend of mine moored his 17' fiberglass boat at the docks, bow towards shore. I never thought much about it as it was a clear and waveless day. We went to his cabin for a seafood lunch of all of the goodes we had caught in the morning. About half way through lunch the park ranger came to his door and said that his boat was sinking. When we got to the marina, it was fully under the water, supported by the lines at bow and stern. It was being pueshed under the dock by each wave that came our way (yes it was now white caps at about 2-3'). The boat had gotten swamped from the stern by the way she was moored. Lookin overhead, we spotted and electric crane which the marina owner let us use. Twas I who drew the unlucky straw of stripping to my swim trunks. As i held the end of the cable to the crane, he supported me upside down by my feet. In between each set of waves he would drop me into the water as I struggled to connect the cable to the bow eye. After many failed attempts I finally got it! After nearly 4 hours of slowly winching her out (in an effort to prevent cracking the hull), we got her out. The motors all startd andran fine. We turned her around (Bow out) and left her for the night.

The next morning we went to the marina to marvel at the wonderful job we had doone in the salvage industry, only to peer through about 30' of water and see her neatly resting on the bottom (hey she was right side up!). I can chuckle now as I remember my friend going to the marina owner and saying, "Here are the keys to the boat that is resting on the bottom. And the trailer is over there." He turned and walked away, less his boat and trailer.

Makes for one of those memorie you never forget. http://media5.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/smile.gif

11-15-2001, 02:06 AM
Ummm... that's what I call inspirational. Sorta.

Alan D. Hyde
11-15-2001, 10:01 AM
Truck innertubes and a compressor are one way it's been done around here.


Jonathan Klopman
11-23-2001, 04:06 PM
Step one is that you need a diver. Lift bags are becoming much more common, so you should have a chance of rustling some up. The bags must be tied to each other on either side of the boat LOW on the hull- UNDER the waterline. Do not attach any flaotation by tying it off to a fitting. If you do not have bags, it is possible to jury rig barrels, but the boat must be upright.

sink the barrels and sling them to each other. You'll find out that barrels are unweildy and it takes a lot of line to get it right. When you're set, you can fill the bags or barrels with compressed air from a scuba tank or a dockside aircompresser. As the boat starts to lift, you'll see how important it is to rig things properly- if the load isn't balanced, one end will lift up and the floatation will shift.
When everything is level, you can begin to fill the bags/barrels a little bit at a time, until it begins to bring the boat to the surface. Now you'll see why it's important to get everything low on the boat. If you expect to pump the boat out, the deck & cockpit must break the surface. it's harder than it seems. You must plug the exhaust and thruhuls in the process also, because they just act as water letter inners. When it breaks the surface, you'll need several 1.5" gas powered pumps to dewater the boat.

It's not rocket science, but it definitely takes some experience & skill.


11-23-2001, 05:45 PM
I had my fiber glass catalina sink in the slip 2 years ago. A wicked Montana storm blew in and lasted 7-9 hours. After breaking one of the mooring lines, she rubbed against the dock till holes wore through the hull, one in the bow and one on the port side amidships. Funny thing was, the damage on my boat was less than others in the marina, cause she sank and sat on the floor "protected" while the storm raged. The other boats looked like they fought each other the whole time, demasted etc.

Luckily there's a barge with a crane parked right next door. They charged me $250 to come lift her up. We hooked it onto the mast at the spreaders, lifted slowly to let the water leak out and plopped her on the trailer.

The bright side? I spent the entire winter patching, painting and cleaning. She looks better than I bought it, and now I'm hooked on boat work. I've just lofted my first boat today and will start building the molds tommorrow... this one will be made of wood...