83527 Hits Submerged Object

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83527 strikes submerged object.

June 29, 2007                                       

On the weekend of May 17-20, Combatant Craft of America sponsored an Armed forces Day event at Lake Union Park, Seattle WA. On Tuesday May 22, 2007 about 14:30, during the return trip to our moorage in Everett, WA we struck a submerged object immediately after passing the Snohomish Channel Railroad Bridge and the two State Highway 509 bridges. We were operating at an idle speed of about 3 kts. Dan Withers was at the helm at the time of the incident. The visibility was clear and the weather warm. The river was flat and the tide was at a medium height.

The crewman in the engine room recalls hearing about 5 thumps coming down the length of the hull, then the major hit when the object struck the prop and rudder. I immediately put the engines into neutral and ran down to the engine room to see what may have happened. The engineer reported that water was coming in the lazerette at a high flow rate.

I returned to the bridge and immediately turned the boat around and headed back through the 3 bridges toward the Everett marina. When it became apparent that the flow rate was too high to be maintained by the existing bilge pumps I selected a muddy beach to run the boat upon. At the same time I notified the Coast Guard on Channel 16. There was an immediate reply from the Snohomish County Sheriff that they could be there in 5 minutes with a large pump.

When they arrived by boat we immediately started pumping the aft compartments. We connected a towing line to a second boat and headed for the Everett Marina. That initial pump reduced the in-flow to a manageable rate. We were still unable to determine what was wrong, but could see that it was in the area of the starboard rudder. When we got to the dock a second pump was added and that started getting ahead of the in-flow. The Everett Marina provided a 3rd pump and that reduced the water level so that I could see the exact problem. 
On deck pump On dock pumps Milling around Plank out the back Sunset with 1 pump running

It appeared that the rudder had hit the object and had kicked astern, but had immediately   snapped back to its normal position. This action pushed the plank directly behind the rudder post back about 10, leaving a 4 by 10 (approximate) hole in the bottom. Now that I had seen the problem I went over the side into our small boat with a bath towel and stuffed it in the gaping hole and that reduced the flow rate by about 80%. With that in place we continued to stuff rags into the hole from the inside of the boat. 

During the night we ran one of the gasoline powered pumps to maintain the flow rate at a safe level. We had a second pump at ready in the event there was a primary pump failure. I stayed on the boat to tend the pumps overnight.

At 7:30am (5-23-07) Philip Nichols, the recommended diver, was contacted and he was onsite within 30 minutes. He dove and added additional materials to seal up the leak. This reduced the flow-rate to a level that the 12v on board pumps could easily manage. 

Our intention was to be moved to the Everett Shipyard about 5 minutes away for a quick haul-out to fix the problem, but they refused to take on the project due to pressing military contracts. They indicated that they could not possibly get us in the schedule until late July.

We elected to have the local Vessel Assist move us back to our normal moorage where we could determine our alternatives and start working out the problems. So at 08:00 on May 24, 2007, Vessel Assist moved us as planned.
The move did cause the in-flow to slightly increase. I contacted Philip Nichols again to come and seal up the hole more permanently now that we were at a fixed location. He did do that. Because the towel was extending below the bottom of the planks it took a combination of plywood and truck inner tube to protect the towel from any passing debris that may want to rip it out. 

As scheduled on June 20 at 10:00 I met with Larry Montgomery of Montgomery Maritime Survey, on behalf of International Marine Underwriters at the vessel and discussed the new game plan. We then agreed that the most practical action was to tow the vessel to Seattle or Port Townsend for repair since the local yard was not interested in the work.

After multiple discussions with Larry and  Rick Brenden from Port Townsend Shipwrights Co-op we decided to get the boat ready for a tow to Port Townsend, WA, the west coast Wooden Boat repair capital. This required getting the bottom totally sealed for the 6 hour tow. We called in Global Diving and Salvage, Inc. to epoxy the damaged areas to secure it from any movement.

Tike Hillman, former 83527 crewman and volunteer brings immense experience with wooden boats, tugs and Puget Sound contractor knowledge.
This preparation also included tying off the starboard prop shaft, tying the rudderpost forward and capping off the fuel tank vents.

Tied off shaft

Rudder post tied to bulkhead

Fuel tank vents capped off

Star Marine Inc was selected to provide the tow. They have a tug presence in the Port Townsend area and are willing to make the trip. I slept aboard the night of July 17th and they arrived at 06:30, and they were underway about 07:00 with the high tide at about 07:20.

Picking us up at Everett


Arriving at Port Townsend Bay



At about 12:30 I saw them out in the bay getting rigged for the last leg into the marina. We tied her up to the long dock at the entrance to the travelift.

The next morning at 08:30 we were scheduled for the haul out with the 300 ton travelift. Although she only weighs 44 ton, she was too long to be picked up by the 70 ton lift area. Also I didn't want the old girl being picked up only the 4 narrow straps. The 300 ton lift has 6 very wide straps. After a 20 minute fiasco with the Port of Port Townsend Director of Marine Facilities, Ken Radon, about not hauling this thing out at his marina, we got back on track and started the lift. She was moved to the cleaning pad and pressure sprayed off and then moved to the work area near the Port Townsend Shipwrights facility. She was blocked and we got a good look at the damage.
Friday Morning (7-20), at 08:00 we met and looked it over in detail with the shipwrights. The initial assessment shows that the starboard prop is folded beyond repair and one blade on the port prop is dinged. The rudderpost did kick back and stuffed the plank out the back. That cracked a number of members around the rudder post internally. The starboard strut also was whacked and kicked inboard. that damaged the planking below the strut and cracked the supporting planks internally. The strut does have a crack at the front edge of the bearing, but that appears to be an older problem.

Wednesday morning (7-25) we will meet again with the shipwright that will be doing the work for his assessment of the project. More info then.

Wednesday 8-1 Teardown and Assessment
Saturday 8-4 New Ribs and Sisters being steam formed

Monday 8-6 Blocking to support starboard rudder post being constructed

During Week of 08-20 More ribs replaced around Stbd center strut.

Week of 08-27 New planks prepared and attached.
      Bungs cut on drill press  

The paint removal and new application team.
Hawaiian Chieftain        

10-31-07 After a number of delays we are headed back to the water.
11-03-07    Trip back to Everett
These photos below were taken by Tom Mateer, a friend of the 83527, at arrival..