sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery

 

Sail-World.com : The Tricky Art of Rafting - Safely

The Tricky Art of Rafting - Safely

'Raft up'   
Most cruisers' on-water events are as much social as practical, and rafting up to a moored yacht is something we do regularly. While our more senior yachties can make this look like a trivial exercise, I expect I'm not alone in feeling a little anxious until I have a glass of wine in my hand with all lines safely secured to the raft.

With practice, rafting will quickly become second nature to you and your crew. However, as with learning any new skill, you first need to become 'consciously competent' or develop an awareness and understanding of the process.

Before looking at the process in detail, it’s useful to consider situations where you may not want to raft-up. These may also be conditions where you should expect to have 'permission to come along side' denied for safety reasons.

Consider not rafting when…

Wind and swell opposing each other at right angles. We’ve encountered this several times – a light southerly breeze, say, holding the raft broadside to an otherwise benign northeasterly swell. It’s amazing the discomfort this causes with all the pulling, jerking and potential rigging issues. It’s hard on yachts and people and best avoided.

An additional yacht on the raft would create swing-room issues with other yachts or shallow water. It’s just simple geometry but worth mentioning. If you think your boat (or the one tying up to you) will not clear other yachts at anchor as the wind shifts or the tide changes, you my want to anchor off. The same consideration should be given to proximity with shoreline (or shallow water).

Forecasted high winds (30+). High winds alone may not be an issue, depending on the location of the raft, but the concern is with dragging anchor.

Remember, the forces applied to the ground tackle will increase exponentially with the wind. When in doubt, increase the scope and set additional anchors well ahead of time.

Rafting up - getting ready -    
Communication

Good communication with your crew (even if it’s just two of you) and with the host vessel, will insure everyone shares the same information. This is probably the single most important factor in reducing crew stress.

Brief the crew on the preparation, strategy and their jobs. If everyone has a job to do, they will feel some sense of control over the situation. It’s more rewarding to have the crew feeling productive and well-informed than fearful and anxious.

Contact the host vessel on VHF when approaching; if unsuccessful with the radio, motor past the host vessel close enough for a brief verbal exchange.

This is an important courtesy but it’s also practical.

You’ll need…

Permission to come along side – and always be prepared for permission to be denied for safety or comfort sake

The preferred side for tying up, there could be reasons you are yet unaware of for the host’s preferred

To confirm that you have lines and fenders ready. It is your responsibility as the guest to supply all lines. In our experience four fenders is not too many.

Rafting up - How the lines are placed -    
Preparation

Note the expected effects of wind and tide. In our part of the world, unless the air is dead calm, tidal effects will usually be over-powered by the effect of wind on your (and the host’s) vessel. You’ll know what to expect from your own boat but observe your host’s. Is it held steady bow-to-wind? Or, does it tend to fish-tail in the gusts? This is different than approaching a dock which usually to stays put.

Mooring lines ready. This can be done after you’ve made contact with the host vessel You’ll need four lines to secure a raft: bow, stern, forward spring and aft spring. Most people however use two lines which are at least 1.5 times the length of your boat. And once you’ve received permission to come alongside with a 'starboard-to' or 'port-to' request, secure the eye end of your lines to the bow and stern cleats respectively –more on this technique later.

Fenders on deck ready to deploy to the appropriate side of the boat. Pay attention to the height of the host vessel’s deck relative to yours. Again, it’s not a dock and you won’t always have the fenders in the same position. If the host vessel has a higher freeboard, set your fenders so that there is plenty showing above the deck. If you have the higher freeboard, set fenders so that the top of the fender is even with your deck. Remember to cover the widest part of the boat and have a floating fender ready (unsecured) just in case. It is useful to have a fender that is not tied to a stanchion so that it can be slipped into the correct position by sliding it along the lifeline as you tie up.


Strategy

The basis of any sound strategy is minimising reasonable risk and developing a planed response to change. Much of the risk will be minimised by good preparation and communication but additional risks will be avoided by asking yourself some key questions. Remember, your goal isn’t to eliminate risk; rather to reduce reasonably foreseeable risks and have an exit strategy – a plan 'B'.

Questions to ask...

Is the side I’m expected to tie up tending to be windward or leeward of the host vessel? If windward, you’ll want to slowly approach the host vessel in parallel leaving appropriate room for drift. If leeward, you’ll need a little more power and you’ll want to approach with the bow in a little tighter until it gets under the lee of the host vessel.

If drifting (approaching the host vessel) too fast, is your plan to motor astern or ahead and which will minimize the potential for unintended contact?

Speed is bad. Always use as little power as is required by the situation for you to retain control. If you need to abort, take care not to turn too quickly as you add power. If you’re pulling out forward take care that the stern clears the host vessel; if going astern, watch the bow.

How many people will be assisting from the host vessel and how experienced?

Will you focus only on driving the boat or will you have to assist with the lines as well? And at what point will you be comfortable leaving the helm?

Is my crew experienced or do they need instruction before we approach the other vessel? Is my crew person far enough up forward to pass rather than have to throw the line? (Note: whenever possible be close enough to pass lines rather than throwing them, which increases the chance of mistake)

Tying up
Rafting up - placing the lines -    
Once the your yacht is safely alongside the host vessel with bow and stern lines held firm, you can set about securing yourself into position. The first priority is to set the length of the bow line so that the yachts will sit roughly parallel to each other. You’ll need to allow a little more line than you first think but don’t worry, take your time and if you have to redo it, that’s fine. No one will mind. Having dedicated lines for this purpose is important so you can have a mooring springer built into the line, usually affixed close to the end of the line you will attach to your boat. That way, the jarring on the line through wind or wave action is reduced.

Your next priority is to set the forward spring line. This is probably the most important line for two reasons – one, it takes most of the pressure as the wind/tide conditions build and two, its length determines the position of your mast spreader. You’ll run the line back from the host’s bow amidships on your yacht and set the length so that the spreaders will not come in contact with each other if the vessels roll in a swell. It is proper etiquette to have the host skipper verify that the spring line is an appropriate length.

Now, move on to the stern. The process is similar – first secure the line to the stern of the host vessel. This time, the line will need to be a little shorter than you first think. Again, the goal is to have the boats settle in roughly parallel to each




by Swayne Hill, Middle Harbour Yacht Club

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=23241

3:51 AM Fri 21 Apr 2006 GMT






Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on
Practical

Related News Stories:

31 Jan 2014  Ten boat safety checks every skipper needs to make
05 Jan 2014  In-mast furling - is it the 'no-no' we've always believed?
13 Nov 2013  Product of the week: One Sailor MBS for single-handed docking
29 Oct 2013  Get your DSC-equipped VHF hooked up right
14 Oct 2013  Evolution Autopilot - top honours in Marine Electronics Awards
30 Sep 2013  Product of the Week: Safer and easier docking - SlideMoor
17 Sep 2013  Mountain bike torch great for tough sailing conditions
16 Sep 2013  Product of the Week: Drawer fridge for cool-keeping and accessibility
25 Aug 2013  Rig your own sailing boat? Yes, you can!
23 Aug 2013  Product of the Week: The LED ringed switch
MORE STORIES ...

News - USA and the World

Volvo Ocean Race: Still tight at front as Roaring Forties beckon *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz
According to the routing function of Predictwind, the three boats are covered by just 10 miles in terms of distance to be sailed to the finish on their optimum course, more telling is that on the same basis just seven minutes would cover the first and third boats to finish. Sail-World interviewed Team Vestas skipper, Chris Nicholson this morning - he comments in this report. ... [more]  

The Aloha Classic is the longest existing windsurfing wave event (together with Sylt in Germany). 2014 marks 30 years since the very first event and the 25th edition of the Aloha Classic. Let me rewind back to when I was a young journalist, following the evolution of windsurfing, back then windsurfing was called ‘the fastest growing sport’… ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race - Team Alvimedica heads south by Amory Ross, Team Alvimedica
OBR Amory Ross reports on Team Alvimedica’s progress in the Volvo Ocean Race. It’s wild that after six days of sailing down the coast of South America we finally found ourselves pointed directly at Cape Town (going 16 knots) but all the routing indicates we’re not far enough to the south so down we go! ... [more]  

Little Traverse Yacht Club (Harbor Springs, Michigan) won the Yacht Club Challenge in the 106th Running of the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac. ... [more]  

Bidding is now open in the auction to join the Volvo Ocean Race as a part of Team Alvimedica and support heart charities around the world! Team Alvimedica supporters have the unique chance to bid on two experiences that will take place at each stopover throughout the race. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15. Team SCA coach Brad Jackson gives his thoughts on Leg 1. 'We very much understand what the girls are trying to do and who they are competing against and if they do things well they are right up there in the mix. ... [more]  

Want to see 40 great sailing champions in action in stunning Nassau in the Bahamas? The Star Sailors League, an emerging international circuit, is offering the chance to win a four-day holiday for two people with accommodation at the luxury Atlantis resort and water park. ... [more]  

The seventh edition of the St Barth Cata Cup is set to be thrilling. Sixty teams will go head to head aboard the last generation of F18 boats: Hobbie Wild Cat, Nacra Infusion MKII, Cirrus R, Phantom and C2. It is a high-speed, tactical, technical and spectacular discipline! ... [more]  

AWT Severne Starboard Aloha Classic 2014 - The day started early with a traditional Hawaiian blessing, welcoming everyone to the beach and setting the wheels in motion for a fantastic contest. As the ceremony continued the wind started to blow and straight after the skipper's meeting it was straight on with the pro men competition. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race - After 19 days of Leg one, the leaders are still within sight of each other, something we don’t think we’ve ever seen at such a stage between Alicante and Cape Town. It’s the ultimate inshore race, staged hundreds of miles offshore. Abu Dhabi, Team Brunel and Team Vestas Wind are locked against each other with Dongfeng Race Team just 17NM further adrift. ... [more]  

The Taiwan 2014 Kitesurfing Open & Green Tourism Miaoli proved to be an interesting event for the Kiteboard Tour Asia (KTA) to get involved with at the Longfong Fish Harbour beach front in Jhunan. As the KTA had been wanting for some time to bring an event to the renowned high wind shores of Taiwan, which is famous for its windy conditions 300 days a year. ... [more]  

Best possible conditions are expected when 2014 World Championships in ISAF-class Kona One is about to start in Islamorada, Florida on Saturday, November 1. A total of 115 sailors from five continents will line up making it the largest Kona event ever. The outcome is very open with a number of high-profiled sailors with multiple international championship wins in different windsurfing classes. ... [more]  

2015 U.S. Youth Sailing Championships - The dates for the 2015 U.S. Youth Championships, hosted by Eastern Yacht Club in Marblehead, Mass., have been changed to July 6-10 from the traditional second week in August ... [more]  

'It is no less important to the Commodore as air or water,' said Staff Commodore of the San Diego Yacht Club Chuck Nichols. The Lipton Cup is arguably one of the most iconic regattas in the sailing community. This three-day regatta is an invitation-only event where the best sailors from around the country compete to represent their yacht clubs. ... [more]  

Year in and year out, the U.S. Disabled Championships is one of the most fascinating sailing events in the world. A strong collection of the top sailors in the country are in Galveston, Texas preparing for this week’s three-day championship, which begins Thursday, October 30 and concludes Saturday, November 1. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Team Vestas back-slams both race leaders *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz
The Chris Nicholson skippered Team Vestas Wind, has made a big gain in the last 12 hours in the Volvo Ocean Race, and is now positioned between the two lead boats. The Danish flagged entry had been positioned to the west of the leaders, who were in the fringe of the St Helena High. ... [more]  

Last night all the American Windsurfing Tour riders, and some of the top PWA sailors, enjoyed a fantastic opening party and registration for the Aloha Classic at Adventure Sports Maui. Food, drinks, photos and lots of chat was the order of the evening, and this morning all with gather again at 9am for the official opening blessing. ... [more]  

Many know Bill Erkelens as a former rigger, team manager for the Maxi Sayonara and subsequently Campaign manager for Oracle Racing during the IACC efforts and a really good sailor with a solid Rolodex of connections in the yacht racing world. When the opportunity to manage a Volvo team arose, Bill did not hesitate, and in late 2013, the Bay Area Native accepted the roles as COO for Team Alvimedica ... [more]  

Team Alvimedica OBR Amory Ross reports on the crew’s progress in the Volvo Ocean Race. Even in the 'straight-line' sailing that has dominated the last portion of the race, the dynamic of our fleet position has been in a state of constant change. ... [more]  

Team SCA OBR Corinna Halloran reports on day 18 for the crew in the Volvo Ocean Race. We are fighting. We are determined. We are focused. Yes, today was not easy, but we did not allow ourselves to slow down-- we sailed with the conditions given and sailed at 100% performance. ... [more]  

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) published its 2015 Anti-Doping Code on Wednesday (29 October), which will apply to all Member organisations, Paralympic Games and IPC recognised International Federations, from 1 January 2015. ... [more]  

Sailing legend Sir Robin Knox-Johnston hopes to inspire greater French participation in ocean racing through his entry in the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe. 'France is a nation of sailors with excellent role models; legends in their own right,' said Sir Robin. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - The big news of yesterday was the introduction of an ice gate by Race Director Jack Lloyd. Designed to take away the temptation for the teams to dive deep south in the search for better pressure and a better angle to Cape Town. The Ice Gate is placed at 42 deg South between 20W and 10W, seen on the screenshot below. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race - Up until now the comment from the boats to the east has been that Team Vestas Wind had made a bad move by digging west. But now, with the high pressure to the east expanding, perhaps Wouter on the Danish boat has read the future a little better and has set his team up for a comeback. ... [more]  

Optimist World Championship 2014 - Six races were made last week and the fleet was divided into Gold, Silver and Bronze. Each fleet has 70 sailors. This first part of this championship had light winds, lot of current and little waves but today it changed completely: The wind gauge marked 23 Knots on the race area, the waves were high and short. ... [more]  

2014 - 15 Volvo Ocean Race - Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing have finally given ground to Team Brunel after almost exactly a week at the head of the fleet but the new leaders’ thin advantage may well be very short-lived as the Volvo Ocean Race Leg 1 turned into a game of hunt-the-breeze. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Ice Gate laid in Southern Ocean on Leg 1 *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz
Volvo Ocean Race have specified an Ice Gate in the Southern Ocean of which all competitors must stay to the North, or pass on their starboard side. The gate has been set along the line of 42degrees South and runs for 10 degrees of longitude. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race - Reality for Team Vestas Wind by Brian Carlin, Team Vestas Wind
The Volvo Ocean Race is an event that you get to watch unfold as something real. What happens on these boats day-to-day, what’s sent, what’s written about, what’s photographed, what’s on video is REAL. When you wake at 3am, it’s dark, really dark. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15. Team Alvimedica OBR Amory Ross reports on the crew’s progress. It’s beginning to feel a bit like Groundhog Day onboard! Our straight-line progress south continues without significant change and after 48 hours of port tack bliss we’re still free running in the South Equatorial Current at steady speeds in excess of 20 knots. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15. Team SCA OBR Corinna Halloran reports on day 17 for the team as they enter the Southern Ocean. Entering the Southern Ocean and racing to Cape Town is not as easy as sailing a straight line South. Currently, we are heading west in order to catch a Low pressure that spins out of the South. ... [more]  

Jim and Kristy Clark’s newly launched Comanche, a 100-foot supermaxi is aim for the Rolex Sydney to Hobart as her first major outing. The first video is of a training run from Newport, RI to Charleston, SC on Oct 24-26, 2014.The second video is of earlier trials off Newport. ... [more]  

La Torche only produced one day of wind over the nine days for the PWA Grand Slam, but the one day of competition was one to remember as La Torche produced some of the best conditions of the year, for the wave sailors, with 20-30 knot winds and powerful, peeling, clean waves, providing the perfect platform for the world’s most radical sailors to throw themselves skywards. ... [more]  

The 2014 ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year Awards will be held in one week’s time at a glittering awards ceremony in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. After an exciting year of sailing across multiple disciplines of the sport, five male and three female nominees make up the 2014 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year shortlist based on their achievements from 1 September 2013 to 21 September 2014. ... [more]  

Clipper Race - Is this the toughest job on the ocean?
PIC Coastal Classic Roundup: Almost 30 minutes slashed off record
America's Cup: Artemis Racing signs seventh Olympic Gold medalist
Pieces in place for the 2015 GC32 Racing Tour
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - Behind the numbers
Volvo Ocean Race: Front runners open gap for Cape Town *Feature
AWT - PWA Finale 2014: Severne Starboard Aloha Classic - One day to go
2014 International Masters Regatta - Augie Diaz takes the trophy
Volvo Ocean Race - Supreme sailing for Team Alvimedica
Volvo Ocean Race - Team SCA, united by one
A big shift for Pumpkin Pursuit in Richmond
ISAF Annual Conference to take place in Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15: Latest position report: October 27, 1700 UTC
Oakcliff Ocean Racing Team to race RORC Transatlantic Race
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - The search for skippers is on
China Cup Int'l Regatta - Windier weather brings victory for Vanke
Argo Group Gold Cup - Stena Sailing Team wins in Bermuda
GC 32 Foiling Cat Argo sets Mount Gay Rum Around Jamestown Record
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15: Latest position report, October 27, 0630 UTC
2014 RS:X Youth Worlds - Going out with a bang! + Video
2015 Flying Dutchman World Championships - Winners will be Grinners!   
RenaissanceRe Junior Gold Cup - Denmark’s Christian Spodsberg wins   
Argo Group Gold Cup 2014 - Berntsson joins sailing’s elite   
Sand Flies versus Foiling Moths - Moth World Championship 2015 *Feature   
2015 International 14 World Championship - Frasch leads German team   
Ian Williams and GAC Pindar set up an exciting AWMRT finale   
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 Leg one – South Atlantic tactics   
Volvo Ocean Race: Steady run to the finish at Cape Town   
18ft Skiffs: Club Championship - Race one   
2014 Optimist World Championship - Race started with a clear day   
2014 - 15 Volvo Ocean Race - Fernando de Noronha   
2014 - 15 Volvo Ocean Race - The longest route   
Argo Group Gold Cup - Semi Final matches set for Sunday   
Argo Group Gold Cup - Light air drama in Bermuda   
Renaissance Re Jr Gold Cup - Searching for breeze on the race course   
La Torche PWA Grand Slam - Radical wave tow-in on day 8   
Rolex Middle Sea Race - 35th edition one to remember + Video   
Volvo Ocean Race - How eight on Team SCA became Shellbacks   
Volvo Ocean Race - Team Alvimedica rounds Fernando de Neronha   
RS:X Youth World Windsurfing Championship - All to play for on day 4   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT