The Rescue of the 28 foot Newton

The Rescue of the 28 foot Newton

Postby J.J.Jones » Tue May 17, 2011 5:30 pm

First of all thank to all of you who have contacted me regarding the incident on the return trip from Roche harbor this weekend. For those of you who did not hear the incident unfold on the radio or have not heard the story here is the good the bad and the ugly.
If you were at the rendezvous, you probably saw a beautiful 28 ft Newton there with her new owners. The boat has been neglected for some time but the new owners really want to restore her to Bristol condition. I expect there are fewer than 4 or 5 Newtons left floating and it was a treat to see this "baby Grand Banks"
We met the new owners, a father and son from my home town of Oak Harbor and it was clear that they were absorbing information like a sponge. In reality the boat was not really prepared to make the trip from Oak Harbor to Roche Harbor, they had engine cooling issues and leaks among other issues.
Both myself and Doug Wadden, the skipper of Bowhaus, impressed upon them how important it was for them to transit Deception Pass at slack water on the return and we were both delighted to see them gone when we departed for home at 0600 on Sunday.
I sighted the Newton at the east end of Thacher pass and she appeared to be making 6-7 kts. Doug Wadden traveling about 3/4 of a mile behind me passed them and relayed they were dead in the water and drifting towards the rocks on the North Shore of Decatur island.
I turned around, Bowhaus called the coast guard and Vessel Assist, and in a few minutes the situation went from bad to dire.
When I arrived the Newton was perhaps 3-4 minutes from being pushed onto the rocks, Bowhaus, who carries their tender on the stern was rigging lines to pull the Newton from her bow, I thought I had the best chance to get to them so I asked Bowhaus to stand off and coordinate the Coast Guard and vessel Assist effort.
The admiral grabbed the longest line we had, secured it to a stern cleat and prepared to throw the line like she had practiced. I backed down right to the bow of the Newton, much closer than I wanted to be but I knew I had one shot at this or we were going to lose the Newton and her crew would have been in the water. The Admiral made a perfect throw to the Newton who tied the line to their Samson post and we slowly made our way clear of the rocks.
I think my heart returned to normal rhythm somewhere around Burrows island where we let the Newton loose and it was picked up by Vessel assist.
The Newton is tied up in Cornet Bay awaiting the outcome of a transmission transplant.
The story has a great ending the boat and the crew are safe but this was a very serious situation, it is just too unforgiving in our local water to be out there with an untested boat. I doubt the owner of the Newton will try that trip again until they are sure the boat is up to the task.

J.J.Jones
"Intruder"
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Postby Bob Lowe » Tue May 17, 2011 6:20 pm

Good job, JJ.
Good luck,
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Postby JoMeKe » Tue May 17, 2011 7:01 pm

JJ, Well done! I assume that is the same Newton that was on the hard in Oak Harbor last fall and that I raised questions about here trying to ID her? If so, nice guys and I wish them all good fortune in getting her back up and running. Thank goodness you and Doug were there.
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Postby Marin Faure » Tue May 17, 2011 8:36 pm

J.J--- You are to be highly commended for your prompt and prepared actions, particularly the prepared part. I daresay my wife and I would not have been able to put as quickly into action the game plan you and your wife had worked out if not practiced beforehand.

Which brings up a question I have long wondered about. As my avatar photo shows,we carry a Livingston on the swimstep on Weaver Davits. The length of the Livingston, 9' plus motor, means that any towing line or bridle run out through the stern hawses would contact one or both ends of the dinghy and put a lot of sidways pressure on it as the towed vessel moved back and forth behind us. For that reason we have never put together a towing plan since we figured the boat was simply not set up to do it properly.

So I would be interested in suggestions-- theoretical or proven--- of how best to deal with a towing situation with a dinghy mounted as ours is. The only answer we have been able to come up with on our own is to drop the dingy into the water, disconnect it from the Weaver snaps and tow it, either on a short lead or alongside us. Certainly workable in easy water but perhaps not a viable plan in rough water, which is where these sorts of emergencies usually tend to happen.

Again, well done J.J. You and Bowhaus exemplify the preparedness and willingness to help that seems to prevail among GB owners.
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Postby GB42-267 » Tue May 17, 2011 8:57 pm

Well done JJ and Doug! We left Roche Harbor at 05:00 and were already on the other side of Rosario Strait to make slack at Deception Pass when we heard your radio call to the Coast Guard. We followed the development in suspense and hoped it would end well, I knew it would turn out well when we heard in the background you communicated with the other vessel asking if they had a cell phone and knew for sure their life were no longer in immediate danger.
On our way through Deception pass, we met vessel assist coming out from Cornet Bay at full bore. Thanks again for being able to help, it could have turned real ugly very quickly. I'm sure a VHF is on top of their list of must have items.

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Postby GB42-267 » Tue May 17, 2011 9:03 pm

Marin Faure wrote
As my avatar photo shows,we carry a Livingston on the swimstep on Weaver Davits. The length of the Livingston, 9' plus motor, means that any towing line or bridle run out through the stern hawses would contact one or both ends of the dinghy and put a lot of sidways pressure on it as the towed vessel moved back and forth behind us. For that reason we have never put together a towing plan since we figured the boat was simply not set up to do it properly.

Marin, this problem can easily be overcome by running a bridle from Port to Stbd side through your side hawse holes and fastened to your outboard cleats. It will effectively form a 'V' clearing your dinghy on the swim step. The other benefit is that you will spread the towing load between two cleats instead of putting the full load on one. This is how I tow my whaler, not to clear any swim step dinghy, but to spread the load.

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Postby Marin Faure » Tue May 17, 2011 9:41 pm

GB42-267 wrote:I'm sure a VHF is on top of their list of must have items.


Am I to interpret this to mean these folks made the trip up the Sound to the islands without a VHF radio of any kind?
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Postby Marin Faure » Tue May 17, 2011 9:47 pm

GB42-267 wrote:Marin, this problem can easily be overcome by running a bridle from Port to Stbd side through your side hawse holes and fastened to your outboard cleats.


Thanks for the suggestion. Not long after we aquired the boat we realized that a single cleat in each corner of the aft deck mounted on the inside of the bulwark was not enough. So we aquired three more identical cleats to those the boat had been built with and mounted one in each aft corner on the deck angled between the two aft hawses, and the third one up onthe foredeck next to the block that supports the anchor windlass. All three are backed up by the largest stainless backing plates I could fit between the under-deck stringers. So we have plenty of cleat strength on the aft deck for towing.

But--- a question perhaps for Bob Lowe--- if we run the legs of the bridle out of the aft side hawses and back along the hull would the strain that would be picked up by the port and starboard corners of the fiberglass hull as the towed vessel moved from side to side pose any threat to the integrity of the corner?
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Postby Bob Lowe » Wed May 18, 2011 1:05 pm

There shouldn't be a problem with normal loads at hull speeds, Marin. The shock loads imposed when tied up at a dock, large enough to make the lines creak, are much heavier than typically experienced when towing a dinghy.
Good luck,

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Postby Marin Faure » Wed May 18, 2011 2:58 pm

Thanks, Bob. I'll look into creating a bridle for a towline, which once I do will probably mean we'll never need it :-)
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Postby GB42-267 » Wed May 18, 2011 8:04 pm

Marin Faure:
Am I to interpret this to mean these folks made the trip up the Sound to the islands without a VHF radio of any kind?


I can only speculate since I wasn't on the scene, but from what I could hear over the radio, the VHF call to the USCG came from J.J. Jones on the "Intruder" and I could also hear he asked if they had a cell phone in the background. Unless their batteries were dead as well and the call came from another vessel, I'm assuming there were no VHF onboard.

if we run the legs of the bridle out of the aft side hawses and back along the hull would the strain that would be picked up by the port and starboard corners of the fiberglass hull as the towed vessel moved from side to side pose any threat to the integrity of the corner?


As Bob L states, the shock load from your dock lines at rough condition will be higher than during normal towing conditions. The inward load will put the transverse rail under compression load and the inward load on the side rails are far enough aft that there will be no flexing. I don't suggest towing a heavy vessel behind without further reinforcements for any length of time other than in an emergency situation. I'm referring to an emergency towing by rigging a bridle to avoid damaging a swim step mounted dinghy. I would also use a long towing line to soften the shocks, preferably a nylon line of at least 5/8" or 3/4".

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Postby Marin Faure » Wed May 18, 2011 8:48 pm

Thanks much, Bjorn.
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Postby Bob Lowe » Wed May 18, 2011 11:41 pm

Using a bridle, one leg on each side of the transom, will divide any loading with half on each side. Using nylon for its stretch ability will further help absorb any shock loading.

If in a hurry or emergency, one can fashion a bridle by running a line loosely around the transom from one side to the other with a loop in the center. A tow line can then be attached to the loop.
Good luck,

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Postby Marin Faure » Thu May 19, 2011 12:57 am

Years ago we bought a heavy-duty snatch block for use in a sort of bridle to position our boat off the wind but into the waves on a mooring buoy or at anchor. Have had few needs to use it that way but perhaps it would be a good thing to clip to a bridle line behind the transom to hold the towline itself.
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Postby Tagish » Thu May 19, 2011 9:55 am

J.J. - Outstanding job! Semper Paratus!

Marin -

I have towing bridle made out of 1" line for my stern cleats to go around my dinghy setup. I've towed several large boats this way with my 36 and have never had a problem. The trick of course is to make the legs equal length and long enough to properly distribute the forces. The big worry is making them too long and having it sink and foul the rudder/props. A small tag line makes it easy to pull up if you slow or have to back. Likewise. too short doesn't do much good either.
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