Saturday, May 2, 2015

Classics Week 2015 - Dinghy Wrangling

Lee and Tom act as a port stern thruster
It's now time for more follow up on Tom's responsibilities as a Dinghy Wrangler.  At first glance it might seem easy.  Don't let the boats hit anything as they dock and undock.  D-uh.  But add in all the normal factors like wind, current, other boats then add classic factors like pre-race, post-race, full keels and full egos and it gets a lot more complicated than don't let the boats hit anything.  Let's take a closer look.
Dinghy port shove while the other wranglers gets the anchor buoy
Tight spot, wranglers getting the anchor buoy

Anchor buoy brings up the chain

Getting the chain on board and set to stop the boat from hitting the dock
First off, the bulk of the boats were med moored.  For those that don't know, this means the boat is back into its slip and the anchor is set somewhere out in front, usually off to one side 45 degrees but not always.  Med mooring is not easy.  We have not had to do it yet - whew.  It takes practice to learn to drop the anchor and then back straight (hard to do because props spin thus pushing you off to the side as you back) usually between two boats already in there, while still letting out anchor chain and stopping short of the dock in back but enough to tie off.  The extra fun twist for Classics Race Week is that the majority of the boats don't take their anchors with them racing.  They don't want the weight.  So, they attached fenders and leave them behind.  But they don't just drop it - boom and off to the races. They attached the fender out a ways so it can be picked back up when heading in.  But picking them back up again while maneuvering back in isn't easy either.  And this is one of the reasons Boat Wranglers or Dinghy Wranglers are needed.  
No engine?  No problem - dinghy engine the recue for sy Synia

Delivering sy Synia to her spot
Also remember that 99% of these boats are full keel boats that don't maneuver all that well at low speeds or in tight spaces.  They are heavy boats.  Sy Synia lost her engine racing day one.  The guys had to bring her in and then out each morning and back in each afternoon.  A dinghy on each side tied to the main wenches acted as the engines and then the skipper was able to steer her out.  Other times it was a simple nudge on the starboard bow or a full dinghy throttle shove on the port stern.
Lee and Tom chatting away with the crew while they wait

There was some kewl down time waiting for boats to go out, chatting with owners, skippers or the crew.  In between morning duty and afternoon often meant hanging out in the Panerai booth drinking espresso or S. Pellegrino new Blood Orange Sparkling Water and eating mini croissants while reading the Wall Street Journal.  Or walking the dock and talking to the remaining mega yacht crews trying to get a private tour.
Lee and Tom help Dragonera in - Hi Sarah!

Tom guiding her in - Sarah ready with one of many fenders

Terry (Red Hat) hauls the anchor chain aboard - Go Terry
Now I am going to show you the best captain there is terms of docking at Classics Week 2015.  I was blown away when I saw her dock 51 ft sy Saphaedra.  Tom said she did that each and everyday exactly the same - perfect.  None of the pics are zoomed in.  I was right on the dock when she came in.  Amazing.

Above is the space she has to drop the anchor.

Above sy Saphaedra coming in.

Dropping anchor.  Her dingy was there helping but barely.

Look closer - do you see how close she had to get the anchor to the other boat?

Then she simply alternated using forward and reverse and her wheel to turn the boat and slide her gently back into her tight spot between two boats.  WOW!  

No comments:

Post a Comment