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jsaxton

Beware of the wind!

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jsaxton

I wrote this down last summer after a trip to lake mead, I thought you might find it interesting and educational.

BEWARE OF THE WIND!

This past August we planned our first trip to Lake Mead. We were going with friends who were seasoned "Houseboaters", water was great, air was hot, but who cares you are there to play in the water and have fun...now for the warning.

DAY 3:

We traveled down to Temple Bar, nice but I prefered the narrows. We tied up the (houseboat) for the evening, during the night the winds shifted and came up very strong and started to hit the Houseboat broadside. About 2:30 in the morning, I was looking out the window and noticed one of the tie lines was in the water...not good! Me and a buddy got out on land and checked the stakes (1" rebar - 3' long - nearly all the way into the ground), the stakes were pulling up! Within minutes, I was in the BU, firing it up and getting away from the houseboat, (no time to run the blower this time). As I moved out away from the HB, they fire up the HB and try to restake, that was a mistake. Only moments later the HB has begun to rotate into the hillside, and suddenly it sounds like rocks in a blender. You guessed it, there goes one of the probs on the HB, your cost $200. Finally after a few more interesting moments of pulling in lines and stakes, the decision is made to try and make it across the lake...current time about 3:00 am.

So now the HB and the BU are heading across the lake in the middle of the night. By the way, if you rent a houseboat they will tell you not to travel at night at least a dozen times. However, we were not interested in finding the BU on the rocks and there was no way to restake in the pitch black of night with 30-40 mph winds. All we can see for reference is one of the lighted bouys we had seen earlier in the day, thank God i printed off topo maps of lake mead before we left.

Now comes the fun part. We were directly across the lake from Temple Bar marina (2-3 miles by the crow). Long and short the HB was pitching and rolling to the point that all of the kids got sick, drawers came out of the cabinets, the refrigerator opened and out came the food. Meanwhile in the bu, traveling parallel to the waves, easilty 2.5 - 3 ft trough to peak, maybe more. Need I say more, I had water coming over the sides, actually shorted out the interior lights and the nav light blew out. Interestingly enough we had installed halogen lamps on the tower, however our good friend murphy and his friend law came by for a visit. The power source for the lights were crimpted when the lights were first installed, I mean who really needs solder the joints? During the day, the power source came undone and we disconnected and forgot to reconnect late in the afternoon. In other words, several hunderd dollars of useless lights in the middle of lake mean in the middle of the night.

The next morning, winds and waves were still high. Only we are now traveling perpendicular to the waves. Now the water is coming over the bow, long and short, bilge pump cannot keep up with the water, someone jumped into the bu and took off. We saw him three hours later back at calville bay.

Lessons Learned:

Bring a radio, you never know. You may not be able to call anybody, but at least the two people in the boats would be able to communicate. You will have a radio in the HB, but have handheld in the bu. PS those cheap motorolas are crap.

Bring a GPS, we had one, and it helped. We were able to follow the GPS back to the marina (could not see the lights for quite awile.)

The sad thing is did everything right, except for picking a better spot to tie up. Long and short the more protection you can find the better and plan on the wind shifting. I have added a picture of where we tied up for everyone's amusement.

John

Edited by jsaxton

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D-GOOSE

All I can say is WOW. Blowup.gif

The boat I bought came from Nv and they went to lake mean a few time. Well the boat came with 2 huge night ankers. I was like man that must be some wind. Now I know it was no joke.

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Sunsetter95

Lake Powell HB trip:

We were on a 75' HB pulling my little 17' Checkmate on Powell but you know sometimes there are signs that things may not be as they appear. I asked our friend if he had experience driving a HB. He said that he rented one last year and said he had no problems.

Well, backing out of the slip at the Marina, he was trying to steer this 75' HB out of the dock with the wheel instead of using the engines (twin IO's). I was out in my little boat waiting to hook up after he got out of the marina area and I could see that he was rubbing the dock pretty hard and almost clipped the 110' HB next door. I blew it off when he got it out safely.

We were having a great time until the day before we had to have the HB back in. This was late summer in AZ, monsoon season. A storm was rolling in as they do in the afternoon. The "skipper, brave and sure" wanted to get into the marina that evening. I said that we should wait until night and follow the channel markers in after the storm passes. Well, he didn't agree.

Well "the weather started getting rough" and the big ship was getting tossed. Heading in we had water breaking over the bow and getting into the cabin under the front glass doors. Stuff was falling off the shelves as in the other story but nobody got sick.

We tried to beach it at another area but the wind was too bad to get it in bow first so we turned away and continued toward the marina. Things were going ok until we approached the marina. The water was quite a bit rougher out in the open area. 3'-5' waves, 30mph winds gusting close to 50.

We couldn't get help getting into the marina, obviously the were very busy. The "skipper" turned and headed for one of these steal bouys to hook on to. As he approached he told me to reach out and grab the hook off of the side of the buy. I said "are you out of your [email protected]#&ing mind! We were bobbing around like a rubber duck in a busy swimming pool.

So what does the "skipper " do, he throws it into reverse, mind you my little boat is behind us with the long ropes. When this thought hit me I looked down the hall and out the back window to see the bottom of my little blue boat going up and down. Before I could say anything to the "skipper" both engines died.

Edited by Sunsetter95

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whiteVLX

JS-> sorry to hear about the adventure in the middle of the night. That could have gotten real scary, real fast.

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sheeprides

Yeah. That mother nature sure is a mother.

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Sunsetter95

So there we are, in the worst storm to hit Powell in 10 years, no power, a HB with kids. I ran down the hall to the rear of the HB to find that the rope that were towing my boat were rapped around both outdrives and by boat is sliding up and down on the swimplatform. This would not have been so bad except the there was a bolt sticking out of the ladder scratching the H out of the metalflake.

Ok, we are now drifting in the wind sending out SOS calls. I managed to get the rope out of the port outdrive and we fired up the engine. But with the wind a strong as it was, it wasn't enough to steer the HB over to the cove and out of the wind.

We finally got some help from the marina utility boat. The cavalry to the rescue, NOT! The operator of this boat, meaning well, insisted on tying up along side us rather than towing from the front. Remember the 3'-5' waves, they were still there. I argued this point and told him that I was not going to be responsible for his wrong decision. They beat the crap out of the side of the HB.

Oh yea, my little boat, my wife put on a vest and took it over to a cove just across from the marina by riding in the valleys of the waves. She was scared, talked to my dead father on the way, but she was fine. The HB was not so lucky.

In the end, we did get over to the cove with our hero's. Of course as we were staking the HB down in the cove, the storm blew over, the sun was out, and people were skiing again.

Damage, $14,000 total. Parts: 2 props broken, 1 bent outdrive shaft, body work to the hull and loss of use to the next people. They had to take it out of the water for a week to get it repaired.

Oh, at the dock, the three HB that were next to our slip, well they sank.

I guess we were lucky we didn't get into the dock.

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Sunsetter95

I can't believe that there aren't more horror stories out there. Fingerwag.gif

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srud

Wow! Shocking.gif And to think I thought I had a really bad day on the water last year when I dinged my prop. I guess I'll stop complaining.

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FijiRob
I can't believe that there aren't more horror stories out there.  Fingerwag.gif

Anyone who has spent alot of time on campovers on the bigger lakes along the Colorado probably has a story like those above....including me. Those storms can really catch you off guard even when you think you're prepared. Thanks to the shore spike and box anchor (discussed on another thread) I came out of it okay.

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chathamsolutions
...

Oh yea, my little boat, my wife put on a vest and took it over to a cove just across from the marina by riding in the valleys of the waves. She was scared, talked to my dead father on the way, but she was fine. The HB was not so lucky.

...

Funny and not at the same time.

Glad everyone's OK. Mother nature really IS a mother. True, dat.

Now I'm all scared about our Powell trip...

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mrothwell

Lake Powell Scare, comming up:

My grandparents, more the farmer type than boating type, took the 17 ft Rienell outboard out on Powell once (once and only once). One of those quick storms came up and was throwing the boat all over the place and all they could see were those vertical walls that lake powell is known for. Not knowing the best way to hit the waves with the little boat, they were taking on water much faster than the bilge pump could keep up with. They finally found a beach and just drove er up. After sitting out the rest of the storm on the beach, the boat was nearly full of water and had caused a short and drained the battery. They ended up waiting until someone came by to help start it. My grandmother swore that she would never set foot in a boat again, and I dont think she ever did.

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auto

I keep thinking the same thing, going to Powell for the first time in Septempber, all of these near sinking stories hear and other boards are starting worrrrrrrryyyyy mmmmmeeeeeeee. Shocking.gif

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CRMNGRN

The wind is my friend.

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dlb

and I though thouseboating was nothing but fun......

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vlxjeff

On one of our trips to Lake Powell, we had a similar situation to John's. We had a pair of houseboats beached near Gunsight Butte one night when the wind kicked up really hard. One of those typical storms that everyone tells you about all along the Colorado River.

The wind won the battle for supremacy over the larger of the two houseboats and caused the stakes to get pulled from the ground on one side. The houseboat twisted in the wind and there was a rush to get the Malibu's away from the houseboat before it completely ran aground horizontal to the beach. After the Malibu's were clear we re-tied the houseboat to the beach as it was, with the whole side of the houseboat sitting on the beach. We knew there was no way we would get the nose sitting on the shore like normal, and we didn't want to risk everything by taking the houseboat out on the lake during the storm. So we just re-tied it as it lay, till morning. After getting it secured we all went back to bed. Safe and sound.

p_024.jpg

The next morning, we used the Malibu's to pull the rear of the houseboat off the beach and then repositioned both houseboats so that the prevailing wind would hit them in the rear, not broadside. No more problems that trip.

We did find out later that that same storm sank two houseboats at the marina.

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LS-One
I keep thinking the same thing, going to Powell for the first time in Septempber, all of these near sinking stories hear and other boards are starting worrrrrrrryyyyy mmmmmeeeeeeee. Shocking.gif

September is usually the safest month most of the time the monsoons responsible for the nasty weather have wound down in Sept.

When are you going we will be there Sept 17-24

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auto

September 11-19, we are going with the local some of the guys from the local BU dealer, I am jacked. Yahoo.gif

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LS-One
Becuase of the responses like mine, I'm closing this thread. 

Anyone else want to start another thread on 'religion' go for it. 

I for one and planning on starting a thread on recipes.

We went last year the same time frame as this year and had perfect weather, awsome water and the lake was deserted. After 8 trips to Powell Sept is best

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LS-One

How did that happen :(

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Lakenut

Holy Crap!!! (in the voice of Frank from Everyone Loves Ramond)

Does not sound like fun. Glad no one was hurt.

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hyperlitenerd

I have many a houseboating story since we used to go every sept. for like 2 weeks when I was a wee lil skier.

I remember one storm, we had found this big rock on the shore, this was a big rock easily 30 ft, and it sheltered us from the wind, woohoo. Well the wind fliped, one of the anchor chain links actully broke. got to see dad pull the house boat back into postion, and set a new anchor while the storm was going. Then, some people though it would be cool to try and dock their house boat up wind from us with all their waverunners still in tow, well our friend with his mastercraft on that side of the boat didnt really care for the idea of them blowing into his boat. So he was out yelling at them to go away or do something diffrent. and of course during this time we were all caught with our stuff on the roof, so I was swimming after the stuff that was flying off, and putting it in a tube that we had.

We moved after that day and actully found a cave! woohoo! it was huge, I think it was like 20 houseboats tall, using the swim far away and using your thumb count how high it is method. That was the ultimate spot, it was out of the sun so it was only 160 degrees out, and only 140 at night. It was out of the rain and wind.

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Headhunter 2317

Those stories are amazing. I will stick to my little 3000 acre pond.

We've sat out a few thundershowers under the bimini but holy cow.

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jsaxton

Moral to the stories...expect the unexpected and be somewhat prepared...if you can!

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