The most common avoidable mistake experienced by charterers with all bareboat companies in the Whitsundays is an incident called “prop-wrap”.
“Prop-wrap” is the term commonly given when a line, often the dinghy painter or perhaps a public mooring line becomes inadvertently wrapped around the vessel's propeller and/or drive shaft. The result is a vessel which loses any mechanical propulsion.
At very best this occurrence is an embarrassing nuisance. At worst, when close inshore in a high wind, fast tide run situation, it can be downright dangerous. And yet it is so easily avoided!
Ensure that all members of the crew understand that whenever the vessel is being manoeuvered - setting the anchor, picking up a mooring line, preparing to enter a marina, even if you’ve stopped mid-ocean to take photos of whales, turtles, dolphins etc, it is absolutely essential that the vessel’s dinghy is secured close alongside the mother-ship. Better still, if your vessel is so equipped, as is the case with most of our catamarans, hoisted and secured in its davits.
This ensures that excess towline, or “painter” cannot be drawn under the vessel to become entangled in a “prop-wrap!”
A prop- wrap can also happen from the dangling ends of sail sheets, halyards, and headsail furling lines which have been allowed to blow over the side or stern of vessels.
So the basic rule is: Don’t allow lines of any description whatsoever trail in the water around your charter boat.
Fishing line is also a prime source of prop-wrap material. Fishing line is notorious for not only binding around prop shafts, but even more concerning is the fact that it often cuts under the shaft seals, thus breaching that seal and allowing, in the case of sail drives, water to enter the sail drive gearbox! This, of course, necessitates a very expensive repair.
Taking just a little more care with your sail lines and fishing lines when winding in that big one can avoid any issues. Definitely do not have your props turning whilst reeling in a fishing line, with or without fish on it.
Remembering the few small tips outlined above can save you a lot of embarrassment and also some dollars, as with most charter companies a fee is applicable in the event of a prop wrap.
Happy and safe sailing.
Take care when moving or anchoring your vessel to avoid embarrassing "prop-wrap" mishaps.