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Rafting Up – How To Guide

Reviewed:  October

Author: Barry Traner

Boat Review – Boating Tips:

A few months ago I was talking to the Kiwi owner of a Riviera 37 who said something that stuck in my mind.

“The fun of boating,” he said, “is being able to raft up in the evening in the bay and talk about the day.”

This stayed with me. For my Kiwi mate, the most important aspect of boating was the raft-up. Not the run out through the Hauraki Gulf, not the thrill of the throbbing diesels, the challenge of defying the savage sea or trying to land a mighty marlin, but the simple social act of meeting others for a chat, a drink, perhaps a meal, then retreating to the privacy of his own boat.

Rafting up is worth doing properly because there may be unexpected rewards.  Last time I tried it, the bloke on the next boat had cooked too many hamburgers and was willing to share. Better than the stale cheese sandwich I had waiting for me.

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Rafting Up

Boating Article by Modern Boating

“Raft Up – Happy together”

Rafting up is easy but there are procedures that should be followed:

  • You need at least one anchor and lots of fenders and lines.
  • Put all your fenders out well in advance.  Tie them on properly; use half hitches to lock the clove hitch as the latter can slip on a stainless steel rail or lifeline.
  • It helps if you can raft up next to a boat of similar size, as jumping from one to the other will be easier and safer. If rubbing strakes (and therefore fenders) are at roughly similar heights the fenders will not squeeze up—or down.
  • Approach slowly from behind the line-up, which may be swinging to the wind. Watch out for swimmers, canoeists and tenders.
  • Move ahead of the line, drop your anchor and reverse into position with tension on the anchor line.
  • Get bow and stern lines onto the boat next to you. Don’t forget the spring lines (people tend to call them ‘springers’ these days).
  • Keep a stern anchor in mind; you can’t have too much holding power. Don’t try to cheat by relying on the anchors of other boats. In the middle of the night, when the southerly kicks in and the whole line of boats breaks loose, you will regret that earlier laziness.
  • Run a check on the fenders for height and fore and aft position.
  • When leaving, do a 360-degree visual check before you start the engine. As you move forward to retrieve your anchor, watch out for swimmers.
  • If you’re overnighting, drink only moderately. If you’re there only for a meal, don’t drink at all.

Final note: An American couple died from carbon monoxide poisoning during a raft-up because they left their hatch open and the exhaust from the generator on a neighbouring boat wafted into their fore cabin. A million-to-one unlikely event, but the latest generators are very, very quiet.

Review supplied by Modern Boating

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