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TOPIC: Best Rigging for Zigzag Bumpers

Best Rigging for Zigzag Bumpers 12 Jul 2018 16:14 #99764

....Once clear of the lock she does coil the ropes up neatly out of the way and everything is done in a slow, calm and controlled manner, her interpretation of 'inches' like many womens is a question of perception of course...like mens !!

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Best Rigging for Zigzag Bumpers 12 Jul 2018 16:00 #99763

At 4.86m we are quite snug in most of the smaller locks and have in the past caught fenders in the gates.
We use four as described with two ropes to each Zig Zag, the ropes are then attached to the same single point, in ourcase the bottom of a handrail post. This allows the fender to 'flip over' if caught.
We have developed a system whereby now this rarely happens...Once Nicci has released the bow rope and we are slowly exiting the lock she takes up position by either of the front Bits facing back towards the wheelhouse and indicates with her fingers what the (ever changing) gap is between fender and lockside.
I gauge whether the gap is steady, reducing or increasing by watching her fingers and judging how the centre of the bow is moving and steer the wheel accordingly. Knowing that there is usually about 4-6 inches either side makes it fairly easy to just focus on the one fender.
Once the front fender is through she does the same with the back one. It works very well for us in most circumstances.
Going into a lock she stands on the deck next to the wheelhouse and as we slowly approach she tells me roughly how much room/inches we have outside the front fenders to the lock wall, once the front ones are past the gates she goes to the bow to do the rope and I glance down at the lock sides to get the back ones through.
The picture attached shows it in operation and yes we know there is a bridge behind her and that safety is very important and all about lifejackets etc. just putting this out there as a system that works for us.

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Best Rigging for Zigzag Bumpers 11 Jul 2018 14:28 #99749

I've been thinking of using 5" plastic water pipe, as in this pile used successfully by a steel vessel.

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Colin Stone
KEI
www.luxe-motor.kei.co.uk

Best Rigging for Zigzag Bumpers 10 Jul 2018 23:21 #99737

Hmm; as is often the case I see I didn't quite answer the question ;-(

I would recommend two independent lines, light enough to break if perchance you do get the fender caught. If one line does break then the fender is still attached and you can haul it back aboard and make some bodge knot to retie the other end until you get chance to remake it properly. The reason they are legal as fenders is they do float, so it should be very difficult to actually lose one - useful, as they are very pricey.
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Best Rigging for Zigzag Bumpers 10 Jul 2018 23:14 #99736

Ball fenders are always going to burst sooner or later. Also if you drift into a lock you do not have any steerage and are going to hit the side more often than not - you must be in gear to have steerage. Slow right down before the lock if you must, but then drive in. The zig-zag fenders are fine. You need four; one each side foreward where the hull attains full width near the foreward bollards, and the same while the hull is still straight before the rounded stern that proper boats have . Perhaps the boat is the problem. ;-)

These fenders do have a front and back. The front is more angled than the back, plus the segments are angled to compress as they come into contact moving forward. If you look at them in that light it is easy to see why, and we often see them mounted the wrong way round which can give unnecessary problems.

Tam

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Best Rigging for Zigzag Bumpers 10 Jul 2018 20:45 #99731

> Have destroyed all our original inflatable fenders at the stern in two years unlike Peter (I must be a rotten driver, similar style boat but ours has no rear directional stability when in glide mode and I am totally incapable of getting the rudder over and giving the motor a burst in time to avoid crash landings about one in ten locks).

I'm also quite good at bursting fenders, but I've taken good care of the big ball fenders that protect the back end from contact with gates - more a problem leaving than entering locks I find!

Gliding offers very little rudder control - the prop needs to be squirting water at the rudder for it to have immediate effect. Two things help greatly but most boats just don't have them. A trolling valve allows extremely low speed in locks with the prop continually offering moving water to the rudder and a follow-up tiller or joystick to control rudder angle - get rid of the wheel. This removes the job of winding the wheel left and right and allows more time to concentrate on what needs to be done to keep on the straight and narrow - and to see the back end of the boat in the mirror.

If I was building from scratch I'd embed into the aft quarters of the boat hefty vehicle wheels that would remove the problem of fenders of any type being plucked off by a lock gate. Something on the lines of this, although in the boat rather than the wall! Black tyres in a black hull - could be almost unseen!

Peter
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Best Rigging for Zigzag Bumpers 10 Jul 2018 11:12 #99725

Hi all
Our Zig Zags float so recovery is pretty easy and I just thread the rope through all the spaces to minimise compression. I prefer slanted deployment to maximise the chances of putting something between hull and shore.
Issues on our boat are that the lines suspending them for the area between the rubbing strakes (high density rubber) get worn and eventually snap. I had not considered drilling holes through the rubber bumpers before now but is an ideal solution for me until I have the courage to bolt them on and chuck away the strakes which make the boat look a bit like a bumper car/tug.
If the line has caught on a gate the noise sounds like we have blown the gate off the lock. We were locked in one until the gate was checked by the supervisor (eclusiere was busy on her mobile but we got her attention after all). Although the breaking strain would have been over a ton the rails that supplied attachment points did not deform (phew)
Have destroyed all our original inflatable fenders at the stern in two years unlike Peter (I must be a rotten driver, similar style boat but ours has no rear directional stability when in glide mode and I am totally incapable of getting the rudder over and giving the motor a burst in time to avoid crash landings about one in ten locks). I now do not use anything but Zeds (and the usually misplaced strakes) when moving,
Regards
Chris
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Best Rigging for Zigzag Bumpers 09 Jul 2018 14:08 #99715

I'm wondering whether zigzag fenders are your best bet. They are rough and not kind to paintwork unless fixed securely to the hull - where they are inevitably wrongly placed in some circumstances!

At the aft quarter of my boat (4.5m beam and a pretty-much square back end), I use big ball fenders suspended by 2 lines at an angle to minimise scuffing of the paintwork and to prevent them from rolling if in contact with a wall and ending up behind the transom doing no good at all. This has proved very satisfactory and so far in 8 years, no losses or punctures.

I presume the OP has a bow thruster. With a little practice in getting nicely lined up before a lock, the wheel and engine can be used mainly to keep the back end under control - the rudder moves the back end far more effectively than the bow. The thruster can be used if necessary to adjust the position of the bow. To help keep you aware of possible contact with lock gates, the back end can be kept in view by locating a mirror (from caravanning shops) on your rail adjusted so you can see the stern at the waterline while steering. You only need one mirror as you should know how much spare space one side means there's too little the other side!

Peter

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Best Rigging for Zigzag Bumpers 09 Jul 2018 13:27 #99714

To avoid paint scuffing, perhaps some robust carpet, as in carpet tiles, could be glued to the back of the fender. I saw a boat this spring which had additional cords tied between the fender and the deck fitting/bollard to aid recovery when the zig zags got pulled off.

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Best Rigging for Zigzag Bumpers 08 Jul 2018 09:16 #99691

For many years I used only the solid rubber pipes on our widebeam as I had been told about the problems sometimes with zig zag fenders catching on lock apparatus in the UK. However whist in the south of France I bought some zig zags to hang off the double bollards that I had installed on either side at stern and bow to deal with the oval shaped locks on the Midi (straight fenders on a staight sided boat simply never touched the lock sides at the same time biw and stern!). I used a single length of rope looped through the zig zag from end to end and looped over the bollards. This has enabled me to adjust both the angle and the height of the fender as needed by simply adjusting it with a turn or two round one or other or both bollards so that it can hang at an angle or horizontally and at water level or higher up (I personally don't like having fenders dragging along in the water between locks). This system has allowed enough give on the fenders that when they do inevitably catch (more often here in the UK than in France in my experience, and not much related to helmsmanship skills,they 'spring' loose to the stern. I have noticed recently that the attached ropes are showing signs of strain but so far we have not lost a fender in three years of extensive cruising and the size and adjustability of the zig-zags has come in very handy on all those occssions in locks and moorings where the simple pipe fenders can't oblige.
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Charles Briggs.
Wb "Xenia".
www.xeniaboatlog.wordpress.com

Best Rigging for Zigzag Bumpers 07 Jul 2018 23:44 #99689

Our zig zag fenders are held with 10mm rope. The line goes through the first hole formed by the zigs under the next zig then along the top of the next couple if zigs then down the second last opening and up the last opening. The tail is spliced into the line going to the rails to form a loop with the zig zag in the middle. The part of the loop on the top also provides a rope handle if you wish to hold the zig zag while the height is adjusted.
In the early stages it is possible to adjust the loop so that the fender can sit at an angle or straight. After hitting something the rope tends to wedge into the angles of the zig zag. Being on a single line it can swing or jiggle over rough bits of lock gates and walls.
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Best Rigging for Zigzag Bumpers 07 Jul 2018 21:21 #99688

I have previously had the same problems of mounting zigzag fenders without them being ripped off on contact with a lock gate.
'ast winter I bolted on four zigzag fenders down each side of my boat,each mounted horizontally, using 3x 6mm s/s bolts and penny washers to fasten each fender into tapped holes.
Initially,I was not sure whether this idea would work, and suspected that they might be ripped off on contact with the first lock. 6mm bolts and washers did not seem strong enough.
However, they have worked really well, have worked as fenders should, and have remained in place. Other boaters have seen this technique (including owners of original / genuine dutch barges) and have been impressed enough to copy this idea. I am completely happy with the results this year.
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Best Rigging for Zigzag Bumpers 07 Jul 2018 19:31 #99687

This year I removed all my Zig Zag fenders. i am trying the simple rubber truncheons used on Narrowboats. I find zig zags mark the hull paintwork as they rub along the side. They are also responsible for removing antifoul on the waterline when used for low walls. That said they are useful for lots of occasions. You should use 8-10mm Lanyards not wires. Hang one off each end through the centre bars. Hang at 45º angle to cover more eventualities. Hung vertically from a single Lanyard the zig zag will partially sink to give you protection below the waterline too. Expect to lose a lot of Lanyards on Lock Gates its not your driving.....
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Best Rigging for Zigzag Bumpers 07 Jul 2018 19:23 #99685

  • James Carswell
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In the initial 45 days operating DESORMAIS, my still unrefined piloting skills are taking a bit of a toll on the zigzag fenders. A 2005 Sagar replica barge, the boat has several zigzag bumpers (10 mmx 10.5mm X 106mm) mounted under the rubbing bumper surrounding the boat. The zigzags are mounted with a loop of wire cable loop through a drilled hole on the end of the bumper, while a loop at the other end is attached to the boat. Unfortunately, with pressure either the wire cable snaps or the cable slices through the bumper material. Before I simply rehung them as they were, I wondered if there was a more durable way to mount this style of bumper. Obviously, this would be less of an issuer if my piloting skills improved, but still thought I’d ask!

Jim Carswell

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