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Old 15-07-2008, 08:17   #46
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If you've never been aground, you've never run the ICW in Texas! Seriously, a couple of weeks ago, we were waiting for the locks to clear on a trip, and we were told it would be "over an hour". Small boat traffic was very heavy, and it was a holiday weekend (idiots). Rather than make tiny circles in a big boat, I just did what the tug captains do. I stuck the nose in the mud, and we waited. When it was time to go, backed right out.
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Old 15-07-2008, 11:34   #47
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I guess I should have gotten out in the dinghy to test the depths before me? As I said I gently came to a stop. I was practicing prudence by slowing down to a near crawl. From 15ft. to less than 4ft. is a big difference, but this is Florida, and it was on the ICW. I was not shirking my responsibility. I guess it was a poor attempt at humor.
I never do any section of the ICW without checking the resources that exist beyond the charts for the latest information about shoaling... Skipper Bob's, BoatUS East Coast alerts and Salty Southeast Cruisers forum to name a few. Trusting the out of date charts (the current ones are out of date when printed) in areas where shoaling is a problem is simply leads to Towboat visits. Where exactly was this grounding?
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Old 15-07-2008, 11:55   #48
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Different boats, different areas, different opinions.

For a monohull along the intercoastal of the east coast and the Bahamas, soft groundings are a way of life for the intrepid explorer. It's only the first few times that it's scary, then you eventually figure out that as long as you're going slow you can almost always just back off, heel-and-back off, or worst case kedge off. I suppose I could avoid the occassional bump by always anchoring further out and by always following the well worn path of the herd, but that's not our style. Some are out looking for and finding the shifting sands, and others spend a lot of energy avoiding them.

Hard groundings are a different story, I do my utmost to avoid them. But I've never been afraid to make a slow speed 'verification' of the charts with my keel.
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Old 15-07-2008, 15:43   #49
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Just north of St. Augustinet here is a small horseshoe of water about 10 miles . We were back in there trying to recalibrate the autopilot. It was windy as heck, and we were looking for a little shelter from the wind on the north side. We went in on the south side, and tried to get out on the north.
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Old 16-07-2008, 12:11   #50
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Great thread which reassures me that I am doing the right thing when insisting on a shoal keel when looking for our new boat. We are in So. Cal. and they look at us kind of funny here until we explain that the boat will be here for a few years and then we will be moving it to FL. What kind of keel do those of you that ran aground have and what draft? Are wing keels a good idea for FL? We are looking to get a 40' to 42'. I don't want to get this great thread off track so let me know if I should post in a different area.

From my experience on my little Boston Whaler in the ICW you have to be careful no matter how big or small. We used to go to the same area almost every weekend and the sand shifted very quickly, specially in the summer with the heavy afternoon thunderstorms. Stopped going for a year and when we went back they had closed one of the small channels going into the jetty due to sand shifting. It's hard to keep up with it.
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Old 16-07-2008, 13:18   #51
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It really does not matter that much except that above 6 ft you find a lot of places you have trouble with except on the tide. Friends traveled with 6 ft. 9 in. all around the Caribbean without trouble. They came up here to the Chesapeake and had a difficult time finding a slip partly being liveaboards but also for depth. They didn't attempt the ICW but then they were in a hurry any way. You just do things different. You adapt to what you have because you just don't have the option not to.

If under 5 ft you can get around quite well. I would not give up too much more. Our last boat was 5 ft. 3 in. and the current boat is 4 ft 9 in. With 6 inches less draft there is only a few places I still can't get to but a few places I can feel better about at low tide. There will always be some place too shallow. I don't really operate much different now.

If someone wants to sell you an 8 ft draft boat you best walk away even if it is a really nice boat. At 8 ft there really are a lot of places you can't get into.
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Old 16-07-2008, 15:41   #52
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Mermaid,
Although wing keels are a way of getting shallower draft I have concerns about the way their draft increases as you heel the boat (limiting your options for getting off) and also about the mass of the keel that gets buried when you ground (making it more difficult to get unstuck).
If you can live with the mechanical complexity I think lifting or swing keel designs are worth considering if you cruise in skinny water.
I've dragged 6'2" around Florida and the Bahamas but was much happier when I was doing it with 5'.
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Old 24-08-2008, 02:22   #53
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Wing Keel

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Mermaid,
I have concerns about the way their [wing keel] draft increases as you heel the boat (limiting your options for getting off) and also about the mass of the keel that gets buried when you ground (making it more difficult to get unstuck).
.
Very good point.
Though my neighbor's boat draws the same as I, his wing keel often grinds to a stop while my fin keel can plow on through to deeper water. The wing keel acts like a danforth anchor, digging deeper into the silty bottom; and, due to the silt piled on the wings, it takes longer to float free then the fin keel.
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Old 24-08-2008, 02:35   #54
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we ran aground in our home channel. it was low tide and we had a catamaran. no damage at all -> it was mud; we made pasta with tomatoes sauce and enjoyed the evening
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Old 24-08-2008, 04:14   #55
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Hello Pelagic

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There is something remarkably deficient in seamanship to make a habit out of running aground.

Either you are incapable or keeping a running fix and reading a chart…….or …you enjoy the Russian roulette of blindly sailing in uncharted waters.

Professional mariners are taught to prepare their charts and index themselves within a safe zone. When they screw up, as in the case of an Exxon Valdez, it is not a laughing matter as the consequences can be dire.

Why do some cruisers consider running aground almost like some “right of passage”?
I certainly agree with the nuance of your post. Many on the water lack discipline and knowledge. It often frustrates.

A good seaman can logically assess risk and its inherent consequences, and should exercise prudence as warranted. In my opinion the consequence of sticking a 6 ton sail boat in the mud bears little similarity to the consequences of ramming a 200,000 ton fully ladened oil tanker into the rocks.

Recreational sailing in a small boat is a passionate pursuit of adventure. Part of the allure is exploring and testing unknown boundaries.

I don’t know any who like running aground, but here on Galveston Bay many view it as nothing more than a minor inconvenience that can skillfully be address with a little patience and effort. (yeah right)

Often, during the winter months running aground is a rite of passage. The prevailing wind pushes the water out of our marina and channel. As the bottom is silt, the consequence of running aground is negligible and worth the effort in trying to get some sailing in. Its a simple matter; If you don’t want to run aground, don’t try sailing in the winter months.
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Old 24-08-2008, 05:24   #56
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I don’t know any who like running aground, but here on Galveston Bay many view it as nothing more than a minor inconvenience that can skillfully be address with a little patience and effort. (yeah right).
I take it that Galveston is a sand or mud bottom? I wonder if those whose cruising grounds are rock or coral have as cavalier an attitude? Whilst we disagree in other areas, I have to side with Pelagic on this issue.
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Old 24-08-2008, 05:52   #57
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When the chart says 15ft. and you gently come to a stop. I am wonder what kind of blame can be placed on my poor soul????????
Not picking on you or suggesting this is the case in your situation, but your comment reminded me of a peculiarity with American charts: Admiralty and most Commonwealth charts have their Chart Datums based on the lowest astronomical tide, but American charts base the CD on Mean Lower Low Water. Meaning it's not uncommon in the US to have a negative tide so the number on the chart cannot be assumed to be the minimum depth.
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Old 24-08-2008, 07:35   #58
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If you can get it away from the kids for awhile, the "Fish Sweeper" ( http://jongllc.com/ ) makes a great "Forward Looking Sonar". Just post your wife/partner on the bow and zig-zag this ahead of the yacht when you're feeling your way into an anchorage.

You can also make one of these with an inexpensive RC Boat and a Hummingbird Wireless Fishfinder.

FWIW..

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Old 24-08-2008, 10:56   #59
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I must say that what you thought I said is not what I said

Quote:
I take it that Galveston is a sand or mud bottom?
Quote:
As the bottom is silt, the consequence of running aground is negligible
Quote:
I wonder if those whose cruising grounds are rock or coral have as cavalier an attitude?
Quote:
A good seaman can logically assess risk and its inherent consequences, and should exercise prudence as warranted.
"Indubitably, magic is one of the subtlest and most difficult of the sciences and arts. There is more opportunity for errors of comprehension, judgment and practice than in any other branch of physics."

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Old 24-08-2008, 13:53   #60
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Not picking on you or suggesting this is the case in your situation, but your comment reminded me of a peculiarity with American charts: Admiralty and most Commonwealth charts have their Chart Datums based on the lowest astronomical tide, but American charts base the CD on Mean Lower Low Water. Meaning it's not uncommon in the US to have a negative tide so the number on the chart cannot be assumed to be the minimum depth.
Highest astronomical tide (HAT) is the highest level, and Lowest astronomical tide (LAT) the lowest level that can be expected to occur under average meteorological conditions and under any combination of astronomical conditions.

HAT and LAT are not extreme levels, as certain meteorological conditions can cause a higher or lower level, respectively. The level under these circumstances is known as a 'storm surge' ('negative surge' in the case of level lower than LAT). HAT and LAT are determined by inspecting predicted sea levels over a number of years.

The value of HAT and LAT may not have the same value as other reference sources. The value given in any source is dependent on the years of inspection, the period which the inspection covered and the exact location and calibration of the tide gauge used.
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