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Old 15-02-2011, 20:28   #1
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How Do You Free a Grounded Sailboat ?

I admit I have not sailed before. I have lots of hours in power boats though. Bumped a rock a couple of times but never hard aground.

I also admit that one of the things holding me back from sailing at this point is finding skinny water and and running hard aground. I picture a multi-ton boat being a real problem to free.

This question applies to both fresh and salt water. Salt seems easier if the tide will lift the boat off the bottom but fresh water grounding scares me. How do you free your boat?

Matthew
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Old 15-02-2011, 20:28   #2
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Me first.

Stay in deeper water. Har har.
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Old 15-02-2011, 20:32   #3
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Fresh water...??
Take a Padi course and buy a shovel..?
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Old 15-02-2011, 20:33   #4
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First try to reverse off. Since the prop (at least in most sailboats with a bit of a keel) is usually off the bottom (make sure you don't have a rock or something sticking up from the bottom to hit the prop) then powering is usually safe.

Put out an anchor and pull yourself off.

Tilt the boat. If you heel over the keel will be raised a little higher so you will draw less water.

Lighten the boat, throw all the beer overboard that warped your perception and caused you to run aground in the first place. Then pump out the water tanks. Throw the crew overboard.
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Old 15-02-2011, 20:36   #5
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Kedge out could work. Get out and push is an option on some boats.
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Old 15-02-2011, 20:37   #6
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So we have the comprehensive list:

Prop
Kedge
Heel
Lose the crew
Lose the beer
Lost the water
Get out and push.
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Old 15-02-2011, 20:38   #7
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I bet if you did all of them you would be off.

You would also be wet, alone, chopped to pieces, and sobering up while pulling on a piece of rode on a sideways boat with the motor running.
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Old 15-02-2011, 20:40   #8
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Two kinds of sailors...those who run aground and those who lie. I don't lie...ran into muck last year at 2am, tied going out. Had to wait about 5 hours to float free. I was asleep and my buddy thought it high tide and went for the shortcut. Another time, I did a shortcut through some channels n rocks in the fog....smart huh?, Well, I ran up onto a rock and did a halyard pull....a smaller motor boat takes a line connected to the top of the mast and pulls off the side. The boat tilts and keel lifts and you motor off. I only draw about 3 1/2 feet and deal w shallow water often, but so far so good. You can also use a dinghy, winches and kedge your way off if you move quickly so the tied doesn't go down more....oh yeah, no damage at all to my boat! But the obvious thing is to watch your charts and better yet, the depth finder.
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Old 15-02-2011, 20:44   #9
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I have never run aground unintentionally, but I did hit a submerged piling once when some wash pushed me out of the channel.
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Old 15-02-2011, 20:57   #10
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Know your engine capabilities and use all of it.

Hope a small fishing boat comes across your stern. When the wake reaches your boat use full power.

Get the weight of the anchor and chain off the bow.

Use a sighting reference that can detect small movements. For me this was the channel marker light (that I went on the wrong side of) and a bright porch light across the bay that lined up as a reference. I could tell if the boat even moved a couple of feet at night.

If it moves at all, you'll probably make if off with persistence.

Don't be afraid to use all the available power. I used full power for five to eight minutes at a time. Throttling back to evaluate for a couple of minutes and repeating. The book says full power for an hour is OK. But since I was churning the bottom I wanted a break to listen for problems. I think I may have washed the sediment from around my keel during this process.

This is what worked for me. But I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. Didn't have to call seatow at least.
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Old 15-02-2011, 21:31   #11
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I asked about fresh water because our “big” water here in ND is Lake Sakakawea. It is man made and feeds a hydroelectric dam. It is charted but the level can lower dramatically in a few hours. Toss in sudden super-cell thunderstorms and grounding is not if but when.

Until tonight I was looking at buying a wing keel sailboat but I think that plan has changed because of the problem of freeing from the bottom.

Great answers so far. I especially like throwing the crew out to push.

So is kedging the real reason to carry more than one anchor?

Matthew
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Old 15-02-2011, 21:52   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KEG View Post
So is kedging the real reason to carry more than one anchor?
It's one of the real reasons. Others include: (1) having a backup anchor should you lose the primary; (2) having a stern anchor should conditions dictate the use of such; (3) having an offset anchor for Bahamian mooring; (4) setting tandem anchors for storms; (5) having an alternative type of anchor for bottom conditions in which your primary anchor does not excel.

I once saw a fellow open a beer bottle with a Fortress anchor. I suppose this could also be a reason.
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Old 15-02-2011, 21:58   #13
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Been there, Hobie 18 Nationals some years ago. Was told the shoreline of the lake was longer than the coast of California. Good regatta, National Guard came out and set up showers in the park, the Stroh's beer truck with the taps in side of the truck came out every afternoon, fun event every evening, oh yeah, the sailing was pretty good too.

John
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Old 16-02-2011, 03:22   #14
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The only time we ever grounded we were pulled off by a truck! lol Of course you cant count on that one.
However, before the truck showed up we ran a 250 foot line ashore and were using the windlass to try and get ourselves unstuck. Glad the truck showed up it was going to be a long slow process.
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Old 16-02-2011, 04:35   #15
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I guess it depends on the bottom but around here I've found the only solution is what I once thought of as the last resort. So I do it first time now.

Just hop in the dinghy with a halyard from the top of the mast and drag it off. At first you're beam on to float it (by tilting) and then dive off to pull it forward. I have a motor on the dinghy and do it solo but it's not difficult provided the conditions are benign and it'd be easier again with crew.
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