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Old 01-12-2007, 19:22   #16
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With all due respect, if you haven't grounded on something, you're missing a lot of the fun parts of the ocean. In the pac northwest and high ne, you can have tides of 20 plus feet..., if you do any river work, the sand moves around, a lot, the bottom isn't where it was the last time you were there, that's one of the reasons for pilots. To put it simply, yeah the world is 75 percent water, but its close to the land where the fun is

As one of the above sailors honestly related, if you have a wing keel and get lodged in heavy mud, you're going to have a heck of a time getting out, and if a tide is running you have to be careful to avoid damage. As to deep keels, it is very difficult to generalize here as the nature of the rig and the amount of deadrise will drastically effect the initial stability of the hull, so figuring heel without actually sailing the boat is difficult. Also..*generally* the deep fin keel boats are designed to be a bit tender so they heel over and 'set' their shoulder's so to speak so as to race on the longer waterline that aspect provides..

All in all, its not entirely trivial stuff. Toss in the shoal draft bilge keelers (which are way fun btw, especially in a steel boat where you can use all the available anchoring space no one else can get to and you have a lot of choices. As is almost always is the case, try and get a sail in on a lot of different boats. I know of circumnavigators that have sailed all the keel types successfully...soo.. they'll all get it done...just with different considerations. It's very difficult to get an accurate picture of a boat's performance by concentrating on one single element of its design. It's the *package* that determines how she goes, and why the *great designers* are relatively few...lot of art based on intuition, based on years of subliminal knowledge gained by years of experience all overlaying the pure physics

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Old 01-12-2007, 21:42   #17
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I got to agree with that last post, I didnt buy my boat planning on it setting on a sand bar.. With all the equeptment avalable now days for underwater sonar or a depth finder,its pretty hard NOT to see where you're going, and why would you take a chance on even going where you might run aground.
I draw 8 foot and when I get below 20, I turn the probe on and slow the speed down to a crawl. Never have run aground, and I dont plan to....
The running joke about three kinds of sailors (the ones who've grounded, the ones who haven't yet, and the ones who lie about it) is a running joke for good reason. You can pick which category you'd like to be in, but it's pretty much in your future, especially with a an 8' draft.

I don't really agree that grounding is a product of bad seamanship either. Bad seamanship implies you're putting the safety of the ship in jeapordy through negligence. Hitting sand bars and mud every now and again when poking around is hardly that bad.

Take a deep boat up a river and see if you never hit anything; those damn bottoms change every day.
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Old 02-12-2007, 03:56   #18
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Growth on bottom of keel...

And 'ere was I thinking that 'em that run aground did it 'cause it was the only way to scrape clean the bottom of the keel.
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Old 02-12-2007, 05:18   #19
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I draw 8 foot and when I get below 20, I turn the probe on and slow the speed down to a crawl. Never have run aground, and I dont plan to....
No one plans to run aground. Around here the water does not get above 20 feet that often. Of course you don't plan on coming to the Chesapeake but that is why we don't have many boats that draw 8 ft. Friends with 7 ft have enough problems.

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[FONT='Calibri','sans-serif']With all the equeptment avalable now days for underwater sonar or a depth finder,its pretty hard NOT to see where you're going, and why would you take a chance on even going where you might run aground.[/FONT]
It's where the fun is! I might run aground every time I go out. I've done it 5 times and never planned on it. I didn't need to be pulled off though. Going aground is not best going fast. We don't have rocks here mostly. I do draw the line about going aground when it comes to hard pointy things. I don't get my personal radar going until it gets to be 6 ft. That leaves a good foot for being sloppy.

Sailing in shallow water will teach you a few things. "underwater sonar" really isn't useful in water shallow enough to actually go aground. Your depth meter can fool you when the water gets a little too muddy. Sometimes the bottom isn't actually solid and you can sail just a little slower while being aground. Charts in shallow water were not made by big ships using underwater sonar. NOAA does actually use a towed sonar array with a multihull to rechart depth. You couldn't afford to own one let alone operate with it.
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Old 02-12-2007, 10:57   #20
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And if we're going to get into a discussion about seamanship, I'd be interested for anyone to make an argument that they should rely on their electronics to tell them the depth. Electronics fail, but seamanship doesn't.

And seamanship in my mind is about doing your duties in such a way that you are looking ahead towards problems that might not be present yet, and conducting yourself in a safe and efficient manner.

I would much rather put my confidence in a full keel and the ability to kedge (or more often, engine off, or even tack off) than electronic doo-dads.

In regards to coral and rock; that's a completely different story. And I'll connect that to seamanship again, where a good mariner is going to be a hell of lot more concerned about grounding in coral than in mud.
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Old 04-12-2007, 11:24   #21
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<I'd be interested for anyone to make an argument that they should rely on their electronics to tell them the depth. Electronics fail, but seamanship doesn't…>

Well, in truth my seamanship hasn’t been a whole lot more reliable than my experience with electronics… My last boat I couldn’t keep a reliable depth-gauge for some reason and finally disconnected the mess and used a sounding lead… I still ended up on the sand once or twice (Chesapeake), but not by accident…
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Old 04-12-2007, 11:56   #22
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I have a Catalina 350 with the wing keel and the resulting 4'6" draft, I wish I had the 6'8" draft fin keel even though I'm now cruising the keys (anybody out there wana trade keels?)

Advantages of a wing keel:
  • Shallow draft - it looks great on paper when you compare the specs of your future boat to your imagined cruising grounds.
Disadvantages of a wing keel:
  • Poor pointing ability - when you're level there is only moderate resistance to leeway, when you're well heeled there's almost none.
  • Poor roll dampening - this is very important and often overlooked. This affects ability to sail downwind in light to moderate winds (due to excessive rolling temporarily backwinding your sails and making them slap and flog), not to mention general comfort.
  • Hard to get ungrounded due to the suction and friction caused by large flat bottom and the inability to heel boat to get off.
  • Lack of extra rudder clearance when grounded means that if you ground in any type of sea (or powerboat wakes) your rudder will be pounding on the bottom, that REALLY sucks.
  • Extra weight of a wing keel (necessary due to lack of leverage) means that the boat floats that much lower and is that much slower.
Worst of all the "hard to get ungrounded" and "lack of extra rudder clearance" means that I'm very shy about taking advantage of my shallow draft. While in a fin keel boat you might push an inlet or bay till you rub knowing that you can just spin around and get out, in a wing keel you'll just say forget it and anchor out (which will suck even more because of the keel's low roll dampening ability).

This isn't flame bait, I appreciate that most boats sold today are shallow draft and most of their owners are happy with them. This is just my opinion fresh from cruising from Toronto ON to Marathon FL in my new C350.
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Old 04-12-2007, 18:35   #23
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The old argument about electronics and how they fail is getting old. 15 or 20 years ago, ya maybe, but the world runs on electronics, your doing it right now..And to put a measure of seamanship up against or to do with electronics is stupid.
My remark was that I didnt buy my boat to run aground, and to run aground with the gear avalable on todays market is unacceptable.
True, I dont sail on the east coast, but right now I'm tied to a dock, about 100 miles inland from San Francisco.. and to get here, I didnt go balls out over every sand bar or mudflat. I worked my way up using ALL avalable insturments, INCLUDING,
My seamanship, and I did it without running aground..
I spent my early days in a dinghy and didnt give a darn if I hit bottom or not, but as I get older, I find myself more cautious, and less daring, And IMHO, any sailor not using any every avalable means to keep himself, his crew, and his boat safe from danger, is not playing with a full deck.....................
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Old 04-12-2007, 18:49   #24
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The old argument about electronics and how they fail is getting old. 15 or 20 years ago, ya maybe, but the world runs on electronics, your doing it right now..And to put a measure of seamanship up against or to do with electronics is stupid.
My remark was that I didnt buy my boat to run aground, and to run aground with the gear avalable on todays market is unacceptable.
True, I dont sail on the east coast, but right now I'm tied to a dock, about 100 miles inland from San Francisco.. and to get here, I didnt go balls out over every sand bar or mudflat. I worked my way up using ALL avalable insturments, INCLUDING,
My seamanship, and I did it without running aground..
I spent my early days in a dinghy and didnt give a darn if I hit bottom or not, but as I get older, I find myself more cautious, and less daring, And IMHO, any sailor not using any every avalable means to keep himself, his crew, and his boat safe from danger, is not playing with a full deck.....................
I think that some were merely stating that electronics also have there limits.

At some point, when going up rivers or over bars or reefs, it may be best to get out a pole or lead line.. I had one of each on my boat. I had it marked at the exact depth of my keel and I have used it more than once, I'll asure you, dispite all the electronics that I had onboard.
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Old 05-12-2007, 01:49   #25
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Well, bilge keels draw less water and run nicely downwind, and have an important stabilising effect at anchor. Also one can beach the vessel on firm ground and she will stand on her keels--and they can also be ballasted to make the vessel self-righting.

I prefer long keels. If you go aground the tide will lift you off. Ground a fin keel on something hard and you can damage the hull. The long keel acts like a massive girder where the hull needs it most--and if the mast or compression post is stepped on the keel a long keel distributes the load better.

I sail in coral most of the time and a fin keel and spade rudder would be asking for trouble. If the spade strikes something immovable, in a glass or wooden boat it will rip the rudder tube right out of the hull and the yacht will founder unless you are travelling very slowly. A few tons of ballast makes for a lot of inertia.

Even though I have a multi--it has been fitted with a long keel and I have a skeg rudder. Safety wins over performance for this little black duck--
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Old 05-12-2007, 20:28   #26
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Well, like the man said above...if you're sailing around in 5 to 9 or 10 feet of water with a boat that draws six feet, well ...I sure as hell aren't glued to the depth sounder, either I'm on the bow, or someone with me is...by the time you see it on your electronics, you're going to be on it. Electronics pretty much worthless there. Course there are guys who won't venture in less than 20 feet of water....

As for bilge keel boats, the bilge one's I've seen were steel and they were expressly built to sit on the hard, one of their biggest selling points. Check out origamiboats group on yahoo. lots of pictures, design details etc.
Brent Swain seems to be the "man" up in the pac nw with respect to these kinds of boats. Course when you have 20 plus foot tides, being able to take the hard is a handy skill. Brent has had boats beached in the surf, tossed over a reef, and one run over by a freighter. All survived, the reef and surf with scratches and the one run down, well it looked like a banana but came back up LOL. I can't think of any other boat I can say that about.

the other advantage of bilge keeled boats is that when heeled over sailing, the keel on that side will be near vertical. If you hit something and stall out, as the boat rotates to level, the draft actually DECREASES which gives you a good chance of driving thru and off the grounding.

There's a video on yahoo of one of Brent's 36's sailing in 30 knots. Search Swain 36 I think.


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Old 06-12-2007, 07:49   #27
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<And IMHO, any sailor not using any every avalable means to keep himself, his crew, and his boat safe from danger, is not playing with a full deck.....................>

Or, just maybe, a full bank account...
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