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Old 23-09-2013, 10:24   #16
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Re: Grounding, how bad is bad ?

You are very lucky. Groundings in the surf rarely end up with such an easy outcome. A great lesson.

I have been aground many times in Florida, where you can't sail without taking the risk of grounding, since it is so shallow. These groundings always ended with being towed off by Towboat U.S.

Where I now sail, with tides up to 50 feet, the risks are completely different, and there is more deep water, so I don't take any risks. The only time I've touched bottom is on an uncharted bar in Dartmouth harbor at dead low tide, which I floated off of within minutes.

You don't need a chart plotter to avoid grounding. You need to carefully plot waypoints and clearing bearings and navigate attentively enough that you don't stray off safe bearings. You need to memorize the chart along your passage to a certain extent so that you can orient yourself well as to where the hazards are, without holding the chart in front of your face the whole time, which is obviously impractical.

A chart plotter (preferably a real marine one fixed at the helm, not a phone ) is very valuable, but also requires attentive use. You should not just "drive the dot" on the plotter -- you should plan your passage and figure out where the hazards are ahead of time. When you are near a hazard, you need to check the plotter much more frequently to be sure you are staying in safe waters. This is the very essence of pilotage -- don't run into anything, don't hit rocks, and don't run aground. which means getting yourself well oriented, with whatever tools are available, and being sure you stay in safe water.
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Old 23-09-2013, 10:26   #17
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Re: Grounding, how bad is bad ?

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Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
Navigating with a chart plotter, a phone model none the less. I think the "accuracy" of those gives people a false sense of security and allows you to operate with less of a safety margin than you would otherwise.
True, I am still new to sailing and use the chart plotter a lot, but I always line up with markers and such that I can get a visual on. My mistake here was I rounded the marker too close, and then the weather blew us onto the shoal about 30 min later. My course that was parallel to the shoals should have be a good 15 degrees away and been watched more closely.
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Old 23-09-2013, 10:28   #18
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Re: Grounding, how bad is bad ?

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We use the big tides here to deliberately ground a vessel on the side of a slope, in order to perform maintenance without the charge for the grid. It is a planned thing though and we are not underway at the time.
Nice, not quite what we experienced but still good to see its not as uncommon as I feared.
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Old 23-09-2013, 10:31   #19
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Re: Grounding, how bad is bad ?

How bad is bad? Try this local event: http://www.latitude38.com/lectronic/...2#.UkBtVtKTiSo
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Old 23-09-2013, 10:46   #20
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Re: Grounding, how bad is bad ?

I have had plenty of experience in unplanned groundings. They are a fact of life. I hope everything is okay below the water line.
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Old 23-09-2013, 10:48   #21
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Re: Grounding, how bad is bad ?

You should have the boat short hauled and inspected. That boat is built like a tank, but is extremely heavy. You definitely want to have her checked out of the water.

Keep in mind that most shoal areas that are outside of channels have not been surveyed in decades. Most of the Chesapeake, for example, has not been surveyed since before WWII. Map updates are great for changes to navigational aids but don't expect to get improved data on depths until you have confirmation that NOAA has resurveyed an area in question.

As a result, in a big heavy boat like that it is wise to give shoals a wide berth, particularly in any kind of weather, and especially LEEWARD or down current shoals, as you have learned. You're incredibly lucky there was deep water for you to get washed to.
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Old 23-09-2013, 10:55   #22
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Re: Grounding, how bad is bad ?

As you have learned, you have to keep a weather eye on your set and drift. One channel I transit frequently has such a bad cross current that if you don't keep right on top of the buoys on your side of the channel, you will end up outside the channel on the far side.
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Old 23-09-2013, 12:08   #23
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Re: Grounding, how bad is bad ?

If your hull is cored and if you have a fin type keel or fin rudder I would suggest a haul out and inspection by a good marine surveyor. You could have damage where a stitch in time may save nine.
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Old 23-09-2013, 12:18   #24
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Re: Grounding, how bad is bad ?

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Originally Posted by sunblock View Post
True, I am still new to sailing and use the chart plotter a lot, but I always line up with markers and such that I can get a visual on. My mistake here was I rounded the marker too close, and then the weather blew us onto the shoal about 30 min later. My course that was parallel to the shoals should have be a good 15 degrees away and been watched more closely
Beware that even driving the in the middle of the markers can put you a ground in Florida. I went aground twice in the middle of the channel, with a six foot draft, once near Fort Lauderdale and again in Clear water. So watch the depth sounder, and tide charts as well.
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Old 23-09-2013, 12:22   #25
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Re: Grounding, how bad is bad ?

I have always considered anything less than 24 hours just a bump, that said being in breaking seas is a totally different problem.
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Old 23-09-2013, 12:51   #26
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They say you make your most mistakes the first year which was very true for us. Even though we had heaps of prior experience we still had a learning curve. I use paper charts, navionics, and have a plotter on. Even though we're shallow draft I love deep water. Sounds like a traumatic experience that you had. What an invaluable lesson!
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Old 23-09-2013, 13:02   #27
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Re: Grounding, how bad is bad ?

Also go around and check all of your drawers and cabinets. Any not working like before the incident? Also check all of the tabbing on the bulkheads. All indications the hull flexed too much. All fixable, but thing to look for.
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Old 23-09-2013, 13:19   #28
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Re: Grounding, how bad is bad ?

Thanks for all the great help. The drawer/tabbing/wood work clearance check is a great Idea. The gulfstar 50 does have a tank like reputation, solid but this is all new to me, . All the clearances on the woodwork was spot on before, with 2 mm clearances on the cabin and head doors.

I had no idea the charted depth data was that oldon these charts. A good thing to know.

No question I certainly need to plan better. I haven't really been studying these new sailing areas, just looking at the charts on my phone as I go to get me through whatever area I am in, normally I avoid shoals like the plague but pressed my luck on this trip. The leeward force on the vessel really got me into trouble. I will have a good charting unit on this boat before I take it out again and some good depth alarms. A plotter than can update weather forecasts automatically or even give me a radar overlay would be a great help.
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Old 23-09-2013, 13:28   #29
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Re: Grounding, how bad is bad ?

I'm curious about heading for shallow water with seasick people. Most places where the water gets shallow the waves become shorter and steeper, normally a worse situation for seasick people.
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Old 23-09-2013, 13:45   #30
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Re: Grounding, how bad is bad ?

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I'm curious about heading for shallow water with seasick people. Most places where the water gets shallow the waves become shorter and steeper, normally a worse situation for seasick people.
The weather at the time was directly to our starboard side. I needed to turn to port 90 degrees to make our heading back home, after that the weather was mostly aft and we were surfing the waves instead of rocking back and forth constantly, making for a smoother ride so I turned sooner than I would have normally. The weather was not a perfect 180 degrees behind us, but just enough to move us back across the danger line even though I was maintaining my parallel heading to the shoals.
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