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Old 24-09-2013, 04:39   #31
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Re: Grounding, how bad is bad ?

When I saw you had a Gulfstar 50 I thought grounding wouldn't be as bad in that boat as many others. Dick Lazzara designed some very solid boats and in the 70's many of them were built like tanks. My dad had a '73 Columbia 45, another Lazzara design, and collectively we hit bottom several times.

The worst was when my dad was in the Bahamas. A storm blew in overnight and he woke up to the sound of the keel bouncing off the bottom. By the time the storm had passed this was his situation:

He had the boat towed to Ft. Lauderdale. Only the rudder needed repair, and the wind vane needed replacing too. But other than that, the boat sustained no major damage.

We've hit rocks in the Great Lakes and went from 6 knots to 0 in a few seconds in the ICW. We never found any signs of major damage. But the solid lead keel was not encapsulated either, as it may be on your boat.

All this is not to suggest your boat didn't sustain any damage. I was just pointing out how certain older boats could take a beating without major damage. I think yours is one of those.

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Old 24-09-2013, 07:29   #32
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Location: Hudson Valley N.Y.
Boat: contessa 32
Posts: 816
Re: Grounding, how bad is bad ?

Going aground is not necessarily any biggie. Calm conditions ,sheltered waters, a tide on the flood and of course a big 3 blade below all favor an early exit from your snafu.
The situation described by the OP calls for alarm bells and possibly quick deployment of an anchor to windward to prevent craft from being driven further aground with attendant expense.
Once aground and with wind pushing the craft into increasingly shallow water with each passing wave it is going to be more difficult to refloat as time goes by. Even with a rising tide and flat seas there is need for concern because as the rising waters lift your boat even a light breeze will push your hapless craft further aground. Once aground your boat will probably end up somewhat beam-on to this breeze where the wind has maximum deleterious effect.
What to do?
Get an anchor to windward ASAP from the bow and heave the rode bar taut; this will prevent boat from getting into shallower water and get the bow pointed in the direction of deeper as the tide rises and the stern swings downwind. Now,at least your motor will be pushing you in the right direction. Getting the bow to pivot towards deeper water is critical for any boat that I can think of , to be towed off stern first is a recipe for major rudder damage and any properly designed and loaded craft will not come off readily by this approach.
What if no dingy to get your lightweight anchor to windward? Use a fender to float and swim it out. I was once on a delivery where the owner wanted to throw his danforth off the bow to kedge off.I scoffed at the idea but to my surprise it worked! Quick action without panic saved the day.
With the exception of Maine most of the coastal US waters on the East coast are quite thin and having made 3 cruises to the very shallow Bahamas I have had so many unintentional groundings that I even put my 35' steel sloop on deserted beach to paint the bottom with full assurance that i could get her off with my own devices after a day or so.
Pretty proud of that act of seamanship but would not try that again. There are still so many other stupid acts of bravado that I need to cross off my list.

....................................Love you all..........mike................................. .....

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Old 24-09-2013, 14:17   #33
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Location: NC
Boat: 1979 Gulfstar 50 Ketch
Posts: 90
Re: Grounding, how bad is bad ?

Great comments guys, thanks. The anchor is an idea that had not crossed my mind yet.

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