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Old 23-09-2013, 08:37   #1
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Grounding, how bad is bad ?

Well, Had our first mishap on our new boat, a 79 Gulfstar 50. surprise weather cause what is normally calm waters to have 3-4 foot seas and made our guests seasick. I tried to change course as quickly as possible and was hugging the shoal line. Set my heading, but the weather blew us into the shoals. (time upgrade from my phone's chart plotter app. ) we were instantly stuck in about 4 feet of water. The boat draws six. The wind and waves keep pushing us in until we were in 2-3 feet of water with the boat listing and laying on its side. waves would come, lift us up and move us a few feet and set it back down. This went on for 30-45 minutes until we were pushed into deeper water and I was able to motor out. Very scary at the time, I wouldn't say the boat was being pounded into the sand. but each drop back down ended with a thud.

Upon arriving back in our marina everything seemed fine, we never took on any water or sailed a good 5 hours after this event to get back home.

Has anyone experienced anything like this before, or am I the dumbest person on the planet ?
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Old 23-09-2013, 08:46   #2
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Re: Grounding, how bad is bad ?

Both are bad but at least one should have known better!
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Old 23-09-2013, 08:51   #3
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Re: Grounding, how bad is bad ?

Would be a good idea to have a diver look it over, or dive on it yourself. It really depends on hard you came down on your bottom.
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Old 23-09-2013, 09:00   #4
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Re: Grounding, how bad is bad ?

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Would be a good idea to have a diver look it over, or dive on it yourself. It really depends on hard you came down on your bottom.
What would one look for, stress cracks and such I guess ? I could probably get my snorkel gear and get down there. need to invest in a oxygen tank at some point I'm sure.
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Old 23-09-2013, 09:14   #5
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Re: Grounding, how bad is bad ?

With respect I suggest if you don't know what to look for you leave this to an experienced person to inspect. At the least you can inspect the bilge for bulging or swelling...which presumes a familiarity with the bilge of your boat.
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Old 23-09-2013, 09:18   #6
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Re: Grounding, how bad is bad ?

Make that a compressed air tank instead.....
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Old 23-09-2013, 09:20   #7
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Re: Grounding, how bad is bad ?

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With respect I suggest if you don't know what to look for you leave this to an experienced person to inspect. At the least you can inspect the bilge for bulging or swelling...which presumes a familiarity with the bilge of your boat.
Very true. Everything I can see from the inside, bilge etc looks fine. When we settled down each time there was no creaking or moaning or anything like that, just the thud from impact which the side of the hull laying back down on its side in the sand.
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Old 23-09-2013, 09:20   #8
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Re: Grounding, how bad is bad ?

Sunblock:

You have just been exposed to a valuable experience, and here are a few things you may extract from it:

1) Carefully check charts prior to leaving dock, and do your best to commit to memory the areas with shallow depths. These areas, like places with rocks and other hazards are places to avoid. (Some areas have predominantly shallow areas, and you need to be able to tell when you're getting there.) Throughout the sail, continue to refer to the chart to verify you will stay clear of hazards, including shoal water. We like to have paper charts, in the cockpit, and in a "raincoat", if need be. Chartplotters, and this is a personal preference only, do (for me) not show enough of the whole picture, while still being quite useful.

2) Shallow waters get stirred up quickly, and if the wind is ahead of the beam, the motion becomes jerky, and people unaccustomed to that motion often become seasick. It is important to let them know that the feeling will go away, usually before the end of the day, and throwing up will help some, in most cases. This subject is covered in the many threads on seasickness.

3) Sailboats make leeway, and if the breeze is onshore, the vessel will be set down onto the shallows. Tack offshore to get a little sea room.

If you become familiar with weather patterns in your area, you can use them to plan your sail so that it is comfortable for your guests. For instance, wind strength where i learned to sail generally builds during the day. So most non-racing sails started out with the upwind leg, then had a lunch break, and the downwind leg in the afternoon.

I'm sure others will have more to add here, but this, I hope, will get you started. And remember, experience is something you get just after you needed it! And other thing: although I hate it, I have allowed our boat to touch bottom, once by failure to see the next mark in a curved channel and adjust course appropriately and once by failure to realize when the buoyage changed, actually itself due to not paying adequate attention to the chart. Most people with lots of experience will tell you something like, "if you've never been aground, you've never been anywhere." You're doing the right thing, trying to learn from the experience.

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Old 23-09-2013, 09:42   #9
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Re: Grounding, how bad is bad ?

Hiring an experienced diver, that works in the industry would be a plus, it wouldn't hurt for you to take a look yourself, there may be something that requires a haul out that would be readily visible to you.
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Old 23-09-2013, 09:42   #10
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Re: Grounding, how bad is bad ?

My yachtmaster teacher told us "if a skipper says he has never ran aground he is either lying or not a skipper" personally I run aground all the time going back into my marina! so you could imagine the pissed off skippers and gestures I receive when they see a fat sailboat stuck in the middle of the main marina channel =)
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Old 23-09-2013, 09:46   #11
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Re: Grounding, how bad is bad ?

Thanks everyone for your comments. I have been aground in my cal before too, but that was just not bad like this, the boat stays upright until I can get it out. I am curious though, have any of you been on your side like this as the result of a grounding ?
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Old 23-09-2013, 10:02   #12
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Re: Grounding, how bad is bad ?

I have had a few close calls, I have a full length keel so the easiest way to get me off is go sideways with one of my halyards connected to another boat that's a fun task.
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Old 23-09-2013, 10:08   #13
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Re: Grounding, how bad is bad ?

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.
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Old 23-09-2013, 10:22   #14
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Re: Grounding, how bad is bad ?

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.
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Old 23-09-2013, 10:22   #15
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Re: Grounding, how bad is bad ?

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I have had a few close calls, I have a full length keel so the easiest way to get me off is go sideways with one of my halyards connected to another boat that's a fun task.
Wow, yeah, glad it didn't come to that for us.
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