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Old 12-10-2014, 11:15   #1
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Self-Rescue Strategies for Running Aground?

We ran aground in the middle of San Diego Bay today for the first time in 20 years and had to be towed off. It was a little embarrassing, but mostly I don't like paying $350 unexpectedly.

We were only 20 feet from the deepwater channel north of Coronado Bay Bridge in an area we've tacked through hundreds of times when the depth alarm came on and we simultaneously struck ground. It was low-tide which obviously contributed, and we could have waited six hours for high tide to float off, but we have friends with us and didn't want to inconvenience them.

We were stuck pretty hard--reversing did nothing, push-poling with a boat-hook did nothing. The tow-boat rotated us but also couldn't pull us out until I hoisted both sails to heel the boat after rotating out of irons (we ran aground mid-tack).

What self-rescue strategies (besides waiting for high-tide) are there that I may not know about? I considered rigging the bosuns chair to the jib halyard and swinging my bodyweight (270 lbs.) off-board to try to pull the boat over as we reversed to lift the keel, but paying $350 bucks to avoid injury seemed more prudent.

What tactics have you used that worked?
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Old 12-10-2014, 11:35   #2
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Re: Self-rescue strategies for running aground?

Here's the halyard trick. But I would not try it if hard aground. I usually try to get weight forward and then back up. This was a charter boat that went aground in Normans Cay. A local helped him off.

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Old 12-10-2014, 13:01   #3
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Re: Self-rescue strategies for running aground?

Yup, we ran aground in San Diego bay, probably pretty close to where you were, and we used the halyard trick. The hardest part was convincing a power boat to pull us out that way. :-)


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Old 12-10-2014, 13:24   #4
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Re: Self-rescue strategies for running aground?

Kedge anchor off stern.
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Old 12-10-2014, 13:44   #5
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pirate Re: Self-rescue strategies for running aground?

Lay out the kedge with the dinghy.. take it to a genoa winch.
I usually carry extra fuel and water in 25L jugs so hang the full ones on the boom and fill any empty water jugs with sea water and add them.. swing out the boom and lash to the stays.. this should give her a list sufficient to haul off unless your on a fast tide and its Springs.. in which case take the kedge rode and tie it to the main uphaul then crank like crazy..
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Old 12-10-2014, 13:49   #6
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Re: Self-rescue strategies for running aground?

One of the things we've used our dinghy for was to push Wild Oats X's bow over so they could motor off a shoal in Pittwater. Said dinghy has a 15 hp Yamaha 2 stroke, and WOX had carried a huge plastic bucket holding more than a cubic meter they had filled with sea water and hoisted about 5 ft off the water and they canted the keel, too, with all things in use, they motored off.

Have heard of but not tried getting up on the boom and winging it out to heel the boat.

And have used the halyard trick plus powerboat. If the pb doesn't know what to do, it can go very wrong. He needs to stay more or less abeam or a little fwd of that, and not drop aft, and best if you can cut the halyard if he does. All doable if you're prepared.

If you struck hard, better have a look for leaks and loosening of keel bolts, possibly have a look at the keel to hull joint..

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Old 12-10-2014, 13:55   #7
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Re: Self-rescue strategies for running aground?

First, I am new to sailing ( except for when I was little but don't remember much) and I was more of a bystander cause I was taking care of the baby. As far as my understanding of the process went, they unhooked the halyard from the main sail, tied it off swam the line to a little power boat that slowly keeled us over, till the keel broke loose and we were floating again. However, I would not try this is the tide is really low, I think you can snap the mast, but I don't actually know.


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Old 12-10-2014, 17:43   #8
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Re: Self-rescue strategies for running aground?

Healing the boat with a pull from a power boat or an anchor set from a spinnaker halyard shouldn't hurt the mast unless your power boat is a commercial tug. We kept our dinghy inflated when sailing in shoal waters so we could put a kedge anchor in it and get it out right quick before a falling tide would make kedging impossible and ran the anchor line cross linked to the primary winches if I had the crew to crank on two winches simultaneously. With my vertical windlass with a rope capstan as well as the chain gypsy, can pull the bow around haul the boat off with a little rise in the tide. Have tried healing the boat tricks but that usually meant I was still aground but no longer on an even keel because of the falling tide.

For most times running aground have had to wait out the next tide as I always seem to do it at or just after high tide. It's an inconvenience but hasn't cost anything but my pride. If you run aground at or near low tide, you'll only have to wait a few hours or even minutes for the tide to lift you off.
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Old 13-10-2014, 09:11   #9
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Re: Self-rescue strategies for running aground?

Best Tactic I know of is paying BoatUS a few bucks each year. I've been sailing in FL where running aground is inevitable.
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Old 13-10-2014, 09:28   #10
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Re: Self-rescue strategies for running aground?

We have soft bottoms here, but if all the crew except the helm runs to the bow and jumps up and down while the helm is in hard reverse it almost always frees you. So far I am 3 for 3 with this technique.
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Old 13-10-2014, 09:44   #11
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Re: Self-rescue strategies for running aground?

I will have to try that one Raindog. I have used the anchor (dinghy) and the boom technique. If you can't wait for the tide you're too rushed.
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Old 13-10-2014, 10:47   #12
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Re: Self-rescue strategies for running aground?

This is an area where monos do have some advantages over cats. There are a lot more options available when you go hard aground on a mono. A lot of the usual techiniques have been mentioned. All, or most, can be used in combinaton too. For example, kedge, shift weight, halyard tow, thrust from engine, heel w sails...all at the same time.

Put a cat hard aground on both hulls and you have a much more difficult problem to solve.
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Old 13-10-2014, 12:03   #13
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Re: Self-rescue strategies for running aground?

Here's another method of heeling your boat I have used successfully: Launch your dinghy and secure it's lifting bridle to the end of your longest boom. Attach your main halyard to the end of the boom. Flood your dinghy and start hauling on the main halyard; it holds a lot of water weight and will heel you over nicely. And don't forget about emptying your water tanks to lessen your draft.
I have also heard of an anchor being run out off the beam and bending your halyard to the anchor rode to heel the boat over, but I have not had the opportunity to try that maneuver.
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Old 13-10-2014, 12:43   #14
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Re: Self-rescue strategies for running aground?

We've always gotten lucky with putting all passengers and crew on the bow (except helmsman of course) and then reversing off. Obviously doesn't work if you only have 2 or 3 people onboard. Works good with large crews though
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Old 13-10-2014, 12:48   #15
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Re: Self-rescue strategies for running aground?




This sounds along the lines of what some people are suggesting
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