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Old 10-12-2010, 14:46   #1
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Tidal Creek and Muck

Hello all.
I am new and looking for a sailboat that I plan to put at the end of my dock which, by the tiltle of the subject is on a tidal creek and during very low tide it is muck. If the boat settles down into the muck what harm could come from this? I presume it would refloat when the tide comes in but I would hate to find my presumption to be in error..
Any expertise in this area would be greatly.
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Old 10-12-2010, 15:43   #2
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Assuming the mud is nice and soft your keel will sink in and the hull settle down on the mud as the tide goes out. When the water comes back in she will lift out. Over a period of time she will create a large hole for the keel and rudder without too much of a problem. We have a hole about the size of a double bed under ours from the twin keels and the movement of the yacht in the wind.

There is a risk that mud could block the water intake, so you should check the supply each time the engine is started.

Antifouling the yacht will be tricky. We continue to use a soft antifoul paint and accept that it will wear off during the year, but you could use a hard scrubable paint for the keel and rudder.

Two other thoughts, you can't use the loo and the sink may not drain either with the tide out. Do check the area at low tide before you arrive. You don't want to park on top of a piece of old scrap iron or shopping trolley.

So in conclusion, mud is nothing to worry about. Indeed a wooden hull snugged up a creek for the winter would survive better than being brought ashore.

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Old 10-12-2010, 16:03   #3
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Caution is in order. Twin keel boats and cats can take the mud that way just fine, but some monohulls will take water in the cabin before they float, because they are leaning so far. There can also be some serious hull staining.


I would ask someone experienced with the specific boat you are considering. My boat does get stuck occational on very low tides and so do all of the monohulls in my marina on most low tides, but it is a mater of degree.
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Old 10-12-2010, 16:17   #4
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I have assumed feet of thick oozie mud which the keel is going straight down into. The only way the boat will lean over is if the keel doesn't sink because the mud isn't thick enough or you are on hard sand.

What happens when you boat doesn't come back up again? do you have to bail her out. The lift available on a 30 foot hull as the tide comes back in is huge, she will come up.

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Old 10-12-2010, 16:37   #5
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What happens when you boat doesn't come back up again? do you have to bail her out. The lift available on a 30 foot hull as the tide comes back in is huge, she will come up.
If the hull heels over too far it won't come back up. Once water starts to enter it is all over.

For the most part it should come up but not all hull designs are the same. My back yard is like that. The mud is very soft at low tide and a few feet thick such that high top boots don't work well enough. I keep my boat at the end of the street where the water is 6 feet at low tide.

A slip in the muck at low tide dictats when you can leave, but worse is it dictates when you can come back. On a 6 hour and 15 minute cycle you really can't do a short sail and the long sail becomes a really long sail if you miss the tide. Your window of coming and going becomes far more limiting then you think. With the daily progression of 45 minutes a day the time window is constanatly shifting to the point you can neither come or go in reasonable daylight.
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Old 10-12-2010, 17:13   #6
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3DPhoto -- what's the intended use for your sailboat? If it's mostly bay sailing and coastal cruising, there are plenty of shallow-draft designs that will float on a heavy dew, and can easily take the ground at extreme low tides. Also, as Paul notes -- your sailing time window will be dictated by the clearance of your boat versus the mud -- so a shallow draft boat would allow you more flexibility.

Just something to think about. Mud Hens, Bay Hens, Dovekies, Shearwaters, etc. are made for such situations -- but if you want to go trans-Atlantic, not an option. . . .
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Old 10-12-2010, 18:15   #7
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3DPhoto -- what's the intended use for your sailboat? If it's mostly bay sailing and coastal cruising, there are plenty of shallow-draft designs that will float on a heavy dew, and can easily take the ground at extreme low tides. Also, as Paul notes -- your sailing time window will be dictated by the clearance of your boat versus the mud -- so a shallow draft boat would allow you more flexibility.

Just something to think about. Mud Hens, Bay Hens, Dovekies, Shearwaters, etc. are made for such situations -- but if you want to go trans-Atlantic, not an option. . . .
Right on target, I think. If I had a dock, I would fit the boat to the dock. If I wanted a bigger boat at some later date, I would consider that a separate question. Much better than unending trouble.
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Old 10-12-2010, 18:59   #8
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Old 11-12-2010, 06:04   #9
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Entended use

For now I am looking for a shoal draft as I will be learning and sail the Chesapeake.

The city has been promising for the last two years that they are going to dredge so eventually the tide will not be an issue for coming and going.
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Old 11-12-2010, 06:15   #10
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No, no trans Atlantic. My entent right now is bound by my cituation/location. I not only have to deal with the muck but aldo two low bridges. Currently looking for mid 20' range that has a mast easily steppped. Future plans when we retire and move to our house in Corpus Christi I will have neither of those challenges and will get something bigger then for cruising the gulf and caribbean.
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Old 11-12-2010, 07:52   #11
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No, no trans Atlantic. My intent right now is bound by my situation/location. I not only have to deal with the muck but also two low bridges. Currently looking for mid 20' range that has a mast easily stepped. Future plans when we retire and move to our house in Corpus Christi I will have neither of those challenges and will get something bigger then for cruising the gulf and Caribbean.
Welcome to the Chesapeake!

You might enjoy reading some of my blog (below). Much of it is about shallow-draft explorations.
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Old 11-12-2010, 08:03   #12
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Regarding the Bridge problem... look for something with a Spritsail... the masts are much lower... or maybe a small Gaffer...
If thats still to tall.. they're a lot easier to raise and lower on a Tabernacle by just 1 or 2 people...
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Old 11-12-2010, 13:31   #13
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I'd be worried about the rudder in the grounding. Might get forces against it that wouldn't hurt a keel but might stress a rudder post, especially over a long period of time
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Old 13-12-2010, 08:23   #14
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Thanks for all the advice. This past weekend a boat popped up on Craig's list that seams to fit all my requirements with one small possible problem. It is a 1987 Hunter 26.5 the mast should be easy enough to put it on a swivel the problem is the keel design which has a wing on the bottom. I don't think this will be a problem as tide goes out but wonder if it will hold too much mud to allow the re-floating
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Old 13-12-2010, 08:31   #15
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Thanks for all the advice. This past weekend a boat popped up on Craig's list that seams to fit all my requirements with one small possible problem. It is a 1987 Hunter 26.5 the mast should be easy enough to put it on a swivel the problem is the keel design which has a wing on the bottom. I don't think this will be a problem as tide goes out but wonder if it will hold too much mud to allow the re-floating
Wing keels have a reputation for acting like a mushroom anchor if left on the mud for long. The wing can generate a LOT of suction.

If it really dries out there, I would get something really little and enjoy it, rather than fight with too-big all the time. Your going to get sick of getting stuck and get sick of the bridge game.
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