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Old 28-07-2019, 17:17   #1
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Newbie looking for recommendations for shallow docking.

Hello everyone!

First post here! So here's the story... I've been dating this girl for a while now and it's getting pretty serious and we will likely be getting married in the not so distant future. Said GF has a lake house on Lake George. Now I've never been a boat guy before but we were out on her powerboat cruising the lake when it happened....I saw a sailboat out on the lake and I was instantly in love with the idea of owning and sailing a boat on the lake. Since then I've been casually learning and researching in my spare time and took the boaters safety course and all the jazz. I'm looking into taking some sailing lessons soon to get my feet wet.

But here's the catch. The docking situation there is a little scetchy. It's pretty darn shallow which is going to really restrict what I'll be able to dock there. I'm going to say it gets as shallow as about 2.5 feet by the middle of the dock. And the bay there has a lock of restrictions so putting a mooring in off shore is probably out of the question.

So I suppose what I'm looking for is some recommendations of sailboat with a shallow draft that can dock in this location. I'd love to be in the 22'-25' range, but I'm not sure if this is possible with the shallow docking situation. I know there are boats out there with a swing keel like the Catalina 22, but how difficult is it to retract and deploy that each time you head out, and is the mechanism reliable enough to do that over and over again every time you go out? The water depth in the rest of the area is no issue. Even by the end of the dock it's almost 4 feet already and just increases further into the bay.

So that's the situation. I'm just hoping some if you can give me some recommendations about what I should be looking into. I likely won't be purchasing anything until next season, but I want to get an early start with learning and all that stuff so I know what to keep my eye out for.

So, can you all point me in the right direction?

Thank you!

---Joe
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Old 28-07-2019, 18:50   #2
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Re: Newbie looking for recommendations for shallow docking.

Buy, beg or steal some crewing positions for a few months before you even consider buying a boat.
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Old 28-07-2019, 20:02   #3
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Re: Newbie looking for recommendations for shallow docking.

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Buy, beg or steal some crewing positions for a few months before you even consider buying a boat.
Sounds like very wise advice. Like I said, I'm not in a huge rush and am not considering buying anything for at least a year. I'm just trying to figure our what my eventualy options would be.
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Old 28-07-2019, 20:15   #4
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Re: Newbie looking for recommendations for shallow docking.

You are on the right track with a swing keel. My first sailboat was a Catalina 22 and it lifted with a hand winch and cable. I wouldn't want to keep it lifted at dock for long amounts of time. Maybe a lifting keel? If you are at four feet at the end of the dock, maybe a little dredging could be done. Keep looking and learning and you will get a boat that will work for you. Sailing is a great experience, DO IT!
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Old 29-07-2019, 04:28   #5
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Re: Newbie looking for recommendations for shallow docking.

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Joe.
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Old 29-07-2019, 04:34   #6
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Re: Newbie looking for recommendations for shallow docking.

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Maybe a lifting keel? If you are at four feet at the end of the dock, maybe a little dredging could be done. Keep looking and learning and you will get a boat that will work for you. Sailing is a great experience, DO IT!

Yep, maybe something with a center board or dagger board might work...

And dredging a bit might help. GF's powerboat might even be able to do a bit of that, sorta kinda, if it's soft mud...

-Chris
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Old 29-07-2019, 05:12   #7
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Re: Newbie looking for recommendations for shallow docking.

Well you could build one of these for a bit of fun:

https://smallboatsmonthly.com/article/tiki-21/
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Old 29-07-2019, 05:54   #8
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Re: Newbie looking for recommendations for shallow docking.

Boats with swings keels like a Catalina 22 can actuate their keels several time a day. No problems there. A previous poster pointed out that the keel may become stuck from being left up all the time. This is normally not a problem in a lake, its typically hard growth like seen in seawater the sticks the keel.
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Old 29-07-2019, 06:00   #9
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Re: Newbie looking for recommendations for shallow docking.

If it's your GFs private dock, could you extend it to deeper water?
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Old 29-07-2019, 06:36   #10
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Re: Newbie looking for recommendations for shallow docking.

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Originally Posted by 92hatchattack View Post
So, can you all point me in the right direction?

I have an older Morgan 25 which draws 2'10" with the centerboard up. There are many vessels -- both older and newer -- in the ~25'-30' length range with either a centerboard or a swing keel that may be suitable in your situation.


You may also be able to extend the dock out further to reach deeper water. Even in highly regulated waters, it is typically permitted to extend the dock out far enough to provide sufficient depth.


Unless you are in a protected area, you will need something stout to attach your boat to, stronger than the typical pipe supports, since it isn't practical to use a boat lift.
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Old 29-07-2019, 06:46   #11
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Re: Newbie looking for recommendations for shallow docking.

I do a lot of lake sailing which by its very nature is usually
Day Sailing.
I consider the ODay Mariner to be the perfect
boat for it. Been in production by various
manufactures for 50 years.
Lots available used
Not complicated, simple
Go Sailing
Cheers
Neil
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Old 29-07-2019, 07:02   #12
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Re: Newbie looking for recommendations for shallow docking.

Highly advise sailing lessons and crewing on OPB (other peoples boats – the best value out there). Otherwise there are some good books and youtube stuff.
Generally speaking the smaller the boat the faster you will learn. In a small boat any action you take will quickly produce a reaction in the boat – either positive or negative – so you quickly learn what works. In bigger boat you might not even notice the reaction so slower learning process.
In a small boat some of the reactions result in your swimming. Kids seem to react to that better than adult learners, so often adult learn to sail programmes use small keel boats, nothing wrong with that just less feedback to the student. I’d encourage you to start with a cheap smallish dinghy for a season and then consider moving up. One of the best (and readily available) boats for learning is the Laser, but getting under the boom during tacks requires more limberness and effort than many adults enjoy. Generally speaking as your boat gets larger your risk of inadvertent swimming goes down but the effort of self rescue goes up. A Laser (14’ 130lbs) is easy to capsize and easy to right. A lighting (19’ 700lbs) would be at the other end – relatively hard to capsize and relatively hard to right (especially if you turtle - fully invert - and get the mast into some mud). You might also consider beach cats – lots of fun zipping around much faster than monos and lots of area on the tramp.
In any case, get started and have fun.
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Old 29-07-2019, 07:35   #13
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Re: Newbie looking for recommendations for shallow docking.

Or get a beach cat like a Hobie or Nacra...way fast, great fun!
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Old 29-07-2019, 09:40   #14
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Re: Newbie looking for recommendations for shallow docking.

Where on Lake George? We have a place in Gull Bay, north end of the lake. We started out on an O'Day 192, swing keel. Great boat for that lake.
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Old 29-07-2019, 11:59   #15
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Re: Newbie looking for recommendations for shallow docking.

Another vote for@Catalina 22’, great little boat!
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