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Old 02-05-2022, 08:48   #331
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Re: Boats with Shallow Draft for Florida, Bahamas, Chesapeake

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Sharpies are ballasted and it is located in the shallow keel 4 to 6 inches deep. The Commodore proved the seaworthiness of his Presto sharpies that delivered the mail before roads and train.
Prestos were round bottom ballasted keel boats with shallow draft. Monroe's Egret sharpie was flat bottom and non ballasted. I sailed on one built from original plans and it didn't have ballast. Colvin and Chapelle original sharpies were non ballasted. My Indian River sharpie was designed by Andrew Titcombe under the name "Tradewinds". The original plans I have show zero ballast. Later in history were modified vee and ballast versions. An example is the "Two Lucies" by Beebe. Flat in the bow and graduated to a vee in the stern but no ballast...24" draft unstayed ketch...I also owned the original which was built in 1951 for the movie barefoot mailman. Check the works of Colvin and Chapelle. They had vee bottom designs too. Chapelle's book has an excellent write up on the history of sharpies. Colvin single handed a very small 20'ish size true (engineless, flat bottom, non ballasted) sharpie from Florida down to the virgin islands when he was a very young lad, so yes they can handle offshore with the right captain.
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Old 02-05-2022, 09:03   #332
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Re: Boats with Shallow Draft for Florida, Bahamas, Chesapeake

My Vaitses/Herreshoff Meadowlark ketch has sharp chines, a curved bottom, and a shallow keel.

It only draws 20", but there's 4000 pounds in that keel, so it's anything but unballasted.

It's only 8' beam, so it has a lot in common with the sharpies, but more in common with the Presto.
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Old 02-05-2022, 11:31   #333
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Re: Boats with Shallow Draft for Florida, Bahamas, Chesapeake

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My Vaitses/Herreshoff Meadowlark ketch has sharp chines, a curved bottom, and a shallow keel.

It only draws 20", but there's 4000 pounds in that keel, so it's anything but unballasted.

It's only 8' beam, so it has a lot in common with the sharpies, but more in common with the Presto.
Man I like those 37' Vaitses Meadowlarks. If you are on the east coast and decide to sell give me a shout...when they first came out I couldn't afford $28k for a new one. In his Sensible Cruising Designs book he called the 33'r Meadowlark a "modified sharpie". If memory is right I think Vaitses mentioned something in his book about Herreshoff not approving of the mods.

I sailed on the original home built Bolger Black? Skimmer (shown in Bolger's book) and the owner told me Meadowlarks sailed past him like he was standing still. That skimmer was a slow beast to say it nicely. I think the huge outside chine logs killed speed.
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Old 02-05-2022, 11:43   #334
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Re: Boats with Shallow Draft for Florida, Bahamas, Chesapeake

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If memory is right I think Vaitses mentioned something in his book about Herreshoff not approving of the mods.
From what I've heard, Herreshoff didn't approve of fiberglass.
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Old 02-05-2022, 12:59   #335
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Re: Boats with Shallow Draft for Florida, Bahamas, Chesapeake

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From what I've heard, Herreshoff didn't approve of fiberglass.
I think he probably coined the term "liquid snot" for fiberglass. He didn't like taking mayonaise on a boat either...said you were eating too fast if needing it. The man was a genius in boat design and his stated favorite boat was the ultra shoal Golden Ball. I had an H28 and didn't "get" the design features until cruising a yr in the islands on the hook and doing some large seas offshore. It's all lost in modern condo yacht design...as is the original sharpie.
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Old 05-06-2022, 13:57   #336
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Re: Boats with Shallow Draft for Florida, Bahamas, Chesapeake

Looking at shallow draft sailboats in the 30-34' range (will be first sailboat) and hoping to get feedback from members with sailboat experience regarding my docking arrangement.

Home dock is 2.5' in April at the absolute lowest of low tides with relatively soft muck under that. Will I be able to safely dock say a 32' Pearson, Hunter, Catalina in this space? Or, will it destroy the rudder, running gear, keel? Can sailboats in this range handle such conditions? Would it hold itself upright at the low until the tide came back in without any damage? The dock itself could be an issue but I could use whips or even pvc to create distance from the dock that time of year I suppose.

Except for these Aprilish low tide conditions (we see only around 14-18 low tides that are this low), I'll have around at least 4' of water?

What do you think?
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Old 05-06-2022, 16:40   #337
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Re: Boats with Shallow Draft for Florida, Bahamas, Chesapeake

You might consider a Gemini - they are nominally 34' but the older models were closer to 31'. Prices range from about $30k to the higher $200+ range.

All Gemini sailboats are sloop rigged, have (from the factory) a typical inboard Diesel with a sort of sail drive, but the newer ones have twin inboards.

Any of the sail drive or outboard models will easily draft in 2' or less - although you may have to choose an outboard if you need to partially tilt the engine for final docking. Some owners have refitted with twin outboards - highly suitable for shallow water where a rudder may not have sufficient draft.

Gems are typically configured to sleep two adults in various size beds. typically a queen short. Two additional cabins sleep one adult each although the various manufacturers have claimed two - but only on their first date. Great boat for a family with young kids.

Gems are easy for owner maintenance - typically you can reach everything to repair and a strong user's group exists on facebook.

If you are handy, you can trust an older boat down in the $30 k range, especially if you choose an outboard powered one. I had one for about 5 years - two trips from Key West to the Chesapeake and extended trips to the Bahamas.

As is typically of a boat this size, she typically is configured with about 30 gallons of fuel and 40 gallons of water - limiting your non-stop cruising range under power.

The boat is factory equipped with a 2 or 3 burner stove and oven, good sink and work area and a wet head with a hot water shower. I lived comfortably on mine for several years.

The boat sails nearly flat - so if you are looking for exciting trips with the rail in the water, this isn't for you. But, I carried a small sailing dinghy on davits for trips to shore and exciting sails.

I've owned a Pearson 36 and a Voyage 43 - sailing the Virgin Islands and Bahamas in the Pearson and sailing from South Africa to Trinidad in the Voyage - this boat won't do that kind of trip in comfort - but she was terrific for coastal sailing, I routinely drove up on the beach for a day of land play, something that was impossible on my monohull or larger Cat.

Great first boat, very forgiving, relatively easy to maintain, and extremely comfortable in an anchorage.'
'
Good luck!
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Old 06-06-2022, 05:48   #338
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Re: Boats with Shallow Draft for Florida, Bahamas, Chesapeake

Thanks for that advice captstu.

A neighbor down canal has a Gem that evidently manages quite well. Thiers has a sail drive which I wonder how it would handle over 4' seas if required. Seems like cavitation might take over.

How did yours handle in bahamas crossings?

What year was your Gem and how did you find overall visibility from the helm?

Truth is, cats are some of the coolest boats around. If it weren't for the lack of time I probably
Would have owned one already. LOL
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Old 06-06-2022, 08:25   #339
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Re: Boats with Shallow Draft for Florida, Bahamas, Chesapeake

My Gem was Outboard powered. It would not make headway to windward in 4’ seas. By Pearson monohull would make headway under punishing conditions. My 43 foot voyage would make about 2 kn good into the wind in 4 foot seas.

There is whether to go sailing in, whether Come home in, and whether survive in.

I would not set out to cross to the Bahamas in 4 foot seas with a northerly component and a Gemini. You’ll probably survive but you would hate it.

Once in the Bahamas I would seek shelter when the seas rose about above 3 feet. There’s lots of shelter.

The gemini was never sold as a Bluewater long distance cruising boat. It is a coastal sailor and I consider the Bahamas coastal waters.
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Old 06-06-2022, 17:23   #340
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Re: Boats with Shallow Draft for Florida, Bahamas, Chesapeake

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I would not set out to cross to the Bahamas in 4 foot seas with a northerly component and a Gemini. You’ll probably survive but you would hate it.
I was thinking about getting a Gemini, and did some reading up on them.

I ran across an account by a delivery skipper who took one across the pond.

He made it, but said he was never going to do it again. Some boats just don't belong on the North Atlantic.
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Old 06-06-2022, 17:45   #341
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Re: Boats with Shallow Draft for Florida, Bahamas, Chesapeake

There are several problems with an Atlantic crossing in a Gem. She does not carry sufficient fuel, water or provisions for such a trip - and unless you are off wind, she doesn't really make good to windward very well.

I purchased my Gem after sailing from Cape Town, SA to Trinidad in a catamaran that was equipped with sufficient storage for such a voyage. We spent 7 days under an 82 sq. ft. storm jib making good over 200 miles/day - a goal not really achievable in a boat like a Gem with a shorter waterline and narrower beam. I left Cape Town on a normal day - 12' to 18' long rolling seas - comfortable sailing on autopilot.

The boats have different design points. The Gem took me across the Okeechobee Waterway twice, traveled up and down the ICW for several trips and produced a combination of motoring, sailing and motor-sailing that met my goals at that time She had ample solar to run the refrigeration, endless (until the water tanks emptied) hot water with a good instant-on, and storage space for a week or so of provisions after we gave our port aft cabin over to a pantry.

I sold her after 6 years of ownership for just about what I paid - mid-40s - and enjoyed painting her topsides, replacing the hatches, and re-building the main cabin to improve ventilation - easy tasks on a Gem since it was fairly low tech.

All boats are a choice, I had a solid monohull, a luxury catamaran and a Gem - and loved them all as equally as I love my three quite different childrens. There is no best.
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Old 07-06-2022, 16:05   #342
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Re: Boats with Shallow Draft for Florida, Bahamas, Chesapeake

To own her is to accept trade offs and there is no perfect one (that applies to boats too. lol)

The skinny draft of the GEM would make it an excellent Keys cruiser. I'd even take one in the back country with a good navigation plan. But, any quest across the Atlantic for me would certainly require a significantly larger vessel.

Captstu, did your GEMs have original generator & factory A/C? I've seen a few where owners install window units presumably powered by portable genny.

Can you talk about your experience with the centerboards? Was there any battle with oysters/corrosion? Most boats I've had here can last 2 years with a quality ablative bottom paint but even then, nooks and crannies get crusty especially if you don't keep after it.
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Old 08-06-2022, 02:46   #343
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Re: Boats with Shallow Draft for Florida, Bahamas, Chesapeake

"Captstu, did your GEMs have original generator & factory A/C? I've seen a few where owners install window units presumably powered by portable genny."

My Gem didn't have the original anything. I bought here semi-abandoned, rebuilt the outboard expecting to just make it home. About 1000 miles later, I replaced the now really dead outboard with a Merc 15 high thrust.

I added 4 solar panels (about 600 Watts) replaced the batteries and fridge and replaced the hot water mess with a propane instant-on. I put in a small window unit (5kBtu/hr) into a small roof hatch and powered it with an inverter for a few hours in the evening before bed.

I removed the plastic windows - replaced the side with Lexan and glassed the front close - adding two Bomar hatches just over the main bunk. At night at anchor, the hatchet faced directly into the wind and rippled the blankets in the slightest breeze - normally partially closed the hatch by about 2 am. There was no need for ac at anchor -and she lived in South Florida/keys.

When in marinas, a/c was mandatory, but the roof home unit installed thru the hatch kept the boat OK during the day and kept the bunk cool at night.

There was no generator.
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Old 08-06-2022, 03:05   #344
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Re: Boats with Shallow Draft for Florida, Bahamas, Chesapeake

"Can you talk about your experience with the centerboards? " All older Gems had wooden centerboards, some were shaped for lift and some just rounded. Mine was rotted away. I removed the worst rot, keeping the mild rot - and treated it with successive coats of epoxy diluted with acetone - starting at 90% acetone to seep into the rot. After about 6 coats of increasing epoxy strong epoxy, I applied 3 layers of glass cloth to the damaged area with the first two being applied over a mixture of epoxy and fill. I shaped the mess by hand (with gloves) to look like a centerboard, grinding it lightly after each coat set. Then I applied a final 2 layers of glass in the "normal" manner and bottom painted over it - with the first coat of bottom paint being applied before the last coat of epoxy fully hardened. The process took 2 time in the yard. About 2 years later, a pivot bolt broke - I pulled the boat a second time, filled the bolt holes (now well rotted) with the epoxy/acetone mixture and finally epoxy/fill. They I bored a new hole for the pivot bolt - took one day. Back into the boat with new lines. They worked fine until I sold her about 3 years later. Like everything else in the Gem, the boards are repairable with ordinary skill by ordinary people.

The biggest challenge to my limited woodworking skill was the bulkhead where the chain plates are attached. They were rotten from years of water leaking thru the chain plate at the hull. I peeled off the outer laminate, repaired the bulkhead with the now time-tested acetone/epoxy mixture and reapplied the laminate to the stronger than new bulkhead. Now faced with badly water damaged wood, I bleached the entire main cabin facing bulkhead with Oxalic Acid -
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Old 11-06-2022, 05:05   #345
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Re: Boats with Shallow Draft for Florida, Bahamas, Chesapeake

Very interesting project from capstu. Safe to say that you had fixed up a project boat. Clearly you're quite ingenuous.

Your account reminds me of a 28 runabout I had at a time where the bulkhead separating the cockpit and cabin was rotted out nearly entirely. I could see this when purchased and was a reason I got it on the cheap. Once I got it to the yard, I removed the entire wall and replaced it with marine grade 3/4 plywood. Not having a tremendous budget, I sealed it then used a high quality deck paint to finish. The color matched and it was just as strong as when I installed it 3 years later when I sold it. Withstood lots of offshore hours in some fairly ugly conditions running to keys and bahamas. The trick was to keep the old bulkhead intact in order to use it as a template.

It's been interesting hearing comments about the Gemini. The big picture decision for us will be sail or trawler. As I had mentioned earlier, home dock depth has us somewhat restricted for sailboats but it sure would be nice. I suppose I could make a hole for the keel at the dock but ingress and egress would be severely tide restricted. Some of the trawlers have amazingly shallow drafts for their size and space.
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