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Old 05-07-2020, 15:04   #1
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Stuck in the mud

We recently bought a nice keel/centerboard Bristol 31.1 and we moved it into a slip vacated by the 31 foot powerboat we sold. The marina owner assured me that, at 3'6" board-up draft we should have no problems, except the keel might be in the mud on a moon low tide. Well, we just experienced a moon low tide and when we took the boat out after, the centerboard cable was slack and took another turn to tighten. Later when I tried to lower it, the cable just went slack. I'm guessing the centerboard was pushed up into the trunk further than it had been and possibly jammed it into old growth barnacles. I will dive on it on our next clean anchorage and try to free it.
But what about the next moon low tide? It cant be healthy to have it sitting in the mud in a slip, although I've heard plenty of people talking about their boats' keels sitting in the mud at low tide. I will leadline the slip at the next low tide to see if there's enough water under normal conditions.
How much risk are we in in those conditions? Should i seek alternate accommodation for the boat for the rest of the season?
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Old 05-07-2020, 19:47   #2
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Re: Stuck in the mud

Depending on how soft the bottom is, the keel will likely gouge a hole underneath that it will "settle" in. This is what my boat did, which I could see because I do my own bottom cleaning. When I hauled her a couple years ago, I could also see that the hole where the keel would sit on low, low tides, was not enough to keep the mud from scraping the paint off. Since I also do my own bottom painting, that's when I told the marina office I needed a new slip. So, yeah. I'd move if I were you unless you can pull the centerboard higher up. That was not an option for me.
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Old 06-07-2020, 00:46   #3
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Re: Stuck in the mud

Eventually you are likely to jam a clam shell or small stone into the gap between board and trunk and seriously jam it up. I'd not be happy with your setup. Like Gamayun, we've sometimes had a temporary berth where we sat in/on the bottom at springs, but paint damage was all I had to worry about... and I wasn't really happy!

I'd try to move...

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Old 06-07-2020, 01:34   #4
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Re: Stuck in the mud

How 'bout this for 'stuck in the mud'?

This is a planned element of the Three Peaks Yacht Race in the UK. While my teammates were managing the boat's bottoming out over 12+ hours, I was off running Scafel Pike (32 miles)... my recollection is that it took us 11 hours.

But as a regular thing? Nah, I agree with Gamayun and Jim. Hopefully, the marina can find you a deeper slip.

Warmly,
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Old 06-07-2020, 09:34   #5
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Re: Stuck in the mud

On my adventures in the intercostal ran aground in mud a number of times. Boat remained and had no problems with the centerboard until the end of the Dismal Swamp section. Board was jammed up after that. Turned out a rock had been jammed in one side of the board/well. Used a long screw driver to remove the rock and all was fine after.
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Old 06-07-2020, 11:05   #6
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Re: Stuck in the mud

I'm guessing my centerboard had been held back from its full up position by barnacles, since we did not have the luxury of dropping the board and inspecting in there before launch. If it was pushed further up into the trunk by the bottom on the moon tide, the barnacles would've jammed it there. Although it could very well be a rock, clam, or other debris from the bottom.

It will be interesting to take it to a deeper anchorage and dive on it and see. If I see any other issues related to the shallow dockage, we won't be going back there, or at least not during a moon tide.
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Old 06-07-2020, 15:14   #7
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Re: Stuck in the mud

I sail a Bristol 41.1. A couple of years ago I bumped a shoal while crossing a shallow inlet. The centerboard got stuck.

We tried diving on it with tanks, and used a long screw driver as well as a 3 foot piece of aluminum flat bar to try and clean the trunk, to no avail. I thought that it had been jammed up and the board somehow wedged in place. I tried sailing for a while with the pennant slack hoping wave action would free it, no luck.

Ultimately, I had to have the boat hauled. While in the slings, we pressure washed the trunk from the bottom. A bunch of sand came out and the board dropped.

They sail so nicely upwind with the board down. You really should get a slip that won't touch bottom during the new and full moon tides.
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Old 09-07-2020, 08:44   #8
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Re: Stuck in the mud

I visited the boat the other day (7/7) at low tide. I poled the bottom at the dock and it measured 3-1/2'. According to specs my boat draws 3-1/2' so it's definitely poking the bottom at low tide, even more so during a moon low. I'm not comfortable with sitting on the bottom and stuffing the centerboard trunk with mud.
Our next best option is a marina closer to our home that has moorings available. We had our old sailboat there so it's a known quantity at least. I may be moving in the next week.
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Old 09-07-2020, 11:06   #9
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Re: Stuck in the mud

Back in the sailing dinghy days, Being blown ashore by a white squall on a sandy beach... I quickly learnt that just pulling the dagger board up was not enough. The sand would wash up in there and jam it like glue. It could take hours to get it free. The answer was It had to be completely removed before touching the beach if the water was waves hitting the beach.


Here in the pacific North west another curse was small wood chips being washed up in and floating in the dagger board case/trunk. That became another source of jamming. So it is not hard to imagine bottom mud being washed in at a marina slip.
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Old 09-07-2020, 11:17   #10
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Re: Stuck in the mud

Is it possible to dredge some of that mud off the bottom? You only need 6 inches by the sounds of it, but do a foot anyways. Once done you should be good for a long time to come.
Could probably use an anchor to loosen it, then dive under and use a shovel on it.
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Old 09-07-2020, 11:20   #11
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Re: Stuck in the mud

yeah, having your boat bottom or keel in the mud at each low tide is not a happy marriage. The aforementioned issues regarding the keel getting stuck is one thing, but eventually the bottom paint will also rub off, leaving a naked surface, ideal for marine growth of every description....
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Old 09-07-2020, 11:50   #12
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Re: Stuck in the mud

Yeah, I'm having a fair amount of anxiety about the whole situation. Especially as it's a new boat to us and all. My wife is getting tired of hearing me carp about it, but she also is not happy about the prospect of leaving a slip we paid for, just to shell out more for a mooring at another location, even though they're pro-rating the mooring fee to 1/2 the rate for the whole season.
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Old 09-07-2020, 12:13   #13
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Re: Stuck in the mud

one other thing you can try...

leave the boat in the slip...but securely tie it to restrict forward motion...use extra lines...and maybe some extra fenders...

then crank up the engine, and put it in forward, make sure the bow of your boat is not going to hit anything, and then hammer the throttle down.. and do your own " dredging" ie, blow out the stuff under the boat. You have to do this in short bursts to prevent the engine intake from sucking up disturbed water. You can use the steering wheel to " sweep" the boat sideways from one side to another...creating a nice hole.

you may have to move the boat up and down in the slip to get to all the bottom.

I don't know the tidal range of where you are at, but I'd time your....er.." dredging" efforts, when you've still got some clearance under the prop....but the closer the prop to the bottom the better..

I recommend doing this at night, when no-one is watching, because someone is likely to bitch about it..if you can do it on an outgoing tide, your prop wash detritus will likely wash out with the tide...

....'jes sayin'......
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