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post #9 of Old 01-09-2007
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Intersting comment. My last 2 boats were wings and I would not sail anything but a wing or a shoal draft (like a full keel, IP).

When you hang up on a wing, it is harder to get off, but there are tricks. My boats were a Catalina 380 and 400 (with wings, others were fins). I hung up on my wing about every freaking day... but I was also able to get into places I could not with a fin. If you were sailing the pacific or other deep waters with no intention of shallow water, you would be crazy not to get a fin. Put a 61/2-7 foot draft in S florida or a lot of the Bahamas (and many other places) and you will be running aground all day long or just wont get in at all.

I will also say that the ease of getting off with a fin can be overstated. It is easier than a wing, but you hard ground a fin in the mud, it creates some kind of a super-glue vacuum and that bad boy flat ain't coming out (not tha a wing would really be that much better, but hopefully you did not run aground with it).

Here are some tricks I have learned:

1) Can you back off? Duh. Don't over-do it. But most of the time I can back her off unless I ran aground hard.

2) Pull the halyard with the dink. If you pull the halyard over with the dink, a lot of times with a good reversse, you get the boat off the suction that it seems to create.

3) Lean out over on the boom. Grab a hold of the boom throw yourself out over the water (Trying not to fall in, of course). Have another person backind down at the same time.

4) Anchor method. Depending on where the deep water is, take your anchor out with the dink, set it, and winch it in while backing down. Sometimes we could push the bow around with the tender and use the windlass. You can use the same method setting her to stern and winching in from the cockpit.

5) Wait till the tide comes in.

6) Call Sea Tow. Sail in shallow water, you get to know them by name and they recognize your voice on the VHF. "Brian, you hung up AGAIN?? Do you even LOOK at your depth finder?" "Depth what? Is That what that thing is? Who needs a depth finder when you got a Sea Tow membership?" They lost money on me. Just remember to be friendly or learn patience. Get to know them and there is no such thing as a hard grounding.

- CD
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