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  #21  
Old 01-06-2007
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Popeye, as a new first boat owner I feel the urge to chime in. We worried about many many things buying our first boat. Draft, beam, rig, transom, on and on. And the good folks here were kind enough to give feedback on all our questions. I have to say now that there are only a few things that seem to matter. Its our first boat, its not perfect and we don't really know enough about sailing and cruising to know exactly what we want. There are so many things we would like to do, places to go, variables to consider in a boat. Its only been a month and I already have a mental list of things I will do different when I buy my next boat. What I am trying to say is, buy a boat that is good for your immediate area. Buy a boat that is comfortable for you, whatever your personal needs are, above and below deck. Obviously, don't buy a piece of junk that needs a ton of work, because even a boat in great condition will need work. Don't get in over your head. We bought a 34 footer, and there is so much to do! Its a lot of boat. Don't buy something big to learn into. 34' scares me a little sometimes. (I just read "a voyage for madmen") At the beginning level you will hardly notice the difference between a deep and shoal draft or a mast with single or double spreaders. I am over simplifying, of course, but I think you get my meaning? And Like hellosailor said, tradeoffs. Never has it been more apparent about tradeoffs in life as in sailing.For example, I thought it was great that my fridge was under the chart table and it freed up space in the galley. Big mistake, now every time I want to get a beer, I have to clear off the chart table to lift the lid. I dismissed somebody's advice on here before. It was to buy something in decent shape and get out there and sail! You can't figure out what you really need on land. Your next boat will be even better! And if you haven't already, watch "captain's courageous", now THATS what sailing is all about!

Last edited by bestfriend; 01-07-2007 at 02:50 AM.
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  #22  
Old 01-07-2007
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Hello again,

It makes me smile to see your excitement and your desire for someone to say "go for it".

It is true that everyone runs aground on the Chesapeake Bay. The folks with deeper drafts just go aground in different spots. It does limit the places you can go, though. We have a Cheoy Lee with a six foot draft in our cruising group. I know of at least four times they touched ground when with the group last season. It's just a nuisance, mostly.

As for pointing, I'm sure we don't point as high with our wing keel as we could with a fin. Could we tell while sailing? No way. After two and a half years, we're only just getting to the point where other factors (i.e. our sailing skills) aren't the limiting factor anyway. For a long time, we were happy if the boat went in the right direction. Then we started learning how to get the most out of her. Now I'm sure our old sails have more effect than the wing keel.

Having said all that, while running aground occasionally isn't a big deal in the soft mud of the Bay, I would think very carefully before buying a boat that's deeper than the controlling depth of your channel. At the least, it means you will have to plan your trips by the tide charts. It can be done, but what a pain. Also, depth of tributaries on the Bay are affected not only by tides, but by wind. Storms coming through can push water up some channels and out of other channels. I would worry about being caught on the wrong side of the mud when I wanted to go home.

Finally, don't forget that there are lots and lots of Catalina 30's. There are also clubs and owner's groups. You may want to check out the Catalina 30 owner's group and ask if there's anyone that's thinking about parting with one that's in good condition with the features you want. If you're lucky, you might find someone that's thinking about moving up that would jump at the chance for a quick private sale. Also, check out the SpinSheet.

Good luck. Come back and let us know what happens. Maybe we'll see you on the Bay when it warms up again.

Carrie
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  #23  
Old 01-07-2007
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This list is a unique resource (for me at least) in terms of being able to draw on the wisdom of people that really love an activity for its own sake. I take to heart the advice here, while trying to suppress my innate anal urge to optimize.

I spent some time going through a couple of threads on shoal vs. deep draft last night that I discovered after I posted. I didn't realize this was as controversial a topic as it is. I had been thinking that shoal drafts in the Chesapeake were a no-brainer (based largely on the "Cruising the Chesapeake" book and the like). I now know that both have definite merits even in this locale.

The thing that I am struggling with right now is -- most of the boats that we have been seeing, in the words of one of the salesmen -- you would like to go take a bath after getting off them. The ONE boat that has us mesmerized, in terms of looking like OUR boat and being very well maintained (and in keeping with the advice given here), draws 5'3".

At the end of the dock, it draws precisely 5'3" when the tide is at the barnacle line (and the channel is the same for the first 50-100' before it starts dropping off to deeper water). I don't remember exactly where the typical low tide was in summer, but the barnacle line seems fairly low (barnacles are apparently intertidal and not totally subtidal, as I was hoping).

The one side of me says: Go for it!, Good enough!, it'll be fine at the higher tides and the lower ones will just get better as you use the channel.

The other side of me says: What, are you crazy? You may only be able to go out at high tide. And you're going to be coming back, tired after a good day sailing and get stuck 150' from the dock and this may not ever get any better (and it'll be the day that you have all four daughters with you!! -- I'm definitely going to have a have a dingy on board)

Thoughts? Am I being prudent or too cautious? Has anyone else ever dealt with this situation?


Pops
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  #24  
Old 01-07-2007
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CBinVa is right on about running aground in the Cheapeake...it will happen no matter what draft you have. Our first little tinker boat had a draft of 2'...yup, ran her aground enough times.

Last edited by T37Chef; 01-07-2007 at 05:26 PM.
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  #25  
Old 01-07-2007
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Running aground here in the Bay area is common too. Vessel assist is always towing someone. Most people think the SF Bay is deep, but in reality, a large amount of it is 9' or less. Most of the sailing is done in the slot, in or around the deep shipping channels. I have 6'3" draft. When I am in an unfamiliar spot and the meter starts to steadily decline to an uncomfortable depth, I turn around until I can look at the charts, or just stay out altogether. Needless to say, I am very happy with the decision to get the deep draft, and the day I run aground, I will be very disappointed with my decision to get the deep draft.

Last edited by bestfriend; 01-07-2007 at 12:59 PM.
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Old 01-07-2007
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Popeye...having a 5'3" draft on the bay is really no problem. Having a 5'3" draft and having to use a dock that is 5'3" at low tide is A PROBLEM!
Are you saying you must use a dock with only 5'3" of water at normal low tide? There will be days that you cannot use that boat AT all given the way water can be blown in and out of the bay by prevailing winds as well as spring tides. Given that bottoms in the bay are generally soft mud, it is unlikely that low water will damage the boat/keel but you will not be happy with your access. There will be other clean Cat30's come along with the shoal draft you need for that dock so I would say "pass".
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Old 01-07-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T37Chef
CBinVa is right on about running aground in the Cheapeake...it will happen no matter what draft you have. Our first little tinker boat had a draft of 2'...yup, ran her aground a enough times.
This being the case would you recomend against getting a wing keel for the Bay? I've read in many places that they can be hard to float off since healing only deepends the draft.
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Old 01-07-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stlcat22
This being the case would you recomend against getting a wing keel for the Bay? I've read in many places that they can be hard to float off since healing only deepends the draft.

I have a Benetoy 28ft with a winged keel (btw, it will be for sale sometime next season - if anyone is looking for a fun and non-taxing bay boat, then - drop me a line).

I ran aground once in the last season, it was not a hard grounding - just stuck in mud, as happens to all of us around here (admit it ). Wings do get stuck stronger than regular keel, I was unable to motor off on my own. There was virtually no wind, so I could not try anything else. Fortunately, a powerboat was passing by, we threw them a line and were off and sailing in less than a minute

On the other hand, I do get to use shallower slip at my marina which saves on docking fees. The draft of my boat is just under 4', and due to that savings in slip cost are nothing short of $1000/year. That makes a lot of difference.

As far as groundings go - if you don't want to rely on a good samaritan's help, get unlimited BoatUS towing and they will come pull you off for free
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  #29  
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Probably out of scope, but-

Towing insurance is definitely recommended. The shape of the keel makes no difference when the engine dies when you are in the middle of the shipping channel on a windless day. The big ships don't stop for anyone and I understand the rates are pretty steep for scared sailors that didn't plan ahead.

Running aground is usually pretty simple though. If you can't power yourself off, someone usually comes along shortly that can help. And sort of by definition, you probably aren't in anybody's way. Personally, I've never seen anybody get frustrated enough to try to heel their boat off the mud.

Carrie
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Old 01-07-2007
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Wing Keels are PERFECT for the Chesapeake

Popeye -- First, if you want to know the scoop on living with wing keels on the bay, do a search here on Sailnet. Lots of threads about it -- and lots of misinformation. Read my tag line. I'm sure I'm the longest serving contributor to this BB who sails with a wing. I now own a Pearson 33-2 that draws 4'2". First boat was a P-27 that drew 3'4". Bottom line is -- if you run aground with a winged keel you aren't going to die despite what some on here will lead you to believe. I probably have run aground a dozen times down through the years and have always gotten off by myself within a very few minutes. Heck, if the water is only 4 feet deep I can jump out and push!

As for your quandry with a dock with 5'3" of water, and a channel that has about the same for a distance -- you need to find a boat with less draft. Not being able to get into your slip at low tide is one thing. Being stuck 50 feet from your slip at low tide would be especially aggrevating. I suggest looking for a boat with either a wing, a bulb (many of which also have winglets), or a center-board.
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