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Bruce W 04-12-2013 09:09 PM

Looking for sailboat for bay that dries daily
My fiancee owns a house on the water - on Puget Sound to be precise. That's great; however, the bay in front of her house dries out twice a day. Bottom is mostly mud with some clam, oyster shells. Incoming tide is very weak - no waves at all. Very protected bay. I'm dying to buy another sailboat - question is: Which boats can withstand those conditions? A little more on what I'm looking for: Something in the 22-28' range; sails well in light airs; points reasonably well; can be single-handed; comfortable enough for weekends; cruising, no racing planned. Anyone have ideas re: which sailboats I should look at? Thanks!

Faster 04-12-2013 09:25 PM

Re: Looking for sailboat for bay that dries daily
Mud harbours are pretty standard in Europe, esp the UK. For that reason bilge keelers are much more popular over there than here, and easier to find.

But if you can find a Westerly or a Vivacity, they would fit the bill. There's always been a few of those around the PNW. I have seen boats with retractable struts that can be used to prop the boat up in a 'tripod' arrangement with two struts and the keel. Requires that the boat is happy to sit on her keel, of course. I suppose many smallish boats could be so modified or adapted.

An example of a bilge keeler:

Here's an article about 'drying out boats'

And here's another option:

jimgo 04-13-2013 12:34 AM

Re: Looking for sailboat for bay that dries daily
Faster, what is that mast in the background in the picture!??!!

I thought of a Westerly when I read the OP, too. There are some other, new boats that also employ similar tripod-like arrangements, and are meant for beaching.

Faster 04-13-2013 10:08 AM

Re: Looking for sailboat for bay that dries daily
Jimgo, that looks like a boat that didn't 'dry out' quite so nicely...

In the 22-28 foot range there would be a large selection of centerboard boats with retractable/removable rudders that would dry out safely enough, though ideally you'd probably want a board that fully retracted so the boat sits flat on her bottom.

benesailor 04-13-2013 10:45 AM

Re: Looking for sailboat for bay that dries daily
I would think that you would want a a boat with more of a flat bottom, ie catboat. so you wouldn't have to worry whether it would "sit" right when no one is around. Do the westerly's "sit" well without help?

I saw that picture; then saw the mast in the background. WOW!! Hate to be that guy.

TQA 04-13-2013 11:35 AM

Re: Looking for sailboat for bay that dries daily
Lateral thinking

What about a small cat or tri? Something like a Wharram Tiki.

hellosailor 04-13-2013 01:42 PM

Re: Looking for sailboat for bay that dries daily
Bruce, the twin-keel designs are perfect for sitting on the mud but with all the extra drag, not known as light air boats. That would put you looking at a cat, probably. With rudders that can be pulled up to avoid damage.

fallard 04-13-2013 04:35 PM

Re: Looking for sailboat for bay that dries daily
At the shorter end of your range (22'), there is the Marshall 22 catboat (Marshall 22). These are available in cat and sloop rigs (as in the photo here). They typically have an inboard diesel and have been in production since the mid-60's.

They are beamy (10'2")and arerelatively heavy for a 22 footer (5660# displacement vs. 2200# for a Catalina 22--which has a beam of 7'8"). The centerboard retracts completely and the propeller is protected by the keel/skeg.

They are not cheap, but hold their value better than most used boats. They will point better than most folks think, are very good in light air, and can be single-handed. You won't have standing headroom in the cabin, but you will have a generous cockpit and the boat will stay on her feet when beating.

I had an 18' Herreshoff catboat for 16 years, before moving up to my 35 sloop, but would consider the M-22 if I downsize in the future. The catboat started out as a workboat over a hundred years ago and is very user-friendly in most regards, as long as you reef (the cat rig in particular) when you first think about it.

Bruce W 04-17-2013 02:42 PM

Re: Looking for sailboat for bay that dries daily
Wow, looks like my first attempt at a reply didn't work. Let's try again.

Thanks again for all your great replies - I really appreciate it.
RE: the twin keelers, I agree - I've read that they are slower, and don't point as well. They're also tough to find, and resale might be tough too.

Re: a cat, I'd love to get a small cruising cat or tri, but they're tough to come by (most cruising cats are bigger and very expensive), and the tris are either screamer/racers (Corsair) or else pricey (Telestar).

Re: a catboat, I've never sailed one, and appreciate your thoughts as you have sailed one for some time. Checking out the PHRF (276) does make me feel like they're not that quick though.

I'm now thinking of foregoing the idea of having the boat right in front of the house, at or near the dock, and instead keeping it about 100 yards down the bay where there is always sufficient water. This would require getting a permit (I'm told it's easy) and setting up a mooring buoy, and probably needing to get it out of the water in the winter here (when the winds can really blow). I'd then paddle or row down to the boat, and bring it up to the dock when there's sufficient water. Not ideal, but by doing this I would open up a whole world of possibilities w/a fixed keel boat. If I go this route, I'll look for San Juan 7.7 and 28; C&C 27; Capri 25 (maybe the 22); Tartan 28-2; Pearson 28-2; etc.

This would keep the sailboat off the mud, which, even in a protected bay still means the hulls on the mud and shells twice a day. And that's gotta be tough on a sailboat.


Faster 04-17-2013 02:55 PM

Re: Looking for sailboat for bay that dries daily
That's certainly an easier bill to fill, and as you say opens a wide range of possibilities... the boats you referenced would, by and large, be good candidates. It would also free you from the tide schedule as to when you can decide to come and go.

Moorings are yet another maintenance issue, but like most of them, manageable.

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