A puzzle -- how to heel to pass under a bridge - SailNet Community

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Old 07-14-2011
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A puzzle -- how to heel to pass under a bridge

My home cruising ground -- the Ottawa River -- is infested with bridges. The highest, and closest, is 50 feet, and the lowest is 42. My boat -- a Tanzer 26 -- now passes easily under them all, but I'm planning to buy a bigger boat this summer, perhaps a C&C Landfall 35, which has a 46-foot bridge clearance.
I'd like to be able to pass under the 42-foot bridge without dropping the mast. The pythagorean theorem tells me that to pass under that bridge I'd need to heel the boat over about 25 degrees.
How shall I manage that?
I'm thinking about buying two 300-gallon water bladders, each of which measures 4.5 by 12 feet. (Water Bladder Bags Aqua Tank) I plan to tie up at a dock before I get to the bridge, lay the bladders on the port side of the deck, pump them full of water, until the heel meter tells me I'm tilting enough.
A 300-gallon bag holds 2,500 pounds of water. Would 5,000 pounds on one gunwale be enough weight to heel the boat over 25 degrees?
Is there an easier way to manage this?
I've searched the internet for solutions but found little, which seems odd. There must be many sailors faced with similar problems.
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Old 07-14-2011
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Old 07-14-2011
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Originally Posted by PaulinVictoria View Post
Thanks Paul... I was looking for that but not having any luck.... here it is direct:

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How about just waiting for the low tide to pass under the 42 ft bridge?
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Old 07-14-2011
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It's on a river, so no tide.
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Old 07-14-2011
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Change slips to the other side of the bridge? Moving 600 gallons of water into bladders at 10gpm takes an hour. Emptying them will take at least half that time again. You have to do that twice to go under the bridge on the way to your sailing grounds, and to go under coming back to your slip. That's three hours, not including hauling these monsters from their stowage locations and back (twice!). Where are you going to store them? Are you sure you want a bigger boat?

Good luck!
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