Running Aground West coast vs East coast - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 39 Old 01-13-2012
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Originally Posted by glassdad View Post
In another thread, Sawingknots said "there are 2 types of sailors,those that have on occasion "run aground" and those that lie...". I have not found that to be true. On the West coast, specifically in Southern California, we have deep water harbors and no rivers. Running aground down here is a major issue. The only person I know who ran aground hit the rocks on the breakwater and had major damage. He was in the fog and missed the opening.

The tidal range in Channel Islands harbor is about 8 feet at maximum. At low low tide, my slip is 10' deep. The main channel is 20' deep. Just outside the breakwater, the bottom drops down to 50' and more. I know that in the Chesapeake, the water is very shallow.

My question is how many of you have run aground? Where was it ? How much damage? What happend to cause the grounding?

Thanks for the info.
You have obviously never been to Two Harbors (Catalina). Harbor Reef (where the water can be as shallow as 18") on the southwest side of Bird Rock reaches out and grabs a few yachts every weekend. While marked, many of the weekend warriors have so little knowledge/experience that they don't recognize a hazard mark. Moreover, many boats are arriving late in the day with the sun relatively low in the western sky and a nice glare off the water making it difficult to see the impending shallows. (We used to do a pool as to the number of boats that would ground between 1800 Friday and 1800 Saturday. One one occasion we had 6!)

Similarly, the shoals around the entrances to Santa Barbara, Channel Islands and the Ventura yacht harbors routinely grab boats as they attempt the traverse. The only "advantage" that the west coast has is the greater range of the tide--assuming one goes aground near mid- or low tide. If one grounds at or near high water, and cannot get off, one can be seriously screwed as the yacht lays over on one side or another and wave action--and wakes--pound the yacht on the bottom.

Grounding is not inconsequential on either (any) coast.

"It is not so much for its beauty that the sea makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from the waves, that so wonderfully renews a weary spirit."
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post #12 of 39 Old 01-13-2012
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Chesapeake and ICW sailors joke about this...

... but only where the bottom is mud and there are no waves.

Offshore sandbars (Cape Hatteras) and tricky entrances are dead serious. Hard sand in waves is just as deadly as rocks, given a little time.

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post #13 of 39 Old 01-13-2012
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Here in Tampa Bay, for most of the west coast of Florida, especially the Keys, it is "those who have and those who will." The good news is that the bottom is mostly relatively soft sand, so running aground is usually not a big deal. Indeed, it is the fact that the bottom is mostly soft sand (which drifts and moves and forms sandbars in unexpected places) that makes an eventual grounding almost inevitable.
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post #14 of 39 Old 01-13-2012
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We usually have our groundings while gunkholing in the mud and sand of the Southeast US and when "feeling" about for a secluded anchorage over mud or sand. We behave differently when we are on the coast of Maine or among the coral heads and ledges in the Bahamas. In the places where grounding could mean damage we are much more conservative. Take care and joy, Aythya crew
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post #15 of 39 Old 01-13-2012
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During more than 50 years of boating on Chesapeake Bay I've only been aground once, which was for about 10 seconds in the Havre de Grace channel while trying to keep out of the way of an oncoming tug pushing a barge. I eased about 10 feet out of the channel and hit the mud, softly. I quickly sheeted out the sails, fired up the A4, put it in reverse and as the barge wake lifted the boat I was able to power off.

My real challenge will be in October when I head south down the ICW. I've been told that if I don't run aground there I'm either very lucky, or lying about the trip.

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post #16 of 39 Old 01-13-2012
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Originally Posted by Faster View Post
Nearer Vancouver there are extensive sandbanks that seem to be magnets for boaters looking to take the 'clear path'.. in some areas the shoals extend 5 miles or more offshore. "Spanish Banks', "Sturgeon Banks", "Sandheads".... all appropriate names.
I've run up on Spanish Banks on my first time out of Jericho. Sounder went from 60 ft to 6 feet in a matter of seconds Fortunately it was the gentlest of groundings. Like you said I was just cutting it too close.

The shoals in the Straight scare me a lot more due to their exposure... I always try to give them as much room as possible.

s/v Laelia - 1978 Pearson 365 ketch
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post #17 of 39 Old 01-13-2012
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Some miles offshore near Pullen Island in the Beaufort Sea west of Tuk there lies a torus shaped gravel bar. Doing 8 knts in heavy fog when the sounder alarm went off. Immediately cut power and turned hard to starboard. 43 ft'r healed over ,stern rose on my wake and bumppf bumpph over the bank into the deeper center. Exploring with the bow in all directions find no way out of the coral . about 200 ft across.With heavy weather forecast a bit of a pickle .Got one pole out with both anchors and several canon balls slung from the end and three nervous scientists sitting way out took a flying leap at what might be the way out.When we stopped, the pike pole sounder showed the need of a ft and a half more water . Amazing what hard over again and again can do to wiggle across the shallows to deeper water.We made it off much to my relief. This was before GPS and compasses don't work so good in the Arctic.No tide to speak of but wind can cause current of 3 knots in any direction and blow 6 ft of depth up or down. Dat's my yarn.
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post #18 of 39 Old 01-13-2012
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Where to start? Worst/most embarrassing grounding. 5 miles from finishing a 2000 mile trip I decide to push out into the Neuse River despite the rough conditions. I am running closer to a shoal than normal due to direction of wind, waves and stupidity, bad decision on my part, fuel is all churned up, filter clogs, engine stalls, I dash forward and raise the jib, start to come about and boom. I drop the sail because it is pushing further on the shoal and each wave makes the boat lift and drop, not a pleasant sound. I check the bilge for any signs of water and find all is well. Call up Tow Boat. He gets me back to my slip but it has been blowing so hard most of the water has blown out and I have to be shoved/pulled into the slip.
Not my fault really. Heading down the ICW I hail a dredge and ask for directions on passing. The guy on deck starts waving me around so I follow his directions but as I am passing the barge starts shifting over and my choices are to hit the barge or hit the sand. They immediately brought the work boat over and pulled me off.
Most fun. Heading north on the ICW behind Ocean Isle Beach a little before dark and a hour or so before posted low. I was pushing so I could make the next days trip easier, two inlets and the Cape Fear and the tide plays into all of them. I nose into a side creek looking for a place to stay the night and I am aground. My crew and I decide it is a good time for a drink. We wait about 2.5 hrs as the boat slowly heels over. We just brace across the cockpit and enjoy our cocktail. Eventually we float off and find some deeper water and drop the hook. Dan S/V Marian Claire

Last edited by marianclaire; 01-13-2012 at 02:18 PM.
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post #19 of 39 Old 01-13-2012
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We used to careen back in the 1970's & 80's by resting beam to shore at high tide on a sandy protected beach with a fairly steep slope and a tidal range greater than our draft. We would clean with the tide fall and paint before the rise; then, turn and repeat for the other side. This was labor intense, but saved a lot of boat yard costs. We always took care to protect our rudder and not to lean away from the shore. We also have always had full keel boats. Sometimes we would have a group of four or five boats careening at the same weekend. I don't think it's as commonly done now, though I know some tie to a bulkhead for this work at the big tides in Maine. I feel safer leaning on the sand than balancing upright. Take care and joy, Aythya crew
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post #20 of 39 Old 01-14-2012
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Since the early 70's I've rubbed the bottom on Spanish Bank in a 20' bilge keeler - just a "what was that" rub on the sand. Banged off a rock when I cut the end of the reef too short off Paisley island, bumped a rock off Eagle Harbour at drifting speed, hit hard - dead stop from full speed under power off Tiddleycove. Never "aground" though, always able to keep moving after. The only damage was a repair to the toe of the keel after the Tiddleycove hit. The only injury was to my shin on the same hit.

All of them were due to nothing more than bad judgement (stupidity) on my part. All were long before GPS as well.

I, myself, personally intend to continue being outspoken and opinionated, intolerant of all fanatics, fools and ignoramuses, deeply suspicious of all those who have "found the answer" and on my bad days, downright rude.

Last edited by SloopJonB; 01-14-2012 at 03:50 AM.
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