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glassdad 01-12-2012 08:22 PM

Running Aground West coast vs East coast
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.

blt2ski 01-12-2012 08:38 PM

I thought the quote was something like "those that have, or those that are waiting to do so"

Reality is, one can run aground on either coast or where ever you may be depending upon your draft. There is one channel up in the san juans, that during a -2.9 tide we had around July 4 last year, puts the channel in at 2.1' in depth, it is 5' with at 0 tide. max is usually about 9' in that area, or 14' max depth at the most. I went in at about the earliest I thought I could last summer, got too much into the middle/east part of the channel at 1-2 knots, I bumped! Fortunetly I was not given toooo much sheet from the other 40 some odd members of the YC up there. They asked about my draft ie 6', they shrugged, then all thanked me for the email saying 0tide is 5' depth, if you come in at the low.....most of them would have grounded out their PB's! Of course I am also on the radio telling another sailboat with 8' draft waiting for the tie to get higher where not to go, as I bumped.......

Otherwise, I'm the same, lowest the marina is is around 8' with a -3.x tide, with a 12.x, I am in the 20+ range. Southern puget sound, ie olympia, they are a big bigger in tide shifts IIRC. I've also run aground in a big shoal south of the marina a couple of times, ground is soft, so nothing major......

Look up artbyjody if you want to read about grounding and some damage........the again, he lost and anchor rode last december during a gale....he is still fixing that repair right now with a hole in the boat!


davidpm 01-12-2012 09:02 PM

Here in Long Island sound we have almost everything. Deep water, shallow water, rocks, mud, sand, 6 knots current to 0 knots, no wind to monster wind and everything in between.

So yes I have done my share of underwater gellcoat-barcoding.
Most of the time, especially in channels you just get stuck in mud or sand.
Only once did we bugger the boat, that's what insurance is for.
If you don't pay attention to what you are doing you can run into a rock really easy. There are many of them and while most are well marked it is easy to get complacent and think you know where you are, and end up the wrong side of something and go boom.

bigdogandy 01-12-2012 09:03 PM

I have sailed an Irwin 25 with 3' draft and an Endeavor 32 with 4' draft for several years in the Keys, and have touched bottom with both. Luckily, the three times when I have gottten into too shallow water and hit the bottom it has beeen on the bay side, and the bottom has been soft and sandy. The worst was the day after I had gotten the bottom painted on the Endeavour.....I got outside the channel leaving the yard and ended up burrowing into a sand bar. No realy damage other than expediting the ablation of the bottom paint and significant bruises to my ego. I always paid much more attention to depths on the ocean side of the Keys, because the bottom there is mostly jagged coral and a grounding would likely cause significant damage.

souljour2000 01-12-2012 09:22 PM

In the last 7-8 years of fairly frequent sailing trips on a progression of boats from 18-29 feet I have gotten my self grounded probably close to a score of times. The 18-foot Buccaneer, the 20-foot Hunter, and then more recently the Seafarer 24 (coming in at around 2 tons) were still all fairly easy to get ungrounded even singlehanding as is often the case with me.
The Seafarer 24 ...well... I got aground pretty well once where I was fortunate to have a experienced sailboat yacht delivery couple help me and my crew of 6-7 teenagers (another story) but we were camping on an island and the boat also became "encamped" on the adjacent grass flat let's just say...
Well anyways, the captain of that sailboat helped us to free our halyard (by jumping aboard and shimmying to the top of the mast and grabbing the halyard end that had migrated there with a bit of help). He then directed several of us to pull on the end of it from a about 40 feet to one side abeam of our boat while some pushed from the sides of the stern and one of us gunned the 9.9 Merc sailpower outboard....we were only about 20-25 feet from a channel by then but we were gassed getting her there by then until that couple came along....

My current boat is an old Columbia 29 of over 4 tons and 4 foot draft and a couple months ago a kind local crabber helped me the last 20 feet back into the channel by towing my main halyard with his little crab boat and popping me over to the channel toward the end of high tide in about 20 minutes or so...I had been stuck for close to a day and a efforts had only succeeded in pointing her back towards the channel by myself by pushing her bow during each high tide (4 am or so but cell phone alarms are amazing useful things)....I had been singlehanding at night and not paying enough attention with the spotlight in a long and narrow stretch of channel in Northern Sarasota bay...

I got stuck alot in the first three boats...but SW Florida's sands are very forgiving and they were all 2-foot draft or less boats and I guess it's tempting to try and get away from SW Florida's "ditches" with all the big powerboats and their wakes when one is in these smaller boats.
However, my Columbia is not a "smaller" boat anymore at close to 5 tons loaded with gear and I must get "my head out of the sand" and be more responsible...I will be doing my best to not get her stuck from now on...I have never called Seatow before that time and as I wasn't a member...the 700 dollars they quoted me was a shock...though kindness is certainly it's own reward...I still owe that Cortez crabman bigtime...and that sailing couple too....they saved the camping trip it could well be argued...

Faster 01-12-2012 09:25 PM

Even here in the 'deep' west coast there are plenty of opportunities to kiss the dirt.. or rock, however it goes.

We're fortunate to have excellent nav aids and for the most part hazards are well marked. Still, uncharted lumps can be found, either the easy way or the hard way.

Our worst case was seeking a decent shore tie spot in Princess Louisa ( the dock was 'full', but have the footage was taken up by tenders, small and large - typical). It was near dusk, high tide and we were poking along at idle 150 feet off the shore (charted as a clean drop-off) showing 20-30 feet of clearance under our six foot draft. Watching the sounder and not seeing less than 20 feet at any point we came to a jarring stop with a terrific bang. Shaken, this ruined an otherwise splendid day (our first visit to this wonder of a place)

We did find a spot, anchored by which time it was dark and all I could do was fret about it. The next morning the culprit was in clear view in the low tide. This had been covered by about 3 feet of water when we struck it from the opposite side the night before (you can see the high tide mark on the rock on shore). We saw at least two other largish nuggets nearby. Likely tumbled from the steep terrain at some point - not recently either...

Anyhow we did suffer some tabbing separation (repaired days later after hauling out in Nanaimo) and some keel fairing was required too, of course. No 'serious' damage beyond that.

Earlier that same season in Barkley Sound we anchored in a small cove and woke to find a rockpile partially blocking the entrance, also uncharted but fortunately missed by us that time.

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.

It's all about keeping your head out of the boat, properly using the charts and aids that are available and, once in a while, having to rely a bit of luck...

jackdale 01-12-2012 10:20 PM


Originally Posted by Faster (Post 816086)

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.

When I took my CYA navigation and basic cruising classes from the Jib Set who operated out of False Creek, the manuals read, "When you run aground on Spanish Banks ..." No "if" about it. I once noticed that I was sailing very close to someone standing chest high in the water; I altered course.

Faster 01-12-2012 10:44 PM


Originally Posted by jackdale (Post 816112)
When I took my CYA navigation and basic cruising classes from the Jib Set .

Wow... dating yourself there, Jack!!;):)

As to When or If... yes... I was crew on a small race boat, keel in the mud on Spanish banks, three guys leaning on the boom trying to heel her off, a Tanzer 22 sails INSIDE us, one guy asks "how deep is it there".... and promptly came to his own stop.... "About 3 1/2 feet", I replied...:rolleyes:

blt2ski 01-12-2012 10:48 PM

Blakely Rock seems to get one or two scrapes per race around it ea and every year, someone trying to cut to close, or gets hemmed in........


JedNeck 01-13-2012 12:43 AM

I ground mine quite regularly. But it's a swing keel and likes the beach. :)
No dinghy or wet shorts for me.

The closest I have come to unintentional grounding so far is at night during the Xmas cruise I bumped the rudder on a submerged log. I knew where it was but not where I was. I didn't drop the keel because we were motoring it didn't occur to me that the rudder drafts quite a bit...I only usually worry about the keel.

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