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post #1 of 26 Old 03-28-2012 Thread Starter
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Grounding on purpose

Hello again all.

I have seen pictures here, and also seen in person, individuals grounding their sailboat on purpose. Some look like they are spending the day/night somewhere, some don't.

How safe is this for the boat (sandy bottom presumed) and are there any suggestions on how to do this safely?

I'm thinking this could be an easy way to get some barnacles off while standing next to the boat!

Fair winds!

Nelson Abreu
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post #2 of 26 Old 03-28-2012
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Re: Grounding on purpose

There is a practice, most popular in places with extreme tides, called "careening" a boat, where you tie it up at high tide, let the tide go out and work on it when it is high and dry. In England quite a few moorings are dry at low tide. The safety for the boat will depend on the balance of the boat and the underwater configuration. It will rarely be safe for the boat with a fin keel, better with a full keel, but the ability to do this is the reason that twin keels can be found on some English boats. Some boats with lifting keels and twin rudders are designed so that they will be stable if left dry, though in every case you need to be certain that the bottom is smooth and level. If there is a either a boulder or a hole under the keel or rudder, its a major disaster. In the US you dont hear of people doing this very much.
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Re: Grounding on purpose

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Originally Posted by BreakAwayFL View Post
Hello again all.

I have seen pictures here, and also seen in person, individuals grounding their sailboat on purpose. Some look like they are spending the day/night somewhere, some don't.

How safe is this for the boat (sandy bottom presumed) and are there any suggestions on how to do this safely?

I'm thinking this could be an easy way to get some barnacles off while standing next to the boat!

Fair winds!
It can be done. Some boats, such as those with bilge keels are designed to do so.



In some locations tidal grids exist so that boats can rest on the bottom for "underwater" repairs. Many modern fin keel boats do not have keels strong enough to withstand this. In the Bay Fundy grounding at the dock is standard fair.



When done intentionally it is called "careening"

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Re: Grounding on purpose

Having a twin keeler, I have spent most low tides in the last 28 years hard aground. No problems.
The picture in the previous post is one of my 36 ft twin keelers. There are 5 of them in my current anchorage, all hard aground at the moment.

Brent Swain, Boat designer, Builder, and author of "Origami Metal Boatbuilding"

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Re: Grounding on purpose

Brent - is this also one of yours?



Both photos were in Comox.

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Re: Grounding on purpose

Careening is also accomplished by placing a full or long keel boat to a steep sandy shore, usually with about 10 to 15 degrees bow to the shore, and securely anchoring whie the tide falls and the boat leans to shore. We select a series of increasingly higher tides in order to turn around and clean and paint each side of the boat. Just as the sand molds around your feet when standing in a receding wave on shore, the boat is molded, as the ebb flows, into a form offering great support. This is the careening I am accustomed to, not standing a boat on it's keel; though I am aware of this as a common practice in some locales. Take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Re: Grounding on purpose

Yes. That's one of mine.

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Re: Grounding on purpose

I thought careening referred the listing of the hull if it had no side support. But I've also heard it refer to tying up alongside the side of a rock-wall slip to sand and repaint the bottom *real quick* during one low tide period, typically on a spring tide where you get an extra foot or two (40' sloop at the town landing pier in Marblehead was the one I remember).
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Re: Grounding on purpose

Thanks for all of the extremely helpful information. My boat is a fin keel, but the tides here are only about 1' in most locations, so I think I might give it a shot. I just hopes she'll float off on the high tide!

My main concern was, is it safe to the physical structure of the boat to have the weight on the keel? Based on what I am seeing and reading, it seems to not be uncommon practice, if less common here, so I would gather the answer to be yes.

Nelson Abreu
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Walker Bay Dingy

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Re: Grounding on purpose

Your keel can likely hold up your boat. Particularly with water doing much of the work. There are threads here about beaching (I've done it). I've also brought a boat into shallow water to clean the bottom. Just be careful not to let her pound on the bottom in waves or wakes as she settles or floats.
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