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kwaltersmi 01-12-2012 01:23 PM

Running Aground
I recently blogged about tips to help when you run aground. Will anyone admit to having "grounding" experience and/or additional tips and ideas?

skelmir 01-12-2012 01:29 PM

Check your tide tables. Things might be about to get much better or worse.

ccriders 01-12-2012 01:33 PM

We used to have a 22' sloop that we sailed out of Parish Creek on the Chessapeake. When the wind would blow the water out of the creek there was a bar with only about 2 feet of water at low tide. Since we drew 2.5' board up we would occasionally go aground there and when we did I would jump in, push us off and climb back aboard and sail on to the bay.
Ah, the days of youth and small boats!

sailingfool 01-12-2012 01:45 PM

54 Attachment(s)
FWIW, I have found through unfortunate practice, that the quickest action to take with an outgoing tide, is to back the sails to heel the boat. Use the engine to turn the boat so you face in the right direction (the course to known deep water), then back the main and/or genoa with sheets to induce heel. In light to moderate wind, you can get a 10-15 degrees of heel just by shoving the boom to windward (wind strength permitting). Alternatively, with a soft vang, you can disconnect the vang from the mast, run it to the windward toerail, and haul the boom out to windward. Keep the engine in gear, and power off as the boat heels.

With an outgoing tide, time is precious and backing the sails is much quicker than plan B, putting and anchor out.

sawingknots 01-12-2012 01:57 PM

there are 2 types of sailors,those that have on occasion "run aground" and those that lie,i keep 2 working depth finders and i'm very careful when i'm in unfamiliar water at high tide, i once spent about 2 hours getting in and out of the water physically checking the deepest side of a narrow tidal creek,going aground on a mucky bottem even at a low speed is very hard to get off,the muck creates a suction on the hull

jackdale 01-12-2012 01:58 PM

Another method to induce heeling to to put all the heavyweight crew to one side and/or hang off the shrouds. (Did that at the Thetis Island Marina. :o)

But first thing - check the tide tables and chart BEFORE departing.

Irunbird 01-12-2012 02:10 PM

Not ashamed to admit- we do it freqently, but in a J24 and in soft mud, you can get away with thinking like that. Especially when racing, we'll frequently seek out shallow water when trying to minimize the effect of current. Our quickest trick to getting off is just to shove the boom all the way out and get the biggest crew to hang out as far as he's comfortable, but it depends on wind direction and which way we're pointing. It seems like each time it's happened, we've devised a different method, but it usually boils down to heeling the boat as far as possible, then tacking/gybing to get headed the other way back into deeper water. We have also made use of the motor (if it's still on the mount- ie. when cruising) to help turn the boat, since it will rotate on the mount.

joeybkcmo 01-12-2012 02:23 PM

twice. Once in bud on a lake, was able to back off / wiggle off with the motor. 2nd time was in sand, waited for the tide and floated free.

Barquito 01-12-2012 02:36 PM


get the biggest crew to hang out as far as he's comfortable
I don't race, so, I really don't know: If the race rules only allow crew weight within the lifelines, is there going to be a protest if your crew needs to hike-out to get you off the bottom?

NCC320 01-12-2012 03:19 PM

Where I sail, we think deep water is about 9-10 ft. Boat draft is roughly 5 ft., so that's lots of room. Groundings happen frequently, but usually no big problem if you aren't going too fast when you hit.

I've had three types of sailboats, so three answers:

In swing keel boats (V24, C22): On the V24, I never locked the keel down. Didn't have a depthfinder. Used crab pots as an guide to where shallow water was and let the swing keel tell me when it was too shallow. The bottom is sand or mud, so the swing keel simply swung back a little when we grounded (rudder was kick-up too so it wouldn't get damaged). When aground, crank up the keel a bit and go another direction (generally going back the way you came in since you aresure water is deeper in that direction).

Fixed fin keel: When grounding, use the engine to twist the boat around so departure could be 180 degrees to original course..i.e. back out the way you came in. Lash the tiller down, put the sails up and harden up, but swing the boom out, then with feet on the rail, put weight on the boom to help heel the boat (don't want to slip here or you might be in the water watching boat sailaway).

Wing Keel: Watch the depth finder very closely. Slow when the water is becoming really shallow so if you touch, it will be a light grounding. Then use engine to twist around 180 degrees so that departure will be in opposite direction from original course ..i.e.back to deep water. Use the rudder and engine to twist the boat back and forth to try to break the suction between the keel and bottom and to gain a little forward motion. Have heard that if you have crew, send them forward to bow to tilt boat fore and aft a bit to help break suction. If you have a rising tide, let that help you also. Wakes from motorboats or moderate waves are also useful to partially lift the boat off the bottom to aid in getting off.

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