A puzzle -- how to heel to pass under a bridge - SailNet Community
Old 07-14-2011 Thread Starter
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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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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulinVictoria View Post
Thanks Paul... I was looking for that but not having any luck.... here it is direct:

Ron

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Old 07-14-2011
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How about just waiting for the low tide to pass under the 42 ft bridge?

1978 Gulfstar 50'
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Old 07-14-2011 Thread Starter
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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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Old 07-14-2017
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Re: A puzzle -- how to heel to pass under a bridge

Here is an interesting way to go about it. Google search "freedom 28 low bridge"
We helped some friends clear through the local locks recently.
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Old 07-14-2017
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I agree with previous comments, it seems like you are in the wrong place for a bigger boat. Either stay small or try moving to another marina on the other side of the bridge. But, I do like engineering challenges.

How about going a different direction. Instead of weighting down one side with water, maybe lift the other side with air.
Pass lines (or wide webbing straps) under the boat and secure them to cleats. Attach the lines to an air bladder that is just below the waterline on the other side. Pump air into the air bag and it will rise pulling against the lines under the boat and will tilt the boat as it attempts to rise.

Motor slowly under the bridge, deflate the bag, pull the webbing straps out. Let it dry on deck for awhile, fold and store below. Air weighs less than water and is free.

You could use a single bed size inflatable air mattress. I have two that I have used for years as extra beds in the family room when the teenagers had sleepovers. They held up well to wrestling, jumping and some sharp objects.
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Last edited by midwesterner; 07-14-2017 at 10:57 AM.
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Old 07-14-2017
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Re: A puzzle -- how to heel to pass under a bridge

This thread was 6 years ago - I'm sure he figured it out by now.
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Old 07-14-2017
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Re: A puzzle -- how to heel to pass under a bridge

Quote:
Originally Posted by svsinequanon View Post
Here is an interesting way to go about it. Google search "freedom 28 low bridge"
We helped some friends clear through the local locks recently.

Oh, that is cool. You just need a couple of beefy friends and a skinny person at the helm.

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