Yes, I have touched bottom, lightly. Well maybe not so lightly. But is was just sand, and it was almost impossible to avoid, and my chart was inaccurate, and I and my first mate were watching every so carefully. I cannot tell where is was because it was illegal to hit the bottom. I do have enough excuses to avoid bruising my ego too much.
We were in Port Everglades yesterday afternoon and saw a beautiful old girl (the 54' (?) Abeking & Rasmussen "Legend") who went hard aground waiting for the 17th Street Causeway Bridge. It looked to be a little embarrassing for the "skipper" because I think it was a broker out with the boat on Sea Trial! No worries though they waited and hour and the tide to lifted them off. The first picture is a little blurry but it was just before they came off amid all kinds of muddy prop wash. The second picture is them making their way up the New River.
One of our best hard groundings occured about a year ago. We decided to take make a late afternoon - early evening outing to our favorate Florida waterfront resturant - the Old Key Lime House in Lantana, FL (Said to be the oldest operating water front resturant in Florida??), where they make one of the best Rum Runners around. Anyway there we are motoring our way on up to Key Lime for 1 1/4 hours. It is hot. The sun has yet to go down. Dad can almost taste that first Rum Runner! We are moving right along on our way to the resturant dock. I think Dad was effected by the first Rum Runner already, even though he didn't even have it in his hand yet, because he cut the corner from the ICW to the channel up to the resturant and sure enough runs hard up on the sand bar. Poor Pyxis bucked like a rocking horse when we hit that sand bar and stuck fast! So there we were, less than 100 yards from the dock of the bar - stuck on a bar! Here is the irony, we hadn't brought the dingy! So we were truly stuck! In the end we called for a tow (ditto the unlimited towing from Boat US!) because we had children on board and did not want to wait out the tide. But of course, we still couldn't make it to the bar because we didn't have a dingy and by then, the tide had fallen enough so that channel was too skinny to get to the dock. So off we went sulking, and thirsty back to our home slip. Never the less, the sunset was wonderful! And mother nature's H20 cocktails cannot be topped!
Welll, my *best* grounding story came about due to *not* following my instincts. (I have a few of these to relate as time goes by)
I was on the first cruise of the new, to me, 33 foot sloop I had just purchased in Ft. Lauderdale. "Just" being a relative term, it took my friend and I about a full month to *finally* get the boat ready to go north. By then, I only had three weeks to get her up to the her new home in Kent Narrows on the Chesapeake. This was no pleasure cruise, this was a "delivery" in no uncertain terms. We had to average over 70 miles/day in a boat that would maybe make 6 mph. Outside was no option because we were in a long cycle of Nor'easters. So, there we were about 1000 and approaching the southern side on one of those wide Georgia sounds. While we were still in the creek and would have been able to anchor, we saw a huge storm heading our way. My first thought was to anchor and let it pass. But, this could have taken several hours and it looked like we could make the other side before it hit us.
Rule broken: go with your first instinct.
Of course it hit us just before we made the mouth of the next creek and the boat rocked around so much, the fuel splashed away from the pick up, killing the diesel. We were unceremoniously washed ashore and as the tide went down, we did a perfect three-point landing on an oyster bed: keel, rudder and turn of the bilge. Shortly, I was able to do a complete walk around inspection of the bottom, keel and rudder. No damage except to my pride. Here I was, holder of a brand new USCG Captain's License and I'm high and dry!
We called Boat U.S. (Thankfully, we had bought the max towing insurance which was $850.00 at the time)
The tow boat would arrive on the scene at high tide (8 foot range) and help us off. I walked anchors out fore and aft in water up to my neck and pushed them into the bottom with my feet.
By the time the tow arrived, we were floating free as a bird in 8 feet of water and just needed help to get the engine started. (I was new to diesels and had no first hand knowledge of bleeding one)
The portal to portal bill came to $825.00, so I was quite fortunate.
Total time lost: about 12 hours. We had to go up a creek in the dark to anchor for what was left of the night.
I vowed to NEVER go against my instincts ever again.
I like centerboards, just put epoxy glass over the leading edge and is a good telltail for grounding and adds a sacrifiacial cover for centerboard. My Centerboard is down 5.7 ft. and twin rudders 3.6 ft. so the centerboard always kicks up in shallow before the twin rudders. I often have the centerboard up to draw 2 ft. of water and have quick release jambs for rudders.
All about getting in thin waters and cruise in 1 ft. or less down here in SW, FL.
Dave 26X Mac.
The original saying is (you haven't Sailed far if you have never run aground), I don't know what a true skipper is but would imagine a person devoted to Sailing.
The only time I have run aground after well over 30,000 miles are deliberate (shallow draft boats I beach) or cking out unmarked channels Gunkholeing. I have touched the bottom many times under very slow speeds and under power trying to get thru a channel.
It's that temptation of..should I try it or bypass a possable good Gunkhole area. I never rely on current Charts as here is SW FL. shoals change often and Local knowledge a must in some areas.
I spent many Yrs. cruiseing the Cape Cod and Islands area, shoals and current play a major factor back than, today with GPS it is like anyone can sail now.
I used to do my boating and sailing on pretty skinny water: Long Island's Great South Bay. We would ground frequently, especially as the bottom often shifted after storms. No big deal; it was all sand. Travelling down the bays (Moriches, Tiana, etc.) we'd sometimes ground just off the channel on purpose to stop for lunch or a quick walk to the beach. Pick low tide to ground and have some fun. Shallow draft boat (vintage Ventnor cruiser) helps. High tide will come in eventually and float you off. Once grounded my 41 ft Hand motorsailer Penguin in Shinnecock bay heading south from the lock towards the inlet and stuck for 9 hours until we floated off again. Didn't want to power or kedge her off because I didn't want to do any harm to her bottom or running gear (unusual as a 2-engine sailor). Dumb; wind blew us out of the channel and I just wasn't paying attention. It'll happen again, too, no doubt!