WHAT TO DO IF… Do you run aground?

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HOW TO BREAK FREE FROM STRANDING?

20120929-4098-Sunset-5-heeling-and-buoy-152756-1024x803QUESTION: “You are sailing at about 4 to 5 knots along the coast in an 11/12-meter cruising boat, in calm sea conditions and light winds. You have four crew members on board and have a tender with an outboard motor at your disposal. Suddenly, however, the boat sands near the mouth of a river and you are unable to free yourself using the engine. What maneuver do you decide to perform to get to the point where you can disengage?”

RESPONSE: Siltation is certainly less traumatic than stranding on rock and it is also easier to free the boat. Having ascertained that my crew members are unaffected, I order the sails to be lowered. I go below deck to check in the bilge to see if any water ways have been created at bulb level and close all sea intakes. At this point I have to heel the hull before turning on the engine, because if I tried to give reverse with the boat silted up I would risk with the evolutionary effect of the propeller more silting. I completely unfurl the outboard boom and get 3 people on the tender.

I rig a halyard that goes through the bugna brim handle on the boom area and harness it to the tender. I make the latter move away from the boat to get a better shooting angle. At this point by cocking the halyard I get the hull heeling, and with the engine in reverse at idle rpm I get rid of the silting. If I were unable to heel the boat acceptably because of the size of the boat, I would have the respect anchor tied to a floating line aft and lower it 30 to 40 m from the boat. At this point with the combined action of partial heeling, I tug with a winch at anchor, and with the action of the engine in reverse I free myself from the silting.

FIRST INSTALLMENT – WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE A LEAK ON BOARD

SECOND INSTALLMENT – WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE TO ANCHOR UNDER SAIL

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