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Old 07-16-2012, 06:00 PM   #1
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A Grounding

Great Forum, I've read all the Californian threads.
I'm in the process of searching for that cruiser that will keep me company for the next 20yrs (I hope). I've sailed a Cape Dory 36 since 83, times are changing so I'm lookin at Trawlers. I draw 5' plus a bit and have bounced, skipped, and even plowed the bottom here in N/E NC. No problm she is a full keeled vessel. While researching the California's it looks like anything but a soft slow grounding is gonna crunch. Some other makes appear to be quite a bit more protected. I realize this may not be as great a concern for folks on the west coast where you have plenty of water. On the ICW there are areas where if you stray from the channel you may encounter skinny water very quickly . So my question is how well does she handle a slow slide into the sand ? After reviewing the design it looks like the hard chine of the design may keep her from being a real roller in the open ocean swell. The boat I'm lookin at right now has a set of Perkins in her. I have a Perkins 4108 in my CD and they are tough but dirty motors as time wears on. Has anyone had issues with the Perkins ? Thanks Steve
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Old 07-16-2012, 09:03 PM   #2
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Steve,

Unfortunately , I probably have more grounding experience than most Californian owners on this forum. I boat in the skinny CA Delta. I'd say you're right, there is a lot exposed to damage from all but the softest of groundings.

I hit something sharp and submerged a few years ago that caused significant damage to the running gear and bottom paint on the port side. based upon the marks on the hull, the yard manager thought it was a sunken boat. I also had a soft grounding earlier this year that cause no damage.

The other risk I learned is submerged logs. I have hit so many of them that I'm considering changing my boat's name to Log Magnet. If I had a single with a keel protected prop, I doubt I'd have had to tune my props twice in the past 5 years.

I suppose the boat is pretty stable in beam seas, but like most square-transom vessels, she likes a lot of attention in the following seas.

I have the Perkins 4.236 and love the efficiency, simplicity and reliability. Mine only smoke when they're cold...otherwise they seem very clean burning at normal temps.

What Californian model(s) are you considering?
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Old 07-16-2012, 09:57 PM   #3
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As much exploring & gunkholing as we do on the Chesapeake, we have had both slide in/ back off groundings & the "uh, oh, hope we didn't get a prop" type. Depending on your speed, a grounding in mud or sand is usually not much more than an annoyance. Going faster & hitting something solid can be costly. As an ex sail boater, a roll in our Californian 34 is quite a bit more exciting than being "rail down" in our Dickerson ketch. Both beam, & following seas require some attentative helm & throttle work. A full displacement hull will probably be a good bit more active in the roll mode. Can't address the Perkins issues, as we have DD 8.2's. Happy boat hunting
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Old 07-17-2012, 12:08 AM   #4
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On another post I thought I read that you were looking at a 38' trawler. The 34' sedans are an excellent choice also. I don't think you said the year and style, aft cabin or sedan. The early models were built by Marshall Boat Company in Santa Anna and later models by Wellcraft and the name was passed to a series of different boat companies and different style boats after that. But since you said they were Perkins engines, I'm going to assume it's a Marshall boat.

The 38' and 42' trawlers were basically the same boat, hard chine, kind of a sturdy partial keel under them that ran from the bow to just ahead of the props. With a few exceptions they were mostly all twins.

Usually when you run up on sand or mud you end up on the keel and don't get to the props or rudders unless you go dry. The deepest part of the boat is on the bottom of the keel a couple feet aft of the bow. The two times mine was bounced across a rocky bottom it was this area of the keel that sustained some superficial glass damage, but the props and rudders passed over without a scratch. (Entrance to Fisherman's Bay, Lopez Island both times!!) My brother-in-law once and my father once a year later. Entrance to this bay is a rock bottom and on low tides its not a good idea to enter.

Overall the boat is a wonderful boat. I've been in some hellish storms with her and huge seas and she's always come through without a scratch. They're solid hand laid glass hull and decks, never a blister or delamination in 36 years of in water moorage. The weak points on the early 38' and 42's were the wood frame windows (aft cabin are the worse, they're nine feet long.) which need to be re-bedded every couple of years or better yet replaced with aluminum frame windows.

The Perkins Engines, mine are 6.354M n/a, are solid engines and inexpensive to maintain or rebuild, as diesels go. Most of the parts are still available from the company and aftermarket. Exception would be the water cooled exhaust manifolds, which are available for the turbo charged version from Barr around $900 and the non turbo charged from MESA marine in Stainless for about $1300 each.

Fuel tanks are under the aft bunks and are easily removed, they lift right out for cleaning or replacement. I carry around 500 gallon divided among 4 tanks. Gives me a range of around 1000 miles at 8 knots and between 8 and 900 miles at 10 knot.

Good luck
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Old 07-17-2012, 04:50 AM   #5
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If you are going to boat in skinny water most of the time, why not consider a power catermaran? Shoal draft, requires only very small power plant....
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Old 07-18-2012, 06:45 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies, I'm lookin at a 79 38' LRC with Perkins motors. The 38 seems to be all the boat I feel I need, but who really knows ? My plans for now would be ICW down to the Bahamas and do the Exumas as far as Georgetown. If I buy a Florida boat this summer I think I'll keep it down there for this winter and head north on the ICW in March. Head back down in Nov 2013 for a trip to the Exumas.I read Scooters blog about the dreaded Pungo canal incident. I've travel that rt about 20-30 times and it's always been an adventure in itself.Seems I always managed to encounter a barge brigade and their wall of water when in that area. Stumps are always a concern in that area, as well as the shallow waters of the Alligator river. One former 38 owner had told me if you run aground slow enough the bow will plow you to a stop before you can damage the shafts or rudders. Larry have you done the window replacement yet ? I wish others would let me know how their Marine Traders or other vessels with a keel of sorts handle the bumps they encounter . My Dad always would say "running aground builds character". Think that applies to life as much as it does boats.
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:33 PM   #7
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The 37's were built between 1976 and 1977. In 1978 they added about a foot to the stern which gave them room for a deck storage compartment and deck hatch behind the aft cabin. Other than that it is essentially the same boat as a 38'. The 42's have always tempted me; I see them come available once in a while for 38' prices and offer 6 more feet of main salon which at times would be nice. But I'm already paying for a 46' slip and I really don't want to move up to a 50' slip at $850 month.

I replaced the two 9 foot long aft cabin windows with aluminum probably 10 or 12 years ago. Cost was around $550 for the pair, but I did the install. Hasn't leaked since!!

I re-bed the main cabin windows only as needed, but they are smaller and less likely to leak. I re-caulked both windshields last fall and the last time it was done was 2003. So that doesn't happen often either.

They were built in Santa Anna, Ca. so a lot of them cruise coastal waters of the Pacific. Very good rough water boat.
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Old 07-19-2012, 04:36 PM   #8
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Grounding is one reason I am building rather than buying.
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Old 07-19-2012, 10:33 PM   #9
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ungrounding groundings

This Grand Banks 50 grounded on a hurricane high tide. The insuror was going to have a helicopter skycrane remove it. Imagine the damage. Here i dig a propchannel through the clam bar to it, and then propwash around it. All done in two tides, and saved a bunch of bucks.

Watch those Perkins. 4108's are a pain, especially when run dry, with their carbon blade injection pump. The 4-236 perkins is grrrrreat, and the 4-154 real decent. But, find yourself a Lehman 2715, and you will understand the term 'thrive on neglect' and cheap parts when needed.
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Old 07-20-2012, 02:52 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by FlyWright View Post
Unfortunately , I probably have more grounding experience than most Californian owners on this forum.
I sort of doubt that. I've gone aground six times. The first four occurred in the dark one evening attempting to exit the narrow San Rafael channel in 1964. Fortunately, the tide was rising, so I went from grounding to grounding until leaving the channel.

(Wait -- all my goundings have been in California, but I've never been aboard a Californian.)
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Old 07-20-2012, 07:10 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by OBXSkipper View Post
Thanks for the replies, I'm lookin at a 79 38' LRC with Perkins motors. The 38 seems to be all the boat I feel I need, but who really knows ? My plans for now would be ICW down to the Bahamas and do the Exumas as far as Georgetown. If I buy a Florida boat this summer I think I'll keep it down there for this winter and head north on the ICW in March. Head back down in Nov 2013 for a trip to the Exumas.I read Scooters blog about the dreaded Pungo canal incident. I've travel that rt about 20-30 times and it's always been an adventure in itself.Seems I always managed to encounter a barge brigade and their wall of water when in that area. Stumps are always a concern in that area, as well as the shallow waters of the Alligator river. One former 38 owner had told me if you run aground slow enough the bow will plow you to a stop before you can damage the shafts or rudders. Larry have you done the window replacement yet ? I wish others would let me know how their Marine Traders or other vessels with a keel of sorts handle the bumps they encounter . My Dad always would say "running aground builds character". Think that applies to life as much as it does boats.
I bought a single screw boat because of the "perception" that a single screw boat, when grounding or hitting something, will incur less or no damage as compared to a twin screw.

There are countless variables that are involved but my experience... especially the last 10 seasons of assistance towing I feel my "perception" is pretty accurate. Not that single screw boats are immune to damage...or that some twin designs are more susceptible...but on average that's my story and I'm sticking to it..
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Old 07-20-2012, 01:17 PM   #12
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If you boat enough its not a question if you will go aground but WHEN. I have grounded the Eagle 3 times, 1 anchor dragged, and 2 knewn there was a good possibility. All three where soft groundings no hull/prop damage. Before we head north to Alaska/BC, I plan on adding Bilge keels to keep/prevent the Eagle from rolling over as I am planning to go a ground and/or on a grid. On a full displacement/soft chime boat most of the damage is water when the boat roll over on its side like the GB in the picture. If grounding is a concern add keels/running gear protection to the boat.
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Old 07-20-2012, 03:06 PM   #13
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If you boat enough its not a question if you will go aground but WHEN.
I don't agree with that at all. I can't think of any boater I've met since we got our GB who's gone aground. We have certainly heard lots of grounding incidents on the VHF over the years, but most of them have been smaller boats-- Bayliner runabouts seem to be particularly attracted to rocks and sandbars.

I will agree that the chances of a grounding go much higher if one boats in shallow or shoal water, particularly where currents are constantly moving the bars around like on a river or perhaps SFO bay or the ICW. But this notion that every boater will go around at some point is nonsense. That's like saying that it's not a question of if a pilot will crash but when. I have no way of coming up with an exact figure but I'd be willing to bet that 99.999 percent of career pilots go through their whole careers with nary a scratch. I've met a ton of professional pilots since I started flying in the early 70s and while a tiny number of them have had to make forced landings due to airplane problems, the rest never contacted the ground (or water) unless they wanted to. I suspect the same is true for the vast majority of career captains and even most conscientious lifetime boaters.
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Old 07-20-2012, 08:23 PM   #14
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Bilge keel concerns

Well, that GB in the picture is a hard chine boat. If you are going to add bilge keels, you are in for a job and a half. I'd suggest you contact the builder and the designer for another opinion as to the weight distribution should you go aground. Even on a steel hull, bilge keels are a big problem on the bottom. And, if you need to unground the vessel without full water under it, they are an obstruction that is tough to deal with. Anti roll, all good, but on the bottom, Hmmm.
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Old 07-20-2012, 08:50 PM   #15
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We've seen round bottomed, keeled, displacement hulled fishing boats on the tidal grids in SE Alaskan harbors many, many times. They don't need bilge keels to help hold them upright. They do lash the boat securely to the grid's pilings and they position the boat so that as the tide goes out the boat takes a slight list in to lean against the grid's pier. But other than the keel resting on the grid's timbers, no other support is needed. In fact the bilge keels I have seen on displacement boats like this would not even touch the grid so would do nothing to help support or stabilize the boat.

In a deliberate beaching--- careening the sailing ship folks called it--- I'm not sure of the value of bilge keels there, either. They would have to be hell for stout to support the weight, probably way more stout (aka heavy) than is necessary to simply provide stabilization when underway.

I wonder if using timber supports spaced along the hull to help support the vessel as it leans over on the shore would be a more practical solution. From the illustrations I've seen it's what the sailing ship guys did.

But most harbors in SE Alaska and some we've visited along the inside waters of BC still have grids, so I don't know of any reason to careen a boat ashore. Assuming you could even find a suitable section of smooth, non-rocky shore to put the boat on.
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Old 07-20-2012, 09:51 PM   #16
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grounding ungrounding

So i just had to throw this pic in here. I ungrounded this boat just like the Grand Banks in the previous photo. Now these ungroundings seem easy after working in the Bahamas for nine years, where every grounding was on coral, and usual in a sea. these West Coast of Florida groundings are sand, mud, clam bars, and seldom a hard bottom. This operator had left the Miami Boat Show with this 78 foot jet powered catamaran. (2 bilge keels, one on each side!) He rounds the tip of Florida, come up the Gulf Coast past Cape Romano, doing the whole trip on autopilot, even at night. He rounds the Cape close off, and sets the pilot for the sea bouy at Marco Island. Well, that's fine, but the National Park called Tigertail Beach is right on the course. On autopilot, at 24 knots, he scoots up on the beach. The CarriCraft was still intact, but a visual inspection showed some broken motor mounts, and bulkhead crushing. I ungrounded this vessel with the same towboat used to unground the Grand Banks 50 shown earlier. It took about the same time to do it as the Grank Banks, about a day and a half. But what was interesting about this job was that there was all kinds of authorities on scene, and about 4000 people according to the news. And each jurisdiction had to flex their muscles. At one point, the local Sheriffs said I had to stop working, because too many citizens were too close to the boat. So I hired on the spot 6 off duty sheriffs, for $50/hour, to keep the people away. ther were happy. Then a Marine Patrol State Officer ordered me to stop propwashing for 'environmental concerns.' He was quickly convinced that leaving the boat these would be an even greater environmental concern. Of course, the media interviewed these guys, but this was in the 1990's and Youtube wasn't around yet. My biggest concern was the length of the catamaran. I didn't think I could dig enough of a channel alongside it, because there just wasn't a place for my prop to blow all that sand. But what happened was, the catamaran began to settle into the hole by the stern, and the bow was raised. So a pivot point occurred about amidships, and I was able to wallow the boat sideways, gaining an inch or two on each side pull. (We call it walking the dog) This was a fun job, and the pay was OK, but it wasn't great. On the way home, a trip of about 50 miles back to Pine Island, I stopped to unground a 40 Endeavour sailboat aground in Naples Florida. Jerry
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Old 07-20-2012, 10:06 PM   #17
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Here is another fun grounding. This owner bought this boat, and was unable to insure it before he wrecked it. Off Boca Grande Florida, the weather turned bad. The diesel stopped. He tried to anchor, but the anchor dragged. When in breakers, the anchor grabbed, the rig came down when the bow pulpit was ripped loose. So the vessel went ashore on the very private island. The storm passed, and the authorities stickered the boat with a fine of $25,000/day until removed. Dayworkers on the island were stripping the boat on their extended lunch hours. stealing the bronze portholes. So when the owner finally called me, I told him I'd do the job, after looking at the boat, for an hourly rate, weather permitting. (You see, the tides in these areas of the Gulf Coast are less than two feet, and this photo is on the high tide.) Anyway, darn if we didn't have a bit higher tide the next night (about three inches higher which is a lot), so I dug the boat out in about an hour and a half. But before I dug it out, I called the officer who stickered the boat. You see, there was a bit of leverage available, so I convinced the officer to give the owner 48 hours before imposing the fines, from the time I started working. My purpose was twofold, to help the owner, and not to incur fine liability myself. Believe it or not, when you attach the towline, you attach the liability. Carl still has the Doryanna, and is restoring it for his own use. Jerry
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Old 07-20-2012, 11:45 PM   #18
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Great to have you onboard, Jerry. Love your tales of mariner woe and recovery.
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Old 07-21-2012, 02:27 AM   #19
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Marin-I seem to recall reading somewhere about "legs" that can temporarily attached to the sides of a boat to hold it upright when in areas of big tidal flows. Seems to me they were European and used in Northern Europe/Great Britain. Can't remember what they were called.
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Old 07-21-2012, 04:22 AM   #20
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Sailboats with twin keels are quite common in the UK. Not big sailboats, perhaps up to 30 feet or so. So when the tide goes out the boats sit on their keels like stands. These keels are permanent, not removable. Powerboats just lean over a bit.
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