How safe it is to get a yacht broke.
Theory and practice

How safe it is to get a yacht broke.

Breathe out and remember the first rule of holes: if you're in a hole, stop digging.
Share on social media

Much of what comes to mind right after you're grounded can only make things worse. Get ready to guess, get nervous and doubt yourself. And also - listen to a lot of advice from others, which will not be applicable in practice.

Getting aground, first think about the situation and act very carefully, otherwise the chaos will absorb you. If this is your first run aground, you are either new to yachting or a very careful person. An experienced yachtsman can take a whole weekend to tell you about all such cases. And for sure in this story one cannot do without stories about self-mutilation: it is not uncommon that landing to the ground leads to bruises, cuts, and sometimes even fractures and tremors. So the first thing you need to do is check the condition of your crew. If anybody needs medical attention, give it to them right away. In the worst-case scenario, a boat could leak when it's grounded. Make sure that all crew members are wearing life jackets. If the boat is picking up water, do not send anyone to the quarters: it will be difficult to get out of there.

Before you start shooting from the ground, determine the nature of the bottom in the place where your keel met him. If it's a coral reef, imagine there's a hundred hacksaws underneath you at lunchtime. Once your yacht starts moving, the hacksaw break is over.

when developing a rescue plan, plan as few moves as possible.

Try to avoid «chatter» and roll. Logically (and statistically), it's best to give it back and go the same way you went aground. If you have a powerful enough motor and you haven't turned it around, try to start it and go stranded on the crest of the wave. But everything has to be verified, otherwise, when the wave lowers you may be back on the reefs.

Rocks are the second worst option after corals. Even if the stone on which your keel rests is smooth and even, you don't know where the sharp edge is waiting for you. The stone has no cushioning effect, so hitting the rock is much more likely to loosen the keel mount and bend the handlebar pen.

Sand and dirt have similar characteristics and are the most popular grounding environments. If you start to turn a keel stuck in the mud, it will only go deeper - remember what happens to your feet when you walk on the sand. The best way to get out of this trap is the most obvious: if your keel has dug a canal in the sand or mud when you're grounding, try to get back on it too.

Shoot without an engine

Worst thing is, your boat doesn't have a motor. Going back under the engine is the easiest, but if it does not work or does not work at all, all that remains is the sails, which means that direction and thrust are limited. If the wind is up your nose, you're lucky! Try to take the geek out in the wind and take the stack out manually to inflate it in the other direction and move backwards. In any other case, you need to be sure that the deep water is ahead, because the boat will go forward and in the windy direction. If you know that deep water is in the downwind side, try to tilt the boat. Precipitation will decrease and you will be blown off by the wind.

Some suggest climbing the mast and thus create a slope. But this should only be done if you are sure that the boat will be pulled down to a deep place. If you are not so sure, do not tilt the yacht without calculating the consequences.

Theoretically, you can try to pull a yacht from the ground with a creel.

If you have a boat, anchor it to where you were before you were stranded. Take the chain, people and anything that has any significant weight. Dry the water tanks. You need to make the boat as light as possible. This will help to reduce the draught of the boat, and it will be much easier to pull it out of the ground. Otherwise, pulling even through the winch may not be enough. The angle at which you have to pull your boat from the ground is likely to be unsuccessful, and when a rescue tugboat arrives, it will be difficult for you to clear the way for it to get to your boat. If there's no boat on board, you'll have to anchor as far away as possible. Ask yourself how far you can drop an anchor weighing 10 kg? How far can you drop an anchor weighing 20 kg?

However, there is one undeniably valuable feature when grounding: the anchor can hold you in place. The anchor will prevent currents, winds and waves from stranding the yacht even further. If you see that the low tide is over, or if there are other reasons why it is safer to stay in place, immediately drop the anchor against the wind, wave or current that is carrying you. If you don't have a boat, you won't be able to anchor far enough, but you can try to hang an extra load in front of the main anchor. The anchor end will press to the bottom and the anchor holding force will increase. Later it will be a bit of a problem to pull it out, but this is better than if the anchor crawls. So it's worth taking that chance.

Be careful trying to get broke on the engine.

When you try to go aft on the engine, remember that the screw works. The more you give the gas, the more it lifts from the bottom of the sludge, sand and other dirt. All this settles in the engine cooling system. Once you have shut down the engine, it is a good idea to check the filters and clean them immediately if necessary.

When you give in to the gas by reversing, the torque of the screw increases and you can start turning. You need to make sure that the boat moves straight backwards and compensate for the tendency to turn. You don't want the keel to get stuck any further or your nose to hit the rock. It is better to go back at the minimum necessary power, carefully adjusting the throttle knob. All these recommendations concern a situation where you are hopelessly and completely stuck. If (as it usually happens) you feel a slight warning blow to the bottom, let's reverse completely and hope for the best.

What to do when you're on a catamaran

It's harder to get stranded on a catamaran, especially if there's only one floater. When you try to go broke, turn both engines on, you'll start to turn around. For example, if the right float is broke and the left one is deep water, you will start turning counterclockwise when reversing. At this point, do not forget where this article began - take into account the nature of the bottom.

To free the starboard float, you need to practice reversing on the starboard engine while earning a living with the left engine to avoid the effect of rotation. You'll be stranded on your starboard side, and when the keel is free, you'll be turned clockwise and grounded. To avoid landing again, immediately after the keel is released, you need to turn the engine forward and turn stern to ground.

In the case when a yachtsman you know, a regatta rival or other participants in the water come to your rescue, remain vigilant. You must be clear about whether the advice and guidance they give you and your boat will harm you. Keep an eye on the direction you are being towed. Do not tie the towing sling to places not intended to be towed, even if you are strongly advised to do so. If you do decide to knit a towing sling for weak spots, then knit a safety net so that it can be untied easily. If possible, fasten the towing end through a special loop so that you can control the direction of towing. Keep an eye on the screws - both your own and that of someone helping you.

A few more words about exploring places where you don't know the depths.

Hold your nose in the direction of possible shallow. The rudder arm is vulnerable: a huge shoulder acts on him when he hits. Baller, rudderpost - all this easily bends, breaks and can damage the stern of the hull.

When you've gone broke and it's over, sit down and rethink the situation from beginning to end to draw conclusions. How did this happen? Is the map lying? Did you read it correctly? What is the tide period now? Was anything broken? Do I need to buy additional equipment for such cases?

If you broke a yacht yourself - great job! Yachtsmen have been facing this problem for thousands of years and have been successfully coping with it. But even if you had to call for help - don't worry, sometimes it's the only option. The main thing is that by the end of the day both the yacht and her crew are ready to go to sea again.

This article was written by Don Margraf for Sailing Magazine on June 1, 2018.

Share on social media
Want your yacht SOLD?
Let us know whether you want to get a fast deal by selling instantly for cash or list your yacht on favorable terms. Leave a request and get a free valuation of your Boat.