Live aboard to sail away, part 8

You may want to consider careening your vessel. This is where you purposely pull your boat into the shallows at high tide to ground her as the tide drops. This is the only way to work on the bottom of the hull of boats in some areas of the world. The first time I saw this in Carriacou I was surprised and in awe that this could be done. In Windward this is how all large boats are built and repaired. In some sailing grounds with drastic tidal ranges, setting the boat on the ground at each low tide is normal. Boats designed for these reasons usually have very shallow keels and may have dual rudders used to distributed the weight of the vessel when it is high and dry at low tide.

My target draft was 6.5' or less and a sturdy keel and rudder. I ended up with a vessel with 6.5' of draft and a full keel with a cut back tow. I have run her around a few times in the Chesapeake. Mostly on purpose because in the Chesapeake there is an advantage to driving up a creek at low tide until the bottom touches, then turning and dropping anchor. This keeps other boats from going further back in the creek and surrounding your private anchorage. This technique of running aground produces a strange feeling in that twice a day the keel is seated in the mud and the boat does not drift with the wind. Nevertheless, it provides insurance that 270 degrees of my view will be unobstructed by other boats. At 7' of depth there are anchorages I could not use and my cruising grounds would be limited, yet less that 6' of draft may allow me to cut across sand bars, but I have yet to see that really shallow keel depth would open that many more anchorages. I might be able to get a few more yards up Dividing Creek before I hit bottom, but my current technique works well with 6.5' of draft.