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Drying out

27 May 2009 | Porto do Suape, PE, Brazil
I needed to do some work on the propellers (change and inspect the anodes), which was much easier to do with them out of the water.

I took the boat about 20 miles south of Recife to Porto do Suape. There is a significant commercial harbor there, as well as a very shallow, sandy harbor, where I wanted to beach the boat near high tide so the propellers would be out of the water at low tide. There is a pleasant village in the shallow harbor.

The shallow part of Suape being, well, shallow, I went aground about ten times on the way in...much of the time staying about 10 metres off a reef, where the deepest water was, for two miles. All the groundings were on sand, and the tide was rising, so none were a problem--just lift the keel a little more and proceed. While doing all this running aground I realized that not always does just lifting the keel free you from the bottom, as lifting the keel also means the weight of the keel is no longer partly supported by the bottom, so the hull floats a bit lower as the keel is raised--this is only an issue when the keel is almost all the way up. The workaround, of course, is to ensure you only go aground on a rising tide, as you would do without a lifting keel :).

The tidal range was about 1.6m, so the boat always remained partly in the water, but it was far enough out of the water to easily work on the propellers.
Vessel Name: Issuma
Vessel Make/Model: Damien II, 15m/50' steel staysail schooner with lifting keel
Extra: Designed for Antarctica. Built in France by META in 1981. Draft 1.3m/4.5' with keel up, 3.2m/10.5' with keel down. More details at
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Issuma's Photos - Main
Survey pictures taken of Shekin V
14 Photos
Created 29 April 2008