Warning Shallow Water!! A Field Guide to Identifying Southerly Yachts…
By Paul Shard, Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.
This morning we dropped anchor in Simpson Bay Lagoon on the lovely island of St Martin. Pretty views, excellent protection and central location close to everything! But before we were even able to get the anchor set and the snubber on we had already caused a Bavaria 42 to run aground! They were looking for a spot to anchor and saw us, on a 49 foot boat, in a large open spot with plenty of room to drop the hook near us. Unfortunately for them they did not recognize our boat is a shallow-draft Southerly and we were in a very shallow spot - that’s why it was empty. We have the keel up and are drawing just 2’10”. The water is just over 3 feet deep.
This patch of shallow water is marked on the chart but still every day we have boats either trying to anchor near us or trying to cut across the corner - and they run aground. Luckily it’s just mud, and the Bavaria unrolled their jib to heel the boat and reduce their draft. Unfortunatelly they headed directly towards us thinking that would get them back to the deep water. I called over to them to head the other way and they got off the mud.
Yacht Draft Comparison
Here are some boats in the 40-50 foot range… We are the longest with by far the shallowest draft. Anyone who owns a Hanse will suspect nearby boats are shallower than they are but people who own Island Packets often assume they are shallower than us! WRONG!
Over 800 Southerly Yachts have been built in the south of England and over there most people recognize them and know a Southerly might be in shallow water. But even in Chichester Harbour, just 1 mile from the factory, this monohull “took the ground” accidentally coming in too close to us on a falling tide.
All Southerly yachts have been built with the ability to “take the ground”… here is a video we did as we purposefully sat on the bottom in the Bahamas and got back off the beach the next morning…
So here are a few images of different Southerlies built over the years to help you identify them. If you see one it might be in shallow water. This is a popular model called the Southerly 35RS - 35 feet long.
Below is a Southerly 100 - similar style to many of the older models.
Largest Southerly ever built! She is 57 feet long. Would you believe this boat, Rosetta, draws just over 3 feet?
Here is the Southerly logo - often on the hull or sails…
Here is the reason we can sail well (keel down) and still sneak into VERY shallow waters… this huge keel lifts up!
Here is the hull drawing… note the keel swings up to hide entirely in the hull…
So if you see Distant Shores II in an anchorage, please come and say hi! But don’t come and anchor near us until you have checked that there is enough water for your boat and that we aren’t in one of our special “shallow draft only” anchorages!
Adventures in Shallow Sailing
Check out some of our favourite shallow water sailing grounds in the Bahamas with this free “starter” episode of Distant Shores… you can download the whole 24 minute episode to view on all your devices…