One of the many perks of Detour’s flat hull design is the boat’s ability to dry-out. With the centerboard completely raised, Detour sits level on the hull without damage to the propeller or rudders. The vast, tidal sand flats of Alvor presented an ideal location to finally try this trick.
Brian and I walked the sand flats at low tide to select a location to dry-out. We brought the iPad on our trek so that we could add a waypoint to the iNavX chart of our intended location. The ideal spot was a relatively flat area without any rocks. We also walked the channel leading to the dry-out location, tracking our walk on the chart, so that we’d have a GPS guide while navigating through the water. Additionally, we’d rely on the depth sounder to navigate Detour onto the sand flats.
As the tide dropped, we motored Detour out Alvor’s marked channel and then made a hard left to turn onto the sand flats. We followed the GPS mini-channel track that we'd added to the chart. The water was spectacularly clear and it looked as though we could run aground at any moment! Once we had reached the dry-out waypoint marked on the chart, we went a bit farther in search of shallower water. We wanted to be certain that we’d be hard aground when the tide went out but cautious that we’d have enough water to get back out! In about 4-ft of depth, we dropped the anchor. And then we waited.
Detour was surrounded by kite boarders! We sat patiently in the cockpit watching kite boarders skim past as the water drained from a narrow mini-channel just off our bow. Each time the lines from the kites missed our mast we breathed a sigh of relief. These guys and gals were pros! Finally, we kicked back to watch the show of colorful jumps, whirls and whizzes. When the water below Detour was about knee-high, we splashed down to get to work scrubbing the slimy hull.
The timing of the tide worked so that we’d spent the night on the sand flats. When we awoke the next morning, Detour was hard aground for a second time. We enjoyed our breakfast with an unusually, sandy backdrop and waited for the water to return to float us back to our anchorage.