Advice for novice on coastal cruising
Ahoy, jfletcher. You got some good advice regarding your planned coastal cruise. Everyone agreed you should go. I vote go, also. It isn''t as if you are taking off across the Atlantic. This is a series of daysails you are talking about laid end to end. I would make the following recommendations. Take at least 30 SPF lip ice and sun tan lotion. You''ll be on the water all day and will have no wind some of the time. It isn''t comfortable sitting and baking
for hours. I just got back yesterday from eight days aboard out of St. Pete. I used SPF
45 because I didn''t have much of a color base
before I left. I was in the sun all day every
day and did not even burn. Use it generously and twice a day. Next, you need a vhf so you can contact bridge operators, other boats, the Coast Guard if necessary, and so you can get the weather on a continuing basis. Third,
the first time, I recommend you plan your trip from beginning to end including plotting
your route. Take a hand bearing compass and binoculars. Never get out of site of land the
first time. Check off your reference points as you go. Make sure you account for tide and
current in your planning. Take two anchors, preferably a plow or danforth, and a bruce. If your chosen anchorage isn''t well sheltered, set two anchors at least 60 degrees apart with 7 to 1 scope. You''ll sleep
better. We spent one night in a bad storm in foul weather gear with lightening all around and the rain blowing horizontally picking up the one anchor we had out because we were dragging so badly and resetting it with a second anchor. It wasn''t fun and we had some close moments. Make sure you know how to anchor, how to recover a man over board (I recommend the quick stop method because you turn immediately to wind, back the jib, leaving it, making a slow even circle around the person, close to them (about two boat lengths), and end up lying to just above them
and drifting down, sheltering them and making
it easier to recover them, and you can do it single handed without losing site of the person or having to mess with the jib.), how to heave to, and how to reef. Never wait till
it is getting late to start in. You want to be in your anchorage, on the hook, at least an hour before the sun goes down. Better early than late. The wind can drop, you can run into current you hadn''t accounted, etc. You don''t want to be feeling your way into an
anchorage at night in a place you have never been on your first cruise. A good way to cruise an unfamiliar coast is to just follow the fathom line. Pick one that is far enough out, that leaves you plenty of water under you and just stay on it. Just use daylight, your fathometer, your eyes, and good judgement. When in doubt, run for cover.
Go for it. Enjoy. dhartdallas.