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  #11  
Old 08-15-2006
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What's the Big Deal...

Hey, I don't have near the type of experience that most people who provide answers on here do, but I do have a suggested source of information:
A source that could give you a general ideas of the positives and negatives of a serious bluewater passage would be Maiden Voyage by Tania Aebi. If you want to see what can go wrong then maybe try a book such as Adrift by Steven Callahan.
Although there are two extremes presented in these authors' stories I still would say that both authors are extremely fortunate to have such positive stories after overcoming their problems (Aebi's lack of experience and Callahan's incredible odds against living through his ordeal).

p.s. forgot to mention that Aebi does her journey on an, apparently solid, sub 30-footer (I believe around 26 ft.)

Last edited by Songlines82; 08-15-2006 at 11:08 PM.
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  #12  
Old 08-15-2006
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I would differ very much from Charlie Cobra's advice in THIS particular case. Two most important items would be a life raft and EPIRB.
You guys have said it all. My own view is that anyone with a boat of ANY size who asks this question seriously is not qualified to do it.
Seriously Yachtsea...no reason a solid sub-30 footer can't do it. You need some heavy weather sea miles near shore before you try it. Wait for a day when it's blowing 30 knots or so and try to go 10-15 miles offshore....then sail back and forth for 24 hours or so. ...tacking, standing watch, cooking, sleeping, puking! If you survive it...do another 24 hours etc. and maybe another 24...then you'll have a 3 day gale under your belt and you'll have learned a lot about your boat and yourself. The next time you do it...you both will be better prepared. Before you head offshore...be sure you have those 2 key items I mentioned.
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Old 08-15-2006
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I'll agree on the EPIRB, but would recommend a GPIRB, rather than just an EPIRB, as the integrated GPS is a better idea.

The liferaft really depends on the boat...on a well-built multihull, it isn't as necessary as it is on a monohull. However, even on the "unsinkable" boats, like multihulls and monohulls like the Etap brand, fire is one hazard where having a liferaft might save your life... if you can avoid fire...then a liferaft isn't necessarily a necessity.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 08-16-2006
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Don't let people tell you that your plan is nuts. Yes there's a lot to learn but if you have the ability to take in information and to reason your way through problems, and you are well prepared, then going offshore is as safe as any other form of travel. As for doing it in a less than 30 footer. Small boats are going to get pushed around a lot more by the sea so they are going to be less comfortable. They are also have a slower hull speed so you're going to be exposed to the sea for a longer period of time thus increasing your chance of running into bad weather. The relative size or a wave is an obvious factor too. Having said that, people have sailed across the oceans in 12ft boats. My preferance would be 36-50' personally.
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Old 08-16-2006
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I have read this thread awstruk. I never even thought about the risks involved with blue water crusing. I can only reflect on what I've read in Sail Magazine and the glories of it, and here it is in real life, reading about the experiences of real people. One thing not mentioned about deep water crusing is about pirates. I've heard there real and a sure concern out there. Is this true?
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Old 08-16-2006
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Yes, pirates are a concern, but only if you're sailing in certain geographic locations. Most times, piracy is a coastal phenomenon, not a bluewater one. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to spot a small sailboat in the middle of the ocean.

Also, many times, pirates will not bother with a small (less than 35') sailing vessel, as it is often not worth their time and effort to do so. They will go after a larger yatch, 40'+, generally, as the larger the boat, the more likely that the people on board have more money and expensive electronics, making it much more worthwhile to do so.

That said, recently, the naval forces of several countries, including the United States have been cracking down on pirates, and if they hear about an attack in progress, usually via SSB-radio, they often will intervene and escort the vessel out of danger. This has happened several times off the coast of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden so far, which was one of the more serious problem areas.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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  #17  
Old 08-16-2006
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SD,

I was smart enought to try and take the photos. Got some of them as they were swiming off the port side but it looks like crud. Sea was spraying all over the lens. I put it in my book anyway. My wife was also kind enough to to shoot a picture of me the next morning after that night. No, I will not share that one. Let's just say that I learned that EVERYONE GETS SEA SICK... we all just have different thresholds!!
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It is not just piracy....there is robbery, assault, dinghy theft etc. etc. that are more real every day dangers than piracy at sea. Here's a post from just yesterday about the present situation in Trinidad...just one island!

Subject: S/V DHARMA BUM III in Chaguaramas, Trinidad, W.I. -- Mo., 24. July 2006

I have left my home country of Germany in 1982 and have been sailing (with lots of interruptions) since 1987. I have also visited around 50 countries in my various travels.

~~~~~

After a whole spate of thefts, burglaries and armed robberies in Chaguaramas, yachties convened a security meeting this morning at 10:00 o'clock in "The Bight" at Peake Yacht Services. Andy of TIXI LIXI organized and chaired the meeting and about 100 yachties and cruisers showed up (at a similar meeting in March about 10 people came). Especially invited were the Yacht Services Association of Trinidad and Tobago (YSATT), the police in Carenage, and a representative from the ministry of tourism. Unfortunately I did not see any of the representatives and the local paper covering the boating scene understandably didn't want to print things that might keep people away from the place.

Quite a few of the people present had lost dinghies, outboards, generators or other things from their boats and not a few of them were victims of armed robberies where the attackers held guns to their heads. One French sailor had his boat broken into at the reputable marina Crews Inn. The boat got completely ransacked and the thieves had taken absolutely everything of any value. Even the diesel generator and the engine were gone.

One person stopped his car at a red light, when a robber smashed the window and held a gun to his head. Another was robbed in his house and received multiple serious stabs in the front and the back. One woman about 70 years of age was robbed three times while taking a maxi-taxi (minibus) from Chaguaramas to Port of Spain. She now has obtained a permit to carry a gun. These were all local people, not visitors, tourists, yachties or cruisers. In the capital of Port of Spain, which is relatively small as capitals go, on average 1.7 people get murdered every day. This is not only a yachtie problem - but yachties are prime targets for thieves and robbers.

Naturally some of these people were extremely upset, with tempers rising and flaring. Some cruisers called for the formation of an armed militia, which suggestion didn't receive much enthusiasm. Other people were quick to demand all kinds of things from the local business community and the local government. Finally, most yachties present signed a petition to send off to the authorities, while a subgroup discussed forming a dinghy-watch run by yachties in a revolving manner on a voluntary basis. One circumnavigator, whose wife was on the most recently robbed maxi-taxi (minibus) suggested a concerted boycott of all the local businesses to draw their attention to the security problem. He received a round of solid applause.

Amongst the other numerous suggestions was the idea to suggest a harbor watch to the local marinas and YSATT, as they already have most of the necessary infrastructure in place. And pretty much everybody agreed that the SSCA, Trans-Ocean and similar organizations and publications should be made aware of the atrocious and worsening security situation here in Chaguaramas and Trinidad.

As it stands right now, there are quite a few boats leaving for Venezuela and elsewhere, many of them never to return. They will do their best to spread the word amongst their friends, acquaintances and fellow cruisers.

As one of our engines is currently down and as we still haven't received any compensation whatsoever after being hit by a local boat (we were stationary, at anchor, with no one on our boat) on 30 May (we informed the coast guard, the police, the harbor authorities, YSATT and the Trinidad and Tobago Sailing Association (TTSA) right away), we can't leave right now. Otherwise we certainly would. Our dinghy is chained to a lamppost, the outboard engine is chained to the cockpit-table and these days I never carry more then $15 to $30 on my body. I don't walk the streets of Port of Spain in the dark, but try to be on the boat by then. Still, most of the people who got robbed were just as careful as me.

Eventually, we'll move on to Venezuela (hopefully not from the frying pan into the fire) and then move back home into the Pacific. We have many friends in the Marquesas, the Tuamotus, in Papeete and Tonga and we are quite sure that at least over there the peaceful yachtie-life will have us back. But hopefully it'll be a lot earlier on.



you might find this link useful for keeping up with the local security issues in the Carib..

Melodye Pompa
S/Y Second Millennium
for the Caribbean Safety and Security Net
SSB 8104.0 at 1215 UTC
www.caribcruisers.com

Also: www.onsa.org.ve for Venezuela security issues...Click on their map link at http://www.onsa.org.ve/enindex.shtml to see their latest assessment of risk areas.
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Old 08-16-2006
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First two days out in sea are always the worst for me. I don't get physically ill but I definitely do not feel good until I adjust. CDad has the most experience out in blue water that I have seen. I would add this based on my experience. There are a lot more boats off the East Coast than you might think. Particularly off New York. They are big and they are fast. I would not go more than 100 miles offshore without Radar, GPS, EPIRB and a life raft. Also, put together a ditch bag that includes your EPIRB, and a hand held VHF radios with extra batteries.
Now for the experience, go offshore and enjoy it. EB White wrote a fantastic poem about why men love sailing in the ocean. In essence its because of the horizon. How far you are willing to go depends on how brave you are. There is nothing quite like waking up in the middle of the night and walking onto the deck and watching ice bergs float by in the moonlight. Part of your mind thinks "crap...Titanic" and the other part wonders at the beauty. If you have the courage to sail offshore, read every book you can find on the subject and get out there and do it. Its the only place worth sailing...
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  #20  
Old 08-16-2006
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Surf,

I am not the super-expereinced Bluewater sailor that it might appear. THere are soooo many more people with soo much more experience. I am only sharing my bit of experience. As a matter of fact, one of our best friends has singled to Bermuda, been across the Atlantic three times, and spent a good bit of time in the Med/Spain. Compared to him/them and many others, my experience is a joke!!

THat being said, a few thoughts from above: We had a friend that lived in the Carrib for about 7 years. After who knows how many dinks and motors growing legs, he did come up with a very unique solution (albeit unorthodox): He painted his dink pink and purple and flourescent yellow striped... with a not so matching motor. He never had a problem after that!!! It was too ugly to steal!!! Course, you could see him coming a mile off....


Newport,

Totally agree. Get out there and do it... just be couscious of what you are getting into. I always find people soooo ignorant of the range of cell phones and VHF.
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