Boston to Bermuda singlehanded in an O'Day 34. Crazy?? - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 74 Old 03-14-2007
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I second the thoughts that wx can be a major issue on that crossing. If you can read up on wx prediction and planning, as if you were planning for the race itself, and understand the gulf stream forecasting and observations, you'll have some idea of what is involved besides "driving the bus", so to speak.

Then, you need to be able to say to yourself "Well, I'm all psyched for this trip but if the wx looks like it won't be good...I'm going to cancel, even if that means cancelling an hour before departure time."

Also take a look at the navigation charts for approaching Bermuda. Missing it is not a problem--but there are plenty of shoals, and you will be arriving fatigued on a solo run, so you'll be a prime candidate to add to the list of wrecks.

The trip certainly is possible. A look at the ORC regulations and the race entry rules will tell you what is required of boats (in terms of size and equipment) before the experienced organizers think your boat can do it safely. But the human element, sailing solo, and arriving fatigued, is going to be the weak point.

Probably way more fun to do it with at least one other hand on the boat, too.
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post #22 of 74 Old 03-14-2007
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Actually the the most dangerous piece of equipment is the skipper's bad judgment.

The old saying is goes that good judgment is a function of experience
Experience is a function of bad judgment. Almost everyone who has responded to this thread has said the same thing. Get more experience. In New England their is really no great way to get multi-day single-handed blue water experience. Possibly Portland or Boston to Halifax but basically your looking at Bermuda. I suggested the races because you can share your part of the ocean with other boats. Regarding a weather window, The go/no go decision is always with the skipper. I certainly understand the schedule thing, but you, the skipper must make the final call regardless of when. The races provide an opportunity for commraderie with other skippers for planning and a target date to work toward.

Furthermore, If you need perfect weather for 6 days (one way) before you set off on this trip then I think you have the answer to your orignial post. I say this because there is way too much wiggle room in a six day forcast.

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post #23 of 74 Old 03-14-2007
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Wow--alot of pessimism in this thread, and before I sound out, I'll preface it by saying this:

Think safety first!

Now for my humble opinion. For the past decade or so it's been my job to train Marines. Over the years I've seen some that have natural aptitudes for different types of things, and I've seen some that need a little more instruction than the others do. I've seen the same thing on the water: there are those that appear to be born at the helm (regardless of age or experience) and those who could spend a lifetime in a boat and not know stem from stern. Hang out at the local marina and you'll see the same thing. You need to take a good hard look at yourself and decide which end of this scale you fit into. Bottom line is, it's your life and your boat thats at stake here. We really aren't in a position, from behind our laptops, to tell you whether you can do this or not, or whether your boat will make it or not. Your judgment starts now...at the helm it's already too late. If you feel like you're up to the task, go for it! You'll never get anything accomplished if you first overcome every possible objection. I wish you luck.

PS: I get out in a few weeks and I'll be refitting my boat after that. Might plan a trip. Maybe I'll see you there!
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post #24 of 74 Old 03-14-2007
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Note to self: Be nice to Flomaster. Be nice to Flomaster. Be nice to Flomaster.

PS Thank you for what you do flomaster.

***

As far as the trip: You need to be prepared for something like that. The USCG CAN stop you if they do nto feel your boat is sea worthy, if I am correct. The issue at stake is not just what danger you place yourself in, but what danger you will place the USCG or other sailors in if they have to rescue you. You put their lives at stake too. Now, if you are properly prepared and ready to tackle it (and your boat is prepared), I feel you have a right to call them if your luck turns against you. If you go out there half cocked and knowing better, than I think you should be on your own. The problem is that the USCG does not feel that way and will have to come after you no matter what.

Is your boat capable... you will need to answer that. People live on and cruise on stuff I would not take across a lake. Seriously!! On the other hand, as Flomaster said, you are the one that is ultimately responsible for yourself and if you wait for everyone to tell you it is ok... it may be a long wait. I personally feel there are better boats made for that kind of a passage. But, my comfort level and yours may be different. If you are serious about the trip, PM me and I will try and give you some thoughts.

- CD

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Last edited by Cruisingdad; 03-14-2007 at 05:59 PM.
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post #25 of 74 Old 03-14-2007
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Huh Rah!

I'll second the pessimism! We're not liable you know. It always seems that advice given is always on the conservative side. If you wait for the perfect boat, time, weather, gear, you'd never make it. I just read Alone in the roaring forties, Duhmas didn't even have a bilge pump. I think the Oday is a little better boat than it has gotten credit here. I agree you shouldn't take this lightly but a little common sense and unless you get caught in the perfect storm (then god help you)or do something stupid, you''ll be fine. In the end you have to realize the risks you are taking and the situation you're putting yourself in. Look at Tania Aebi. Although it took her twice the time to find Bermuda, she got there. Point is people have rowed across the Atlantic in open boats. It's not that hard. Go for it. Hooay! Airborne 1/38th Infantry Div, Army

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Originally Posted by flomaster
Wow--alot of pessimism in this thread, and before I sound out, I'll preface it by saying this:

Think safety first!

Now for my humble opinion. For the past decade or so it's been my job to train Marines. Over the years I've seen some that have natural aptitudes for different types of things, and I've seen some that need a little more instruction than the others do. I've seen the same thing on the water: there are those that appear to be born at the helm (regardless of age or experience) and those who could spend a lifetime in a boat and not know stem from stern. Hang out at the local marina and you'll see the same thing. You need to take a good hard look at yourself and decide which end of this scale you fit into. Bottom line is, it's your life and your boat thats at stake here. We really aren't in a position, from behind our laptops, to tell you whether you can do this or not, or whether your boat will make it or not. Your judgment starts now...at the helm it's already too late. If you feel like you're up to the task, go for it! You'll never get anything accomplished if you first overcome every possible objection. I wish you luck.

PS: I get out in a few weeks and I'll be refitting my boat after that. Might plan a trip. Maybe I'll see you there!
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post #26 of 74 Old 03-15-2007
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How lucky do you feel? You WILL be the weak link. Experience has no substitute.

Be sure to carry a EPIRB and a liferaft. And depending on your attitude toward cold, a dry suit in case you ditch. I ALWAYS carry a wetsuit, even coastal. I hate cold water.

Best advice I could give would be to go with an experienced skipper on his/her boat and pay attention and learn.


good luck
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post #27 of 74 Old 03-15-2007
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Snider:
"It always seems that advice given is always on the conservative side."

Don't agree. There's a smattering of take a chance type opinion here, but the older experienced sailors like me tend to be conservative in their preparation and passagemaking rather than bold.
There are no older bolder sailors! (Except maybe R. Gainer and he's already been given up for dead so he doesn't count!!)
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post #28 of 74 Old 03-15-2007
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As a relatively inexperienced sailor, I would champion the conservative advice. Woolswtr is properly soliciting opinions, encouragement and words of caution -- and that's what he's getting. There's no excuse not to sail down the eastern seaboard in order to put his boat through its paces, experience some heavier weather, and see how he does when he hasn't had much sleep. This isn't being pessemisitc. He can take the direct route next year.
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post #29 of 74 Old 03-15-2007
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flomaster-

Given his relative inexperience, and the fact that the boat is new to him... or relatively new to him. Add into that mix a new piece of gear he has never used (the Monitor Windvane) and the difficulties that crossing the Gulf Stream can present, it doesn't make much sense to advocate a straight bluewater shot to Bermuda for him this year.

He really should get the windvane and then sail with it for a few months and learn how to use it in different conditions. He should also spend enough time on his boat that he has complete confidence in it. Doubts and fears can be real troublemakers, and if he doesn't have complete confidence in his abilities and his boat's abilities... he needs to work up to that point, prior to making a long, single-handed bluewater passage.

Doing the journey as a series of progressively longer coastal hops, followed by a relatively short bluewater passage is going to give him the experience, and help him have the skills and confidence needed for the longer direct bluewater passage, while allowing him options if things start to get too hairy for him.

While I'm all for "going for it", I don't think it should be done without at least a solid foundation of preparation.

Snider—

A couple of points... I don't think that Dumas was a valid comparison. IIRC, Vito Dumas wasn't a relative novice, and he had outfitted the boat he used himself, so it wasn't really an unknown quantity to him. Granted, his equipment was a bit on the primitive side, compared to what we have today, but the boat was probably considerably overbuilt. He had also had 15-20 years of experience sailing before doing his circumnavigation in the Legh II. The Legh II was also a purposely built bluewater passage maker... not a lightly built coastal cruiser.

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In 1933, Dumas commissioned Campos, who was famous for hisdouble-ender types influenced by Colin Archer, Atkins, and local native craft which had originated in the Mediterranean, to design and build a 32-footer expressly for ocean voyaging.(8) Legh II was 32 feet 2 inches overall, 10 feet 9 inches wide, and had a maximum draft of 5 feet 7 inches the ultimate refinement of its type and very nearly a perfect model. She was ketch-rigged and had 9 tons of iron ballast outside.
IMHO, Tania Aebi wasn't a very good comparison in many ways either. While she was essentially a complete novice, she was on a brand new boat, that was designed as a voyaging boat, and very capable of handling bluewater passages, not a coastal cruiser, over a decade old and with some unknowns in the hardware and rigging. In bad weather conditions, the Contessa 26 is going to be far more forgiving of mistakes than an O'Day 34.

Finally, just because something has been done before, doesn't necessarily make it wise or smart to repeat it. I am willing to bet that Tania Aebi would admit that she had a lot of luck, and that it could have easily gone the other way.

Sailingdog

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Last edited by sailingdog; 03-15-2007 at 05:31 PM.
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post #30 of 74 Old 03-15-2007
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Camaraderie,
In youth there is ignorance and because of that you find arrogance. But today you wouldn’t catch me dead doing some of the things I did when I was younger.

Snider,
I went to Bermuda recently on a friend’s 44 CSY and would have preferred (I didn’t like some aspects of the rig) to make the trip in the average O’Day 34. The O’Day is a nice boat and in good condition with appropriate equipment she would do fine on this trip.

The bigger problem is the skill of the skipper. Even as a teenager I realized that I needed to learn how to sail single handed offshore before I did my first trans-Atlantic. Try some coastal sailing or even sail with someone else to get some experience before going off on your own. Until you know what to expect you can’t prepare or plan for a trip like this. It’s a good first trip but no offshore trip is suitable for on the job training unless you are very very lucky.
All the best,
Robert Gainer
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