Houston TX to Oriental NC. How to?
I’m going from Houston (Clear Lake) TX to east and north. My budget is tiny so I’d be happy to make it to NC or further north, before I will be forced to look for a job. I have friends in NC and many friends in NYC area. I’m going solo, not counting a dog.
My vessel is Freedom 28 cat ketch, center board model, draw less than 3 ft with board up, easy to single hand. I have some experience with long distance coastal camping-cruising in small boats (and I mean small), Freedom is new and “big” for me. Boat is sound, motor is working, everything is checked and rechecked, I live on board for two months already, getting used to the boat and space. I don’t have unrealistic expectations about my speed; I’m planning to go slow and safe and watch weather. Actually, I tried the trip last year, but spent too much time fixing and preparing the boat I just bought, and turn around almost after entering the Gulf, realizing that my time is up.
I’d prefer to do as much sailing as possible, motor is old, and diesel is expensive.
I’m going to stay close to shore. I did some overnighters before and more or less know what to expect. It seems like I can split the trip in manageable chunks Sail 40-100 miles between inlets, go inside, get some good rest and sail next leg.
Any advice for novice on how to proceed?
If weather is right, may I anchor on outside to get some sleep?
Should I try to duck into some cover/inlet at the end of each “leg” or should I just watch the weather and go accordingly?
It seems like getting inside is a waist of the time, if weather is right, however I never “parked” out on open space before.
Any other little things I overlooked likely? I know about oil rigs…
even though being from those parts, i've never sailed them. if you have to drop hook for the night i'm going to recommend at least 100' of chain, you dont want to drag (alot of rock & roll when parking in the open). the transient slips in that area shouldnt be too costly. I'm sure someone here will chime in. keep the VHF on channel 16, stay in sight of land bring a cheap cellphone, and sheet & reef if needed. good luck with your trip and keep us posted
PBzeer and some of the others have done similar trips and will be able to give you some excellent advice.
What do you have for an anchor currently... since you'll need a good one to do a trip like this. If you don't have an oversized anchor, I'd highly recommend you get a next generation anchor like a Rocna, Manson Supreme or Buegel. If not a next gen anchor, get a oversized Delta. You really want a good anchor that will reset if the current or winds shift. Get at least 30' of 5/16" chain on it and then the rest 9/16" or 5/8" nylon.
You'll also want to setup jacklines and get yourself a tether and harness. These are very important, since you're going to be single-handing the boat... you need to STAY ON THE BOAT.
If you don't have an autopilot, I'd highly recommend getting one... or at least setting up some sort of tiller self-steering, even if it is just a Tiller Tamer.
If you want to avoid motoring, you'll have to avoid the ICW, since the ICW is mostly narrow and requires most boats to motor for a majority of the time.
Good luck and keep us posted.
I'd suggest you plan on going through Louisiana on the Waterway. You can go from Galveston to either the Sabine or Calcieseu River (I'd suggest the second), then on the Waterway until past New Orleans. From there, you can coastal hop your way to the Bueafort Inlet in NC.
Sounds like you've got a good idea about things already. If i have anything worthwhile to say it would be to watch the weather... don't be in a hurry. have up to date charts, a reliable radio, GPS.... just make sure your gear is in good condition and that you have back-ups. You mentioned the engine being old.... how many hours does it have on it? You may want to consider having it looked at by a mechanic if you haven't already.
When you get to Oriental look me up and i'll give you a free place to do some laundry, shower, etc.
How tiny is your budget ?
Budget is about $500 after boat is provisioned and ready to sail.
I know, I know, it is nothing... It was disastrous year for me with loss of a business.
I have two VHF, one is waterproof handheld. They are mostly for listening – English is my second language.
I have inflatable canoe as dingy.
I have hand held GPSs, all three of them :) . Charting software is on my laptop. Paper charts are up to Florida. I need to figure out how to print free charts, it’s on my “to do list”.
I have 406 EPIRB and 406 PLB, both are registered. Battery on EPIRB expired, but it should have some juice left.
There is no hours meter on an engine, (boat is 1979) however it works ok, I have had some issues with fuel supply which I solved I believe. I can always rig fuel "free flowing "set-up. I have spare filters, belts and water pump parts.
Bulge pumps, both electric and manual are checked. I replaced manual pump recently.
Anchors are on my “to do” list.
I have three anchors, two oversized, however all three are danforth type. My primary is Fortress FX16 – one size bigger than necessary. I have no problem with it, except for setting. It takes awhile normally. I have another steel one which is huge and heavy. I have never used it yet. It’s in my cockpit locker, rigged and ready to go overboard. I’m not sure I’ll be able to pull it back :)
All rodes are with 12 ft of chain. I have some loose chains in 12 ft long pieces and some more lines, so I can rig it when needed.
So, do you think I need plow type? I do think I need one; however the only one I can afford is Claw. Are they any good?
Life jackets for me and a dog are in order. As well as teter and harness. All lines lead to cockpit. Dog’s safety is an issue. He is energetic and likes to swim. I manage to keep him onboard so far.
Wood plugs are next to thru-hulls.
I guess I should stop procrastinate and just go…
By the way, what would be best trolling rig to catch a fish in these waters?
I don't have autopilot.
I believe that people are becoming slaves of gadgets
So, the only gadget I have onboard is GPS. I’d likely drop that one too; however I haven’t learned celestial navigation yet.
The sailing rig I have is Cat Ketch – so it will sail itself most of the time. At least going upwind. Going downwind require more tweaking, I guess I can rig sheet to steering wheel. It hasn’t been tested yet but I have clear idea what is needed.
P.S. Well, I also have laptop and internet, so, I guess, I'm slave too :)
The problem with Danforth-type anchors, including the Fortress, is that they have a lot of trouble resetting in a reversing current or changing wind situation. BTW, 12' of chain may be a problem for the Fortress, since they say something about having very limited amounts of chain on their anchors or they may not set properly.
Personally, I think you should sell one or two of the Danforths, keep the Fortress as a kedge anchor, and buy a Delta, Rocna, Manson Supreme, Spade or Buegel. These are all proven to have much better holding power and bottom penetration than "claw" type anchors. Also, claw type anchors tend to "hop and skip" once they get pulled out of the bottom, like in the case of a reversing current, and have a very difficult time resetting.
Wood plugs should be in plastic bags next to through hulls... not just next to them, and should have a hole through the thickest part and a small piece of line attached, so that you can tie them into place.
There's a post on this site where someone has converted many of the USA charts to PNG files and they can be printed easily from a PC with access to a large-format photo printer.
You should have a high-capacity manual bilge pump in the cabin and one in the cockpit... so you can pump out the boat from either location in an emergency.
You may want a tether and harness for the dog, to help keep him from doing something stupid and ending up in the water at the wrong time.
As for trolling rigs...get some heavy line, some steel leader, and some big lures...tube-bodies, jigs or plugs, and some 1/4" bungee cord. Rig the line in fairly long lengths with some good weight...troll behind boat with a section of bungee to absorb the shock of a strike... :) Check every once in a while. Wear gloves to haul the line in... Line should be 50 lb. test or better. I personally like FireLine... because it is very tough and thinner than regular monofilament, and damn near invisible to the fish.
I always have a problem selling things :) I'll keep all three anchors I have and I’ll buy Claw. There is marine resell store nearby. They have used Deltas. So, should I get new Claw or used Delta?...
Plugs and thru-hulls. On my boat all four thru-hulls located in same area of about 1 square foot. I guess I’m fine here.
Pump in the cabin. Why? I’m serious. I’m going to do it solo. So, if it’s getting extremely rough I will be outside. Do I really need that pump inside? The system has
1. Electric automatic pump
2. Manual pump in a cockpit
3. I can rig an engine to pump water out
4. I can rig fresh drinking water pump
It is true that I have 2 electric, one semi- electric pump and just one manual pump in the list. So I’d add THE BUCKET as back up to manual pump. Am I wrong?
My dog and tether together is a disaster. I hope I can handle it. Overwise I’ll have another excuse for coming back…
Thanks for the trolling ideas.
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