Preperations for 1st Atlantic Crossing - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 40 Old 04-02-2009
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Good work, and I recommend doing A LOT of research, if only to make sure you understand what it will be like. My advice is that its colder at night than you might expect so I take wool socks, a good fleece and a goretex watch cap (I hate being cold!). Take some Desitin cream for the almost inevitable 'rail rash'. Figure out if you're likely to get sea sick (I suffer from it) and what antidotes work for you (Stergeron for me, but its not 100%). You might also ask the skipper about the watch schedule, the worst I've had was 3 hours on, 3 hours standby (sleep in kit) and 3 hours off which for a gentleman of my years was crushing.


Questi non vide mai l'ultima sera;
ma per la sua follia le fu si presso,
che molto poco tempo a volger era

This one has not yet seen the final evening
but through his folly he had come so near it
that very little time was left for changing.

Canto I, verse 58
Dante Alighieri; Purgatorio, 1348
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post #12 of 40 Old 04-02-2009
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This may seem lame but... when we cruise I pack an extra set of clothes, a set of sheets, and a towel or two in a water-tight vacuum seal bag -- it doesn't take up much space. And when everyone else is suffering from wet bunks/clothes or just can't stand the thought of using that rank towel one more time, I'm sitting pretty (I don't share ).

I have the type that you attach to a shop vac as well as the kind you roll-up to squeeze-out the excess. I use them for all sorts of storage needs onboard.

Oh and... I'm so jealous. I can't wait till we go.
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post #13 of 40 Old 04-02-2009 Thread Starter
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Yeah, I definitely feel like I am "stepping off the curb". While all of my friends and classmates have been looking for jobs over the last 3 months, I've been sitting here looking for boat rides. I still think I got the better deal.

The all important tether. Very good spot. The boat has tethers on board. I probably should have posted this in the original post.

As for having the gear on your person all the time. I'm starting to think that I am going to be like Inspector Gadget while on board. If the ones they have on board don't have the crotch strap, should I purchase one before shoving off? Does the crotch strap have a significant advantage? I know that when diving a wing, I prefer a crotch strap. I'm thinking it has the same advantages.

I will ask about the SSB communications capabilities. That sure would save me alot of money.

SPF long sleeve shirts. I was afraid someone would suggest them. They are pricey. But, hate being burned and don't want cancer on down the road.

Lastly, the picture. Unfortunately I'm not sure I'll ever be able to grow a sweet mustache like that. I'm 22 and all I can grow is a dirty stache and a half assed beard. It's quite pathetic really (hahaha).

Desitin or something similar is something I did not have down. I'm sure the first week I will be quite sore, as I will be using muscles that I never use.

Again. THANKS for all the input!!!
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post #14 of 40 Old 04-02-2009
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Just a thought...

The Bermuda-Azores High pressure area tends to produce headwinds on the route you're planning. Take a look at the Pilot Chart for May, below. You might want to consider heading around the north side of the High. Longer, but better winds.
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post #15 of 40 Old 04-03-2009
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Don't take too much stuff. You don't need a GPS for the trip (might be fun but you don't need it).

If the boat runs single watches and you fall overboard the best thing you can have is a PLB. The boat is not likely to find you.

Don't be a Christmas tree with all kinds of stuff on you -- the owner will be unhappy about dings in the woodwork as you go on and come off watch.

The biggest problem with SPOT is that when (yes when) you get a gap in coverage your family will worry about you more because they expect to have updates. Not so good. Skip it.

As you get East it will be colder, especially at night. The long underwear and heavy foulies are the way to go. I have some Gill Ocean gear that includes a jumper that I can use as either light foulies or as an intermediate layer. The jumper and outer jacket works great in warm weather and long underwear/jumper/sweater/bibs/jacket works in really cold times.

Home Depot or similar has cotton gloves dipped in plastic that do well in bad weather. Ski gloves are good also. Remember - most of the time offshore you are just sitting under the dodger on watch being still; you'll want to stay warm. Fleece socks are outstanding.

Don't let anyone kid you about Spring in May - it will be cold - have boots. Cheap ones will be fine. Warmth can come from socks - dry from the boots.

At sea most people wear the same clothes over and over. You won't need so much stuff. At the point when you smell yourself (or worse, wake yourself up from smelling bad) there is a problem. Baby wipes are the answer. When you come off watch strip down and wipe yourself off, even if you are putting on the same clothes. It makes a big difference. Don't be shy. Just do it.

Sturgeron is the go-to stuff for sea-sickness. I haven't ever needed it, but I have had crew that got sick and it is really bad. You can't get it in the US, but as soon as you get to StM you can get it over the counter.

Some people get badly constipated. A couple of suppositories of Preparation H may help. Check the med kit for oral laxatives before you head out. The boat should have them.

Can you cook? Someone has to (most boats rotate) and well-fed crew is happy crew. Goulash, ragu, curries, and such are often very popular.

Learn some knots. I've had a number of crew that couldn't tie a knot quickly enough to avoid a problem. You don't need to be an expert. Bowline, clove-hitch, figure-8, and square/reef knot will do. Once you can tie those in the dark add a rolling hitch and a sheepshank. There are lots of other knots but those six knots and hitches are the ones that you may need in a hurry.

Holler if there is anything you are unclear about. Happy to help.

Crossing an ocean is a life-changing experience that will make you a better and happier person for the rest of your life. Go do it. Sail fast.
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post #16 of 40 Old 04-03-2009
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I would forget the Sat phone. Poor ratio Usefulnesss to $$$$
Real cost can skyrocket, if people chat.
If the boat has HAM or SSB, then is a great way to handle reports to mum, at trivial cost.
Light foulies are sufficient for your crossing. I would not buy two sets. You can probably wear shorts all the way.
A good way to save is to get a good, longish heav duty rain jacket from a climbin store. (Eastern Mountain sports, Mouontain Equip Coop etc) They are good with shorts and wet legs.
I have been across twice, to Scotland, and never more more than that, despite having heavier foulies on board. (They are good once past about 50 North)
Beneteaus ar on the flimsy side for me, but lots cross OK. Do not tell you mum I said that.
I think you are well researched, and would go if I were you.
MUCH preferable to flying. (I am on a plane in a week, becasue we left Milvina in Scotland last fall. Home
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post #17 of 40 Old 04-03-2009
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I see I differ from others on foulies. Oh well! Your call
I would like to emphasise the importance of being good on the knots
Bowline, clove-hitch, figure-8, and square/reef knot are OK,
I wouel add the sheet bend, for jooining ropes of unequal length. I use the double sheetbend a lot, since it is easier to untie even after a hard pull
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post #18 of 40 Old 04-03-2009
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My 2 cents - drop the GPS and Satphone for starters - it's a luxury and on your budget I'd invest in pertinent gear to be warm and safe.

Assuming a 4 week crossing and rationed water you're looking at 3-4 days per underwear / layers as a starter better to go big with underwear and fewer changes for the layers. For extended cruises I have Odlo underwear, fleece leggings and jacket, light cotton hiking pants, wool sweater, and MPX outers. Aigle goretex boots + ski socks + lycra sock liners, goretex gloves + fleece hat. In ~7-10C that's the minimum to stay warm on a 4 hour shift.

3 things get cold fast on chilly or wet crossings - head, hands, and feet - INVEST for all 3. Gotta stay dry as a starter and then warm. I'd personally invest big on boots because cold feet on what seems like endless night watches is horrible (but that's me).

I would forget the coastal goretex gear and go straight to a top quality outer shell. I have a Musto MPX set and although it's not the HPX it sure keeps you dry and warm with the appropriate layers - wouldn't trade it for anything. I'm not that familiar with Gill.

Finally, think about the off shift clothes and a couple thick wool sweaters as a layer at night. And think about at least 2-3 pairs of gloves as they will wear if you get in conditions where you need to manage the rigging actively. AND, bring some hand lotion or glycerol to ward off the salt burns and chafing from the cordage! And eye drops.

One of the things I'd consider is a ski mask for the very cold day sailing experiences but I haven't tried yet.
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post #19 of 40 Old 04-04-2009
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Originally Posted by kananumpua View Post
Have you used SPOT for a Transit? How did it work? (The reason I am considering this is purely out of concern for my poor mother. She will be a basket case with me in the middle of the Atlantic and my brother in Germany. I think it would help alleviate some of her concerns if she could at least see a new way point each day. However, the SPOT's coverage looks spotty in the mid Atlantic.)
I have a SPOT, but haven't used it on the boat yet. But it seems to work just fine. BUT, another boat I have been following uses SPOT. He has recently made a trip to Bimini and on the Nassau. His SPOT is on-line. The link to his BLOG is: s/v Pelican - Following A Dream and the link to his latest SPOT track is: SPOT Shared Page . Note the breaks in his track. I was watching him as he passed the critical area and when no SPOT showed for an hour I was a bit worried. He was fine but you see it is not perfect. His track is every 10 minutes, that might be a bit too much for your mom, but you will get the idea. After using my SPOT on land and watching his SPOT I would suggest not just turning it on and pressing OK and then turn it off. Instead, I would let it run for an hour and then turn it off. That will give your mom and brother and up to a total of 10 email/cell phones your daily plot.

My other, inexperienced concern would be the South African team. I assume you will get plenty of real references...

Joe McCary,
Sailing on The Central Chesapeake Bay, West River, MD on my Catalina 27, Aelous II with my wife and friends.
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Last edited by mccary; 04-04-2009 at 12:16 AM.
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post #20 of 40 Old 04-04-2009
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Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
What a damn fine example of a good OPENING POST.
I'd second the above. Nice job. It's almost time to relax a little and enjoy the trip.

Possible cost savings: Check with your skipper on the comms gear on the boat. SSB? email? Anyone with an amateur radio license? If they have reliable long distance comms you might be able to skip the sat phone and keep your friends ashore posted with an email every other day or so, or if there's a HAM aboard you might be able to arrange to have a message passed to your family every few days that "all's well". Most boats with professional crew will have pretty good comms gear aboard and your skipper will probably let you use it to pass a message every so often.

Don't forget some fishing gear [250 yds of stout hand line (100# test), wire leaders, some bungie cord and a few good lures.] And, it's always good to have a personal stash of wasabi powder and quality soy sauce just in case you get lucky.

Have fun!
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