First Trip out into the Gulf - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 11 Old 07-17-2011 Thread Starter
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First trip out into the gulf

I have a question.
Backround.
First of all I like sailing but I am not retired, I do not have a bunch of money, and I have a fairly small boat (32').
Anyway, I am planning on taking a trip next March. I want to get out of the lake (Ponchetrain in Louisiana) and go south (mexico, bahamas, ???) for a few months, then I have to go back to work.
I have never been on the boat for over 12 hours and if I was on it that long I was in the marina.

So if I start going out I obviously can't sail or stay awake for over 10 hours or so (I will be by myself), can you just find shallow water near the cost and throw out the anchor and sleep for a while and then keep going.
second, and I don't know how to put this polite, but how do you take a s... on the boat when you are near the coast line, you can't just pump it out near the coast can you.. I don't think there is a holding tank on the boat it just pumps out the bottom.
Am I nuts or is this a doable thing.
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post #2 of 11 Old 07-17-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GregFried View Post
I have a question.
Backround.
First of all I like sailing but I am not retired, I do not have a bunch of money, and I have a fairly small boat (32').
Anyway, I am planning on taking a trip next March. I want to get out of the lake (Ponchetrain in Louisiana) and go south (mexico, bahamas, ???) for a few months, then I have to go back to work.
I have never been on the boat for over 12 hours and if I was on it that long I was in the marina.
So if I start going out I obviously can't sail or stay awake for over 10 or so hours (I will be by myself), can you just find shallow water near the cost and throw out the anchor and sleep for a while and then keep going.
second and I don't konw how to put this polite, but how do you take a s... on the boat when you are near the coast line, you can't just pump it out near the coast can you.. I don't think there is a holding tank on the boat it just pumps out the bottom.
Am I nuts or is this a doable thing.
Hey Greg - welcome to SN dude.

There are lots of singlehanders that cross oceans. So it's doable - without the need for anchoring every night near the coast. Heavy use of the old autopilot - along with some other tools.

There are lots of dudes around here, with experience, that can answer your questions. I ain't one of them.

So just keep poking around and reading - and you'll learn a lot. Here's a great place to start and see who the salts are:

The Salt's Corner Table


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post #3 of 11 Old 07-17-2011
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You most lokely have a holding tank.if not plan on installing one before you get a ticket.In some places just anchor.If possible find a place to pull into at night.marc
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post #4 of 11 Old 07-17-2011
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Sailing at night on autopilot is not practical TOO many oil wells in La.
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Originally Posted by MARC2012 View Post
Sailing at night on autopilot is not practical TOO many oil wells in La.
Good point.


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post #6 of 11 Old 07-17-2011
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People do nutty things like this all the time. There are a few ways to get some sleep while you're on your own, and I'm sure that others will elaborate on it better than I can.

Dropping an anchor in water that is shallow enough for what you have rigged is just fine as long as it is legal to do so where you plan to be. There are some spots here on the west coast that are designated habitats, so you cannot drop anchor. There are quite a few free anchorage areas in and around marinas, though.

You can also heave to, as they call it. There are plenty of guides to how you can do this on the net and Youtube. What you end up with is a boat that is being blown sideways at around half a knot or so, and in the turbulence that your boat creates, it breaks up the waves and swells coming at you so that you have a bit of a smoother ride. You can rest, eat, and maybe even catch a cat nap, but you still have to have some means of being alerted if you drift into shallow water or have another ship/boat approaching. Radar and a depth sounder help a lot for the solo sailor.

On the west coast you can dump directly as long as you are three miles or more from shore. Not sure about the Gulf.

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post #7 of 11 Old 07-18-2011 Thread Starter
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Thanks,
Where is So Cal?
I lived in San Diego from 77 to 95 thats whree I learned to sail.
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post #8 of 11 Old 07-18-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MARC2012 View Post
You most lokely have a holding tank.if not plan on installing one before you get a ticket.In some places just anchor.If possible find a place to pull into at night.marc
If you really don't have a holding tank, search Sailnet for "composting", there are at least two long threads on sanitary facilities w/o holding tanks.
And if, as seems likely, you do have a holding tank, you'd be well served to find the pumpout before some hydraulic disaster occurs.


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Last edited by junkrig; 07-18-2011 at 09:12 AM. Reason: mention pumpout.
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post #9 of 11 Old 07-18-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GregFried View Post
Thanks,
Where is So Cal?
I lived in San Diego from 77 to 95 thats whree I learned to sail.
You asking me?

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post #10 of 11 Old 07-18-2011
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Single handed

Greg, first remember it is not a big deal to head out on your intended route. You have a lot of time to gather shelter information. Get a couple cruising guides and start charting out at home reasonable daily distances. Plan your anchorages/marinas and allow a few extra days for weather. Normally in a 32' you can comfortably do 50nm/day in daylight. You are sailing in populated areas with many overnight options pretty much the entire route.
For Bahama buy the Explorer Charts for the regions you intend to cruise, they are clearly the best. The waypoints they include can usually get a 6-7' draft into safe anchorages in those very shallow waters.
For waste your greatest issue may be the authorities. Offshore it is not an issue as it all goes overboard but inshore you need a holding tank. There are several portable systems you can put on a 32 footer with little expense.
I personally would not sail solo in the gulf through the night. Too many hazards. If you have two and radar no problem.


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