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tominny 04-20-2013 08:40 PM

getting a Tartan 34C ready for offshore trip
I am planning a transatlantic trip from NY to Gibraltar next year in June, followed by some cruising in the Med, and wanted to get some feedback on getting my boat, a 1977 Tartan 34C, in shape for that. Comments tailored to this specific boat are especially appreciated, as well as general opinion on their seaworthiness, etc.

When I bought the boat 1 1/2 years ago she was only used for coastal sailing. I took her down to the Bahamas over the winter and before that i put in all new bronze seacocks, replaced running and standing rigging. Noteworthy equipment that I added or existed already includes AIS receiver, sat phone, EPRIB, roller furler (140% genoa) and ATN Gale sail (storm jib) and a ridiculously over-sized Manson Supreme anchor on 63' of 3/8 chain and 200' of rode. The engine is a party rebuilt Atomic 4 which has been running very smoothly since I had the boat. I actually like the engine a lot and trust it. Lots of spare parts and tools on board.
2 reefs in the main. Bimini, no dodger. 2 x 80 amp-hour wet cells with a 70 amp alternator and regulator. A Raymarine X5 wheel pilot. 8' Walker Bay sailing dinghy with tubes, 4hp outboard. Whisker pole. New VHF and masthead antenna, handheld GPS, OpenCPN with international charts. No radar. No solar panels and wind generator.

I am thinking about adding a removable forestay and recut the ATN gale sail for it ($$, is this necessary?). To generate power I thought about adding 2x 120 Watt solar panels. Getting a dodger perhaps.
Selfsteering: below-deck unit or a used windvane?

I want to keep the cost down but also have a seaworthy boat fit for the trip. Comments appreciated!

deniseO30 04-20-2013 08:54 PM

Re: getting a Tartan 34C ready for offshore trip

sailordave 04-20-2013 10:59 PM

Re: getting a Tartan 34C ready for offshore trip
Jeez! Do you have any room left for say, tools, food, water? Just kidding!
AFA the spare parts for the engine I would say get them vacuum packed w/ a silica gel dessicate inside to keep them dry and free of rust/corrosion. You don't want to reach for your spare and pull out a lump of rust.
I presume you have jacklines, if not, consider making them out of Amsteel (Spectra) instead of webbing.

jameswilson29 04-21-2013 09:33 AM

Re: getting a Tartan 34C ready for offshore trip
Storm trysail and drogue?

killarney_sailor 04-21-2013 09:51 AM

Re: getting a Tartan 34C ready for offshore trip
A few thoughts from your list. I will think in terms of my previous boat, a Niagara 35, since it is similar to your boat. I like the idea of an inner stay since I am just not sure about the idea of hooking up the Gale Sail in the conditions where you would need it. Financially it might make more sense to sell your Gale Sail and buy a used storm jib from someone like Bacon. I would look for a largish storm jib since you could use it as a staysail in the heavy conditions you are much more likely to get rather than storm conditions

Some other things I would want, in order, until the money runs out.
- more battery capacity and solar, with an electric pilot you will use a lot of juice; what is your fuel capacity? A gas engine is not as efficient as diesel
- backup autopilot - you don't want to find out what handsteering is like for two weeks
- more rode and chain although from what I have heard anchoring opportunities are not great in much of the Med
- dodger

killarney_sailor 04-21-2013 09:54 AM

Re: getting a Tartan 34C ready for offshore trip
From James suggestions, we have both and in 30,000 miles have used neither. Given a choice it would be a Jordan drogue. You can make your own to keep cost down.

TQA 04-21-2013 11:33 AM

Re: getting a Tartan 34C ready for offshore trip
I know that lots of people who make that trip find they motor a lot due to light winds. They carry extra fuel with them.

tominny 04-21-2013 03:51 PM

getting a Tartan 34C ready for offshore trip
Thanks for the suggestions so far.

I agree that a gale sail is not a good solution because of the reason you mentioned.

How about windvane vs a complete second autopilot unit?

tominny 04-21-2013 04:43 PM

getting a Tartan 34C ready for offshore trip
PS: i am hoping to do the crossing single-handed

flandria 04-21-2013 04:58 PM

Re: getting a Tartan 34C ready for offshore trip
Solar panels: I assume that you have calculated your input requirement and have determined that 2 X 120 Watt will do the job. You will have your fridge running all the time, as well as your instruments (especially since you plan to have an autopilot).... Will you be listening to music much of the time and will that be on the ship's battery system, too? While 240 Watt may seem like a lot, if the panels are rated 17V, feeding into your 12V system, you will get only 12/17 or 70% of the rated input. Reduce that for "manufacturers optismism", and actual sun power hitting it, and you quickly reduce the juice... especially if you end up on a starboard tack going east, when the sun angle may not be optimal.

I would also be more comfortable with more chain than you have so far.

Good luck with your preparations and the trip itself!

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