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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 04-14-2007
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Preparing for a voyage

Rather that clog another thread with a point off that subject I thought I'd start a new one.

Now I known all the comments about "the worst thing to have on a boat is a schedule" but reality is that hundreds of boats are delivered around the world every day to a schedule.

This is really going to happen to me, definitely not hypothetical, and with a few other forumites suggesting that I'm cutting the preparation time down too short at two weeks, it would be of considerable interest to me to see what others would do.

The scene is a delivery voyage across the Pacific east to west, San Diego, Marquesas, South Cook Islands, destination New Zealand. Time is not your own so think of it as a professional delivery, not a cruise. You will stop for about 4 days in the Marquesas and another four days at Raratonga. You have not seen the boat yet but a full survey turns it up to be in a good condition with no major issues and generally well equipped. The boat HAS to get to NZ, not negotiable.

What you know about the boat is that it has:
- A life raft that is out of certification.
- A 406 EPIRB
- A Global Star telephone (not connected)
- A VHF but no SSB
- A decent chart plotter/GPS
- Probably no charts on board

Food, supplies and crew requirements aside, what preparations would you do for the voyage? Also, for those who may have done this or a similar voyage, what would your route plan be?

Cheers
Andre
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Old 04-14-2007
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Andre I wish you well but I think you are nuts! Not many would plan to take a 25 year old boat halfway round the world (nearly...in actual miles en route), sight unseen based on the report of a surveyor they had never met. It is clear you are committed to this and you are an adult so I will just wish you luck.

I would at least head down the coast cruising to Mexico so that as you find all the things that are wrong that the survey did not find you have a chance to fix them before they become life threatening. Other thoughts:
1. Buy a couple of 100 buck GPS units and LOTS of AA batteries and put em in a waterproof box.
2. Get your fuel tanks thoroughly cleaned out and fuel filtered. Bring lots of spare Racors.
3. Get a good portable SSB receiver so you can get weather.
4. Make sure the raft works and the Epirb battery is not dead.
Please stay in touch and let us know how it goes.

You might wanna get this book too...
The Pacific Crossing Guide - CRUISING GUIDES
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Old 04-14-2007
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Don't forget to update the contact info on the EPIRB
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Old 04-14-2007
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Let's just assume I'm going to agree with all comments about spares, belts, filters, condition of sails and rigging, cleanliness of the bottom, etc.

I would bring a personal EPIRB.

I would rig jacklines at the owner's expense if not present. Padeyes as well. Of course you have an auto-inflate PFD with harness and the boat

I would definitely have an SSB because I would want to do check ins with Pacific cruiser nets not only for weather, but to give position reports. If things went pear-shaped 20 minutes before your next check-in, there would be at the very least a 23-hour-old fix and an announced course for any SAR to work with. For a similar reason I would file a sail plan.

I would bring a set of Admiralty or U.S. paper charts with me, plus a Pacific pilot to get a sense of likely weather. There are submerged reefs in many places dozens of miles long. You also want to consider a series of "outs" for weather or repair along the way, some of which are unlit lagoons. Sometimes if you have hit bad weather, you avoid accidents and damage by just "pulling off the freeway" for a day or so to recoup. You don't state the size of the crew: if this is a solo delivery, you ARE nuts!

I would definitely make sure I had very robust ground tackle.

I would definitely bring or borrow a Jordan series drogue.

I would definitely polish the fuel and bring hordes of filters.

I would definitely check and provide plugs for all thru-hulls and check for chafe or wear on the steering quadrant.

Lastly, screw an uncertified life raft. Get it certified or refuse to go. Otherwise it's as useful as an airbag repacked with an M-60 by a guy named Cletus.

In other words, while you might be at the stage of your evolution as a sailor to just grab your seabag and your iPod and do a delivery, I am not and would be the antichrist of casual.
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Old 04-14-2007
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Tell us about your crew, please?
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Old 04-14-2007
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The boat is presumably this. O'Brien Yacht Sales, Inc. (Palm Beach, FL)
While it has been singlehanded in the Bahamas that doesn't mean much. You are reliant on the motor for the autohelm, as there is no other power charging nor windvane.
That means crew preferably 3 as you may have to do a lot of steering particularly if the autohelm breaks down. Unless you allow time to change the registration you may have difficulty with non american crew getting entry, as on a US boat it can be considered work in the US, although technically it would no longer be US registered.
You also appear to have only two sails.
To get insurance the rigging may need to be less than 7-10 years old.
Presumably you are experienced and capable of checking the boat out pre-passage.
You may find the cat 1 NZYF requirements a good guide. It is clear that the boat as is does not meet them.
As for the comment that hundreds of boats are delivered on schedule every week that might be true but where? Equally 100s delay passages or are delayed.
There is an account of a helicopter rescue of a boat heading to Hawaii without an adequate shakedown. EQUIPPED TO SURVIVE (tm) - Lessons Learned: Sailing to Hawaii...The First Attempt by Arnold Rowe
It sounds to me that if you intend to do this now you should do a fair amount of rapid preparation because it is one thing to ask others what they would do, and another to be able to amend your plans on what arises.

Last edited by chris_gee; 04-14-2007 at 09:30 PM.
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Old 04-14-2007
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If that IS the boat...has the water damage under the nav station been explained to you along with the new cabin sole? Has this boat been under water? No pix of the engine on-line...how does it look? She loooks quite nice as the new paint job really makes her look new.
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Old 04-14-2007
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The responses are reasonably what I had expected. I didn't want to put all my cards on the table as a starter because it may have limited the response. So let me top up the information (sorry, this is going to take a bit of space):

- I am hoping to swap the liferaft for a newer, certified, smaller one and if this can't be done we'll buy a new one.
- The EPIRB will be properly reprogrammed and "serviced" to be reliable and relevant.
- The sails will be gone over by a sailmaker and refurbished and I intend to add storm sails to the inventory but not sure how to fly them yet.
- I will be fitting an SSB transciever (see my other posts).
- I will be fitting a Rutland 913 wind gen (read "be having fitted" for both of these where I can and I believe San Diego is the place where I can?)
- The Global Star phone will be made active.
- A comprehensive chart folio will be on board as well as Pacific Island pilots (which I already have).
- I have two hand held Garmin 76 GPS units that will go with me. The boat also has a plotter
- A new flare pack will be on board. I don't know what other safety kit is on the boat (jackstays, life jackets, etc.) but whatever is not there will be by the time we leave.
- I have a waterproof handheld VHF that will go with me.
- I have a sextant and tables and am fully conversant with celestial navigation. I will do all of my ocean navigation with sunsights and only use GPS for landfalls and extended poor vis.
- I am a diesel mechanic by profession and generally pretty handy around practical stuff.
- I have logged about 15000 miles of ocean voyaging, about half of that single-handed on a 36 foot sloop and have been sailing for nigh on 20 years.
- My crew is my wife of 35 years who has sailed with me for all of those years and most of the voyages.
- The survey is being done by a reputable vendor and hopefully the survey will be clean. If it's not, the whole thing falls over anyway. I don't reckon that I will note anything that a good surveyor won't so if there is anything wrong that he misses, I could spend a month in San Diego and still not know it.

I must confess I hadn't thought about filtering the fuel and maybe that's an extra day's work. Certainly an inventory of filters, drivebelts and other essential consumer spares will be on board.

I have also thought about the autopilot breaking but that I have no solution for. My last vessel had only an AP which broke on one trip and whenever the boat was sailing with the wind forward of the quarters, she could be set up to sail without anybody on the helm. Hopefully this boat can too. Oh, and Chris Gee, it is the boat you posted.

OK maybe that puts the voyage into a little better perspective. I know that the whole thing is not ideal and I would love to spend two months in the US getting ready. But my recollection of people getting ready with no time constraints is that many of them are still getting ready years later. My time window is also not that far off the wall that I be classified as nuts. If it is, then I guess I'm nuts.

Cam, I already have the guide you recommend.

But please keep ideas flowing, there is probably a lot to be learned yet.

Thanks so far
Andre
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Old 04-14-2007
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Cam,
the damage under the chart table was inspected for me by the selling agent who assures me that it was a half hearted attempt at a cosmetic repair by the seller who pasted a layer of plastic self-adhesive stuff over the wood panel and the plastic sheeting has bubbled. If this is not true, the surveyor will surely not miss that.
And if the boat has been submerged this will surely also not be missed unless of course the surveyors in San Diego are not very good. If the boat has been submerged and I don't believe it has, then the whole deal falls over.

Thanks for noticing the bubbles.
Andre
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Old 04-14-2007
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Andre,

She's a very beautiful boat, with lots of recent upgrades. Some of the equipment is top-notch (Furlex furler, Yanmar, new Force 10 stove, new heads, etc.). I can see why she turned your head :-)

That said, I think it's absolutely unrealistic to get this boat ready in 2 weeks for a voyage halfway 'round the world. There are all the things mentioned above, plus others you'll want/need to attend to. And, there's the problem of a real shakedown before actually setting out for the Marquesas.

Don't forget, when you leave San Diego, you'll be leaving the best and cheapest place in the world for equipment, supplies, parts, mechanical and electrical repairs, etc. Everything outside the States, except labor, is much more expensive and difficult to secure. When you do set out, you want to be sure your boat is prepared for the next 10,000 miles.

You still haven't mentioned crew. But, you'll undoubtedly want to be sure that the autopilot is working correctly, the fathometer is installed and working, the compass has been swung, etc., etc. All this takes time.

You asked before rather innocently about SSB, and I and others tried to answer based on very little information from you. If you're going to be so pressed for prep time, my advice would be to let a professional do the whole job for you, and pay whatever it costs to buy the radio, tuner, etc., and to install and test it. You simply won't have the time to play with this item.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes.

As mentioned, don't forget to register your EPIRB, get your liferaft certified, carry paper charts, and those GPS handhelds with lots and lots of batteries.
Also, you'll probably want to replace all the batteries aboard, unless they are already new. The punch list in my head is already running into hundreds of items, and I haven't even been aboard the boat :-)

Bill
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