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  #1  
Old 09-20-2013
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Solo Offshore Overnight- Advice Sought

Good Afternoon,

I have been down in NSB for a little over two months now. Have sailed out of Ponce Inlet many times, twice in some really heavy swells (east wind meats ebb tide sort of thing).

Anyway- I am trying to slowly work myself up. Next week I am off three days in a row and felt like it would be the perfect oppurtunity to do an overnight trip offshore. Weather permitting of course.

The set up: 27' centerboard sailboat roughly 8,000 lbs. New main and 98% jib. All is ship shape except an old diesel engine which has not given me any issues for over 40 hours but that will never be completely OK in my mind until it is gone (hence I have a new boat.)

Yes- I know I should have more head sails for wind increases but the set up is what it is and again- I will not be going unless NOAA has good forecast. For you safety minded people (not that I am not) I gave up my solo attempt at a sail yesterday bc of NOAA (damn small craft advisory, 6-7' seas, 15-20 knot east wind plus the nasty ponce inlet-actually would have been a great day sailing if not for the inlet and my pesky underpowered motor, only 8 hp).

Lastly- before my bahama trip this summer ill have at least a storm jib- so now unto the plans.

I plan to leave out of the inlet on the falling ebb and head pretty much due east for 20 to 25 miles (NOAA forecast gulf stream is 40 miles off shore so should not have to worry about finding it). About 8 p.m. or so I was planning on hoving to for the night until 4:30 when I would get up and sail back west until I spot the coast then take some fixes to find my way back North to the inlet.

A few observations, ideas, and questions now follow in a very muddeled order whcih I aplogize for in advance.

If I encounter a squall at night while hove to would the best course of action be to stay hove to, go on deck and steer up wind or whatever course is easiest on rig and skipper, or keep main reefed and lower jib and sail abeam the wind since without the headsail I would not be able to go upwind but would also have much less canvas that could be filled resulting in being over powered?

Was starting at sun down going to turn on the anchor, running, and mast head lights for the duration- do you think an egg timer would be over doing it? Every 21 minute check sorta thing or with my rig lit up and radar reflected hoisted up would I be fine sleeping a solid 4-6 hours?

Going to dead reckon from the inlet until I see the inlet again. Will have GPS programmed for back up or emergencies. Going to be using knot meters, analong wind gauges, and dividers and paralell rulers for all navigation unless I run into trouble then have the back up GPS. Will also have VHF on 16 for duration.

Going to tow dinghy astern- will that throw off hoving too? Was thinking I should put the dinghy on deck once hove to for this purpose.

Going to provision for two days just in case- hot and cold meals in case sea too sloppy for galley cooking.

Really though I am looking for anything I may have missed or have not considered- this is where you salts can hopefully send some advice or cents (sense) my way to make sure this next leg up is a great one.

Thanks all- will monitor quite a bit to respond to any questions or concerns.

Harborless
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Old 09-20-2013
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Re: Solo Offshore Overnight- Advice Sought

It will be good for you.

When you come back you will have learned a lot.

The only advice I will give is for you to leave the dinghy at home. Otherwise it will be floating off looking for a new home.

The best way to learn is to go out and do it.

I didnt read this bit:
Quote:
would I be fine sleeping a solid 4-6 hours?
As I said before: When you come back you will have learned a lot.

At the moment (17.46 20 Sep) theres only 3 ships approaching the area you are going to sleep 4 to 6 hours solid. There is only one doing more than 20 knots... the other two, one is a cruise ship so might have nice accomodation if you survive the collision.

As I said before: When you come back you will have learned a lot.


Mark
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Last edited by MarkofSeaLife; 09-20-2013 at 05:47 PM.
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Old 09-20-2013
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Re: Solo Offshore Overnight- Advice Sought

On the heaving to bit I'd suggest you put 2 reefs in the main and drop the headsail... leave your board down and try turning her head to the wind... if you've no drive shake out one reef and try again.. once you've got her trying to tack... ease the tiller back a touch and lash it.. see how she sits... you may be lucky and get it straight away or you may have to twiddle a bit. She should then ride quite well.. remember to lay her on the most favourable tack... then sit back in the cockpit and star gaze..
Have a grand sail...
Oh forgot to say.. have the boom set 10-15* off centre and sheeted tight...
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Old 09-20-2013
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Re: Solo Offshore Overnight- Advice Sought

How exciting !!! I love your posts about your experiences. I can't wait to hear about your overnighter...
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Old 09-20-2013
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Re: Solo Offshore Overnight- Advice Sought

Time it so you hit The Bahama Bank at dawn without sleeping in the Gulf Stream! That's a pretty bad idea. Get a lot of sleep beforehand and just stay awake until you get to Great Sale (or wherever you're going). Singlehanding, it's often necessary to stay up for a long time. I've stayed awake for 40+ hours at times. Catch short naps with an egg timer if you need some sleep or if find yourself dozing off. Do you have a radar with an alarm mode? If so, use it if you do have to catch a nap for 20 min or so. Coffee! Plan an S route to navigate across the current of the Stream. Plotting point A to point B on a GPS will not work.
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Old 09-20-2013
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Re: Solo Offshore Overnight- Advice Sought

I would not try to sleep in such a busy area. Make sure you are well-rested to start and you should have no problem staying awake for a night.
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Old 09-20-2013
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Re: Solo Offshore Overnight- Advice Sought

Like Mark says, rethink the sleeping part and the dinghy.

If you are like us, the dink is your life raft. You can't really leave it behind. Towing it is a bad idea. Every time I've done it, I have regretted it. Last time was on our way to Warderick Wells, Bahamas. The winds piped up, and we had three footers off the stern. The dinghy started surfing, would catch up and slam into the transom. I almost lost the outboard.

We carry our dink on the foredeck. If you haven't sailed with it up there, you'll find that can be problematic too. It makes it difficult to go forward if you need to. Also, our jib sheet will sometimes get under the tube of the dink at the back, during tacks.

It should be an interesting sail for you. I'm looking forward to hearing how it went, when you return. Be safe out there!

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Old 09-20-2013
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Re: Solo Offshore Overnight- Advice Sought

A lot of my sailing is one nighters solo I love them .Its not to hard to stay awake all night,I take a flask of coffee and lots of snacks,Try and get as much sleep as you can before you leave and lash your dinghy on board.They are a pain to get onboard when its rough.As for lights these forum guys will skin me but I have found whenever i use my nav lights its brings boats to me like moths too a flame I have limited battery power so only turn mine on when I see another boat reasonably close.Also you lose your night vision when lights are on.Enjoy your sail.
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Old 09-20-2013
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Re: Solo Offshore Overnight- Advice Sought

Great replies thank you. Some of you are fast forwarding to my bahamas voyage which is planned for april thru july. Part of the reason for the sleeping is so I cant get used to it. I doubt id sleep more than a half awake nap the first time but i need to get comfortable sleeping while solo sailing for longer trips in the future. The dinghy is a life boat in that case so i hesiate to leave it but its def a pain to take any way about it.

Not sure what you mean about hoving to without the foresail up? My main only has one reef point as it is and without the counteraction for the head sail I dont see how I could ride the currents drift without actually making a heading.

Will go out plenty rested. Lights plenty of charging behind them. Plan to use all old school nav with the gps as back up so well see how good I am!

Will post full report when I return.

Lastly, howd you find the info about the large vessels in the area? That seems like a hndy piece of gizmo to have.
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Old 09-20-2013
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Re: Solo Offshore Overnight- Advice Sought

Great replies thank you. Some of you are fast forwarding to my bahamas voyage which is planned for april thru july. Part of the reason for the sleeping is so I cant get used to it. I doubt id sleep more than a half awake nap the first time but i need to get comfortable sleeping while solo sailing for longer trips in the future. The dinghy is a life boat in that case so i hesiate to leave it but its def a pain to take any way about it.

Not sure what you mean about hoving to without the foresail up? My main only has one reef point as it is and without the counteraction for the head sail I dont see how I could ride the currents drift without actually making a heading.

Will go out plenty rested. Lights plenty of charging behind them. Plan to use all old school nav with the gps as back up so well see how good I am!

Will post full report when I return.

Lastly, howd you find the info about the large vessels in the area? That seems like a hndy piece of gizmo to have.
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