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heartlandsail 12-24-2005 02:45 PM

Anyone done this trip
Has anyone sailed from Tampa to the Bahamas in a 26'' swingkeel outboard powered? Is the vessel''s rigging adequate for the crossing. What vessel preparations should be done, if any?
Richard Lewis

PaulBl 12-27-2005 01:07 PM

Anyone done this trip
"Adequate" may be sufficient but many boats smaller have done it handily and many larger have been lost at sea. It''s not always about the boat but it can be.

There is the sailor and mother nature to contend with. Both of these seem to me to have the greater propensity for disaster. Peope can be stupid and mother nature unpredictable. Those are the really difficult variables.

Doing the wrong thing on purpose will generally help get you killed though doing a few things wrong in a row is usally required. Luck does count if it''s good luck or if it''s bad luck. You can be lucky even if you are stupid. You don''t usually get lucky enough to bet your life.

Since we can''t know for certain what the weather will be that leaves one question - you? Experience is a good indicator of success. What sailing have you done to prepare?

Not having seen or been provided a description of the condition of your rigging I would venture it''s not adequate, since you seem unsure or at least questioning the issue I am skeptical. You should remove all doubt. It''s worth having a professional survey of the boat to see if it has any fatal flaws due to age or neglect. Some 26 ft boats are in worse shape than they look. It''s the general nature of boats to get old and in bad conndition. They seem to do it faster than we all like.

I doubt the outboard motor would be of much use except for getting in and out of the marina so I would stow that below after removing the fuel (it could explode). You won''t need it to cross the ocean.

When preparing consider:

What is the worst that could happen?

Make a long list.

Sailormon6 12-27-2005 02:06 PM

Anyone done this trip
I haven''t made the trip, but have a number of friends who have. It''s best to make your first crossing in a group, preferably led by someone who has done it before. Participants on the Trailer Sailor forum ( occasionally organize fleet cruises for small, trailerable sailboats. The key is to wait until the weather is right, and then make a fast crossing before the weather can change on you. If the wind is too light to allow you to maintain a reasonable speed under sail, use your motor. If you plan it right, I''m told it''s a nice, fast, fair-weather sail.

Stede 12-28-2005 02:41 AM

Anyone done this trip

I''ve done a similar trip to what your are considering. I sailed my 26 foot shoal draft boat single-handed to the Bahamas. I crossed over from Key Largo, to N.Bimini. As someone else suggested, if possible, I recommend crossing over with another boat.I didn''t have any problems with my crossing, but it''s always better to increase your safety factor when ever possible.

Besides the obvious needed preparation of having necessary spares for your outboard,plenty of food and water,the boat in sound shape,proper charts,etc.,I think the most critical items of concern are your ditch bag, and dinghy.

On a 26 foot boat towing a dinghy can be a problem. I have a 8-1/2 ft. inflatable that I use. It''s too large to store on the bow when inflated,so I end up towing it on a bridle. The arrangement works fine unless you run into bad weather.You should have a plan in place of how you''re going to secure the dink if things go afoul. A dink slamming into your boat can damage itself, or your boat rudder,etc.

A good ditch bag is a must.If the worst were to happen (which isn''t likely if you''ve chosen a good weather window for your crossing) you''ll be counting on that ditch bag to substain you for a few days.It should include: water,food,flares,hand-held compass, fishing line with hooks,etc.

With these prepared items, "It be no problim,Mon!"

colehankins 02-22-2006 03:01 PM

That depends
If you are the Richard Lewis that we would normally see on TV then yes, by all means, go ahead. You can also leave the windows and hatches open. I would recommend taking lots of controlled substances also.
If you are not a comedian, then, think long and hard about it and then go anyway.

sailnaway 02-22-2006 04:50 PM

It would seem to me that you have not gotten any direct reply but never fear. If the wind is from the north or the north east the gulf stream is a nasty place to be in a small boat. Big steep seas due to the stream flowing north and the wind blowing south you see what I mean. Ok now from Tampa well I would go to the Ft Myers area and cross the state by way of the Colousahatchee sorry that is most likely spelled wrong. The river croses the state and takes you through the state and the Loke Okechobee again spelled some thing like that. Then you can go fooshore south by ocean or the ICW. On the river you can stay at Labelle just west of the bridge the city did have a free dock if no one is in it. also you can get fuel along the way at several marinas on the river. This is a fun trip river is a straight shot and deep. Remember you are crossing the gulf stream and it can be moving at several knots so you sail in an arch as you cross so starting out in north Largo is good south Biscayne fair Miami or Ft Lauderdale you could miss the Bahamas.Leave real early like 4:00AM so you have allot of daylight if you had any problem and the seas are calmer in the morning usually. Check all weather data close for fronts not many squals this time of year.

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