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  #1  
Old 09-15-2006
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To sail or not to sail, that is the question...

OK, need advice here. The plan at the moment is for the captain who is delivering the boat to come up from FL to NC outside from St. Augustine to Beaufort. (Have posted on another thread...) Anyway, weather may decide this for us if the hurricanes keep churning off Africa, but anyway, another wrinkle has been thrown in via the mechanic/repair company. Here's the facts:

Boat survey showed no problems at all (bilge, hull, etc). In fact, it came in at $34,900, which is $15k higher than book.

About $3k of engine work is being done to get the engine up to snuff for a lot of hours, and to repair/replace old or suspect parts (ie. the 1/2" 90 degree elbow bringing the water in to cool the engine (DUMB); new alternator; new tach; upgraded seacocks).

Sails are at the loft being repaired. There will be a backup sail for the current self-furling jib, and the spinaker is fine.

Rigging is less than 2 years old.

Fuel is scheduled to be filtered and tank cleaned on Monday, by a guy refered by the repair company.

So...When the mechanic called me with an update today, he said, "We are concerned about the boat going outside because it hasn't seen anything other than calm water for so long." I said, "Do you see anything else wrong we need to fix?" And he said, "No, we just feel uneasy about it."

Obviously we want to be safe for both the captain and the boat. And as I said, weather may dictate the inside passage anyway. BUT -- what am I missing? I had already left a message for the delivery capt to talk about Plan B in case of weather (he's charging by the day, so an inside vs outside passage is a good bit more expensive, which we just need to know), and I'll talk to him, but all you "old salts" may have some advice I hadn't thought of and I'd love to hear it!

Thanks.
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Old 09-15-2006
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knothead has a spectacular aura about knothead has a spectacular aura about knothead has a spectacular aura about
It sure seems to me that you have been diligent in correcting problems and even trying to anticipate the unexpected. I can't see any reason the boat shouldn't be sailed outside. Weather permitting of course. If you trust your captain, let him decide. As to the boat not having seen anything but calm water for a long time, what the heck does that have to do with anything.
You are not talking about an Atlantic crossing or anything here. Some glitches are sure to surface but so what. Go for it.
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Old 09-15-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knothead
... As to the boat not having seen anything but calm water for a long time, what the heck does that have to do with anything.
You are not talking about an Atlantic crossing or anything here. Some glitches are sure to surface but so what. Go for it.
I don't claim to be an old salt. But I do see relevance to the mechanic's concerns. The relevance is that the vessel hasn't been stressed lately so hidden problems may suddenly appear. Remember even the best survey can't find everything.
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Old 09-15-2006
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Have the fuel scrubbed, carry back up filters for the fuel system. If there is time give her a short shakedown, 48 hours and inspect the filters and rigging, see if that will allay the mechanics trepidations.

Dewey
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Old 09-15-2006
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I'd agree 110% with Dewey. Inside or outside, I wouldn't deliver the boat without a shakedown cruise, preferably 48 hours but AT LEAST one whole day at sea.

You know the way odd things just find a way to happen. That mechanic may actually have seen something that is wrong, and just not processed it at a concious level yet. That's what hunches often mean. And, even with brand new parts and fittings, sometimes they just bust in the first couple of days, or ship DOA from the factory.

Of course, if it insures over the purchase price, and the delivery skipper feels like being daring...Well, you're insured and that's his life.
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Old 09-15-2006
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Look its not as if you can't duck in if things don't go well. What ever you can do safely offshore, sure beats the heck out of crawiling up the ICW. I think that I would do some contingency planning as to where you can duck in, and then go. If need be make a short hop out to Darien, or Brunswick, Ga. or something to miss the ICW mess around Jacksonville, which last time I did it some 20 or so years ago, used to be a real drawbridge waiting time nightmare. If you find things going smooth just keep going.

What kind of boat are delivering anyway?
Jeff
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Old 09-15-2006
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Well...if you go the direct route....there is no ducking in if a problem arises and you are out of the range of TowBoat/SeaTow. My recommendation is to take her up from St. Augustine to Fernandina outside on an overnight shakedown. Tiger Marine there is good and can fix anything that you find wrong.
From there you can take another day jump outside to St. Simons island/Golden Isles marina. If all is well you can then head offshore on a rhumb line for Charleston...but still be able to duck back inside at Bewfort or Savannah should the need arise. From Charleston and with more confidence in the boat you can head offshore around Cape Fear and into Bow-Fort...with Southport/Cape Fear as an interim stop if needed.
If there are no problems along the way I make the trip 6-7 days which is a couple of days longer than the straight line but probably advisable.

I assume you will prepare the boat for offshore with appropriate safety equipment, Epirb,liferaft etc. May I also suggest a battery operated GPS with extra batteries and spare impellers and lots of Racors. If you do not have a spare alternator, I'd also carry one of those automotive "jump start" packs in case the alternator fails and drains the batteries.
Again...the Doyle Guide to SE US inlets is a must have for this trip!
Good luck with the trip!
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Old 09-16-2006
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Have you conducted a "sea trial" to verify that systems operate with the boat under actual sailing conditions? E.G. is the rig tuned, will the autopilot work under load, are there deck or hatch leaks, does the alternator make noise on the VHF, etc.

I've put up a sea trial checklist on my website at http://www.smartcaptain.com/SC-Topic...t-Seatrial.php I use this checklist each time before I make an offshore trip.

Hope this helps,
Jeff
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Old 09-16-2006
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I like Cam's suggestion. The shorter hops will allow you to get back inside if any major issues show up, and will give you a pretty good idea of whether the boat can handle the outside passage past Cape Fear. It basically incorporates Dewey's idea of a shakedown cruise, but gives you some progress towards your goal.

I'd agree that the mechanic's hunch is probably based on something he saw/heard, but hasn't consciously processed, a really good mechanic can be like a witch doctor in their ability to diagnose a problem before it becomes apparent.
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Old 09-16-2006
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Good suggestions...I also like the "hybrid" approach, as it gets the boat up here in reasonable time, and allows for problems along the way. If the capt can't take as much time as this might take (he's a yacht dealer, too), I have always said he could stop anywhere from Savannah north and I could do the rest up the ICW. Obviously, the closer he gets the better for me -- I just don't have time for the trip all the way, esp in GA where it seems to go more backwards than forwards!

The strange thing is that it wasn't they guy who is actually working on the boat who felt trepidation - it was another of the guys in the shop, who has not even actually seen the boat! We employ a full-time mechanic in our business, so I understand the...quirks of a good one. But I'm not sure clairvoyance is one! Anyway, they are putting together an entire spare parts kit for me, and I also have the old, rebuilt seawater pump onboard if the new one fails.
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