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  #11  
Old 12-09-2006
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Don_Quijote is on a distinguished road
Bluewater...
One issue of singlehanding is sleeping. From Miami (Key Byscane) to Bimini, I did not sleep as during the passage from 2300 to 0900, I counted 12 or 13 ships crossing either in front or behind me. Closest one was within a mile (closer than I felt comfortable). On my final leg from San Salvador to Boqueron I slept a couple of hours at night after a scan of radar (24 mile setting) and visual scan. Even with this, a cargo ship came up behind me within 2 miles to port. Even with precautions you really don't sleep well. Sort of sleeping with one eye open.
Next to that, the issue of being alone and not having someone to share the absolute beauty of the trip was difficult at times.
As was mentioned, get Bruce Van Zandt's Book, The Gentlemans Guide to Passages South. Bruce is sometimes rather opinonated, but the advice he gives is dead on.

BTW diesel in the Bahamas was $3.19 to $3.76 a gallon and water was as much as 50cents a gallon. Good weather information from caribbean WX (Chris Parker) on 4045 Khz at 0630 EST (you might want to check) If you are a ham, the Waterway Radio Club meets 7268 Khz at 0730 EST. If you don't have marine or ham SSB get at least a good short wave radio that covers 3 to 30 Mhz. Watching the weather is most important.

Oh, another thing. Make sure you have a good dinghy. In the Bahamas, it's your local transportation.

Jack
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  #12  
Old 12-10-2006
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Cam.... Thanks for the route. As far as electronics here is what I have... VHF, Ray Nav 570 Loran C and several handheld gps, Data marine speed, distance, depth and as far as safety I have a horseshoe ring pfd's and the flares and pyrotechnics.

I will be taking a pc with me and I am thinking about picking up a gps/chartplotter and garmin bluechart. Also put jacklines on and get a pfd/harness combo and getting a PLB.

I need a dinghy. Any suggestions? Is pulling it along with a painter the way to go since I have a 36 footer?

Any suggestions and things I am missing are welcome.

Don Q....... I figured the sleep thing was a major part. Didn't think about the sharing thing but yeah that would be my thinking too. The wife and kids haven't given in to the long haul of a passage. I on the otherhand like adventure. Hell after Iraq I need something to keep the blood flowing. And the book is on order...thanks

Last edited by Bluewater4us; 12-10-2006 at 06:49 AM.
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  #13  
Old 12-10-2006
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camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough
Bluewater:
First thing you need is a life raft. You can rent one or buy one second hand provided it is still under certification. You also need an Epirb...I believe you can also rent these from BoatUS if you don't want to invest. These two items insure YOU will make it if not the boat!
Next you need the right paper charts...Maptech for the USA...Explorer for the sections of the Bahamas/Turks & Caicos you need...Wavy line chart of the Dominican Republic. Maptech for PuertoRico and Virgin Island and the the CYC chart kits for the Windwards and Leewards...you can get these though Maptech as well. Suggest Pavlidas Turks and Caicos Guide and Puerto Rico Guide especially since the T&C guide has LUPERON charts.
Suggest Doyle Guides to Windwards and Leewards as the waypoints they reference will be shown on your CYC charts.
Next you need a reliable way to get your weather reports. Ideally you would get get up with an SSB rig and listen in on Chris Parger and download your weather fax & navtex info to your PC. Short of that I suggest a globalstar phone with e-mail connection so you can subscribe to Chris Parkers personalized reports AND have a means of emergency communications. VHF is useless south of the Bahamas. A precise localized forecast is critical as you make your way south. Chris Parker (chris@mwxc.com) is god!
You absolutely cannot drag your dinghy behind you except on the ICW and IN the Bahamas. Suggest you either get a roll-up or set up with davits. Bring chain and a lock for the dinghy and outboard!!
You also need to purchase a complete major spares kit for your engine AND lots of fuel filters for the Racor AND a Baja filter. I assume you will carry lots of extra diesel on your rail given the light tankage you have. You'll need to rig up something to hold all that diesel in place in big seas.
I'm gonna say you need an auto-pilot here as well since you are short handed. I also am assuming you have a good dodger and bimini. The sun is brutal. As you suggest...jacklines and harness are needed as well.
*************** The above and what you already have are all that is required to get there in reasonable safety*****************

In the nice to have category I would include a PLB, MOB pole, chartplotter, lots of extra batteries for the GPS and several decent flashlights and batteries. Then spares for everything you can think of! Light bulbs, alternator belts, a line as long as your main halyard. Bosun's chair. etc. Bad stuff always happens at night!
As to type of dinghy...RIBS are the vehicle of choice down island due to the coral but you may be restricted to a roll up due to your deck space unless you add davits. The only thing to be sure of is to get a Hypalon model as the sun destroys PVC. We've had good luck with Avon and also love our present Caribe but I'm sure other brands are equally good. Get as BIG an outboard as you an afford as this will be your car! 10-15HP is excellent for most applications. I bought a 5 and forever keep hoping for it to die!
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Old 12-10-2006
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Cam I was hoping you would be responding to me. I have notice you give good advice in other threads. Thanks for all the info. where is the best place to get the charts and what is a good reliable liferaft. You think it is worth my time to get the ham operators and an SSB. How long is the course and I assume I can get it thru the Coast Guard Aux.

I will look into davits and the RIBS.

Again thanks for all the info
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  #15  
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Cam... I am working on the spares kit already. I also forgot that I do have Autohelm 4000.
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  #16  
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Regarding charts from the Turks to PR, Maptech has a chart book that covers that entire leg of the route, it was just published last March. I think it is called 10 or something like that. It is excellent for that part of passage and fills a big void.

As mentioned above, the dingy is critical. You must figure a way to store it on the boat. It is your car once at anchor. You will need to secure it on deck when cruising. So convienence of hauling it aboard is critical. I use my spinnaker halyard and a winch to raise it up. The dingy engine and gas tanks store on the rail and in the cockpit. You will be raising and dropping the dingy every time you stop. So get that system down. Also, down island, dingy engines become targets of opportunity for the locals so be prepared to secure it when away from the boat and at night.

The Bluewater Bookstore in Ft. Lauderdale is an excellent place to acquire charts, guide books, etc. Go there on the way south and spend a day acquiring stuff. You will not regret it as you go down island. Pick up your courtesy flags there as well.

When you get to Puerto Rico, you might also want to stop at Salinas just past Ponce. Its a good harbor and has a great mangrove hole nearby for weather avoidance.

Get your weather from Chris, you will need an SSB radio. His advice is good tactical info. Get your strategic planning from Van Zant. His sailing advice is getting dated but his basic approach is excellent and timeless.

The first 1200 miles are all nose into the wind. So plan on a lot of fuel consumption. If you don't have a lot of tankage and jerry jugs in the beginning, you will by the end of your trip.

When you get to Georgetown there will be groups of people getting together for making the voyage south. This can work out, if you find compatible folks to sail with. Or it can become a problem. Always be your own captain. Read Van Zant for his strategy and you will do fine.

The chartplotters dont work well South of the Turks because the charts are old. You will sail through land when you get to Luperon, even though it looks like water to you. Trust your eyes as you go south. Van Zant's low tech advice for entering Luperon will work best. Go the southern route across the Turks & Caicos.

Always listen to Chris Parker. Get his book for the frequencies and a lot of great weather related advice. Also check out his web site:

http://caribwx.mwxc.com/synopsis.html

Make sure you can download the NOAA Off Shore weather faxes, you'll need the weather fax hardware and software kit, its about $200. Get it in Ft. Lauderdale. You will need your SSB functional to use it. Parker's book and the weather fax documentation covers the frequencies.

Learn how to listen to the NMN broadcast from the coast guard on the SSB. Check Parker's book for the frequencies.

Make sure you have good anchors and rodes available. I carry 4 anchors, a Delta, a Bruce, a Fortress and a Danforth. My primary rode is all chain on the Delta. I have two rope rodes for the fluke anchors and a combination rope and chain on the Bruce. More is better than less.
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  #17  
Old 12-11-2006
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camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough
Bluewater...Escapade also gives EXCELLENT advice! The new Maptech for the DR/PR is much needed!! www.bluewaterweb.com is the website for the blue water charts and books store both he and I recommend. I always liked to have the charts long before my voyage so I could dream and plan...but the store is definitely worth a visit too.
For SSB no testing is required....you just need to pay your money to get a ships license. Ham is nice to have but you don't NEED it right away. Just tune into Parker and get the fax software/hardware for your PC/SSB.
Good point on having the right anchors and rodes. But you can read the anchor threads if you have questions there.
As to life rafts...you can see almost all the popular brands here...
http://www.lrse.com/products.cfm?cat=001
I've dealt with these guys repacking my Zodiac and they do good work and may have re-furbished ones for sale suitable for your needs as well as rentals.
Finally....here is a map with waypoints that will get you into Luperon Harbor..don't know how good the maptech chart is but this one will get you in. Don't drink the water!!
http://www.luperonmarina.com/mapa.JPG
Of course I need to state that the map is not for navigation and the prudent captain will not rely on any one source...but you knew that already!!
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  #18  
Old 12-11-2006
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Thanks Escapade and Cam(again). Great info. I am begining to feel better in formed already. I use Bluewater Books alot. When I get there I will bow down infront of the store and give my respects.

I will do my reading on anchors to see where I need to suppliment. With regards to Liferafts... is there a real difference in valise or canister? Which is prefered by most?

Who and where do you pay your moneuy for the ships license for the ssb? is that something that happens when you purchase it?

Looked at the map of Lueron and see what you mean. I am careful about what I do and always like to have a back up plan or two.
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You'll need to register at the FCC and get the ship's license through them. It cost me $155 last year to get one. go to www.fcc.gov. Good luck with their maize of web pages, not to bad really. Good luck.
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Old 12-11-2006
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Bluewater...here is a summary and links to the forms you need for your license and permit along with an offer to let someone else do it for you for $125 which is not necessary if you can put up with the government's beaurocratic way of making you jump through web hoops!
http://www.hfradio.com/HFRadioOnBoar...ms_instruc.htm
The site is also a good source for SSB stuff and technical support if you plan to do the installation yourself. Since it sounds like you plan to go the SSB route rather than the Globalstar phone route I suggest you get started NOW as the licenseing take time AND the installation is complex including:
1. Installation of radio and automatic tuner.
2. Installation of cables/ferrites for PC use.
3. Removal of Backstay and installation of backstay isolators and antenna wiring to backstay.
4. Copper foil extensively on hull in bilges to create ground plane.
5. Decision on installation of Pactor modem and sailmail service and attendent cabling if underway e-mail is desired.

We have the Icom M802 and AT140 tuner setup and are quite happy with it. A complete professional install on everything except the Pactor is gonna run you in the $4k range which is why for ONE trip I suggested that the Globalstar option might suffice. If you plan on doing extended cruising down island then the SSB is a very worthwhile investment for weather, security net, and general communication.
On liferafts...there is no difference between valise and cannister contents BUT valise is useful if you have no deck space for a cannister and don't want a permanent mount. They should be stored BELOW when not underway as the sun will eat them up. We had one on a prior boat that we brought up and strapped to the mast for easy deployment underway. They are quite heavy so you need to be strong to move them around.
Cannisters are the choice for permanent on-deck mounting and you need to get a cradle with one to secure it to the deck. You can get them in manual release (i.e. you do it) or auto release...(i.e. they pop when the boat is underwater!) The cannister protects the raft from the sun but they still need to be tested and recertified every couple of years.
Thought you might be interested in this picture from Chris Parkers' web site...it shows your cruise and what you may expect in prevailing winds...you can see how much motoring you have to look forward to by looking at the wind arrows!
http://caribwx.mwxc.com/synopsis.html
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