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  #1  
Old 07-16-2007
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Looking to help crew a long ocean trip. Need Advice.

OK,.. here's the deal. I responded to a Craigslist ad that was for someone who is looking to sail their 30' Catalina up from Moss Landing, CA to Astoria, OR. I don't know much about sailing, but I know the genral stuff (I can sail a Sunfish fairly well), and I want to learn. Anyways,.. I spoke to the owner today and he told me that he wants a crew of three; him, myself, and another experienced sailor. If I agree to this, we'd be leaving on the 25th of July and be out for God knows how long. He's also supplying all the food and transportation back home.

So here's what I need:
  • General advice
  • How long should this trip take? (roughly)
  • What should I ask or do before the trip?
  • How dangerous is this really?
  • Am I stupid for even considering this?

I think this would be a fun adventure. Ok, well maybe more of an adventure than fun, but you get the point.

Thanks in advance for the help!
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Old 07-16-2007
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Who's the owner? Check him out. If you have his name, post it here. Let;s see if anyone knows him here. You can also post in: cruisersforum.com, ssca, and latts & atts. Make sure you get on the boat with a competent captain. They lost a cat up there not too long ago with a whole crew of VERY experienced trans-pacific delivery team. You don't want to crew with someone incompetent.

Also, I assume you are a male?

I don't think you are stupid for this... just be sensible and cautious. You interview him as much as he interview you.

- CD
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Old 07-16-2007
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Also read INFORMATION TO ASSIST CREW (halfway down the page).

Good luck.
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Old 07-16-2007
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That's the thing, I don't know the owner aside from his first name "Mickey". When I spoke to him, he mentioned that he wasn't all that experienced either. The "Captain" I guess will be this other guy he's recruited who has 'some' experience doing this. And that's the other thing,.. aside from supposed history a particular person has, who am I to tell if he's competent?

And yes, I'm a 30 year old male - and my wife's a little nervous about me contemplating doing this.

As far as I can tell, it will be about a 720 mile trip. Any guesses to how long it would take?
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Eclipse,

Regarding how long this would take: Are you sailing straight through? How many times are you stopping? How will the weather participate, or are you sailing out no matter what??

First, I have NOT made that sail. I have sailed the S CA area, not there. But that has nothing to do with the info I have given you.

I will give you my perspective. THis is just mine. But I would not crew on that run without a very expereinced captain and a very sea worthy boat. If you are unable to ascertain either because of your inexperience, you are trusting to a man's good word, his luck, or both.

I wouldn't... not unless I could really interview the captain and get a really good feel for the boat. But that is just me and I tend to be a bit cautious with my life. As I strongly undersatand it, if a nice storm kicks up, you WILL weather it at sea. You wil not make a port.

How are you going to deal with that? THe boat? THe captain? What is everyones sea sick threshold??

Lot's to contemplate and take on faith for someone you do not know. And if he is such a great guy, why doesn't he have friends or family going with him instead? Or someone from the marina that knows him???

Basically: WHat does your gut tell you?

- CD
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Old 07-16-2007
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Dude, that sounds like a script to a disaster movie. Don't do it. that's not an easy sail; difficult winds, big water and major grounding potential along the coast. Are they planning to go off shore or follow the coastline?
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Old 07-16-2007
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First red flag--Craig's List. Or as we say in So Cal, the last exit before toll. Second flag is going north, even in the summer in a 30 footer.
Third flag is your experience, plus the unknown of the owner. Trust me, there are a hundred different much better ways to get the dog **** scared out of you. This trip would be #101 on that list.

Short answer, no. Come down to So Cal where it's warmer and the weather is more benign and get some offshore miles under your ass first...........

Rick
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Okay, I'm an ex-East coaster and Gulf-coaster who knows Jack s*%t about the west coast, except that it's rocky, except for a couple of inlets which are hair-raising to enter in good conditions, and suicidal in heavy conditions.

One more thing.. a Catalina 30 is not really a "blue water" boat, it's more of a coast -crawler. If, in summer, you get fair weather, this may not be a factor, but be forewarned just in case.

That considered, some general advice:

He wants a 3rd crewmember so you all can sleep (maybe) 8 hours, "work" 8 hours, and have another 8 hours to respond to whatever. That's a wise move, fatigue is your biggest enemy.

Be conservative and figure on no better than a 4-knot average speed, to account for calm conditions or head seas. You can then do the math as to how long it'll take, because I have absolutely no idea where Moss Landing, or anything else in Cali, is... I just know, from hearing from others, that it's an unforgiving coast. So maybe it'll take you 4 days if you get decent breeze, or 5 if you don't.

I'm basically unqualified to advise you. But if you view it as "more adventure than fun", you just might like it.

So I don't think it's "stupid", but more of a calculated risk. You ought to make sure there's at least one experienced and sober offshore sailor in the group, and you have a good set of charts, and a reliable GPS. If so, the adventure will be more than worth the risk.

Please bear in mind, once again, that this advice comes from someone who doesn't know the west coast except for a racing regatta in SF bay...

That said, if your gut tells you that neither of the other 2 sailors are actively trying to kill you, then do it, you might like it, and learn a lot...
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Man you people have no sense of adventure! Go meet the guy and check out the boat, if then you are in a comfort zone, go for it. The hidie holes along the coast can be few and far between but it is summer and the weather is not so bad.Just make sure the boat has radar and a decent chart plotter. I fished the west coat from Ft Bragg to Canada for several years. It CAN get ugly but big storms this time of the year are scarce. Id also expect to be motoring, a lot.
PS, make sure you have a good survival suit too, not some old left over POS from a fishing boat.
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Tommyt and Valiente crossed the Atlantic to Portugal, to sail with a guy they never met, in a boat they only saw photos of, in waters they have never heard of, not knowing the owners experience and came back with great memories....I believe the sense of unknown and aventure give it some spice. That would not be the reason I wouldn't go.

I'd do a small reality check, and check them out. Then decide.

HOWEVER....I wouldn't do it not because the sea is rough or the winds are tough.

I wouldn't do it because that boat will at best do 7 knots per hour, and that may be pushing its speed....meaning you will do (assuming you don't stop) around 70 miles per day, meaning that if all goes well you will be sailing for 11 days if one leg or more if you stop, just add the stopped days. And you my freind, only sailed Sunfishes, how do you know you go "green" and puke your life out on day 2??? sailing at sea is not sailing a sunfish along the beach..that is the only reason I wouldn't do it...get some coastal time, see how your body reacts, then go for a major trip...

I know many a good sailors with many "rounds" under the belt, that on day 2 vomit their brains out, and got very very sick...sea sickness can kill you, because you WILL NOT be able to eat, and all liquids will leave your body, you will die of de-hidration...not a joke...



(by the way, knotaloud, if I were you I wouldn't be talking about horror movies, since the "script" of yours seems pretty big)
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