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Old 01-15-2008
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Would I be insane ?

Hello All
I just started sailing (with friends) this past summer, and am buying a small trailer sailer--DS16 by Glenmore- this winter and plan to spend much of this next summer learning all I can on the local lakes here in southern Minnesota. I will especially be sailing on Lake Pepin which is actually part of the Mississippi River.
Now my question. It has occurred to me that from Pepin it would be possible to go down the Mississippi to the Gulf then along the coast to Florida,the Keys and to the Bahamas.Would I be insane to try that after a year or two of experience ? I am 62,newly retired and divorced.The boat is 16 ft.,swing keel with a small cabin.I guess you would call it a (shirt)pocket cruiser.
Thanks in advance for any and all help/advice

"Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm" Publius Syrus !st.century B.C.
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Old 01-15-2008
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I know that it has been done by boats even smaller than yours, but it takes a certain mindset and personality to go microcruising.

A lot of it depends on how much experience and what conditions your next two years of experience is under. If you take the boat out on sunny Sunday afternoons with only Force 4 winds... then no, you probably shouldn't even consider it.

However, if you are willing to take the boat out in all conditions and truly get some serious experience sailing the boat, learning about how it handles in heavy weather and such, then I think that a coastal trip and then a short hop to the islands would be doable.

I'd invite you to visit a forum that is dedicated to smaller boats and longer voyages. You can find that mindset here.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 01-15-2008
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It could be done. I'm also not familiar with the boat and it's "seaworthisness" but at 16ft, among many other things, the amount of provisions you could store will certainly to be an issue.
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Old 01-15-2008
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Anything is possible with the right preparation but not recommended. I just read an article of two guys who sailed the Northwest passage in a Hobie Cat 18

I also met a man who was making Mississippi to Florida Keys trip, minus the Bahamas part, in a pontoon boat.
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Old 01-15-2008
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Then again, Webb Chiles did make it most of the way around the world in an 18' Drascombe Lugger*, which had the additional disadvantage of not having any sort of enclosed cabin. So... it really depends a lot on you.



*Technically, it was two different Drascombe Luggers, since one was confiscated by the government in Egypt IIRC.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 01-15-2008
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Its entirely up to you and your abilities.
The question is, how comfortable will you be on a SMALL boat for a LONG time?
With the right weather window, I would think yes it could be done.
The River trip down and the ICW you should be fine.
Doing the keys and than crossing the stream to the Bahamas might be a differnet story.

BTW, most take the route through the Tenn-Tom waterway and don't follow the Mississippi all the way. You will take the Mississippi only as far South as Southern Illiniois than take the Ohio and later end up on the Tenn-Tom.
This water way drops you into Mobile Bay just West of the Florida Panhandle.
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Old 01-15-2008
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I have been toying with a similar idea,but since I am in Chicago, I plan to go by way of the great lakes and the Erie canal, and plan on a larger boat. Maybe south for the winter and north for the summer.
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Old 01-15-2008
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Since I sail near the confluence of the Illinois River and the Mississippi I see a lot of snowbird sailors passing by, both from Minnesota and from the Great Lakes. The general opinion is that is is best to come down the Illinois and Mississippi to the Ohio, up river to the Tennessee (Kentucky Lake) thru the Tenn-Tom canal to the Tombigbee River to Mobil Bay. I have met people from Detroit who go all the way up around lower Michigan (nearly 600 miles) to use this route. Going out thru the Erie canal requires going outside from the Hudson River to the Chesapeake, and the rivers are less problematic weatherwise for small boats. Besides, the river current helps you on your way! Nearly everyone who "does the loop" (all the way around the Eastern U S) travels that direction. And the lower Mississippi (below the Ohio) has very few marinas with fuel, overnight slips, etc. Since there are no locks and dams below St Louis, the current is stronger and the barge tows are longer. I have seen barge tows that rival an aircraft carrier in length, and frankly I don't care to share the river with them! You don't have much "sea room" to avoid barges!
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Unfortunately, a lot of modern cruising thought is of the "I need a 40' boat" school, which is just bunk IMHO. It really depends on what your priorities are.

If you're looking to have a boat that has all the comforts of home, then yes, you'll probably want a 50'+ monohull or a 38'+ catamaran.

If you're looking to get out cruising, with only a moderate investment in boat capital, and would rather be out there sailing rather than working another 10 years—saving up to buy the 50'+ beastie above and don't require all the luxuries of a land-based life....then you can do what PBzeer, Heather, Donna Lange, and many others have done—get a 20-35' boat, and set off.

Then there is the minimalist extreme, the people who sail in microcruisers. These are even smaller than the sub-30' pocket cruisers...being under 19' or so in length.

From a post on another forum:

Quote:
In Issue #49 of Small Craft Advisor, Sven Yrvind writes:

Quote:
At sea it's different...If a small boat sailor leaves the coast he is deemed mad. If he successfully returns to land after having crossed an ocean, he is hailed as a hero. But what he has done is not madness or heroism, because oceans are regions of wilderness, stunningly beautiful in their ever-changing magnificence. To roam them in a small, safe, environmentally friendly boat, propelled by wind and muscle-power is healthy and mentally enriching.

I must stress the importance of safety because the sea is ruthless in its fury. The small boat, far out to sea, has no place to hide. Alone, without help, it must be able to survive storms of the worst kind.

Some things are inherently dangerous. Fires, electricity, and cars can hurt you, but we have not done away with them. We've made them safer and developed better ways to handle them. Oceangoing production boats are big not because bigness makes them safe, but because there is more money in big than in small boats, and much money spent gives the owners status.
He is building a custom 16' gaff rigged cat-schooner. He is planning on sailing her from Bodo, Norway, north of the Artic Circle, non-stop via Cape Horn to Valdivia, Chile. His article has some excellent ideas with regards to stowage, boat design and ventilation that I think many on this site might like. His website is one that most of you might find interesting.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

If you're new to the Sailnet Forums... please read this
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
.

Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
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Old 01-15-2008
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Hello again Guys
Thanks for all your input-its both inspiring and sobering.
Great links SD-lots of good stuff even if I never do a LONG cruise.
Fair(or at least fun)winds to you all !
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