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  #1  
Old 05-17-2010
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Sanity Check (Norfolk to Bermuda)

Hey guys. I've had a lot of downtime lately, and it's true what they say about idle minds.

I'm thinking of taking a trip to Bermuda, and thought I would bring my plan to the group for a bit of a sanity check.

The plan:
I am thinking about finding a good weather window in early to mid June and making the 650 mile run from Norfolk to Bermuda spending a week and returning. I know a lot of the world cruisers are probably rolling their eyes at my proposed milk run, but this will be the longest off shore passage I've made.

Background:
I've been sailing regularly for the past 7 years. I started out lake sailing for a year on a little 17' boat I bought on a whim, then moved up to a 36 footer when I moved to Hawaii (after a brief stint in a 28' center console power boat- please don't hold that against me) which I used to sail around the Hawaiian Islands.
I bought my current boat, a 1987 Catalina 36 mkI, two years ago and have been sailing and getting it up to scratch ever since. I am now at a point where I feel intimately familiar with the boat, and feel confident enough in my abilities to tackle a 650 trip.


As mentioned above, I plan to choose a good weather window to improve the odds of favorable weather, and I plan to rent an Epirb and liferaft for the trip. I understand a few folks have reservations about the suitability of the C36 for bluewater cruising, but I'm sure I could be doing a lot worse than a Catalina 36 given the right time of year and decent weather. I also figure that given an absolute worst case scenario the folks doing the Newport to Bermuda race will be in the vicinity so I wont be too far removed from traffic while on the water.

Well there it is. Fire away, I would love to hear your thoughts, cautions, and advice if you have it. As always, thanks for taking the time to read this!
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Old 05-17-2010
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70 views and nothing? Usually these threads have a dozen or so cautionary replies by now. I'll take that to mean that this may be within reach assuming a reasonable crew mix, perhaps some professional WX routing, and a reasonably maintained boat.

Cameraderie, thanks again for the PM, and I certainly welcome anyone else's advice!
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Old 05-17-2010
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You didn't say you are "young, ambitious, and rich" so you seem quite sane and tame compared to another discussion that's getting everyone's attention!

Your dream sounds very doable and well thought out actually. I've still yet to feel the salt in breeze on my boat.
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Old 05-17-2010
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Hi Creedance

You could join the BOR race leaving from Annapolis on June 11th, if you're looking to travel with other boats. I don't know if they're still accepting entries.

Crossing the gulf stream is not a milk run by anyones standards.
In choosing your crew, I would look to find people with blue water experience.
I would think that no more than 4 people including yourself would be all you would want onboard your 36 footer.
It would be helpful to know what preparations you have already made or are planning to make.

Do you have long distance communications? SSB? I think this is essential equipment. You'll want to get weather faxes, listen to Herb. etc.

We spent alot of time making the boat ready for this trip, things you need to consider if you haven't already.
Lee Boards or cloths.
Jacklines ( flat webbing)
Strong point to harness to before coming on deck,
wooden Plugs attached to the seacocks,
Storm Jib
Tri sail if not at least a double reefed main.
Man over board pole, strobe,
A way to secure the companionway washboards to keep them shut
A way to keep the floorboards secured in place ( hooks and cords? )
Strobes, whistles on all life jackets.
Harnesses, tethers.
Back-up GPS, Charts etc.

For food, you can plan some cooked meals..but I would also have plans for easy to make or grab food in case you get into some snot.
I don't like bringing glass onboard offshore.

I've carried pain meds, antibiotics and some suturing materials..just in case.
The usual spare engine parts, tools, clamps..etc etc.

Stop the boat and take a swim if you get hot..it's refreshing.

Pay attention to your position..while in the gulf stream..make sure your heading in the right direction and making progress over ground ...:-)

I'm sure I've left some things out, there's alot to consider.

Best of Luck to you...great trip!
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Old 05-18-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deniseO30 View Post
You didn't say you are "young, ambitious, and rich" so you seem quite sane and tame compared to another discussion that's getting everyone's attention!

Your dream sounds very doable and well thought out actually. I've still yet to feel the salt in breeze on my boat.
It is hard to compete with that. We can only hope he found himself a community more attuned to his needs like this one: The Donzi Registry - Powered by vBulletin

Tempest, thanks for the considerations. I'm pretty close on the list you provided, and agree with the the reasonably experienced crew. I would have loved to do the race on the 11th, but my work schedule is going to preclude me from sailing up to Annapolis then over to Bermuda. Maybe I'll see you guys over there.
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Old 05-18-2010
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Good friends have made that passage twice in the fall on the way to the Carribean. Granted they have a Passport 41, but its only two of them and he's in his 70s. Sounds like you have planned well. Norfolk is a good place to hop off from since its only a day to the Gulf Stream. Major concern would be an early tropical storm.
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Old 05-18-2010
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The Catalina 36 is designed as a coastal cruiser, and a nice one at that. But using a boat in manner other than the builder intended has risks, if interested, you might read about a similar effort at EQUIPPED TO SURVIVE (tm) - Lessons Learned: Sailing to Hawaii...The First Attempt by Arnold Rowe

There are various other threads about this article.
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Old 05-18-2010
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I actually feel pretty good about the vessel's seaworthiness. I recognize this is only my opinion, but I am basing it off of the conditions I experienced the few years spent sailing inter-island in Hawaii. As for Arnold, as I recall, his preparations and maintenance regiment left a bit to be desired, and even still the vessel was found afloat some time later. In fact his biggest problem was with the monitor wind-vane as opposed to concerns about the vessel's structure.

I think prudence dictates remaining flexible in my timeline so I can select the right weather window, reef early, and heave to should conditions begin to get out of hand.

Having said all that, I certainly respect your opinion, and this is not something I would be attempting if I were not completely confident in the condition of all critical components of the boat's critical systems i.e. steering.
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Old 05-18-2010
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I think as long as you can wait out the weather you have a good plan


I have a large number of friends who do the Bermuda race and as the race does NOT wait out the weather it pretty much has put the smackdown on most anything
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Old 05-18-2010
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I'm all about avoiding the smackdown when possible.

Sailingfool, you got me looking around for C36 suitability for the trip. Even though I have my opinions about it, I do take your cautions seriously and while nosing around google, I discovered that Fleet 5 of the Catalina 36 Association is planning on participating in a Bermuda Rally in June. So thankfully it looks like I wont be the only C36 making the trek.
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