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  #1  
Old 12-04-2010
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An exercise in mental masturbation....

The temperatures are dropping, the snow is starting to fly and I’ve got a bit of time to kill. So….

A few weeks ago my brothers and I got together for a once-every-few-years get together. The whisky was flowing as it is wont to do on these occasions.

After a few Lagavulins, and as we were reminiscing about old friends, it came to light that my older brother and his friend had always talked about sailing to Hawai’i. This would have been close to forty years ago and neither of them ever did it.

It must have been the Scotch talking because someone (probably me) piped up and suggested that we, my brothers and I, should fulfill that dream and make the crossing from Vancouver to Hawai’i. I even suggested that setting a goal of accomplishing this in five years. This seemed like a reasonable timeline.

Let me give you brief bios of the prospective crew:

We will all be in our mid-to-late 50’s by the time we plan to go (my younger brother would be 52 and my older brother would be 57. I would be in the middle at 55). We are all in pretty good to excellent health (my brothers are in much better shape than me. So far we have no serious health issues – except chronic baldness (except for my younger brother who must be adopted.)

My older brother is a PHD. He is a marine biologist and spends quite a bit of time on boats. His specialty is salmon, so he is usually on colder water in the Pacific Northwest as well as Chile and Scandinavia. He has been a certified scuba diver but hasn’t dived for 25+ years due to a ruptured eardrum that he suffered. He has also had a single-engine pilot license but hasn’t flown in a number of years. This provided him with some navigational training.

As far as I know he has no sailing experience. He has been out on my boat once.

He is very comfortable in and around water. He is very smart but, being an academic, quite anal retentive.

He doesn’t cook but is adventurous with his eating.

My younger brother is also a certified scuba diver but dives very infrequently. He has a little boating experience. He has sailed with me a few times.

He has a bachelor of science degree (in geology). He is very intelligent and is also a bit anal retentive.

He is very comfortable in and around water.

He loves to cook and is adventurous with his cooking and eating.

I have been a certified scuba diver for 30+ years. I dive frequently in many environments and conditions. I have been on many dive boats in many conditions and environments.

I have been aboard a destroyer as it conducted training exercises along the coast of California and worked on an LHA (Tarawa) as it transited from Hong Kong to Hawai’i.

I have owned my own 26’ sloop for the last four years and have sailed it alone and with a crew of one around the entire coast of Georgian Bay and into the North Channel.

I have completed the CPS basic boating course, the CPS Piloting course and the CYA Intermediate Cruising Skipper standard. I have only helmed my boat and spent four days at the helm of an O’Day 322.

I was asked to leave high school, but have a lot of street smarts. I am also pretty anal retentive (okay, let’s call that a ‘family trait’)

I am very comfortable in and around water.

I am a Chef and am adventurous with my cooking and eating.

All of us have spent plenty of time canoeing in rivers and lakes. I took a week-long course in white-water kayaking but never took up the sport.

So, being a blustery day, here is the exercise:

What boat would you recommend for this adventure – particular brand, configuration (sloop, ketch, yawl etc.), material etc?

How should the boat be equipped for a blue water crossing i.e. desalinator, EPIRB etc?

What specialized training should we get prior to leaving e.g. celestial navigation etc?

When would be the best window in which to make the crossing i.e. winds, currents etc?

How long would a crossing like this take?

How could we get the boat back to Vancouver (or should we?)?

Are we crazy?

This could either be a fun exercise or it could fall flat on its face.

What are your opinions?
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Old 12-04-2010
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What is your budget for the boat??? That will determine a lot about what boats you can afford as well as what equipment you can afford.

There are a lot of boats that can take THREE adults from Vancouver to Hawaii safely, over a very wide price range.

For equipment that you might want aboard, you might consider looking at how the Trans Pac race boats are equipped, at least in terms of safety gear and such.

As for training, some courses that you might want to take:

Coastal and celestial navigation courses
Wilderness First Responder/EMT first aid course
Diesel Troubleshooting and Repair course

How long this crossing would take depends on the weather, winds and what boat you have.

Yes, you could sail the boat back to Vancouver, but it would be a tough trip back.

I think you three should do this... you only live once.
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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
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Old 12-04-2010
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I must say I was preparing myself for something different when I entered in to this thread.
If all you want to do is sail to Hawaii then why buy and outfit a boat? I am sure you could pay to charter a boat. As far as equipment, you will need what anyother boat would need plus a little extra in the clothes department since you will be going to different extremes of the temperature spectrum.
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Old 12-04-2010
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Very cool idea!! Your non-sailing brothers should obviously take every course from Intro to Sailing up to Ocean Passage-Making, which typically includes celestial nav. You should join them at the stage where they catch up with your skill level. I would not try to train them myself. For both safety and moral, it would be best if all felt equally qualified and not master and crew. 5 years is plenty of time.

I suppose it goes without saying that the three of you should plan some overnight passage trips of short duration, long before you set off for the South Pacific. Be sure you have experienced some really nasty stuff in the process. Bring an experienced hand along at first. I'm not familiar with the Pacific opportunities, but I would participate in one of the several offshore races/flotillas as crew before setting off on my own.

I would get the boat as early in the process as possible. The more you know about its handling and systems, the better.
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Old 12-04-2010
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I left Panama for Hawaii this last summer. 3 days out I became very ill, and had to fly back to the states. I am still making an attempt to recover. Hopefully I will be back on Imagine in late Janauary to get my boat home to S.F.

You never know the day your health will turn, and you guys are no spring chickens. I went from feeling very health one day, and the next I was miserable. Get your ducks in a row, and get going. Living life with WHAT IF'S is no way to live .......i2f
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Old 12-04-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
Very cool idea!! Your non-sailing brothers should obviously take every course from Intro to Sailing up to Ocean Passage-Making, which typically includes celestial nav. You should join them at the stage where they catch up with your skill level. I would not try to train them myself. For both safety and moral, it would be best if all felt equally qualified and not master and crew. 5 years is plenty of time.

I suppose it goes without saying that the three of you should plan some overnight passage trips of short duration, long before you set off for the South Pacific. Be sure you have experienced some really nasty stuff in the process. Bring an experienced hand along at first. I'm not familiar with the Pacific opportunities, but I would participate in one of the several offshore races/flotillas as crew before setting off on my own.

I would get the boat as early in the process as possible. The more you know about its handling and systems, the better.
Perfect advice. Better to find out if your brothers like it, or can stand it, before
you jump off the edge.

Dabnis
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Old 12-05-2010
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Sounds like your brothers are mentally up to the challenge. Minnewske has some good advice. Make sure everyone is capable of taking control of the boat in the possbility all others are incapacitated. Get everyone into the CPS courses or the sail & learn programs onboard a boat. There are a few in Georgian Bay area and would give them a feel for what the trip would be like.


Have them read the Rule 62 thread and the conditions experienced and then take them out into the middle of Georgian Bay when we get 25 - 30 knot winds and 4 metre waves and tell them you're not getting to shore for several days. Quite likely if you plan correctly, your crossing won't be as bad, but you need to be prepared if it is.
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Old 12-05-2010
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Once again I’m going to cut across the “conventional wisdom” so far expressed and say that unless you’re planning a career in passage-making, don’t waste your time on celestial navigation.

If you have double or preferably triple redundancy on hand-held GPS units, you’ll never need CN and it’s not as easy to get to grips with CN as many members on this forum would suggest. Navigation is no longer the science it used to be and having a sextant and the required tables etc. would in my case be just for the fun of it. In 25000nm of voyaging, I have never once "had to" use CN.

To go through the pain of learning CN to a point where it will actually work for you is really not worth the effort.

Oh, and all the “recommended” courses that will turn you into a master mariner – 95% of the private yachts circumnavigating the world today have probably not done any of them. If you are a decent sailor, understand the limitations of your boat, know what supplies to carry and do a bit of decent weather research, you’re good to go.

And you really should.

Go.
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Old 12-05-2010
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In Vancouver the Blue Water Cruising Association often organizes a 3 day jaunt out Juan de Fuca offshore a day and a half and back for people planning a trip like what you're contemplating.

Given the acclimatisation time for anyone heading offshore, if that trip goes well you're probably OK. Even if it doesn't, at least you'll know more about what to expect and then hope that things get better as time goes on. Through the BWC you may be able to arrange participation in one of those junkets as research.
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Old 12-05-2010
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the nautical canine got it right in the first reply.
To wit:
What is your budget?
Under $50 K= Wetsnail.
Over 50K = Hallberg Rassy or Valiant.

You can accept these recommendations or argue with us for six more pages: it's not like boats are getting cheaper. There has never been a better time to buy a boat.
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