C445 #14 Owner
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Dallas, TX & New Orleans, LA
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First, I would highly recommend that you consider taking a number of courses from a certified sailing center, well in advance of your voyage.
Not taking into consideration Set and Drift, and assuming that your boat has the ability to average 7 knots, over 500 nautical miles, you’re looking at about 3 days. However, Set and Drift can impact this calculation substantially. Is you’re heading into a current traveling at 2 knots, then you can add another day on as your speed over ground will be closer to 5 knots.
Not knowing where you’re headed and what shipping lanes you’ll encounter, I wouldn’t recommend that you consider heaving to, to catch a little sleep. When underway, regardless of whether you’re making way, you are required to have a watch posted at all times. You should consider a crew of at least three; this will allow for a 4 on, 8 off, watch schedule. But again, it depends on the complexity of your boat and environmental conditions. If it’s blowing 40 knots and the temp is near freezing, no one is going to want to stand on deck for 4 hours.
Back to my original comment. Based on your questions, it is clear that this is your first voyage of this nature. If you want to make it back alive, I’d give careful consideration to bringing along some very experienced, blue-water sailors.