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ScubaSailorLA 04-25-2011 10:18 AM

Am I ready to skipper a short coastal trip?
I've been sailing for five years now. I took the basic Keelboat class before purchasing my O'Day 31, and have sailed her in protected waters ever since. My only coastal experience was when the hired captain and I motor sailed her from her old port (St. Pete, FL), to her new home in Louisiana.

I would love to get started with coastal cruising, for a first trip, just sailing her south into the Gulf of Mexico to clear water (that's about 50 miles out), spending a day swimming around the boat, then sailing back in.

Although I haven not taken marine navigation training, I am familiar with aviation navigation. I can read nautical charts. I have not taken any type of coastal cruising class, but I did receive a lot of free "training" from my eleven days on the water with the captain when we brought the boat home.

I feel like it's a simple trip, fifty miles south and back, but I have never skippered a coastal trip before. I can handle all the provisioning for such a trip, but I'm I biting off more than I can chew? I guess I don't know what I don't know.

Yorksailor 04-25-2011 10:30 AM

Yes, just don't jump off the boat to go swimming!


ScubaSailorLA 04-25-2011 10:34 AM


Originally Posted by Yorksailor (Post 723785)
Yes, just don't jump off the boat to go swimming!


Silly question from me: Why not? I'm a SCUBA diver, so the thought of doing some free swimming in blue water is appealing. I would wear a horse collar for safety.

Ajax_MD 04-25-2011 10:40 AM

Because some people in the past, have jumped off for a swim, without thinking to put a boarding ladder down first, and literally died next to their boat because they couldn't hoist themselves back aboard.

I wouldn't say "don't swim", just make sure you have a point of ingress before you jump off.

ScubaSailorLA 04-25-2011 10:45 AM

I see your point about a point of ingress. My plan would be to always have someone aboard the boat, anyway. I don't like to leave her unmanned, even of it's for a short surface swim. Yes, of course, I'd lower the ladder and have a tagline trailing the boat, as well.

Ajax_MD 04-25-2011 10:53 AM

Back to the trip itself, it sounds like a great trip to get your feet wet for longer trips. It will give you experience in logistics, navigation, seamanship and meteorlogical planning.

Why not?

tommays 04-25-2011 10:54 AM

My comment would be if you go out 50 miles for a 100 mile round trip it will turn into a good 24 hours of sailing and how will you keep the boat moving for that long

ScubaSailorLA 04-25-2011 11:06 AM

Regarding sailing for 24 hours, I already have two very anxious hands ready to go. I would like to find a third hand, then we four can take shifts at the wheel. That way no one would loose so much sleep that it affects our daytime schedule too much. That would also mean two of us in the water swimming, with two manning the boat, just like we do on SCUBA trips.

wise4 04-25-2011 11:08 AM

Sounds like you have plenty of sailing experience for a trip like this... Being that it somehow takes you out of your comfort zone (coastal vs protected waters)... You will probably over prepare and over analyze every little detail of the trip... (weather, provisioning, charts, harbors, what-if's etc) .... Not a bad thing.... Just don't forget to have fun :)
And also try not to make it too quick of a trip... I can't tell if you're taking two days or three.... These types of trips tend to be more fun when you allow for a full day of fun with a night of sleep before heading back.....
Sure - those miles can be done in much less time.... But that's not fun at all....

Btw... I'm just the opposite.... I've really never sailed in protected waters at all... Home port is Dana Point, CA so I just play in the pacific....

tomperanteau 04-25-2011 11:36 AM

Our first boat was out of Dana Point, too. We had a 26 footer that we sailed in that area. We had taken her out about 10 times on our own to learn how to sail. We bought her to learn on and knew we would upgrade.

We then bought our second boat - a 31 footer. Picking that one up, and with around 20 hours total experience, we took on the task of sailing the new boat 93 miles from Oxnard to San Pedro, with a stop off at Catalina Island.

Once you get out there and find out how exciting it can be, you'll be hooked. As with what others will tell you, read, research, and try to anticipate everything that might happen. That way you MAY be ready for those things that you did not anticipate. And.... Check the weather!

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