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  #1  
Old 05-27-2011
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Smile 1st solo trip... advice? + a little coolness help!!

So i am just getting into sailing... well sort of i've been sailing since i was a kid but never taken the "right of passage" solo trip so...

Since i've been thinking of taking solo trip to catalina... it will obviously be my 1st time doing it totally solo... kind of nervous... any one have any tips? is it better to have a couple of other solo sailers with you (like how motorcycles do it...) so when i get to catalina i'll have someone there to hang with LOL!


on a side note i just got a new slip in newport Beach Ca, and a bunch of the guys like to get together on the weekends and BBQ after dark.. since i'm new i wanted to try something and hopefully impress...

i saw this and it inspired the idea to play a movie on my sail! ....


has anyone tried something like this? i have a 27' Catalina (coincidentally also the location of my 1st solo trip haha) so space is also issue since i will be doing it in the dark i figured i could pick up one of those "micro projectors" since i'll only need about a 75" image...


after a quick search i came up with a pretty cool looking projector: AAXA M1 Micro Projector - LCoS Hand-held Mini Projector - LED Pocket Projector

any one tried this? Am i crazy to do it? it would obviously have to be a calm night, but other than that?
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Old 05-27-2011
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yup don't fall off !!! always wear a jack line everytime you leave the cockpit hmmm i try to think about what i'm about to do ahead of time because there's no one to assist if things go to hell in a handbasket also i NEVER sail at night unless i have lots of water between me and anything thats hard,its amazing at the amount of drift floating around,be carefull
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Old 05-27-2011
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Do things sooner and with lot's of time. Anticipation is the best quality of a solo sailor: Reef sooner, don't be lazy, do things right away when they are needed and don't go overboard Use jack lines when you go out of the cockpit, unless it is completely flat.

If you are going to sail several days, set the radar alarm and sleep by day and by small periods 20/30 minutes and do that away from land and traffic zones. Try to be awake at night, at least most of the time.

With some practice you are going to find out that the worse part is putting and taking out the boat of a tight marina

Have a nice sail and fair winds. Tell us later how it worked. You are going to find that solo sailing is a fantastic sensation and the first time is for remember.

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Last edited by PCP; 05-27-2011 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 05-27-2011
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Watch the tanker lane, cross before dark, them babies are faster than they look, make sure you have a radar reflector so they have a better shot at detecting you.

Have plenty of spare fuel, Newport to Cat Island the wind will most likely be on your nose ( rarely not ) and fuel there will kill the bank account.
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Old 05-28-2011
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Take a lot of anchor line. Getting a mooring in Avalon on a weekend can be difficult to impossible. If you have to anchor in Descanso Bay or Hamilton Cove, the water gets very deep very fast. I have anchored there in 90 feet of water 100 yards off shore.

Anchoring at the isthumas is better but watch out for the Santa Ana wind. They can be dangerous.
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Old 05-31-2011
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WOW! thanks for all the tips they were all super helpful!!!!!!!

@glassdad holy smokes that is pretty deep!

@poopdeckpappy so true! they are totally faster than they look!

what did you guys think of the move on the sail thing?
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Old 05-31-2011
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I've made several trips to Catalina - if you're planning to pick up a mooring at Avalon or Two Harbors familiarize yourself with the process. When checking in with the harbormaster let them know you're solo and a first-timer as they'll have a boat escort you to help. Essentially you pick up the pole/wand float, tie off your bow line, and then follow the sand line to the port or starboard side of the boat until it meets up with a stern hawser - attach that to your stern cleat and your done. Doing it solo will require you to just ease up to the float, putting the engine in neutral, and then working the lines. Again, I've found the harbor patrols to be very helpful and accomodating so feel free to ask them for help. Here is a link for reference:

Mooring - Boating on Catalina Island

It really is an enjoyable trip and very doable solo.
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Old 06-01-2011
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I sail on the right coast, The Chesapeake Bay, so I can't offer any advice on Catalina. Although I do sail a Catalina 27 myself, shorthanded and solo often.

Some thoughts on that, I think your first trip should be short and in good weather. I find the key to solo sailing is PRE planning, and anticipating what will happen. My boat is rigged with roller furling and lazy jacks so I can remain in the cockpit and manage the sails. But little things like dropping anchor can be maddening when trying to get from cockpit to the bow and then race back...so I learned to rig anchor line from the cockpit to the bow and back on the outside to the stern pulpit. Dropping the anchor can then be done from the cockpit.

I think Catalina Island is a fair distance, you might, if you don't a have an autopilot, figure how to deal with your personal needs when nature calls.

Navigation is another area where preplanning will help greatly. If you are manually navigating on paper, have your route PRE planned so you can sail the boat and navigate, and if you ave a GPS chart plotter you might also take paper chart to cockpit and keep track of your position. Things can change quickly on the water and you have many hats to wear just getting there. Good luck and lets know how it goes.
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