Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
Join Date: May 2006
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Very interesting read
A very interesting read, thanks for posting. I think this should be required reading for all those people who post here saying that they have been sailing twice and have a $10,000 budget to buy a bluewater boat to sail around the world.
I have a great deal of sympathy for Drake. I think he found himself doing something that was more than he was prepared for. He did his best with the tow of the other boat - so good on him.
Some specific comments based on my experience and his:
- Fatigue is a terrible thing and will reduce your mental and physical capabilities enormously. At one point I was wondering why he was making a video telling us he was exhausted. He should have been sleeping.
- He seemed inexperienced for the voyage he took. For example, not really having figured out when to reef (and importantly, when to shake out the reef and make some miles.) Also, did not occur to him that you will be deploying the drogue when the conditions really suck - that is what it is for.
- He did not seem to have tested the boat and his knowledge base enough. For example, vane steering requires practice and possible adjustments to the installation based on trials - you don't do this on the way. Also no ditch bag and little things like no stoppers in the jib sheets. Can't imagine why the compression strut for the mast would bend - that is certainly scary.
- He had too much sail up the first time it got nasty and then over-reacted by keeping a double reef in when it appeared that the winds might have been 10 knots. He made a comment about not wanting to reef at night, you have got to be able to do it, no matter the conditions - is he always going to have a single-reef, what happens when he needs the second one?
- He seemed too willing to fire up the engine. It is a sailboat and you only use the engine for specific purposes, not general progress on an offshore passage.
- I got the impression that a lot of things he knew came from books and not from experience. I think having read too many of the standard books and thinking that gives you experience is dangerous.
- NYC-Bermuda is not a casual undertaking, especially single-handed and especially since it seemed he lacked experience. Get a crew to Bermuda. If he wants the single-handed experience the next stage from Bermuda to the Virgins (I am assuming that is the target) would make much more sense - better weather, much less traffic.
I don't want to be too critical of the guy, we have all been there and realize later that we could do better - hell, I am still there, always learning. He deserves the credit for doing it, while many people only talk about it. I hope his cruising experiences have continued and been pleasant.
I have major problems with the owner of the other boat, Cha-Cha. A boat that size floats on a small (or larger) sea of money. If he wants to go out in such an ill-prepared boat that is his business. He should not be taking along crew who might not know enough about cruising to realize that she is seriously taking her life in her hands.
Finished the circumnavigation in early February in Grenada. Have to work on a book project for the next several months so the boat will be waiting for next year.
Last edited by killarney_sailor; 01-10-2012 at 06:23 PM.