First sail issue (?) - need advice - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 22 Old 03-09-2012
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Re: First sail issue (?) - need advice

If Hawk Channel is too uncomfortable you can always go inside at least part of the way.

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post #12 of 22 Old 03-10-2012
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Re: First sail issue (?) - need advice

Congratulations!! Is it the boat in your sig?

I would unquestionably reef prior to departure. Those just aren't conditions to get used to doing so on a new boat. Worse, if something won't work.

At a minimum, you have to tack around a bit before you get offshore. You need to know nothing gets hung up or comes loose.

This is also one of those rare occasion where a radio check is on order. But please don't do it on Ch 16 !

Good luck and have fun. p.s. advice above to break the trip in pieces, have a bailout or wait for better weather are all good.
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post #13 of 22 Old 03-10-2012
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Re: First sail issue (?) - need advice

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Originally Posted by BreakAwayFL View Post
Hello all,

As some of you may know, I pick up my first sailboat in 7 days, and am sailing her out of her old harbor to her new home at sunrise on the 17th, traveling from Boot Key to Islamorada. This is a sail of about 45 miles my my calculation.

This is not my first sail by any means, but is my first sail as the master of a boat.

My concerns are that the winds are predicted to be 20 knots coming from the East, so I will need to sail very close hauled the whole way, aside from some likely tacking in the beginning.

Does anyone have any advice or thoughts?
Hey,

You should pay attention to the forecast but right now I would not worry about it. The weather is difficult enough to predict for 2 days and almost impossible to accurately predict for 7 days.

Personally, I would not want to take a new boat on a 45 mile trip where I had to beat upwind in 20 kts. That just doesn't sound like a fun trip. I would wait until there was less wind, or wind from a favorable direction.

Back in 2004 I had to deliver my first 'big' boat 35 nm. We got unbelievably lucky with the weather and had 15 kts from the rear quarter for almost the entire trip. Combine that with a favorable tide (that I did plan) and we averaged 7 kts and did the trip in 5 hours. Two years ago I tried to sail 35 nm, and the wind, instead of being very light from the stern, changed to 20 on the nose. That trip was miserable.

Barry

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post #14 of 22 Old 03-10-2012
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Re: First sail issue (?) - need advice

It should be a fun trip - I agree crew is a good idea before a first sail. Other than that, before you leave check all safety equipment is functioning/at spec (especially if you are just picking the boat up!), e.g.
- VHF ch 16 radio check - personally I like having a handheld as backup.
- Flares not expired.
- GPS/other functioning - in case of MOD/distress, lat/long help!
- Lights work (45 miles implies some night sailing)
- Ground tackle accessible/ready
- Emergency tiller accessible/ready
- Lifejackets for all. Warm clothing. Food and drinks - thermos of hot chocolate
- Sufficient fuel
- Charts

Basically, take your time to thoroughly check the boat over before you sail, so that if you do run into problems, you can safely deal with them.
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post #15 of 22 Old 03-10-2012
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Re: First sail issue (?) - need advice

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If you must make the move, try for something 20-25 miles distance... more easily done in windier conditions, esp if waves will be an issue, and even then try to have a fall back plan in case something unexpected crops up - even returning to the departure point if need be...
I think this is the best advice here, splitting it into two 1/2 days-provided you have good weather.

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post #16 of 22 Old 03-12-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: First sail issue (?) - need advice

I've got crew, an abundance of safety equipment, spare standing and running rigging, three sets of ground tackle, GPS, charts, radios a halfway stopping point just in case and I sailed on her with the old owners.

Best advice was about setting up a ditch location, I hadn't thought about that. Found a nice little hotel with a dock and a tiki bar about halfway up.

PS, the weather looks much more favorable now. 15 knots but still will have to sail close hauled the whole way. I'm going to tack out a couple of miles to give myself some extra breathing room. We're also setting sail at sunrise to avoid coming in at night. We'll have 12 hours of sunlight ahead of us, but I'll be trimming those sails to get every last tenth of a knot I can out of her! I also called ahead for a diver to scrub up her undersides Wednesday night.

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post #17 of 22 Old 03-12-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: First sail issue (?) - need advice

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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
Congratulations!! Is it the boat in your sig?

I would unquestionably reef prior to departure.
Sure is and thank you! I've been waiting for this moment for years, as i'm sure many of you can relate to!

I'm debating reefing before departure. I agree with reef early principal in general, but this boat has a jiffy reef setup, which makes it really easy to change my mind en route. Well I guess it couldn't hurt, and I can always unreef(?) pretty quickly too.

Lastly something I forgot to address in the prior post, she also has a 3 month old Nissan OB, so absolute worst case I can put-put my way back to shore!

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post #18 of 22 Old 03-12-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: First sail issue (?) - need advice

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Originally Posted by FSMike View Post
If Hawk Channel is too uncomfortable you can always go inside at least part of the way.
I'm trying to avoid the inside, too many shallows for my taste, at least while I'm still getting used to her.

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post #19 of 22 Old 03-12-2012
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Re: First sail issue (?) - need advice

Don't know about the currents in that trip but without it will be a long daytrip. Probably reaching destination at night. Is there a way to make a stop halfway and do it in two shorter runs? Sleep aboard after a relaxing first dinner with your first and second mates?

"Wie sturen kan, zeilt bij elke wind."
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post #20 of 22 Old 03-12-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: First sail issue (?) - need advice

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Don't know about the currents in that trip but without it will be a long daytrip. Probably reaching destination at night. Is there a way to make a stop halfway and do it in two shorter runs? Sleep aboard after a relaxing first dinner with your first and second mates?
Currents will be favoring me as long as I don't stray too far from land and end up in a Gulfstream eddy, but I won't be anywhere near that far out.

I have a ditch point about halfway through, but I would MUCH rather complete the sail in one day, regardless of the length. The only way I will ditch is if it is apparent that I'll be cutting it close to sundown. That being said, leaving at Sunrise I'll have 12 hours of sun and an hour of twilight ahead of me. I also can motorsail if need be.

She'll do 6 knots, and all I need is 4 to make the trip with room to spare. 40 nautical miles, including tacking out and running in according to my charts. If I can average 4 that leaves me 2 hours of sun and an hour of twilight.

Absolute worst case scenario, if I run into darkness and don't feel comfortable bringing her in, there are plenty of islands to anchor on the lee side of for the night.

Nelson Abreu
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