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Old 05-01-2012
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Lessons in downsizing from 50' to 28'

We think about Plan A, but we live in Plan B.

Hence "What I have learned on a little boat from Friday in Mt. Dessert Island to Monday in Tennant's Harbor Maine."

On a little sailboat, you don't go to a place. You go sailing. The place you actually reach results from a combination of wind, sea state and weather that varies throughout the sailing day. I should have known this from all my nautical readings, but Taronga (50' Passport cutter) was big and powerful enough to let me chose a destination and to get me there - Bermuda, Chesapeake, Maine, wherever. White Rabbit (28' Morris Linda sloop) isn't as fast (engine or sail), does not sail as close to the wind in weather, is slowed down by small to moderate head seas and is pretty much stopped in moderate and above head seas. Not Rabbit's problem, the issue is I have had to learn a new mind set approaching the sea and sailing. And it has been "interesting" so far - I am not known as a very patient man.

Son Alex and I spent two days holed up in Northeast Harbor, Maine as the temp ranged from 28 to 42 with 25 kts gusting to 35. With water temps of 44 and wind chills of serious cold, there was no sense in getting out, getting soaked, getting frozen, getting miserable. We left on Sunday at 0630 with the wind on the nose (naturally) and long tacked our way to the W - lots of piloting through the islands and ledges of mid-coast Maine. While doing this we were slowly working our way through the "shake down cruise" items - chartplotter issues, reefing line issues, roller furler issues, stowage issues and cabinet doors that latch with magnets (not particularly effective in a sea-way.) The wind and sea picked up at noon with steep white caps from our up-wind destination as we approached Vinylhaven Island. We had been intending to go through the middle passage - Fox Island Thoroughfare. That became a "not possible" so we bore off and headed south and under Vinylhaven, suddenly screaming along at 8 kts with a double reefed main and a large reef in the rolled up genoa. At the bottom of Vinylhaven, we motored slowly, slowly into the wind and piloted our way through a narrow, bending ledge-bound channel into Carver Harbor.

Carver Harbor is all lobster boats as it's a working harbor - there are no other sailboats out now anyway - we tied up to a boat yard's float, drank a beer and a glass wine each, ate pasta, lit the fireplace and were asleep before dark. Woke at 0530 to a clear day with moderating wind and sailed. Very nicely this time, it's amazing what the lack of a head sea will do for a 28' boat. We decided it would have been the perfect sail if the temperature had been another 30 degrees higher (we would have settled for another 20...) Sunshine at 40 degrees on the water is still very cold sunshine. Got (fetched) to Tennant's Harbor arriving about noon on Monday. I was supposed to be in Portland on Monday!

So much for Plan A. Alex had to get to work on Tuesday AM, so got him to Portland Airport via highway for a Monday late flight and then stayed last night at a friend's house in Thomaston; 4 miles from Tennant's Harbor. A shower never felt so good.

The current forecast is for rain through the end of the week with temperatures remaining in the low 50's. I am learning/will learn patience. I am not going to MV; each day I am going for a sail. Destination Martha's Vineyard is somewhere in the future.
Faster, nemier, Chadfunk48 and 4 others like this.
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Old 05-01-2012
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Re: Lessons in downsizing from 50' to 28'

Nice, Jim...

We downsized from 40 feet 7 years ago, intended to go to 30 but it was really difficult finding a boat that didn't feel too small after 12 years with 40 feet. Ended up with a 35 footer so the differences performance-wise were not so drastic.

Definitely much easier to move up!!
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Re: Lessons in downsizing from 50' to 28'

Are there some things you don't regret, like costs etc?
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Re: Lessons in downsizing from 50' to 28'

I bought a 52' Center Cockpit Tayana in 1989 in order to live out my goal... to get a captain's license and start chartering in the Virgin Islands. The wife and I sailed the Tayana from Long Beach to Hawaii, to Alaska, Panama, cayman's, Bahamas, Maine, Newfoundland, Iceland, Scotland, the Thames, Spain, Portugal, Canaries, caribbean. Our Daughter curbed our plans for the South Pacific (she got seasick). I have a wealth of info (and charts) that I would like to pass on. One is that you should NEVER trust a report from the head of the Royal Navy Weather Service. We were told that the winds in the bay of Biscay would be from the north at force 3 for the next two days. I left Penzance with a full main and jib and immediately hit force 7 from the SW. Sue stayed below feeding Kelsey (4 months), and so I had no chance of reefing to slow us down. We barged on through with me hand steering for 24 hours, in order to keep as tight into the wind as I could. We passed Cape Finnesterre, and had it made. I would have gladly traded our boat for a Hans Christian 33, anytime! I may still get a HC 33! Lee Davis
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Old 05-02-2012
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Re: Lessons in downsizing from 50' to 28'

Radarcurve :

Get a Union 36 Polaris, fix the leaky decks, and don't look back.

(I haven't fixed mine yet, and they leak, but I will one day).

Rockter.
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Re: Lessons in downsizing from 50' to 28'

My wife talks about moving back down one day for a very specific reason. Our fenders are too big and heavy. Yes, its about the 12" fenders.
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Old 05-02-2012
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Re: Lessons in downsizing from 50' to 28'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Radarcarve View Post
I bought a 52' Center Cockpit Tayana in 1989 in order to live out my goal... to get a captain's license and start chartering in the Virgin Islands. The wife and I sailed the Tayana from Long Beach to Hawaii, to Alaska, Panama, cayman's, Bahamas, Maine, Newfoundland, Iceland, Scotland, the Thames, Spain, Portugal, Canaries, caribbean. Our Daughter curbed our plans for the South Pacific (she got seasick). I have a wealth of info (and charts) that I would like to pass on. One is that you should NEVER trust a report from the head of the Royal Navy Weather Service. We were told that the winds in the bay of Biscay would be from the north at force 3 for the next two days. I left Penzance with a full main and jib and immediately hit force 7 from the SW. Sue stayed below feeding Kelsey (4 months), and so I had no chance of reefing to slow us down. We barged on through with me hand steering for 24 hours, in order to keep as tight into the wind as I could. We passed Cape Finnesterre, and had it made. I would have gladly traded our boat for a Hans Christian 33, anytime! I may still get a HC 33! Lee Davis
You MUST be a west coast sailor not to know that Strong SW winds usually arrive before cold fronts in the Atlantic basin... but you have alot more experience than I do...I bet that was a wet ride...Bay of Biscay has a deserved rep...glad everyone made it okay...but crossing Bay of Biscay in a 50-footer when only other crewmember is taking care of a 4-month old was asking for it a bit I'd say...You cant put it all on the weather chaps ....

Last edited by souljour2000; 05-02-2012 at 10:21 PM.
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Re: Lessons in downsizing from 50' to 28'

Can you heave-to to tie in a reef on a 50 footer, or is reefing such a boat necessarily a 2-man job?
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Re: Lessons in downsizing from 50' to 28'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
My wife talks about moving back down one day for a very specific reason. Our fenders are too big and heavy. Yes, its about the 12" fenders.
lol the admiral can be very specific in her grievances
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Re: Lessons in downsizing from 50' to 28'

Quote:
Originally Posted by peterchech View Post
Can you heave-to to tie in a reef on a 50 footer, or is reefing such a boat necessarily a 2-man job?
Most, not all, big boats have a boom or mast furling main. I almost never see a 50+ without a furling headsail. Reefing is just a matter of pulling a few lines from the cockpit. Usually.
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