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  #21  
Old 05-07-2013
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Re: How to Proceed...

Thank you for considering my options, and vessel. It is not what I want to hear, but, that is ok. I think, with all of the advice I have received, that I will sail the Abacos for awhile. Around July I will head back to the states and find a hurricane hole to hold-up in until the winds become more favorable for a trip south, or my experience warrants an atlantic route. Hopefully I can find a job in the keys or better yet the abacos.. unofficial of course.
Thank you all for the advice.
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Old 05-07-2013
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Re: How to Proceed...

Damn you wind god!
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Old 05-07-2013
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Re: How to Proceed...

Hey Harborless - my apologies on being slow to respond to you, but on the idea of sticking to S. Fla or the Keys for this trip, I was thinking you would be more likely to be able to find work there, the options for sailing when you're not working are still awesome, evading hurricanes from there would be easier (and safer) because you don't have to cross the gulf stream or open ocean and, if a hurricane sneaks up on you and you can't sail away, you can always anchor the boat somehwere and take the bus to mainland. Plus, it's going to be a lot easier on your wallet. Charts are cheap, (heck, I have paper charts of the Keys I can loan you) and you're still in the US so no IC fees, food, fuel, and fun are cheaper, and if something breaks you can get parts and service fairly conveniently (join SeaTow or BoatUS if you aren't already a member).

If I had 8 weeks to spend on the boat in June and July, and didn't have to work, I would gunkhole around the Keys, shoot over to the Bahamas if a good weather window opened up, go to Ft.Jefferson, check out the Little Snake River and the southwest Florida coast, and just plain soak up some sun and enjoy time on the boat.

Pressing into the wind and current to get to a destination 1,300 miles away just doesn't sound like much fun to me, but I'm kind of a slacker that way.

Either way you go, I'm envious of your opportunity to go Cruising! I'll buy you a beer if you stop at Merritt Island as you go by.
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Old 05-07-2013
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Re: How to Proceed...

NSB looks like a very tight inlet if the weather is not cooperating. i don't think it will be a fun experience if it is blowing 20-25 knots out of the East when you get there. There appears to be no margin for error.

What are you using for self steering? That is the question that we singlehanders always ask.
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Old 05-07-2013
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Re: How to Proceed...

Quote:
Originally Posted by luv4sailin View Post
NSB looks like a very tight inlet if the weather is not cooperating. i don't think it will be a fun experience if it is blowing 20-25 knots out of the East when you get there. There appears to be no margin for error.

What are you using for self steering? That is the question that we singlehanders always ask.
Primarily myself and the tiller along with an egg timer. I also have practiced sailing using bungee cords and sail trim to hold a course. Lastly i have a tiller lock which holds the tiller on course long enough for me to tinker with the jib or do something else.
this is why i have planned the trip in no more than 12a hour runs with me possibly leaving out of st augastine at night to make new smyrna before dark the next day. My average cruising speed should be around 4.5 knots with dinghy in tow.

If merrits on the wy why not! Yea the keys sound like a fun time.. plus its something new. I just hope there is ample spear fishing.
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Old 05-08-2013
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Re: How to Proceed...

I don't know as I've ever personally run a boat for 12 straight hours alone, let alone without an auto-helm of some sort. I've done several hours on a tiller and 10 or more on a wheel many times, but always had someone to relieve me, even if just for a few minutes, so I could use the head or quickly eat a sandwich.

Every year, my wife and I will do a few dawn to dusk passages. I do not have to remain at the helm the entire time, but I'm always on alert, as she feels capable to sail unless something goes wrong. I am always totally and completely wiped out and we have an auto-pilot.

12 hours alone on a tiller with no auto-helm, would require super-human sailing skills and endurance in open water, IMO. Find something, even it used, to allow you a break.

Take realistic steps on your adventure and it will come together.
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Re: How to Proceed...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harborless View Post
Primarily myself and the tiller along with an egg timer. I also have practiced sailing using bungee cords and sail trim to hold a course. Lastly i have a tiller lock which holds the tiller on course long enough for me to tinker with the jib or do something else.
this is why i have planned the trip in no more than 12a hour runs with me possibly leaving out of st augastine at night to make new smyrna before dark the next day. My average cruising speed should be around 4.5 knots with dinghy in tow.

If merrits on the wy why not! Yea the keys sound like a fun time.. plus its something new. I just hope there is ample spear fishing.
I'd strongly caution against attempting to depart St. Augustine in the dark... For years, the channel has been pretty much a straight shot, but just recently has been re-configured to include a significant dogleg close to the beach on the N side... headed out, you'll have good light facing east well before sunrise, so you can still get a very early start, but no way would I recommend transiting that inlet now to anyone for the first time, in the dark...

If you're coming down from Mayport outside, you really want to avoid hitting St Augustine on the ebb, it can be a real mess, especially now with the new channel... If sailing conditions are not favorable outside, it can be much quicker to go down the ICW if you hit the St John's River/ICW junction at about high water, and ride the flood south... Then, by the time you hit the Tolomato River south of Palm Valley, you can ride the ebb down to St Augustine...

Ponce Inlet is no problem in good conditions, though you really have to pay attention once inside... On the ebb, however, whole different ballgame, and of course you do not want to try it with any significant swell running or a strong onshore breeze...

I'd also suggest considering going down inside behind Canaveral, once you're out into Mosquito Lagoon, you can do a lot of sailing if conditions favor doing so... That stretch down the St Pierce is the nicest in all of FL, you can sail most of the way if you're lucky, plenty of nice anchorages and towns with decent shore access...

Going outside around Canaveral to Ft Pierce, on the other hand, can be a LONG trip. I sure wouldn't want to hand-steer that whole deal, and if you decide to go back in at Port Canaveral, you'll add many more miles to the overall distance compared to the ICW...

IMHO, you really, REALLY want to get yourself a tillerpilot... Running down the FL coast in such close proximity, leaving the possible fate of your boat to an egg timer and some bungee cords, is an absolute recipe for disaster... An autopilot will completely transform your cruising, I guarantee once you finally have one, you will be kicking yourself for not having gotten one sooner... Stop in Sailor's Exchange in St Augustine, they may have something laying around... Raymarine 1000 and 2000 tillerpilots come up on eBay all the time, one will be well worth whatever you pay... Setting off on the sort of trip you're planning without a reliable form of self-steering is asking for trouble, bigtime, IMHO...

And when you make it to the Bahamas, remember that fishing with a spear gun is prohibited, only a Hawaiian sling is permitted over there...
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Re: How to Proceed...

I vry much appreciate the thought out responses here, they are invaluable. I will take heed of the warnng regarding leaving St. Augastine at night and push it to first light.
The problem with the ICW is I have never looked at anything regarding it or sailing it. I would have to plan a whole new passage and get all the charts and navigation aids. The problem here is I AM sort of bare bonesing it in that when I leave, that is it. I have $2500 and a sailboat in really good shape with tons of spares. I have two degrees ( AA and BS) and the world. I have to make sure I make landfall somewhere to make money before I spend too much f it on alternate charts, tiller pilots, ect.
I still need an outboard for my dinghy and I am not sure how the instllation of a tiller pilot would work (would require haul-out) at this point I do not want to put any more big money into the boa until I find my next source of income because right now its all going to be red.
I did just youtube tiller pilots... I will check more today on the installation but the price is not bad actually... If I can install without a haulout or lots of expensive mounts I will do it before I leave, thanks for the recommendation. If I do not get it in before I go I am 25 and a bit of an insomniac anyway.. Of course I would have MRE's ready before I left s I could quickly (2-3 minutes) leave the iller with what I have and prepare them quickly. Usually when I do solo sail I set the tiller lock in conjunction with the sail trim and just sit back there beside it and read. Works well unless the wind pick up too much.
The ICW sounds peaceful... I actually want to do offshore thouh, nervous tho I will be. I have good charts and have my GPS figured out (so far). I can always VHF locally on approach for latest advice on conditions and procedures.
Of course I use a Hawaiian sling, otherwise where would the sport be?
Lastly thanks again to al the responders here. I know behind all of your "asking for disaster," comments are really just worried parents and sailors trying to look out for another. Its nice to have that sort of thing especially online such as this.

Last edited by Harborless; 05-08-2013 at 12:10 PM.
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Re: How to Proceed...

Your welcome.

However, there is more to it than being 'worried parents'. We've often seen people's dreams dashed by skipping some basics or pushing aside the advice from those have gone before. (Jon, btw has done the trip you're about to do many many times). The real loss is to see someone fail, when they could have succeeded.

I have a real wonder at the moment about a poster that was asking tons of questions on going to the BVI. Many of us, who have been there multiple times, tried to redirect their thinking a bit. They accepted some but pushed back on most. While posting the day before the trip, they've been back for a month or more and no word. I know they've signed on to SN. I worry it didn't go as well as they dreamed.
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  #30  
Old 05-08-2013
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Re: How to Proceed...

For safety you really need a tillerpilot. This will cut down the fatigue dramatically.

Hand steering for long passages is very tiring. Tired people make bad decisions.

Fitting is simple and the boat does not need to come out.

When you head down the Thorny path you will need a spare for safety, two spares would not be overkill.
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