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  #1  
Old 09-08-2013
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Smile Bug Has Bitten - We WILL Be Cruising!

Hello to all on Sailnet.

We are a couple living in the Middle East who recently purchased our second sail boat. Having both grown up on the east coast of Australia, as well as short stints overseas, we both love "messing about in boats."

We were actually looking for a motor boat this time around, but had kept our options open as we'd joined the local yacht club, and thought we could simply crew on someone else's for racing and get wherever we wanted quickly on our own on non-race days. Why on earth anyone would want either us as crew is beyond us, given our previous sailing consisted of sailing rental Hobie Cats, being “crew” on relatives’ 45ft trimaran (Can you get me another beer?), a short stint as an owner of an “Investigator 5.63” Australian trailer sailer, and most recently, completion of the RYA basic sailing course.

Anyway, we picked out our motor boat - 33ft, 2 x 250HP outboards etc and while we were doing the figures, enquired at the yacht club as to the cost of berthing. The answer was that the marina is full, both hard and wet, so if we wanted a boat kept at the yacht club, we'd have to be purchasing it from someone who already had a boat there. That didn't sound right (in this part of the world any tactic you can think of to bleed expats of their money is not considered unscrupulous), so I asked around and a few trusted sources assured me it was the case and there is little to be done.

It happened that there were a few boats for sale, both motor and sail, but the motor boats weren't meeting our requirements - market relevant price, cuddy or full cabin, 2005 or later etc etc, so we turned our gaze to the sailboats, of which there were two: - a Swift 18 and a Sadler 25.

The Sadler ticked our boxes - nice lines, updated modern and well kept electronics made simple, solar power, VHF, GPS, manual pump head, roller reefer (see one of my other threads!) etc. As well, at least one previous owner knew what he was doing - there's tons of relevant spares and tools covering rigging, repairs, paint etc, as well as 3 complete set of sails - main, 1&2 Genoas, asymmetrical and symetrical spinnaker, storm jib etc etc. Even an autohelm makes an appearance, and a 8HP Yamaha outboard. It also comes with it’s own fiberglass dinghy.

So, we set about with the test sail and duly handed over the cash, or internet transfer in this case, and are the owners of “Pandora.” We fiddled with the idea of changing the name but after chatting with other yacht club members, the previous owners had left lasting legacies at the club and many wished us fair sailing on Pandora, a boat which many appear to have genuine affection.

So, a few sails later and after thumbing through the pages of some old (2000-2008) yachting, sailing and cruising magazines, as well as much internet research, we’ve decided we will be undertaking a cruise.
But to where?
Do we take Pandora? S
hould we buy a catamaran?
A trimaran?
How much is going to cost?
When do we go?
How much is it going to cost?
Finally, how much is it going to cost?

Yesterday it was blowing 20knots gusting to 25, topping out at 28. As Pandora slipped the berth, my first mate wasn’t at all confident, but I’d told her we’ll reef and only use the main for the day, and we’ll just practice tacking. She was ok with that, so when I told her to reef and raise the main, we were on the 3rd reef! Cheeky bugger. I was ok with it as I didn’t want her to be nervous. So, we tacked from beam reach to beam reach, trying to make the maneuver as smooth as possible, and even threw in a few gybes for good measure.

The seas were only about a half metre, but messy, with plenty of spray over the deck and cockpit; enough to make sure the first mate kept her hand holds when down below or handling the sheets.

We were basically tacking from the channel markers to the reef and back, a distance of around 1.5kms each way, and each time we concentrated on building and maintaining speed by trying different trims. A steady 4-4.5 knots seemed easiest to handle.

After a while, the first mate became comfortable and I suggested stepping down to the second reef. She reluctantly agreed and we turned into the wind and changed the reef. Then we were off again. The combination of the extra sail, increasing gusts and outgoing tide saw much spray thrown our way. We don’t have a bimini or dodger. Luckily the outside temp in the Persian Gulf is pretty toasty this time of year, so the 41°C didn’t make for uncomfortable sailing, unless you happened to be down below for more than 10 seconds. Speed increased to a steady 5-5.5 knots.

Nonetheless, the salt stinging in the eyes, the matted hair and the crispy t shirts didn’t leave much of an impression on the first mate. I pointed out that when we plan our cruise, things such as dodgers, biminis, centre cockpits, toilets, showers, a/c, engine power will all need to be considered. Everything needs to be weighted for it’s pros and cons – cost v needs v maintenance v comfort v available space. This made sense to her, and she suggested installing a “proper” shower onboard Pandora. I told her it wouldn’t be practical, besides there is a 12volt electric deck shower on Pandora.

“Looks like we’ll need to get another boat.” says she.

“How much is that gonna cost?” I replied.

Regardless the seed has been sown. We will probably start with a circumnavigation of Bahrain in Pandora, which shouldn’t take much longer than a couple of days, depending on state curfews and security issues. From there, who knows, but it’s an itch that keeps getting itchier. Already I’ve started making a list of things to sell (everything’s on it!), am pressuring the yacht club sailing pro to put me through the next batch of certified courses, scouring magazines and the interwebs for advice on DIY repairs etc etc.

When??? GO NOW seems to be the common catch cry of many who’ve cast off. Maybe not right now for us, but shortly? New boat? Courses. Sale of assets. Am I actually allowed to sail alone in the Persian Gulf?

The seed is sown.
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Last edited by OZWILD; 09-08-2013 at 07:46 AM. Reason: Grammar, Syntax
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  #2  
Old 09-08-2013
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Re: Bug Has Bitten - We WILL Be Cruising!

Nice story! Best of luck with Pandora and many happy adventures.
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Old 10-22-2013
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Re: Bug Has Bitten - We WILL Be Cruising!

Our First Cruise!

Well, we talked about circumnavigating Bahrain over the Eid period, but a quick look at the reefs, currents and conditions didn't give us a lot of confidence, taking into account our lack of experience.

Imagine our delight when another club member asked around to see if anyone was interested in doing a trip 'round the island. We jumped at the chance and at the first briefing were handed a info pack with tidal charts, known issues, sunset / sunrise timings, accommodation offers, coast guard requirements etc. The guy had done his homework and we were very grateful. It also perked up our confidence.

Of the original 8 or so skippers who had shown interest (including 2 16ft hobie cat owners), we cast off with 4 boats;
Gibsea 352 - D'Artagnan
Sadler 25 (ours) - Pandora
Jaguar 22 - Polly
and a beautifully rebuilt traditional Danish / Dutch (excuse my ignorance) fishing boat. (30 ft) - Nynke

Nynke has a shallow draft of about 60cm, Polly a swing keel, D'Artagnan 1.2 m draft and Sadler 1.4m fin keel.

We had a great time aboard Pandora. She proved herself very kind to us over the three nights and four days it took.
Some highlights for us:
- Our first night sail. We missed the 6pm curfew on all three nights due to light winds, strong current and inexperience. Great stuff.
- Navigating by torchlight under motor through an unlit and shallow channel, only to run aground when finally under guidance from our fellow cruisers! No damage; we had rounded an unmarked pole and turned to starboard too early, thrusting with the current straight into the mud just off the channel. Had to jump in and push her out. We only ran aground once, whereas D'Artagnan managed to do it three times.
- Getting stuck in the middle of the local fishing fleet right on dusk - very choppy!
- Learning what Pandora (and ourselves) are capable of as far as reaching in varying conditions.

We'd always considered the trip would be a learning experience but there is one thing we learned that we think will keep us in good stead for any future sailing - preparation! Everything from having mooring lines ready, stowing gear, keeping Pandora ship shape and any of a thousand other details that are needed to make sailing fun once you are on board.
We've also decided we'll be wanting a significantly larger boat when we cruise seriously - a v-berth in a 25 ft boat is NOT suitable for two people!

Finally, and most importantly we re-learned respect for each other as a couple. We worked as a team, discussed decisions together and by the third day were getting the most out of each other, and having a good time! We were both very surprised at how much the combination of a small living environment and being at the whim of the sea made us forget about trivial rubbish, and insisted we dealt with any situation as it presented itself, or suffer the consequences.

Good stuff and we'll have some more of that thanks!
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Old 10-22-2013
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Re: Bug Has Bitten - We WILL Be Cruising!

Sounds like a blast OZ!
Each sailing trip you take like this will help build both of your confidence.
Night sailing is wonderful.
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