Advice for novice on coastal cruising - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 12 Old 08-08-2001 Thread Starter
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Advice for novice on coastal cruising

My wife and I just purchased our first sailboat, a used Catalina 22. I have a limited amount of experience, mostly since buying the boat (one month) and sailing instruction at a summer camp (15 yrs ago). I have taken a general boating safety course and feel very comfortable on Kerr Lake. Very recently we decided to go on a week long excursion in the Pamlico Sound and Neuse River. We plan to take a leisurely pace around and explore, staying on the boat some and off. Many people I have talked with, mostly non-sailing people, think we are crazy. That we are to inexperienced. At first I was very excited about the trip, but after talking with these people I''m beginning to doubt myself. I honestly feel that I understand what we are under taking, (especially weather). We don''t plan to make a 3 day passage anywhere, just nose around a bit and explore and enjoy our new boat. I would like some input from more experienced sailors. Any thoughts both good and bad would be appreciated.
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post #2 of 12 Old 08-09-2001
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Advice for novice on coastal cruising

Ahoy, jfletcher and crew. The first time you drove a car you probably had less experience and more risk. There are only several major issues you have to be comfortable with. #1 is safety. Is your boat and life saving gear in good order and do you know how to use it. #2 Always leave a time specific and geographic map of your voyage with a responsible person on land and check in by cell or land phone along the way with this person. Be sure to dicuss how long over due is cause for concern and who to call. A VHF radio is a prudent piece of equiptment to have so the official agency can call to check on you. #3 Be extra carefull in navigation and weather decisions. Wear at a minimum a flotation vest while under way and practice man overboard dills with your mate.Take your best marine books with you for reference. All that said , go go go . Your skills will never get any better if you sit in home waters at anchor. I have taken extreme risks in much smaller vessels and in each instance my experience counted most when things broke or the weather turned bad. A man has to know his limitations to be sure, but if you don''t test your skills how are you going to know what you can do? Keep in mind that the people on land have little real knowledge of boating ,just fear based in ignorance. It sounds like you have prepared and your question here in this forum is proof of your good judgment skills to ask for help . Shove off and remember have fun, relax and all voyages are clothes optional!!! Big Red 56. See you on the horizon.
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post #3 of 12 Old 08-13-2001
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Advice for novice on coastal cruising

My suggestion is to keep a chart updated as to your position.1/2 or hourly updates will give the extra security of knowing where you are and where the nearest port is if you choose to rest or wait out uncomfortable weather. This could be in the form of DR positioning on the course you layed out in the morning of each day of sailing. Do not depend on GPS to tell you. Also keep a log. It will help you refer to lessons learned and good times had and most importantly keeping your "sea stories" more believable.
You will find at first that even coastal sailing in fair winds is taxing. It makes for good sleeping but it also adds up day to day so take it slow and easy. Enjoy!!
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post #4 of 12 Old 08-27-2001
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Advice for novice on coastal cruising

Given the excellent advice of the previous respondents, and given that you follow it: don''t let these folks drag you down. I found from experience that people will predict YOU cannot do something because THEY are incapable of doing it. I made this mistake and I''m still digging myself out. Not only were my friends and family stunned that a girl would undertake such a venture, but after I purchased my first boat last October, I spent the winter reading tomes on offshore seamanship and basically scared the crap out of myself unnecessarily (I currently sail weekends on the Chesapeake in predicted good weather, but I know how to Med moor--isn''t that useful). I had just a little more experience than you when I launched my boat for the first time last May, and although the responsibility was daunting at first, I had a blast. I did a five-day trial-by-fire for my very first outing.

Think practical safety at all times, never take unnecessary risks, and remember that keeping to a schedule should never take precedence over safety. Follow the advice of the previous postings and go for it. If there is a cruising guide and/or coast pilot for where you are going, read it. Also read your charts several times in advance for every course and place you intend to go. If you have the time and inclination, read the charts for places you DON''T intend to go but could conceivably end up. Even more importantly, and as previously noted, always know where you are.

Fair winds and have a great time!

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post #5 of 12 Old 09-05-2001
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Advice for novice on coastal cruising

With reguards to a pearson 26....
Has anybody, or does anyone know of a transatlantic voyage in one, or someone that can offer advice on offshore singlehanding a P-26????
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post #6 of 12 Old 09-06-2001
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Advice for novice on coastal cruising

While these were nice little boats, they were designed as light weight (for their day) raceboats and are not intended as offshore cruisers. My best advice is to look for a boat intended for that service.

If you wanted to take a Pearson 26 offshore I would start with a thorough survey. No matter what the survey showed I would replace the keel bolts, add transverse frames in the keel and rudder area and build a new sturdier rudder. I would remove the large portlights in the doghouse and glass in the holes with a cored material and then add smaller portlights. I would probably raise the bridge deck and close up the dip in the transom for the outboard motor. I would probably replace all chainplates, tangs, and standing and running rigging. I would glass in additional framing forward of the main bulkhead. I would build light weight storage racks that could hold plastic milk crate type storage units for gear and supplies. You also need to increase water storage.

Then you need an offshore sail inventory which on a boat like teh P-26 would mean adding both light and heavy weather sails.

By this time you could have gone out and bought a boat better suited for the purpose and come out ahead.

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post #7 of 12 Old 09-10-2001
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Advice for novice on coastal cruising

Ahoy, jfletcher. You got some good advice regarding your planned coastal cruise. Everyone agreed you should go. I vote go, also. It isn''t as if you are taking off across the Atlantic. This is a series of daysails you are talking about laid end to end. I would make the following recommendations. Take at least 30 SPF lip ice and sun tan lotion. You''ll be on the water all day and will have no wind some of the time. It isn''t comfortable sitting and baking
for hours. I just got back yesterday from eight days aboard out of St. Pete. I used SPF
45 because I didn''t have much of a color base
before I left. I was in the sun all day every
day and did not even burn. Use it generously and twice a day. Next, you need a vhf so you can contact bridge operators, other boats, the Coast Guard if necessary, and so you can get the weather on a continuing basis. Third,
the first time, I recommend you plan your trip from beginning to end including plotting
your route. Take a hand bearing compass and binoculars. Never get out of site of land the
first time. Check off your reference points as you go. Make sure you account for tide and
current in your planning. Take two anchors, preferably a plow or danforth, and a bruce. If your chosen anchorage isn''t well sheltered, set two anchors at least 60 degrees apart with 7 to 1 scope. You''ll sleep
better. We spent one night in a bad storm in foul weather gear with lightening all around and the rain blowing horizontally picking up the one anchor we had out because we were dragging so badly and resetting it with a second anchor. It wasn''t fun and we had some close moments. Make sure you know how to anchor, how to recover a man over board (I recommend the quick stop method because you turn immediately to wind, back the jib, leaving it, making a slow even circle around the person, close to them (about two boat lengths), and end up lying to just above them
and drifting down, sheltering them and making
it easier to recover them, and you can do it single handed without losing site of the person or having to mess with the jib.), how to heave to, and how to reef. Never wait till
it is getting late to start in. You want to be in your anchorage, on the hook, at least an hour before the sun goes down. Better early than late. The wind can drop, you can run into current you hadn''t accounted, etc. You don''t want to be feeling your way into an
anchorage at night in a place you have never been on your first cruise. A good way to cruise an unfamiliar coast is to just follow the fathom line. Pick one that is far enough out, that leaves you plenty of water under you and just stay on it. Just use daylight, your fathometer, your eyes, and good judgement. When in doubt, run for cover.
Go for it. Enjoy. dhartdallas.
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post #8 of 12 Old 11-10-2001
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Advice for novice on coastal cruising

Wecome to the addicting world of coastal sailing!
Our first boat was a 22 1/2 ''Coronado,1970.
On our first coastal cruise we sailed from St Lucie Inlet at Stuart Florida to Ft Pierce Inlet,about 18 miles I believe it was.
Off Ft Pierce we ran into the darkest,most vicious storm I have encountered.
The clouds hung low sort of a smoke color and the VHF said storm moving south.
WEell, we were about 1 1/2 miles off the inlet when the storm came east!
We were caught in 6''+ seas and winds around 25 knots,with lots of lightning around us.
Visibility quickly went to about nothing.
Our tactic was to steer into the storm with the old Evinrude 9.5 HP,all sails were dropped.
After about15 to 20 minutes we were clear.
We learned a lot-do not have an aluminum tiller,which I had to control during the storm!
Make sure you have an updated position before the storm gets to you--take steps as early as possible,donning life jackets etc.
Although my wife was terrified,she still,remakably,sails with me!
We now coastal cruise in a Mac26X and have practised heaving to, and read up on all we could find on heavy weather tactics.
Enjoy yourselves,be safe and practise your skills!
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post #9 of 12 Old 12-21-2001
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Advice for novice on coastal cruising

I took a totally ''winging it'' approach to sailing... after a summer of learning on a dinghy, spent a year refitting a 22'' MacGregor (very similar to the Catalina from what I can tell), and the first day she was in the water was to depart on a 4-month cruise from the northern Chesapeake to the Florida Keys.
Some of the best sailing I had the entire trip was on the Pamlico and Albemarle... a 22'' with decent equipment should have a great time out there.
Things you might consider: (some of these have been mentioned already)
VHF (a must in my opinion)
Extra fuel and water
What is your galley like? The Mac didnt originally have one - I had to add water tanks, stove, and sink.
Check the head (I assume its a portable type?) nothing worse than dealing with a leaky smelly head for a week... one with a 6 gallon capacity should easily last 2 people for a week.
Be prepared to get hooked on the sailing life - the day I got back from my trip I started looking for the next bigger boat to be a liveaboard
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post #10 of 12 Old 06-04-2015
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Cool Re: Advice for novice on coastal cruising

hive just bought a 29 ft long keel yacht. it is lying n Scotland and I live in Cornwall. I've only sailed once or twice but this has ben my life long dream. First is it possible to sail it single hand, the distance is 400 miles over 5 or so days. I'm a very able and practical guy. this trip will only entail day sailing is offline  
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