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post #11 of 34 Old 05-28-2013
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Re: Can I make this trip as a novice

Abe,

The best guy to ask is the guy staring at you when you shave -- if you've got his vote, then go for it. Just make sure both you and him are in full agreement, and that you both do your homework (to include picking a good weather window.)

We covered part of your route when we were heading for Holland, MI from the Chesapeake.

One of the great things about Michigan is that they have state park marinas, and they usually are no more than a half day's journey apart. If things get a bit nasty, you can duck into one to wait for better weather. When we were coming up from Port Huron (in late August) we took a maintenance/laundry day in Port Sanilac, then ducked into Harbor Beach for a couple of days when the weather turned against us.

Even if your time/distance calculations for the run from Port Huron down to Lake St Claire tell you you can make it in a day, plan a couple of bail-out option marinas as well.

Sounds like it'll be a good shake-down cruise.

Oh -- get the tow insurance. It's worth it, even if it's only for the peace of mind.


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post #12 of 34 Old 05-28-2013
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You should hire a captain and treat the trip as training exercise. As a first time captain you don't know what you do not know that may important or critical, to a safe trip. No one posting here knows either.

Its your life, you can chose to roll the dice or not.

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post #13 of 34 Old 05-29-2013
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Re: Can I make this trip as a novice

First of all, let me tell you that your estimate of a 100 mile trip may be true if you went as the crow flies, but by water it is over 200 miles!!

I have made this trip going both north and south at least 10 times in different boats, at different times of the year, but I would not want do it solo.

My advice would be to find someone with some experience to help you, check out the boat, the gear, the engine, the filters, the sails, the safety stuff, the charts, nav stuff etc.etc. Then take it one step at a time, and don't get locked into a tight schedule.

All that said, it can be a great trip. but not to be taken lightly! I wish I was still in Michigan, to go with you.
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post #14 of 34 Old 05-29-2013
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Re: Can I make this trip as a novice

I'm sure glad the internet wasn't around when Columbus, Magellan, Shackleton or Cook was contemplating going sailing. We'd all still be living in Europe if Gore had invented it back then.

To the OP, I told my granddaughter, after she took a spill off her bike while racing downhill, "Lets go inside , lay down and stare at the ceiling. We will be safe and not get hurt." Her reply was between tears, "NO, thats boring." She got back on her bike and made it down the hill, screaming with joy the whole way.

Make sure your equipment is sound, weather is good, common sense on board and GO.

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post #15 of 34 Old 05-29-2013
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Re: Can I make this trip as a novice

There are Old Sailors and Bold Sailors, but not many Old Bold Sailors.
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post #16 of 34 Old 05-30-2013
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I don't think anyone here is telling him to not go

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Originally Posted by Captainmeme View Post
I'm sure glad the internet wasn't around when Columbus, Magellan, Shackleton or Cook was contemplating going sailing. We'd all still be living in Europe if Gore had invented it back then.

To the OP, I told my granddaughter, after she took a spill off her bike while racing downhill, "Lets go inside , lay down and stare at the ceiling. We will be safe and not get hurt." Her reply was between tears, "NO, thats boring." She got back on her bike and made it down the hill, screaming with joy the whole way.

Make sure your equipment is sound, weather is good, common sense on board and GO.
I don't think folks are saying, me included, to sell the boat and stay in your safe house and stare at the ceiling. The general consensus is to not do the first time on your "new" boat as a 100 mile + shakedown/get to know cruise alone.

Most folks are advocating a preliminary day cruise to understand the systems of the boat before making the 100+ mile trip. Most people are also advocating getting a partner or hiring a captain to do the trip with the OP.

The explorers that you mentioned all had seasoned crew for the journey and I doubt that any of them were "novice" captains and hadn't been on boat before prior to them setting off. Also, for your other example, I doubt that your granddaughter's first time on the bike was to get on and head straight down Deadman's Hill. My guess is that she went through the training wheel, then two wheel on flat stuff, before the hill attempt.

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post #17 of 34 Old 05-30-2013
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Re: Can I make this trip as a novice

Let us review the OP's qualifications:

" I have crewed on a Hunter 34 on a Port Huron Mac race and done a couple seasons of club racing as crew. I owned a 18' hunter for a few years. Pretty book smart and all that, just not alot of experience driving my own boat. "

His training wheels are off, he knows his way around a boat or two. His IQ is more than his body temperature, I sense he lacks confidence. Pretty sure no one said to hop in the boat and go. We all suggested he checks the boat out, whether that means
a day jaunt or professionally inspected is left to the OP's judgement, most suggested tow insurance, charts and weather checks. Having a more experienced person on board is akin to having training wheels, IMHO. Its not his first time on a boat.

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post #18 of 34 Old 05-30-2013
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Re: I don't think anyone here is telling him to not go

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Most folks are advocating a preliminary day cruise to understand the systems of the boat before making the 100+ mile trip. Most people are also advocating getting a partner or hiring a captain to do the trip with the OP.
I agree, the OP should certainly spend a few days sailing his new boat before heading off on the journey. Push the systems, and the captain. Drop and hoist anchor, practice reefing, heaving-to, and push the engine. Better to break something near a friendly port than during the journey.

For basic equipment I would make sure the compass is sound, the depth sounder and VHF works, and you have a handheld GPS/chartplotter. Get the paper charts and the appropriate guide (Ports book). Make sure you carry a radar reflector (I assume this boat won't have radar). Fog is always a possibility on the Great Lakes.

Having additional crew is always a good idea, even for a day sail, but if that is not possible, then this is certainly a journey doable by a solo sailor. Hiring a captain seems unnecessary to me, but that's certainly an option. The key for me would be to go slow. Plan some reasonable hops, but have no schedule. Be wise to the weather, and keep an eye out for other traffic, especially freighters. They move very fast.

A Pearson 28 has a reputation of being a good, solid boat. Assuming this one is in decent shape, it should have no trouble handling this journey (I'm assuming the journey is planned for June-August). The OP is a novice, but not without experience having raced on other boats, and done the Port Huron Mackinaw race. It's certainly a doable trip.

Enjoy the journey. I've never sailed this stretch, but am well acquainted with Georgian Bay, the North Channel and Lake Superior. The Great Lakes offer some of the best cruising anywhere. Enjoy it.
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post #19 of 34 Old 05-30-2013
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Re: Can I make this trip as a novice

I feel completely confident that I could single hand that boat for a 100 mile trip, but would never jump in the day I bought her and do so. I would shake it down first, as something is hiding somewhere. Its the law of boating.

I'm guessing the OP's inexperience is more an issue with knowing what to look for and how to identify improper workmanship, rather than how to physically sail a boat. They are very different skills and both required for a passage, especially a single-handed one.

Columbus, Magellan, Shackleton or Cook were all fully prepared on both accounts.

I'm sure the OP can make this trip. They just need to take it a step at at time and not launch into the fog.
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post #20 of 34 Old 05-30-2013
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Re: Can I make this trip as a novice

A year and a half ago, in November, 2011, I jumped on my new-to-me '77 Pearson 28 and sailed it down the Chesapeake Bay solo, during a small craft advisory, from just north of Annapolis to Coan River on the Potomac, about 50 n.m., with an overnight in Solomon's Island, which I entered in the dark several hours after the sun set at Cedar Point, followed by a nice sail to the Potomac the next day.

I thought about taking crew, and even put a Crew Listing post on Sailnet, but didn't. After completing the trip, I later realized that it was somewhat risky to sail at night, solo, with the cold water of November, on a new-to-me boat, with no harness.

Fortunately, there were no surprises. It was a cold but exciting adventure. I wish you well.
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Last edited by jameswilson29; 05-30-2013 at 03:09 PM.
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