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Old 05-28-2013
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Can I make this trip as a novice

I am looking at buying a boat in Bay City MI. I would have to sail her from saginaw bay to lake st. clair. Maybe 100 miles or so. 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. I am looking to buy a Pearson 28 set up for single handing. I would have to sail it home single handed more than likely. I am not familiar with the waters or the electronics, but aint stupid either. Also never ran into a river. I would have to cruise down the st clair river which moves pretty good. Just wondering if this is something I should be able to handle? Just want to make sure I can make it from point a to point b without grounding my brand new purchase. I mean you got to do it for the first time once right??
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Old 05-28-2013
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Re: Can I make this trip as a novice

Two kinds of sailors, those who have run aground and those who lie.

Get a chart of the area to be covered. Divide the distance into thirds. Look for
places to duck into should weather turn nasty, night falls, equipment fails or zombies attack. Buy tow insurance. Double check anchors, stock up on food, liquids and tunes and GO!
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Old 05-28-2013
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Re: Can I make this trip as a novice

Yup,
If your gonna own a boat you might as well be willing to take it out, first trip, tenth trip, etc. The difference will be experience. Since you will have zero experience with this particular boat I suggest you throw away your watch and calendar. Take it slow, don't plan on long distances, early starts, late stops, and what not. Plan carefully, talk to someone that has made this particular route, have bail out points identified and if your halfway intelligent you should have a lovely time learning about your new boat on your maiden voyage. Know how to use your ground tackle and practice anchoring BEFORE you set out.

Plan on things breaking, not working, not being where you left them, and generally screwing up your best laid plans and you will be fine.

Let us know when you are getting underway.
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Old 05-28-2013
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Re: Can I make this trip as a novice

Stick to the channels and deep waters on the chart, stop over night one the way if your motoring... its a get it home delivery right.. save the playtime for home waters..
Make sure the engines freshly fuelled and serviced... filters etc.
You should be fine... oh.. and if you have not got one.. get an auto pilot..
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Old 05-28-2013
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Re: Can I make this trip as a novice

I had to do a similar length trip home with my Pearson 28-2. We did it in 2 days, one night stopover. We got started after lunch the first day. We motored almost the entire way because winds were very light, but I did sail it for about an hour just because.

An autopilot is barely necessary on this boat. It keeps direction very well when running on the motor, and balances easily under sail too. I have an autopilot, but still often go long distances without turning it on.

We had unknown electronics as well (only the speed through water and depth finder were known to be working), so I brought along a handheld GPS.
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Old 05-28-2013
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Re: Can I make this trip as a novice

Hi abrahamx, I've never sailed that area, but a quick look at the charts says you'll likely be marina-hopping, except perhaps the first night in Saginaw Bay. Plan your jumps and listen for weather. As a Great Lakes sailor you know how quickly things can develop and change.

Good advice from the others. Leave the schedules at home, and don't push it too hard. Nothing wrong with 15-20 mile days. I'd spend a few days sailing around the bay before heading off. You'll learn your new boat, and hopefully break anything that was about to break before you start the journey.

One more thing, keep a close eye on any freighter traffic, and stay out of the lanes. Not sure what it's like in Saginaw Bay, but you'll get into the thick of things as get get closer to the St. Clair River mouth.
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Old 05-28-2013
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While others say that it can be done and with a proper amount of planning, go for it, I am less Gung Ho than them. I would see if you can get a buddy to make at the trip with you or at least some of it. This does several things:
  • Makes the time go by quicker
  • Gives you another set of hands if things go wrong
  • Gives you more brain power to do decisions
  • Increases your overall safety, as long as the other person isn't a complete hazard
  • Simple things like docking, anchoring, picking up a mooring,etc. are a much easier

Before owning my own boat, I taught sailing in scout camp, learned on a laser, and my dad had a Catalina 22. Sailed many many times, but It took me almost a year and half of sailing on my own boat with others before I decided to try single-handing. Everything that seemed easy became a challenge by myself. I am much better at it now,but the first few times were a little"scary" in some of the activities.

Unless the winds are absolutely perfect and your are really confident in your abilities, I would motor the entire way. Generally you be faster and get there quicker. Getting there quicker isn't the idea, but getting there safely while still learning about your boat is. A typically sailboat pushed at 6 kts in mild conditions (no real head wind, current or chop) will burn ~0.75 g/h. So for a 100 mile trip your looking at around 16 g of fuel.

If you do go, make sure you tether yourself to the boat and wear a PFD you are underway and on deck.

DrB
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Re: Can I make this trip as a novice

Cool, Yea, will probably motor the whole way. Definitely will be easier and I will try to get some one to go. should be able to. thanks for all the good info and I will post back. In the meantime I still would not mind keeping this post going for my knowledge and others.
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Re: Can I make this trip as a novice

Every boat I've bought had problems at purchase. This includes new and used. I'd suggest whatever you do, take at least one day and sail it locally at your departure point. Try the motor for a couple of hours, get the sails up and down, and sleep one night on the boat checking any necessary systems including galley stuff, fresh water, etc. Put down the anchor, raise the anchor. Make sure the boat itself is safe and functional enough that the trip will be good and safe.

Then if you do it yourself, do short hops and get lots of rest. Better, do it with a buddy. Better yet, do it with a buddy who owns a similar or bigger boat. Best, do it with a buddy who has tools, knows how to use them, and has a bigger or similar sized boat.

Good luck, be safe, have fun!!
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Re: Can I make this trip as a novice

New boat to you but not a new boat. The tow insurance would pay for itself many times if you have a problem and it will cover you all summer.

stay out of the water....it is cold!
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