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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail > Can I make this trip as a novice
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Thread: Can I make this trip as a novice Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
06-30-2013 10:07 AM
abrahamx
Re: Can I make this trip as a novice

Good advice that I dont disagree on at all. I ended up getting a tartan 30 that is sitting right in the slip I intend to keep her. The current owner just put up the mast yesterday and I am out of town. Will be paying what I own him sometime this week. It is a tiller steer. I am mostly nervous about docking her on the way back in. I will probably just motor around the first time out to get used to stopping distances etc... It does look like alot of boat compared to my h18. Gotta start somewhere/sometime.
06-27-2013 07:56 PM
jephotog
Re: Can I make this trip as a novice

I don't know if this trip has happened yet, but I will chime in and say you should have another hand on board for this trip. It sounds like challenging waters in a new to you and unknown older boat. Even if you have more experience I would suggest crew for this trip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Captainmeme View Post
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. "
Crewing on a race boat is no way a good qualification for really sailing a boat. This is not to say people racing sailboats are incompetent but being a bowman, on the mast or in the cockpit does not teach you a thing about the overall skills it takes to sail a boat. I actively race and am often amazed at how little some of the excellent crew know about the boat outside their position. Neither does sailing an 18 foot outboard driven tiller boat even solo teach you to handle a inboard powered keelboat.

If you are going to do it solo you should spend a few days sailing with the previous owner onboard "single handing" while he watches. It would be much better realizing what skills you lack with someone else onboard rather than enroute solo.
06-01-2013 01:55 PM
algee
Re: Can I make this trip as a novice

Port Sanilac and Lexington are both good stops on the West side of Lake Huron. The Saint Clair River splits into 3 channels at the delta north of Lake St. Clair. Pick the one you want, before you get there. Probably the North Channel.
06-01-2013 01:28 AM
Sanduskysailor
Re: Can I make this trip as a novice

Have made that trip in my C&C 29. Just a few places to bail out on the Michigan shore. Center of lake has some freighter traffic so watch out. Pick your weather window wisely and do it in 1 stop. When looking at weather windows look for a stalled out weak high pressure system over the Great Lakes. It pretty much guarantees light wind and fair conditions for a couple of days. Don't even think of going in to Harbor Beach unless you use the south entrance. The Michigan shoreline has a lot of boulders so don't get any closer than a mile and half.

Boat probably has a Yanmar diesel. Have it checked out, fortunately they are pretty bullet proof. You should be able to motor in moderate conditions at 6 knots all day long. I strongly suggest you take another crew. A lot of things can go wrong with a boat new to you. Clogged filters on the diesel are pretty common for a boat that has sat for a while. Make sure you have a spare Racor filter and the secondary filter spare. Know how to change the filters. Also you want to know how to bleed the fuel lines. Take a small container of diesel fuel. If the filters clog and the system runs dry you will need it to prime the system. The mechanical manual pump on the Yanmar really doesn't get it done.
05-31-2013 11:31 AM
msmith10
Re: Can I make this trip as a novice

1. It's not 100 miles from Bay City to Lake St Clair-- it's almost twice that if you have no upwind work.
2. Don't use this as your shakedown cruise. Use the boat a few days to make sure everything works. There's a 2-4 knot current in the St Clair River with a lot of freighter traffic. You need to know your engine is reliable and be comfortable handling an emergency (ie, your engine dies, the current is carrying you at 3 knots-- where's the anchor, does it work, where's the nearest marina for repairs?)
3. You won't do any sailing once you enter the St Clair River. You might keep your main up for the appearance of motor sailing, but for the most part it's a waste of time- you'll just flog the main and risk gybing at just the wrong moment.
4. Fine to do it yourself once you're used to the boat-- I do the trip every few years. Until then, have another set of eyes and hands.
5. I would recommend not being on the river after dark. The freighters know where they're going and they go fast. Plan your trip so you enter and leave the river during daylight (easy to do- you'll do 7+ knots with the current going down the river. Stay in Port Huron or Sarnia for the night and leave the next morning).
6. Study the charts ahead of time and know your waypoints. The river can be confusing the first time.
7. There aren't a lot of good harbors down the west coast of Lake Huron south of Saginaw Bay. Harbor Beach is probably the best. That means if the sh!t hits the fan, you don't have a lot of bail-out points. All the more reason to make sure your boat is in good operating condition before heading off on this trip.
Despite all the above, go for it once you're sure the boat is in good working order. It's a nice trip.
05-31-2013 09:05 AM
cruisingdream
Re: Can I make this trip as a novice

Done the trip a couple of time from the strights down to lake erie , only problem in the st clare river is a spot that opens up wide & if you dont follow the channel markers you end up on the rocks in the middle. You are probably better off with atleast one other person on board. If the boat is set up for single handed one person could do it (why motor its a sailboat).
check your private messages
05-30-2013 11:30 PM
SimonV
Re: Can I make this trip as a novice

Fill everything, fuel, water, FRIDGE. drop the mooring lines and go. If you do feel the need to have a friend along then enjoy their company. But my choice would be to go it alone, It will be a great way to get to know your new girl and yourself.
05-30-2013 11:16 PM
tomandchris
Re: Can I make this trip as a novice

take some time to learn the boat and make sure it works OK. You can make it yourself if you watch the weather, but it would be more fun with a partner and when the stuff hits the fan you have someone to help.

If you take katsailor and go through the dreaded straits of Mackinac you are going the WRONG WAY! Plan on 4 days of travel and if you arrive early great.

Good Luck
05-30-2013 06:18 PM
ccriders
Re: Can I make this trip as a novice

I purchased my 1976 Pearson 28 in Houston and after a few days doing repairs and checkouts, sailed it solo to Corpus Christi via the ICW. I don't know your waters, but if you decide to motor all the way and have a P28-1 then you are going to be on the tiller the entire distance unless you have an autopilot or are gifted with the tiller tamer. I had to manage a narrow water way with heavy barge traffic, swing bridges, and locks, as well as open bays. I spent two nights on the hook and one in a marina. I had charts, depth, log, vhf and hand held gps. And I sailed most of the way, even in the ICW, even while passing barges. You now have two P28 owners telling you how they did it, so you know it can be done.
Good luck with whatever you decide and enjoy your boat. It is robust and simple. Unless it has been heavily modified you should be able to handle it well with great ease.
By the way, the helm balances nicely when the sails are eased and you won't have to be a slave to the tiller if you sail.
John
05-30-2013 05:12 PM
MarkofSeaLife
Re: Can I make this trip as a novice

I'd do it myself. I wouldn't take anyone along.
It's like any new toy, I want to sit down pull the wrapping off myself, quietly read the instructions and put it together... All by myself.

I feel I learn more, learn at my own pace, and don't feel like a dork in front of someone else.

Then off I'd putter on the motor, till I get too excited and have to start playing with the sails etc.
I'd probably have intentions to make them short days... But prolly wouldn't anchor till near dark.
Also prolly make a few mistakes, but I'm alone on my boat and I'll make whatever mistakes i want

So my advice is to go play with your own new toy yourself. You will learn more and have much much more fun!


Mark
PS If you sink it's only a river, you can swim ashore.
PPS in case you don't sink take a bottle of wine or a few beers to have one night along the way!
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