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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation > Cruising Skills/Practice
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


Thread: Cruising Skills/Practice Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
07-03-2013 07:13 AM
aaronwindward
Re: Cruising Skills/Practice

Your trip sounds awesome, and you sound like the sort of guy that's going to take preparing for this seriously.

The only thing I'd suggest are some shakedown cruises while you still have a car and money and place to park the boat and work on things. I'm still a beginner; but what I've learned is that pretty much any problem is solvable, if you're sitting at a dock with money in the bank. But that's not necessarily true when you're seasick and pitching in the waves out in the ocean when something important is broken.

Good luck!
07-02-2013 11:35 PM
CaptnR
Re: Cruising Skills/Practice

Get a sea gull and you will learn amazing things about engines... only kidding! But on the other hand, Have you ever read the book Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance?
Personally I would have spare plugs, and swap them periodicly, try to achieve mechanics touch, snug but not stripped; try reading the plugs, black is too rich, sandstone is cool, white, too lean? I forget.
Get a multimeter and learn how to use it for continuity, voltage, and short circuits.
Know where every thru hull is, and work them periodicly.
Check your anchor rode, make sure you have a swivell, and stainless seizing wire on all shackles.
What else? A million things. Turnbuckles, dirt in fuel, alternate fuel filters for you diesel guys; know how to at least do a broadstitch with palm and waxed twine, Where's my beer?
07-02-2013 06:42 PM
mark2gmtrans
Re: Cruising Skills/Practice

Quote:
Originally Posted by sully75 View Post
The boat has an outboard. Do I understand that in general people don't really repair their own outboards, they take them in for servicing? Not like an atomic 4 or something where you more or less have to know how to repair it to have one?

It's a Suzuki long shaft in good condition. But if it went south I would not have a clue.

Any guides to outboard ownership you'd suggest?
Having an outboard serviced regularly or doing it yourself once you know how is the best way to keep stuff from going wrong with it. I had an issue with the outboard in question, which was mounted on my fish and ski boat, due to the fact that I was testing it after I had recently purchased it. The PO had not done maintenance, although he claimed he had, and I had taken the boat and launched it, had it running for well over an hour, and then decided to take it for a short spin. The little timing advance spring came off and messed me up so that it had no power and would not run above an idle. I had to take the cowling off and then manually advance the timing to get back to the ramp, it was getting dark, the tide runs very strong there and it would have put me right into the middle of the Houston Ship Channel if I had not gotten it under control. Moral of the story, either check things out well before it gets dark, or have a mechanic in the boat...lucky for me I was the mechanic, unlucky for me I was also the only person on the boat and it is not easy to steer, rig a string to a timing advance and then get to safety while you are drifting very rapidly towards VERY large ships that would never even know you were there.

At least it was still light enough to see the stupid piece that gave up and fell off, any darker and it would have been a lot harder to figure out under pressure.

Lucky for me I had several people come along who helped me get things sorted out about the time I was getting it back to the boat ramp, of course luckier would have been them coming along a little earlier haha.
07-02-2013 06:03 PM
sully75
Re: Cruising Skills/Practice

The boat has an outboard. Do I understand that in general people don't really repair their own outboards, they take them in for servicing? Not like an atomic 4 or something where you more or less have to know how to repair it to have one?

It's a Suzuki long shaft in good condition. But if it went south I would not have a clue.

Any guides to outboard ownership you'd suggest?
07-02-2013 05:38 PM
mark2gmtrans
Re: Cruising Skills/Practice

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucklesR View Post
I'd add "learn your boat systems" - and I mean all of them, electrical, electronics, plumbing, engine, drive train, rigging, everything. Sure you can learn it on the way - nothing like learning how to replace a fuel pump while drifting onto a rock ledge to speed up the learning curve.

Take books on all the subjects with you, references help as you won't be able to discuss something that boogles your brain.
Learn what you can fix and what you can't, then make contingency plans and test them.
HAHA, yep, nothing like learning how to fix the little spring that advances the timing on your outboard engine while the tide is going out and pushing you at speed into the Houston Ship Channel...
07-02-2013 05:35 PM
chucklesR
Re: Cruising Skills/Practice

I'd add "learn your boat systems" - and I mean all of them, electrical, electronics, plumbing, engine, drive train, rigging, everything. Sure you can learn it on the way - nothing like learning how to replace a fuel pump while drifting onto a rock ledge to speed up the learning curve.

Take books on all the subjects with you, references help as you won't be able to discuss something that boogles your brain.
Learn what you can fix and what you can't, then make contingency plans and test them.
07-02-2013 04:16 PM
sully75
Re: Cruising Skills/Practice

I just wanted to check in and say thanks for all the advice. I've been reading it all. I've been very busy with finishing up my job (contract), packing up my apartment, moving things into storage, organizing the 800 Amazon shipments (bandaids/flashlights/multitools/random sh1t), stumbling around the anchor that I just bought (35 pound mantus, a little overkill but my intention is to be able to anchor safely in a nasty blow). Anyway, just packed up my apartment, which was traumatic during this heat wave, but now I'm relieved.

I got a lot of good info and thoughts here. For the record, the cockpit has two large plugs in it just below the waterline for emergency draining if for whatever reason the cockpit fills. I'm told they work good as urinals too. I have no intention of pissing over the side singlehanded, I've had some nightmares about falling overboard and I think it would most likely be game-over barring some miracle, so I'd like to avoid tempting that fate.

The boat is pretty nice equipped for singlehanding. Everything is led back to the cockpit, there is jiffy reefing on 2 out of the three reef points (I'm hoping to get the 3rd rigged this week). Chartplotter in the cockpit, with iphone + laptop with GPS as backup, plus a chartbook from here to the Canadian border. I'll sort out everything passed Canada if I end up going there. I do have a raster GPS chart of the Maritimes but I'd like to have more than that.

I did have one question though:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter06420 View Post

Learn how to back the boat upwind, downwind, cross-wind. Learn what's possible & what's difficult.
What do you mean by backing the boat? Heaving to? going into irons? Going backwards?

Anyways, keep the thoughts coming, if you like.

and thanks!
Paul
07-01-2013 12:44 PM
CaptnR
Re: Cruising Skills/Practice

Hey Sully, There is always more to learn, I would focus on nightime nav, light ID on ships and shore, making sure chartplotter has AIS, paperplotting, logkeeping.
Re MOB, I prefer teaching my own method, spotter, immediate beam reach, (works upwind or down dowse chute if up) collect wits,tack to hove too, dive below target, come up, stop near target. Practice, practice.
Enjoy learning!
07-01-2013 11:06 AM
capecodda
Re: Cruising Skills/Practice

Small boats are harder to sail than big boats. The transition to simply sailing the big boat will be the easiest part.

The biggest surprise will be how many things break in a bigger boat and that often you need to fix them. Learn about your aux motor, and all the other comfort systems (fresh water, stove, whatever else you got). Learn about bigger boat rigging, steering, and where all the holes are in the bottom to let water in and out. Get some tools and put the aboard. Expect stuff to break. Stock some spare parts on board. Shake stuff down before you venture too far.

In terms of priority if the rig doesn't fall on your head, rudder is intact, and the boat stays water tight, the rest is just about comfort and convenience

Venture further and further as your comfort level increases. Anchor out. Learn to navigate. Learn about the weather. Learn the rules. Get some good charts.

Your approach sounds reasonable and responsible. Go down east! Sail on!
07-01-2013 10:08 AM
norsearayder
Re: Cruising Skills/Practice

maine is great,come on up.get a chart plotter,use your sounder ,get a cruising guide,plan your daily trips to arrive before dark,eat lobster,come to portland ,free dock under the bridge
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