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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation > The challenge of experience
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Thread: The challenge of experience Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
12-18-2011 10:27 PM
aeventyr60 One of our training cruises was out the Juan de Fuca Stratis and up to Barclay Sound. Fantastic trip, a bit rough on the way out but a big reward in cruising Barclay Sound. The next year we circumnavigated Vancouver Island and then headed off shore to San Francisco. Small steps on the way to Asia 12 years later. Go for it!
12-18-2011 10:12 PM
vega1860
Quote:
Originally Posted by erps View Post
My wife and I keep talking about heading out to Neah Bay one of these summers (instead of Desolation Sound which is our usual trip) and sailing a couple days towards Hawaii and then turning around and sailing back. We keep putting it off though, but I'd like for her to experience it before we put too much more money into the boat for our planned full time cruising retirement.
I don't think anyone would call us inexperienced but we don't claim to be experts either. We got our "Feet wet" so to speak by sailing straight out from Honolulu for a day, then sailing back before attempting inter-island voyages. We sailed across the Pacific in a square rigger to get an idea of what it would be like to be at sea for weeks at a time and Laura signed on to crew on a delivery of a schooner from San Diego to Kauai. Eventually, we sailed from Hawaii to Port Townsend and cruised in your neck of the woods for three and a half years before heading back to the islands. Our first attempt at leaving the strait was a little trying.

Don't show this video to your wife before you watch it yourself

This video is the follow up report in Neah Bay.
12-15-2011 03:36 PM
killarney_sailor As a high school teacher I had the luxury of long summer vacations if i was not doing summer school of some sort. Experience came with going longer distances. I remember my first cruise in our Hughes 22. Went from Whitby to the Thousand Islands in Lake Ontario. Got to Belleville and found out that you needed a few dock lines that were longer than 15', so a lot of it is just increasing the challenge step by step.

For cruisers on Lake Ontario, after you have done the standard trips (across the lake 20 to 50 miles depending on route, going to the Thousand Islands); the next step is to leave the lake and head, typically, toward the North Channel in Georgian Bay - this was tougher because you had to deal with the Welland Canal, long trips on Erie and Huron, and river currents against you between Erie and Huron. The next step was to go into the ocean. We went to a Nonsuch regatta on Martha's Vineyard (Erie Canal with mast down, Hell's Gate tides!!). Next was offshore, in our club there was a bit of a tradition of going to Bermuda for a summer trip (2 weeks to Bermuda, 2 weeks in Bermuda and 2 weeks back). At each stage there was a new challenge and more things to learn. Most people on Lake Ontario never leave it and are happy to do the same things each summer, but other options - in logical steps exist if you want them. I guess I was always building experience but very importantly you are building confidence to tackle something new.

Now we are aiming to go from Australia around South Africa and there are new challenges and experiences including longer passages in the Indian and Atlantic Oceans and the nasty weather from SW Indian Ocean around the Cape of Good Hope. I feel OK about it because I have met other challenges in the past that seemed just as big a step as these ones.
12-15-2011 03:18 PM
killarney_sailor
Hell's Gate is not that bad

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bene505 View Post
David,

Our boat is really close to NYC now, in Port Washington. However, the thought of going through Hells Gate without experienced crew is a bit daunting. (That and making sure I get the tides right.)

When/if the time comes, I plan to call you and Caleb (and maybe put out a general call on SN and AS).

Regards,
Brad
I have been through Hell's Gate several times and if you get the tides right it is one of the great anti-climaxes of our time. I went through when I screwed up the tide schedule and it still was not that bad - some overfalls and the like but not dangerous - slow as can be though. The joggers were passing us. I found the Cape Cod Canal to be much nastier and I think the two times I did that, I had the tides right.

Someone mentioned the name making it worst and I imagine this is part of it. One of the places we may stop next year is 'Hellville" in Mozambique. Named after a M. Hell and apparently not that bad.

More of a question than a comment - wasn't a major obstruction in Hell's Gate dynamited a number of years ago so that it is not nearly as nasty?
12-15-2011 01:44 PM
misfits
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bene505 View Post
I'm planning a trip to the canyon, 100 miles offshore. It will be the first time I'm really away from land. I plan to stay and fish for awhile and then sail back.

I'm also planning Montauk to Nantucket direct and return. Just need to find the time. So it's little increments for me.

Regards,
Brad

I've done the trip at least a dozens times over the years sport fishing. Problem I have with this is if I got to the canyon in a sailboat, I'd want to keep right on going

Bob
12-15-2011 01:04 PM
Capt Len Even more interesting is when the current suddenly increases big time. Until the boat catches up to the change, the rudder can actually works as in reverse.This will usually happen in a narrow channel between the rocks .ie ,Hidden basin,Roaring Hole, Surge N. Probably lots of other spots I haven"t yawed through yet. Hell with the waves, Rock are bad.
12-15-2011 08:56 AM
smurphny
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
No, we wait for the slack. Dent Rapids can run 11 knots. Just south of the narrow section is an area called the Devil's Hole. It develops into a large whirlpool. Folks have told me that they have seen logs in there, which would turn it into a very big blender.



This link is a larger image- both show my route through.

http://i.pbase.com/o6/34/378634/1/13...p.Yucultas.jpg

I have gone with the current in a couple of situations that I know well.
Something worth mentioning is that when you are sailing with the current, it is absolutely necessary to maintain headway through the water. If the wind is very light and your hull is going at the speed of the current, your rudder will be useless. I have had this happen a couple of times in some heavy current spots. It's disconcerting and very possibly dangerous when your rudder all of a sudden becomes nonfunctional and you cannot steer or keep the boat headed into waves.
12-15-2011 08:46 AM
smurphny
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bene505 View Post
David,

Our boat is really close to NYC now, in Port Washington. However, the thought of going through Hells Gate without experienced crew is a bit daunting. (That and making sure I get the tides right.)

When/if the time comes, I plan to call you and Caleb (and maybe put out a general call on SN and AS).

Regards,
Brad
I've been through the East River many times. It is no tremendous challenge and nothing to be afraid of. You do need to time it right so you're going with the tide. Other than that, the biggest worry is avoidance of water taxis and keeping your eyes open for flotsam/deadheads. There are plenty of places to wait for the tide on the Sound side, not so on the NYC side. Just behind the Statue of Liberty there is a small anchorage. If you're thinking of doing the Hudson: Coming down the Hudson the trip can be made from Nyack with the tide all the way to LIS. I've usually make it all the way from Haverstraw to Port Jeff in one day. From LIS going upriver, there is no way around bucking the tide going up unless you delay for about 3 hours in NY Harbor somewhere. I usually buck the tide to around the ?16th? St. Boat Basin, anchor there in the moorings (use a float), have a bite and wait for tide. Going out to Sandy Hook, you can ride the tide all the way and get the sails up. Sailing in and around NY Harbor is an iffy situation. The winds shift constantly because of the buildings. If there is wind, I always get sails up right after The E. River but they always require constant attention. In NY Harbor the current swells can be a factor as well as maneuvering in heavy traffic. With sails up, it complicates maneuvering. Having motor going and sails up definitely helps if you're bucking tide which runs 4+ knots just north of the Battery.
12-15-2011 12:38 AM
jackdale
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post

So I have a question for you. At 8 to 16 knots if the tide is going your way and you have a boat that can motor at 4 knots can you control the boat or do you have to wait for slack?
No, we wait for the slack. Dent Rapids can run 11 knots. Just south of the narrow section is an area called the Devil's Hole. It develops into a large whirlpool. Folks have told me that they have seen logs in there, which would turn it into a very big blender.



This link is a larger image- both show my route through.

http://i.pbase.com/o6/34/378634/1/13...p.Yucultas.jpg

I have gone with the current in a couple of situations that I know well.
12-14-2011 09:43 PM
CalebD
What is in a name?

Jack,
Mostly the name is intimidating. That section of the East River is what passes for a high current area in this region with currents up to 5 knots in confined channels with commercial traffic. The current is not nearly as high as some of your rapids/narrows have. Cape Cod Canal has stronger currents then the East River and up near the Bay of Fundy the currents also have a wild reputation.
If you look up the derivation of the name Hell Gate from the original Dutch name it does not mean anything like the English adopted moniker. It is, however the spot with the highest currents in the narrowest area (2-300 yeards wide) with the most commercial traffic within about a 100 mile radius. It is also a hell of a ride shooting down past Manhattan at nearly 10 knots (boat speed + current) while cars sit in traffic on the FDR drive.
I wonder if there is a Guiness Book of Records entry for the estuary with the highest regular tidal current flow? Fundy may hold the record for the greatest tidal range (~40') but are the current speeds equally large?
The Bene505 boat could probably go against the currents in the East River and still make it with that large diesel engine he has. It would just take a lot longer to transit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
Out of curiosity, what is so intimidating about Hell Gate? I have looked at the current tables and videos. Videos seldom show the true picture.

Out west I will go though a pass at 3 knots or less, although slack is prefered. Our worst is probably Skookumchuk Rapids at 16.5 knots; I have not been through there. Our busiest is Dodd Narrows which runs 8.5 knots; that I do at or near slack. It is about 75 meters wide.
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