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  #11  
Old 05-01-2014
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Re: Multi-Day Offshores: The Elephant In The Salon

It is tiring and a pain in the a** cooking, peeing, sleeping and all the other small tasks you need to do when the boat is healed over and slamming over waves. And it can be exhausting and frustrating when you are in those conditions for longer than a day. Thank God for the restorative magic of sleep! Which is why getting proper rest is critical. I can sleep through the bow pounding through and falling off of waves, but I find it tough when the stern is getting whipped sideways and you are being tossed back and forth. That is when you want to wedge yourself into a corner some place.

And when I am being pelted by rain on watch in the cold early morning hours and start to think about how much this sucks, I just remember I am out sailing in the middle of the ocean and then smile, because I ain't in the office or on the couch!
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  #12  
Old 05-01-2014
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Re: Multi-Day Offshores: The Elephant In The Salon

I think Slayer is hitting the main issue.

It's not the work, the anxiety, or anything like that. It's more about comfort.
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  #13  
Old 05-01-2014
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Re: Multi-Day Offshores: The Elephant In The Salon

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Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post

I don't think most people understand this fact that sailing off-shore is, many times, actually very hard work. It's not that fun. And I think this may be a serious factor in why we see so many rescues for cruising boats. They just get too tired, scared, and beat up to want to continue WORKING that hard.

I still love being out there - but I'm under no illusion that it's easy and relaxing...at least if you're doing it right.

What do you guys think?
I would agree for the most part, and think a significant percentage of those doing one of the Fall Rallies to Paradise for the first time, for instance, haven't a clue what they might be in for :-) However, I think a multi-day coastal passage along the East coast of 600 miles, is generally more work than the passage out to Bermuda, due to the greater likelihood of dealing with other traffic, fishing vessels, and so on...

My take on this, however, will be something that many owners of more modern production boats - or others fond of repeating the mantra "It's not about the boat, but more about the sailor..." - will not want to hear :-) Namely, that the comfort/fatigue level on most offshore trips can have a LOT to do with the boat, its inherent characteristics and overall construction quality...

I find today's lighter boats with flatter bottoms and generally sharper motion at sea considerably more tiring to sail offshore... Now, maybe that's just me, but that has unquestionably been my experience, and is the single biggest factor in distinguishing between different degrees of the amount of "work" to be done on passage. In addition, one of my gripes about some of today's 'performance cruising' boats, is how narrow the range of wind speeds can be to keeping them in the groove, and the need to either keep reefing, or shaking out a reef, with even modest variations in windspeed. That can be one of the most annoying, and exhausting, things to have to continuously deal with on a passage...

Someone has already mentioned the Noise Factor, another aspect which I think is often hugely underrated. Sorry, but many of today's production yachts can produce considerably more creaks and groans than most of the stick-built boats of yesteryear, and this is one area where quality in construction can really pay off. Anything that can be a mere 'annoyance' when sailing shorter hops along the coast - minor deck leaks, a creaking bulkhead, and so on - can quickly translate into a source of exhaustion, and concern, on a longer offshore passage. I've always thought the primary purpose of a shakedown cruise, is to try to attempt to eliminate any sources of annoyance or irritation in your boat. Trust me, during the course a longer passage, those things can morph into sources of major discomfort, which ultimately serves to increase exhaustion, or the making of poor decisions... I'll always believe, for example, that sort of cascade effect was at the root of the RULE 62 tragedy, those people had gotten to the point where they desperately wanted to get Off the Damn Boat, nothing else mattered...

Speaking of noise, one of the best arguments in favor of a windvane for passagemaking, is the fact that they're silent... Sweet dreams, if you think you're gonna get a nice restful sleep in that aft cabin centerline queen bed, with an autopilot sawing away just below your noggin... :-)

More than anything else, however, I'd say it the interiors of many of today's boats that ratchet up the fatigue level offshore, relative to many more traditional interiors... If I were to lament one single thing that has essentially disappeared from modern yachts, it is the pilot berth... Anyone who has ever made a passage on a yacht with a proper pilot berth will understand what I mean, the difference they can make in comfort and the ability of the off watch to get a proper and undisturbed sleep, with little but the sound of the hull rushing through the water so close at hand, is impossible to overstate...

Most comfortable rest I've ever had on a boat offshore, was aboard the Sequin 52 FAIRWEATHER... that thing had a pair of pilot berths that were freakin' awesome, climbing up into one of them and drawing the curtain closed, it was like entering the Kingdom of Heaven... :-) And with the incredible build quality from Lyman-Morse, that boat was absolutely silent, the only thing you heard was the wind and water...





The port pilot berth can be seen in this pic from Billy Black... What, you mean to say your pilot berth does not contain a 27" flat screen TV? :-)


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Last edited by JonEisberg; 05-01-2014 at 10:08 AM.
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  #14  
Old 05-01-2014
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Re: Multi-Day Offshores: The Elephant In The Salon

Maybe it's just me but I have found that rigging noise, both in sailing and when I was commercial fishing, raises the level of tension. When the wind is singing in the rigging, I believe it can actually cause fatigue.
+1 on a windvane of some sort, absolutely essential.
Books, crosswords, guitar are all good for the boredom factor.
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  #15  
Old 05-01-2014
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Re: Multi-Day Offshores: The Elephant In The Salon

my boat doesnt heel as much as roll a little in quartering seas.... but it isnt a bad feeling..i have been able to cook and sleep..... i dont use earplugs as i enjoy hearing the sounds of my boat going thru water......and the sounds of speeed in a barge are awesome.. yes i leave my berth to go above to know the boat speeed and wind speeed and such.. i also want to hear the sounds of breakage whil eunderway. yes stuff breaks. broke my taff runing at 8.4 kts, only .1 under max goten by a formosa ct hardin..lol while reefed mizzen an d jib in 60 kt chubasco..i found my self laughing and making wise ass remarks...hell. when i got there, the old preventer was hanging over water and we were prevented thru the hawse.. so if it broke we'd-a been hurtin..lol but it was fun.. and fixable...
there was a notoriety of late with families who sail off shore without experience or ......

i think ATTITUDE, as well as flexibility and teamwork are most important to keep and maintain during the hard parts....make the trip more of a pleasure despite the hard parts, whereas bullyng the family or crew into submission and making folks ill and iller is not the way to go
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  #16  
Old 05-01-2014
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Re: Multi-Day Offshores: The Elephant In The Salon

I started sailing offshore at a young age, so I never had any doubt at all it can be exhausting, rough, dangerous, and scary. Is there someone out there preaching otherwise?
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  #17  
Old 05-01-2014
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Re: Multi-Day Offshores: The Elephant In The Salon

We just finished a 3 day passage from GA to NC all offshore. We saw a little of everything in the wind ( light, on the nose, on the stern and 30+), no seas to big seas and lots of traffic. We sailed 42 hours and motored 12 hours. We had a crew of 3. Our watch schedule was 3 on, 3 on standby, 3 off. Everyone got at least 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep a day. It was a very relaxing sail until we got past Frying Pan Shoals when wind and waves got a little crazy.
I agree on the noise level. Need earplugs. Sea berths are a must for good rest. At least one hot meal a day. Does the body and mind good. If it is too rough in the boat we either slowed it down or heave-too to let the cook make meals; all meals. Boat comfort level and ride will depend on the boat. Boats that heel excessively (over 20 degrees) will be exhausting on long passages. Boats that bash into on coming waves and boats that roll excessively on a following seas will also be tiring if not dangerous to crew and boat.
We had a great passage and everyone was rested when got to Beaufort. We went exploring, shopping and made dinner that day.
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  #18  
Old 05-01-2014
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Re: Multi-Day Offshores: The Elephant In The Salon

oh yeah i forgot to add that a proper auto pile it is a must definitely. gotta have one.. NOT the wheel thingie that is so hard to manage and maintain. something burly.
ii have simrad on quadrant. dont need no steenkeen windvane with this baby...it does all, and only sips electricity.
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  #19  
Old 05-01-2014
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Re: Multi-Day Offshores: The Elephant In The Salon

Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
Maintaining a watch 24/7 for several days on end, especially if you have a relatively small crew - and ESPECIALLY if there is bad weather or hazards around - is exhausting. Throw in some sea sickness - and it can be freakin' brutal.
Exactly. That's one reason why I think that when newbies come on here with romantic notions about sailing around the world, we do them no favors at all if we white-wash it. Despite the fact that a lot of people will accuse you of being a "naysayer" or trying to "destroy their dreams," I think the newbies are much better served by hearing the cold, hard truth.

That truth being that it is not all idyllic sunsets and rum punches. Some times it is back-breaking work and uncomfortable right through to the bones.

The good news is that the freedom, independence, wonderful experiences, wonderful people, and, yes, even the idyllic sunsets and rum punches, serve to more than make up for the hard work and discomfort.
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  #20  
Old 05-01-2014
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Re: Multi-Day Offshores: The Elephant In The Salon

An offshore passage is not The Love Boat. You need to be prepared mentally and physically for what is coming. It takes time to adjust to watches, and you will probably "hit the wall" at some point. Things that are done easily during the day take 5x as long as night. Cruisers have the opportunity to avoid bad weather while racers tend to race unless it is dangerous. I agree that sleep, nutrition and hydration are essential.
Yes, Smack, there is the dream of cruising and the reality. Sometimes reality bites, sometimes it is spectacular!
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