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sailhog 02-14-2007 03:04 PM

first over-night sail...
 
Four months ago I bought a 27-year-old Catalina 30, and I have to say that it's been a life-changing experience. Anyway, I've been going out twice a week on protected waters and the open Atlantic, and I'd like to try an overnight sail on the open ocean later this spring. The plan is to wait for a good weather windown, and then sail from Hilton Head Island to Charleston. I'm confident that my boat is structurally sound, and I've got my reefing method down cold. I have a GPS with Chartplotter, but I'll need an EPIRB. My question to everyone is: does this sound like a reasonable jaunt for an old boat and a fairly new sailor? Any comments would be appreciated.

Tartan34C 02-14-2007 03:17 PM

Sounds like a nice sail. Are you going by yourself or do you have crew? Are you bringing an inflatable boat with you? Of course you canít tow a dinghy but having an inflatable is on my list as necessary.
All the best,
Robert Gainer

CoralReefer 02-14-2007 03:30 PM

My wife and I do this as much as we can as we live 30 mi from either Ponce Inlet or St Augustine Inlet. We have a 1990 26 Capri. We motor the ditch on fridays after work, spend the night inside and in the morning take off into the Atlantic, returning @ mid day on Sundays for the motor home. We either go north or south depending on the weather. Never had a problem and the nights on the ocean are incredible.

camaraderie 02-14-2007 03:32 PM

Absolutely doable! Prep well...wait for a good multi-day forcast and have fun!

paulk 02-14-2007 06:35 PM

Bring lots of flashlights, but remember to never shine them aft (into the helmsman's eyes). Also, a reference like Chapmans that shows various light configurations for different types of vessels, barges, tows, etc. will make figuring out what the "other guy" is doing a lot less nerve-wracking.

sailhog 02-14-2007 06:51 PM

All,
Thanks for the response... My enthusiasm for cruising sometimes outstrips my experience, and it's good to be able to have fellow sailors to call on who know what's realistic and safe. I'm hoping the weather window coincides with a full moon. Coralreefer, I'll expect a response in the event of a mayday call. Cam, I enjoy your posts. You know what the hell you're talking about. Robert, I'll be in an inflatable when my ship goes down. Paulk, the batteries are charging as I write.
sailhog

Valiente 02-15-2007 02:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sailhog
Four months ago I bought a 27-year-old Catalina 30, and I have to say that it's been a life-changing experience. Anyway, I've been going out twice a week on protected waters and the open Atlantic, and I'd like to try an overnight sail on the open ocean later this spring. The plan is to wait for a good weather windown, and then sail from Hilton Head Island to Charleston. I'm confident that my boat is structurally sound, and I've got my reefing method down cold. I have a GPS with Chartplotter, but I'll need an EPIRB. My question to everyone is: does this sound like a reasonable jaunt for an old boat and a fairly new sailor? Any comments would be appreciated.

If you are going over the horizon or transiting shipping lanes, I would consider a radar reflector or even AIS, which is getting cheap (sub $300 for a Chinese model and sub $700 for an English model). The reason for this is that while it can't warn you like radar when you are approaching land, and while it can't keep you safe from fishing boats or other rec sailors, it can warn you quite readily when something like a container ship is bearing down on you. Then it's up to you to take action...because you WILL be keeping a watch, right?

I would also make sure your nav lights are in order, and your flares are many and fresh. I would also rig jacklines and wear harness/PFD all the time on deck. Even in a relative calm, night decks can be wet with spray or dew and you can trip in the dark, of course.

Will you be alone? If so, file a sail plan with the Coast Guard. In fact, do so anyway. I do this regularly now and it's a good practice when leaving local waters.

Lastly, study your charts (paper). Familiarize yourself with the subtle affects of set and drift and other tidal-type effects. Your "offing" may be nowhere near where you think, and the nav table becomes an essential workplace at night when you are wondering whether a dim light is someone's nav light, a fairway buoy or a reef marker...Point being that the ocean at night isn't without information, but it's presented in a different and possibly confusing form.

Good luck. A Catalina 30 is a decent and easily driven coastal boat, but I hate that huge companionway! Bring decent dropboards in case you get pooped, and remember to clip on.

Gary M 02-15-2007 02:57 PM

Sounds like a great trip as I sit here buried in the white stuff. :)

I have one suggestion, it is always safer to do a trip with 3 crew so that there are always two on watch. I know 2 people can do it and I single hand a lot my self but if one goes over when the other is sleeping it is not good.

Unfortunately it happened to a couple of friends of mine. Safety harnesses used properly will of course greatly lessen the risk.

Have a Good One
Gary

sailingdog 02-15-2007 03:30 PM

Valiente-

AIS is not all that useful IMHO, unless you have a chartplotter or radar display that can read the AIS information and display it graphically on-screen. Most units that have AIS capability are relatively new, so getting AIS would generally require either a new chartplotter or new radar.

I'd second the idea of filing a float plan, either with the USCG or with family or friends.

You don't necessarily need to buy an EPIRB, as BoatUS/West Marine have an EPIRB rental program. However, if you're renting for more than a week a year, it makes sense to buy your own in many ways.

Jacklines, tethers, non-expired flares, knives, strobes and whistles on the safety harnesses of the PFDs are all good ideas. Also check any inflatable PFDs and their inflation equipment, and make sure you have spares CO2 cartridges and automatic release kits for any inflatable PFDs.

The idea of having some water-proof or water-resistant flashlights about the boat is great one. You should have some equipped with a red-lens that are clearly and easily recognized as such, even in the dark.

Some good spare clothes, preferably polar-fleece or other synthetics that stay relatively warm when wet are also a good idea to have on-board. I carry a small stash of polar-fleece blankets too. Good for when crew gets wet and needs to warm up.

Last thing... get a good, well-insulated, big vacuum flask or thermos bottle. The ones with the wide mouths and a pour top are excellent, as you can use them for either hot drinks or hot soups, and they're easier to clean out.

camaraderie 02-15-2007 04:27 PM

Sailhog...one additional thought. Get a copy of Steve Dodge's guide to SE US inlets. Really handy if you need to pull in some place along the way AND very useful charts/waypoints and pictures for use as you expand your coastal horizons!
http://www.whitesoundpress.com/detail%20seinlet.htm
http://www.whitesoundpress.com/Inlet...005Cover-m.gif
All...By the way...the cover is of St. Augustine inlet in FL and the foreground is the San Sebastian River and my favorite marina there...Oyster Creek. Tell Cap'n Walt that Camaraderie sent ya!


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