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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
:) We bought an Albin Vega 27' and fixed it up.
Motor not running, we will put an outboard. No idea how to sail but do not want to give up boat traveling to Costa Rica.
What do you guys think about just motoring the boat to Coate Rica?
How long would it take?
Any experience sailing from Alsaka to Central America?
Any advice?
 

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Big Chicken Baby
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Motoring to Costa Rica on an outboard? Probably cheaper to ship it and fly in. What will you do when you run out of fuel offshore?
Don't know how to sail yet? Bad idea to learn in the open ocean, especially on a boat that is not functioning properly.

A sailboat is designed to sail. A sailboat that can not sail is not fit for puropose.

Learn to sail locally. Take as many courses as you possibly can and get experience in as many weather conditions as you possibly can. Get your boat in tip top shape, THEN think about cruising to South America.

You do want to do this as responsibly and safely as possible, don't you? Even if you hug the coast as much as possible, you aren't just endangering your life if you go out ill prepared. You are endangering the lives of your crew as well as anyone you would call upon to aid you if you get into trouble- be they Coasties or fellow sailors.

I'm a newbie sailor and the more I learn, the more I realize- I have an awful lot to learn. Good luck.
 

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Telstar 28
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I'd point out that an outboard, as an auxiliary engine, on a boat not designed for it, is generally not a great idea, and usually not very effective, especially in heavy weather.

I'd also point out that the West Coast of North America is a nasty lee shore and requires you to go fairly far off shore to do it safely. It has very few ports that are accessible in heavy weather and can be very, very treacherous. While the Albin Vega 27 is a very solid and reliable boat, if properly cared for and maintained, a minimum of sailing experience is really a requirement for a voyage of this magnitude.

I'd second Mimsy's suggestion that you take courses locally and get as much experience in...working your way up to making a trip down the coast...rather than just jumping into it and probably ending up a statistic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
West Coast Sailing Advice

If sailor takes all precaution and goes over safety precedures for every possible scenario over the next week and brings basically the safety equipment like harnesses and brings life raft and food and water supply, water purifier, a good main sail and a back-up mainsail and a storm sail, a gps unit with computer tracking, maps/ charts of the whole West coast. I have some seatime I was working on a fishing boat and doing nightwatch on it.
For sailng, although I read about it, I might take a few lessons. Tighten the rigging, two new batteries (one deep-cycle). I have a sextant and books. I want to head south and stop at every town with the idea of doing it in one season.
What would you advise as far as weather openings.
Rather than just saying we should not do it, what would a plan for this trip look like as far as optimal time to go and where to stop.
Has anyone done such a journey?
How much more unsafe is the ocean compared to a freeway in NYC in an old car in good shape?
 

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If sailor takes all precaution and goes over safety precedures for every possible scenario over the next week and brings basically the safety equipment like harnesses and brings life raft and food and water supply, water purifier, a good main sail and a back-up mainsail and a storm sail, a gps unit with computer tracking, maps/ charts of the whole West coast. I have some seatime I was working on a fishing boat and doing nightwatch on it.
For sailng, although I read about it, I might take a few lessons. Tighten the rigging, two new batteries (one deep-cycle). I have a sextant and books. I want to head south and stop at every town with the idea of doing it in one season.
Reading about it isn't the same as doing it. You need to know it well enough that when the nasty weather sets in or a problem occurs, you can deal with it without hesitation. Most problems only get worse if there is a delay in dealing or resolving them.
What would you advise as far as weather openings.
Depends on how far you're planning on going in a single leg... the longer the intended distance, the narrower the window will be.
Rather than just saying we should not do it, what would a plan for this trip look like as far as optimal time to go and where to stop.
Has anyone done such a journey?
Again, this depends a lot on the boat, the captain, the crew, the weather, the time of year, etc. Yes, it has been done before. Yes, people have also died trying it.
How much more unsafe is the ocean compared to a freeway in NYC in an old car in good shape?
The ocean is probably safer, but in many ways less forgiving. If your car breaks down, you won't drown or sink... If your boat has a problem, you very well may. If nothing goes wrong, the ocean is safer... but if you make a mistake, the mistake is far more likely to kill you. For instance, if you fall off the boat and the remaining crew isn't skilled enough to get back to you and recover a MOB....you're likely dead.
 

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AlbinSailor—

Take a look at the past few years...

Ronnie Simpson bought a boat, tried to learn everything he could in a very short period of time, and left on a circumnavigation...only to have to abandon ship a short while later. BTW, he never even got the boat, which was 47 years old or so... surveyed after buying it—but could afford to buy HD camera equipment to document his voyage.

Heather Neill bought a boat, spent a long time working on upgrading it to be the ultimate Flicka, but didn't spend any time working on her boat's captain... set off on a circumnavigation... turned back a day later and hasn't been to sea since AFAIK.

Donna Lange was a grandmother when she learned to sail. She worked her way up by day sailing, weekending, coastal cruising, making short passages, then finally doing her solo circumnavigation. She got the boat and herself ready... both are necessary.

No one is saying that you can't do this... just that you would be wise to work your way up to doing so.
 

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AlbinSailor,

Nearly any vessel can be sailed nearly anywhere, but that would be by someone with the skill to do it. From your post I get the idea you don't understand the magnitude of what you suggest.

Unless you are already running for you life. Take the lessons, and then work your way forward to sailing south. It's not a simple matter of twisting a few turnbuckles, and reading a GPS........i2f
 

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Hey Listers,

I think this guy is pimping us!!! If not, then he's seriously on crack!
 

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:) We bought an Albin Vega 27' and fixed it up.
Motor not running, we will put an outboard. No idea how to sail but do not want to give up boat traveling to Costa Rica.
What do you guys think about just motoring the boat to Coate Rica?
How long would it take?
Any experience sailing from Alsaka to Central America?
Any advice?
I did it the other way around in 2006. Where exactly in Alaska are you now? Alaska is a big place.
 

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Rather than set out for CR immediately, why don't you just plan a trip to Ketchikan and back. If that goes well, stage 2 could be a passage to Puget Sound. You probably won't get much sailing experience on the Inside Passage, but you will learn if your motor is any good and whether making the long trip in a small boat with only an outboard is a good thing to do. My guess is you'll abandon the idea of motoring to CR before you get to Prince Rupert.

If you do get that far, I would strongly suggest that before heading offshore you learn to sail the boat. Motoring all the way to CR is not a reasonable thing to do. If you don't want to learn to sail, why'd you buy a sailboat?

Good luck.
 

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Courtney the Dancer
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I'll second BillyR's advice above, but if you are determined to try this you could probably get to Puget Sound on the outboard if you carry enough fuel for the longest leg, and watch the weather like your life depended on it. Once there, I would strongly recommend that before heading offshore you fix/replace the engine and go over all the systems, including rigging and sails on the boat, and learn to sail. Unlike breaking down in a car, when you are offshore in bad weather and something breaks you can't just park it and walk to the bus station. Think about it.
 

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:) We bought an Albin Vega 27' and fixed it up.
Motor not running, we will put an outboard. No idea how to sail but do not want to give up boat traveling to Costa Rica.
What do you guys think about just motoring the boat to Coate Rica?
How long would it take?
Any experience sailing from Alsaka to Central America?
Any advice?
Define "fixed it up" if that doesn't include a running motor.
What's the plan to keep the batteries charged?
How fast does the outboard push the boat?
How much fuel does it burn an hour at that speed?
How much usable fuel does it hold?
Use google earth and measure a line from where you are in Alaska to where you want to go to costa rica. Now you have your distance.
Do the math. What's your range? How many refuel stops between here and there? How much time to get from here to there?
 

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I almost forgot. Make sure you read up on how to navigate the few spots around Vancouver Island where the current creates "rapids". It wouldn't be fun in your boat when the water's moving briskly.
 

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Passage from Alaska to CR

I'm not sure if you're still reading replies to your post, but most folks are warning you not to do this passage relying on your outboard. The reality is that even the best engine is not as reliable as a good set of sails and some skills.

You seem to be concerned about not knowing how to sail-- well it's not that hard to learn the basics -and you will always be learning after that.

Like you, I was a complete newbie to sailing a little over a year ago (though with lots of ocean and big lake experience in a sea-kayak)- I bought a 1982 PSC Flicka (after years of dreaming about it) took a one week course at the Chapman school in the spring of '08 and then sailed my boat from Florida to Vermont over a 5 week period last June/July '08. My crew for most of the passage (my 23 year old son) had never sailed.

We both learned as we cruised (mostly on the ICW) -- and I was sure glad that I had a good boat and good sails and "some" skills - since the bulk of my problems were with the engine (inboard diesel).

I don't know much about your boat or sailing from AK to Costa Rica, but assume you can run the inside passage most of the way to Vancouver or the San Juans- and get to know the boat as well as work on developing skills before you need to run too far offshore.
So my suggestion- don't give up- but take an ASA or equivalent keel boat cruising course before you set off. Then take it one day at time and see how you and the boat hold up to the challenges.

I know that the class gave me the confidence to try sailing rather than shipping my boat north, and I am sure glad that I did it. Sailing (and learning my way around a diesel engine) has become a big part of my life (and my wife's) and we are planning some long passages (blue-water) in the near future. Meanwhile, we get out there and sail in all sorts of weather to build skills-- and have fun.

Hope this helps-
Roy V
 

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royvt,

Who knows where the original poster is? I can tell you this from first hand experience. There is no way possible to compare a trip up the ICW to sailing down the west coast.

Did you read the part about the rapids? Have you sailed the west coast in either direction? To advise the person to take on this trip with what his post explains about his experience, and intentions is just not right.

I encourage people to go all the time, but not this one. It would take luck every single moment for them to arrive safe in Costa Rica, and no one has that kind of luck, because they sure have absolutely no clue what they are in for.........i2f
 

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reply to Imagine2frolic

I could see how you might misinterpret my post as encouragement to make the passage, but
just to be clear I am absolutely not encouraging this person to sail from Alaska to Costa Rica, just to learn how to sail. The idea of relying on an outboard for any passage seemed far-fetched enough to signal that the poster had little idea about what he was getting into.

I have traveled the Inside Passage in AK and BC (on ferries and fishing boats), and know that even those relatively protected waters pose real dangers. And I would never compare an open water West Coast passage to the ICW--

Again, I was just trying to encourage the poster to take a course or two and learn to sail--and then to see where their skills and boat could take them - even if it was just day sailing on relatively calm days.

royv
 
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