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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Everyone,

I would like a second opinion and any advice I can get. Here is the situation:

I have a 1984 Hunter 31 in Bremerton, WA and I am planning a trip through the Panama Canal and up to Charleston, SC. I have been advised to just truck it rather than sailing by a couple of members here. I'm wondering if that is a unanimous feeling, and what the problems would be, so that if possible I can take precautions, and make the trip safely.

My plan is to leave in early to mid September, and sail out of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and well away from the coast of Washington and Oregon to avoid the lee shore. Then turning back to the east and re-supplying in San Francisco Bay, most likely Emoryville, since it is a nice relatively straight shot in from the ocean, and I have friends in the east bay. Then heading out and south to repeat the process in San Diego where I will begin port hopping, staying at sea for no more than 2 to 4 days in near coastal water. passing through the Panama canal and Island hopping the eastern Caribbean up to the Dominican Republic where I'll take some time off and enjoy the beach followed by a longer hop to the florida keys, then more short sails up the atlantic coast.

I understand the difficulty of beating to weather in my boat, and I realize some of that will be essential, especially on the atlantic side, but the Pacific side should (according to Coast Pilot) be relatively calm (another difficulty I am foreseeing as a scheduling issue) I would be interested in what the group thinks my problems will be, and whether they can be overcome, and if so, how? I am particularly interested in issues that might tend to compromise safety.

Thank you all for your wisdom!
 

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big difference in "cruising in a hunter" and doing this.....it will not be a cruise, it will try you in ways you can not imagine.

you will need a qualified crew for the offshore portions, or take your chances on being run down.

The boat needs to be really well found, the pacific is not the place to discover that your pumps are erratic, or that hatches need resealing. Cold is a chore, wet is a chore....cold and wet is hell.

The boat will need to be qualified as ocean ready...rigging, mast, hull, spares, tankage, windows, etc, etc, - seaworthy??

Safety gear, and your willingness to get it done. Your insurance company may have the final say, if you owe money on the boat

Solo? Not the trip I would want to do as a first one, but then you can always run to shore...

All the best
 

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Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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Kd3 has some good advice. That is a long trip and not an easy one. I would do it with my Bristol if I had to but would imagine that it would not be whole lot of fun - and that is with a 20 ton boat that is very solidly-built and well-equipped. I think I would go for the trucking route instead. Might even be cheaper when you consider the cost of getting your boat ready and the cost of the trip including fixing the stuff that breaks on the way. If you want to do some bluewater (or semi-bluewater) exploring there are lots of opportunities once you are on the east coast.
 

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Bombay Explorer 44
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DAT NOT CRUISING MON!

That is a nasty delivery with lots of windward work unless you get really lucky.

Truck it - it will almost certainly be cheaper in the long run.
 

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As others have mentioned, the uphill slog from the canal to the Eastern Caribbean would be brutal in such a boat...

Truck it to the east coast, and go from there instead... Or, as a less costly alternative, sail down to San Diego, and truck it to Texas or wherever, and go from there...
 

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NO no no, truck the boat to Duluth Minnesota, launch, then either float down the Mississippi or take the Erie canal then onto Charleston, SC. Less brutal than the Pacific to Panama then across the Gulf. Either way one can get some open water sailing in yet still duck into a harbor when the weather turns nasty.
 

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NO no no, truck the boat to Duluth Minnesota, launch, then either float down the Mississippi or take the Erie canal then onto Charleston, SC. Less brutal than the Pacific to Panama then across the Gulf. Either way one can get some open water sailing in yet still duck into a harbor when the weather turns nasty.
I'd considered that as well, but such a plan doesn't work very well with a September departure... Not to mention, that option is gonna involve a LOT of motoring, although via the Erie canal, considerably less...

Sounds like he wants to get to the Eastern Caribbean, and Duluth is still a LONG way from there.. His original plan doesn't work very well with the seasons, either - he'd likely be clearing the canal into the winter trades, and only reaching the Lesser Antilles not all that long before the onset of hurricane season... If he wants to do the Caribbean and be back in Charleston within the same year, a departure from the Gulf or East coast would appear to be the only way to do it...
 

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Recently shipped Tayana Vancouver 42 from Texas to Olympia for $7200. Your boat would be a lot less than that because I don't think you will even be oversized. You might even get away with not having to use a semi, but a F350 or the like. Dont know.

I would not do that run in that boat. I had a very good friend that did hard calculations on his very serious cruiser (44 foot X... I can't remember now the make but a Tayana/Valiant type boat), to go from Vancouver BC to Ft Lauderdale. He came to the realization that it became cheaper to ship the boat at least for part of it. He figured the diesel, slippage, Panama fees, food, time, crew, and most importantly a realistic calculation on all the crap he would break.... it became cheaper to ship the boat. He sailed it to San DIego and shipped from there IIRC.

If it were me, I would ship the boat to Pensacola. From there, the runs around at least to the keys is pretty easy and fun. I have done it, incidentally. Use your time off to enjoy the trip. Lots of cool places there along the way. Stop in the Bahamas then make your run north.

THe exception to this advice is if you want to se all these islands and make a big adventure out of it. Still would not want to do it in that boat, but hey, its your decision.

Brian
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Ok, I'm pouting right now, and feeling like your all ganging up on me. HOWEVER, I realize that in reality you may very well be saving my life. I AM going to do this, its all about the adventure for me, but since everyone here with a lick of sense (not claiming that I do) says its a bad idea in this particular vessel, I'm going to take the advice of those I have asked for it even though I don't like it. I will reschedule the voyage, move up to a more blue-seaworthy vessel and allow this one to live out her days in brown water. Most likely in and around the Puget sound. :( Thank you all for your wisdom, tact, and suggestions!
 

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GOOD! Enjoy the journey!

Brad
s/v KIVALO

Ok, I'm pouting right now, and feeling like your all ganging up on me. HOWEVER, I realize that in reality you may very well be saving my life. I AM going to do this, its all about the adventure for me, but since everyone here with a lick of sense (not claiming that I do) says its a bad idea in this particular vessel, I'm going to take the advice of those I have asked for it even though I don't like it. I will reschedule the voyage, move up to a more blue-seaworthy vessel and allow this one to live out her days in brown water. Most likely in and around the Puget sound. :( Thank you all for your wisdom, tact, and suggestions!
 

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KNOT KNOWN
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Ya, it's not the trip it's the boat. That little Hunter isn't up for it. Getting from Panama to the eastern caribean Is done Via the bahamas. You sail up the Central American coast around Cuba, up to the key's the Bahamas, And then it's an 8 day passage to P.R. and then down the Chain, over to Columbia and back to Panama You'd be better off, if you want to get to the eastern carib. to truck it to S.C. and sail out and down to P.R. Trying to sail from Panama to the eastern caribean isn't just up wind, it's up big ocean swell's that set you back half the distance you cover every 20 seconds,. You would have to sail 200 miles to make good 50.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Unfortunately it may be a few more years before an opportunity like I have now comes my way again and I really want to do it. But for now I'll have to put it on hold and see if I can find a way to sell this one, and buy one that is better suited to serious open ocean passages. Naturally finances will always be a factor and there is no better teacher than experience, so I will be looking for a lower priced vessel, and perform as many repairs and upgrades as I can myself. I will also take advantage of the delay by taking more sailing classes. (no such thing as over qualified at sea)
 

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Best wishes on the dream, but you picked a tough one. If you're going to sell and buy another, is it possible to buy one on the East Coast, move aboard and fit her out for the rest of your journey?
 
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KNOT KNOWN
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Boat's are cheap in Fla. You could buy one ready to go for what it would cost you to ship the Hunter.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Yes, I'm looking there now. It means scrapping a big adventure, but it also might mean that another more enjoyable adventure will become available. Eventually, I would like to do a circumnavigation, but that's years, and many nautical miles off. One step at a time.
 

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Uhhh it seems here that it's not the type of boat as much as the size that is being criticized. I don't think a Pearson triton would be any more suitable for the trip according to the comments here, so if you are taking everyone's advice than don't try this trip till you have the money for a 55 footer... Is that right posters?

How much sailing have you done sloop? If you know you like it, and you have the time, start sailing down to San Fran now and see how it goes. If you are really into it once you experience the reality of the adventure, it seems to make a lot of sense to sell the hunter, fly to the east coast and buy one of the hundreds of older, cheap boats that need some love to get into ocean type seaworthy condition. I have heard that Annapolis has the best selection of offshore ready used boats btw. Besides, I have heard the canal is expensive and a real pita, not to mention a tad dangerous these days...

If you do decide to start doing offshore stuff, make sure your boat complies with the ISAF offshore category 1 rules.

And don't think that buying a slow full keeler is the only safe way to go outside of harbor, as some seem to think on this forum, a cape dory that doesn't match the ISAF rules may be less seaworthy than a hunter that does. And a Moore 24, skippered by a madman ex soldier, just won the transpac so...

Of course my offshore experience is nil, although i am slowly and constantly changing that fact, so take what I say for what it is, but I would hate to see some ones dreams put off because of a bunch of internet naysayers. Change your plans to avoid the western Caribbean passage sloop, but don't give up his opportunity if you are serious about it. Do your research, and get started now. I know two young people personally who had the dream and then found out the reality wasn't quite up to par for them...

And don't move permanently to the east coast man, the west coast is way nicer :D
 
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