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I'd rather be sailing
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Discussion Starter #1
Well, we had planned to leave tomorrow for St. Augustine but now we're leaving Wednesday for Ft. Pierce and Vero Beach. So I don't repeat it, info at our blog: s/v Pelican - Following A Dream. We're hoping to go direct, weather permitting. Anyone have any opinions on the weather along our route? It looks like it may start out a little bumpy on Wednesday, but then become too calm for sailing for the rest of the trip...
 

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Tartan 27' owner
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5,242 Posts
Chris,
I am guessing that Cam will check the weather for you before and en route as will I. He seems to be the best to keep in touch with though. Sailflow.com has some good forecasts and charts that can be useful for planning - if you are not already using their website (Jon Eisenberg uses it).
I am posting to concur with what others have said about offshore vs. inshore passages. In my limited offshore experience (400 nm. from Tortola to TCI on a 51' Bene with just the owner and me on board) it takes a couple of days to settle down and appreciate the rhythm of the watches and the sun, moon and planets. The toughest part for me was dealing with the loss of the horizon at night and not being able to see the weather and waves. I began to enjoy waiting for the moon and sun to rise and then the ocean waves became a welcome and familiar sight.
Newbies to offshore work like myself get an unfounded sense of security by being able to see the shore. Sailing at night near a coast is by far more dangerous then being in deep water though.
I am guessing but I believe that you have radar with a proximity alarm, chart plotter (and paper charts), sat-phone or equivalent, redundant GPS's, harnesses, tethers and jack lines and a life raft. All of this equipment you will hopefully not need but it was nice for me to think that all of this stuff was on our boat as we crossed over ocean waters more then a mile deep.
My real point is though that it does take some time for some people to begin to relax in this new environment. Knowing that you have the safety equipment (that you should) is only half the battle - the other half is just that and learning to relax and enjoy it takes a day or two.
I was rather sad about leaving my friends boat at Turks & Caicos after we had spent so much (really only 4 days/3 nights) time together in our little community. The real rush was going back to Miami airport and the crush of people and the usual stultifying delays on my way back to NYC.
Enjoy and be patient. I hope you have some light weather for this passage as it should make it easier for all to relax quicker. I often found the sound of the diesel chugging away had a soporific (sleep inducing) effect on me - but I live in NYC and am used to this kind of noise. When the wind is light the engine helps to keep the motion of the boat more stable - but you already knew that.
Wishing you all a safe passage.
Caleb D
 

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I'd rather be sailing
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Discussion Starter #4
Caleb - I have all the equipment you mentioned except for a satphone, but we do have an SSB + 2 EPIRBs + 1 PLB + a SPOT, 3 GPSs, all the charts, liferaft (which is why we've been in Charleston for almost 3 weeks - getting a liferaft), jacklines, harnesses, radar, stocked ditch bag, etc. We usually navigate via chartplotter while keeping track of our location once per hour on a chart. I haven't done much offshore at all, but I know I hate being close to shore and dealing with watching for traffic, buoys, fish traps, etc. We went about 30 miles off a couple of times on our way down here and I enjoyed being out of sight of land. I'm hoping we get a bit of breeze (but not too much) so we can have a nice sail down, but the forecast says it'll be light. We'll see. By the way, for weather I primarily use passageweather.com and a little NWS (but they tend to be somewhat inaccurate). I take a peek at sailflow.com every so often. One of these days I'm going to get a Pactor so I can download GRIBs while underway. Cam - As always, thanks for watching out for us.. no cell phone service where we're going and you don't have an SSB anymore, so I'll see what you have to say when we arrive. I'll drop a note on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning to confirm our departure. As usual, we'll be running the SPOT so people can track our progress. Chris
 

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Wandering Aimlessly
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22,037 Posts
Should be a two night hop for you. Once to Florida, I generally run about 4-5 miles off the coast. I've had no problems with any traffic along there. Harbortown Marina at Fort Pierce has Valtech fuel and a 10% BoatUs discount. Also on slips if you get in too late to run up to Vero. There's a Publix and CVS nearby as well.

There's a cut through the South Jetty coming out of Charleston Harbor that I use. Once through, I adjust my course (usually to St Augustine or Jax).
 

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moderate?
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Chris....you may just get some signals as you run along the coast so I will send any updates via your e-mail...if you get them fine...if not, just delete when you get in. Will be fun to track you on the spot again. Snowing here now but I think you will escape that! Will take a thorough look at the Wx data this evening again. BTW...Vasco is in Vero Muni till next week.
 

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I'd rather be sailing
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Discussion Starter #7
We're actually planning on going direct, offshore, from Charleston. At our farthest point we'll be about 70-80nm off the coast. I'm thinking we'll be slightly out of cell range there :) I tried to find a place in Charleston that sells Sat phones today but can't seem to find anyone. Oh well...
 

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Abysmally Stupid
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Hey Chris,

I read your blog about Kim & George on s/v Indecent.

We know Kim & George so if you see them again say hello to them from Jorgen & Maria (s/v querencia) from Bay Point...

/Jorgen
 

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You could try texting on your cell phone. You can often send a text even when the cell phone signal is way too weak for a phone conversation. If you type in a text message and hit send, the phone will keep trying to send it until it detects a signal. I've sent texts out about 20 miles from shore.

Scott
Gemini Catamaran Split Decision
 

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Charleston South Cut

There's a cut through the South Jetty coming out of Charleston Harbor that I use. Once through, I adjust my course (usually to St Augustine or Jax).
Do NOT use the cut through the South Jetty unless Wx conditions are perfect. Even, as I once was local to C-town, I wouldn't myself run through there. Just go around.
 

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moderate?
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Labatt...hope this is not too late for you. My analysis:

1. Don't get started too early tomorrow...after noon things will ease down and you should have smooth sailing.
2. You should NOT set a rhumb line course for West Palm/Fr. Pierce. The gulf stream is about 60 miles out to sea near Fernandina....but less than 20 miles out around Canaveral. To miss the stream....Suggest you set a rhumb line for say 10-15 miles east of Jacksonville then adjust course line to about 10 miles off of Canaveral then finally a straight line for the Ft. Pierce buoy.
3. You may expect NW winds to start and then gradually backing till your headed by light SW winds late in the trip...so heading IN SHORE towards the northern FL coast will give you a better wind angle as the trip goes on.
4. Winds may go light and variable late as the high stalls over you....but otherwise you should have a fine sail with no rough spots if you don't push your start till the wind begins to lighten tomorrow. (Actually no real problem even then but with family aboard I'm thinking more about a smooth trip for your start than speed!)

If you get the chance...let us know when you are about to depart so we can start following on spot. Will send e-mail if I see any changes of significance.
 

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I'd rather be sailing
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Discussion Starter #13
Actually, I'm right with you. I was just about to post that we were not going to leave until around noon or one due to the wind, bumps and cold. We're also not going to go direct due to the stream... I already had adjusted my angle to head in towards northern FL, but staying clear of the numerous fish traps, etc. I've attached links to a Google Earth KML and a GPX file to this post with my route if you'd like to peruse it. Since I really don't feel like getting my web server to understand that these should be downloaded, just right click on the link and "Save" it to your computer...

KML
GPX
 

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moderate?
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Good...glad we both see the same things. Just looked at your routing. I think you should come WELL inshore to Jacksonville area after georgiafish point and stay there as you point to Canaveral to take advantage of the wind backing and this will give you the sea room to head more southeast without running into the stream...and you may also get a counter current lift closer to shore. You're also closer to shore and inlets and help should something go wrong. Just a thought.
Anyway...have a safe trip and we'll be following along!
 

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I'd rather be sailing
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Discussion Starter #15
Slight change - nothing wrong, but it's cold and we're going to wait until tomorrow when it warms up a few degrees... a little more info on our blog.
 

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Tartan 37C
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I just checked in on Labatt's Spot Tracking page and see they seem to have made a hard turn to starboard and are now heading due west towards Hilton Head/Beaufort.

Sure hope everything's okay, as the weather forecast still looks good....

(Edit: Now looks like just North of West towards Fripp Inlet/Huntington Island)
 

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Yeah...buoy data has wind out of the SW with 17kts and no gusts over 20. Waves are 3-4. Air temp 50. Probably feels like 25 knots on a beat.
Nothing tough...will send e-mail and see if he gets it soon. Looks like he is headed right for Port Royal sound and Hawg country. He is making steady progress...so hopefully just a minor issue.
Link to SPOT : SPOT Shared Page
 

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Quick update...their SPOT reports have been spotty since 6pm tonight and that was worrisome but I just got a couple of new positions so it appears like they are ok and still making progress. The spot batteries may need recharging.

From the latest headings it appears as if they may be heading to the Savannah river inlet instead of Port Royal. Port Royal would be difficult to enter at night even though a good inlet...so maybe they are headed to Savannah to make entrance at daylight. Good plan.

I have sent a couple of E-mail and the Hawg's contact numbers to them. (Hawg stepped right up with an offer of any and all assistance if needed!! )
I think they are too far out (20 miles or so) from land to receive blackberry e-mail right now....but I will post if I hear from them or if anything changes.
They aren't past port royal yet and could still take a hard right to head to the sea buoy...so don't go to sleep yet little piggy! :D
 

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Seems to have come back WSW again? I'm not sure how correct my wx info..SW at 16k?
 
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