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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I put this post in the BFS thread, then decided it deserves its own thread. I think it's pretty damn interesting - and will definitely spark some thought...if not wild-eyed, spittle-flying discussion. Great stuff.

Fire in the hole!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Below is a series of 6 videos that, I think, show the very stark reality of cruising (especially singlehanding). It's sure to raise some hackles and fire off some vitriol (which is always fun) - but it's one of the most informative, honest, unadulterated, unglamorous, and real accounts I've seen.

Many of you will be seriously rolling your eyes and getting annoyed in the first three minutes of the first vid...but you should really just buck up and watch all 6 - then feel free to erupt...or sympathize...or whatever...

DrakeParagon and the "NYC to Bermuda Nightmare" in his Westsail 42:







This series kind of covers the gamut of issues faced and lessons-learned. And despite it all, he made it.

Thoughts?
 

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Sunsets and Warm Beer....
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Cool, the 6th one finally works! I couldn't view it for the longest time... Crazy time for Drake. I'm curious to see the damage done.
 

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I've only made it through part 2 but it appears he may have missed that thing some sailors refer to as a "shakedown" cruise.

Curtis
 

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Sunsets and Warm Beer....
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I've only made it through part 2 but it appears he may have missed that thing some sailors refer to as a "shakedown" cruise.

Curtis
Read the link above, it appears the guy in the disabled boat doesn't care... If I was his crew I'd kick him in the nuts for sure!
 

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Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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Very interesting read

A very interesting read, thanks for posting. I think this should be required reading for all those people who post here saying that they have been sailing twice and have a $10,000 budget to buy a bluewater boat to sail around the world.

I have a great deal of sympathy for Drake. I think he found himself doing something that was more than he was prepared for. He did his best with the tow of the other boat - so good on him.

Some specific comments based on my experience and his:
  • Fatigue is a terrible thing and will reduce your mental and physical capabilities enormously. At one point I was wondering why he was making a video telling us he was exhausted. He should have been sleeping.
  • He seemed inexperienced for the voyage he took. For example, not really having figured out when to reef (and importantly, when to shake out the reef and make some miles.) Also, did not occur to him that you will be deploying the drogue when the conditions really suck - that is what it is for.
  • He did not seem to have tested the boat and his knowledge base enough. For example, vane steering requires practice and possible adjustments to the installation based on trials - you don't do this on the way. Also no ditch bag and little things like no stoppers in the jib sheets. Can't imagine why the compression strut for the mast would bend - that is certainly scary.
  • He had too much sail up the first time it got nasty and then over-reacted by keeping a double reef in when it appeared that the winds might have been 10 knots. He made a comment about not wanting to reef at night, you have got to be able to do it, no matter the conditions - is he always going to have a single-reef, what happens when he needs the second one?
  • He seemed too willing to fire up the engine. It is a sailboat and you only use the engine for specific purposes, not general progress on an offshore passage.
  • I got the impression that a lot of things he knew came from books and not from experience. I think having read too many of the standard books and thinking that gives you experience is dangerous.
  • NYC-Bermuda is not a casual undertaking, especially single-handed and especially since it seemed he lacked experience. Get a crew to Bermuda. If he wants the single-handed experience the next stage from Bermuda to the Virgins (I am assuming that is the target) would make much more sense - better weather, much less traffic.

I don't want to be too critical of the guy, we have all been there and realize later that we could do better - hell, I am still there, always learning. He deserves the credit for doing it, while many people only talk about it. I hope his cruising experiences have continued and been pleasant.

I have major problems with the owner of the other boat, Cha-Cha. A boat that size floats on a small (or larger) sea of money. If he wants to go out in such an ill-prepared boat that is his business. He should not be taking along crew who might not know enough about cruising to realize that she is seriously taking her life in her hands.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
That is great. Thanks for sharing. Real world. Do you think Drake is still sailing?
As far as I've seen - yes. He does a lot of big sailing in a lot of nice places on a lot of nice boats. It's not like he's a complete newb.

Check out his YouTube channel.

(PS - I like the part where he admits his real fear in some pretty scary conditions, and I like that you can see him really mulling over what it will mean to answer that Pan-Pan. It's really great stuff. From a joyous dinner on night one to 6 more days of exhausted hell. His boat sure did right by him.)
 

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Back to just the Jon boat
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I made it through it all.

He apparently has sailed that boat to the Caribbean and as far south as Venezuela and as far north as Nova Scotia.

With all those miles he has trouble reefing in 35 MPH winds?

And he hove to and then put out a parachute off the stern?! :eek:

Maybe I misunderstood.

Glad he is OK though.
 

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That should be a video collection of what happens when you don't plan well and caca happens. He may have sailed a lot of miles but OMG. The list of what goes wrong is long.
Jim
 

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Wow. Just finished all of the vids. Great post. I agree with killarney that all "I want to sell everything and move my wife and seven children aboard a sailboat" should be directed to this post.
 

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Conditions were as to be expected. Preparation was not. The most distracting for me was the blue masking tape around the companionway!! :)

Paragon may not have been the best ship at sea, but clearly wasn't the worst and seems to have made it. No vid of landfall?

Edit: I should have given kudos to Drake for coming to Cha Cha's rescue. Good on ya!!
 

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Life is a wild ride!
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Wow! That was one hell of a trip! I think the biggest thing I took from his experience was just how fatigued he was near the end. I could be wrong but as he was towing Cha Cha, the vessel was veering off to Paragon's port side. Upon the arrival of Titan 14, Drake reported that as he was towing Cha Cha the boat was veering to starboard. If I got that wrong, I apologize. If I'm right, poor Drake was so exhausted that not only did he NOT catch that but he looked as though he could have fallen asleep where he sat.

So, now I'm curious as to what techniques single-handers use for watchkeeping and sleep management?

I was surprised that he didn't have a ditch bag, although I assume he made one in a hurry, and seemed short on spares. His opening video, judging from his enthusiasm, the weather forecasts, and his emphasis on the chartplotter led me to think he had planned his trip carefully. Unfortunately, everything that actually happenned on his trip was apparently not planned for.

These videos really validate the my belief that if you forgot it, Mother Nature will remind you of it. It was a shame that Drakes boat got damaged while he was trying to help out Cha Cha. A+ for effort in my book.

On a side note, the head injury during the storm that the skipper of Cha Cha suffered highlites the wisdom of wearing a helmet during heavy weather regardless of how uncool one may look. This was discussed in another thread but I wanted to point that out since that was my first thought when I heard the head injury report over the VHF.
 

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First impressions of Drake...while he assumed that he was prepared for what he was undertaking, he was not prepared for things that could go wrong. Installing your own equipment is great and gives you a good deal of knowledge on how things operate. But for goodness sake test it out before you need to depend on it. I'm a noobe and even I know that the waters off of NY are major shipping lanes, plan on being well past them before you're too sleep deprived to put in a reef or run out a droge.

As for Cha-Cha... to be given a boat of that size and value and then to put it before the well being of your life and crew, well I just hope I never hear a pan-pan from him.

I hope one day to be in a position to make a trip like that. But before I do I will have practiced with all of the equipment I'll need. I'll have been out with someone who knows what to do and when it needs to be done, I'll start with small steps and small sails, LFS as apposed to BFS and work my way up.
 

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I'm very new at this and one thing is for sure - not in the too distant future, I too want to get a boat out there and do what Drake does.

The sailing part that is - not the "How the hell not to properly prepare yourself for the sailing" part.

This is a very good lesson in what not to do.

I must say though - initially it was pretty annoying watching this guy, but later on, I kind of got a bit of respect for him.

Although he was dead tired, he still did the right thing - good for him.


Ok, now the most important part - Who's with me getting the donations going to help Cha-Cha. You know, struggling sailor - down on his luck - that kind of thing........or do we do that kind of thing only after a hurricane - ChrisnKate ??? :D


Sorry - I couldn't help myself....:D
 

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I have major problems with the owner of the other boat, Cha-Cha. A boat that size floats on a small (or larger) sea of money. If he wants to go out in such an ill-prepared boat that is his business. He should not be taking along crew who might not know enough about cruising to realize that she is seriously taking her life in her hands.
Yup, that's the major lesson to be taken away from this one, alright... You're far better off all alone out there, than having to share the ocean with a clown like CHA-CHA's skipper, and the possibility of getting caught up in another's incompetence...(grin)

too bad this goes down as another example of no good deed going unpunished... Two months ago, I departed Hampton at approximately the same time as the Caribbean 1500 fleet, and the possibility of getting drawn into another boat's drama was most definitely on my mind, and was a major factor in sailing due East out of the Chesapeake initially, in an effort to separate ourselves from the herd as they headed down the beach to cross the Stream closer to Hatteras...

No emergency tiller of some sort on a boat with hydraulic steering? Wow... And, he shows up in Bermuda on a POS 52-footer with no engine, no steering, blown-out sails, and claiming "he has no money for anything"??? Bermuda is a wonderfully hospitable place, but I doubt you'd get very far arriving in such a boat, then claiming to be destitute... (grin)
 

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You really are funny!!
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Drake posts here... He also posted on Sailboat owners that after he made it to bermuda he was forced to limp back to the US for repairs. His bowsprit and other stuff up front was all FUBARED... But he met a lady and will be taking her along, so good things did happen in the end...
He seemed like a pretty cool personality in the vids, hopefully he reads this and chimes in. Gotta love the Drake?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Drake posts here... He also posted on Sailboat owners that after he made it to bermuda he was forced to limp back to the US for repairs. His bowsprit and other stuff up front was all FUBARED... But he met a lady and will be taking her along, so good things did happen in the end...
I hope he comes on at some point. I'll definitely give him a fist bump. These are great videos.

As for the exhaustion - the most I've done straight thus far is 3 days - but with a crew of 6 (all hand-steering though in a race, no AP). His puffy-eyed zombie look in video six is definitely familiar. I really didn't find it hard to keep going while we were doing it - but I was completely spent afterward. It surprised me.

I can't imagine 7 days singlehanding in stuff like that. Of course he made some less than perfect decisions. Scary stuff. But he made good ones when they counted.
 
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