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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Had planned to sail from Marblehead to Provincetown this weekend (original plan was to leave Boston) Wanted to leave Friday morning but small craft advisory in effect through Friday night. Here is the forecast: SE winds 10-15kts with gusts up to 20kts. Seas 4 to 6 feet. Patchy fog. Showers likely with a chance of thunderstorms. Visibility 1 NM or less.

I planned on sailing a Cal33 solo. I have sailed in heavy seas and stormy conditions before, but as part of a crew. The wind direction has been North East the last couple of days so I am guessing this is causing the sea conditions, so I am hoping the interval between the waves won't be too bad. The wind will be right on my nose, but I have sailed solo in stronger winds before. My main concern is the fog and visibility. Don't have radar, but a chart plotter/gps.

I am trying to decide whether I should head out. I know its my decision, but hoping can get some info here to help me think it through. I want to get more experience in rough weather conditions. Also if I wait to Saturday the wind is predicted to die down to 5 kts.

Thanks for any input.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I'd ask myself the question: If I didn't have a schedule, would I still want to go, or would I wait ? If the answer is that I would wait, then I would wait.

Good point. But its not so much the schedule as the loss of wind on Saturday. Also, I want to get more experience solo'ing in rough conditions. Maybe I will head out and if the sea state and weather is too much for me I will turn around and come back in.

Also, if I do go, the wind will be right on my nose and I will have to do some tacking, would it be better to keep in Mass Bay or tack in the other direction out to more open water, or will it not make a difference?
 

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As the Brits are fond of saying, “there is no such thing as bad weather, only improper clothing”. By NorCal standards, it doesn’t look too terribly bad, with the possible exception of the thunderstorms. I don’t understand the low visibility thing - are they expecting a lot of rain on Friday? What are the predicted wave periods? If they are at 6 seconds plus, then a bit “bouncy” but still doable (how good is your autohelm?). I don’t have any local knowledge of Mass Bay but I’m assuming starboard is the preferred tack. I’m with you in regards to Saturday. Once that front passes through on Friday, and high fills in, it’s better to be in a harbor sipping a cold one rather than bobbing around dreaming of one. Win lose or draw – let us know next week on what you did.
 

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bell ringer
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Thanks for any input.
I thought of it also, but your forecast is out of date. It isn't going to be all that rough out, but unless you want to motor all the way back change your plans.
 

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Here is the forecast: SE winds 10-15kts with gusts up to 20kts. Seas 4 to 6 feet. Patchy fog. Showers likely with a chance of thunderstorms. Visibility 1 NM or less.
Am i missing something? That's rough??? or normal for this area?
 

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Personally I'd go for it, 4'-6' aren't bad long as you don't get seasick, seeing how you solo. But don't listen to me, I'm crazy...
Stick to the Mass Bay side so if you decide to bag it, you can duck in somewhere.
 

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Go for it, have your safety gear lined up, some easy to eat/reheat meals ready to go. You will know with in an hour or two, if you are up to the up hill beat...continue or you can turn back and reset for another day.

All the best, look forward to an update
 

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Your course is almost directly into the wind and seas. The average wave period right now is pretty short 3.8 seconds. Height is 2.3 ft. but the seas will be building. It will be wet and cold. and if you're going to be tacking the mileage goes from 47 or so up into the 60 nm range, so now it's at least a 12 hour day.

Can you do it, of course. I just don't see the training and experience value. You'll have plenty of suffering and pain in your sailing life, that you don't have to go looking for it.

Also, you'll be crossing approach lanes for Boston, if visibility drops to 1 mile or less, without radar or ais, will you be able to monitor the VHF and plot traffic and manage the helm.

Current buoy data NDBC - Station 44013

Sunday looks like the day..for this trip....or sat night in to Sunday
 

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40 miles beating windward in a 33 ft boat after days of Easterlies in the rain isn't my idea of fun.

You'll be tacking to Portugal then back to Situate:) In fact, I'll bet you end up in Situate.

How about this, to get some "experience" go but head to Glousta haba instead. You'll be quartering to the SE wind. You'll be cold, wet, but you won't be bashing, and it won't take all the daylight you've got to get there. Have dinner tied up to one of those restaurants on Rocky neck.
 

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Oops, me bad. Just looked at Google Maps and didn’t appreciate how far north Marblehead is. Lots of beating into short, steep slop. You do it and you will have a BFS tale to tell. To put it into perspective, MrsB and I are going to Tiburon this weekend. And just to make it interesting and kill time while we wait for the tide to fill in at TYC, we are going to do two laps of the Bay. You da man.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
40 miles beating windward in a 33 ft boat after days of Easterlies in the rain isn't my idea of fun.

You'll be tacking to Portugal then back to Situate:) In fact, I'll bet you end up in Situate.

How about this, to get some "experience" go but head to Glousta haba instead. You'll be quartering to the SE wind. You'll be cold, wet, but you won't be bashing, and it won't take all the daylight you've got to get there. Have dinner tied up to one of those restaurants on Rocky neck.

Gloucester is my alternate plan. Everyone thanks for the tips. I will let you know what I do.
 

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Slayer, you're proposing this trip with a sailing club boat? A vessel with relatively limited equipment, and one with which you probably have limited personal experience? No auto pilot, jacklines, EPIRB or liferaft? Such a trip solo, in the best of weather I would think a little iffy, but in rougher conditions, a long stretch. Maybe I have this wrong...
 

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MH to P'Town

On a good day with the winds in the right direction and light seas, depending on which side of MH you are (Main Harbor or Salem Side), it's about 8 h at 5.5-6 kts avg.

Done the trip twice, once with my wife and another person, and the other time as part of the Beringer Bowl Overnignt Race. On the return leg from the first trip, we headed back in 6-8 ft seas on the forward beam. Winds were 15kts. We motored sailed at 4.5 kts After 2 h of constant counter-steering, we had to switch off every 3 nm because it was tiring. We decided to bag it after the first two hours and headed to Scituate (22 nm away).

Even if you have 3-4 ft seas, if they are on the nose, you have at least 8 h of this if you can average 5.5 kts. Solo that will be exhausting. and a lot of pounding.

Can it be done, sure. Will you be wiped out physical at the end, 99.9% sure. Will be fun, maybe. If you decide to sail and the wind is from the SE, you'll probably end up sailing almost 80 nm with the tacks.

If you do end up going, I'd stay towards Boston. If it gets to be too much, you can head towards Boston or Scituate.
 

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Sort of like the question of "should we reef"? If your asking the question the answer is "yes". If you have to ask "should I go" I think the answer should default to "no". Just my humble opinion. Fwiw.
 

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Sounds like you should wait it out. The winds are predicted to shift around to the NW on Sunday.
 

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sailing out of Salem I've made the PT trip many times, if you go this weekend you better plan on a 2-3 knot VMG speed to come back this weekend
 

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Have done this trip too many times to count and would note.
In the boat you're in ride will be miserable. Although not as shallow as Buzzards Bay sections of Mass Bay generate short square wave chop. Also get reflected waves and confused seas.
In a PSC34 wife and I had to take turns to stay sharp on the helm. Solo with out a good AP or windvane lousy trip.
In a T37 with 4 crew 2 got sick.
Traffic in/out Boston and the C.C. Canal can be significant Without AIS need to keep a sharp eye at all times.
Usual prevailing is light SW winds. Easy reach back and forth in right window.
Fun trip but do it in appropriate window. End of June or Sept/Oct. best as winds die in August.
 
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