Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 23-08-2008, 14:29   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Longboat Key FL
Posts: 12
NEW TO FORUM BUT NEED HELP!

I am new to this forum. My name is Kate, and I've said with my dad since I was little. We've only done short trips, and he's in a Hallberg I think that's how you spell it, I didn't pay much attention to the boat. I just helped when he told me to.

I just need some advice.

My dad left a week and a half ago from South Florida with his new girlfriend. They said they were going through the Panama Canal, and then to Hawaii. He's 65 and never done anything like this, but I am not nearly as knowlegeable about distance sailing as I am short day sails.

His girlfriend convinced him this would be a good idea.

But, I can't reach him, and I'm worried sick! Does anyone know how long it takes to get from Marco Island or Key West to the Panama Canal? His cell phone doesn't pick up. I have sent text after text, and they go through, and dont get sent back, but the phone doesn't ring at all when I call, or go to voice mail. My dad is responsible, but he's not a sailing expert on long distances.

He took his computer, but I dont know if he's reading my emails, because he's not responding.

He has no satellite, and I begged him to get one.

The boat's name is My Kate. Has anyone seen it? He's got Naples, FL on the back of it too.

It isn't that old, and I know it's a relatively safe boat, but I think it was stupid of him to set off on this course.

If he doesn't call me from Panama, how long does it take to get to Hawaii for him? I'm going to have a heart attack! I'm 27 and too young for that. Will his cell phone work in Panama, and his computer? He has a chip in it from At and t that's designed to work anywhere. But, it OBVIOUSLY isn't! But, that's what he told me.

Can someone please answer! He has 2 grandchildren who are even worried!

Thank you!

Kate from Florida
__________________

__________________
Kate from Longboat Key FL
HALLBERG BABY is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-08-2008, 14:37   #2
Moderator Emeritus
 
David M's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: San Francisco Bay
Boat: research vessel
Posts: 10,152
Hi Kate. I'm sorry to hear about your distress. Do you have any more information about the type of communications he has onboard? Unless he has some sort of satellite based communications system aboard, he is out of contact until he gets close to land, unless he is a Ham operator and can reach a shore based station with a message to let you know he is okay.

If he is a responsible person, which it sounds like he is, then he will contact you to let everyone know he is okay. If he does not reach you after what you think is a reasonable amount of time then I would contact the US Coast Guard and let them know of the situation. They will let you know of the options.

He won't get through Panama without being recorded by the Panamanian authorities as having done so.

I hope everything turns out okay for everyone involved.
__________________

__________________
David

Life begins where land ends.
David M is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-08-2008, 14:42   #3
Registered User
 
Ragnar's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 21
Reaching your dad

I am not positive but I believe the ATT cards you are referring to are only good in the US and I KNOW they only work on their own towers not the standard cell phone towers.
Panama is probably a great place for cell service but again I don't know about the ATT card. I am sure there is enough hot spots in the region to allow access at some point.
What kind of research did he do before took off on this venture?
From what I have HEARD no first hand experience here the crossing to Hawaii take around three to four weeks. BUT I am a newbie here looking for info before I find a way to set out so...
Best of luck and keep us posted
__________________
WHEN YOU ARE ONE STEP AHEAD OF THE CROWD YOU ARE A GENIUS /WHEN YOU ARE TWO STEPS AHEAD OF THE CROWD YOU ARE A CRACKPOT -- SHLOMO RISKIN
Ragnar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-08-2008, 14:45   #4
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Chesapeake Region and Maine
Boat: 42' Bob Perry sloop
Posts: 4,038
Images: 4
Kate,

I believe your dad may be in a Hallberg....Hallberg-Rassey. That's a good boat, very well built. What length is it, do you know? What color hull? Sails?

There are several "maritime mobile" nets which operate each day, and which talk to boats all over the East Coast and the Caribbean. There are also nets which operate in the area your dad may be sailing.

One good way to make contact with these nets is thru a fellow ham who lives in the Keys, near Marathon Shores. His name is Chuck (Charles Grey). His email is nd7k at amsat dot org

Among other things, Chuck keeps the database of all boats checking into the Waterway Net, and he's in touch with other ham nets as well.

I talk with him most every morning, and will mention your case to him. You may want to send him a note via email, with all the information you have about the boat, its equipment, communications gear, and planned itinerary.

Bill
WA6CCA
__________________
btrayfors is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-08-2008, 14:45   #5
CF Adviser
 
Intentional Drifter's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Pac NW
Boat: Boatless, for now, Cat enthusiast
Posts: 1,283
Hi, Kate --

Perhaps your dad's boat is a Hallberg-Rassy? If so, they are excellent, very seaworthy, strong boats.

Did you tell you which route he was taking? There are basically two routes and both of them have their tricky parts. Both are pretty long, too. 10 days would be a quick trip, even going directly, which cruisers almost never do! There's a lot to see in between FL and the canal.

Don't be too distraught over the cell phone -- you have to be both close to land and close to a cell tower. Plus, whatever phone company you use must also be one that is recognized by the tower. Unless coming into or out of a port, being too close to land is something to be avoided.

Don't let the distance scare you. Just a lot of day sails, strung together.

However, this is a great example of why sat phones are so nice to have.

Good luck, I'm sure he'll let you know as soon as he can.

David's right about the Coast Guard. They do lots of patrols all in that area.

ID
__________________
Intentional Drifter

Observations are gold; hypotheses, silver; and conclusions, bronze.

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.--Ben Franklin

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.--Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Intentional Drifter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-08-2008, 14:56   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Longboat Key FL
Posts: 12
Oh thank all of you so much.

My dad is a really good guy, and he doesn't have alzheimers, but he can be the absent minded man on occasion. As far as I know, he has NO communication device except his cell phone and his computer. The boat he bought was used, and it is a Hallberg Rassey. That's the name of it! He had new sails put on last month, and I am guessing they are white. He told me about it, but didn't tell me if they had any markings. The boat we had when i was younger was 40 ft or a bit longer, but I KNOW this one is smaller. The boat isn't brand new, but when Charlie hit a few years ago, it did suffer damage, and he had to have some extensive work done, and stupidly, I dont know what.

How long does it take to get to Panama Canal? The boat was probably loaded with his girlfriend's wardrobe of shoes, I think she changes shoes like her underwear. Sorry, side note, but I am just worried about him.

Those at and t cards dont work out of the US? Oh my gosh, I just hope his cell does work.

What kind of places could he stop? How often? I am just scared for him. He's had one heart attack, and he thinks sailing makes him calmer. But, you have to understand I'm very concerned for him. I thank all of you, and if ANYONE has any more comments, PLEASE POST.
__________________
Kate from Longboat Key FL
HALLBERG BABY is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-08-2008, 14:57   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Longboat Key FL
Posts: 12
I think he's getting a satellite phone for Christmas! I'll personally buy it!
__________________
Kate from Longboat Key FL
HALLBERG BABY is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-08-2008, 14:58   #8
cruiser

Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 4,525
Quote:
Originally Posted by HALLBERG BABY View Post
I think he's getting a satellite phone for Christmas! I'll personally buy it!
ha ha ha!

Glad to see you have your sense of humor.

Seriously, don't get too worried. The boat should take good care of your dad and he may very well be out of cell phone contact for a few weeks.

He'll turn up at the other end...
__________________
ssullivan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-08-2008, 15:11   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Longboat Key FL
Posts: 12
Thank you! I am really sorry for the ignorance on this topic. I know you probably have much more important questions to answer, but I have a few more stupid ones!

What are the optional routes to Panama Canal? My dad told me NOTHING before he left, only that his girlfriend wanted to go to Hawaii. I ofcourse can only focus that it is hurricane season, and he was insane to leave right now.

What kind of places are available for stopping? His girlfriend loves to shop. Maybe he can call me there.

But, with the coast guard, dont they only patrol waters off the coastline of the US?

Even if he gets to the Panama canal and doesn't contact me, how could I contact the Panamanians? I love my dad and it has been 10 days. I know he has pictures of the boat on his computer, but he took it with him. You dont think the computer is getting my messages? What about my texts on his cell? They aren't getting sent back to me, but the phone clearly isn't working, because whenI call it, it doesn't go to voice mail or anything, it just hangs up.

Personal note, my dad's girlfriend dislikes me very much, I hope she hasn't blocked my calls from his phone. But he should still call me.

I feel better knowing it is day sailing, but what happens at night? Do they anchor somewhere? Does he sail all night? I know the girlfriend isn't going to do any work.

What is a reasonable amount of time for someone to get to the panama canal from Key West or South Florida?

Thank you all!

Kate in Longboat
__________________
Kate from Longboat Key FL
HALLBERG BABY is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-08-2008, 15:15   #10
CF Adviser
Moderator Emeritus
 
TaoJones's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Montrose, Colorado
Posts: 9,850
Welcome to the Forum, Kate. You're among friends here.

I'm sorry to read of your distress, and I know how the imagination can be one's worst enemy in the absence of solid information, but I agree with those who are counseling that the vessel your father is sailing is one of the best on the water. Also, the lack of communication is undoubtedly due to the vessel's distance from land.

This assumes that your father and his companion have already reached, and departed from, the Keys. I'm certain that if they were still in the Keys, you would receive a reply to your attempts to reach them.

The passage from the Keys to the Canal Zone, if they opt for a direct route, should not take more than a week or ten days, but if you don't know when they left the Keys that doesn't help much. Similarly, when they reach the Canal, they could well get stuck in Colon waiting for up to a couple of weeks just to transit.

Once through the Canal, many sailors choose to fix anything they can on their vessels before they depart from Panama City bound for destinations thousands of miles away in the Pacific. If your father does likewise, he could be delayed there for awhile, but when he finally leaves Panama for Hawai'i, the passage shouldn't take more than four or five weeks, and in a Hallberg-Rassey of any length probably much less.

It is possible that an attempt to cross from Florida to Panama this time of year can be adversely affected by the weather. If that happens, they may choose to run to the nearest hurricane hole to ride it out, and that could completely disrupt even the best-laid plans.

You may not have heard the adage that "The boat can take more than you can," but it especially applies to a vessel such as the one your father owns. I'm sure he chose it because of its rock-solid reputation, and that speaks well for his judgment. I know it's difficult, but try to be patient. If they take care of their ship, it will take care of them.

TaoJones
__________________
"Your vision becomes clear only when you look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks within, awakens."
Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961)
TaoJones is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-08-2008, 15:18   #11
Senior Cruiser
 
maxingout's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Fort Pierce, Phoenix
Boat: Privilege 39 Catamaran, Exit Only
Posts: 2,606
If I was really worried, I would get him an Iridium Phone. Our Iridium costs us $36 per month, and then $1.50 per minute. I always loved that phone when sailing offshore. I had direct dial anywhere in the world.

I rarely used the Iridium, but it was there if I needed it. I used it once a month to pay my credit card bill when offshore, and I called family to let them know we were fine when sailing across an ocean.

You can also set up Iridium to send and recieve emails. When he gets to Panama, send him an Iridium phone. When he doesn't need it any longer, you can sell it on E-bay.
__________________
Dave -Sailing Vessel Exit Only

http://SailingUNI.com
http://maxingout.com
http://PositiveThinkingSailor.com
maxingout is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-08-2008, 15:28   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Longboat Key FL
Posts: 12
Where do I get one of those phones? What price should I be paying, I tend to get ripped off if I dont know the regular retail, someone would charge me more and I'd have no idea.

Do you know the estimated time it would take to get to Panama Canal?
__________________
Kate from Longboat Key FL
HALLBERG BABY is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-08-2008, 15:33   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Longboat Key FL
Posts: 12
Tao, Thank you!

I am really thanking all of you. I just worry about him. He's my only parent left, and I guess that makes me stress.

Do you think his computer will at least work in Colon?

Where is Colon? Why do they get held up there?

Once again, not trying to be stupid, but I do like learning all this, and when I get ahold of my dad, he's going to be getting an EAR FULL! I'm going to make him join this list an apologize to everyone! I think they left Key West before Fay hit. But, I dont have an exact date, and I'm sure it's whenever his girlfriend told him to leave.

Kate
__________________
Kate from Longboat Key FL
HALLBERG BABY is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-08-2008, 15:43   #14
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Chesapeake Region and Maine
Boat: 42' Bob Perry sloop
Posts: 4,038
Images: 4
Kate,

You've asked several times how long it takes to go to the Panama Canal from, e.g., Key West.

The answer is hard to pin down without knowing a lot more about your dad, his abilities, his boat, his crew, etc.

There are two basic routes:

(1) across the Gulf of Mexico to near Yucatan, then down the Central American coast to Panama; or

(2) around the east end of Cuba, through the Windward Passage, then direct to Panama.

Neither of these routes is fast or easy.

With route #1, you'd have to contend with the Gulf Stream which runs contrary to the direction you want to go...you'd have to stay north of it until Yucatan, then hug the coast going south to Panama. A long ways, and not very fast.

With route #2 you've got to get east to the Windward Passage, fighting contrary winds and currents much of the way. Then, once through the Windward Passage you have a long offshore trip to Panama in what can be very strong winds.

Neither is easy, nor quick, even for a well-found, well-crewed, vessel.

Until you know more about your dad's route and circumstances, however, I'd not worry much. My guess is that with his "shopping-oriented" girlfriend aboard, he'd opt for the Gulf of Mexico route, with planned stops (and shops) all along the way. In this fashion, it could take MONTHS, not days or weeks to reach Panama....if at all.

Unless he has very deep pockets his girlfriend might just shop him dry, leave the boat, and he'd then be free to consider new and possibly better options :-)

Bill
__________________
btrayfors is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-08-2008, 16:05   #15
Registered User
 
stevensc's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Thibodaux, Louisiana
Boat: Monk 36 Trawler
Posts: 679
I think you should call the US embassy in Panama, Have as much information on hand about him and his GF: Passport and other ID number, boat name, brand of boat and so on and calmly explain the situation so they can get you to the right person or department. They can probably tell you how to find out if or when he signs up to cross the canal, there may be quite a wait before crossing the canal, maybe his GF may get bored and catch a flight back before then.. You may be able to get his Credit card company to help, from the sounds of his GF it might be getting lots of use whenever they do hit land.
As mentioned earlier if he has no sat phone or long range communications equipment it may be some while before he gets your messages or is able to respond. I don't have the number of the embassy but you can probably find it on Google if not call the US State Department.
Good luck please keep us informed.
Steve
__________________

__________________
stevensc is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
new to forum eyschulman Meets & Greets 3 15-06-2008 16:54
New to the forum dblue Meets & Greets 2 29-03-2008 12:34
New to the Forum sevorg Meets & Greets 3 09-04-2007 23:11
New to Forum Neptunus_106 Meets & Greets 6 12-05-2006 13:18



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 15:58.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.