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Old 20-09-2009, 12:03   #1
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First Passage Turns into Many Firsts

After spending our weekends sailing rented boats around the bay here we decided to buy our own boat.
We looked for a few months and found a 30ft usyachts in good shape with a need for some sweat equity, at the right price. 43 feet tall 10.3 feet wide and drawing a slightly too much for the fl keys 5.5 feet .
Only problem it was 120 miles from home.
We secured a slip almost half way between where it was and home and had planned a long day sail ending in out new slip before sun set.
That was the plan
We will call it a great learning experience.
Started out great, good weather forcast but the wind from the E S/E was killing our east ward progress.
We spent too long getting ready at the mooring and didnt exit the marina channel till 11:00 am. That set the day for our series of firsts.

First time we could not run for shore or the mooring when the weather got ugly. Really problay not much of a storm to folks with more experience, 4-5 minutes of driving rain and some 20-25 gusts. And 2-3 foot seas, It was a little excitingto us , I am wondering if after more experience I would still be white nuckled on the wheel in similar conditions. But we come though ok, I had the jib furled and the main reefed before it actualy hit us.

First time sailing at night, sure we have been out till sunset and come back in as the sunset or shorthly after. Didnt make our destination in time and had to do the last 4-5 miles in the dark.
In hind sight (always 20/20) We should have anchored before sun set and burned the last 5 miles in the morning.

FIrst time doing a tight channel in the dark, snake creek chanel in islamorada, if you ever go through it hug those markers, which brings us to our next first.

FIrst time running aground, we missed a marker and came to hault in 5 feet of water, in the dark. Lucky for us the tide was rising rapidly (and that the bottom was only soft sand) and was able to spin the boat and get it off the sand bar.
The second time though we never saw less then 7.6 feet, used the 3millon candle light to spot themarkers and hugged them as close as we could .

First time calling a draw bridge, tidal currents running under a bridge like that are really really strong. They can move the boat the boat the last .25 miles before the bridge is up. Even if you try to hold the boat in reverse

But after all that we made our slip, It was 10:15 about 4 hours later then we had planned, had to take a 100$ taxi ride back to our car. (and I was happy to have the oppertunity to pay it) And this morning we woke up and both still wanted to take the boat out. We didnt becasue the weather report was sketchy and we think we used up all our luck for this weekend.
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Old 20-09-2009, 12:59   #2
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b-rad,

Did the advice from the forum help? or lead you astray?
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Old 20-09-2009, 13:03   #3
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You can not lay claim to the name Captain Run a Muck. I have had that name since 1971. Running aground seems to be my trade mark. I ran aground at a marina south of Tampa Bay. The entrance was a S curve. I ran for the markers and ran aground. The tide there was only 6 inches. I have also been becalmed under a draw bridge during rush hour traffic. Did I fail to mention that the motor stopped working approaching the bridge with the sails up? How about going up and down the waves on Delaware Bay without any forward motion. I decided to anchor for the night and proceed in the morning. It was one of the worse summer storms and I decided to solo sail that day. What a beautiful day sailing. I can not wait to get back on the water. Due to a fractured talis I had to retire. My dog of 3 months has been on my sailboat more than I have over the past 8 years. I love the sound of the breeze.

John
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Old 20-09-2009, 14:01   #4
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So many memories. My first trip too was collecting the boat I'd just bought.
A couple of evenings planning the route generally, in more detail, and then marking up chart and a guide sheet for all the headings etc with a couple of weeks in hand.
Found another newbie sailor to come along with me. I was prepared to go solo if necessary, that's how green I was.
All went very well, some twenty odd miles from Emsworth to Southampton. No wind so motored all the way.
UNTILL I got to the bit where I hadn't completed the detail plan (due to me forgetting I'd been disturbed before completion).
Ran aground just off the Radar Traffic Control Office. Checked the charts. Shingle, evenish. So pleased I bought a Cat.
Tide went out and came back in and off we went again, now deep dark night but plenty of shore lights, just never done this before but chart and eyeball got us to the boked marina OK. Mooring was a nightmare. Strong tidal current, small gaps, very stiff leg slewing, in-expertise. But we didn't hit anyone, honest, or the pontoon.
Snugged her all down and set off for supper.
No major issues since, just two gearbox failures (now out to go to repairers) and a hundred hours with no instruction as yet.
I'm lucky we have Southampton Water and the Solent to play in. Fairly protected waters and kindly shores. Not that I've been aground en-route since.
The learning curve is still very steep looking up, but it's also a some way down too.
This site a few good books got my frame of mind right. Just learning to be extra cautious (and lucky) has helped too.
Still keen, still have the Med as our objective. Just a few boat problems to sort. And some heavy weather tactics to practice.
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Old 20-09-2009, 16:47   #5
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Sounds like a great trip and the experience bag got a deposit.

In regards the storm. You reefed early and penetrated a thunderstorm. Knowing that it wasn't multiple embedded storms or a rapidly growing low pressure system would have been comforting. Having sea room and taking a compass bearing helps before visibility drops.

Good job.
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Old 20-09-2009, 18:37   #6
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And this morning we woke up and both still wanted to take the boat out. .
Well then it was a great experience!!!!

Congratulations for doing so much and learning so much!

It certainly was intense

Now about that late start.... you would have been in at sunset if you left at 6am.... OK, ok, 'nuf said.


All the best for Stage 2


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Old 21-09-2009, 21:08   #7
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b-rad,

Did the advice from the forum help? or lead you astray?

I think it helped. The advice combined with everything I have read lurking for years. I made it, that has to mean something.
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Old 22-09-2009, 01:34   #8
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Running aground first time out in a new boat is a time honoured tradition.

Join the club!
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Old 23-09-2009, 04:50   #9
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I went aground my first time on the boat when I sailed it up from where I bought it. I posted story of the trip and it seems that running aground your first time isn't that uncommon. been almost 5 months since and I'm finally starting to get over it (wonder if that's a good thing).
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Old 23-09-2009, 06:43   #10
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. been almost 5 months since and I'm finally starting to get over it (wonder if that's a good thing).
Of course its a good thing! Most early groundings are no groundings, just a little touch of the bottom. Soon when you hit terra firma you will just switch on the engine Full Speed Ahead while screaming at the top of your lungs: "Get outta the way! I'm not moving!"


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Old 23-09-2009, 12:15   #11
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Thanks for sharing!
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Old 23-09-2009, 13:52   #12
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Most early groundings are no groundings, just a little touch of the bottom. "


Yeah I wouldn't call that a grounding. But I was grounded for 6 hours and depth meter read 0 for 3 of them.
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Old 23-09-2009, 13:57   #13
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Leaving out a lot of the details, during our first trip we drug anchor (at 2 am, of course!) in a crowded anchorage when a pretty fierce little storm came up (unexpected, of course), skittering around like bumper cars with the lights off, doing some small damage to another boat, as well as our own. Thank goodness fiberglass is easy to fix.

We nonetheless felt awful about it, but learned some important lessons in anchoring technique. When talking with another cruiser the next day, he was great and told me, "you've got a long way to go to catch up with us; on our first trip, we sank the boat! (a very nice, brand new 48' Hunter)"

As Dan said, the experience bag got a good deposit!

Keep it up!

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Old 23-09-2009, 18:20   #14
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But I was grounded for 6 hours and depth meter read 0 for 3 of them.
Yeah, just a gentle rub.


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Old 25-09-2009, 13:04   #15
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only true sailors run aground or you cannot be a true sailor without running aground lol---good ye got it out of yer system afore ye got tooo much farther lol......gooood work and sail more LOL.....sailing aqt night is not bad is fun---thunderstorms are not fun--they are busy busy busy....always check yopur weather before going out and if in fla--there WILL be tboomers at night until october---so i have been advised ...i hope early oct not late lol--
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