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Old 20-09-2006, 16:16   #1
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CUT THE DOCK LINES OR LEAVE IT TIED UP?

Cutting dock lines can sometimes be harder than it seems, although everything appears to be ready....it is not. You can prep the crew, go over your charts, do your drills, check the sails, do all maintanence, but for some reason you just can't make the boat cooperate! In Jan of "06" a friend and I had the idea to purchase a blue water boat, although in the past few days we have read a thread on this form about a Morgan being a blue water boat or coastal cruiser. I have pretty much decided our Morgan just wants to stay tied to the dock. After the intial purchase in St. Pete, FL. We had the boat hauled, new bottom, main restepped, transmission rebuilt. Genset went bad ordered a new panel. Fresh water pumps replaced, belts replaced, and splashed back in. At first Ragdoll seemed real happy with the makeover she just had. So we planned our crossing from St. Pete to Galveston, TX. When we arrived in St. Pete and started provisioning for the crossing, we went through our list thoroughly for anything that could happen, so we thought. Aprox. 50 miles out of Tampa Bay we blew a trainy seal, thinking that things could not get worse the one thing we did not provision on the boat was transmission fluid.....after assessing the situation, and throghing a few tools, my wife said "it's a sail boat." I thought to myself she was right what is the big deal.....I closed the engine compartment doors and went back up into the cockpit, while sitting there I thought my wife was making sense, we could sail to Galveston...Ploblem solved RIGHT? WRONG! 50 miles out into the gulf the water was like glass, not a puff of wind anywhere and then out of the blue we had WIND, but it came out of the other direction which backed our headsail onto the spreader causing a fairly large tear in the headsail...So i sat there and tried to figure our best plan of action. With only two quarts of transmission fluid we had found on the boat from the previous owners, I ask myself "What would Bob Bitchen do?" The only thing that came to mind was "What the hell was I thinking." We decided to turn the boat around and head back to St. Pete, where we made arrangments to have the headsail repaired, the transmission seal fixed.
Now we are planning to set sail again a week from now on the 27th of Sept. We plan to go coastal on this trip instead of a direct crossing. The boat is a very sound vessel, more than capable of making a straight crossing....IF she wants to.....But Ragdoll has been sitting in a mooring for a very long time, and we feel that a coastal cruise may be a little rougher, but without knowing the mechanical problems that she may have, we think it best in case we need to pull in someplace for repairs.
We have spoken with several people on the forum about this crossing. We do not have a lot of blue water experience, about 50 miles to be exact. But we do have sailing experience on inland lakes and have sailed for years "on inland lakes." Looking for tips to make this crossing, ICW is not an option for the time it would take to do so.
Ant responses other than I am out of my mind would be appreciated......well maybe those to.
Do we go straight across or coastal??????
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Old 20-09-2006, 16:41   #2
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A quote and a thought.

You go when you are seaworthy. You will never be ready. ~ anon

Galveston is at the bottom end of the trade wind cul-de-sac. Unless your long term plans include the Corpus, Padre or the east coast of Mexico the old saying "you can't get there from here" applies. If you choose to come across watch the rigs some don't have lights and others have cables between them. Good luck and welcome.
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Old 20-09-2006, 17:15   #3
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Although I’ve spent time with Bob, I cannot say I really “know” him all that well - but, still, I don’t think you’ve quite got your self examination right when you wonder: “... "What would Bob Bitchen do? ...”

L. M. Alcott ought to be “afraid of storms” , for they can be fearful events, particularily for those just learning (the more experienced, of us, are still learning)

Your choice of prototypical role models suggests (to me) that , perhaps, you are less prepared than may be “ Ragdoll” .
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Old 20-09-2006, 17:53   #4
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Plenty of small shake-down cruises.

Plenty of engine oil, tranny fluid, filters, tools, spares, etc...

Been there done that, learned the hard way.

Out on the water ya are in the boonies, carry your emergency supplies without going overboard.

Sail needle and waxed thread...Only $5.00 but could make a big diff if yer sails slides comes loose due to old sun-beaten threads.

A few Racor fuel filters in case yer engine stops from rocking boat and gunk in the bottom of the tank being shaken loose.

A few extra hose clamps and hose pieces in case ya break a rusty clamp or rotten hose on the engine intake or such.

Plenty of cheap stuff that could save the day when ya wander out there.
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Old 20-09-2006, 18:56   #5
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Go coastal: the confidence is not not there yet.
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Old 20-09-2006, 22:14   #6
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Okay, call me a novice if you want, but isn't it usually better to untie the docklines instead of just cutting them?

sorry, couldn't resist the joke.
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Old 21-09-2006, 10:02   #7
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put on spreader boots, they come in leather or plastic.
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Old 21-09-2006, 10:41   #8
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It's all about confidence:
- about the boat
- about the last repairs made
- about the weather forecast
- and infinitum,,,,

But mainly it's about confidence in yourself and your crew.

Look at your systems and ask yourself if you could make repairs while underway. If he answer is no then ask why not? What system(s) are absolutely essential for your safety? What system(s) can you do without? Picture the worst that could happen and then ask what you would do to either avoid that situation or deal with it if/when it should arise.

I think we've all been there - it's pretty daunting to cast off and head out on a new boat with a crew that lacks self-confidence. Everyone has their own comfort level. Find yours, and if that means coastal-hopping until you gain confidence in boat/crew/whatever then so be it.

I think you will gain the most from facing a problem while underway and proving to yourself that you can deal with whatever comes up. A little planning & a good spares inventory should allow you to do that.

It all makes the rum drinks taste SO much better at the end of the trip...

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Old 21-09-2006, 11:32   #9
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I would look at it this way. You made mistakes and you didn't get hurt. You lost some pride and maybe some confidence.

Learn from the lessons, get some spare parts and get the crew out for another sail. You don't need long complicated sails to get started. Mess up close to home and provide us all with good entertainment where no one gets hurt and you'll learn pretty fast.

It's OK to make mistakes but it is easier if you can get back to the dock in less than a day and learn the lessons. Basic boating rules apply. Don't leave the boat before you dock and don't hit anything. That really covers most of the hard stuff. You add on to the list as you go.

As I recall the first trip my wife and I did was a disaster. We made it without injury or serious damage. I think by the third trip we were doing well enough that no one was laughing at us and we were having fun the whole time.

Having the good sense to head back the way you came shows you have a chance at making it. It's an adventure not a mission.
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Old 21-09-2006, 13:14   #10
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Man, I have screwed up SO many times, doing SO many things, in front of SO many people...I cant even give you a rough estimate. Lets just say...Lots.
But I can tell you this with a straight face, I have done more things, and seen more things, and had more adventure than anyone I personally know.

You mentioned Bob Bitchin. I dont know the guy, but read his magazine. What I think Bob Bitchin would say would be
"The difference between an ordeal and an adventure is your attitude." Or something like that. Its close.

So, you had an adventure. Thats what you're looking for, right? You're a success! Now, its on to the next adventure!
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Old 21-09-2006, 13:51   #11
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Quote:
So, you had an adventure.
Says it all!
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Old 21-09-2006, 15:01   #12
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"It's an adventure not a mission."
Well phrased, Paul!

Another vote for coastal. At this point, you don't have faith in the boat--and that's a GOOD thing because it hasn't yet earned your faith. (And vice versa, I suppose, let's be fair to the boat.<G>)

If you're fighting a war and things go wrong, you have to keep on fighting regardless and take the consequences. But when you're doing something for pleasure...there's no good reason to take risks or abuse! Yeah,sure, you could improvise something and go on short rations and sail across anyway...but turning back for repairs was the smarter thing to do.

The real disasters often start with one small problem, and one more small problem, and one more small problem...and the old story "for want of a nail, the war was lost."
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Old 21-09-2006, 15:09   #13
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Go coastal, go straight, go crooked, just GO!!!
Every trip is an adventure but more important a learning experience.
We are pretty green also, our first long trip I stressed for weeks prior to departure and finally decided to look at the worst possible thing that could happen... the boat sinks, we jump on the dingy with life jackets activate beacon, get a hotel room, call the insurance co.(we went coastal)
Every problem we have encountered fortunately we have overcome and have learned some good lessons and also increased our level of confidence.
It is an Adventure and sh*t happens...


Go coastal, be safe and be happy.
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Old 21-09-2006, 15:51   #14
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"Go coastal, go straight, go crooked, just GO!!!"

Hallelujah, hallelujah....sing it brother!!
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Old 21-09-2006, 21:28   #15
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Yea canibul, you me and Nike have the same mantra "Just Do It"
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