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Old 18-02-2009, 15:09   #1
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Bluewater books for a freshwater sailor?

I have been sailing on the great lakes for many years, but I don't have really any experience sailing on the big blue.

Any suggestions on books? I'm not really looking for "adventure" books, per se, but more of guide books, I suppose. I'm most interested in cruising in the caribbean, bahamas, keys, and such. For now, anyway!

I'm not looking for beginners sailing books (i.e. This is called a sail!) but I guess I'd go for anything useful

Thanks in advance!

Chelsea
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Old 18-02-2009, 15:52   #2
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Quote:
I have been sailing on the great lakes for many years, but I don't have really any experience sailing on the big blue.
Once you have mastered the Great Lakes all you do is add tide, current, and too much salt. The rest is pretty much the same. You do have to learn not to drink the water! Seriously, the Great lakes have all the ingredients of big water because they can do the one thing small lakes can't - create their own weather.

You might find some of the Cruising Guides interesting. They are more something you ca read instead of a reference book. Will you be sailing the Potter?
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Old 18-02-2009, 16:02   #3
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Don't worry, I definitely don't drink the water from lake Erie! Superior, yes, michigan and huron, maybe, Erie... no no no.... haha

I might have to check out some cruising guides...

I'll probably sell the potter, and go for something a little bigger. I loved the Catalina 30 we used to have, but that thing was an absolute whale (10' beam!) and had a 6' draft to boot.
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Old 19-02-2009, 15:58   #4
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You will need to adjust your thinking when listening to weather reports. 6 to 8' seas in Lake Erie can be challenging, but offshore they can be a piece of cake, depending on the wave period. Another difference is that there is nothing in Lake Erie that stings or bites, but give it time and some tanker will bring in another invasive species that might have nasty habits.



Keep in mind that alot of blue water sailors doing the loop, get there butts kicked, thinking that it will be a piece of cake to sail around the lakes.
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One must be constantly on guard against advocates of the "Be reasonable and do it the hard and expensive way" school of thought.

That type of elitist thinking has ballooned the cost of boats, and cruising , far beyond what it need be, and beyond the reach of too many low income cruisers, for no benefit. --Brent Swain
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Old 19-02-2009, 17:35   #5
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Hmm, I never thought of that. 6'-8'ers on lake Erie are crazy!

What I would really like to do is find someone to sail around with for a summer, just so I could get my bearings, you know? I'm kind of afraid to just hop right in it (I plan on cruising for a year or two right after I get my degree, in 2 years) without having much cruising experience. But I guess books will have to do for now.
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Old 20-02-2009, 02:51   #6
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The Voyager's Handbook Beth Leonard

I've just bought a book, The voyager's handbook: The Essential Guide to Bluewater Cruising by Beth Leonard.

Its got more info about longer term cruising as well but its so comprehensive I think you would find any info you're looking for inside.

It's almost like a text reference book. Check it out on Amazon!
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Old 20-02-2009, 04:33   #7
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Get yourself a copy of Adlard Coles' Heavy Weather Sailing. Not a bad book to read even if you should remain on the Great Lakes. I very much agreed with the print in the cover: "If you buy no other book for your voyage, buy this one."

It will not reveal you all or any of the secrets of the Caribbean, however, it may well be the book that kept you and your crew alive while getting there and the when weather really turns nasty.
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Old 20-02-2009, 17:30   #8
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If it's weather/rough seas you are mostly worried about I would reccomend 'This is rough weather cruising' by Erroll Bruce (isbn 0 333 32090 5).
It is written in a basic way so everone can learn from it. Published in 1980 but most of what it has to offer holds true. My 27 foot Vancouver circumnavigated 1990 -93 and some of the procedures were used
There are some good photos too. You'll have to get a second hand one I guess, maybe someone could set up a swap site for sailing books on this site.
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Old 24-02-2009, 20:26   #9
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Thanks for the suggestions, guys. I've got some good books to swap, especially single-hander type books... I'm always up for a trade!
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Old 25-02-2009, 00:38   #10
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You are welcome. I think you shall find all the books suggested in the above very useful. I too have my background on sailing on lakes, mostly smaller lakes in my country. For me, going to offshore was not that much different. In addition to the tide and current Paul pointed out in the above, heavy swell and less gusty wind were the main difference for me. You are coming from much bigger lakes, so the difference might even be less significant. Just be prepared for the worst - and the worst in the sea can be much worse than the worst in a lake. You will have to survive and do that on your own. That is why I believe the books that were recommended are really the best ones to be read. Just to be prepared.

Potter looks like a good vessel, however, as you mentioned, having something more heavy built under you would be worth of considering. It will also give you both confidence and peace of mind. We went offshore first time with a light 25’ racer/cruiser. Doing that the second time with a 12 metric ton steel ketch that had crossed the Atlantic twice, was really a different feeling. The same wind and sea just did not bother us at all. When you are sailing shorthanded in 50 knot winds, it is good to know that a vessel has a history of surviving 65 knot winds for days without any damage, and that hitting a container would just mean a shock and some paint work afterwards. Think about that. That keeps you calm, and when you are calm you can function and make better decisions also when the weather and sea are on their worst.

Well, maybe that would be just waste of time and money. The sun is going to shine for months, the wind will never exceed 30 knots, the sea will be calm, floating containers are just a bad joke, it is just going to be nice to relax, play guitar, read, watch dolphins playing around the boat… right? ;-)
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