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Old 17-10-2011, 10:58   #16
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Re: Blue Water Cruising on a Hunter 36?

I want to thank you all for your feedback, encouragement, and good advice; all of which I have taken to heart.

I have been sailing on the Chesapeake Bay, for three extended seasons. The first two on other people's boats, mainly Hunters. 11 months ago, I purchased my 36, that I renamed "Fair Wind," with an eye to cruising South in the next month, to the islands, and have been prepping "Fair Wind," on a limited budget, with an eye to taking the coast rather than the ditch South. I am widowed, 66, and trying to be retired. I have been largely solo sailing on every good sailing day, and some not, since March. I just made two attempts to do the 450 NM loop around the DelMarVa Penninsula, with the Annapolis Show as the midway, and got shut out by weather on the Atlantic leg both directions, and shaken by my own inexperience in heavy wind coming out of the Solomons. I have a lot to learn about sailing, I know. "Fair Wind" survived me, but, at the Show, I got to wonder about my affordable choice, if it was a good one for cruising.

"The...questions posed to Hunter Marine by Jeff Halpern, collected from users of the Cruising World bulletin board during the week of April 12, 1999. The answers are provided by Jim Bohart, Hunter Marine." was very helpful, as were you comments, to assure me. It also gave me some further ideas as to where and how to affordable modify "Fair Wind," and I am again actively planning to head South, and looking for a First Mate to join me on my Journey of discovery and learning. Thank you all.

BTW other than a series drogue, and SSB, and heavier anchor and rode, spares, dinghy, etc. Is there any other suggestion as to essential equipment?
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Old 17-10-2011, 15:15   #17
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Re: Blue Water Cruising on a Hunter 36?

Most of us over-prepare for our first passage, which is probably a good thing generally but can be a trap.

There are a lot of cruisers out there who do not find a series drogue, or even an SSB, to be "essential equipment"; I certainly don't. I started to build a series drogue 15 years ago but never finished it - I never came close to wanting/needing to deploy one. As long as you cruise conservatively, which is basically being in the right place for the season, and keeping a weather eye, you will (probably) not need one either. If the time ever comes that you want to do high-latitude passages (round the Horn, for instance) you can acquire one then. An SSB transceiver is useful to have for ocean crossings and particularly in places like the South Pacific, but an inexpensive receiver is usually adequate for beginning cruising. These days most cruisers keep in touch by email. I used my SSB for emails on the last crossing, but (as always) voice contact was not reliable. A Sat phone would have served as well, and would have been used exclusively for data (not voice). Many cruisers choose to go without any long range communication - it isn't really necessary although it is a nice option.

The bottom line is that you need to be ready to go when the weather opportunity arises, which will probably be in the next month or so if you are going this year. That is what is important. That is what will keep you safe. Yes, you must have stout anchor gear and a good dinghy, but if you wait until January because you are adding things like series drogues and an SSB then you are making the wrong tradeoff.

I don't mean to rush you out onto the ocean: only you know if you are ready yet. I just don't want you to miss your opportunity or take unnecessary risks because you are adding equipment which you don't require for the next year or two. Learn to ask "Do I really need this? Why? Under what circumstances? Is it worth it in time and money? Is it the best use of limited space?" I would wager that most experienced cruisers have a shorter "essential equipment" list than when they first started. Most of us wind up paring things down as we go, while adding a few useful new technologies.

So try to move from "What else should I add?" to "What must absolutely be done before I slip the lines?"

Good luck, and fair winds,

Greg
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Old 17-10-2011, 15:24   #18
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Re: Blue Water Cruising on a Hunter 36?

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Originally Posted by KStepman View Post

BTW other than a series drogue, and SSB, and heavier anchor and rode, spares, dinghy, etc. Is there any other suggestion as to essential equipment?
wind vane and storm trysail mounted on seperate track
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Old 17-10-2011, 16:38   #19
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Re: Blue Water Cruising on a Hunter 36?

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Originally Posted by KStepman View Post
snip
BTW other than a series drogue, and SSB, and heavier anchor and rode, spares, dinghy, etc. Is there any other suggestion as to essential equipment?
Bolt Cutters. Good ones -in case the stick ever comes down and you need to free it in a hurry.

Engine spares ( and a basic course on marine engines) Fuel filters, oil filters, water pump impellers.

Harnesses and jack lines.

The list is endless really. Most yachting associations have minumum safety requirements for different category boats. ie Cat "0" Round the world and Cat "7" inshore day sailer in my area. Have a look at, say, the RYA website. Find out what Cat you will be deemed as and scour thier safety recomendations. I would assume the US coast guard or Yachting Associatino would have a similar system of recomendations.

A copy can also be found in the Blue Book of racing rules.
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Old 18-10-2011, 06:06   #20
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Re: Bluewater Cruising on a Hunter 36 ?

If you want to the Bahamas or West Indies, you'll be island hopping and picking your weather windows carefully. I can't imagine why you'd ever need a series drogue--only if you foolishly decided to outrun a hurricane and get caught.

If you don't absolutely need to communicate by SSB, save a couple or three thousand dollars by buying a receiver and hooking it up to your laptop with a patch cord to download weatherfaxes and text forecasts using software available from the Internet. Learn about weather forecasting so you can understand what you download.

The most important thing you can do is to sail on the Bay in bad weather to gain experience and see how your boat handles in heavier conditions. Do it until you feel confident in yourself and the boat. As many have said here before, the ability and skill of the crew means more than the doodads you can tack on to the boat.
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Old 18-10-2011, 13:14   #21
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Re: Bluewater Cruising on a Hunter 36 ?

Hi KS,

As a sailor of a Hunter 33, I'm curious as to what you thought was deficient in regards to your boat? I've found that mine pounds a bit when heading up into the large waves, (great lakes with short period), and generally doesn't track well off the wind in rough conditions as well. Did you have those issues with the 36?
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Old 23-10-2011, 23:57   #22
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Re: Bluewater Cruising on a Hunter 36 ?

In response to Hud3's comment about sailing as much as you can in bad weather on the bay. I sailed SF bay three to four times a week for four years before my wife and I set off on our cruise to Mexico. It is always blowing like stink on the bay, especially in the slot. As novice ocean sailors, we bought into the saying so commonly heard in sailing circles on the San Francisco bay, "if you can sail the bay you can sail anywhere". What a crock of ****. No blow on a bay will compare to the action of the waves in the open ocean in a strong blow. Don't think that open ocean is way off shore. The absolute worst we saw going south along the California coast occurred within sight of Big Sur coast and Highway 1. Good thing that San Simeon is so remote, if there had been a broker there, we would have sold the boat for a song. Hell, if there was a beach we would have run up on it and said to hell with the boat. We were forced to continue our trek south to Mexico on our Tartan 30, and don't regret a minute of it. Open ocean hell, we were in 40 knot wind with much stronger gusts off our stern and 20 foot plus breaking seas with six feet of foam blowing sideways along the surface, on our stern. Under storm jib and tri sail thought we were going to die. We were so close to the coast we could make out the make of the cars cruising along Highway 1. Life raft wouldn't be safe to deploy in those seas. Wouldn't have been able to be taken off by a Coast guard helicopter because we sould have had to swim away from the boat and been lost in the six feet of blowing foam the seas were causing. Amazingly the boat came through unscathed, however, a huge lesson learned by me. Small craft warnings on a bay or protected waters is nothing compared to small craft warnings on the sea. Trust me on this, if you hear on the weather report or see on a weather fax "compressed isobars", stay at the dock, if on anchor, let out more scope, but do not put to sea.

Hell, I could talk sailing all night, but the wifey beckons.
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Old 24-10-2011, 02:34   #23
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pirate Re: Bluewater Cruising on a Hunter 36 ?

I've solo'd an 82 Hunter Cherubini 37 cutter from NC to the UK via the Azores.... everyone said I'd kill myself on it... they're not safe....
She did just fine through some tough conditions... you can spend a lot of money on extra's you don't need... would I ever carry a drogue... maybe on a cat...
On a mono.... no... but we all have our own faiths...
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Old 24-10-2011, 11:36   #24
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Re: Bluewater Cruising on a Hunter 36 ?

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In response to Hud3's comment about sailing as much as you can in bad weather on the bay. I sailed SF bay three to four times a week for four years before my wife and I set off on our cruise to Mexico. It is always blowing like stink on the bay, especially in the slot. As novice ocean sailors, we bought into the saying so commonly heard in sailing circles on the San Francisco bay, "if you can sail the bay you can sail anywhere". What a crock of ****. No blow on a bay will compare to the action of the waves in the open ocean in a strong blow...
I happen to agree with you, Larry. Rough weather in the open ocean is an order of magnitude more demanding of a sailor's skills and endurance compared to inshore sailing.

But the alternative is to getting some rough weather experience in the Bay before sailing offshore would be to sail offshore without any rough weather, inshore experience. You're not suggesting that your SF Bay experience was worthless, are you?
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