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Old 28-09-2010, 07:31   #1
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Challenge: Sailing Around Britain in a Man-Made Raft - Would Appreciate Any Advice

Hello, new member with little to no sailing experience

Long story short, me and a few of my friends having just finished university and wish to do a once-in-a-lifetime trip, we thought of the usual backpack to Oz, week in Prague, build school in Mozambique, etc, but decided we wanted to do something different on a budget.

And somone put forth sailing around Britain in a man made raft. The rough design is a Catamarang with a sail for when its windy, and a petrol engine for when it's not. We'll be starting in Devon, and sail/motor anticlockwise around Britian, doing the South Coast, then the East, around Scotland and down the West Coast going around Wales before ending up where we started, in a rough time scale of one month. We wouldn't sail at night, we'll pack a tent and sleep on various beaches.

Trouble is that we have no sailing experience, so I've a couple of questions and any help would be greatly appreciated. Firstly has this been done before? Is this feasible in the time scale? How many miles per day would be the norm for a motorboat or sailing vessel? Would we be arrested for crossing shipping lanes? Would Scotland be passable or would you have to cut through the Caledonian Canal?

This is by no means definitely going to happen, but it's something we all want to do, and would appreciate some feedback, no matter how negative.
Cheers.
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Old 28-09-2010, 08:37   #2
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I can't afford a flight to England so can you webcast your Funeral?
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Old 28-09-2010, 09:05   #3
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Mainland Great Britain has a coastline of over 11,000 statute miles in length.
That’s an impracticable distance to travel in a month of 10 hour days.
A cruiser hopes to make about 100 nautical miles per 24 hour day.

See ➥ The British Cartographic Society > How long is the UK coastline?

And ➥ http://www.attendafuneral.com/funeralhomes.html
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Old 28-09-2010, 09:09   #4
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Before you start building I'd start looking at the shipping forecast and the inshore waters forecast, note how often you'd have winds in the force 2 to 3 range. A 'raft would be unusable at greater wind speeds. Then give a thought to the distance involved, work out the sea miles you'd need to cover. Work out the speed you may manage. Hint, think something like 4 miles an hour.
Why not find a way to crew on the Fastnet Race, some risk involved, some hard work, some good party moments. At least you wouldn't be having the RNLI saving your backsides every couple of days, until they didn't manage it one day.

P.
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Old 28-09-2010, 09:28   #5
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You may also want to have a look at (and I so hate to say this) the laws regarding the vessels seaworthiness and the qualifications of the crew.
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Old 28-09-2010, 09:28   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkullDragon View Post
Long story short, me and a few of my friends having just finished university and wish to do a once-in-a-lifetime trip, we thought of the usual backpack to Oz, week in Prague, build school in Mozambique, etc, but decided we wanted to do something different on a budget.
Why bother cutting the long story short? You graduated in June, a party ensued--apparently a very long party, it's now September, and it's just occurred to you and a few of your friends that you need a post-university plan. The theme of this plan, since gainful employment does not seem to be part of the post-university picture, is "something different on a budget." Ah yes, we'll sail around Britain on a man-made raft. First step, of course, will be to get on the internet and ask whether anyone knows how long it will take to sail around Britain on a man-made raft, because performing such calculations ourselves would be beyond the skill sets we acquired during our collective years of university training.

Would that be a more accurate long version of the story? If so, my best advice would be to consider that although concocting crazy travel plans while under the influence of alcohol is generally considered acceptable behaviour for university students, it becomes less acceptable once the diploma has been conferred. The point comes where you need to start doing the math yourself. Locate the island you wish to circumnavigate on Google Earth, measure the distance you might expect to travel on this voyage, and multiply that distance at whatever speed you think you'll maintain on a man-made raft built by amateurs on a budget.

Hopefully, you'll find those numbers sobering.
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Old 28-09-2010, 09:45   #7
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Well - I'm tempted to join in the nay-sayers but let's be positive. After all - there are very few laws on the matter here in the UK (so James needn't depart from his usual persona!) And people have done such things many times, but usually with a bit more research than has so far appeared.

If you and your friends really want an adventure of this kind then you will need some money and a reason - and the simplest would be to seek some form of sponsorship to help you do it for charity.

You do need to study boat building - a few oil drums lashed together with a stick won't hack it. Even the irish saints sailing via Greenland to the Americas had coracles plus a lot of expertise. And you need to study weather too - how to use it and avoid it. Do not assume you can sleep on beaches - even in the high summer that'll be cold - even if you can reach a beach/landingplace at night. You are far more likely to sail overnight which means you will need some form of power on board.

So go and look at some of Tim Severin's books where he describes the vessels and expertise needed for this sort of voyage, consider dedicating about a year of your lives - but don't assume it can't be done.

If you want to build a raft and circumnavigate something in a few weeks, I suggest the Isle of Wight in July.
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Old 28-09-2010, 09:46   #8
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Old 28-09-2010, 10:00   #9
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Thanks for the bemused smile I now have that's likely to last all day. And for the memory jog of what it was like when I was totally ignorant but overflowing with enthusiasm.

As others have pointed out your plan is not practical within the constraints you have. The timeline would likely be measures in years and the budget for just the bare essentials required for survival (sails, motor, petrel, food, rudimentary navigation equipment, etc.) is likely to be several factors of 10 larger than you are expecting.

But don't let the details of the reality of this plan disuade you from dreaming large, or from considering reasonable future sailing plans.
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Old 28-09-2010, 10:22   #10
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Old 28-09-2010, 10:23   #11
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Ellen MaCarthur did it solo at 16 ...you and your friends can to...just step back evaluate the gravity of the undertaking its risks and requirements with weather timing, currents and weather patterns , planed stops or not and realistic sail experience required ( This was not Ellen's first sail)..Get her book and give it a read...

Good luck..keep the dream and focus on your goal, also keep us posted....you will find a wealth of experiance from all whom responded to you already...come back and ask for it then use it....the barking here is for your protection and concern for those sent to rescue you nothing more...don't take offence to it....Learn from it and move forward with respect for wisdom.

Good hunting.
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Old 28-09-2010, 11:56   #12
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The rough design is a Catamarang with a sail for when its windy,
The good news is that by your having chosen a design that is beyond criticism and defies the laws of physics it will also be a smart investment which in time will become a valuable family heirloom ...........downside is that your family may inherit fairly soon into your voyage Still, most things in life have an upside and a downside.............

Perhaps the Mod can move this thread to a more appropriate forum? I am sure folks elsewhere better placed to offer constructive help and support
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Old 28-09-2010, 12:26   #13
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I can't afford a flight to England so can you webcast your Funeral?
Right. This is a very stupid idea, trust me. Sailing around the UK, about 2000 miles (not 11,000 which is the whole coast including every little indentation, sorry Gord), takes you through some of the harshest and most challenging waters in the world. You need a very strong boat and advanced skills to do this. You could theoretically do it in 20 sea days (not counting storms, which are very frequent in those waters) if you had a self-sufficient blue water boat and did it more or less nonstop, but it takes most people a few months. Without a strong, seaworthy boat and advanced sailing skills, it is life threateningly dangerous. It is much more challenging than a Transat.

For more information see:

UK Circumnavigation ITUNA

UK Circumnavigation
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Old 28-09-2010, 13:03   #14
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Perhaps the Mod can move this thread to a more appropriate forum?
Hurrah! for the Mods
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Old 28-09-2010, 13:18   #15
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Insurance, insurance, insurance

Merangues are for eating, catamarans are for..........ok, wont go there but neither are likely to get you far.

This isnt a stag do in Prague or Las Vagas, people realy DO die, despite the heroic efforts of the RNLI, whos lives you will be risking.

Nice wind up fellas. Have you thought about flying to the sun, you could go at night when its dark so you dont get sunburned.
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