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Old 02-10-2013, 11:39   #31
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Re: charts for trans Atlantic voyage

Steering problems seams to be the most common thing that goes wrong on long passages, it's also the one that is most difficult to fix. The wear and tear from the constant stress of ocean waves is much higher than anything experienced in coastal sailing and will find any weakness. Most problems with rig and sail can be fixed or will not stop the boat as long as you have some basic repair stuff on board and know how to use it. I carry a hand crank sewing machine which is definitely worth the stowage space. Also put some wire clamps and spare wire on board. A bit of spare chain and a Norseman style terminal is also handy for repairs to the rig.
Things to think about with steering.
Go through the complete system and look at what could fail then what you would do if it did!
Whats the rudder? anything less than 2 bearings is VERY vulnerable but I think you have a substantial skeg on yours. Is the skeg full length or semi-supported with a balanced lower section? If it is, is there a gap in which a rope or something can jam in leaving the rudder jammed to one side? How would you clear it. Going over the side is not practical so you may want to fit a guard.
Do you have hydroloic steering? What happens if the pump or a hose fails? Could you do 1000miles using the emergency tiller? or could you repair it? Have you tried sailing the boat without a rudder will she balance well enough to go upwind, downwind or both. If not do you have a pland for emergency steering? More than one boat has had to be abandoned at sea due to steering jamming or failing. An old trick is to add a ring each side of the rudder an attach lines so that the rudder can be controlled from a winch.
The importance of the autopilots depends a lot on crew size and strength. If you had to hand steer for a week how difficult would it be? Definitely carry spares for the autopilots which can be hard to find away from home as well as pricy. When I tried to get a spare belt for a wheel pilot It was over $50 and 3 weeks delivery in the Canaries. The same thing at home was under $10. The problem of electrics also rears its head again. If both you pilot and backup are electric they both go out if you have electrical problems. Many solo sailors prefer to have a wind-vane for that reason (solo or 2 up the pilot is crucial). If you have an inboard pilot does it have a separate ram or use the steering one? If they are shared then a problem here will stop both. This may sound extreme but if you fall off a wave with a big moden rudder the loads can be massive and something will give, it may be the steering quadrent or the ram shaft or fittings whichever is the week point.
Most of this is 'what if' scenario planning. Being good at it is what makes people like delivery skippers so good - because they have usually been there and done it before! Almost anything is fixable if you have the right tools and spares but if you carry enough for every eventuality you will finish up towing a spare boat!!! Trick is to work out a simple solution to possible problems only with those systems that would stop the boat and then start with the most vulnerable.
A lot depends on the individual boat and you have to look at YOUR PARTICULAR BOAT AND CREW. For example I sail atraditional boat with hanked foresails so if I split a headsail I just swap to the next one until I fix it. Another, exactly similar boat, but fitted with a furling headsail may have a major problem because they can't swap the sail and the boat won't go to windward on main alone. The difference between a problem and a mayday is often just a bit of advanced planning!
While looking at the boat a good question to ask is "what was she REALLY built for" It's a hard question because we all want to think that our boats are wonderful and capable of anything (and sometimes they are!). The answer may be yes, she was built for ocean cruising with a small crew. Wonderful but rare. All your deck gear is probably 2 sizes to big, the ground tackle includes a couple of massive anchors with 300ft of heavy chain, the rig is oversize and the goose-neck looks like a truck hitch etc. More commonly the answer is "mainly coastal cruising with occasional longer passages" no real problems but you need lots of foerethought an d all your passage plans should revolve around minimizing boat stress. This is like taking a city girl and a camping trip!! If the answer is she is great fun and quite competative to sail as a race boat then unless you have an ocean race crew and shore support have you though about flying there and chartering... No such thing (well almost) as a 'bad' boat but problems do occur and can be serious if you use them out of design spec and that include mot just mark and model but all the repairs, mods and equipment fitted along the way.
Having said all that don't get put of, it's a wonderful experience and probably less dangerous than commuting to work, it's just that there is no 'roadside assistance plan'...
How are your medical skills?

The other bit I noticed was about sat phone/SSB. Big difference is that sat phone will not contact other boats or give you a weather map. Weather fax is fabulous and gives way more information about weather than any text or spoken forecast (as long as you can read the chart) It's the main reason I carry long range com's. Email by radio is equally good but more expensive to set up. All the other systems like the weather channel don't work offshore. Particularly on easterly crossing weather routing makes a big difference to speed and comfort. Sat phone may be much better for contactin home or the office but id you use it for daily weather its going to give you a phone bill that would nearly pay for a radio set!!
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:15   #32
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Re: charts for trans Atlantic voyage

To ka4wja,

John, thanks for the excellent post. I'm following Ralph's tread because we are preparing the same passage.

I have a question about this: 8) Electronic Charts...
You have a Garmin chartplotter, so you'll use Garmin Blue Charts....and I hear that they're pretty good, but you should get some real-world experience from someone that has used them in Bermuda, Azores, and Atlantic Europe / Mediterranean....(I have Raymarine E-120 and E-80, w/ Navionics charts..and they are surprisingly good/accurate!)

We have a E120 Classic and I can't find a place to buy CF cards for Med and Europe.
Do you know where I can find them?
Thanks

Marc
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:21   #33
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Re: charts for trans Atlantic voyage

John,

Just checked with your lead: Bluewater Books...and they sell them.

All is well!

Fair winds,

Marc
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:29   #34
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Re: charts for trans Atlantic voyage

Bud,
I have quite a few recommendations / referrals for you, on this specific topic and related topics...but it will require some reading....
Quote:
Originally Posted by ralphmacey View Post
Has anyone a recommendation for a weather router for the trip?
1) My first recommendation is YOU!
If you have access to useful weather info and forecasts, prepared by trained/experienced humans (such as those at the US NWS Ocean Prediction Center / Tropical Prediction Center, UK Met Office, and French Met Office, etc.), NOT just raw computer-generated weather GRIB's, you'll have all the info/forecasts you'll need to route yourself....
And, the good news is that ALL of that is not only easily available to you anywhere you'll be sailing, it is broadcast over HF radio (marine SSB) to you, for FREE!!!

Please read this thread here....
SSCA Forum • View topic - Offshore / Hi-Seas Weather data / forecasts
Where you'll get a great deal of info of how/where you can get decent weather info/forecasts....



2) Secondly, while Herb has retired... South Bound II VAX498 - Ship routing and weather forecasting There are plans to start a new Hi-Seas / Offshore Net, which will provide weather info/forecasts, etc. as well as other communications services for small vessels crossing the Atlantic (and probably also those transiting to/from the US and Caribbean)..
While plans had called for this new Net to start Nov 1, 2013....things are a bit up-in-the-air (due to some family illnesses), and while it is still 50/50 that a Nov 1st date will be met, it is a certainty that it will be up and running by next spring/summer!!
[Note that this is an HF radio / marine SSB net....no ham license, nor radio experience will be necessary...but, of course, a properly working SSB radio is necessary!]
This Net will cover the whole N. Atlantic, Caribbean, Gulf of Mex, W. Med, etc.. and points beyond as needed/desired...


3) Further the OCC has a Atlantic Crossing Net (which is "local", a few hundred miles surrounding the OCC group), and if you leave around the same time, they will have good weather info as well...


4) Here is a recent thread regarding N. Atlantic SSB radio nets....
SSB Nets.


5) If, after reading the above thread on hi-seas/offshore weather ( SSCA Forum • View topic - Offshore / Hi-Seas Weather data / forecasts ), and if for some reason the new Atlantic Hi-seas / Offshore Net does not meet your needs, and you still feel you need a paid weather router, then you may wish to seek out Chris Parker, who will route you to Bermuda just fine (and perhaps he can provide your with weather routing to the Azores as well...I believe it would be a special request)...
Marine Weather Center - Bahamas & Caribbean Marine Weather Services



6) I recommend that you have a look at the SSCA Discussion Boards as well...as there is a wealth of knowledge there!!!
SSCA Forum • Index page
SSCA Forum • View forum - Communications




7) Bud, regarding watermakers....
Quote:
Originally Posted by ralphmacey View Post
I don't have much room for a watermaker and there are the power and maintenance requirements.
You seem to have a good grasp on the subject already!!
a) You certainly do not NEED a watermaker...and I doubt you'll decide to install one...
b) A well-designed / well-made / well-maintained watermaker will certainly improve your life on-board....(but a crappy one, or one that causes you numerous headaches is a BIG waste!)

Here are some threads with LOTS of info/discussion...
But, my bottom line:
--- No watermaker, bring more water with you and arrange a rain catchment system...
...OR....
--- A Spectra watermaker (probably the small Ventura)...
...OR...
--- A CruiseRO watermaker....

SSCA Forum • View topic - Watermaker advise needed
SSCA Forum • View topic - Ready for Solar - need advice!
SSCA Forum • View topic - "Starter" solar system with room to grow


And, here are a few articles on watermakers, choices, and installations...
Watermaker
Whoosh - Watermaker
Solar Panels



I do hope this helps...

Fair winds..


John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 02-10-2013, 13:20   #35
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Re: charts for trans Atlantic voyage

John,
Thanks so much for your information. I certainly will do the reading you recommended. I sometimes wonder if I will ever be prepared for my first trans Atlantic trip. I was hoping to hire a weather router and use a Sat phone for the crossing. I don't trust myself yet in weather issues but I know the pros can be wrong too. I don't want to jeopardize the crew and I was thinking this was the safest way to deal with the weather. Anyway I need to do the reading you suggested first. All the prep is a bit overwhelming.

Bud
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Old 02-10-2013, 13:23   #36
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Re: charts for trans Atlantic voyage

Bud, and others here,
Understand that your typical cruising boat (even those horrid "production boats" will usually take much more than the humans on-board can take...
But, sometimes a mission-critical system failure happens, without "heavy weather" being a factor (usually it's the 24/7 constant use that can wear things out rather quickly...understand that many things/components on-board were not actually designed for this...), and you either fix it, or your voyage is in jeopardy....

Please take note that is a wonderful statement of FACT!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by roland stockham View Post
Steering problems seams to be the most common thing that goes wrong on long passages, it's also the one that is most difficult to fix. The wear and tear from the constant stress of ocean waves is much higher than anything experienced in coastal sailing and will find any weakness. Most problems with rig and sail can be fixed or will not stop the boat as long as you have some basic repair stuff on board and know how to use it.
I do not wish to be alarmist, but the FACT is, it seems that many are more interested in their iPad's, DVD players, etc. (and spending the time/effort and money on them) than the basics of THE BOAT!!!
Keep the water on the outside, keep the mast/rig/sails up and working, and keep the rudder attached and working well!!

And, if you add adequate drinking water, some food, a good compass, and some decent charts...and you'll be fine...
(BTW, "charts" is what the thread was supposed to be about...but Bud, the original poster drifted it himself, so now off we go!

Add a GPS or two, a couple radios (VHF and HF), a decent solar array, some fishing gear, etc. and you'll probably never have a worry!!!



Thank you to Roland for mentioning the facts about steering systems (and rig/sails....although nowadays a coil of synth rigging is easier to stow and work with at sea..)

I do NOT wish to debate the virtues of different steering systems...
But, I've sailed boats offshore and across the Atlantic, with a high-perf spade rudder (my current boat and another boat) as well as skeg-hung/semi-skeg-hung rudders...and as long as they are properly designed and maintained, EITHER will do perfectly fine!! (although I'd never buy a boat without a spade rudder, some others think 180* opposite....and nobody is "right" or "wrong", just have different opinions/desires...)

But, whatever steering system / rudder / autopilot you have, Roland's point is:
What are going to do if/when you have problems!!!
And, what TOOLS / SKILLS / SPARES do you have on-board???
The more troubleshoot/repair "skills" you have the less "spares" you'll need, as well as slightly less tools....and the opposite is also true, the less "skills" you have on-board, the more "spares" you may need/desire...
And, "skills" don't cost $$$$, nor do they take up storage space!!! (but they do require food!!



Fair winds..

John
s/v Annie Laurie



P.S. My boat is actually just like this....
Quote:
Originally Posted by roland stockham View Post
. ....she was built for ocean cruising with a small crew. Wonderful but rare. All your deck gear is probably 2 sizes to big, the ground tackle includes a couple of massive anchors with 300ft of heavy chain, the rig is oversize and the goose-neck looks like a truck hitch etc.
My hull, deck, keel, rudder, rig, etc. winches, cockpit, etc. are all designed and built just for ocean crossings and long-range cruising....
But, since the manufacturer has only built about 195 of these Catalina 470's over the past 15 years, and a few hundred C42's , etc...compared to the 1000's of other boats they've built for "mainly coastal cruising with occasional longer passages", over the past 40+ years, many sailors are not aware of the wonders of the C470!!
But, I digress...sorry about that!!
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Old 02-10-2013, 13:38   #37
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Re: charts for trans Atlantic voyage

Adding to the point about more less skills and needing more or less tools I believe the opposite is true. Only take tools and spares you are familiar with using. An all singing first aid kit suitable for the back of an ambulance looks great on the inventory and makes you feel prepaired but if your knowlwge and experience is limited to sticking on a band-aid you are as likely to kill the patient as heal them. The same is true of engines. The middle of the ocean is not the place to learn new skills!!!!
You can never be 'fully' prepared but you only get the experience by doing it so do your best and GO
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Old 02-10-2013, 13:47   #38
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Re: charts for trans Atlantic voyage

Thanks John and Roland,
I think I have the right boat, (Hallberg Rassy 352) which I am repowering with a 54hp Yanmar. The sails are new with a triple reef in the main. I have upgraded the electric with 4 golf cart batteries, 345 watt solar panel etc. I will need to do more work on my weather skills, get the necessary charts, plenty of water and off I go!

You have been very helpful.
Bud
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Old 02-10-2013, 14:16   #39
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Re: charts for trans Atlantic voyage

[QUOTE=ralphmacey;1354004] I am repowering now and wondering is I need a watermaker? Do you have any thoughts?

There was a trio who did the SA to SP this year and they managed to do it at less than half gallon a day per person. Salt water showers (no fresh rinse), salt water dish washing, salt water clothes washing, salt water head, etc.

Whatever you choose it's a good idea to have backup. If you depend on a watermaker and it fails, you're in trouble. If you have all your water in a tank and it all leaks into the bilge, you're in trouble. I've even heard of seawater contamination through a faulty fill seal so you end up with brackish rather than fresh. So if you carry all your water make sure you have it in several containers and that you don't need them all to survive. If you depend on a watermaker, it's better to have more than one and it's better manual than electric. If you have water tanks and a watermaker, lean on the watermaker so if it breaks you have the stored water in reserve (rather than using the stored water and assuming that the watermaker will work if you need it).
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Old 02-10-2013, 14:24   #40
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Re: charts for trans Atlantic voyage

Just to confirm, you won't need a watermaker once in Europe. There is a reason places like Ireland are green An umbrella would be more useful.

Now why are you missing out England ?

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Old 02-10-2013, 14:27   #41
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Re: charts for trans Atlantic voyage

Bud,
You're very welcome!!

Don't stress too much and get overwhelmed....after all, sailing across the Atlantic on your own boat, is safer than rush hour on the roads in Jacksonville!!!

And, please understand that you can never protect/prepare for everything...
Just like parents raising kids....someday they gotta' leave home, and you hope you've done the best you can to prepare them!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by ralphmacey View Post
I sometimes wonder if I will ever be prepared for my first trans Atlantic trip.
How about a "Top Ten List"???
Maybe this would be useful...

The words I wrote earlier, about "priorities" are important to remember, as they should alleviate some of the "pressure" that you feel...

Off the top-of-my-head...in order of importance (in MY opinion, at least)

1--- make sure you can keep the sea water on the outside of the boat...
2--- make sure you can keep the rig and sails up and working well...
3--- make sure you can steer / maneuver the boat (rudder/steering), no matter what comes...
4--- have adequate drinking water, food, etc...
5--- have a good compass (have your compass professionally adjusted before you head across the Atlantic, and every 5-10 years)
6--- have adequate paper charts on-board...(and know how to navigate, not just punch-in waypoints in a chartplotter)...and of course, parallel rules, dividers, pencils, etc...
7--- have a decent source of accurate weather info/forecasts...
(see this thread for details SSCA Forum • View topic - Offshore / Hi-Seas Weather data / forecasts )
8--- have adequate repair skills / spares on-board to handle what-may-come (goes hand-in-hand with #1, #2, and #3)
9--- MAKE SURE YOU GET ENOUGH REST / SLEEP WHILE ON-PASSAGE!!
I wrote this in all CAPS, so that you'd notice this....as this one item effects almost everything else on this list, and everything else on-board!!
If this means taking more crew, etc. then do it!!
I've sailed across the Atlantic with just myself and two crew and it was fine...and on one passage, one of crew (brother) was of little help for half the passage, so I can say that with just two-on-board, it can be tiring...although you have a smaller boat than I do, and you'll probably not be "pushing" too hard for your first crossing, you may find a smaller crew to work for you, but please do NOT discount the effect that tiredness (or sleep deprivation) can have on everything on-board (not just navigation / sailing skills, but even cooking dinner, writing an accurate log, etc...are all effected!!)
10--- Other comfort issues, such as washing up, keeping clean, clean clothes, towels, sheets, etc. and GOOD food, especially HOT food, can all have a BIG impact on both crew moral and on your successfulness as a skipper....
A well-fed, and well-rested, clean and happy, crew can accomplish things that a tired, hungry, and unhappy crew couldn't even dream of!!!

Note that "other comfort issues" can also extend to a decent sized solar array (giving you freedom from diesel), decent water capacity (including Jerry Jugs), but please don't get carried away and think that all of those things you see advertised in the glossy magazines, or touted at boat shows, are necessities...because they are NOT!!!



I understand you were originally asking about charts, water capacity/watermakers, weather routers, etc...
But, as you see, if you prioritize the above "Top Ten" things first, most of the rest will come much easier!!!


~~~~~


As for "weather", that's a subject that comes up often (and sometimes in a controversial way....I once used the word "accurate" without being in italics, and got chastised for it..

And, then you have the unfortunate FACT that many of us (US, UK, EU, AUS, etc. citizens) are surrounded by hi-technology on a daily basis, and have the marketing / advertising world trying to impress us with "new", "improved", "better", "cool", etc. almost constantly...and it becomes an easy sell for those touting all the crap at boat shows and in the magazines!!

I mean, I see people bringing-up radar images on their smartphones / tablets, and even looking for "future-track" forecasts (some computer-generated graphics of where the computer thinks it will rain next), and thinking that not only is this accurate (it is NOT), but also thinking it is necessary (it is NOT), but also thinking this is available offshore (it is NOT)....
So, it's no wonder that we have 100's of guys touting every fancy thing on the market as "necessary"!!
(Bud, please note that I am NOT an anti-technology luddite...for 30 years now, I have made my living owning/operating my own electronics firm, specializing in sat comm and in the past dozen years specifically commercial sat comm systems....and I do NOT advocate sat comm systems for most boats....they cost more than you are lead to believe, they have more peculiarities than you are lead to believe, and there are other systems that work better and more reliably AND are much more versatile!!!
But, you usually won't get much of this from the guys selling the stuff, nor from the guys who have spent 1000's of $$$ of the stuff....
Don't get me wrong Iridium is a GREAT company, and they provide GREAT service, as does INMARSAT...and I love 'em...but usually an HF radio is better and more versatile!!)
Quote:
Originally Posted by ralphmacey View Post
I was hoping to hire a weather router and use a Sat phone for the crossing. I don't trust myself yet in weather issues but I know the pros can be wrong too. I don't want to jeopardize the crew and I was thinking this was the safest way to deal with the weather. Anyway I need to do the reading you suggested first. All the prep is a bit overwhelming.
I think after you read more on weather info/forecasts (such as the SSCA Disc thread that I referenced), and speak to others that have been doing it for years, you'll feel better about things...and even if you do decide on using a weather router, you'll find like Roland wrote a graphic display (whether on paper or a computer screen) is VERY useful..and you may find your "communications" choices to be confusing...and at that point we can help again!!!



Fair winds and keep moving forward!!!

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 02-10-2013, 18:33   #42
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I've done a few crossings. The last two used sat phones exclusively , ( iridium ) and we pulled weather fax via mail a sail. I've used HF, but find it increasingly less useful I have to say.

I wouldnt over think the weather stuff. On a east going voyage its seems to get bad approaching the Azores. Since you aren't going anywhere near the Western Approaches , at least you will tend to avoid the progression of lows that track over Ireland virtually every few days.

The position of the Azores high will play a bit part in what you experience.

I.m very dubious about weather routing for small yachts. Mostly you have to take what you get out there. Lows can be 100s of miles across and not avoidable.

Have a good autopilot.

I find bluecharts of Europe very good , even if not as current as Navionics. I don't like how much detail navionics leave off their charts.

For planning, I use IMRAY charts over BA. Note all modern BA charts and IMRAY ones are now in metres. Get used to that. French SHOM charts are good for the med, but the paper they're on is crappy. Have the usual pilot books for Atlantic Europe at least. Getting English language pilot books in the med is difficult to say the least. I usually have a good selection on board, reeds almanac is good too

I presume you've a solution for 230 vac etc. Gas , ie butane will generally be camping Gaz. Get a regulator in the Azores. Propane is hard to come by , so make sure your stove etc is ok on butane ( most are even if they run a little cooler )

Make sure you have a quad band gsm phone that's network unlocked ,buy local sims ,very useful for coastal sailing in the med I would consider fitting a Navtex unit if you don't have very very useful for weather

Good luck the HR 352 should have no trouble.

Dave
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Old 02-10-2013, 20:06   #43
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Re: charts for trans Atlantic voyage

Here, is another wonderful statement...that everyone should understand....
Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
I.m very dubious about weather routing for small yachts. Mostly you have to take what you get out there. Lows can be 100s of miles across and not avoidable.
I do agree with you Dave, 100%, once you're out there, you are going to sail with the weather that you're going to get, weather forecasts and weather routers be damned!!!
And, I agree that weather routers for ocean crossings on sailboats is a waste to time, effort and money!!!
But...
But, I look at the wefax charts a couple times a day, listen to the voice weather broadcasts each day, etc...but there are times when a weather chart just doesn't have the same impact as hearing another boat 200, 300, 400, or more, miles ahead of you, that is getting beat-up in 40+kts and 16'+ seas from a strengthening low, that you are heading for....
So, having a radio net, whether a "weather net" or "general net", can be very helpful...

And while some categorized Herb as a weather router, I personally found him to be more of a weather forecaster / weather interpreter....as that is how I used him, never used any "waypoints", etc....but did take his forecasting seriously!!



Fair winds...


John
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Old 02-10-2013, 20:33   #44
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Re: charts for trans Atlantic voyage

If you change your mind about a water maker or need more information to help make up your mind PM tellie. He is in Florida and is a great source. He sells and repairs watermakers.
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Old 03-10-2013, 00:32   #45
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Water makers! Waste of time and money. I fitted a new one for an Atlantic circuit in 2005. You can only use them in open ocean as any any pollution will kill the membrane, and I had to run the engine whilst in use as the power consumption was very high. The first lot of water has to be chucked, then the second lot reserved for flushing, and hours later you've got enough for a cup of tea. We found that on a three week crossing with 5 people we used less than 50 gallons. Later it developed leaks and I found that there were several cracks in the casing, epoxy repairs helped for a while till I got sick of it!
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