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Old 25-01-2009, 17:55   #1
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Hobie Cat 18 Adventure

Hello Every body,
I am planning on sailing from Miami to Bimini Island on an Hobie cat 18.
I have a few questions and I will greatly appreciate if someone could help me out.
I was wondering when would be the best time of the year to do it regarding the water temp, weather, winds, tides and so on...
I was also wondering if i need to check customs once there because my amount of dry places for important papers would be limited aboard hahaha.
And finally if someone know how long would it take

Thanks in advance for your needed help.

Sincerely,

Juan Pablo
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Old 25-01-2009, 18:45   #2
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Yes, you need to go through customs. You are looking at 46 nm. Winter has more consistant winds, but worse gulfstream conditions. Summer is better for the gulfstream but there are more doldrum days. I suspect you can get there pretty quickly on a Hobie 18.
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Old 25-01-2009, 19:30   #3
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Quote:
I was wondering when would be the best time of the year to do it regarding the water temp, weather, winds, tides and so on...
I was also wondering if i need to check customs once there because my amount of dry places for important papers would be limited aboard hahaha.
And finally if someone know how long would it take
Plan a time when all conditions are favorable. Should you fail in this area you would surly perish. The time of the year is less important than the best possible days of the year.

Checking into Customs is the law and failure to do so is a serious problem. Proper documents aboard would be well advised.

It will take as long as it does. Time required would be a function of speed. You should study the navigational concept of set and drift. Failure to do so crossing the Gulf Stream could be a navigational problem of a serious nature.

Rough weather would pose problems you won't be able to handle. Patience would be the key to going across and back. I've sailed a Hobie 18 and under great conditions in open water the speed could be valuable. It is all other conditions that could be the worry.
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Old 25-01-2009, 19:49   #4
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Originally Posted by juanpablo View Post
Hello Every body,
I am planning on sailing from Miami to Bimini Island on an Hobie cat 18.
I have a few questions and I will greatly appreciate if someone could help me out.
I was wondering when would be the best time of the year to do it regarding the water temp, weather, winds, tides and so on...
I was also wondering if i need to check customs once there because my amount of dry places for important papers would be limited aboard hahaha.
And finally if someone know how long would it take

Thanks in advance for your needed help.

Sincerely,

Juan Pablo
I have logged several thousand miles in a Hobie 16 over the years around Negril, Jamaica, some of it in open sea conditions. Juanpablo, you have some cojones. My concern would be that the boat would go over and you would not be able to right it. Hobies are bad about a pontoon taking on water and that side going down too far in the water and flipping the boat over in a gust. They are not easily righted without help. Over the years, I have had two stays lose their pin (poor maintenenance - not my boat), a mainsail halyard part, pontoons waterlogged, rudder problems, and a broken roller furling on the jib. The boats were worn out.

If you must go, take an extra GPS, a functioning EPIRB, life vest, drinking water and sun block. Check the boat over in every particular. You could put your papers in a ziploc and put them in one of the storage hatches. The smartest thing you could do would be to change your mind, but good luck.
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Old 25-01-2009, 20:50   #5
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Hey guys,

Thanks a lot for your quick replies.

I have checked every accesories that I need such as GPS, VHF, drinking water and food as well. I will never just leave without anything. I like adventure but not that much hahaha.

In addition, I have capsized in the past by myslef and righting the boat is, as you mentioned, so difficult especially when you are light weight. This is why I am not planning on doing such a big trip by myself.

Does anybody knows if there is a website displaying winds' data in real time or historical. This could help me to understand how much wind I could be expecting.

Finally, is there a main route that people are using to go from Florida to Bimini Island, because if so I could sail close to that route in order to be helped in case of a problem.

Thanks again,

Take care,

Juan Pablo
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Old 26-01-2009, 09:00   #6
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Welcome to Cruisers Forum, Juan Pablo.

PassageWeather.com has graphical wind and wave forecasts based on model output. Conditions in the Gulf Stream will likely be more extreme than you will see in the forecast. Be sure to carry a waterproof handheld VHF radio!

Good luck!
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Old 26-01-2009, 09:02   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexSail View Post
I have logged several thousand miles in a Hobie 16 over the years around Negril, Jamaica, some of it in open sea conditions. Juanpablo, you have some cojones. My concern would be that the boat would go over and you would not be able to right it. Hobies are bad about a pontoon taking on water and that side going down too far in the water and flipping the boat over in a gust. They are not easily righted without help. Over the years, I have had two stays lose their pin (poor maintenenance - not my boat), a mainsail halyard part, pontoons waterlogged, rudder problems, and a broken roller furling on the jib. The boats were worn out.

If you must go, take an extra GPS, a functioning EPIRB, life vest, drinking water and sun block. Check the boat over in every particular. You could put your papers in a ziploc and put them in one of the storage hatches. The smartest thing you could do would be to change your mind, but good luck.
I used to own and race a Hobie 18. Hobies are not hard to right if you have righting lines, two people onboard and practice. You obviously want to make sure your hulls and your mast is watertight to reduce the chance of turtling. I used to race on SF Bay where in the summer it might be blowing 35 knots. When we did capsize (which is a pretty normal part of sailing a Hobie in high winds) it took about one to two minutes to right the boat.

I suggest you have someone follow you in a "crash boat". This means a powerboat that has the speed to keep up with you in case you do have problems. You would be putting an irresponsible burden on the Coast Guard expecting them to come rescue you if you did have problems. You will need to be more self-sufficient before attempting this.

Just a minor grammar correction, Hobies have hulls, not pontoons.
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Old 26-01-2009, 09:18   #8
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Two people have actually sailed a big hobie across the atlantic. I have seen something on the net about it, but further research will probably glean much of use to you
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Old 26-01-2009, 09:58   #9
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Hey everyone,

Thanks again for your replies.

I am ready a sailing book right now and they talk about Tony Laurent and Daniel Pradel who crossed the Atlantic from the Canari Island to Guadeloupe aboard a HObie Cat 18. Apparently they crossed the Ocean in 14 days but they where in terrible shape when they arrived.

Just to say that I just want to have a pleasant adventure and relax on the beaches of Binimi Island not planning on staying too long at sea.

Juan Pablo
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Old 26-01-2009, 10:10   #10
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Two people have actually sailed a big hobie across the atlantic. I have seen something on the net about it, but further research will probably glean much of use to you

Someone more recently has done it in a modified 20 footer, here's a couple of the earlier crossings in Hobie 18s and Nacra 19s. I recommend it to all interested in deprivation, infections, skin peeling off in sheets, etc.

Cats Across the Atlantic


In addition to the other thoughts, I would want to be able to reef in case the forecast was off. If you have a pre '85 boat you might still have the one piece metal mast, in which case it is easy to add reef points to your sail and you have a couple of options for modifying the halyard. If you have the comptip mast (fiberglass above the hounds), then it's harder as the headboard will pull out of the luff track. You would either need to have a very deep reef, to where the metal part of the mast is, or cut the removeable plastic mast track and insert another short section of the metal track where you want the reef point. (Look at a Hobie 21 SC as an example.)


John, avid Hobie sailor, used to dream of cruising the San Juans in a Hobie, but was never interested in Hobie ocean crossing.
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Old 26-01-2009, 11:03   #11
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Hey John,
thanks for your comment and advise. I am not sure the year of my Hobie however from your comment I can say that it's a post 85'. The mast as a top part in fiberglass. When I boat the boat the hulls were in good shape. However, I replace all cables and I am now fixing the rudders.
Adding a reef is a create suggestion that I need to look in more detailed. I have a hobie 14 as well could I take the sail of the Hobie 14 which is much smaller in case of big weather?

Sincerely

Juan
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Old 26-01-2009, 11:23   #12
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Check out these two threads, JohnPaul:

What's French for Testicular Fortitude?

Lone Italian One-ups French Duo!

Depending on how prepared you, your crew and your vessel are for the attempted crossing, JP, I don't see why you can't do what you propose. That's not to suggest that it will be easy, by any means, just "do-able."

If you do make it to the Bahamas, you should take advantage of it and spend some time in the islands, exploring and enjoying yourself. Otherwise, I don't see the point. If you just race over, wait for a good weather window for the return, then race back to Florida, it's just a mindless macho stunt.

And if you get in trouble and cannot rescue yourself, you are placing an unnecessary burden on the USCG. Unless you carry an EPIRB, they probably couldn't find you anyway.

I admire your determination to do this, but have you satisfied yourself that you know the answer to the question, "Why?"

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Old 26-01-2009, 11:24   #13
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Back in the 70s when Hobies & Prindles were very popular there were dozens if not hundreds of crossings in spring time from S> Florida to the Bahamas- I lived in Jupiter at the time and in Lake Worth there was a club where races were done to West End (Jack Tars), Grand Bahamas in these little cats- My first sail boat was a Prindle 18 - a great and rugged boat - I sailed it offshore all the time in seas as high as 6 feet going airborene many times only to stop almost in an instance- I finilly sold it to a friend and after he had it 3 months- he was offshore a few miles in about 4 ft seas and it broke apart and went to the bottom-the hulss separated- so I think I may have wore it out , but you could not tell by looking at it- lucky he was pickied up by a passing boat- so be careful
Testicular Fortitude in French =ho lala, il a des couilles celui la!!!!!
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Old 26-01-2009, 19:52   #14
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Hey Guys,

As many people probably saw I am new to this forum. I would like to thanks everyone that replied. I was not expecting so many replies in sush a short time. Thanks again.

Do you think that I should add wings to my hobie for this trip? Would this help the stability as much as my comfort?

Sincerely,

Juan Pablo
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Old 26-01-2009, 20:25   #15
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Quote:
I was not expecting so many replies in sush a short time.
I was thinking you might get more.

Quote:
Do you think that I should add wings to my Hobie for this trip? Would this help the stability as much as my comfort?
What would help the most is getting across and back ASAP. If you can't add the propeller to the wings I think you need to stick to the basics. Unless you want to add an airplane ticket I really doubt you can make the boat into more than it already is.

You have to be able to do the things you already know. The weather is the only problem you have to worry about.
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