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Old 08-10-2012, 06:28   #1
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Maine to Manteo - hold my hand for a minute

We are about to leave Maine and take our almost-3yo and 6 1/2 yo down the coast. My husband has work in Manteo, NC for the winter. We'll go outside as much as possible-we prefer to sail. This is the longest cruise by far for us, but we're going to harbor-hop and we can hunker down in bad weather. I don't have any heavy weather experience on my own boat, but I've been out when I was a student sailor and I know how to heave-to and reef and limp into shore I figure that we have to just do it; how am I going to get experience otherwise?

My MIL is a complete wreck. She is consulting distant relatives to elicit their opinions on why this is unwise, and then reporting back. I'm annoyed It seems, from my perusal of CF, that this route is mostly uneventful and fairly easy. Anything I'm missing? Wanna tell me that everything is going to be fine?
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Old 08-10-2012, 06:54   #2
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Re: Maine to Manteo - hold my hand for a minute

Good for you both for being adventurous. My biggest piece of advice is to allow twice the time that you think you will need. First because people get into trouble because they are on a schedule and they go out when they should stay in. Second because there is so much to see, especially with kids, along the way. Take plenty of time to have "shore patrols" with the kids. We sailed for many years with our two boys and they did fine.

Get both of them harnesses. We had to make our own but I think that they are commercially available now. Life jackets are fine for riding in the dinghy while on the pier but having the kids secured to the big boat with locking carabeeners is vital when out at sea.

Pick your weather windows and go when conditions are good. Take days off when you need to avoid the weather or high seas. It will be much more fun if everyone is comfortable. Your first overnight can be from Maine to the Cape Cod Canal. Wait for the tide at the Harbor of Refuge and then go through motoring with the tide. After that you have day hops down to New York. Then another long stretch to Cape May. Then decide whether you want to go down the Chesapeke or go outside to Norfolk. If you have the time I would suggest the Bay. There are lots of beautiful places to explore and you can sail all the way up to Washington DC if you want.

Have a great trip and above all don't rush.

Cheers
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Old 08-10-2012, 07:15   #3
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Re: Maine to Manteo - hold my hand for a minute

You might want to relate to your mother-in-law how much technology takes the guesswork out of these trips nowadays. . . . Good NOAA forecasts available 24 hours a day. PassageWeather wind and wave forecasts anywhere you have a cell signal. Emergency communications by VHF and cell phone. Etc.

How are you set for an "emergency vehicle" -- either RIB or raft or both? Will you have an EPIRB or a Spot or similar? These things can make a big difference for you . . . but probably moreso for your MIL.
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Old 08-10-2012, 09:36   #4
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EPIRB and dinghy, no life raft. We'll get one before we do anything more serious, but we plan to be really cautious on this trip. I want it to be positive for the kids, which means not going out in scary weather, and stopping often. "Takes lots of time" and "disembark often" are the repeated themes I have encountered; I'll trust this advice.
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Old 08-10-2012, 09:49   #5
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Re: Maine to Manteo - hold my hand for a minute

I agree that the only way to get experience is by doing. Experience builds judgement as well as skills and judgement I believe is the most important.

You will need to be very cautious: pick decent weather windows for your offshore legs and duck in early if the weather turns to s***. The earlier you leave the better as the winter storms in Maine and NE are almost upon you.

And don't ever, ever make the assumption that technology will make it safer. Well marginally. Cruisers have been making that trip for a hundred years with only paper charts and a compass.

Sure you can navigate more precisely, radar can let you go when you otherwise wouldn't and avoid other traffic in fog, vhf can call for help. But you need to be able to take care of yourself.

Do the trip, but do it cautiously given your limited experience and the time of year. Oh and use harnesses and jacklines offshore, at night and if things get iffy. Make sure that you can take at least two reefs in you mainsail and that your jib will furl or that you can drop it in a storm.

David
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Old 08-10-2012, 09:59   #6
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Have harnesses and jacklines and net, so that makes me feel better. Our timing is tricky because of commitments here and there, but we wanted to wait out the tropical storm season. We are going to drive back here and then back down, actually, because we didn't want to sail in November. We leave Wed, weather permitting, so we should be out of NE middle of next week.
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Old 08-10-2012, 10:49   #7
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Re: Maine to Manteo - hold my hand for a minute

I was just in Manteo last week having gone from RI. Wonderful town.

You are late enough in the fall that you need to let your schedule be determined by the weather. Beating into a 20 knot wind all day will make everyone unhappy. When sailing with my wife, we also follow the rule of never sailing 3 full days in a row. We take either a full or half day off.

Do you have some form of heat on the boat? I'd at least bring a portable electric heater, extension cord and adapter to a 30 amp marina plug. You may want to give everyone a "warm" day off. Bring along heavy socks, long underwear, face masks, and heavy socks for underway in the cockpit.

The biggest weather risk is the NJ coast. You could get an early winter gale. They seem to come out of nowhere. Wait at Sandy Hook until the weather forecast is ideal. You can then make Cape May overnight. Or plan to stop at Barnegat Bay. It's an easy entrance in daylight in anything short of a storm. You can always get into Atlantic City but there's not much for kids

These are crowded waters. I'd want an AIS transponder more than a liferaft.

Carl
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Old 08-10-2012, 11:04   #8
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Thanks. This is helpful. NJ worries me the most bc of the long stretches, so that's good to know. We do have heat, and winter gear. I'm planning lits of short days-hoping to sail from Dawn until the kids get antsy (they're late sleepers), then take a break. I wanted to leave sooner, but we have to go to a wedding

If it gets crazy, we can berth the boat in the midAtlantic and come back for it later. There's no hurry, except for running out of money
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Old 08-10-2012, 11:19   #9
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Re: Maine to Manteo - hold my hand for a minute

This skipper did it, by himself, and is now doing it again.

Roger Long - Cruising on Strider - SailboatOwners.com

There are so many blogs out there that if you Google your subject you'll find thousands have written their own stories, and there are thousands more who have done it without writing about it.

Good luck.
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Old 11-10-2012, 15:25   #10
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We didn't make it Miserable swell the first day out, howling gusts the second-headed for home. Maybe next year.
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Old 11-10-2012, 15:31   #11
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It was too much. The kids were miserable, I was hanging on physically and emotionally; we were overmatched.
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Old 11-10-2012, 17:01   #12
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Re: Maine to Manteo - hold my hand for a minute

Don't let it discourage you. Better to turn back than risk turning the kids off to sailing for good.

As suggested, mid October is late for the weather. And it sounds like you were boxed in by a tight schedule.

Given the age of the kids, I'd start on September 1. As you go south, the summer heat will be just breaking.

Carl
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Old 11-10-2012, 17:30   #13
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Re: Maine to Manteo - hold my hand for a minute

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cormorant View Post
You might want to relate to your mother-in-law how much technology takes the guesswork out of these trips nowadays. . . . Good NOAA forecasts available 24 hours a day. PassageWeather wind and wave forecasts anywhere you have a cell signal. Emergency communications by VHF and cell phone. Etc.

How are you set for an "emergency vehicle" -- either RIB or raft or both? Will you have an EPIRB or a Spot or similar? These things can make a big difference for you . . . but probably moreso for your MIL.
The problem with that is the presumption that such argument is at all relatable to the other person (MIL in this case). They have already made up their mind and it is sheer emotion to whih they respond. That is, their fears are strictly emotion-based.

Too, to argue that technology makes for safety, you will be shot down when they mention the Costa Concordia, as example of top notch tech did not prevent hazard. Then, they will develop the attitude that your every argument is suspect and you are merely placating them.

You can talk 'til you're blue in the face and it will not likely achieve the desired result. Their subjective hearing kicks in and it will be one thing after another with them. Just go!

NOTE: It could be that the anxiety of the MIL is not neccesarily about the trip itself but that she won't get to see her g-babies for awhile.
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