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Old 26-07-2012, 16:23   #1
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Second Weekend on the Boat !

Hi all! I just bought a 1994 Macgregor 26S 2 weeks ago, and took it out the first time last weekend. I had some scary moments (rudder slamming into outboard prop and almost sending me into a bridge pilon, motor dying and the wind subsequently dying, making it very difficult to return to the pier...). But after solving my motor problem (overheated because pee hole was blocked), I'm ready for more "adventures".

I have a few basic questions, because, as you can probably tell from my first time out, my sailing experience is very limited:

I live in New London, CT, and would like to sail this weekend to Fishers Island. To anyone who is familiar with the area, are there any good/bad approaches to the island? Do I need to worry about currents? Is there anything else I need to worry about or avoid?

As a beginner, I don't have a very good concept of how long this trip will take me. I think I will be putting the boat in the water in Groton. It looks from the charts as if it will be about a 3-4 mile sail (to Flat Hammock, where I hope to stop for lunch). The wind is predicted to be 5-10 mph coming from the S-SW, which should put me on a beam reach (if I have my terminology right?). Any guestimates on how long it will take me to get there?

Charts - From browsing the internet, I found that you can get NOAA charts free?? Are they sufficient to use for navigation?

Thanks for any help/advice!
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Old 27-07-2012, 11:47   #2
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Re: Second weekend on the boat!

I'm guessing my questions were too specific

To ask a more general question, assuming no current, what's the relationship between sailboat speed and wind speed (1994 Macgregor 26S, no genoa or anything fancy like that)? I realize I'm really simplifying something that's much more complicated... but does anyone have a rule of thumb or a rough guestimate?
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Old 27-07-2012, 16:27   #3
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Re: Second weekend on the boat!

I think your questions were fine, messages just disappear quickly here, particularly if they are of low entertainment value.

Do you have a handheld GPS to measure your speed over ground? MAny people on boats bigger and faster than yours use 4 knots as a conservative average boat speed. This is generally a good approach, but when currents are concerned, it is good to plan ahead and know when you might get somewhere, and what the current might be doing then. Wind against current, particularly in or around inlets, can be dangerous, even in moderate conditions. I had to figure this out the hard way - watching my family vomit everywhere...

This kind of trip planning can be accomplished by:

1) Having a way to measure speed, ie: handheld GPS

2) Using a nautical chart to determine distance in nautical miles, divided by speed in knots = time

3) Adjust for conditions based on personal experience or other local knowledge.

Assuming no current, and the conditions you expect, it sounds like a pretty quick ride - easily within 2 hrs, perhaps half that. PM thunderstorms are common here; morning is a better time to travel if they are expected.

Always keep in mind that things happen - you know this already - and having a buffer never hurts.

When I started sailing, I took Piloting and Advanced Piloting classes from the US Power Squadron. My chartplotter is unreliable, and I have virtually no electronics anyway (not by choice$), but I have a great deal of confidence in my piloting skills, so it does not keep me from going where I want to go. I'd look into it. It has saved me a ton of grief that I see other new sailors going through, although I've had my fair share of unplanned experiential learning too. Buy a chart for your area, Ocean Grafix print on demand charts are up to date, or you can get a Maptech chartbook if you plan to trailer around to different places.

Hopefully you'll get some New Englanders to respond about local conditions, hope this helps. Does your rudder contact the prop easily? That's not cool-
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Old 27-07-2012, 16:45   #4
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Re: Second weekend on the boat!

On a small monohull, it is realistic to expect your boat speed to be about 50% (or a bit better) of the apparent wind speed up to the hull speed of the boat. Assuming 5 knots for planning purposes is probably a good starting point. If you are going slower then give it a little push with the motor.

I don't specifically know your venue, but have done some sailing a bit further north -- big tidal variances in the NE and thus big tidal currents -- I would check on tides and currents along your route for sure. An adverse current can dramatically effect your speed over ground.

When heading out, even on a short trip like this, always think about a contingency plan. What if: wind dies, motor dies, current is against you.....?
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Old 27-07-2012, 16:53   #5
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Re: Second weekend on the boat!

Quote:
Originally Posted by illiniphoenix View Post
I had some scary moments (rudder slamming into outboard prop and almost sending me into a bridge pilon, motor dying and the wind subsequently dying, making it very difficult to return to the pier...). But after solving my motor problem (overheated because pee hole was blocked),
I don't know about the area you are sailing in, sorry.
The motor problems however should not be due to a blocked pee hole. The pee hole is only a visual indication the impeller is working. If its blocked it should not effect the motor cooling, or function.
If the motor overheated you have a different problem, like a worn impeller. Fix this before you go out again.
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Old 27-07-2012, 16:54   #6
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Re: Second weekend on the boat!

I don't know your area but for a Mac 26 I'd estimate 4-5 knots on a beam reach when not using a Genoa.

Good luck on your sail. I find those little steering arms that connect your outboard steering to your rudder steering to be a pretty nifty solution to running your rudder into the propeller and also giving you extra steering by coordinating the direction of your outboard with the direction of your rudder. Just something to consider.

You might try posting your specific navigation question in the destination section under forums on the bar above.

kindest regards,
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Old 27-07-2012, 21:14   #7
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Re: Second weekend on the boat!

yes you can nav by the noaa charts
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Old 28-07-2012, 06:26   #8
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Re: Second weekend on the boat!

Thanks all for your responses!

I spoke with a coworker yesterday who knows the area I will be sailing well. He strongly urged me to get a gps and depth finder for regular use, but especially for times of unexepected fog, which is apparently common. Any recommendations as to a cheap but effective gps/depth finder combo?
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Old 28-07-2012, 06:46   #9
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Re: Second weekend on the boat!

GPS is fine to have onboard but, also recommend you get a chartbook for Long Island Sound for navigation too! As for the currents you will encounter I also STRONGLY recommend you pick up this years Eldridge Tide and Pilot Book:
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: FROM BIANKA'S BOOK SHELF: ELDRIDGE TIDE AND PILOT BOOK
It contains not just tide information, but also times of current change along with hourly graphical representations of the currents in Long Island Sound and other areas along the east coast. I never leave port without it. You will save a lot of time and aggravation using the currents instead of bucking them. Enjoy your cruise.
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Old 28-07-2012, 22:25   #10
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Re: Second weekend on the boat!

Have you considered a shorter trip, perhaps along the shore, to get a feel for what your boat can do?

You might also try reading a few basic navigation books, which should answer all your questions.

When I was starting out in our C22, I took baby steps before giant leaps.

Good luck.
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Old 28-07-2012, 22:33   #11
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Re: Second weekend on the boat!

Quote:
Have you considered a shorter trip, perhaps along the shore, to get a feel for what your boat can do?
+1
Don't overreach to much at the beginning.
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Old 01-08-2012, 16:14   #12
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Re: Second weekend on the boat!

mbianca, I picked up a copy of the Eldrige this weekend. Thanks for the advice. Stu Jackson (and anyone else) are there any navigation books you would specifically recommend?

I cancelled my trip this weekend due to unpredictable weather. I'm instead planning a trip for the upcoming weekend sailing up the coast.

Thanks everyone again for your advice. It’s amazing to me how helpful people are!
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Old 03-08-2012, 14:34   #13
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Re: Second weekend on the boat!

Quote:
Originally Posted by illiniphoenix View Post
Stu Jackson (and anyone else) are there any navigation books you would specifically recommend?
Amazon.com: boat navigation: Books
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Old 03-08-2012, 14:58   #14
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Re: Second weekend on the boat!

Congratulations on your new boat! I live in the area, and did the Mudhead's Wednesday night races for 25 years, until we switched to cruising a couple of years ago, so we are extremely familiar with Fishers Island Sound! The currents can be strong, especially during strong moon phases, but they're not terrible on the north side of Fishers-but beware the Race, and the passages on the eastern end of the island. Also, be really careful anchoring at Flat Hammock-there is a lot of kelp, and we've dragged there often. Both West and East Harbors are very well marked, but if you're headed to East watch out for the Clumps-West, Middle and East. They're well marked also, but still ominous! Fun fact: in the late seventies Sail Magazine named Fishers Island Sound one of the 10 most treacherous bodies of water in the US! But it is also one of the most beautiful. Another vote for having the engine looked at!
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Old 11-08-2012, 20:12   #15
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Re: Second weekend on the boat!

I ended up sailing to Flat Hammock last weekend afterall. It was an awesome time! The boat slept 6 comfortably more comfortably than I expected (3 in the cockpit).

I'm fairly certain that my motor issues (cropped up again) are idling issues due to debris in the idle circuit, or a gunked up carburetor. The motor had a hard time idling, but when I put it in forward, it was fine for the 10 minutes I ran it for.

Anyways, thanks everyone for the advice!
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