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Old 06-10-2013, 13:12   #1
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Ship or sail?

Hello,
My brother and I sailed quite a lot as children and teenagers, raced Mac dinghys and were even certified at the time to pilot sailboats up to 24'. Flashfoward over 25 years and I have just bought a Bristol 27, which has to be moved from Delaware Bay to the Hudson River Valley. The boat is supposedly sailable. I haven't been on it yet--or any boat since I was in my twenties. So here's the question: Is it completely crazy for my brother and I to try to make the trip ourselves this month? I've been doing a lot of theoretical refreshing, but it is just that--theoretical. On the other hand, I am confident that I will be able to pick up where I left off, sort of like riding a bicycle. We would have the Delaware Bay to wet our feet. And Bristols are supposed to be quite forgiving. Alternatively, I could just have the boat shipped over land, though that would cost not an insignificant chunk of change. But shipping would give me more time to brush up without the non-monetary pressure. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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Old 06-10-2013, 13:16   #2
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Re: Ship or sail?

I vote for bring the boat down yourself. I don't know about the timing, only you can decide if the weather is going to hold long enough for the transit. I wouldn't make a final decision until I had a chance to look the boat over and see what kind of condition she is in.
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Old 06-10-2013, 13:23   #3
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Re: Ship or sail?

It's great to get a vote of confidence!
The boat should be in good shape. The interior needs work, but the exterior looks to be in good condition from the photos. The bottom was just painted. The rigging is brand new. The diesel inboard runs. The marina where she's docked has been in business for 25 years, has been quite helpful and will surely help to send us off safely.
How risky is it to sail the length of the New Jersey shore in October?
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Old 06-10-2013, 13:51   #4
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Re: Ship or sail?

Looks like about 250 miles. Assuming all under power on a 27 foot sailboat top speed of about 5 knts. Around 50 to 75 hours underway. So, about a week on the water, maybe less if you push it, and if you get favorable currents/wind.

Some thoughts here:
Make sure to have spares like fuel filters, and raw water impeller
Verify the bilge pump works well.
Get the unlimited towing insurance before you go.
Perhaps get a safety inspection from the Coast Guard Auxiliary, or the US Power Squadron (either free or very low cost). While this won't necessarily make it safe to make the trip, it will make sure that you know what safety equipment you should have.
Verify your radio works, so you can call for help if you need it.
Verify the GPS works, and the chart plotter. Do you have a backup GPS? they are pretty inexpensive these days. I have a small handheld unit for backpacking that goes along on the boat. Small Lightweight and has Lat and Lon on it.
Charts for the planned route, and where you plan to spend the nights. If you are going to sail/motor straight through, consider when and where it will be okay for one of you to sleep.
Verify the lights all work. (Part of the safety inspection).
Does it have a life boat? If not how about a dinghy? If it sinks out from under you, will you be in a life vest waiting to be seen? Or ???

Consider spending a couple of days on the boat in the Delaware bay to get used to how it works and feels, then make a decision on shipping or taking it yourself.
My opinion, give it a go, and enjoy the trip. (Assuming all the right answers to the above questions and suggestions).

As a background here, my wife and I just spent 29 days motoring/sailing from Corpus Christi Tx, to New Port Richey, Fl. We went along the inter-coastal water way, then across the gulf.
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Old 06-10-2013, 13:52   #5
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Re: Ship or sail?

hey Nesanel!

Honestly, if it were me I wouldn't decide until I've seen the boat. How are the sails? Is she set up to conveniently reef quickly in unexpected poor weather? Is she rigged for shorthand? Is she set up with headsail reefing and what shape is it in? Is the rudder all fowled up below the waterline with sea grass and barnacles? Its good that the diesel runs but how many hours does it have and when was it last overhauled? When you first step aboard pretend you've been hired as a delivery captain, use a critical eye and check every system you can. How many batteries do you have aboard? How old are they and in what shape are they in? How long would they run a bilge pump if needed? Does the bilge pump work and what GPH is it? Check the radio, look at the electrical, fill the water tank and check for leaks, check all ground tackle and make sure its set for use in an emergency. Make sure you've got the right paper or waterproof charts, handbearing compass, etc. Make sure you're in compliance with all coast guard requirements. Finally check the weather, study the rout you'll take, and if all seems good and the boat looks alright, or at least the level of risk has been weighed and found to be acceptable by you and your brother, Go for it!

Good luck! Hope you have a great sail!

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Old 06-10-2013, 14:08   #6
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Re: Ship or sail?

Nes and Ryan H, fantastic responses. Great checklists. Good general approaches. Sounds like a good plan: We'll proceed incrementally, hoping to make the run ourselves but ready to abort if the items on the checklists don't pan out. Thank you!
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Old 06-10-2013, 14:10   #7
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Re: Ship or sail?

I couldn't speak to the timing, weather wise, I wouldn't cross the gulf of Alaska in October, did it once, got my ass handed to me, never again. I am not familiar with your weather patterns on that side of the continent.
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Old 06-10-2013, 14:16   #8
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Re: Ship or sail?

Well, Hurricane Sandy did happen last October....But the hurricane map does not look so bad for the Northeast this year, from what I can gather.
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Old 06-10-2013, 15:05   #9
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Re: Ship or sail?

What did your surveyor have to say about the condition of the boat ?
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Old 06-10-2013, 15:11   #10
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On a new to you old boat you may want to take your time getting used to it and learning what needs to be repaired or upgraded for safe operation. Did you have a survey? If not it may still be worthwhile. All of the above advice is good including the checklists. In general I like the " go for it" approach but inexperience and an unknown boat are not the wisest way to get back into sailing.

It's been a few years since I was there, but keep in mind that Delaware Bay can get rough in a hurry and there are very few safe places to go for protection. Check your charts carefully and mark your safe harbors in case you need one. Also be aware there is a lot of big commercial shipping there. You can tuck in to Cape May and go up the ICW to Atlantic City or all the way up to the Manesquan inlet. You'll need to check on the current conditions of the route after Sandy. If you go outside instead be aware there are few safe places to enter on the Jersey shore in bad weather, so again plan your route and mark which places you feel you can run into if you need to. Which every way you go I hope you have fair weather and many good voyages now and in the future.
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Old 06-10-2013, 15:43   #11
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Re: Ship or sail?

The Bristol 27 is a great first boat... I had a friend on San Francisco Bay that sailed his boat all over Northern California from Monterey Bay to Tomales Bay. He even had an Espresso Machine on that boat!

The Bristol 27 is slow, but well built for a boat under 30 feet.

Except for the Delaware Bay, it looks like most of your trip will be a motor up river.

If you are not familiar with diesel engine, I find a good marine mechanic and have him go over the engine, including checking motor mounts and prop shaft alignment. Also have him check the charging system.

If it doesn't have a GPS, buy one and a couple of charts for the River. There may also be a guide book available, which will help you with planning your overnight stops along the way.

I am sure you are aware of it, but if not, here is a web site with projects and owners of Bristol 27s.

If you contact the owners group, they maybe able to point out an reoccurring problems with the boats or help with anything you find wrong.
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Old 06-10-2013, 15:45   #12
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Re: Ship or sail?

Let's take a look at the easiest route with the least stress. I'm assuming you have the standard Bristol 27' four foot draft and easy passage under 55' bridges. You cruise down the Delaware and into the Cape May Canal, under the 55' bridges and anchor off the Coast Guard Station waiting for good weather to sail/motor up to Absecon Inlet at Atlantic City,- maybe 30 miles?,- I don't recall the exact number. At Atlantic City you anchor inside Rum Point on the north side before the bridge. A 4' draft can easily be taken all the way up through Barnegat Bay to the point Pleasant Canal and out Manasquan Inlet. Anchor in the Metedeconk River near Brick, NJ waiting for a good passage through the canal and out the Manasquan inlet in the morning for an easy trip to Atlantic Highlands inside Sandy Hook,- maybe another 30 miles. Be sure to talk to the bridges on the VHF before entering the Point Pleasant Canal,- currents here are swift. Take a nice day across the Raritan Bay from an anchorage inside the breakwater at Atlantic Highlands for your trip up the Hudson. This is the "cockpit potato" route and not to be thought of as a pansy route if the weather is cold or harsh, but it is for sure the easy way!.
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Old 06-10-2013, 16:35   #13
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Re: Ship or sail?

I am very grateful to everyone for the tremendous advice. What a forum!
No, I didn't have a survey. I did speak in detail with a mechanic, however, who worked on the boat. He himself was interested in the boat, and assured me that there were no structural problems. (Given the circumstances, which I will not elaborate here, I felt I could rely on this statement.) The "cockpit potato" route is appealing to me, because, yes, relying on inexperience is not the wisest way to get back into sailing. I have a GPS and will get waterproofed charts and a good marine mechanic to check the engine out before starting. Thank you all again very much.
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Old 06-10-2013, 17:06   #14
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Re: Ship or sail?

look at the boat then figger it out. if it floats and is dry, rig sound, and a few other things, i would sail it...but i have done much more brilliant things at a moments notice...
but i would prolly do the inner waterway way, if possible.

mebbe
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