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Old 25-07-2018, 17:56   #1
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A new adventure begins.

Tonight (in about 8 hours) I'm going to catch a bus for the coast. I'll arrive in Richmond Virginia Friday, July 27th. From there I am going to spend the weekend learning to sail and making some final repairs then I will be sailing the ICW to Floridia and either make a straight shot across the Gulf or use the GCW from there to the Mississippi and back home. My boat is a 32' Endeavor named Beatrice


I mention this because I have seen lots of you post from various points along the route and I think it would be neat if someone asked me to drop to a work channel and said hi.



Also this is my first sail so... wish me luck?
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Old 25-07-2018, 18:31   #2
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Re: A new adventure begins.

May you have fair winds and calm seas on your maiden voyage!
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Old 25-07-2018, 19:43   #3
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Re: A new adventure begins.

Are you learning on your boat? Who's teaching you? Do you have prior boating experience? Are you crossing the Gulf by yourself? Where is home? Do you have navigation instruments on board? Do you have current charts?

I'm sorry if those are stupid questions, I don't intend to offend you if you know what you are doing. It seems a little ambitious to take on by yourself if you've never sailed. Forgive me if you've got this all covered.
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Old 25-07-2018, 19:57   #4
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Re: A new adventure begins.

Yes I will be learning on my boat. The previous owner has offered to teach me over the weekend. He has been sailing for 9 years across 6 boats. I have prior boating experience in that I live on a freshwater lake and have used power boats there a lot and also lived aboard my dad's power cruiser truthfully mostly marina hopping along an interior river. No I will not be alone my father (also first time sailor) has offered to go with me. Home is Oklahoma. For navigation instruments I am taking a laptop with open CPN and a GPS receiver and all relevant current charts from NOAA and USCG and USACE. I also have an admittedly incomplete set of schedules for bridges and locks.



No apology necessary for the questions, I appreciate the questions perhaps you will think of something I missed. I understand that this is ambitious bordering on crazy and that "buying a boat on ebay and sailing it back" is the very example many give of what not to try, but something like this is the only chance I will have of eventually living aboard my own (upgraded) cruiser. Also I've been in nearly constant contact with the seller and I think it's going to be fine.
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Old 25-07-2018, 20:12   #5
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Re: A new adventure begins.

I think beginning with a trip down the ICW is entirely reasonable for a new sailor with some prior boating experience. You'll probably run aground a few times along the way. Get a TowBoatUS membership.

By the time you reach the end you'll have a good sense of your capabilities and probably will elect not to cross the Gulf in a single offshore passage

In all seriousness though, don't get yourself killed in a tropical storm. This isn't the best time of year to start a long passage in that area.
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Old 25-07-2018, 20:18   #6
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Re: A new adventure begins.

Hurricane season and weather and my skill level once I get there will all help make the decision to cross or to spend the extra two weeks on the gulf channel. Also once I get there I intend to sign up for SeaTow.
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Old 25-07-2018, 20:20   #7
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Re: A new adventure begins.

If I may, my $.02. Hopefully your ICW experience will prepare you for that Gulf crossing. I would pay particular attention to ground tackle (anchor) and be able to deploy it quickly in the worst conditions. Know how and when to reef your sails. Make sure your bilge pumps work flawlessly and have manual backups. Make sure your VHF is working and have a handheld backup. Get a personal EPIRB or a vessel EPIRB. Change the impeller on your cooling water systems and engine belts if you don't know when they were last changed. Have spares. Have a spare water pump, alternator, and starter. Have spare fuses. Known where all your through hulls are and operate the seacocks. The ICW is bad about shoaling in areas so consult Active Captain or a reasonable facsimile. I would have a backup navigation system to the laptop too. Phone, tablet, hand held GPS, etc. Have weather gear">foul weather gear and check your survival gear. Practice man overboard drills and get jack lines and vest beacons for running at night. I could think of a lot more. Maybe someone else will chime in. Good luck.
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Old 25-07-2018, 20:31   #8
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Re: A new adventure begins.

I'd make sure you have at least 4 dock lines and 4 spring lines too. Have a reliable spot light for spotting nav aids or a person in the water at night. Calculate your fuel as if you had to motor the whole way with a 50% margin for rough seas. Maybe more. Make sure your tank water is potable if you intend to drink it. Have a set of snorkeling gear and a good serrated knife for cutting crab pot line which is very tough when it's fused around a shaft. I would not cruise near coastal waters on the Gulf side of Florida at night for fear of fouling a prop on a crab pot line. I'm sure you can google checklists for passages and crossings.
Good Luck.
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Old 25-07-2018, 20:52   #9
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Re: A new adventure begins.

Hopefully I will learn ground tackle and reefing as I go. As for the VHF it has a mast head VHF antenna and the current owner says it transmits around 20 miles. I will check it. I am considering a hand held back up and would get one before attempting the passage across the gulf but have decided its not worth it on the ICW where there are numerous opportunities to stop if the radio isn't working. I looked at Eprib and again may get one if we cross the gulf but they are a 1/3 of a boat unit (as they say on these forums) at 300$. That's good advice about the crab lines thank you. As for foul weather gear I'm probably woefully underpreapred I have my Navy A coat and will probably get a couple "slickers". As for the cooling system we are installing a newly refurbished water pump when we get there. We will have a spare alternator but not starter and of course spares of both belts. Spare fuses I will pick up if they are not aboard. I dont know what through hulls are (you mean holes?) and I don't know what a seacock is. What is active Captain is it like Open CPN? We will both have cell phones for back up nav. There are two life jackets included with strobe beacons and I am taking a box of batteries.


I don't know if I have any jack lines.... I hope not to be in seas rough enough or hauled over far enough to need them but I will consider getting some if there isn't any on the boat. For a spot light I have a handheld led 5w super focused flash light that reaches out well over a mile (I don't think it's technically legal). But wont be traveling at night much most likely. Having lived on a boat before... with just the two of us after 10 or 12 hours sailing we will likely want to anchor and sleep.
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Old 25-07-2018, 21:03   #10
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Re: A new adventure begins.

You will learn as you go but a few closing comments:

Crossing the Gulf is a whole different ball game. It doesn't sound like you're ready for it. When I first bought my boat I wouldn't have been ready either. Experience takes time.

Luckily the ICW will give you plenty of safe experience. You can get away without an EPIRB for now but I would splurge on a second VHF radio. You will use it several times a day and there is no better way to piss off a bridge tender than not having a working radio.

Through-hulls are the holes in the bottom of your boat (for engine cooling, head flushing, etc.). They have valves on them called seacocks. You need to know where every single one is because they can sink your boat if not properly maintained. That part is actually important.

I was recently in a situation very similar to yours; cruising the ICW in a new-to-me boat with no big-boat experience. PM me if you want and I'd be happy to discuss at length
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Old 25-07-2018, 21:09   #11
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Re: A new adventure begins.

Depending on how you intend to cross the Gulf (you indicated crossing rather than skirting the coast) you might have to run at night in water too deep to anchor.
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Old 25-07-2018, 21:14   #12
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Re: A new adventure begins.

You said to have a set of snorkeling gear is there any particular brands you recommend on the economy side?
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Old 25-07-2018, 21:38   #13
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Re: A new adventure begins.

As for crossing the gulf I don't know if we will but what I am considering is preferred route 1 Port of New Orleans to Port of Tampa at around 500 nm and 4.5 days at sea. VS what I am told is at minimum two weeks on the gulf coastal waterway because of bridges locks damns traffic etc.
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Old 26-07-2018, 05:37   #14
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Re: A new adventure begins.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SuttonCS View Post
As for crossing the gulf I don't know if we will but what I am considering is preferred route 1 Port of New Orleans to Port of Tampa at around 500 nm and 4.5 days at sea. VS what I am told is at minimum two weeks on the gulf coastal waterway because of bridges locks damns traffic etc.
No need to cross like that. You run a risk of the weather changing before you get across. Maybe St. Pete to Carrabelle would be a shorter, easier to manage leg. You can shorten that a little more by going farther North to Stienhatchie or around there before jumping off. How much do you draw? Buy a Waterway Guide for wherever you're going. If you are going to the Port of New Orleans you need to make sure your boat has the power to fight the current in the delta. You need to REALLY pick your day CAREFULLY! Fog and heavy shipping traffic is a bad combination. I wouldn't want to do it without radar or an excellent forecast with no chance of fog.


As for snorkeling gear the brand isn't as important as the mask fit. If you inhale through your nose and then hold it should stay sucked to your face without the aid of a strap for several seconds. If it falls off it's leaking around the edge due to hair or poor fit.
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Old 26-07-2018, 06:05   #15
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Re: A new adventure begins.

Best of luck to you Sutton.
My first real sail was from Pensacola to Corpus Christi and we did not do the ICW. I brought an experienced crewman and my adult daughter with me. It was a great trip, learned a lot in a short amount of time.
Know your boat and itís equipment before you go, operate EVERYTHING to make sure it works, plan for repairs, keep a journal so you can refer back to it later for items to repair, replace, purchase etc.
Have a great time and try not to run into anything.
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