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Old 19-03-2014, 15:35   #61
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Re: azores 2014 how safe is it?

Alex,
While I'm flattered to be asked to contribute (and I will), I'm not so sure that "carnage" is a good way to describe things...
Quote:
Originally Posted by atoll View Post
With the transatlantic crossing season beggining soon i thought it might be an idea to discuss ways and means to avoid some of the carnage that happens every year.

no doubt there will be members preparing at the moment for the passage that generally starts with vessels leaving the caribean late april,and the east coast of usa in may.
Quote:
Originally Posted by atoll View Post
perhaps Ka4wja would like to comment on the weather and why it causes so many problems.

perhaps others would add comments on preperation,and hind sight from previous trans atlantic's that might be of benifit to passagemakers this year
------ First off, no matter how much fact is presented a thread like this will also have a good deal of opinion in it, but as long as we all recognize that when it comes to opinions there is no "right" or "wrong", we should be able to provide lots of good/helpful info (and maybe even consensus)...

So, with that said here are some of my thoughts....


1) Based on my experience and my knowledge of others' experiences, most boats will take much more abuse than their captains/crew can take...
Yes on an Atlantic crossing, gear might break, chafe will happen, your vessel may suffer some serious wear 'n tear, etc. but in general most boats will survive just fine...(the worst thing a typical boat crossing the Atlantic would need to contend with, would be an incompetent captain/crew...


2) Notwithstanding the above comment (#1), perhaps the most misunderstood concept is just how much toll, the constant 24/7 use, for weeks at a time (in what can be a fairly rough environment), takes on systems on-board....

--- Being able to secure all hatches and ports, from the sea, wind/waves/rain/spray/etc. as well as all thru-deck plates, rigging chainplates, etc. is very important!!
(not the least of which is to ensure good crew morale and adequate sleep....who likes to sleep on a wet bunk, or when dripped on!!)

Before you leave, use the dock hose with a hi-pressure nozzle to check every hatch, port, opening, etc...if it leaks at all, fix it now or be prepared for the hassles at sea...

Making sure your thru-hulls are secure and you can close-off seacocks as needed (and/or only open the ones needed), and have wooden plugs at the ready by each thru-hull....
And having the plug at the ready for the boat speed paddle-wheel and/or depth transducer, as well, is important....
I heard from a captain of a Swan 46 (?), whose boat came down off a wave in the N. Atlantic and "pop"....the boat speed transducer was forced right out of its thru-hull fitting and they had a geyser shooting sea water at a quite high volume all over the boat (filled the bilge and were wading thru water on the cabin sole, by the time they got it plugged!!), so don't forget the plugs for those thru-hull transducers!!

Check your stuffing box, shaft seal, etc....and be prepared to act should a leak or failure occur....(I've know some say that they check their stuffing boxes everyday when offshore....but to me that's overkill...)



--- Yes, chafe of running rigging is usually the first thing mentioned, and yes it can occur, especially if lines are not run fair and smooth...but even if you do have good blocks, well set-up, etc. it can still happen...
The main halyard as it comes off the masthead sheave is one often overlooked place to check very carefully before departure, for any issues....make sure the line runs smooth and free, and doesn't come off the sheave at a great angle when the sail is let out for a downwind run, etc..(your sailmaker and/or rigger, can be of great help here, should you find an issue...)
Don't forget to check your main preventers and vang, as well...
Understand that 2 - 3 weeks of 24/7 sailing with good wind in the sails will cause more chafe issues, and possibly do more damage, than a 5+ years of normal sailing / coastal cruising / island hopping....this is often a surprise to some, but it is a fact!!!


--- Standing rigging also gets a real work out here...
If it's not rusty, many folks just assume their standing rigging is fine...and many times they're correct....but that doesn't tell the whole story...
While not a common occurrence, breaking a rigging wire does happen...(usually at a terminal, caused by corrosion inside a swage, etc.), so having a "rigging inspection" (and replace suspect rigging / terminals) before you leave is a good idea...
And, many will also bring with then a coil of rigging wire and terminals, long enough to replace the longest stay on-board....although now-a-days carrying a length of synthetic rigging rope and ready with appropriate attachment, is a better way to go!!

Bottom line is...old, suspect standing rigging can be a cause of some REALLY bad things happening at sea....check it out / replace as necessary, before you leave!!



--- Sails themselves can suffer issues...
Whether reef point cringles being torn, or sail slides breaking....or torn webbing, etc. anywhere the stress/forces are concentrated is an area of concern BEFORE you shove off across the Atlantic...
Make a very close inspection of these areas, as well as where your mainsail may touch the spreaders, etc. (have spreader chafe patches sewn-in if your sailmaker think necessary).
Also have a look at your genoa and its leech, where it may contact the spreaders....make sure it is in good shape and repair as needed....
(or have your sailmaker go over your whole suite of sails, since this is a sort-of "pay me now or, PAY me later" situation...)
Remember that 2 - 3 weeks of 24/7 sailing with good wind in the sails will cause more sail issues, and possibly do more damage, than a 5+ years of normal sailing / coastal cruising / island hopping....this is often a surprise to some, but it is a fact!!!

--- Spreader boots are a must for most boats with overlapping genoas...
And, while many modern boats look odd with "baggy wrinkles", some like 'em to keep their sails from chafing on the shrouds, etc...


--- Make damn sure all your reefing systems, lines, blocks, sheaves, rollers, swivels, etc. are ALL smooth and free....especially when under load...
Those of you like me, with single-line reefing systems, should take extra time to evaluate your mainsail reefing system and make every effort to remove as much friction as possible now, and test your system out under load / with a decent wind, before you head across an ocean....as trying to pull in a reef when still sailing at/near hull speed (which you might do a sunny / blustery day in Biscayne Bay) is going to be a bitch when in 12' - 15' sea in the middle of the night in the N. Atlantic....
Now, yeah heading into the wind is what some may tell 'ya, but this may introduce anger/frustration in the off-watch crew and/or cause more issues if you end up lying-a-hull, etc. when trying to do it...
Oh, and of course if you've waited this long to put in your reef, yeas you're already too late.. BUT...
But, let's be serious here....we've all heard the adage "if you're thinin' 'bout reefin', 'ya already too late"....but how many of us really abide by thisin our daily sailing??? (not many I suspect....so, the chances are that you WILL find yourself way over-canvased and you'll need to put in a reef later than you should, and in rougher conditions that you have probably ever done!!!)

So, for the love of all you hold dear....please have your reefing systems sorted-out before you leave to cross the Atlantic!!!


--- Make darn sure your roller furlers are working smooth and easy, and all furling lines are lead fair and smooth...(I can furl my > 550 sq ft genny, sitting down at the helm, with one hand...even with some wind in the sail....if your furler isn't smooth, check it out now!!!)

Also, make sure that your genoa doesn't rub/chafe against the pulpit, lifelines, spreaders, radar radome, etc....

And, make sure you genoa cars and blocks run smooth and free (and if you have adjustable genoa cars, maker sure you can easily adjust them and that you know how/when to do so...)



--- Steering systems....
It seems that steering systems get overlooked by many....(that "hey it's worked great fro years" approach can find you with serious steering issues in the N. Atlantic!!)

Here are some FACTS...
a) If you can accomplish these 3 things, you and your boat will survive just fine..
- Keep the water on the outside of the boat...
- Keep the mast pointing up...
- Keep the sails in one piece and attached to the boat
I addressed these 3 concepts above...

b) If you can do this additional thing, you'll make it to shore just fine...
- Keep the boat pointed in the right direction (which usually requires ONLY a functioning steering system and a compass)
This is addressed by the steering system...(and having a decent steering compass...hopefully one that has been professionally deviated)

So, when it comes to steering system....while every boat is a bit different, they all have rudders and some way to turn 'em!!
Most have chain/cables, sheaves/pulleys. running from a wheel to the quadrant on the rudder post....as well as some form of self-steering / autopilot...(and hopefully an emergency tiller)

Edson is a great source of info on steering systems and their maintenance, even if you don't have an Edson steering system....
And, while I can't go over all the checks/maintenance here, just cleaning and lubing the cables and sheaves, AND tensioning the cables properly will do a LOT to improve the reliability of your steering system...

Also, the quadrant / rudder post attachment, rudder post bearings, autopilot tiller arm and autopilot drive brackets, are all things that should not only be checked but given due assessment for the significant additional stresses that the constant 24/7 use, for weeks on end, will impart on them...

Bottom line here, understand that your steering system IS going to be stressed more in one Atlantic crossing than it would be in probably 10 years of coastal sailing / island hopping, etc...
Do NOT assume all is well with it...



3) Some other thoughts about systems, items, things, etc...

--- An eastbound Atlantic crossing is not a trade-wind route, and with vessels generally leaving from the lower latitudes of the Caribbean, the SE US, and mouth of the Chesapeake, this means you're likely to be doing some windward sailing (or at least much more than those on the "Milk Run" do!)
On this eastbound passage it unlikely that you'll need to pole-out your genoa, so placing your whisker pole on the deck, stowing below, or not having one at all, will give you less weight/windage aloft and give you more room to work on rigging / sail issues at the mast, if/when they arise...



--- There are lots of things that can start being "cranky" when at sea for weeks at a time...especially when being used 24/7, and/or being subjected to the constant 24/7 motion of the sea/wind for weeks at a time...

- Your main boom gooseneck comes to mind....have a look at it now...nake sure it is secure and moves smoothly....and lubricate it well before leaving... {A true story here, when sailing on my current boat from Lanzorte, Canary to the USVI, one night my brother came up into the cockpit during my watch, in his underwear and a PFD/Harness, with a can of Boeshield and some paper towels....he proceeded to tell me his "plan" to stop the "frigging creaking" of the gooseneck so he could get some sleep!!! (the head of his bunk was right next to the mast)....I watched from the cockpit as he carefully made his way along the jacklines, and to the mast and secured him self to the padeyes there....and then spent just a few seconds spraying Boeshield on the gooseneck and pin...as I pulled the sheet in and let it out, a few times....he went below and went to sleep....a week and half later (after 3 days of sailing thru Tropical Storm Olga), we were eating fresh lobster in Anegada, before heading to St. Thomas....I checked the gooseneck before we left Gibraltar, but I hadn't lubed it....it took a week or two at sea to make "creak"...}

- Other things are macerator pumps, watermakers, hose clamps and plumbing fittings, etc...
- Even some electrical connections may have issues....poor wiring crimps, loose terminal screws, etc.

Remember that 2 - 3 weeks of 24/7 offshore sailing with good wind in the sails will cause issues, and possibly do more damage, than a 5+ years of normal sailing / coastal cruising / island hopping....this is often a surprise to some, but it is a fact!!!




4) There are many more things, but I need to move on to weather, etc...
You'll notice I didn't even mention weather in any of the above...strange you think???
Not really....because if you can't keep the sea water on the outside, keep the mast up, keep the sails in one piece, and keep the boat pointing in the correct direction...then any talk of weather / weather systems is moot!!!

So, PLEASE read over the brief synopsis above, again....and understand it, before reading my thoughts on weather systems...

Okay....now onto the good stuff...
(and, understand that even I can't write everything here...at least not in one sitting


a) Jack Tyler (who wrote this wonderful page about Atlantic crossings) is a MUCH better writer than I am!!!
And, even though he wrote this 11 years ago, it is still valid...
So, read his thoughts/observations/advice thoroughly...
Routes to the Azores


b) If I could get across only 5 points about weather, to those prepping for an Atlantic crossing, they would be:
1 --- There is no such thing as a "weather window" to sail across the Atlantic...(nothing wrong with waiting for nice weather and decent forecast, before departing...but after a few days, you'll simply be sailing with the weather that's out there, and use what weather info you have to improve your VMG and comfort...accept that now and don't worry!!!)


2 --- In the past decade or two, tropical weather detection and forecasting has gotten a LOT better, especially in the past 5 years or so...
So, all the old adages about "getting out of dodge" before a hurricane hits, is just old/out-dated whooey!!!
You do NOT need to leave in the springtime in order to avoid tropical weather / hurricanes!!
(yes, many on the west side of the Atlantic wish to cruise northern Europe, or even the Med, in the summertime, so they want to leave the US or Caribbean early enough to "not miss summer"....but that does NOT need to be April / May...)
Fact is you CAN sail eastbound across the Atlantic for Europe/Med, in June and July just fine!! (I've done it myself...as have many others..)

So, pick your departure / crossing time according to when/where you may wish to arrive and cruise...AND based on when continental weather systems are diminishing that particular year....
(this can mean a departure in May, or June or July....)
But, do NOT pick your departure / crossing dates based on some arbitrary dates set by others (such as rallies), nor on some out-dated and often very ill-conceived recommendations from guide books, or boat-show seminars....(ask the guy/gal giving the seminar, when was their last Atlantic crossing, and from where-to-where, at what days/time of year, etc. and of course how many they've made...)
Remember this is not a trade-wind Milk Run, so even the normal west-about circumnavigators can have erroneous info for an eastbound Atlantic crossing...(ever wonder why most sail west around in warm weather???)

Further, most insurance underwriters are MUCH more concerned that you'll actually make it to Europe unscathed, than they are of your exact departure dates....but in any case, most would just not cover you for "tropical windstorms" if you are south of 31*N, between July 1st and Nov 1st....
So, there should be NO insurance issues to worry about...


3 --- Pick your route across based on YOUR departure point, YOUR planned destination, and the YOUR weather (upon departure and while enroute)...
If leaving from the SE US, yes take advantage of the Gulf Stream as best you can (still sailing with the wind that you have, of course), but do not be over concerned about "eddy's" as they DO move around a lot, and the chances of finding a favorable one is slim...

Do NOT make a beeline for 38* - 40* and head east (unless your exact weather at that time forces you to)...but rather understand that with today's sailboats and today's weather forecasts, there is NO reason to venture so far north, especially if heading for the Med!!! (and not even if heading for the Azores!!)

Do NOT pick your route based on some arbitrary routing set by others (such as rallies or "weather routers"), nor on some out-dated and often very ill-conceived recommendations from guide books, or boat-show seminars....
(ask the guy/gal giving the seminar, when was their last Atlantic crossing, and from where-to-where, at what days/time of year, etc. and of course how many they've made...)


4 --- Understand that there is a wealth of weather information and forecasts easily available to you at sea, for FREE (and of course also available on-line when you're prepping/planning)...
These are synoptic weather charts....surface charts, wind/wave charts, and upper air charts....prepared by trained/experienced ocean meteorologists (who, in the US anyway, sign their own name to each forecast!!)
For LOTS of details, please have a look at these threads/discussions....

Favorite Nav/WX Websites?

Offshore / Hi-Seas Weather data / forecasts

Obtaining Accurate Offshore/Hi-Seas Weather data/forecasts, while at sea


And, understand that these are NOT Grib's (which are the raw computer model data, with no human interaction, nor editing, etc.), but these synoptic charts are real weather charts, drawn by trained/experienced ocean meteorologists...and are used daily by 1000's of professional mariners and ships at sea, and by 1000's of sailors on private sailboats as well...



5 --- Understand that the "continental weather" coming off N. America, has a significant effect on an eastbound Atlantic crossing, until the Bermuda/Azores High has built-in and become stationary (which can happen as early as May, or as late as August...but typically by late June...)
So, if crossing the Atlantic from the US to Europe earlier than late June, be very aware that it is this "continental weather" behind you that can come up and kick 'ya in the butt...
The fronts and their associated Lows diminish in intensity as you get later in the season....they can be a real bitch in April...still a bit fierce in May...and while usually even less intense in June, they can still pack a wallop!!
{end of June 2007, caught in a full Gale as I headed east about 75-100 miles north of Bermuda....we got just the tail end of it and had only 12 hours of winds of 40-45kts, and only 24 hours of winds 30-35kts....boats just 100 - 200 miles to my NE, had 50kts+ for > 24 hours....and these are NOT tropical systems, but continental Lows (cold-core Lows) carried swiftly along on a front....and this is at the end of June!!!
BTW, just 3 - 4 days later, on 4th of July....we were all but be-calmed!!!
The Atlantic was as smooth as a bathtub all day long....we listened to some music, while trying to keep my 1400+ sq ft asym filled with air...after 4+ hours averaging 1.5kts, and after looking at the new weather faxes, I cranked up the Yanmar and we went looking for wind...found it about dinner time, and before dark we were sailing along just fine....TRUE story!!}




5) Finally there is the "communications" issue/debate....
This is actually my forte....and with 40 some years experience with it, I better be pretty damn good at it, or I'd be a idiot for commenting on it!!

I think I'll simply write another post specifically about communications on the high seas, etc...

But, 'til then...I'll post a few basic concepts here, along with some VERY IMPORTANT links.....


As for who to contact if you do get in trouble (i.e. need to declare a Mayday / Distress), contact EVERYONE!!!

And, in order:
1- Activate your EPIRB...(will alert COSPAS-SARSAT and then relevant RCC's)

2- Send out a DSC-Distress on your DSC-Radios (VHF-DSC and HF-DSC)....(note that this will alert all vessels in your area...and when more than 100 -200 miles offshore the US, etc. it is these other vessels that will come to your assistance / rescue!!!)

3- Send a Distress via INMARSAT-C...(will alert other vessels in your region as well as that regions RCC's)

Only after those systems have been used, would alternative measures be recommended...such as a sat phone call, InReach device, Spot device, etc...
And, then only if within a a mile or two, try flares / horns, etc...


If you get in trouble, but do NOT require rescue / are NOT in distress, the ONLY way to signal for assistance / information / etc. from other vessels is via DSC-Radio....
This will put you in touch with other vessels (and/or shore stations) directly, and allow you to speak with them directly....
Inform them of your troubles, seek assistance, etc...
And, you can actually get help (water, diesel, food, medical advice/assistance, etc.) from these other vessels right there in your area....remember a big container ship running at 20 - 24 kts can cover 500-600 miles in a day...so what might seem like an unobtainable distance (of say 100 miles) can be covered in a few hours, and give you the assistance you require before anyone on shore can even find out who is out there to assist you!!!!



--- EVERY vessel/sailboat must have a VHF-DSC radio, programmed with a gov't issued MMSI#, and connected to a GPS....(I recommend a dedicated GPS for the DSC radios, and recommend leaving this VHF-DSC radio and GPS running 24/7 while at sea...)



--- I recommend that you have a 406mhz, that is properly and recently registered...preferably one that has its own built-in GPS (sometimes called a "GPIRB"...)
EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds

Please read this thread/discussion, and read the pages that have links provided...
Knowing this information can save your life, or someone else's....and it'll only take you a few minutes!!!
(the Grain de Soleil" incident was what prompted me to investigate further and write the above thread...)


---- If you desire to have long communications on-board (whether for weather info/forecasts, safety, distress, ship-to-ship communications, ship-to-shore telephone calls, etc.), I recommend an Icom M-802 HF-DSC-SSB radio....
Please read these threads/discussions, and watch the videos!!!
Knowing this information can save your life, or someone else's....and it'll only take you a few minutes!!!


Icom M-802 Instr Videos(basic-adv) & LIVE DSC-Distress Call

Icom M-802 DSC-Distress Signaling, what really happens!




Again, PLEASE read these threads/discussions, and read the pages that have links provided....and watch the videos!!!
Knowing this information can save your life, or someone else's....and it'll only take you a few minutes!!!
EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds

Icom M-802 DSC-Distress Signaling, what really happens!

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f13/icom-m-802-instr-videos-basic-adv-and-live-dsc-distress-call-114734.html




Trying to contact an RCC via sat phone can be VERY problematic....and especially so if they're 1st language is not the same as your 1st language!!!

The ONLY way to signal other vessels for advice/information/assistance is via DSC-Radio...(since Jan 1999)
VHF-DSC when within VHF radio range....and HF-DSC when outside VHF radio range....


The ONLY way to signal shore stations (other than the USCG) for advice/information/assistance is via DSC-Radio...
VHF-DSC when within VHF radio range....and HF-DSC when outside VHF radio range....
(the best way to signal the USCG is via DSC-radio)


The best way to signal a Distress / Rescue is via EPIRB, DSC-Radio, and INMARSAT-C....(these are all parts of the GMDSS)

http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=cgcommsCall

http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/pdf/marcomms/2MHzDistressWatchkeepingClosureSafetyAlert.pdf



A couple excerpts from USCG radio watch keeping regs...
Quote:
In general, any vessel equipped with a VHF marine radiotelephone (whether voluntarily or required to) must maintain a watch on channel 16 (156.800 MHz) whenever the radiotelephone is not being used to communicate. However, ships, where so equipped, shall, while at sea, maintain an automatic digital selective calling (DSC) watch on the appropriate distress & safety calling frequencies [e.g. channel 70] in the frequency bands in which they are operating. [4207.5khz; 6312khz; 8414.5khz; 12577khz; and 16804.5khz; DSC] If operating in a GMDSS Sea Area A1 may discontinue their watch on channel 16.
GMDSS regs are the same/similar....



Use of NAVTEX is almost ubiquitous in Europe and it does provide decent current weather info and 24 hour forecasts for the Med, etc.
But as you know it only provides weather info for near-offshore waters out to about 200 miles offshore...so while it's good in Europe and the Med and then only for short-term forecasts, it's not of too much use when crossing the Atlantic...




Yeah, there is more (especially regarding communications), but I gotta' go for the moment...


Fair winds to all..


John
s/v Annie Laurie

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Old 19-03-2014, 16:12   #62
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Re: azores 2014 how safe is it?

Sorry I didn't have time to comment specifically on crew capabilities and sleep deprivation, etc...
I'll add more later!!!

(but, at least this is covered generically by the "boat can take more than the crew" comment!!)


Fair winds...

John
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Old 19-03-2014, 16:19   #63
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Re: azores 2014 how safe is it?

thanks john

once this thread has a bit more" body" seaworthylass has offered to do a bit of an edit and move more "factual" info to the first page,which should make life easier for those preparing for the "Big rhumb line fever expedition"
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Old 19-03-2014, 16:35   #64
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Re: azores 2014 how safe is it?

Re comments along the line of "several crew and a wind vane and lots of diesel are necessary for a safe and successful passage":

This would have come as a surprise to Eric and Susan Hiscock, who managed to circumnavigate in Wanderer III by themselves, hand steering, and with a tiny engine, seldom used.

And they were not the only ones, just the best known and most prolific writers about their travels. They did, in their later boats and travels, mount and enjoy windvane steering.

My thoughts here are merely to remove the idea that multiple crew and self steering are NECESSARY. They (especially reliable self steering) are very desirable, and will make long passages more enjoyable and to be sure, safer, but history shows us that one can indeed do without them.

BTW, I sure miss my old windvane!

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Old 19-03-2014, 16:42   #65
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Re: azores 2014 how safe is it?

Great Post John

I would personally be interested in some comment on a Westward passage if you get time.
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Old 19-03-2014, 16:42   #66
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Re: azores 2014 how safe is it?

Wow - tough to follow John's post He makes a lot of very good points. To some it may seem like OCD, but knowing that every part of the boat, and every crew member (as much as possible) is prepared for the trip, is SOP for a lot of owners, and rightly so.

As Boatie so well demonstrated, once out on that big ocean things can go wrong - sometimes in a very big way. And a competent skipper can still get to safe harbor as long as the boat can be sailed in at least a minimal way and some form of navigation is available. Generators, engines, radios, autopilots, even wind vanes can be lost and still safe harbor can be made. But the one thing that absolutely must be available on long passages is good drinking water: adequate quantity and quality must be available throughout the passage. For those actively living/cruising aboard good water is always a concern and not likely to surprise us as a problem on our own boats. But sometimes we make mistakes and fail to completely fill all tanks, or take on dodgy water, or have some unnoticed bacterial contamination that becomes a problem later. So pay very close attention to water before going far from land.

(I do not fault Boatie in this matter. I have never heard of anyone sampling unfiltered water from each and every tank before departure - I never have. And it may have been a problem that was only detectable after time passed. Sometimes s**t just happens.)

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Old 19-03-2014, 16:52   #67
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Re: azores 2014 how safe is it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Re comments along the line of "several crew and a wind vane and lots of diesel are necessary for a safe and successful passage":

This would have come as a surprise to Eric and Susan Hiscock, who managed to circumnavigate in Wanderer III by themselves, hand steering, and with a tiny engine, seldom used.

And they were not the only ones, just the best known and most prolific writers about their travels. They did, in their later boats and travels, mount and enjoy windvane steering.

My thoughts here are merely to remove the idea that multiple crew and self steering are NECESSARY. They (especially reliable self steering) are very desirable, and will make long passages more enjoyable and to be sure, safer, but history shows us that one can indeed do without them.

BTW, I sure miss my old windvane!

Jim
building a boat on the east coast of africa in the 80's where exotic items like auto pilots and windvanes were hard to find and invariably expensive we elected to hand steer on the trip north from capetown to the meditereanan,and then across the atlantic where finally we found sitting in the corner of castries boat yard st lucia an old aries wind vane for $200.....best $200 i ever spent!,after 15000 miles of handsteering!

mind you we got pretty good at rope,elastic band to tiller and sheet to tiller with balanced sail arrangements.
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Old 19-03-2014, 17:01   #68
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Re: azores 2014 how safe is it?

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Re comments along the line of "several crew and a wind vane and lots of diesel are necessary for a safe and successful passage":

This would have come as a surprise to Eric and Susan Hiscock, who managed to circumnavigate in Wanderer III by themselves, hand steering, and with a tiny engine, seldom used.

And they were not the only ones, just the best known and most prolific writers about their travels. They did, in their later boats and travels, mount and enjoy windvane steering.

My thoughts here are merely to remove the idea that multiple crew and self steering are NECESSARY. They (especially reliable self steering) are very desirable, and will make long passages more enjoyable and to be sure, safer, but history shows us that one can indeed do without them.

BTW, I sure miss my old windvane!

Jim
I bet they were not doing their first crossing on a new to them boat when they set off for that circumnavigation? After having plenty sailing experience and a couple of offshore passages, things get easier
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Old 19-03-2014, 18:29   #69
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Re: azores 2014 how safe is it?

I am not even sure if I should bow into this conversation...

The Azores are just a group of islands used by some to break up what seems to some a long passage.

If you route plan Caribbean to Gibraltar and plot in the polar of your boat, especially if its a modern boat, you can plot a course far to the south of the Azores.

The further south the safer you are. The less gales you have but the more on the nose the prevailing winds become and the lighter they become.

If you boat is a true upwind climber you can sail from the north caribbean to almost Madeira in May!

One must work out what the real objective is. Is it to get to the Med? Or is it to do a tour of high latitude islands like Bermuda and the Azores? Or are these islands just the stop off points to let unfit, unsuspecting, crews recover and pretend the passage wasn't all that far?

See if doing the Hard Yards upwind is easier than going further north.

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Old 20-03-2014, 01:42   #70
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Re: azores 2014 how safe is it?

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Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
I am not even sure if I should bow into this conversation...

The Azores are just a group of islands used by some to break up what seems to some a long passage.

If you route plan Caribbean to Gibraltar and plot in the polar of your boat, especially if its a modern boat, you can plot a course far to the south of the Azores.

The further south the safer you are. The less gales you have but the more on the nose the prevailing winds become and the lighter they become.

If you boat is a true upwind climber you can sail from the north caribbean to almost Madeira in May!

One must work out what the real objective is. Is it to get to the Med? Or is it to do a tour of high latitude islands like Bermuda and the Azores? Or are these islands just the stop off points to let unfit, unsuspecting, crews recover and pretend the passage wasn't all that far?

See if doing the Hard Yards upwind is easier than going further north.

good points mark!!

and i belive it is now possible to get a Peters Cafe Sport T-shirt By mail order!

Peter Café Sport - Bibliography

This would save a whole lot of bother for lots of captains and crews,but then again,when propping up the yacht club bar in some distant port and the conversation comes round to the azores,you could not say "I've been there"!
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Old 20-03-2014, 02:41   #71
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Re: azores 2014 how safe is it?

At this point i should probably say something about taking crew,as i see already the "CREW WANTED" section of the forum is starting to fill with threads from yachts looking for crew to sail to Europe,and crew looking for adventure HERE on CF.
Crew Positions: Wanted & Available - Cruisers & Sailing Forums

whether you take crew or not is a prersonal choice,so is probably better discussed eleswhere.
in the meantine this has been discussed at lenth on the forum and here are a few threads discussing the guidelines.
Checklist For Voluntary Crew

apart for the forum there are commercial sites that have database's listing sailing opportunities for crew, who generally pay a small subscription for the service,so as to be able to access information posted by yachts looking for crew,this is generally free to the yacht owner.

such as the one listed below,but please add to the list.

Yacht crew agency, yacht crew vacancy, sailing crew from Crewseekers
Crewseekers is the original and premier sailing yacht crew agency. Established since 1990, we provide a first class personal service to the sailing world. We receive testimonials from worldwide reflecting the professionalism and effectiveness of our yacht crewing agency and recent comments can be seen on our testimonials page.

Crewseekers offer a wide variety of exciting sailing yacht crew opportunities worldwide. These range from day sailing, offshore cruising and competitive yacht racing to blue water cruising, sailing yacht deliveries and professional sailing positions from deckhands to captains. Many gap-year students and people seeking a life-style change join us for travel and adventure!

Crewseekers have featured in TV travel programmes, radio, video productions, quality sailing magazines and newspaper articles and even helped film companies with crew extras! Further details can be seen on our News and Media page.

Crewseekers has members in over 50 countries around the globe, and since 1990 has introduced thousands of yacht owners and yacht crew. Many past crew members who now own their own boats, or have vessels to command, also return to us for their own crew requirements.
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Old 20-03-2014, 03:09   #72
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Re: azores 2014 how safe is it?

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At this point i should probably say something about taking crew,as i see already the "CREW WANTED" section of the forum is starting to fill with threads from yachts looking for crew to sail to Europe,and crew looking for adventure HERE on CF.
Crew Positions: Wanted & Available - Cruisers & Sailing Forums

whether you take crew or not is a prersonal choice,so is probably better discussed eleswhere.
in the meantine this has been discussed at lenth on the forum and here are a few threads discussing the guidelines.
Checklist For Voluntary Crew

apart for the forum there are commercial sites that have database's listing sailing opportunities for crew, who generally pay a small subscription for the service,so as to be able to access information posted by yachts looking for crew,this is generally free to the yacht owner.

such as the one listed below,but please add to the list.

Yacht crew agency, yacht crew vacancy, sailing crew from Crewseekers
Crewseekers is the original and premier sailing yacht crew agency. Established since 1990, we provide a first class personal service to the sailing world. We receive testimonials from worldwide reflecting the professionalism and effectiveness of our yacht crewing agency and recent comments can be seen on our testimonials page.

Crewseekers offer a wide variety of exciting sailing yacht crew opportunities worldwide. These range from day sailing, offshore cruising and competitive yacht racing to blue water cruising, sailing yacht deliveries and professional sailing positions from deckhands to captains. Many gap-year students and people seeking a life-style change join us for travel and adventure!

Crewseekers have featured in TV travel programmes, radio, video productions, quality sailing magazines and newspaper articles and even helped film companies with crew extras! Further details can be seen on our News and Media page.

Crewseekers has members in over 50 countries around the globe, and since 1990 has introduced thousands of yacht owners and yacht crew. Many past crew members who now own their own boats, or have vessels to command, also return to us for their own crew requirements.
Another place sailors are more adventurous it seems than us power boaters. When I speak of crew, I'm speaking of crew that I'm very familiar with and very comfortable with both as to their abilities and compatibility with us. It appears in the sailing world there are more times one volunteers and one selects based on minimum knowledge and experience with each other. Not criticizing but just saying a little different approach.

I would also say crew approach is a bit different for power as mechanical issues can take away your only form of propulsion. Boatie's situation would have been worse in a power boat. Now he might have taken different precautions.

So when we as power boaters talk crew it's going to be from a different perspective and lead to different answers.

That said, there have been power boaters to go two handed but far fewer than sailors. Most powerboats are going to have a crew of at minimum 3 or 4 for something like a Nordhavn 47 to 6 or 7 for a 130' to 12 for a 200' boat.

Also, Bermuda and the Azores may be bypassed by sail boats but most powerboats under 200' need those stops to have adequate fuel.

Now the longest run a powerboater typically has is Bermuda to the Azores. That trip is a little over 2000 nm varying some by the path chosen. At 2000/nm the typical powerboats will take anything from 140 hours or 6 days to 170 hours or 7 days to 250 hours or 10 1/2 days. I would guess most sailboats plan on around 15 days. I'm sure within sailboats you get a differential depending on the speed of the boat, the conditions and how much you can and are willing to use engines.

In terms of supplies the shorter time at sea is more than offset by the crew so the power boat may still need more.
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Old 20-03-2014, 05:37   #73
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Re: azores 2014 how safe is it?

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IIRC Steve & Linda Dashew noted that one of the benefits of switching from sail to power is that they can avoid taking on crew for passagemaking. They took Windhorse all over the place with just the two of them on board. Whereas with sail, albeit in bigger boats than most folks have, they did need extra crew. It seems they did not always enjoy having crew with them.

Its going to depend on the people, their experience and preferences and the way the boat is setup.
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Old 20-03-2014, 07:09   #74
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Re: azores 2014 how safe is it?

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BandB
IIRC Steve & Linda Dashew noted that one of the benefits of switching from sail to power is that they can avoid taking on crew for passagemaking. They took Windhorse all over the place with just the two of them on board. Whereas with sail, albeit in bigger boats than most folks have, they did need extra crew. It seems they did not always enjoy having crew with them.

Its going to depend on the people, their experience and preferences and the way the boat is setup.
i think the trick is not to be DEPENDANT on crew,though for me half the fun of ocean crossing is having crew and meeting new people.

it could be hell only having the wife to talk to for 3 weeks
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Old 20-03-2014, 07:44   #75
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Re: azores 2014 how safe is it?

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it could be hell only having the wife to talk to for 3 weeks
It heavily depend on the wife, I guess
For me sailing is very much about being on our own, without the need to accomodate others
More convenient for birthsuit sailng, sex afloat and other small pleasures also...
Can't see a problem for few weeks
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