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Old 25-07-2016, 15:40   #1
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Buddy Boating?

Every now and then a thread pops up where someone is looking to buddy boat on an upcoming passage. When I read these posts my eyes involuntarily roll back in my head.

Is it just me who suffers this affliction?

Are there others who think safety in numbers is an illusion? Who think that once you get "out there" you need to be prepared to go it alone? Or that if you feel like you need a buddy boat to hold your hand on an upcoming passage that maybe you shouldn't be making the passage in the first place?

My logic is that if you need a buddy boat to rescue you if things get ugly, who is going to rescue you when things get ugly onboard your buddy boat?
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Old 25-07-2016, 16:06   #2
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Re: Buddy Boating?

Buddy boating is abjectly wrong unless its two mates heading to the same bar.

Reason is simple: You don't learn nuthin unless the whole shebang is up to you.
You must learn to do every nav decision yourself, for better or for worse. Follow someone elses course and you have not gone anywhere yourself.
Its the same with every tactical decision: you need to tack when you decide to tack, even altering 1 degree needs to be your decision, not some boat up ahead or behind.

Its the same as having a skipper on board - you dont learn a thing because he is there looking over your shoulder.

FEAR. Everyone gets it but you cant get over yours untill you get out and do it yourself. Then you will have the confidence for the next, bigger, challange.

If you have friends on another boat going to the next same port as you, leave an hour earlier, a few hours later or leave last night or tomorrow. You still get to the same place and have fun together
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Old 25-07-2016, 16:21   #3
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Re: Buddy Boating?

From my personal perspective, I think it's a matter of personal preference. We have crossed oceans both by ourselves and also in the company of other cruisers. The times we 'buddy boated' did not give me any sense of additional security - we're well aware that we're on our own out there and the likelihood of another boat being able to offer assistance in the event of a catastrophe is highly unlikely. Regardless, we have enjoyed the company of good friends via radio and email while on passages. Obviously, some cruisers may feel more comfortable with the knowledge that there's another boat out there within a day's travel. If that makes it easier for them to enjoy being offshore, I have no issue with it nor would I suggest that they're 'afraid' or any other derogatory connotation.

Fair winds and calm seas.
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Old 25-07-2016, 16:28   #4
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Re: Buddy Boating?

I think buddy boating is great, but not much for safety reasons. Nice to do the trip nearby another. You might ask on the VHF if the other boat saw something. "Check out that waterspout I see on my radar about 6 miles out" comes to mind. If one boat is faster than the other, the lead boat can often update on sea and wind conditions. etc. But if one "buddy" is relying on the other, then... not good.
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Old 25-07-2016, 16:43   #5
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Re: Buddy Boating?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
Buddy boating is abjectly wrong unless its two mates heading to the same bar.

Reason is simple: You don't learn nuthin unless the whole shebang is up to you.
You must learn to do every nav decision yourself, for better or for worse. Follow someone elses course and you have not gone anywhere yourself.
Its the same with every tactical decision: you need to tack when you decide to tack, even altering 1 degree needs to be your decision, not some boat up ahead or behind.

Its the same as having a skipper on board - you dont learn a thing because he is there looking over your shoulder.

FEAR. Everyone gets it but you cant get over yours untill you get out and do it yourself. Then you will have the confidence for the next, bigger, challange.

If you have friends on another boat going to the next same port as you, leave an hour earlier, a few hours later or leave last night or tomorrow. You still get to the same place and have fun together


The best answer I have seen or heard on this issue, particularly related to the cases where less experienced sailors have some lack of confidence in their boat, their skills, or their safety.
---------

Sometimes experienced sailors do try to sail in company of other boats.

My Anecdote:
I left Kauai as crew on a boat at the same time as two other boats, all about the same size. All three boats headed towards San Francisco. We communicated by radio for 2-3 days, on a schedule because one of the other boats had a weather fax. We could occasionally see their sails on the horizon. We had no GPS. After a few days (3) the engine on our boat had a problem when we attempted to use it to charge batteries. The experienced skipper on my boat could not fix it. He radioed for help from the other boat, which had a professional diesel mechanic aboard. We met a few hours later. The nice and helpful mechanic swam over, looked at the engine for a while and could not fix it. From that point on, we did not use the engine for the rest of the voyage (about 2,500 NM total). After the mechanic swam back to his boat, and we began sailing again, we tried to stay in touch because that boat had a weather fax aboard.

After a few hours it was dark and we never saw that boat again. After another few hours we lost touch via radio.

Summary? While three similar boats left at the same time, going to the same destination and using a similar route, and agreed to stay in radio contact, after four days the boats were separated and never in contact again. The ocean is vast.

Lesson? Don't count on some other buddy boat to be there to help you on long ocean passages. It also made me appreciate that our boat was a sailboat, and not totally dependent on the engine.

I hope that helps someone consider the practicality of having a buddy boat on a long passage. Of course this is just one experience and there will be others who have very different stories to tell. That is mine. Fair winds!
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