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Old 27-11-2013, 12:28   #1
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Canadians 1st Offshore Trip Any advice or Tips? Leaving Eastern US Soon!

My wife and I purchased our boat 5 years ago with 0 experience. We have had many other boats over the years but never a 22 ton 44' sailboat. We always had powerboats. Our friends thought we were nuts, looking for a boat for 1 1/2 years then throwing caution to the wind and jumping on bringing it up the east coast with no experience. We were very fortunate and we made it, learning as we went. Looking back in retrospect, we shake our heads now and wonder what we were thinking but we don't regret any of it.

We left the boat on the east coast until the last year where we have been doing a major refit of all systems worrying about esthetics when we get down south. We will be departing Annapolis within the next 10 days to spend the next year or 2 traveling south, island hopping and eventually going through the Panama canal then up the west coast to Vancouver island BC.

My wife has 0 experience and I have the 1400 miles bringing it up from Florida. We have been doing extensive planning, replacing systems, researching and acquiring advice from others who have done this. We are hands on and both own our own businesses in Alberta for many years now. I have years of experience in designing and fabrication of electrical, equipment, you name it, so when it comes to the boat systems I know my stuff so that's not a concern, in fact we have made a lot of custom changes to the boat to make it safer and idiot proof. We won't even bring up the $ part. In any case I know our boat inside out.

Our first leg is going to be from Annapolis to Florida and this is where we would like to draw on others experience. We want to do both the ICW and offshore mixing it up as we go. The more offshore the better. Ideally 75% offshore and 25% ICW would be perfect. What recommendations would you make to get both and what are the best places along this route to get in and out of shore? The questions are to many so whatever you have to offer on this first leg or even farther south that you feel would be of benefit would be great!

FYI
The boat is a
44 CSY
Tall rig @ 63'
Deep draft @ 6'
44,000 lbs Fully Provisioned

Thanks
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Old 27-11-2013, 12:43   #2
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Re: Canadians 1st Offshore Trip Any advice or Tips? Leaving Eastern US Soon!

Nice plans. You could read this from the beginning: Transit Time? NY-FL

It's a fun read.

www.activecaptain.com too.

Safe journey.
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Old 27-11-2013, 12:53   #3
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Re: Canadians 1st Offshore Trip Any advice or Tips? Leaving Eastern US Soon!

ICW to Beaufort, NC. The you can start the in and out. All depends on the weather. This time of the year the weather doesn't cooperate a lot. Rather than waiting 3,4, or 5 days I motor inside instead. The portion I usually wait to go outside is Charleston to St. Mary's River (Cumberland Is, Fernandina Beach). This way I avoid Georgia. Try to do this in one shot as it's a long way in if you decide to go in at Savannah. Have a safe trip.
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Old 27-11-2013, 13:17   #4
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Re: Canadians 1st Offshore Trip Any advice or Tips? Leaving Eastern US Soon!

If you're leaving from Annapolis, I'd suggest taking the ICW down to Morehead City, then offshore to Florida. That'll get you past the sometimes formidable Cape Hatteras, and then give you a bunch of offshore work.

When doing that offshore stretch of the East Coast, I liked to have a good idea of my options for ducking back into the ICW in case of an emergency or whatever. The US Coast Pilot 4 has a huge amount of detailed information about the inlets and ports from Cape Henry, VA to Key West. I'd also recommend having a current set of charts for the ICW such as Kettlewell's. There are several other good resources, too (Google it). Another good source of essential info in a compact form is the Eldridge Tide and Pilot Book. The USCG publishes a Light List so you can know what you're looking at when coastal navigating. If it turns out you have to go into the ICW, you really do need to be prepared.
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Old 27-11-2013, 13:42   #5
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Re: Canadians 1st Offshore Trip Any advice or Tips? Leaving Eastern US Soon!

Their are 2 primary decision makers in this journey, IMO.

First, the weather. Tip: write down the weather for the place you will be sailing on a grid so that you can see the delta factor; if their Thursday prediction is 5 - 10 on Monday, 10 - 15 on Tuesday, and 15 - 20 on Wednesday, things are deteriorating. Even though 20 kt is not outrageous by itself, they may be reporting 25 - 35 by the time you get out there. When in doubt, don't go.

Second, always have a Plan B. Every offshore trip plan should include a list of, and distances to, inlets that can get you out of trouble, whether from failed systems, seasickness, or weather. Try to run new-to-you inlets at slack high tide in early a.m. daylight if you have the luxury of time.

The jump from the Chesapeake to Ocracoke is a big one, and your first decision point. ONLY try this outside if you have a very nice 3 day weather window and full fuel tanks. Stay outside the platform at Cape Hatteras.

Other inlets that I consider runnable 24/7 are listed below, though my boat drafts only 4 feet. Those with (**) I have run myself; the others are from memory, so due your duty and examine current charts to see if YOUR vessel can make it.

Beaufort/Morehead City **
Masonboro (Wrightsville Beach) **
Cape Fear River (strong tidal current) **
Little River Inlet (NC/SC line) **
Winyah Bay **
SOUTH Santee River
Charleston **
Doboy Inlet **
Savannah
Port Royal Sound
(there are several others in here - Ossabow, St. Simon, St. Catherine, etc that I can't remember which are marked and deep enough)
Altamaha Sound
St. Andrew **
St. Mary's Entrance (Fernandina Beach) **
St. Augustine
St. Johns River (JAX) **
Ponce Inlet
Lake Worth Inlet
Jupiter Inlet
Palm Beach
Ft. Pierce
Port Everglades (Ft. Lauderdale) **
Miami **

Remember that when things go wrong - whether system failure, bad weather, injured crew - your speed may drop to 2 or 3 knots so that an inlet that WAS 3 hours away at 7 knots is now 10 hours away at 2 knots. And pay attention to how far the ICW is from the ocean. You might gain ground by sailing 24/7, but if it takes you 25 nm out and 25 nm in, you've lost maybe 10 hours of southerly progress going east/west. Many of the SC/GA low country inlets run NW-SE, good going out, not so much coming in.

I'm no expert; hopefully some more CF captains will chime in with good advice for a safe, FUN trip!

Fair winds.
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Old 27-11-2013, 13:42   #6
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Re: Canadians 1st Offshore Trip Any advice or Tips? Leaving Eastern US Soon!

We have 3 handheld Marine GPS units, 2 Ipads with Nobeltec, Navionics and Garmin Bluecharts and 2 iphones and in the process of dloading OpenCPN and all NOAA RNC and ENC charts while we have internet. We just purchased the Kettlewell as well. Do you think we have the chart stuff covered? Anything else we might need?

Trying to get time to install a Garmin 7212 and radar. We also just ordered our Class B AIS Garmin transceiver and waiting for it now. If we don't have time to get the 7212 installed we will navigate by Ipad.

Originally I was going to learn celestial navigation but I find it a hard pill to swallow, I mean really, may as well pull the horse n buggy out of the barn while I'm at it. If I was on the Mayflower maybe. We also picked up quick reference charts for lights, buoys etc etc etc for the helm. The amount of books in PDF on my Ipad is staggering I have just about any book you can think of on sailing, navigating, boats......you name it. In the 100's of books and publications. The rest will be by the seat of our pants!

Most of the time my brain won't shut down always thinking what else do we need? what else is on my list of to do's? is there a better way to install this? it's a wonder my head hasn't imploded yet. Takes me hours to fall asleep even thinking about every system or passage or to do or design etc etc etc. Does everyone go through this? My wife just calls me an anal retentive perfectionist.

I've always been an adrenaline junkie and my bucket list isn't shrinking. Life is to short to be sailing the world on an Xbox or a Playstation!
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Old 27-11-2013, 13:49   #7
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Re: Canadians 1st Offshore Trip Any advice or Tips? Leaving Eastern US Soon!

I'd say you've got it covered, Cap'n.
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Old 27-11-2013, 14:23   #8
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Re: Canadians 1st Offshore Trip Any advice or Tips? Leaving Eastern US Soon!

Short of battery failure you should be allright. Many years ago I took a celestial navigation course from the former captain of the USS Getty, at the time the biggest supertanker in the world with the most sophisticated electronics available. He had come up through the German Navy and made his midshipmen take noon sights daily and work out the calculations to check those electronics. I asked him if those electronic calculations were ever wrong and he replied " No, but now I KNEW they were not wrong. The lesson was clear- Electronics are a wonderful thing, but know your craft and the skills required and know them well, and do not rely solely on the modern wizardry available. It would be a sad thing for us to forgo and lose the knowledge of the centuries so sorely gained. It also makes the adventure a bit less charming.
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Old 27-11-2013, 14:57   #9
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Re: Canadians 1st Offshore Trip Any advice or Tips? Leaving Eastern US Soon!

Celestial navigation is overrated especially coastal cruising. If the proverbial hits the fan there probably will be no stars, sun or moon.
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Old 27-11-2013, 15:35   #10
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Re: Canadians 1st Offshore Trip Any advice or Tips? Leaving Eastern US Soon!

Celestial navigation was merely an anecdotal example - coastal navigation is a skill not to be dismissed either- the point is that one should have a firm understanding of navigation- if things get unplugged or the battery dies one should not be bereft of capability. It would be like trusting your autopilot rather than learning how to man the helm. Know where you are, because you know, not because your smartphone says so
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Old 27-11-2013, 16:33   #11
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Re: Canadians 1st Offshore Trip Any advice or Tips? Leaving Eastern US Soon!

Well that's easy.....we don't have an autopilot yet!

The way I look at it, is if in the event all 3 NEW battery banks died
2x31agm's for windlass
2x31 agm's for engine
2 8D agms house banks all wired with combiners as well
both ipads, both iphones, all 3 gps' then we have some trusty compasses too. If we kept heading back west, theoretically we should hit the coast again, right? One would think if all that failed maybe someone is trying to tell us something. I thought maybe we could read up on celestial navigation for %$# n giggles when we are bored underway?
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Old 27-11-2013, 16:38   #12
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Re: Canadians 1st Offshore Trip Any advice or Tips? Leaving Eastern US Soon!

Dead reckoning and paper charts. kinda fun to see if you can get as accurate as the GPS, plus it really helps you stay in tune with weather,charts,tides etc. in other words -it keeps the lazy away.
Cheers and have a fantastic trip
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Old 27-11-2013, 16:55   #13
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Re: Canadians 1st Offshore Trip Any advice or Tips? Leaving Eastern US Soon!

You guys/gals are all amazing to us no experience adrenaline newbies and really appreciate all the help.

One question is all the hype about the Atlantic between here and the Bahamas being nasty this time of year? Whats up with that? We have noticed everyone has a different opinion on anything you ask. Our systems refit is what has put us this late, we were supposed to be done the beginning of October but yeah good luck with that. In the meantime people have been saying oh it's a little cold but better to leave at the end of Oct or Nov to miss hurricane systems.

Also I keep reading it's really cold between here and Florida but we are seeing temps between 14c and 20c. That's balmy shorts weather. At home forecast is for -26 at night here shortly which is -26 in c or f.
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Old 27-11-2013, 17:10   #14
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Let me put the North Atlantic in winter in perspective for you. I was on 900'+ cruise ship of Cape Hateras in December once before. Per the ship's Captain, we were in 40' swells with high winds. The waves were so powerful, they blew out several portholes on the lower decks and the ship took on water because of it. Granted, we weren't in any danger, but if a steel liner can be damaged, a 40' fiberglass boat definitely will
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Old 27-11-2013, 17:15   #15
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Re: Canadians 1st Offshore Trip Any advice or Tips? Leaving Eastern US Soon!

We have crossed to the Bahamas in Dec, Jan and Feb. You just have to wait for a window. Some folks like a 2 day window, you'll have to wait for that. We go (from Miami) if we have a half day window.

On another matter how are you charging those AGM's? Unless you can fully charge those often, they do not last. Do a search and you will see why. I had AGM's once and after two seasons had to chuck them. Cruising it's hard to get the batteries fully up. We use the band between 50 and 80%.

Don't kid yourself it'll be cold on the trip south. There'll be frost on your decks occasionally. Hope you have a full enclosure. Have a safe trip. At least you're headed in the right direction.
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