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Old 27-10-2010, 22:16   #1
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First Time Going to the Ocean . . . Any Tips ?

Hi, I'm in Jacksonville, FL and I've got a 83 Montego 20 with a 5hp outboard on it. I'm thinking about taking her out into the ocean for a day or so to see what its like being out there. The most I've done so far is cruise around in the St. Johns a little bit. I'm not planning on going on very far, I'll stay within sight of the coast, or at least try to. But I could use some pointers. Such as...what kind of stuff should I take for the What ifs? And will my 5hp outboard be enough power to push me around if there is no wind. Any advice at all would be awesome, even if its, "Hey, you're too new, stick to the St. Johns for a few more years." Thanks.
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Old 27-10-2010, 22:32   #2
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Even though it only a day sail, Eat pleny of carbs the night before. Constant rocking means you bodys muscles are constantly compensating. Any long term energy will help.

A 5 hp outboard is really designed for getting on and off moorings and marinas. Its certainly not designed to take you to windward in 40 knot squalls. So pick your weather and err on the side of caution.

Dont go too far on your first trip. Just up and back a few times will be better than straying too far from home port.

Go after a few days of nice calm weather, the sea will be flatter. Certainly dont go the day after a week of storms. The swell will still be up an make for a very lumpy trip.

Finally, register your trip with your local authorities (Coastal Patrol, Coastguard whoever). they will want to know the fine details. How many people, name of the boat, design, colour etc as well as the departure/return times and emergency contacts. This is VERY important. It can save time,money and lives!

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Old 27-10-2010, 22:38   #3
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Really, I'd just say to keep it shorter than you think the first time. You might think it's all hunky dory on the way out with 15knots behind you or something, but beating back into it can take its toll. Just go out and zig zag a bunch to get feeling a little more comfortable and confident.

The difference between bay sailing and ocean sailing is mostly in the action of the water, so just go at it from every angle for awhile to get a better idea of what to expect. Once you've got an idea of what to expect, it makes dealing with problems a lot more manageable.

Other than that, good luck
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Old 27-10-2010, 22:47   #4
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Hi, I'm in Jacksonville, FL and I've got a 83 Montego 20 with a 5hp outboard on it. I'm thinking about taking her out into the ocean for a day or so to see what its like being out there.
Does the "or so" mean you are contemplating an overnight?

If so I would echo NQL - Keep it short the first time. 2-3 hours


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The most I've done so far is cruise around in the St. Johns a little bit. I'm not planning on going on very far, I'll stay within sight of the coast, or at least try to. But I could use some pointers. Such as...what kind of stuff should I take for the What ifs? And will my 5hp outboard be enough power to push me around if there is no wind. Any advice at all would be awesome, even if its, "Hey, you're too new, stick to the St. Johns for a few more years." Thanks.
Everyone has their, "bacalmed with a broken engine" story. Taking along a few essentials could be advisable.

- Take some food - Granola bars etc. If you get caught out you don't want to be hungry
- Take a couple of liters of water
- Take a way to communicate - vhf and/or cell
- If you haven't sailed at night and are not sure of your nav lights check them and in any case take a good flashlight
- Make sure someone knows where you are and when you will check back

I have presumed your boat has the required safety gear - lifejackets etc.

Pick a mild day with no hurricane forecasts and have fun!
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Old 28-10-2010, 02:11   #5
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What a wonderful exciting time!!!

Your first moments when your bow dips and raises to the ocean waves could be the start of a new exciting sailing life!

My boat only becomes alive when she feels the ocean I can really feel she loves it.

I'd do a good weather check so theres a nice sailing wind - not too much but certainly not too little either.

Then I would get out early - or sleep on the boat the night before - just as early as you like, man, I'd be up at the crack 'o dawn and slip out then.

The first few miles near the coast line the waves are often confused as they bounce off the shore a bit, so keep going a few miles out, quite a few miles! You will think you are at the edge of the earth but when you look over your shoulder you will see you are not too far... keep going till the coast line is really receding in your vision.

And then just sail at all points, backwards, forward into the seas and with them. Just to get the feel of the waves and begin to love them.

There is nothing to be scared about, you just will be thinking everything bad is going to happen

Often times on the weekend in places where the harbour has enough boats, you will see some sailing boats doing pretty much the same as you, just heading out, sailing around and heading back in during the afternoon. They're just mooching about, same as you Don't be afraid to be out with the furtherest ones. A 20 footer will feel part of the ocean.

Then make sure you come back and don't just keep going over the horizon into the sunset (thats what I did )

Then, next time - try the next day and go straight out and see if you can keep going till you lose sight of land.

Thats a wonderful feeling.

In all endeavors in this world, whether they be sporting or personal, we have to push ourselves a bit. Unless you are a nutter you will probably be quite competent to do this. So give yourself and your boat a bit of a push and make the most out of it.


Mark
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Old 28-10-2010, 02:40   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
What a wonderful exciting time!!!

Your first moments when your bow dips and raises to the ocean waves could be the start of a new exciting sailing life!

My boat only becomes alive when she feels the ocean I can really feel she loves it.

I'd do a good weather check so theres a nice sailing wind - not too much but certainly not too little either.

Then I would get out early - or sleep on the boat the night before - just as early as you like, man, I'd be up at the crack 'o dawn and slip out then.

The first few miles near the coast line the waves are often confused as they bounce off the shore a bit, so keep going a few miles out, quite a few miles! You will think you are at the edge of the earth but when you look over your shoulder you will see you are not too far... keep going till the coast line is really receding in your vision.

And then just sail at all points, backwards, forward into the seas and with them. Just to get the feel of the waves and begin to love them.

There is nothing to be scared about, you just will be thinking everything bad is going to happen

Often times on the weekend in places where the harbour has enough boats, you will see some sailing boats doing pretty much the same as you, just heading out, sailing around and heading back in during the afternoon. They're just mooching about, same as you Don't be afraid to be out with the furtherest ones. A 20 footer will feel part of the ocean.

Then make sure you come back and don't just keep going over the horizon into the sunset (thats what I did )

Then, next time - try the next day and go straight out and see if you can keep going till you lose sight of land.

Thats a wonderful feeling.

In all endeavors in this world, whether they be sporting or personal, we have to push ourselves a bit. Unless you are a nutter you will probably be quite competent to do this. So give yourself and your boat a bit of a push and make the most out of it.


Mark
WOT HE JUST SAID...
5hp's just fine for a twenty ftr... the Honda 5hp pushed my heavy Hurley22 along at 5kts cruising quite happily.. just remember tho if you've the bracket off the stern you'll spend half the time with the prop outa the water in a seaway... if outa sight of land make sure you know how to heave to.. and how the boat handles... does she make way in a chosen general direction, or does she skid side ways.. good to know in case you get caught out there.. if she handles well... by tacking 4hrly you should be able to keep drift down to 5-10 miles a day.
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Old 28-10-2010, 03:03   #7
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what they both just said... smooth sailing and have fun!!!!
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Old 28-10-2010, 07:07   #8
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Thanks all, this is exactly what I was hoping to hear! Yeah the "or so" really means that I'd like to take the boat out overnight but that'll probably have to wait for a bit. Anyone know how long it take to get from Jax to St. Augustine?
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Old 28-10-2010, 07:25   #9
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I just did a simular transistion a few years, (10), ago. Cruise around the bay a little. Oceans bigger than a lake, plan accordingly. buddy boat the first few times if you can. Take some seamanship courses. Take it slow, in small steps, in a few years you'll be an old salt too.
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Old 28-10-2010, 07:40   #10
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Dallas, If I recall it was roughly 20 miles from Jacksonville to the mouth of the st Johns. So, if you're in Jax or even further up in the Ortega it will take you 4 to 5 hours or so to get to the ocean. I didn't plot it, but I believe it's another 35 miles or so to St Augustine entrance. So 55 miles + @ 4 knot avg. speed 14 hours plus...? You definitely want to pick your wind and weather window carefully. I remember coming into the St Johns with a few Tankers up my butt, it gets tight there at the entrance with traffic.

I remember my 1st NJ inlet and ocean trip...I would drive to the inlet and watch ships going in and out, get a good feel for what I needed to do. Timing the currents is also key.

It was one of my most exciting moments of sailing, the first time I cleared an inlet heading out to sea in my own vessel! Good Luck and have fun!
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Old 28-10-2010, 07:45   #11
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Anyone know how long it take to get from Jax to St. Augustine?
Ummm the short way? Or the one where you go via the Caribbean, Panama, Pacific..... palms trees....... coconuts...... hula girls....
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Old 28-10-2010, 07:48   #12
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coming into the St Johns with a few Tankers up my butt, it gets tight there at the entrance with traffic.
Fortunately you're a good navigator ....


(I hope the 30 mins editiing time has finished thats gotta be a classic forum line )
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Old 28-10-2010, 07:59   #13
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Fortunately you're a good navigator ....
Yes! Fear is an excellent motivator!!

Note to self...don't leave Mark any openings..he's been at sea too long..;-)
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Old 28-10-2010, 08:02   #14
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Don't try an overnight the first time out there...darkness adds complication to handling the boat..just get out on the big water for a few short hours and back..as was ssaid above it takes alot of energy, so have some ready energy snacks with simple sugars to digest fast and a high carb meal whilst out there...

I learned very quickly our first time in rough water that it's gonna take more food to keep my crew moving than I estimate...

Have not had the little boat out on big blue, but ches bay can sure get your attention quick..
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Old 28-10-2010, 08:05   #15
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Are you going to trailer the boat down to the ocean? Your 5 hp motor will not be any good fighting the current in the St. Johns River from Jacksonville to the ocean. It can flow at 3 or 4 knots! St. Augustine is about 30 miles south of Mayport (Mouth of St. Johns River).
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