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Old 05-11-2010, 14:00   #16
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I just checked a map of todays winds for the area.... is blowing 25 knots.
Not sure where to find historic info for wind in the area, but today's forecast might be a little high as Hurricane Tomas is passing through the Windward Passage as we speak.
Hurricane TOMAS
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Old 05-11-2010, 14:15   #17
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If for some reason you decide to go in the aluminum dinghy (which I hope you don't) -- you must build in enough flotation that you can bail it if it gets swamped. Otherwise, one cresting wave can come aboard and sink it out from under you in a second. Or, with only a few bits of foam under a seat, the boat will float awash, but impossible to bail.

People have done all sorts of crazy trips in small boats. Preparation can leave you among the survivors, rather than the "never-seen-again"s.
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Old 05-11-2010, 14:35   #18
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Please dont go Declan.
This sort of jorney is not safe in a 10 foot aluminium dingy.
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Old 05-11-2010, 14:56   #19
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and the sailboat? How about the sailboat with the 15hp strapped to the back?
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Old 05-11-2010, 15:05   #20
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@skipmac- thanks for the specific Windward Passage experience/advice.
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Old 05-11-2010, 15:06   #21
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and the sailboat? How about the sailboat with the 15hp strapped to the back?
A 13 foot, open hull sailboat is not safe for this journey.
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Old 05-11-2010, 15:07   #22
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you must build in enough flotation that you can bail it if it gets swamped. Otherwise, one cresting wave can come aboard and sink it out from under you in a second.
Thanks, that's good advice. What do you think to the sailboat option?
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Old 05-11-2010, 15:32   #23
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Hard to say without seeing the boat. There are 13' boats and there are 13' boats. . . . Not an ideal size for the journey, obviously, but just to work this through as a thought experiment:

Is it decked over or open? Is it ballasted? Is it built strongly enough to withstand a pounding? What are the odds of springing a plank? Can you build in flotation in case that happens? Etc.
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Old 05-11-2010, 15:37   #24
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I see it's an open boat (shoulda paid more attention reading the first post). Can you talk to the boatbuilder about decking over half or 3/4s of it, leaving a small opening that could be firmly closed with a hatch?

Think of how that saved Shackleton and the men in the James Caird. They just had canvas decking stretched over a wood frame, but it kept a monster wave or two from flooding their boat. You would also benefit from having a shaded place to crawl into when in harbor, and a place to sleep in the rain.
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Old 05-11-2010, 15:47   #25
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Hard to say without seeing the boat.
Is it decked over or open? Is it ballasted? Is it built strongly enough to withstand a pounding? What are the odds of springing a plank? Can you build in flotation in case that happens? Etc.
It's got a Keel but it's not a hydrodynamic keel. It's new and build by hand by a Haitian sailor that's been building boats for a while ( he says, "To Cuba? Eeeasy". It's open, but I guess i could have the guy deck it. Odds of springing a plank? Not sure how to judge that, also not sure what you mean by can I build a flotation device.
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Old 05-11-2010, 15:57   #26
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I just meant building in enough flotation that if you do spring a plank or otherwise flood the boat, will it still float enough to keep you alive? In a small boat it gets tricky, as every bit of flotation you add (air bags, styrofoam, etc) eats up large chunks of storage/living/moving space.

A handheld VHF and a SPOT beacon would be great to have. I'm guessing you have limited funds and want to do this as barebones as possible, though. . . .

I'm curious to hear what you decide.
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Old 05-11-2010, 16:06   #27
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I have to agree with Fishwife, I think your idea is dingy, ounintended. I'll be surprised if the U.S. Navy doesn't pick you up during the crossing. Don't forget they have a base on the southern coast of Cuba they don't like anyone near because it contains a prison that contains terrorists.

Not only are the currents, wind and storms a concern, but there is a lot of shipping going through there and I doubt they will try to avoid your boat, even if they pick it up on radar.

A life jacket will only keep you alive for a short period of time, you can die of hypothermia pretty quicky even in that water.

But hey, life is an adventure.
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Old 05-11-2010, 16:46   #28
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How wide is this 13-footer? Is it double-ended or wide-transom? How much freeboard? Just wondering if it'll have the buoyancy to float a 110-lb 15HP motor, plus you.

Crazy as it sounds . . . I envy you. I've always wanted to gunkhole along the coast of Cuba. In my dreams, though, I have a bigger boat.

I'm sure old-time Haitians and Cubans have done all this and more in tiny craft. And you could probably find folks on this forum who would allow that maybe you could do it in a 15' West Wight Potter. But again, you usually don't hear about all the ones that didn't make it. So just plan as well as possible to avoid that fate.

And watch the weather closely. If you don't have the means to get a forecast, don't cross. Find a radio or a web connection. Wait and wait for a good forecast. Don't rush into iffy weather. It's always as bad as you think, and worse.

Somewhere recently I read an account of an open boat crossing from Cuba to the Yucatan. I've tried Googling around and can't relocate it. Apologies for my poor memory. It was a fairly well-known small-boat sailor (Ladd? Layden?) and his wife/girlfriend. All I recall is that they hit bad weather in the middle of the night and waves were slopping into the boat and it was all pretty scary and miserable. But they made it.
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Old 05-11-2010, 17:00   #29
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Rip the back from the dinghy?

I can't really speak to the rest of it but as to the the 10' aluminum dinghy I have a 9' one with a 5hp motor, which is the maximum rated power for the boat.

Bigger motors are heavier and drive the boat faster. This will impose additional loading on the mounts and the stern of the boat that it may be unable to take.

The stern could start to break away from the boat with all the consequences that this involves.

While a 40km trip may be doable unless my interpretation of the scale on Google earth is incorrect you're looking at a minimum of 300 km from Haiti to Cuba, plus whatever is necessary to get from the departure point to the arrival point.

A very rough calculation suggests that you'd need more fuel than would fit into your boat, and if you tried to carry it the additional stress would contribute to it's probable break up.

Similar constraints would apply to using a small sailing boat. Enough food and water for the long time (count in months) such a journey would take, even the shortest leg, would overload such a small boat.

The above does not even consider the effect of adverse weather, currents or winds.

I would consider it very likely that you and your dog would die of exposure, dehydration and/or starvation.

From your tone it sounds like you have been advised that you cannot take your dog with you when you leave Haiti. While devotion to your companion is admirable risking yours and your dog's life, and the lives of those who would be asked to search for you must be considered unacceptable.

From my experience in New Guinea where expatriates often had to make such a painful decision the solution usually involves finding friend or a friend of a friend to look after the dog. It may be possible to find a local to do the same with the help of a little cash to pay for food(my recollections of this being done are vague - a family who already have a dog may be best).
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Old 05-11-2010, 17:28   #30
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critters inflatable are good for goggie and light weight.
food--mre's
water. lol you already know this..i hope.....

find something for flotaton for the sailboat. is gonna be all right. ye wont die. might drown if ye cant swim, but lassie will save ye..... is allll good. spot has a help save me button... says call uscg or some such. haitian boats have gotten folks far--lol-- and they float. you may want a small shelter--if you keep the boat open, think tarp... a lil cabin would be excellent. exposure hurts.
have fun....LEMONADE!!!!!--oh yeah--might wanna take some lemons with ye. or limes. limes is best--- lime-ade is spozed to be good with some rum. and mint.
small still

DONT FORGET A COMPASS AND A CHART OR TWO--HAVE CHART LAMINATED.
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