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Old 21-08-2015, 17:05   #31
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Re: New to bigger boats, weather question

I managed charter boats for quite a few years and the only problems we had (except mechanical) were docks and rocks. We have fairly serious tides up here.
I would always have a "roving fender". A hand on deck with a fender in their hand. Can save a lot of grief.
Knew a guy once who would single hand across oceans. Told me the only time he was concerned was when he pulled into a marina.
Practice, practice and practice.
Heave weather is easy. Reduce sail area before you need to.
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Old 21-08-2015, 19:30   #32
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Re: New to bigger boats, weather question

If you wait for a perfect forecast, you will never leave the dock.

I've sailed a C&C35, and its a very capable boat. I would go with that forecast. If you are concerned, tuck a deep reef in the main BEFORE you leave the dock, so you can set it reefed. Once that is up, and you feel good and in control, unroll maybe half a jib. You can always roll up the jib in a jiffy. Also, you can spill the main, or just turn downwind. Be sure to have plenty of sea room. Actually, you will likely have your best day of sailing.

Also, you likely will churn up all the crud in the fuel tank. So check your primary filter after.

I'll go out in 20-25 knots, but only if I'm heading downwind. Beating into a big wind is a whole nother story.
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Old 22-08-2015, 18:33   #33
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Re: New to bigger boats, weather question

Hi,
I always felt, if you have any doubt don't go, especially if you have untrained or nervous people with you. I remember having a 26 ft Steelcraft, my new wife on board. I had to use the head and asked her to take the tiller, soon I felt the boat rock. I went on deck. She was holding her head. It seems she was approached by several speedboats, got scared dropped the tiller the boom came across and hit her in the head. She wasn't seriously hurt, but shortly after that boat was up for sale.
pick your days,
Good luck,
Charles
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Old 22-08-2015, 18:59   #34
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Re: New to bigger boats, weather question

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Originally Posted by Charles G View Post
Hi,
I always felt, if you have any doubt don't go, especially if you have untrained or nervous people with you. I remember having a 26 ft Steelcraft, my new wife on board. I had to use the head and asked her to take the tiller, soon I felt the boat rock. I went on deck. She was holding her head. It seems she was approached by several speedboats, got scared dropped the tiller the boom came across and hit her in the head. She wasn't seriously hurt, but shortly after that boat was up for sale.
pick your days,
Good luck,
Charles
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Old 23-08-2015, 17:43   #35
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Re: New to bigger boats, weather question

Trip Report (very long):

I know you've all been waiting by your computers to find out how it went, so, in far too much detail, here it is (along with some lessons learned):

Note: "We" is me, my wife, my athletic 19 y/o son, a 10 y/o and a 9 y/o.

The Boat: a 35' C&C Landfall. It was in great shape. We had done our lessons on an older 35' boat of a different brand with the exact same layout, and it is amazing what a few good design choices and some good upkeep can make in livability. No complaints on the boat, both the living and the sailing were far easier than the previous boat we'd been on.

The charter service: The guy who rented the boat to us was a (non-ASA) instructor, and was shockingly casual about safety. He gave us such tidbits of advice as "don't worry about a little propane in the cabin", and, to leave the dock, just have someone hold the line and jump on at the last second. Can you get away with that stuff most of the time? Probably. What is the cost of failure? WAY too high.

Day 1 (Saturday): I woke up a bit woozy. I almost never get motion sickness, and it had been a fairly calm night, but I needed to go walk around and get some food and a shower to clear my head. Something about the particular motion that night got to me.

As predicted, the wind was directly from the south. Our slip was on the south side of a two-boat slip, and not far from a very high seawall, so we were well-protected. Furthermore, it was nearly a straight shot from the harbor into the slip. We couldn't have asked for better. (Cue ominous music).

We checked the forecast and it was about the same as I said in the original post, with the possibility of some storms in the evening. The lake was breezy but no whitecaps, and a bunch of boats were out. So we decided to go for it -- we only had the boat for two days.

We had reefed at the dock. The sail only had one reef point, so we had no choice. We raised the main and left the jib furled. I figured I'd get familiar with the boat with a nice broad reach. For the next few hours, we had an amazingly pleasant run at 5-8 knots. We had a quick lunch and decided it was time to get back to give us plenty of time before the storms rolled in. We had been considering anchoring out, but the predicted storms left that plan in question; we figured we'd check the radar as we got close. In the end, though, that question was settled by a more pressing matter: one of our bags of groceries had been left at home (in the fridge), and all we had left after lunch was bread, water, and potato chips.

The trip back upwind was, to say the least, interesting. Once we turned, the two young kids and my wife started feeling the motion of the boat, and weren't comfortable with the healing. They didn't get sick, but they weren't 100%, either.

So we stayed main only. You experienced guys will immediately know what that means: after 40 minutes or so, we'd barely made any progress into the wind. We were moving at a couple knots, but lost it to the wind. So I had to make a choice: motor sail, motor, or let out some jib. Based on the discomfort of 3/5 of the crew with the healing we were already doing, I went with motor sail.

After about 20 minutes, the back line on the reef came out. Lesson number 1: don't trust other people's knots. (It had already been in, I assumed someone knew what they were doing and didn't look closely.) So I was out there in 20+ winds trying to redo the reef in the main while my son steered. Lesson #2: It's really hard. Lesson #3: I can tie a bowline one-handed if I need to!

Another 10 minutes or so, and we just gave up on the sail, and decided to motor back. By this time, the wind was well into the 20's, and we were getting ocean-style waves with whitecaps. I took the advice of everyone here and trusted the boat, and it was really kind of a fun ride, getting sprayed with the warm water and riding the crests.

A few hours later, we finally made it back to the harbor, and the wind was nuts, it had to be sustained 25 or more. We made our plan on how to dock, and as we approached the friendly people from a neighboring boat came out to help us. Once I got beyond the sea wall it was much easier to maneuver, but not easy enough. Once I got below about 3 knots, I lost steering and the wind took over. I made an attempt to make it to the slip, and the wind put me WAY off, way further than I expected, and rapidly toward another boat. I stayed calm, used the engines in R and F to do an in-place turn, and headed out of the harbor to regroup.

Did I mention there was a two-story party boat right on the corner of the harbor, with about 50 drunk people to witness my ability? If they hadn't been there, I literally would've had a straight shot.

Attempt #2 I try to swing a little closer to the party boat to get a better angle, but once again as soon as I got below three knots I lost steering and started drifting. I could see the panicked eyes of the people on the party boat as I started drifting toward them, but I didn't feel panicked at all. Once again, I used forward and reverse to execute a perfect in-place 180 and headed back out of the harbor to regroup for attempt three.

Lesson #4: With practice, calm, and confidence, I can handle a boat in tight quarters pretty well.

So now, after two really bad misses, I didn't have any solid plan for attempt #3 except come in hotter. Fortunately, the helpful neighbors at the dock had, by this time, went to the end of the dock and waved us to tie off there. Since it was the south end, it was a piece of cake, all I had to do is go to neutral and let the wind bring me in. We tied off there, and went to ask the charter guy what we should do. I started explaining about failed attempt #1 and watched his face fall, and then #2 and he started really looking shocked and I realized I needed to get to the end of the story. When I told him we were securely tied on the end, he said that's fine, leave it there for the night, and became downright chatty about the boat.

Lesson #5: When you have a scary story for a charter rental guy, start with the good news.

So we went and got some dinner and came back and looked at the storms coming in on the radar. There were tornado watches and predictions of 40 mph winds, and the radar showed two huge waves of storms centered right at us.

And then, it didn't rain. I checked the radar, and the first wave of storms seemed to just break in half, one to the north, one to the south. There was no way the second wave could miss us though, right?

And then, the second wave did the exact same thing. We barely got any wind at all, and barely any rain.

We talked to several of the experienced guys around the dock, and told them our story, and they said they had really struggled to get into dock, that they had to come in way hotter than they ever had before and slam it into reverse. They basically said everyone was struggling that day, and we had done about as good as could be expected on an unfamiliar boat in those conditions. One guy said he had clocked a gust of 38.

Day 2: Sunday morning

At this point we were a bit tired and discouraged. The wake up conditions were still 20mph winds, around 58 degrees, and cold drizzle. That's known as "summer" here in Minnesota. There were almost no other boats out, and the wind had already reached the levels of late afternoon the previous day.

The good news was the wind had shifted from South to NW -- basically the perfect direction for the two things we had to do that day, which was pump out and go back to our slip.

We discussed going out sailing again, but 60 degrees and wet and 20 mph winds sounds really unpleasant. So we relaxed on the boat, packed up, cleaned, just on the chance the conditions would break early (instead of 6pm as predicted). Finally, around noon we just faced facts.

Based on the wind in the harbor, we deduced we could do the docking at the pump-out dock (which faced north, and was approached from the east). So we cruised in and let the wind drift us to a smooth stop. Getting out was just as effortless.

We only had one test left -- getting into the slip next to another boat. Again, the slip was on the south, approached from the east -- the other boat was on the windward side today. As an added bonus, the party boat was gone so our angle of approach was straight on.

The docking was again flawless -- we had done it.

Lesson #6: Mother nature is going to win most of the time, you can cooperate, or you can take chances.

Summing up:

This was supposed to be our first real test of how we would do as a family sailing on our own. It turned out to be a little discouraging in that it was way harder than anything we had hoped for on our first try. The good news is we didn't wreck the boat, we didn't hurt anyone or ourselves, and proved we can handle less-than-ideal conditions. I also learned a bit more about handling big boats. I didn't really need to learn this much the first try, really, I would've settled for a nice lazy day with the kids swimming and us watching the sunset with some margaritas.

So... success? I'm not sure, overall I'd probably say yes. Relaxing fun family weekend? No, not really. Better than working? Yeah. And maybe that's the key, as our decision is whether I should retire next year and do this full time -- on a cat, in warm weather, on our boat.
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Old 23-08-2015, 18:27   #36
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Re: New to bigger boats, weather question

Quote:
Originally Posted by hblask View Post
Trip Report (very long):

I know you've all been waiting by your computers to find out how it went, so, in far too much detail, here it is (along with some lessons learned):
Great story, enjoyed every word, especially the details!

Unfortunately, the clock and calendar are no friend to the sailor.

I wish we could all just sail on the really beautiful days with moderate winds from just the right direction. But in reality, those days, coinciding with a weekend or vacation are pretty rare. Personally, if the weather is good, and my boat is ready, I'll put off everything else and go sailing. Those are the good days. But no matter what, we all get caught from time to time in less than favourable conditions.

last summer I spent 3 days at Main Duck Island (Lake Ontario) waiting for huge winds to simmer down. My daughter was with me, and there were a dozen or so boats with us in the same mess. We were all running out of food! I was into the Kraft Dinner and canned chili for the last day. I spent some tense hours in the cockpit that night, watching to see if the anchor would drag, as the lightning lit up the sky.

I've had plenty of other adventures stuck in anchorages and docks, pinned in by bad weather. However, sometimes the challenge and the excitement makes for some of the most memorable times. And you certainly have a better story to tell than the guy who just sat at a cottage drinking beers.
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Old 23-08-2015, 21:29   #37
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Re: New to bigger boats, weather question

Sounds like you had an adventure, and made some good decisions. Your experience is pretty typical of our first few times out on big boats. It reminds me that often the toughest thing is having family who are on all different pages in terms of sea legs and sailing tolerance.

The best thing to do is get out there again, and *often*. Many hours out are what will make it start getting easier. The biggest mistake some people make is going out only once or twice a season. If chartering is too expensive to go out every week, find a club that has cheap racing.
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Old 24-08-2015, 04:23   #38
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Re: New to bigger boats, weather question

Sounds pretty normal for the first time on a big boat (in those conditions) especially with the motion sickness feelings.

After years of trying different things, I discovered the Dramamine that is chewable is the best and works instantly. I discovered it on a high wind/wave day but had been ill in much less.

The first pill worked in less than 2 minutes.

Feeling good is half the battle.

The good news is that after a while you need it less and less until not at all most days.


http://www.drugstore.com/products/pr...la&kpid=207395
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Old 24-08-2015, 07:35   #39
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Re: New to bigger boats, weather question

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So... success? I'm not sure, overall I'd probably say yes. Relaxing fun family weekend? No, not really.

Better than working? Yeah.

You define your success. I define mine. In my book, you made it = success.

Sitting on a sofa is sure fun relaxing family business. But you did want something more from your life. That's why you sailed out last weekend.

Remember you can only learn, advance and develop given a certain level of difficulty. There is very little learning done sailing a sofa ...

As you said: YEAH. This is what they call the spirit of adventure.

Well done, regards,
barnakiel
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Old 24-08-2015, 08:30   #40
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Re: New to bigger boats, weather question

As a newbie to sailing larger 36-40' boats (interestingly, a long-time Hobie 16 sailor like you!), with a few charters now under my belt, the best things I learned is that you only learn by trying and running into challenging situations and "failing".

My first charter in/around Tampa/St-Pete: we grounded 2 times, had to get a tow on the second grounding, failed/jammed windlass, 30+ wind gusts, poor anchor location (weather ignorance). On that 3-day charter (just my wife and I) we learned 1,000x more than I learned with 4 students and the instructor on ASA 101/103/104.

The challenges, failures, trials, stressful situations have made much more capable. If the situations was just calm and smooth sailing without any challenging situations I would not have learned.

Keep getting out there and working on it. I learn and get better with every challenge. After all, it's only fiberglass and insurance!
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Old 24-08-2015, 08:44   #41
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Re: New to bigger boats, weather question

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Keep getting out there and working on it. I learn and get better with every challenge. After all, it's only fiberglass and insurance!
Hobie sailor/racer here also.

I skipped the ASA courses and just sailed and raced the Hobies and Nacras. (a lot)

You can always get an older boat, pay cash, and skip the insurance except liability and do the repairs yourself.

That way your learn sailing and learn boats.
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Old 24-08-2015, 08:48   #42
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Re: New to bigger boats, weather question

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Hi,

We have had a Hobie for about a decade, but have decided to start our progress to bigger boats. So we have taken ASA 101, 103, and 104. This weekend we are planning on our first non-instructor-led trip on a 35' C&C on Lake Pepin (the only lake on the Mississippi).

We were feeling semi-confident and prepared for this, and now I'm checking the weather reports, and seeing this:
Mostly sunny, with a high near 82. Breezy, with a south wind 10 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 31 mph.
My question is: do we go out in that? Triple reef and learn from experience? Or is that just too intense for a first-time bareboat charter? Not a big deal at all?

For our 104 class, we got a few hours of probably 12-14mph winds, I'm not too worried if it stays in that range, I'm just wondering how that scales up to 20 with those kinds of gusts?
Local knowledge is golden. If you're chartering then the charter company should be able to give you some guidance on where to avoid and any special anchoring or sailing techniques.

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Old 24-08-2015, 09:57   #43
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Re: New to bigger boats, weather question

Hblask,

It was too bad that you didn't get better weather for your two day outing. That happens to us all but we don't have a charter fee to pay for it, we pay for it all the time anyway.

But by any measure your boathandling was successful. You didn't wreck. No body got hurt. You seemed to have done as well, and may be better, than other folks with their own boats at the marina. You pushed over a line in your experience. You went out and came back in challenging conditions and found out that even Supermariner has to recognize some limitations in handling a small (large to you) boat in close quarters in strong winds. I would have been very happy to be with you, or to have done as well myself.

The Admiral on our boat goes ape when she thinks I am coming in too "hot". Believe me I love coming in gently at less than a knot but there are times when that is the exact wrong thing to do. Much better to get in with steerage and put it in reverse hard. And it looks just as cool (if anyone cares) doing it that way. It looks way uncool to do it when you don't need to though.

My only hope for you is that your crew didn't develop any aversion to sailing based on this one time event. They have a good (learning) skipper. Well done. And thanks for sharing.
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Old 24-08-2015, 18:17   #44
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Re: New to bigger boats, weather question

Quote:
Originally Posted by hblask View Post
Hi,

We have had a Hobie for about a decade, but have decided to start our progress to bigger boats. So we have taken ASA 101, 103, and 104. This weekend we are planning on our first non-instructor-led trip on a 35' C&C on Lake Pepin (the only lake on the Mississippi).

We were feeling semi-confident and prepared for this, and now I'm checking the weather reports, and seeing this:
Mostly sunny, with a high near 82. Breezy, with a south wind 10 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 31 mph.
My question is: do we go out in that? Triple reef and learn from experience? Or is that just too intense for a first-time bareboat charter? Not a big deal at all?

For our 104 class, we got a few hours of probably 12-14mph winds, I'm not too worried if it stays in that range, I'm just wondering how that scales up to 20 with those kinds of gusts?

How many in your crew?
Most charters do not furnish oversize sails.
We raced a Heritage One-Ton for 18 years. We didn't reduce sail in less than 21 knots. Heck yea you go out n that. Go conservative on the sail if yo are uncomfortable. Run close reaches instead of close hauled.
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Old 26-08-2015, 16:30   #45
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Re: New to bigger boats, weather question

Actually, this is the type of day to take out a larger boat for your first time out.

I'm about 8 miles out from my destination and in no real hurry.

and don't forget your Iron and Wine CD which you can sort of hear in the background.





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