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Old 06-10-2012, 16:45   #1
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Offshore Virgins

Never been offshore alone and am hoping to make a trip out Beaufort, N.C. inlet to Charlesotn or Savannah, Ga., with option to seek shelter at Wilmington if problems arise. Have a 31 Island Packet with Wheelpilot, GPS and not much else. Any tips from you more experienced folks would be appreciated. Thanks, tony.
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Old 06-10-2012, 17:03   #2
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Re: offshore virgins

Wait for a weather window to get you there safely. Savannah is a big shipping port so watch out for container ships in the entrance channel. Wilmington, Charleston, and Savannah are all great places to visit.
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Old 07-10-2012, 14:24   #3
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Re: offshore virgins

nice thread title
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Old 07-10-2012, 15:05   #4
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Re: offshore virgins

For what it's worth:

- Offshore sailing really isn't that different from anything else other than the fact that you're doing it longer and you get whatever the ocean throws at you because you can't just sit at the slip and wait for weather to pass. I've gone "offshore" in dead calm conditions where you could literally shave your face in the water's reflection. It's a very different "offshore" experience than the same water blowing force 7 and you're deep reefed hand steering with a busted autopilot. The conditions you encounter matter more than the "offshore" nature of the route, although again if you spend enough time offshore you'll deal with stuff that other bay/coastal sailors would just tie and up and go home through.

- Your sleep schedule will matter a lot. I checked the route right quick and it looks like around 300 miles. Mileage is all over the map but I like to predict 100 miles a day on the safe side. Which is roughly four knots an hour, which is honestly pretty damn quick if you're just under sail for an *average* speed in the horse latitudes.

- Plan two routes. One with a straight offshore, another with harbor hopping each day. If you're twelve hours into your trip and something breaks you don't want to have to figure out where to go. If you get going and everything is great and you don't want to stop, just take your straight route.

- Regarding sleep, I don't know your crew size but consider watch rotations. I would never go offshore without a self steering system of some sort. I've heard of people hand steering for long distances: I would never do it unless an emergency or the route actually required an active helmsman.

- Prioritize crew safety, sleep, and not breaking any parts of the boat.

- Good opportunity to practice coastal navigation stuff like three-lop, dr plots, danger bearings, etc. The route you're taking was part of the charts I had to use for my captain's license charting portion. Lots of nav lights and traffic around there. Keep a sharp lookout!

I recently wrote up a quick blog post on how I handle solo night watches, if you're interested. Rebel Heart - Eric's Blog - sleeping for a solo*watchstander
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Old 07-10-2012, 15:34   #5
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Re: offshore virgins

Lots of places to hop back in if you get tired or need to avoid some weather. Cape Fear, Little River, Georgetown, Chastn, Beaufort, SC (either via St. Helena or Port Royal). Just be alert for shipping at Chastn and Savannah, especially at night. That's not a bad run in decent conditions.

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Old 07-10-2012, 16:30   #6
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Re: Offshore Virgins

We like the Beaufort NC to Masonboro inlet(Wrightsville)route, nice anchorage there (eleminates a 2 day trip with contrary bridges, but you do miss the cheapest fuel stop on the east coast at New River, NC). Leave the next morning around 1000 do the ICW down to the Cape Fear River and out the inlet late in the afternoon, arrive Charleston at dawn the next day. SOG 7 knots, we are a trawler. We eliminate a lot of miles by not going around Cape Fear and minimal sleep deprivation to boot. Have a good trip and enjoy.
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Old 08-10-2012, 14:26   #7
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Spot on Rebel, been doin that for years. Could not have explained it better though
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Old 08-10-2012, 14:35   #8
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Re: offshore virgins

Quote:
Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
For what it's worth:


- Your sleep schedule will matter a lot. I checked the route right quick and it looks like around 300 miles. Mileage is all over the map but I like to predict 100 miles a day on the safe side. Which is roughly four knots an hour, which is honestly pretty damn quick if you're just under sail for an *average* speed in the horse latitudes.
A knot is a nautical mile per hour. Therefore knots per hour is a measure of acceleration and not very sailor-like talk. Sorry but can't let this pass.
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Old 08-10-2012, 14:50   #9
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Re: offshore virgins

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A knot is a nautical mile per hour. Therefore knots per hour is a measure of acceleration and not very sailor-like talk. Sorry but can't let this pass.
Your contribution to an offshore thread was pointing out my typo that everyone, including you, knew what it meant.
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Old 08-10-2012, 15:42   #10
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Re: offshore virgins

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A knot is a nautical mile per hour. Therefore knots per hour is a measure of acceleration and not very sailor-like talk. Sorry but can't let this pass.
I can't let it pass to ask why you couldn't just let it pass?

And I don't believe knots per hours is really accerleration, but then who really cares?
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Old 08-10-2012, 23:30   #11
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Re: offshore virgins

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nice thread title
It certainly sucked me in. I imagined a thread about girls who became coy once the boat sailed ...
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Old 09-10-2012, 08:07   #12
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Re: offshore virgins

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And I don't believe knots per hours is really accerleration, but then who really cares?
Actually, he's right. It is. But awfully nit-picky, if you ask me. Everyone understood perfectly what Rebel Heart meant, even if he wasn't 100% precise in his wording.

On the other hand, it is hardly the first time that someone in this forum has nit-picked about a nautical term that was misused, even if only very slightly.

So, all in all, I call it a "push."

Oh yeah, and about the subject line... Awfully hard to resist, but I just can't come up with anything at the moment that seems witty enough.
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Old 09-10-2012, 08:16   #13
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Re: Offshore Virgins

Rebel Heart quite rightly pointed out the need for watches and proper sleep, the other one is food. Plan ahead serve proper meals and dont' forget the ginger biscuits and hot chocolate for the night watches.

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Old 09-10-2012, 08:56   #14
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Re: Offshore Virgins

Back onto the THREAD PURPOSE ... geez you guys really know how to ruin a good thread.

Anyway ... OP ... my tips are:

1) HAVE ENOUGH CREW on board to not worry about watches (unless you are trying to prepare for longer trips as a couple/solo ... in which case I still recommend taking more people your first time). In my opinion, the number one threat to boats offshore doing long distances is the mental deterioration of the skipper if he hasn't had enough sleep. One small mistake because you are tired is usually the catalyst for much bigger problems.

2) GET AN AUTOPILOT - I installed a Raymarine Tiller Pilot on my old boat the day before I took my wife for her first long offshore passage ... it makes the difference between a fun cruise and a hellish one to have an autopilot in place. They are relatively cheap, simple to install and allow the watch keeper to do other things. (You may also consider a wind-vane instead, or doing it old-school with cordage systems, but some sort of self-steering is a must)

3) GET AN EPIRB. By "not much else" I assume your boat has a VHF at least (if not, get one of those as well - the new ones that include AIS receivers are well worth the extra bit of coin), but an EPRIB is a must if you are offshore. Spend the money now on one with GPS and anywhere off the coast of the US like you are planning you'll be confident that the coast guard can get to you in an emergency. I personally think that it is not only unsafe, but downright stupid not to have one. If you can't afford one, try to borrow one from a friend and get the call sign switched over for the voyage. In Oz there are lots of places that will rent you an EPIRB - but for the cost it makes more sense to buy one if you are planning on sailing offshore more than once. A sat phone is a very nice to have item as well, and makes more sense than installing an SSB. Again, you may be able to borrow/rent one of these instead of buying.

4) LEARN ABOUT WEATHER- you can start tracking weather and planning trips now, and see how things on an imaginary voyage would pan out long before you go. Knowing the weather and being able to use the free info that's out there is really important (as others have already said - I know I'm reiterating that!). Also, don't forget to try to take current & surface contours into account planning your routes.

5) INSTALL JACKLINES & GET A HARNESS. You do not want to be heading up to drop the jib in a storm without one. Again, if cost is an issue (it may not be for you, lots of people on this forum always talk about doing things on a budget), you can make a harness out of the same webbing used for the jacklines and some shackles. I know it's not the 'quick release' everyone wants, but carry a knife and you'll be better off than not having anything. If you can spend the money, get a manually inflating life vest with built in harness.

Oh ... and HAVE FUN!!!! Like Rebel said, it's really not that different and once you get a trip under your belt you'll feel much more confident.
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Old 09-10-2012, 09:23   #15
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Re: offshore virgins

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I can't let it pass to ask why you couldn't just let it pass?

And I don't believe knots per hours is really accerleration, but then who really cares?
Type wench in place of winch and see if the peanut gallery lets it pass....

Actually, yeah, that one bugs me too. Others call a windlass a winch or they gibe down wind. It's all in fun. We satirize our many foibles.
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