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Old 29-10-2012, 15:25   #16
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Re: Sailing from Panacea,Fl to Dominican Republic

I recommend you pick up a copy of "The Gentleman's Guide To Passages South"(aka The Thornless Path) by Bruce VanSant.
Should make for interesting reading.
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Old 08-11-2012, 12:02   #17
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Re: Sailing from Panacea,Fl to Dominican Republic

Ok. We made it nonstop to Boot Key Harbor in Marathon, sail-motoring in at night, trying to find Moser Channel. We made it under the bridge, a terrifying rush! At 9:45 PM on the 6th, we anchored. On the 7th, I jumped ship and headed home. I'm still rocking.

The Raymarine ST-1000+ autopilot (for tiller) and Lowrance Mark 4 worked well, but when auto-track was engaged (so that the autopilot followed the Mark 4 course) the boat got off course, the autopilot made a perpendicular line to correct course. A few other little things like that lowered my comfort level, so when I did my 12 hours (daytime) I was very paranoid and always ready to take over when sails were deployed. Most of the time, I just told the autopilot to follow a heading and let them operate independently.

So I jumped ship in Marathon... I did not feel safe continuing without another deckhand, someone experienced in sailing. The owner's health impaired his abilities too, and there was added stress from this. Caught in a storm or gale frightened me, and when the owner (70s) made the statement that he doesn't care if he dies doing it--this last sailing trip--I felt we were not on the same side of things. The final straw was slamming the boat into the slip at Boot Key, where his eyes and judgment didn't allow him to judge speed... A lot of little things like that cropped up and added anxiety to the trip.

However, I am not discouraged from sailing, and still want to pursue the hobby/career. Now I know what not to do. : ) go sailing with a crazy old man.

All in all, the weather was very nice, although not ideal for sailing. Water was glassy about 1/3 of the trip, with winds allowing us to motor-sail about 1/4 of the way. Other times, if there was wind, it was off the bow, and the owner wanted to go the shortest possible distance. It began to be less about sailing and more about just getting to the D.R.

I'll work on plotting our course on a map for viewing.

Oh yeah... did I mention we had a fire the second day (photovoltaic got fried). The third day the bilge pump failed and flooded the boat. Both dilemmas were solved quickly. The boat was filthy, which worried me whenever we checked in with customs--if they would scrutinize over bugs, etc. The sailboat was loaded so that getting fore and aft was very difficult and meticulous process: motorcycle, mini-fridge, 15 gallon barrels of water, canoe... Yeah, it was the Tallahassee Waterbillies.
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Old 08-11-2012, 12:30   #18
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Re: Sailing from Panacea,Fl to Dominican Republic

You made the right call. Lessons learned. No harm done. I think you got a lot of good advice when you started the discussion. I trust it had some impact on your decision making.
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Old 08-11-2012, 12:58   #19
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Very sad turn of events IMHO.

I really cannot comment on your reasons for your dockside runaway, you have to rationalize that in your own mind. The conditions on the boat did not deteriorate from the day you signed on till the day you sailed. The only change in all of this was you.

I feel pretty sad for the guy you signed on to crew for. Leaving him pretty much in the learch. Hopefully he will be able to continue on with a crew that puts a measure of commitment and stamina in their handshake.


I grew up playing chess. In the traditional game, there is something called touch, move. If you touched a board piece, you were obligated by the rules to make your move with that piece. In your case, you played this game like kids today play chess, thinking with their hand on the pieces. As if that sparks brain cell function. I have news for you, it does not.

Again, I hope the gentleman gets all the help he needs to continue his voyage to his destination. Next time with a better, respectfull crew. Sounds like the gentleman put his trust in you and your abilities, and it is he that has learned a valuable lesson, kids today are made of sand and clay, not of iron, like past generations.
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Old 08-11-2012, 13:43   #20
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Re: Sailing from Panacea,Fl to Dominican Republic

deepwater -- let me congradulate you on bailing out -- from what i read you, the captain nor the boat may have been ready for the trip - and this is not an easy trip -- you learned a valuable lesson - preparation and ability are everything - it sounds like maybe the boat was partly prepared but from your description you nor the capt had the abilityto pull this off -
i appauld your research but suggest you start with sailing lessons - there is a great asa sailing school in charlottes harbor called sw fla yachts and a great instruction called chris day - he taught us to sail and 2 years ago we stopped by to say thank you to him as we were headed to western caribbean -- go talk to them and take gf along for the lessons
then do some sailing and continue the studying

I use to climb big mountains and taught high angle rock rescue -- the very first thing i was taught when learning to rock climb was it is ok to say NO - as your health and welfare come first - if you are not comfortable doing it don't do it

good luck in the future

just our thoughts and opinions
chuck patty and svsoulmates
in trinidad for hurricane season
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Old 08-11-2012, 13:49   #21
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Re: Sailing from Panacea,Fl to Dominican Republic

I guess I was unclear when I said I jumped ship in Marathon. It was not in the traditional sense--AWOL or blatant abandonment. It began with and ended with a handshake. I admit, I was certainly a shaky crew member. This was my first sailing/piloting trip. So, I also hope that he finds a better crew, as I am still very green.

However, in my defense, I did not shake hands for an all-or-nothing trip. This is not the 1600s Naval service. I have a greater value for life, I think, than did the owner. His stroke and heart surgery, my ignorance about sailing/navigation, and a few other things along the way affected my decision.
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Old 08-11-2012, 14:10   #22
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Re: Sailing from Panacea,Fl to Dominican Republic

sadly this is all too common these days in the press botton world of reality tv.

pity you bailed on what could have been a character building trip.

things would have been quite different if you had a northeaster up you ass with no possability of turning back!

one thing i find with many people is that they over intelectualise,and fuel their paranoia!

you missed a great oppertunity.
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Old 08-11-2012, 15:42   #23
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Re: Sailing from Panacea,Fl to Dominican Republic

No, I don't think it was a pity at all. The more we spoke, the more I found out that when I was sleeping, he was also sleeping.... which meant no one on watch while on autopilot. He didn't have a problem with that... "They'll get out of our way. They have radar...."

I think it was a character building trip. I stood up for what I think is right--not sailing blindly to where you wanna go. My conscience weighs heavy on the matter, and I am struck with a certain sense of failure--but this wasn't entirely up to me. The owner accepted me as crew to help navigate/pilot, well aware of my lacking experience.

I broke the agreement when safety became an issue. I was not hired for pay. I volunteered. He later offered to pay me, which was nice, but not asked of him. I cannot be on watch 24 hrs/day to make sure he's on watch, etc.
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Old 08-11-2012, 15:55   #24
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Re: Sailing from Panacea,Fl to Dominican Republic

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeepwaterRegime View Post
No, I don't think it was a pity at all. The more we spoke, the more I found out that when I was sleeping, he was also sleeping.... which meant no one on watch while on autopilot. He didn't have a problem with that... "They'll get out of our way. They have radar...."

I think it was a character building trip. I stood up for what I think is right--not sailing blindly to where you wanna go. My conscience weighs heavy on the matter, and I am struck with a certain sense of failure--but this wasn't entirely up to me. The owner accepted me as crew to help navigate/pilot, well aware of my lacking experience.

I broke the agreement when safety became an issue. I was not hired for pay. I volunteered. He later offered to pay me, which was nice, but not asked of him. I cannot be on watch 24 hrs/day to make sure he's on watch, etc.
the old salty will probably just end up single handing to dr regardless,you by leaving have actually done him a favor,now he only has himself to worry about.

all most skippers want are another pair of eyes,every thing else is a bonus.
most boats will self steer to windward without the aid of an autopilot,and he is right,hold your course and ships will get out of your way.

if safety is an issue get a nice land based hobby
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Old 08-11-2012, 16:14   #25
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Re: Sailing from Panacea,Fl to Dominican Republic

I have many thousands of miles of offshore experience, cruising and deliveries and am very disappointed by the Neanderthal "d*ck waving" that is being offered up as chastisement for your decision. If safety isn't an issue - get off the water!! If you think a tanker is going to get out of your way because you have the right of way you are DEAD wrong. Self preservation and the protection of those you are responsible for are not things requiring "intellectualization" - it is the most primal of instincts.
Good for you for having the "balls" to put your ego aside and follow your gut and your head.
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Old 08-11-2012, 16:25   #26
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Re: Sailing from Panacea,Fl to Dominican Republic

it would be nice to hear from the skipper,what may seem dangerous for someone with no experiance on first appraisal,is in fact how many people cross oceans.

as far as i can see the old salty was leaving at the right time,with enough stores,a working auto pilot,and engine,a proven boat,and plenty of experiance.

seems like the op just did not have the bottle,and is trying to justify leaving someone in the lurch....put that on your cv
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Old 08-11-2012, 16:47   #27
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Re: Sailing from Panacea,Fl to Dominican Republic

lack of experience is a big factor--things can scare you that are not scary with experience.
is difficult to short hand with someone you do not know. btdtX2--learned a lot.
good luck in life---ye shoulda stood around for the rest of the trip. crazy old men have good brains. mebbe he was trying to scare you.....see if you had mettle.

i am not saying you did a good or bad thing.
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