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Old 03-07-2014, 13:06   #1
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Some Thoughts on Sailing from a N00B

I just completed 3 weeks solid on a 33' Bavaria charter boat. We travelled from Vancouver up to Powell River, then to Port MacNeill, over to the Broughtons and back down to Powell River.

This was the longest trip we've done, both in time and distances and we learned a lot of things, some of which we already knew, or just thought we did. Here's my partial list:
  • Heaving to is your friend; and easy too.
  • The old saying about thinking about reefing too late is actually pretty damn accurate
  • Single line reefing systems are often obstinate
  • Fridges in a sailboat are…quirky
  • I really wonder why there aren't grab bars on the bulkheads in the aft berth. How the hell does anyone get out of those things quickly at 2 am?
  • You get out of bed at 2 am quickly a lot more than you would think
  • Gauges that measure liquids (water, diesel, holding tanks) never seem to work
  • A 3 hour motor quickly becomes a 6 hour sail, with very little regret
  • 9 and half hours is a long day, but man can it ever be a glorious day
  • 4-5 foot waves are not as scary as it sounds
  • If you don't like the weather: wait. The damn thing changes fast
  • The infamous Johnstone Strait plays mind games with you. Gale force to glass in a couple of days
  • A 17 knot gust with just the main up is scarier
  • Docking at empty docks is easy to get used to
  • When docking at a marina with a strong cross current, don't be first in
  • Don't give the yahoos on the dock a line. Seriously don't.
  • The beam of a 33' sailboat is much smaller than the beam of a 38' sailboat. It shouldn't take you a week of docking to figure that out.
  • Gloves will not keep your hands warm and dry on a windy, rainy day. Having a second pair is a godsend.
  • Powerboaters really are, well, oblivious
  • You can raise an anchor with a spinnaker halyard if your windlass craps out. Who knew?
  • Windlasses crap out.
  • There are more things on a boat that go bang in the night than you can ever have possibly imagined
  • An 11 knot wind can die faster than you can get the main up
  • A 2006 Bavaria 33' has the worst galley configuration ever
  • An undersized RIB can almost be worse than no dinghy at all
  • Stern tying isn't as hard as I thought. Except for the stupid, unstable, undersized dinghy.
  • Leaving the hatch almost all the way open is not the same thing as leaving it all the way open. Ow!
  • Apparently you can hear the McDonalds drive-through on channel 68 in the middle of Desolation Sound. WTF?
  • Charts are big, and critical information is always on the fold.
  • The phrase 'local knowledge' will prevent you from taking a lot of shortcuts
  • A shower underway in 4-5 foot seas is actually kinda fun
  • Wiping down the whole head after a shower will earn you bonus points
  • Putting a winch, aft docking cleat, diesel fill, bbq, life ring and a horseshoe life sling at the same place is not a good way to arrange things
  • BBQs make a real mess on the transom
  • Holding tanks are… well they are… sigh.
  • A gravity system holding tank can be unblocked by plugging every damn hole and vent and pumpin' the sh*t right out of it. Just don't figure that out at the anchorage.
  • The guy with the self-tacking jib was cheating. But I beat him anyway :-)
  • My 2006 charter boat was a nice boat, but it was a floating dung heap compared to the one-owner 2007 Tartan 3400 we sailed with
  • Learn from the experienced guys.
  • Never trust the experienced guys.
  • Boater are damn nice people, from the Catalina 30 right up to the Selene 65
  • There is nothing, I mean nothing, as depressing as a speed of 3.5 knots and having a SOG of 2.9 at the end of an 8-hour day
  • Sailing with dolphins in your wake for 45 min is THE SINGLE BEST THING EVER!

I am so hooked.

Bruce
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Old 03-07-2014, 13:44   #2
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Re: Some Thoughts on Sailing from a N00B

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Originally Posted by Macblaze View Post
There is nothing, I mean nothing, as depressing as a speed of 3.5 knots and having a SOG of 2.9 at the end of an 8-hour day
You have never worked in software have you? I did worse than that speed over likely more hours in my 18 footer and it was a way better day than most at the salt mine.

Sounds like you had a blast. I envy you, the most I have done in one go is maybe 4 days.

Boulter
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Old 03-07-2014, 15:35   #3
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Re: Some Thoughts on Sailing from a N00B

Macblaze,

Just to say I enjoyed tremendously your statement of what you've learned. Actually it's a good haul for only 3 weeks. Well done.

Ann
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Old 03-07-2014, 16:25   #4
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Re: Some Thoughts on Sailing from a N00B

Spent my formative years in the 50's and 60's towing logs and commercial fishing those waters out of Egmont, BC... glad to hear some one enjoying them just for fun! Cheers, Phil
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Old 03-07-2014, 16:38   #5
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Re: Some Thoughts on Sailing from a N00B

Great post - Sounds like fun!

"Charts are big, and critical information is always on the fold."

And it seems the place you "really" wanna go is on the next chart - that you didn't buy...
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Old 03-07-2014, 16:38   #6
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Re: Some Thoughts on Sailing from a N00B

Good report Macblaze, I enjoyed it. You just get in deeper and deeper, until sailing is an addiction you can't get way from. At any cost....
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Old 03-07-2014, 17:11   #7
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Re: Some Thoughts on Sailing from a N00B

Awesome summary, thanks Bruce!

Are you serious? You picked up a McDonalds drive through on VHF 68 in the middle of Desolation Sound?

That one is a little depressing.

I'm sure Vancouver would be baffled, too. Or from what I've read, maybe he would be at the drive through?
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Old 03-07-2014, 17:48   #8
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Re: Some Thoughts on Sailing from a N00B

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boulter View Post
You have never worked in software have you? I did worse than that speed over likely more hours in my 18 footer and it was a way better day than most at the salt mine.

Sounds like you had a blast. I envy you, the most I have done in one go is maybe 4 days.

Boulter
How did you get time off from the salt mine?<grin>

The one I worked at didn't believe in time off.

gunk
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Old 03-07-2014, 17:57   #9
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Re: Some Thoughts on Sailing from a N00B

Very well written! and soooooo true!
And stuff you wont learn in Sailing 101
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Old 03-07-2014, 18:01   #10
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Re: Some Thoughts on Sailing from a N00B

So many things they don't tell you at the boat show or the charter office!

You are on your way to having the "experience" that us old farts keep talking about. The next cruise will be easier, but will bring new challenges and problems... and joys. When you get to the point where the challenges add to the joys, you are becoming a real cruiser.

Good onya, mate, and keep on sailin'.

Jim
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Old 03-07-2014, 19:24   #11
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Re: Some Thoughts on Sailing from a N00B

Superb list. Well done. Thanks for sharing. Great writing.
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Old 03-07-2014, 21:09   #12
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Re: Some Thoughts on Sailing from a N00B

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Originally Posted by AKMark View Post
Awesome summary, thanks Bruce!

Are you serious? You picked up a McDonalds drive through on VHF 68 in the middle of Desolation Sound?

That one is a little depressing.

I'm sure Vancouver would be baffled, too. Or from what I've read, maybe he would be at the drive through?
Unless there was a young lady screwing around... We heard "Hello, welcome to McDonalds. Can I take your order?" clear as bell twice over 30 minutes. It could have been a joke, but she sure convinced me.

I could add a few things to the list just about VHF traffic :-)
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Old 03-07-2014, 21:43   #13
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Re: Some Thoughts on Sailing from a N00B

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Originally Posted by Macblaze View Post
Unless there was a young lady screwing around... We heard "Hello, welcome to McDonalds. Can I take your order?" clear as bell twice over 30 minutes. It could have been a joke, but she sure convinced me.

I could add a few things to the list just about VHF traffic :-)
Oh my...that could have been fun! How much food can be ordered before they realize that no-one is actually in the line!
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Old 03-07-2014, 21:43   #14
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Re: Some Thoughts on Sailing from a N00B

Quote:
Originally Posted by Macblaze View Post
Unless there was a young lady screwing around... We heard "Hello, welcome to McDonalds. Can I take your order?" clear as bell twice over 30 minutes. It could have been a joke, but she sure convinced me.

I could add a few things to the list just about VHF traffic :-)
Should have ordered a Big Mac meal and had it delivered
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Old 05-07-2014, 04:55   #15
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Re: Some Thoughts on Sailing from a N00B

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How did you get time off from the salt mine?<grin>

The one I worked at didn't believe in time off.

gunk
Got to the surface one day, and kept on running. Left working years ago, well before I took up sailing again. But I still remember how much I disliked it. I think "soul destroying" was how I described it.

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