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Old 17-08-2009, 14:26   #16
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I grew up racing in SF Bay. One of the things I was really keen to do was to race in the ocean. I got to do that quite a bit. I think that one of the races I ddi was called the Duxbury Lishtship race. From there we sailed from SF out the gate then up to Point Reyes then around the Lightship and back under the golden gate. We were out of site of land for all the time we spent east of the GG Bridge. Not b/c of distance but b/c of fog. LOL. On the way back in it was foggy and night time. I was foredeck. We came out of the fog and were headed right towards shore. TIME TO GYBE. I ran up to the foredeck and we did a quick dip pole gybe. It went pretty easy. Another few minutes and we would have been on the rocks. When we under the GG bridge we gybed again. The fog had lifted on the water but all you could see of the bridge were the lights on the under side. It was time for another gybe. It was a surreal experience watching the boat sail under the bridge -- knowing the bridge was there -- but not being able to see it. As we cleared the bridge the fog was gone.

The first real offshore work I did was the SF to San Diego race on an Express 27. It was really fun. Working the boat real hard. 4 on 4 off.

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Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad
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Old 18-08-2009, 13:41   #17
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As a baby I had sailed with my parents from Southern California to Catalina several times, but I don't think that counts. Other than one other Catalina weekend (out of sigt of land, but just barely), my first time was when we set sail on VALIS for Hawaii in 2003.

I had occasionally sailed and owned other smaller boats off and on for many years, but in 2002 I bought VALIS, did some San Francisco bay and area sailing, including a couple of overnight shakedowns, but always in sight of land.

For the Hawaii trip I assembled a crew of friends, two who had done a significant amount of offshore sailing. We sailed out the Golden Gate, headed for Hawaii, and I had thirteen days on the high-seas. Once on Maui, some of the crew jumped off, my wife and a son jumped aboard, and we spend a couple of weeks cruising among the Islands. Afterwards the family flew home, more crew joined up, and we spent nineteen days sailing home.

It was a life-changing experience. I discovered that I absolutely loved being at sea. Since then I have done the Hawaii and return passages two more times, and will be doing it again next year.

The first couple of days are stressfull, then it gets boring, but eventually I become acclimated and let the beauty and variety, and magnitude of the experience just sink in.

I still do coastal and bay sailing, and while this is great, the experience of being many days from land is extraordinary -- probably the closest to transcendence I will ever get.

Paul Elliott, S/V VALIS - Pacific Seacraft 44 #16 - Friday Harbor, WA
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Old 26-08-2009, 07:17   #18
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My First

My very first blue water, offshore salt water experience came many, many years ago when I was much younger, and certainly much dumber. I had a little Chrysler 22, with a 6hp outboard on it. Had it for a year, and had never had it in salt water. Decided I wanted to go to Mexico, so off I went. Corpus to Isla Mujeras, and back. I had a compass, and a large scale chart for navigation. No auto pilot. I knew nothing about balancing the boat to sort of sail itself, or had never heard of tying off a tiller, so about every 24 hours or so, I would just drop all sail, and drift while I slept. I was smart enough to sleep during daylight hours. Took me about 9 days each way.
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Old 26-08-2009, 07:45   #19
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my first overniter was in a river at age 16....then i sailed with friends to catalina from lost angeles--those dont count...LOL... then delivered other friends' boats to san diego from avalon--19 hours in 30 ft seas--didnt see much land for about 10 of those hours---but the trip to virgins last december was best until this june when i went sailing in the gulf with a friend and was able to catch fish and not see land for a coupla days at a time and the blueness of the deeper waters --- even storms were fun--didnt like the lightning much, but the rest was great---i donot need land for my living--i like just fine not having to see other folks for a while--i love the water and the sea and i cannot get enough of it.....i am ready when you are-----lets go!!!!!
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Old 26-08-2009, 07:57   #20
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Interesting thread. Let me go back in the time machine.

When I first got Shiva I wanted to "sail away" but knew that I had lots of prep, boat prep, sailing skills, mental prep and so on.

Circumstances conspired in my life which presented an opportunity to give this a go when I was about 42, single, no children, parents had passed, no debts and a chunk of cash and a recession so I had little work.

I had been coastal sailing for about 6 years in and around LIS and southern New England. To see if me and my boat could cut it I decided to do the Marion Bermuda race in 91. This would be with competent crew amidst a fleet of 200 boats with a safety gear compliance test. That seemed like a safe way to go.

But before that I decided to cruise up to ME because after the Marion Bermuda, if all went well, I would sail back to the States, close up my affairs and head to the Caribbean.

The Maine sail would involve coastal sailing from Eastern LI then to Block Island, Cuttyhunk, through the Cape Cod canal to P Town and then the offshore bit to ME across the gulf of Maine. Mostly a down wind broad reach. That was pre GPS and loran was iffy out there but I had learned DR and traditional nav skills and sure enough we began to see land birds and get a whiff of the connifers of Maine and made landfall in Tenant's Harbor. WOW. Not only was Maine gorgeous but sailing there proved I could head off into the deep blue and land where I expected I would. Navigation works!

The return from Maine was hopping along the coast and the real test came in Marion Bermuda race the next Spring. Then we encounted a gale in the stream and huge waves. YIKES. Everyone one board I think was seasick at one point. Nothing broke. The boat took care of us. We did the trip with a sextant for nav in a very respectable 4 days 12 hrs IRRC.

This may not be as bad as it gets, but it was rough enough to give me confidence to sail offshore and do it single handed and have done the Carib - NE several times on my own.

So I went from absolute zero knowledge about boats to single handing 1800 miles including fitting a production boat for the task in less than 7 yrs. If I could do it. YOU can do it.
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Old 26-08-2009, 08:10   #21
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St. Martin to the Chesapeake Bay. The only problem was too much drinking the night before we left SM. It took a day to feel good. A beautiful sail and memorable experience with some very kind folks.
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Old 26-08-2009, 13:18   #22
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Damn Hud!! You've scared the crap out me now. ......So in the years since have you experienced another bad voyage like that first?
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Old 26-08-2009, 14:12   #23
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Heck, it really wasn't that bad in retrospect. It was just that it was my first time offshore, and I'd never experienced anything like that before. The gale was only 35-40 knots.

My subsequent offshore passages have all been on my own boat, mostly in worse conditions, some much worse. The difference in comfort, dry ride, motion, nothing breaking, etc., between my boat and the one that I made my first passage in really made a huge difference.

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