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Old 14-03-2013, 05:58   #1
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Your first ocean crossing

Hi,

for the last few years I have either posted inquiries as a beginner or offered the typical "crew available" speech.

Well finally things aligned and I will soon depart on an Indian Ocean crossing with 4 other crew on a 60ft sail boat, from east to west. I was in the right place, right time. It will be my first time doing such a long trip and am very excited for many reasons. It will be a challenge in many ways and I am super keen in learning along the way.

Just wanted to hear about your first ocean crossing, how you felt at the completion, how much you learned, and how it influenced you after.

Cheers
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Old 14-03-2013, 09:05   #2
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Re: Your first ocean crossing

It all depends on who drives. But when you drive and when you make it, it feels great. Maybe the first time it feels double great methinks.

When others drive it will be OK too as long as you (plural) build the right kind of spirit onboard.

Indian is a fantastic place. If you start at this height, you may find it difficult to find something equally challenging further down your sailing path.

Enjoy the ride and let us know how it went for you!

b.
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Old 14-03-2013, 09:21   #3
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Re: Your first ocean crossing

It will ruin you for life! You will not be good for anything else, but sea faring.
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Old 14-03-2013, 09:32   #4
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pirate Re: Your first ocean crossing

Although I'd sailed the UK, Biscay, NW Spain and the Portuguese coast down into and around the W Med I'd never gone across and Ocean on a sailboat... frigates and destroyers did not count.
However 2001 saw me in St Marten prepping to solo a Beneteau 321 to the UK...
Made one false start when I discovered the windows that run up the side and curve onto the cabin roof leaked fairly badly under wave pressure as I beat N.. so turned and effected repairs.
Finally sailed June 14th.. a crazy wonderful sail with freaky weather, waterspouts, heaps of marine life scarey big and all the way to barely visible moving on the surface in the calms...
47 days of highs and some intense lows... me.. not the weather..
When I discovered I'd made landfall more or less where I'd hoped after 4000+ miles (last 1100 odd miles no GPS) with a bit of help from a fishing boat and a plane the sense of achievement was awesome...
Did it change my life.. definitely.. the boost to my confidence and self esteem was amazing...
Tended to sport a bit of an inferiority complex before this trip...
Some say I've gone to far the other way..

Enjoy your adventure... and hopefully, meeting yourself out there..
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Old 14-03-2013, 09:32   #5
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Re: Your first ocean crossing

if the skipper tells you to bring a pair of nylon stockings be afraid......be very afraid.........they may not be for straining plankton if the food runs out
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Old 14-03-2013, 09:32   #6
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Re: Your first ocean crossing

It wasnt my first ocean crossing but the first one over 2,000nms and we had a German cook who couldn't cook and who was a vegitarian and thought meat meant 2 or 3 thin slices of salami once per day on crackers. The rest of the food was vegetables on crackers.

I nearly starved to death.

If I didnt know the cook or the provisioning I would take a LARGE amount of extra personal food HIDDEN in personal belongings.

A young man, as you appear to be, sailing a boat hard could burn 4,000 or more calories per day. Normal amounts of food won't suffice.

If you take extra food and show it then you have to share it and your extra, necessary, provisions will not be enough to keep you going.

It's a big ocean and often owners are older and have a lower metabolism, plus they don't like wasting money on feeding crews.

Apart from that enjoy it! We spotted more whales in the Indian Ocean than any other.

I take it you are going to South Africa?
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Old 14-03-2013, 09:44   #7
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pirate Re: Your first ocean crossing

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
It wasnt my first ocean crossing but the first one over 2,000nms and we had a German cook who couldn't cook and who was a vegitarian and thought meat meant 2 or 3 thin slices of salami once per day on crackers. The rest of the food was vegetables on crackers.

I nearly starved to death.

If I didnt know the cook or the provisioning I would take a LARGE amount of extra personal food HIDDEN in personal belongings.

A young man, as you appear to be, sailing a boat hard could burn 4,000 or more calories per day. Normal amounts of food won't suffice.

If you take extra food and show it then you have to share it and your extra, necessary, provisions will not be enough to keep you going.

It's a big ocean and often owners are older and have a lower metabolism, plus they don't like wasting money on feeding crews.

Apart from that enjoy it! We spotted more whales in the Indian Ocean than any other.

I take it you are going to South Africa?
+A1 on the 'Your own Food'....
last year I had a 21yr old crew from Vanuatu to Perth... I'm a fair cook and bang out a good B'fast and Supper... lunch is snacks.. in spite of him having the larger portions than me he was still starving an hour later.. when we pulled into Darwin he took an empty rucksack into town and re-appeared with it crammed full of crisps, chocolates and cereal energy bars.. every half hour the goody bag could be heard rustling up in the forepeak...
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Old 14-03-2013, 09:56   #8
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Re: Your first ocean crossing

My biggest concern prior to the first long passage was seasickness. It turned out that I was the only member of the crew who didn't get sick, and I stood double watches for a few days because everyone else was too wobbly to be relied upon. I would have to prepare my own meals--I was the only one eating solid food--while basically singlehanding the boat. The skipper, a hired delivery captain, didn't come out of his bunk until I finally handed him his foulies and insisted he get up on deck and at least pretend he was a sailor.

The one thing you can be certain of is that you'll learn a great deal.
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Old 14-03-2013, 09:57   #9
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Re: Your first ocean crossing

My first one, actually just across the Gulf of Mexico, was seven days at sea, with me having one of my few attacks of sea sickness for the first two days. Having to take watches, while wishing I would go ahead and die, was about the worst at sea experience I ever had.

Afterwards, the Gulf got flat as a mill pond, you could have water skiied on it a couple of the days.
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Old 14-03-2013, 10:05   #10
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Re: Your first ocean crossing

First offshore trip was from Mexico to Hawaii. These were the days before GPS so it was my first real test of my ability with a sextant. My wife and my Son were with me and the trip was a wonderful way to spend quality time with my Son who was 20 at the time. Food was good and the sailing was fine. We were becalmed for the better part of 2 days and with 20 gallons of fuel and an Atomic 4 gas engine motoring wasn't an option. When your becalmed the winds stop but the swell doesn't and the boat goes beam on to the swell so your like a giant sea saw. That took some getting used to. I can't tell you how many sights I took but it was alot as I continued to second guess myself but one morning my wife announced she saw land and I was quite elated. Cold beers and hamburgers and french fries followed by ice cream were in our dreams. All very exciting at the time and I can remember it in the finest of details to this day.
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Old 14-03-2013, 12:23   #11
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Re: Your first ocean crossing

When first venturing onto the deep blue, it seemed like it took most of the crew about 3 days to get completely comfortable offshore. Some adapted quicker than others. Our conversations prior to first land fall usually degenerated into a litany of the different foods we were craving. Mostly fresh meat, there were some calls for big Macs, but those were the guys that liked instant coffee too. When we did make landfall, it was room temperature wine out of a 55 gallon drum that caught our fancy; lucky for the chickens running around we were too drunk and too sea legged to catch them.
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Old 14-03-2013, 12:50   #12
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Re: Your first ocean crossing

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wonderful way to spend quality time with my Son who was 20 at the time.
Poor kid!

Just can't imagine being stuck wi my Dad for a few weeks on a boat when I was 20!

And there's no islands to swim to between Mexico and Hawaii... Nor mermaids, beer or girls....
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Old 14-03-2013, 12:58   #13
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Re: Your first ocean crossing

Actually he tells me many years later that the trip down to Mexico and the year there plus the offshore sailing was probably the best year of his life. We enjoy each others company a lot.
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Old 14-03-2013, 13:42   #14
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Re: Your first ocean crossing

My first passage was Honolulu to the PNW in 2000.

The boat had been in the Vic Maui Race; it had lost its rudder 600 miles from Lahaina, but managed to finish the race with not much time to spare. It was towed to Honolulu for repairs.

While it was being repaired we watched the weather, especially the high which at one point stretched from Japan to Oregon. We decided to power through the high, and lashed a whole whack of diesel tanks on deck.

Right in the middle of the high we hit a small piece of fishing net that wrapped itself around the prop and shaft, stopping the engine immediately. When we re-started the noise had us believe that we had damaged the engine. If that was the case we were going to have to cook everything in the fridge and freezer, and start rationing water and electricity.

It turned out that the transmission was destroyed, but we did have an engine for electrical generation, but not propulsion. What we did not have was wind. After a couple of days of wallowing around, I got frustrated one night and went below to sit in saloon. I asked myself, "What the eff am I doing here?" I then had a great epiphany; it does not matter why you are here - your are here. Get the eff out of here.

I headed back up the cockpit and kicked the young crew member off the helm as I felt that I was a bit more focused than he was. And I started to feel for any wind. During daylight when I was back on, I felt a small zephyr in my cheek (beards are good for that) and I watched the genoa try to fill. I gave myself 30 minutes then sent the crew to get the gennaker. When we launched it filled; we had picked up the westerlies. We hardened the luff and set sails for a close reach. After the wind veered a bit more we switched to a spinnaker and started home.

At the point I decided to take control of my life.

Just to tease us the wind died just as we got to the entrance of Juan de Fuca and we floated around the J buoy for a day and a half while Tofino traffic routed traffic around us. We managed to sail up to the fixed dock at Port Renfrew where the skipper' wife met us with a dinghy and outboard. Two of us drove the truck back to Sidney while the rest of the crew sailed and towed the boat to Sidney.
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Old 14-03-2013, 13:47   #15
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Re: Your first ocean crossing

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It wasnt my first ocean crossing but the first one over 2,000nms and we had a German cook who couldn't cook
If you take extra food and show it then you have to share it and your extra, necessary, provisions will not be enough to keep you going.

It's a big ocean and often owners don't like wasting money on feeding crews.
Dude, was your first crossing in the 1600's?
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