Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 24-04-2013, 12:34   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Houston Tx.
Boat: 2000 Hunter 290
Posts: 19
Gulf Crossings

Hello all, just had some general concerns about open water cruising. I have had my Hunter 290 29' now for about 4 yrs. Love it no real major problems. And have used it to cruise up and down the texas gulf coast. Like a lot of sailors, sooner or later you get the itch to go "out there" so to speak. I'm getting the itch to cross the pond, (for me that would be the gulf of Mexico) to the keys, the Bahamas, Cancun etc. I've mostly sailed in bays and the ICW here in Tx. The times I have had it off shore were just a few mi. out in 4-6' seas. It hobby horses a little but I can live with that after all it is only 29'. Anyway I guess my real question is, is it wise to take this boat in Ocean crossings? I have to admit it doesn't inspire the greatest of confidence in open water for me. But that could just be me. I really like my boat and do not want to move up unless I have to. at 7400 lbs. it's a bit tender but I don't have to put a reef in unless the wind approaches 20kts.
Just don't know if the boat would survive a Gail force squall out in the middle of nowhere.

If you have already read this I apologize for posting it twice, still trying to get use to this site.
__________________

__________________
Flanza4 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-04-2013, 14:01   #2
Registered User
 
denverd0n's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 3,949
Images: 6
Re: Gulf Crossings

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flanza4 View Post
I have to admit it doesn't inspire the greatest of confidence in open water for me.
Based on this statement, I would say no. Not that the boat can't do it, but that you aren't ready for that sort of passage in this boat. You either need to develop more confidence in yourself and your boat, or you need to buy another boat that you have confidence in.

Good luck.
__________________

__________________
denverd0n is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-04-2013, 14:49   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: W Carib
Boat: Wildcat 35, Hobie 33
Posts: 7,922
This kind of question gets asked a lot. Could you...probably...should you...probably not.

Either way the Gulf is a body of water which should be respected regardless of type of boat. Conditions can get horendous and off Texas there are loads of oil rigs and commercial traffic. Biggest seas Ive sailed in the Gulf were about 25'...biggest Ive heard reported by NOAA...50'....not a place for lack of confidence in yourself or your boat.

Transiting the Gulf in an H29 would not be my first choice...in her big sister...the H37 Cutter...much better choice.

If you want to venture further afield then I suggest short hops along the coast, but even then be cautious...conditions can still get nasty and there is loads of commercial traffic.
__________________
belizesailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-04-2013, 15:07   #4
TEE
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 139
Re: Gulf Crossings

From your comments, I would suggest the short hop plan too. I think you have a bona fide ight weight coastal cruiser. If you sail into the wide open spaces, you might make it fine. Depends on what you got caught in. A few boats that size have sailed around the world, but I don't recall any on them being a Hunter.
__________________
TEE is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-04-2013, 15:13   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 337
Re: Gulf Crossings

Go for it, You mention heading out into the Gulf and one of the replies talks about 50 seas. Valid point I guess. Avoid heading out into a cat 5 storm. Pretty easy to avoid. It is all about weather "Out there" The weather forecast are pretty dam accurate 3-5 days. There are several ways to get weather while away from cell phone and internet so you can easily avoid the bad weather.

When I first started sailing my IF36 i was cruising the ICW in the FL panhandle and asked those along the way about the big crossing. Those that had done it would say "no problem" "watch the weather" the dock bound old salts would say " you will die for sure" To put it more simply you could paddle a open canoe across the gulf in the right weather.
Squalls come and go. Doused the sails, thats it, not that big of a deal as most are short lived. Squalls are much more of a problem in a anchorage.

Your boat is plenty big for crossing the gulf. A good engine and plenty of fuel will go along way. Some type of self steering is just about a must if having a good time is important. Other than that time and supplies will be the limiting factors.
If i was you would do a few over nighters along the coast ,building your skills and confidence as you head east. When you get to Pensacola or as far as Carrabelle then do your crossing to Tarpon springs. I think that run is 150 miles, maybe less. Plan for a daytime arrival. From there down the FL west coast to Fort meyers beach and then make the overnight to Fort Jefferson in the drytortugas, now you will have a taste for it. From there the Bahamas and the Carribian are your oyster.
So study the weather to understand the trends. Keep yourself hooked to the boat at all times. bring lots of fuel as settled weather means low winds. Have fun Oh here is a link to my first gulf crossing gulfcrossing
__________________
brantleychuck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-04-2013, 16:25   #6
Capt. Fred
 
Capt.Fred's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Gulf Coast Alabama
Boat: Blackwatch 19 gaff rig cat
Posts: 156
Images: 5
Re: Gulf Crossings

It really isn't the size of the boat, it's how well you use it. Boats these days are usually much stronger than the sailors on board The major problem in the Gulf of Mexico is the traffic. Shrimping and fishing fleets were my my problem, then came the cargo ships, military and folks like myself. Single handing is dangerous these days. A total of four on board is perfect. 3 hours on 9 hours off. I stick to the 100 fathom line going South from Pensacola, then SW 40 miles north of the Tortugas and Cuba to Isla Mejeres. Returning almost zero degrees going North to P'cola. Pick your weather window and go for it. If things get hairy just heave to between Cuba and Yucatan and drift north til it settles down. Lots of fun. Don't think of the whole trip. Only concern yourself with where you are at that moment. Happy days!
__________________
Capt.Fred is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-04-2013, 17:28   #7
Registered User
 
rognvald's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Summer: In the land of Wooly Mammoths
Boat: Pearson 34-II
Posts: 2,252
Images: 2
Re: Gulf Crossings

Flanza, the sailing world is full of Captain No Go's. There's always a better weather window, the boat has some unfinished chores, the wind is from the wrong direction, the seas need to settle for a day, I really wanted to install an AIS before leaving, I don't really have a "bluewater" boat, I should really wait till next year until I have more experience . . . and the list goes on. I have seen more "bluewater" boats glued to a dock or welded to an anchor that will never go anywhere for a multitude of excuses as I have seen some of the most unproven "daysailors" that have made both respectable and remarkable passages. The biggest regret you will have in your life is if you had an opportunity for a great experience and fear prevented you from going. You cannot get experience at the Yacht Club bar or among the salty dock gurus or out of a book. You need to get out on the water and gain experience and sea time. Take the bull by the horns and give them a good twist. Carpe Diem. I promise, Captain NoGo will be there when you return. Good luck and good sailing.
__________________
rognvald is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-04-2013, 18:13   #8
Freelance Delivery Skipper..
 
boatman61's Avatar

Community Sponsor
Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: UK/Portugal
Posts: 20,198
Images: 2
Send a message via Skype™ to boatman61
pirate Re: Gulf Crossings

I'm not familiar with the H29 or its build quality.. but lots of European boats from 24ft to 30ft have sailed from France, UK, Sweden, Holland etc to the Caribbean...
Pick your season.. pick your planned and secondary ports.. if its a 10day leg, water and provision for 15days... and don't even try to have a schedule... that's the biggest threat to personal safety..
__________________


Born To Be Wild
boatman61 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-04-2013, 18:33   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Houston Tx.
Boat: 2000 Hunter 290
Posts: 19
Re: Gulf Crossings

Wow thanks for all the input Guys. Some very interesting replies.

A lot of good advise. Thanks.

Reminds me of that Mark Twain Quote How does it go something about 20 yrs. from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do then the things you did? Or something like that.

I like my Hunter it's just that you do hear a lot of criticizes these days about the sea worthiness of Hunters.
__________________
Flanza4 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-04-2013, 18:47   #10
Freelance Delivery Skipper..
 
boatman61's Avatar

Community Sponsor
Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: UK/Portugal
Posts: 20,198
Images: 2
Send a message via Skype™ to boatman61
pirate Re: Gulf Crossings

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flanza4 View Post
Wow thanks for all the input Guys. Some very interesting replies.

A lot of good advise. Thanks.

Reminds me of that Mark Twain Quote How does it go something about 20 yrs. from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do then the things you did? Or something like that.

I like my Hunter it's just that you do hear a lot of criticizes these days about the sea worthiness of Hunters.
Suuusshhhh..... don't say that... you'll get Don all wound up again...
__________________


Born To Be Wild
boatman61 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-04-2013, 20:20   #11
Head in a locker
 
Cavalier's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Houston, TX
Boat: Beneteau 461 47'
Posts: 879
Images: 1
Re: Gulf Crossings

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
I'm not familiar with the H29 or its build quality.. but lots of European boats from 24ft to 30ft have sailed from France, UK, Sweden, Holland etc to the Caribbean...
Pick your season.. pick your planned and secondary ports.. if its a 10day leg, water and provision for 15days... and don't even try to have a schedule... that's the biggest threat to personal safety..
Great advice as usual.

The only thing to add is that you need to be prepared to reef earlier than you're used to. Based on your boat and what you've said, consider putting in that first reef at the 16-17knot point - and don't be too lazy to put in another reef shortly thereafter if needed.

Squalls in the GOM can come on quickly and be powerful for a spell and you need to be prepared to treat them with some respect - as usual, it's better to play the rookie, stay on the conservative side of balance and get through a situation without a divorce as that'll help build confidence and judgement much faster than sliding about on your foredeck wishing you'd stayed coastal.

Check you weather and attempt an overnight passage first to see how your chosen watch scheme works out in practice and then go on from there (make sure you shrouds/rig is correctly tensioned).

As mentioned before - doing extended hops across the 'armpit' of Florida is a good idea. The whole coastline from Pensacola/Destin and Eastward lends itself well to short offshore passages: just beware stronger winds from the NE during November to January as they can whip-up some suprising 24hour blows even with the relatively short fetch.

Offshore to NOLA during the right conditions isn't a bad start either.. the ICW between Galveston and Houma is one of the most boring bits of waterway i've ever experienced.
__________________
"By day the hot sun fermented us; and we were dizzied by the beating wind. At night we were stained by dew, and shamed into pettiness by the innumerable silences of stars."
Cavalier is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 24-04-2013, 21:02   #12
CF Adviser
 
Bash's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: sausalito
Boat: 14 meter sloop
Posts: 7,260
Re: Gulf Crossings

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flanza4 View Post
I really like my boat and do not want to move up unless I have to. at 7400 lbs. it's a bit tender but I don't have to put a reef in unless the wind approaches 20kts.
There seems to be a general consensus among Hunter owners that Hunters under 34' are more suitable for coastal cruising while Hunters over 34' are suitable for offshore passages. (We let the owners of H34s argue as to which group they belong to.)

Forget about length for a moment, and think about weight instead. Even with full tanks your boat displaces less than 4 tons. Now what happens when you include a life raft, sufficient gear for passage-making, extra water, several weeks worth of provisions, and crew?

Bottom line: it wouldn't be smart to add that much cargo to a less-than-4-ton boat, especially if it's heading offshore. This isn't because it's a Hunter, or because of its water line, or whether it's a tender boat or stiff. It's simply because it's light.

There isn't a production sailboat manufacturer in the world that builds a broader range of vessels than Hunter. The smallest Hunter currently being manufactured displaces 1/4 ton while the largest displaces 17 tons empty. The philosophy here is that there's a Hunter for every purpose within recreational sailing. But you've got to match the boat with the objective. Your problem, according to the sentence quoted above, is that you love your Hunter but your guts tell you that it wasn't designed for your latest sailing objectives.

Welcome to the club. This is why most of us ended up buying larger boats. (At this point I should probably add that I'm a Hunter owner myself, and that while my first Hunter displaced slightly less than 10 tons, my current boat displaces 15 tons. Trust me when I tell you that heavier boats tend not to shrink as much when you get them out into deep water.)
__________________
cruising is entirely about showing up--in boat shoes.
Bash is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-04-2013, 21:14   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 1,440
Re: Gulf Crossings

I think you pick your weather windows and see how it goes. Do shorter trips initially. You should be able to avoid hurricanes with a little bit of planning.

If your boat is handling the sailing you're doing, then you're fine.
__________________
letsgetsailing3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-04-2013, 17:37   #14
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Houston Tx.
Boat: 2000 Hunter 290
Posts: 19
Re: Gulf Crossings

All great advise and gives a lot to think about Thanks again. Bash is dead on with my thoughts by saying "Your problem, according to the sentence quoted above, is that you love your Hunter but your guts tell you that it wasn't designed for your latest sailing objectives."
The short jumps sound like a good way to start!

Thanks again all.
__________________
Flanza4 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-04-2013, 17:55   #15
cruiser

Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Tampa Bay area
Boat: Hunter 31'
Posts: 5,731
Re: Gulf Crossings

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flanza4 View Post
Hello all, just had some general concerns about open water cruising. I have had my Hunter 290 29' now for about 4 yrs. Love it no real major problems. And have used it to cruise up and down the texas gulf coast. Like a lot of sailors, sooner or later you get the itch to go "out there" so to speak. I'm getting the itch to cross the pond, (for me that would be the gulf of Mexico) to the keys, the Bahamas, Cancun etc. I've mostly sailed in bays and the ICW here in Tx. The times I have had it off shore were just a few mi. out in 4-6' seas. It hobby horses a little but I can live with that after all it is only 29'. Anyway I guess my real question is, is it wise to take this boat in Ocean crossings? I have to admit it doesn't inspire the greatest of confidence in open water for me. But that could just be me. I really like my boat and do not want to move up unless I have to. at 7400 lbs. it's a bit tender but I don't have to put a reef in unless the wind approaches 20kts.
Just don't know if the boat would survive a Gail force squall out in the middle of nowhere.

If you have already read this I apologize for posting it twice, still trying to get use to this site.

That's not what most people would call a "blue water" boat. I live on the Gulf, too. The thing you have to remember about the Gulf is that most of it isn't all that deep -- so it can generate bigger waves than you would expect for the circumstances.

Is that 4 years total of sailing experience or do you have more you haven't revealed? I have a friend that had a GREAT time traveling along the Gulf coast from Tampa (until the oil spill stopped him going further west). There's lots to see, lots of interesting small harbors and towns. He found colorful and interesting people all along the way. There's still an open patch of water but it's a smaller area to pick your weather window in.

Yeah, there aoil rigs and freighters, but those things are big and probably you would see them in time (smile).

Once you've gotten to the Tarpon Springs area, you can again hopscotch pretty freely down the coast to Naples, then another patch of open water to get to Marathon. From there you can hopscotch to Key West and over to the Tortugas.

You can do a lot in your boat. You just have to balance the sailing traits of your boat, with your sailing experience.

You can sail around the tip of Florida, and then it's not that far to the Biminis, the western edge of the Bahamas. Just ... choose your weather windows before you make those bigger jumps.

You should have two people with you. Sometimes that gap you think you can close in a day takes a day and a half. Stuff happens.
__________________

__________________
Rakuflames is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 20:40.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.