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Old 17-02-2010, 14:32   #1
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TransAtlantic Passage on Small Trimaran - Who's Done it?

Good evening,
I am planning to race my Farrier F9 AX trimaran from Cape Town to St Helena Island, 1 700 miles, at the end of this year. I will most probably sail two up.
It is a bluewater trip, guaranteed downhill in the South Atlantic Trades after the first two hundred miles out of Cape Town. Should get there in about 10 to 12 days.

Is there anybody here who has actually done a trans ocean passage on an F9 or F31, or any small trimaran (9 meters or less).

I'd like to hear what you did to keep weight down, what you did for charging batteries, what was your battery capacity, what did you do to conserve battery power etc.
I sail as a minimalist, ie no inboard engine, only handheld gps, vhf radio, no instruments except a speedo and will have to take a sat phone for race requirements.

And I also would just like to hear your story.

I've twice sailed to the Island while on delivery trips to Europe. But that was on bigger (monohull) boats.

Regards,
Banjo.
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Old 17-02-2010, 15:17   #2
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Somewhere I read I write up of these accounts as well as a RI to Bermuda trip. Can't find them now. Its a start though. Good luck


June, 1987: The first ocean crossing by an F-27. Mark Robson's KILLER FROG sails in the Trans Pac Race from Long Beach to Hawaii. Averages just on 8 knots for a quick 12 day passage, including one 250 mile day. It should be noted that while it is nice to know that the F-27 is capable of such long ocean crossings in experienced hands, it still remains a small trailerable yacht and is not recommended or intended for this purpose.

Mark Robson's KILLER FROG reefed well down near Hawaii
July, 1988: The second ocean crossing, this time across the Atlantic. Adrian Went's F-27 OLIJFE makes an impressive passage of 23 days from Cape Cod to Bishop Rock, England and then on up through the English Channel to Holland.

OLIJFE safely on the trailer in Holland
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Old 19-02-2010, 08:44   #3
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One or two

A few people, once or twice (a hand full posted below)

"The" F-boat group/mailing list is on Yahoo (F-Boats : Farrier designed &| Corsair built boats). You should search/post there. It's been discussed a lot and you'll find advice, stories and answers from the "hard core" F-boaters as well as Ian himself (he's a regular poster to the list).

"July, 1988: The second ocean crossing, this time across the Atlantic. Adrian Went's F-27 OLIJFE makes an impressive passage of 23 days from Cape Cod to Bishop Rock, England and then on up through the English Channel to Holland."

"July, 1990: Two more F-27s cross the Pacific to Hawaii, one singlehanded, one doublehanded."

"June, 1991: Dr. Werner Stolz and Roswitha Schadt's F-27 becomes the second F-27 to cross the Atlantic."

"February, 1993: Two F-27s blitz the fleet in the 1993 Miami - Key Largo race, averaging an incredible 18.2 and 17.9 knots for the 43 mile course."

"May, 1995: Denis Poupart's F-9A makes a double Atlantic crossing. "

"January, 1996: Mike Henning's new F-36 JAM TODAY takes line honors in the cruising multihull division of the Capetown to Rio Race (across South Atlantic),"

"July, 1996: Wayne Gorrie's F-9A & Gary Helm's F-31 cross the Pacific from Canada and U.S. to Hawaii."

"July, 1996: Adrian Went crosses the Atlantic again to Holland, this time in an F-31"
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Old 19-02-2010, 13:11   #4
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Good evening,
I've searched the f-boat forums, but there are no hard details there.

If I posted a question like this on the f-boat forum I will receive a barrage of replies from bathtub admirals who has never sailed out of sight of land, saying it cannot be done, ratteling down a long list of gadgets which they believe are "must have's", or giving opinions based on zero bluewater experience. The thread will then slowly deteriorate to something like what is the best outboard to use.
The f-boat forum is good while you're building, or racing in-shore.

Ian is not happy to see his smaller boats go trans ocean.

That's why I post here amongst people who actually sail trans ocean.

Regards,
Banjo.
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Old 22-02-2010, 17:02   #5
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Quote:
Ian is not happy to see his smaller boats go trans ocean.
That should tell you something...

Other than that: If you have to ask (here or anywhere) the answer is NO. The skills and experience required to do a crossing with the added challenges of an underbuilt boat and a shortage of stores (or an overweight boat) should be there BEFORE you assess the risks.
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Old 23-02-2010, 02:38   #6
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Hobart _ Sydney in a Cross 24'

Not across the ocean ... but still.

Super conscious of weight : nothing in the outside hulls
Battery? No 12v power on board that boat. (one way to save weight)

If I couldna do it myself , it didna get done.

torch for bright night light plus a candle to read.

a short-wave radio to listen to the cricket (Ian Botham SMASHING the Aussies!)
.. at least until a wet-one climbed into the cock-pit and drowned it.


Steve
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Old 24-02-2010, 22:11   #7
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"Multhull Voyaging" by Thomas Firth Jones may be an interesting read for you. His writing style isn't the greatest, but you said specifically that you are looking for tips on minimizing weight and keeping your dependence on batteries to a minimum, and these are definitely the author's priorities. I took a quick look at amazon.com, and there looked to be may used copies available.
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Old 24-02-2010, 22:40   #8
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here s a good story of a f-27 doing the RI to Bermuda
Bermuda Sail
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Old 09-03-2010, 14:53   #9
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small tri's ocean crossing

read rob James book, he did ostar singlehanded thirty years ago on Newick val 31.. it is so much easier now with gps, weather availability, better communications, ect. but really how many peaple need to cross an ocean in a small multi. why not just ship it to far away locations and sail there. probably cheaper than transitting less wear on boat, less worries, I bet most sailors usually stay within 50 miles of coast. the fun is in cruising not transiting. location location location .....
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Old 10-03-2010, 13:55   #10
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read rob James book, he did ostar singlehanded thirty years ago on Newick val 31.. it is so much easier now with gps, weather availability, better communications, ect. but really how many peaple need to cross an ocean in a small multi. why not just ship it to far away locations and sail there. probably cheaper than transitting less wear on boat, less worries, I bet most sailors usually stay within 50 miles of coast. the fun is in cruising not transiting. location location location .....

Thanks 67,
I've got the book. Todays gear needs a bit more energy though.

I have crossed the Atlantic so many times before, racing, delivering, fully crewed, short crewed and solo that I will battle to add it all up. Mostly done on smaller boats, 10 meters or a bit longer.
I see a boat as something to be sailed accross the ocean, not shipped. I am not worried about wear and tear. I built it myself so doing an overhaul when I get home is no sweat.

I have no concern about the sailing part of the 1700 mile voyage. I was hoping to pick up some real practical tips from others who have ACTUALY sailed a small multi trans-ocean. What I am still looking for is what they did to be energy efficient and what they did to keep things light. And I must watch my back pocket.

The trip is all downhill. After the race we fold up the boat and we all come back with our boats on the little mailship which serves the island.

The F9AX is well capable of carring all that is needed for two people for 12 odd days and still be within the designers load carrying specs. The trick is to keep the weight down, hence my original question. So far I have learn a bit, but I hope for more. Thanks for all the replies, all appreciated.

Regards,
Banjo.
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Old 10-03-2010, 15:48   #11
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Banjo,

I've not done such a long trip in a multi-hull, but I have done multiple Bermuda 1-2's in a Hobie 33 where weight was an issue, but not quite as much as in your case. In terms of power, I did it two different ways, but each time was only for 4 to 5 days:
- one 12 volt agm battery and a single solar panel and a small gas generator which I dragged out and ran in the cockpit any day the sun didn't shine (this was a pain)
- 3 x 12 volt agm batteries and a single solar panel - figuring I'd be unlucky to not get one day of sun along the way

In terms of energy usage/efficiency I had:
- small chartplotter/GPS
- basic sailing instruments (Wind, Speed, Temp, Depth)
- LED masthead tri-color
- Raymarine ST2000+ tiller pilot (and spare)
- small LED interior light
- Energy monitor to track my usage and battery reserves
- everything else was battery powered (headtorch, spare gps, epirb, ...)

For a better comparison, you might want to look and see what the mini sailors are doing. I know some of them are now going with lithium ion batteries to save weight (but not the pocket book!).

Good luck.
Mark.
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Old 10-03-2010, 16:16   #12
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Banjo -- This is exciting hearing about your race. I hope you'll keep us updated. I haven't done what you're doing, but maybe I can still offer something useful. My son just completed a cross-country bicycle trip and the need for speed with light weight is the same, along with at least a few instruments.

He found this little device to be quite handy for the gps, cell phone, camera charging: Solio Classic | Universal Portable Solar Charger

The trick with it, though, is to get the integrated li-ion battery fully charged, first. He found it kept his small stuff nicely charged. I imagine it would charge a handheld vhf just fine, too. Small and light, not too expensive.

What are you doing about water? Have you thought about a hand operated watermaker? We have one in our ditchbag -- they do take some effort, but do the job. 30 gallons X 8.75 lbs per gallon = 260 lbs.

If you can take the extra weight, then the 100 amp/hr Odyssey (available as the Sears Platinum) is probably your best bang for the buck, since you can draw them down more than a regular AGM and the weight isn't too bad (about 70 lbs.) That and a 115watt solar panel (about 25 lbs) would likely supply more than enough for your needs. If you get cloudy days, you'll just have to be conservative.

LEDs for all lights, and the tiller pilot.

ID
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Old 11-03-2010, 11:00   #13
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Good evening,

Some nice bits of info comming through. Thanks a lot.

Mark, your setup just about matches mine. It is good to see that what I have in mind is at least do-able.
A question. In the 2-up leg of the B1/2, how much did you use the autopilot or did you drive most of the time?
On a small multi you cannot rely on the autopilot too much when pushing hard................something to do with swimming.
We are planning on only using the autopilot "to quickly hold the tiller" while the on-watch nips down to grab a juice and a snack. Is that what you did?

Drifter, yep we've got a small pocket solar charger too for when all else fails.
I see you have a St Francis. That's from right here in my town. I can recall the name "Orca" when it was launched. Did you come out here to come and fetch it yourself. I see Duncan Lethbridge from St Francis Marine often and he came to the launch of our boat.
The Yard has grown a lot over the years. Appart from St Francis Marine there are now two other yards also building big catamarans here in St Francis Bay. One yard, Nexus, has just launched their first boat, a 60 fter. The other yard, Tag, is launching their first boat, a 67 fter in about two months time. Not bad for this tiny little village at the tip of Darkest Africa!

I hitched a ride down from St Francis Bay to Cape Town last weekend on the Nexus. Nice boat, really moves.

Regards,
Banjo.
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Old 11-03-2010, 11:24   #14
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you might also look to the mini-transat fleet for light weight ideas and overcoming simple power consumption. These guys also shave weight off since they're so small.
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Old 11-03-2010, 12:21   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Banjo View Post
Good evening,
A question. In the 2-up leg of the B1/2, how much did you use the autopilot or did you drive most of the time?
On a small multi you cannot rely on the autopilot too much when pushing hard................something to do with swimming.
We are planning on only using the autopilot "to quickly hold the tiller" while the on-watch nips down to grab a juice and a snack. Is that what you did?
...
Each time our plan was to drive most of the time, but we found the reality was with just 2 on board for 5 days you still get pretty tired and the autopilot was better in some conditions because it didn't lose focus, in particular going upwind the autopilot steering to the wind angle was pretty effective. So the AP did quite a bit of driving, though always with someone nearby. I would plan as you are to drive almost all the time as it should be faster, but be aware from a power usage perspective that you might decide to let it drive more than you think.

Single-handed was a different story - the AP drove much more than half of the time. However, as a mono-hull, the Hobie 33 was definitely a little more forgiving than a multi-hull. For example, I got knocked down once while napping/sleeping in the Gulf Stream, but she popped straight back up and kept going (minus everthing that had been in the cockpit).

Mark.
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