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Old 20-01-2016, 12:39   #1
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Touring the Great Lakes this summer (captain request)

I'm part of a theater company called Children of the Wild in western Massachusetts. We have a strong partnership with the Great Lakes Commons, FLOW, the Buffalo/Niagara Riverkeepers, and a number of social and ecological partners in the Great Lakes area.

Here's the deal: we were going to buy a boat for our tour from Buffalo to Duluth, but it fell through. Then our second option fell through. Then our captain bailed. We will need to commission captains with boats if we want to sail.

Our message is one of ecological preservation, water rights and rewilding, and driving the tour with a big diesel bus seems... weird.

We will have a van/support vehicle for our set and instruments and gear, but we'll need to try and charter sailboats for each leg of the journey.

Our tour looks like this:

5/29-6/12-- Buffalo

6/19-7/3-- Cleveland

7/10-24 -- Detroit

7/31-8/14 -- Mackinaw

8/15-8/28-- Time off

8/29-9/14 Duluth

We probably have Mackinaw to Duluth covered, but for all those other trips, we'd need a sail from one city to the other for 6 people. A few of us have sailing experience.

This seems crazy, but I really just need some advice. Is this undertaking even possible?

Here:

https://vimeo.com/150743384

This is a link to our call to action video. The GLC is making a big push to get folks on the water this year and we're working with them to promote that.

So even if you can't help us, even if you can't see our show, at least get out on the water!
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Old 20-01-2016, 14:07   #2
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Re: Touring the Great Lakes this summer (captain request)

Wastelands,
With 6 people, few recreational sailors would accept the responsibility of the journey unless they are a paid Coast Guard captain with an appropriate vessel and insurance. Especially, people they do not know. It's not impossible, but it won't be easy if you're just looking for a "ride." Perhaps you can contact marinas/yacht clubs in the above cities and inquire about a captain. Perhaps, there are also some on CF that would be interested in your trip.
However, I find it refreshing to see young people who have dedicated their immediate lives to something other than a job, spouse and a 401K. Wherever your paths will lead in the future, you will remember these special times. Good luck in your journey and safe sailing. Rognvald
P.S. For a moment, I thought I was back on campus in 1968!
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Old 20-01-2016, 14:26   #3
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Re: Touring the Great Lakes this summer (captain request)

Hello, Wastelands,

What you need to find is someone with both boat and professional skipper's ticket, who would be willing to provide the platform you want/need. Part of the problem has to do with feeding and sleeping so many people. Know that the passengers will have to be responsible for their own seasickness prevention strategies, soft luggage only, and all will have to be okayed by the boat owner/skipper.

Someone might volunteer, if they had the time, and you provided some new gear for them, in the way of dinghy and lifejackets, and whatever for the passengers.

To find them, contact the fancier yacht clubs along the route, and see if they think any of their members would be interested, and meet the legal qualifications. I do not know if this would work or not, but it could possibly be worked out mostly by telephone.

Ann
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Old 20-01-2016, 14:35   #4
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Re: Touring the Great Lakes this summer (captain request)

I'd stick with the bus. If you have to keep to a schedule, weather will be your enemy.
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Old 21-01-2016, 03:51   #5
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Re: Touring the Great Lakes this summer (captain request)

I'll give you 10-1 odds when you run the numbers the bus is more eco-friendly. Don't get so caught up in the image and lose track of the purpose.

For 8 people (your 6 plus 2 crew), you are going to want a large boat for even a modest level of comfort and if you have a schedule, that means you are running the diesel 95% of the time.

Our little 34' boat does pretty good at around 5-6mpg but is no where big enough for long distance with 8 people. Bump up to a 50-60' boat and you will be lucky to get 3mpg.

With a bus you are probably looking at around 8mpg. If you can get a tour bus, you can even skip a lot of the hotel costs as many will sleep that many people.

Probably your bigger issue is anyone with a 60' boat outfitted to comfortably accommodate 8 and licensed and insured is going to probably want a significant chunk of change.

Now if your goal is just to make an entrance, things change. Lots of guys have boats that can handle 8 for a couple hour cruise around the harbor and could probably be talked into "donating" a ride. Park the bus at an adjacent marina switch to the boat and cruise into the destination harbor 15minutes later.
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Old 21-01-2016, 06:04   #6
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Re: Touring the Great Lakes this summer (captain request)

Comfort isn't our main concern here, but if I'm hearing you correctly, you don't think we can actually sail that distance without running the motor?
I know we'd be subject to prevailing winds, thunderstorms, etc. but is 5 days really not enough to go 200 miles?
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Old 21-01-2016, 06:42   #7
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Re: Touring the Great Lakes this summer (captain request)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wastelands View Post
Comfort isn't our main concern here, but if I'm hearing you correctly, you don't think we can actually sail that distance without running the motor?
I know we'd be subject to prevailing winds, thunderstorms, etc. but is 5 days really not enough to go 200 miles?
No I'm saying it's iffy planning even if you run the motor. You are relying on everything going perfect and that's not how cruising works.

Sure you can do 200miles in 5 days...if you get nice weather and nothing breaks but:
- 3/4 of your trip is against the prevailing winds which means sailing 200 miles is probably closer to 300miles.
- What happens when you get 2 calm days followed by a 3 day storm that lines up with your 5 day window. Are you OK with missing your next destination or do you crank up the diesel and push on thru?
- Is the owner of this nice boat going to want to beat it up if weather is bad?
- If the bus breaks down the bus company will likely have another out to you within a day, if not sooner and it's thier problem to pay for it. If the boat breaks down...you are back to square one.

There's a saying that crusing and schedules don't mix. It's not at all uncommon to be caught by weather for a week. People get hurt and boats get broke when this rule is violated.

Not sure where you are from but if you go down to the ICW and watch, you will find 90-95% of the sail boats you see traveling (not out for a day sail) will have the motor running. If you watch sail excursion boats, they may put the sails up for show but almost always run the engine as they have a schedule to meet.

If you find someone with a boat that will do it, more power to you but I wouldn't count on it.

Another thought came up: What kind of budget are you talking about? You are looking at tying up someones boat for a year (duluth in sept means no travel until the next june) and leaving it 1000miles for it's origin plus 5 months pay for 2 crew. Even a bus rental for 5 months isn't going to be cheap.

It might make more sense to buy a used motorhome and pick up a commercial drivers license but that comes with it's own issues.
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Old 23-01-2016, 02:21   #8
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Re: Touring the Great Lakes this summer (captain request)

Wastelands, what I think you're not getting yet is that travel by sail can be slow or backwards. There is no way to tell in advance what you would encounter. Valhalla's advice is sound. He's located on the Great Lakes.

It is not impossible, it is just that there are too many failure modes.

If you follow my original advice you MIGHT be able to find a skipper and a boat that could accommodate you, and you might not. There are many potential hassles for that fantasy skipper, that so far, you seem to ignore.

You might want to re-think this dream with more of an eye to what is actually reasonably doable.

Ann
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Old 23-01-2016, 07:25   #9
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Re: Touring the Great Lakes this summer (captain request)

Another thought if the idea really is low carbon footprint.

Pick up a used minivan and a small enclosed trailer. Probably get up in the 15-20mpg range and just bring along camping tents since you said comfort wasn't critical.
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Old 23-01-2016, 07:51   #10
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Re: Touring the Great Lakes this summer (captain request)

Sailing seems like a lot of trouble just to create the facade of having a small carbon footprint. Why not figure out how to move your group and your gear from point A to point B using the least amount of fuel?

I have a small footprint with my foam insulated 1,300 sq. ft. house, and a 28 ft. sailboat, and my high mileage cars. It's so annoying when people like Al Gore or some Hollywood celebrity preaches to me as they shuttle back and forth between their 10,000 sq. ft. homes in their private jets.

Why not keep it real?
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Old 23-01-2016, 08:34   #11
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Re: Touring the Great Lakes this summer (captain request)

good comments & advice above.


If you really want to make the water part work consider any of the Tall Ships circuits occasionally available for all or part of the circuit. There is also a cruise liner operating on the lakes. If you opt for land transportation rent a mini-van. These get pretty good fuel economy. We are 58 feet and get about 4 mpg using our variable pitch prop. Keeping to a schedule NEVER works by sail and rarely either by power boat. We are both USCG Masters but as noted above, we cannot take 8 paying passengers without inspection and an insurance rider. Its simply not legal, let alone smart.

Photo - the cruise line visiting Mackinaw Island. Tall ship on the other side.
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Old 23-01-2016, 09:31   #12
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Re: Touring the Great Lakes this summer (captain request)

What is it that you are planning to do once you arrive at a port? Whatever it is, how is it enhanced by arriving on a sailboat?

It would seem that getting the word out is the important part of your mission. You will find a lot more people on the road than in a harbor. A whole lot more.
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