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Old 17-05-2015, 16:35   #1
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2nd Try To Not Be Embarrassed Off Forum But Unsure What Topic (If Any) I知 In

I'm an older guy 72, and missed out on a lot of things I wanted to do in life but have not given up. On my bucket list I have a long cruise on a sail boat. However, time and trials of life have taken their toll. Last year I purchased a 1972 Catalina 22 swing keel and have been sailing it and fixing it up on a long winding reservoir in North AR.
My question is am I being realistic to think at 72 I can make the Great Loop cruise on this boat?
I知 in pretty good shape and don稚 have health problems. I live and work daily on my retirement small farm, work on the boat, fish and sail her for extended periods of days. I am a retired teacher and have a livable pension income with enough money left over to add essential equipment and boat upgrades as I make the cruise. What I don稚 have is time to wait until the boat and equipment are perfect.
I have some boating experience, worked on a MS river push boat as a young man just out of the Army, and shipped on freighters (before containers) as an ordinary seaman. I lived on a 23 footer while going to the U of New Orleans. In the 80s I had a wealthy wife for a while that bought us a 30' Hunter we lived on and cruised the northern Gulf Coast for a couple of years. I Took a home study course from FL Maritime logged my time and got a 50 ton license (no longer current) I have owned and sailed an O'day 23 on the Gulf
Coast and salvaged, lake sailed a holed brand X 23' swing keel for a while.
The current boat, a C22 is an old model with no frills. She is not a pop top. She has had some upgrades to strengthen the rigging and rudder. I just finish refurbishing and reinstalled the keel, and painted the bottom. She has a new keel wench, cable, and lights. I just bought her a VHF. I know generally what other equipment I need to add (she has some), and plan on some new off shore class sails. I have a 2008 Tohatsu 4 stroke,6 hp long shaft and a self refurbished Johnson 6 hp 2 stroke for a back up.
I have some reservations about the FL big bend to the Okeechobee crossing leg and the Great Lakes leg from the Erie Canal to Chicago. Reservations are mostly because I don稚 have any navigation electronics but I can plot, use charts and have a hand held gps. I used a loran C based chart plotter on the Hunter 30, but know C is no longer in operation.
I am not trying to impress anyone, don稚 want to write a book, or make history. I just don稚 want to sit here like a bump on a stump until the end. I really want to make a trip but don稚 want to commit suicide although I am willing to go down swinging. I would appreciate constructive advice and guidance, but if all you can offer is school boy smart a** sarcasm then keep it, I already got that.
Thank you for your indulgence. If you think I don稚 belong on this forum just politely say so, I値l go.
Peace and Love, James
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Old 17-05-2015, 16:49   #2
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Re: 2nd Try To Not Be Embarrassed Off Forum But Unsure What Topic (If Any) I知 In

With a handheld GPS and all of your previous experience boating AND YOUR DESIRE to do it, I say, in your case, "Go do it!"

Now, while you can.

Bon voyage!

Go watch this video. One of my favorites. Shows what a 70 year old with the spirit of adventure can do on a limited budget. Two part video.

http://youtu.be/Q8Y35_z8cxM
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Old 17-05-2015, 16:53   #3
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Re: 2nd Try To Not Be Embarrassed Off Forum But Unsure What Topic (If Any) I知 In

Sounds like a reasonable boat and plan to me. Sounds like fun actually. You don't need fancy electronics to sail the great lakes. My last boat (30') all I had was a Garmin etrex, no charting capability and a hand held VHF, that's it- $300 worth of electronics.

My current boat a 35' has more, still have my monochrome etrex and handheld VHF but I also have a Standard Horizon GX2200 with GPS and AIS receiver, but I still don't have electronic charts or depth. I think fancy electronics are over rated gadgets. The reality is on the water you don't need constant real time position updates. Your boat should be fine for the trip.

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Old 17-05-2015, 17:43   #4
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Re: 2nd Try To Not Be Embarrassed Off Forum But Unsure What Topic (If Any) I知 In

Great plan as long as you can live in that small of a space for an extended period of time. You will need a good dinghy and a good anchor or two. Your short draft and small size mean you will be able to anchor almost anywhere.

You will have to keep a very close eye on the weather, but as long as you are smart and knowledgeable about the weather, you will have no problem on the great loop.
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Old 17-05-2015, 18:07   #5
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Re: 2nd Try To Not Be Embarrassed Off Forum But Unsure What Topic (If Any) I知 In

I wanted to come into your thread and offer support. I don't think I have enough experience with the ICW to offer you a solid opinion. But, I think it's doable.

I would invest in a few gadgets if it was me. Like an Ipad connected to civilization. There are great nav apps and Active Captain info, for example. Poss. a PLB too.... I don't think you need to go crazy on the electronics but a few would sure make it safer and easier.

Also, that's a pretty small boat. While potentially I might be able to do it, I don't know that I would enjoy it. Though, if she's yours and you connect with her, I'd say she might be all you need.

Life is nothing but our experiences. So many people dream....so few explore.

Another aspect of the Great Loop is all the people you can meet if you so desire. Everyone has a story....everyone has a different path.

Put the lines and go....
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Old 17-05-2015, 18:42   #6
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Re: 2nd Try To Not Be Embarrassed Off Forum But Unsure What Topic (If Any) I知 In

I do have this laptop with a wireless router here at home but but how do i connect to the inet out there?
I think I will invest in a usb gps and use the cpn software / map cd.
thanks for the comments.
James
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Old 17-05-2015, 18:47   #7
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Re: 2nd Try To Not Be Embarrassed Off Forum But Unsure What Topic (If Any) I知 In

If you're worried about navigation, download navionics on your smart phone. It's $10 and is basically push button navigation. If you don't have a smart phone, you can pick up an inexpensive android tablet or phone for less than $130. I run the program on my nexus tablet and iPhone.
Sounds like a grand adventure, have fun! If you're looking for inspiration, another forum member has just cruised his hunter 25 to Georgetown. His name is sumner and his thread and trip report might be worth a read for you.


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Old 17-05-2015, 19:01   #8
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Re: 2nd Try To Not Be Embarrassed Off Forum But Unsure What Topic (If Any) I知 In

With your swing keel, I don't think you need a dinghy. You have a very capable boat which still can get in anywhere a dinghy could go
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Old 17-05-2015, 19:07   #9
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Re: 2nd Try To Not Be Embarrassed Off Forum But Unsure What Topic (If Any) I知 In

Check out the AGLCA American great loop cruising association. Lots of good info. Also add active captain to your phone. I've had good luck with both.

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Old 17-05-2015, 19:12   #10
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Re: 2nd Try To Not Be Embarrassed Off Forum But Unsure What Topic (If Any) I知 In

Somebody mentioned the Catalina being a little small for the great loop, but I looked into it a while back, and stopped researching when I found that I was much too large. I think you need a smaller boat for that.

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Old 17-05-2015, 19:41   #11
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Re: 2nd Try To Not Be Embarrassed Off Forum But Unsure What Topic (If Any) I知 In

You can do it. If you are comfortable in the small space you will have a ball. The Trent Severen waterway in Canada was one of my favorite parts. You will need to cross Lake Ontario, Lake Michigan and the corner of the Gulf of Mexico. Patience with the weather is the key to both safety and comfort. My wife and I waited almost a week for Lake Ontario to settle down. When we got to the lake waves were crashing over a sea wall that was taller than I am. When we crossed it could have been done comfortably in a 14 foot skiff. With your shallow draft you can minimize the gulf crossing and you could go without a dingy. If the four stroke outboard is in good shape I would not carry the spare.
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Old 17-05-2015, 20:45   #12
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Re: 2nd Try To Not Be Embarrassed Off Forum But Unsure What Topic (If Any) I知 In

Seems a common concern is my boats small space. Somehow I like it like that. I guess it reminds me of growing up in the capsule of a lower army bunk. I kept stuff on the top and actually had a curtain hanging on the open side opposite the room痴 wall.
And remember I spent my 5 university years (a double BA student) living on a 23 O壇ay in Lake Pontchartrain.
I do worry about rough water in the Great Lakes in my boat as I don稚 know the area and where I can duck in if caught by sudden weather change. That痴 one of the main reasons I bought a vhf so I can get the advisories. I also will consider the suggestions about a android tablet. But I do not know how / what service I値l need to get connected? I知 not a latest tech person, don稚 even have (or want) a cell phone. At my farm cabin I have a land line (that痴 old fashion telephone service to you younger set) connected to the rural phone companies broadband server.
Maybe someone could enlighten without to much gosh and gee whiz..
Peace and Love, James
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Old 17-05-2015, 21:15   #13
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Re: 2nd Try To Not Be Embarrassed Off Forum But Unsure What Topic (If Any) I知 In

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmczzz View Post
I do have this laptop with a wireless router here at home but but how do i connect to the inet out there?
I think I will invest in a usb gps and use the cpn software / map cd.
thanks for the comments.
James
Hello James.

Absolutely, you can do it -- and if you don't succeed, you doggone sure have tried. Failure in my mind is not attempting anything. Will it all work out perfectly? Nope. Probably not.

Will you have fun and learn things? Absolutely.

And this life is fun. My boat is lots bigger than yours (she's 23') and I've been living aboard her since 2008. Life is good afloat, especially in a small boat.

You asked about the internet. I pay Verizon $50 per month for a wifi gizmo that attaches to the side of my computer via USB port. It grants me 5 gigs a month which is sufficient for everything except You-Tube and videos.

I have OpenCPN (just downloaded the newest version) and the GPS mini-puck that attaches to another USB port. That, along with my paper charts is quite sufficient.

I'm older than dirt (past the half century mark) and find OpenCPN invaluable in confirming what my eyes see. They started making the numbers on markers a lot smaller than they used to be James!!! OpenCPN can tell me that that's #17 in the distance.

Anyway, join the Great Loop group and have fun.

You mentioned the panhandle crossing... Instead of crossing which would have required an overnight for me at five knots, I opted for wait for a weather window and coastal hopped.

Anchoring in 5' of water 3 miles from shore is fun. I would not want to coast the Big Bend at night because of the crab traps. More stuff about everything boat is on my website.

I'd encourage you to visit and poke around. Sign my guestbook too!

J

And all the best to you James.
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Old 18-05-2015, 09:25   #14
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Re: 2nd Try To Not Be Embarrassed Off Forum But Unsure What Topic (If Any) I知 In

Hi James. The GPS chip on your smartphone or tablet functions much like that on a chart plotter. That is, you don't need to be connected to use it. The reason I mentioned the nexus tablet is they all come with this chip, whereas on other tablets you only get it if you get the cellular data connected version of the tablet (ahem, iPad). What that means is you can use the GPS without being connected to a cellular network.


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Old 18-05-2015, 09:50   #15
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Re: 2nd Try To Not Be Embarrassed Off Forum But Unsure What Topic (If Any) I知 In

I think your right to be nervous about the Big Bend leg, I go from Dog Island to Tarpon Springs myself, and it's a pretty popular route, I believe you could wait in Apalachicola for a couple of days and go with another boat or two. Wx is the issue in my opinion, not navigation. Worst case you get lost, head due East till you see land, then turn right till you see a built up area. Be real hard to miss Florida.
Pop for a Sea Tow or Tow Boat US membership, that way you won't need it, but if you do it's real expensive without membership
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