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Old 28-07-2015, 15:26   #1
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Ahoy from NC

Hello, My husband and I are shopping for a boat to be sailed in coastal NC, the Neuse River and Pamlico Sound. I'm considering a boat that is currently in Mobile, AL, and have the crazy notion of sailing her back to NC, so I'm just getting as much information as I can at this time. Anybody who has made that trip, I would love to hear from you, or even for portions of the trip. Prior experience: my parents bought a Seafarer 31 when I was 6, and I sailed her until I left for college. I spent 9 weeks aboard Spirit of Massachusetts on a "Seamester" program, with a professional crew, but at least got a taste of offshore sailing. I realize this would be a steep learning curve on a new boat, but I'm up for an adventure. And I have a 7 year daughter who would accompany me, who has no sailing experience. She's a quick learner though.
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Old 28-07-2015, 15:45   #2
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Re: Ahoy from NC

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Hello, My husband and I are shopping for a boat to be sailed in coastal NC, the Neuse River and Pamlico Sound. I'm considering a boat that is currently in Mobile, AL, and have the crazy notion of sailing her back to NC, so I'm just getting as much information as I can at this time. Anybody who has made that trip, I would love to hear from you, or even for portions of the trip. Prior experience: my parents bought a Seafarer 31 when I was 6, and I sailed her until I left for college. I spent 9 weeks aboard Spirit of Massachusetts on a "Seamester" program, with a professional crew, but at least got a taste of offshore sailing. I realize this would be a steep learning curve on a new boat, but I'm up for an adventure. And I have a 7 year daughter who would accompany me, who has no sailing experience. She's a quick learner though.
Howdy and Welcome Aboard CF!

What follows is written in a friendly tone of voice and with the sole intent to help you with answers. But, to get to answers, it may mean you should answer a few questions. Just remember, the questions are a friendly way of getting more info in order to help you.

Hmm…an interesting question.

That leaves a few questions unanswered. So, please clarify:

1. Do you mean that the only two people on the boat would be you and your 7 year old daughter? So, one person with sailing experience on a small boat and one person (a child) with no experience sailing?

Since you have sailed for years, I would guess you are comfortable on a boat and likely "could do it."

Would your husband be going too? Does he have any sailing experience on boats like that or long distance sailing?

2. Would you consider hiring experienced Delivery Skipper (licensed captain) or hiring experienced crew (you remain skipper)?

3. What kind of boat?

4. What age and condition is the boat?

5. What kind of experience do you have on THAT boat or that size and kind of boat?

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Old 28-07-2015, 15:57   #3
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Re: Ahoy from NC

The boat would be almost identical to the one I grew up on, it's a Seafarer 29, I learned to sail on a Seafarer 31. The boat is in very good condition, if it wasn't I wouldn't even consider such a trip. I would consider crew or a captain, but my finances will be pretty much drained after the purchase of the boat, so it would have to be somebody who just wants a free ride. Isn't sailing a boat just like riding a bike, you never forget? I would basically be doing day sails from one port to the next in the gulf, and my husband would drive down and join us for long weekends when he could. I think after the first few weeks with that steep learning curve, life would be pretty good. If all else fails, I could find a marina, rent a car and hire somebody to move the boat for me, but I think it would be a great experience for my family. We're planning on driving to see the boat in a couple of weeks, and going for a test sail. The whole idea may just sink right there, but in the mean time I'll just think about this amazing adventure.
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Old 28-07-2015, 16:04   #4
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Re: Ahoy from NC

Welcome aboard, Cary.

It would be a steep learning curve. How good it would be for you and your daughter, would depend largely on the condition of the boat, and how good your piloting skills are, how used you are to captaincy; also, if you're planning day hops or going straight through, which I would recommend against if it is only the two of you.

Even with careful surveying, it seems that something often goes wrong on a delivery trip. It may be something easy to cope with, but you'd need a backup plan in case it wouldn't be in your skill set to fix.

Of course you want to deliver her on her own bottom, and if you have another adult with you, I'd say go for it!

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Old 28-07-2015, 16:17   #5
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Re: Ahoy from NC

Hi.

OK. Good answers.

Since you have experience on a similar boat and since you are thinking of coastal hopping, I think you have a much better chance of success.

Have you ever been on the Gulf Coast? Down the panhandle of Florida or West Coast of Florida?

The ICW (Intra Coastal Waterway) will be available to you for MOST of the trip (but not in the "armpit" of Florida), if you choose that route.

There are several "cruising guides" and "Active Captain" (Free software) that can help you locate anchorages and marinas along the way.

IF I were given the opportunity, I would do it. Even with a 7 year old child. In fact, I think I would not let the husband come. Make it a "Just us Girls" voyage.

My attitude about this is because I have had the experience of meeting some very competent female sailors.

But, I would first take some time in the home port to get some experience with THAT boat and to do some "sea trials" of that boat. Check ALL systems and run them while sailing the boat in Mobile Bay first. You may have heard that about a month ago a storm hit Mobile Bay during a regatta and several people were lost (killed). It is generally a safer place (aside from big ship traffic) but weather knows no boundaries.

And I would have the kind of safety gear I would want for a long trip like that, even if mostly along the coast and near the coast.

1. PFD for each person. And I would pick a comfortable one and INSIST that both people wear it anytime on the boat while moving (not at dock).
2. EPIRB or PLB
3. Waterproof VHF (portable)
4. Redundant charts (or on smartphone or tablet)
5. GPS (handheld OK)
6. Lifesling and Boarding Ladder


Given that, I think it would be a nice trip. But, I have spent many years visiting those coasts (Mobile, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina) and like the ICW idea too.

Others here may have done a similar trip, so I will let them add to this.

Good luck!
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Old 28-07-2015, 18:00   #6
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Re: Ahoy from NC

I say go for it(with a few caveats)Spend as many weekends as you can on the boat in Mobile bay . Run the engine hard. Practice your man overboard drill.
Get a tow package from one of the tow outfits( if you never use them its worth it). If you hav'nt sailed in a while you'll be surprised at how quickly it all comes back
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Old 28-07-2015, 19:39   #7
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Re: Ahoy from NC

Thanks for all the great ideas. I've already been shopping EPIRBs, PFDs, weather gear">Foul Weather gear, chart programs, GPS units, harness systems etc. I learned to navigate using DR and celestial, so a GPS unit would be quite the luxury, although I'm pretty sure I wouldn't trust it. ever. plus I like the idea of having a chart with your route plotted on it so you can see where you've been... 10, 20, 40 years from now. I wish my mom had her old charts from our trips. I also never had roller furling, which I think this boat has. I grew up old school with a hank on jib. Don't tell my husband, but I would love an all girl trip. Talk about mother daughter bonding time! It will be nice though to have him join us for 3-4 days at a time to be able to take a rest from the always on duty that comes with being a single parent. I'm also worried that I'll just never want to come back.

I have no experience in the Gulf. I also wouldn't hesitate to find a marina and leave the boat in case of a tropical storm. And around here, squalls can pop up completely unpredicted, which I suspect is probably the case in the Gulf too where you have potentially cooler air masses, warm water and warm air masses colliding. If we do it, there will not be a timetable, and hopefully we can do a fair amount of siteseeing to make the most of our trip.

Are there places on the gulf coast where there is not a port within a day sail? it didn't look that way to me, it kinda looks like there are nooks and crannies all along the Florida coast, with reassuring names like Alligator Point and Alligator Harbor. Also, this particular boat has already made the trip from the Atlantic coast (GA) to the gulf, through Lake Okeechobee, so that route is an option (but then I would miss the keys)!
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Old 29-07-2015, 12:09   #8
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Re: Ahoy from NC

Hi Cary.

What follows is written in a friendly tone of voice. I have bolded some important points to make it easier to read. I took some time to write these things down, because I think you have a GREAT opportunity ahead of you with your possible voyage with your daughter. It is truly the kind of thing I would enjoy doing if I had a child that age.

I have a few more tips for you. These are based on your specific situation and tailored to your experience level (with boats and on that kind of boat) and most importantly because you might be single handing (with a 7 year old child as passenger).

Notice above I used the word "passenger" to describe the child, rather than "crew." Why? Because I think to be considered "crew" the person must have the knowledge and ability to do most important or needed tasks on a boat, without direct supervision.

If I had a 7 year old daughter (just to the two of us) and I was planning the same trip from Mobile to North Carolina, I would do the following:

1. After purchasing the boat, but before you leave Mobile, have the fuel tanks cleaned completely (inside the tanks) and the fuel that was in the tanks polished or replaced with new.

Why? Because many times boats that have not been used in a while (likely for a boat that has been listed for sale a long time) may have fouled fuel in the diesel tanks and sediment or gunk (sometimes it is sludge, sometimes bacteria). When those boats get offshore, they often have engine failure due to fuel problems when the gunk in the tanks gets stirred up by waves and boat motion. That has led to some disasters for some boaters. So, get the INSIDE of the tanks and fuel cleaned before start of the voyage. This may cost a few hundred dollars, but I think it would be money well spent and will increase your chance of having fewer problems motoring.

2. If the boat does not already have one (or two), add a RACOR fuel filter to the diesel fuel line to the engine. Smart thing to do. It separates the water from the fuel, and will increase the reliability of the engine. Since you might be depending on the engine for a LONG trip, it is smart to do this. This may cost a few hundred dollars, but I think it would be money well spent and will increase your chance of having fewer problems motoring.


My next suggestions are really focused on one of the most important things I think you can prepare for or try to prevent: Man (Woman/Girl) Overboard.

Reason: One of the WORST things I can imagine happening on a long boat voyage with just one adult and a child, is if the child falls overboard while the adult is busy down below and the boat is moving (e.g. on autopilot).

3. Buy and install some "jacklines" on the boat and some harnesses with tethers for you and your daughter (get appropriate size for child or have a sailmaker make one for you from webbing).

I would have an unbreakable rule with my child.
"When we are moving, either sailing or motoring, we will each wear a harness and be clipped on to the boat. No exceptions!"
Why would I stress this rule with the child?

1. Even though you have a child aboard, you are the only adult sailor, so you are essentially "Singlehanding" the boat. One of the worst things that could happen would be for you to fall overboard while the boat is moving. Even IF you feel you do not need to wear a harness and tether, I think it is always a good idea to set a good example. So, I would wear it and show my daughter that I think it is important and a sign of good seamanship when single handing a boat (sailing or motoring) and because I do it (I wear it EVERY time the boat moves), so should my daughter.

3. Install some lifeline netting all around the boat. This netting is inexpensive and very effective. I have been overboard before (MOB) and know how easy it is to slip under the lifelines. If there is child aboard for the cruise this would be something I consider ESSENTIAL or a "must have." The netting is inexpensive and easy for you to attach. Make it a project for both of you to do together. Your life may count on it being done. I would look at my daughter and say: "WE can do this! YOU can do this!"

4. Buy a PLB for each of you. Total of TWO. Select a PLB that also sends out a AIS signal (you can read about these on the forum, just use the Google Search tip I post and do a search for MOB and AIS, etc. Attach those to the PFD for each person. I would show my daughter how to start the PLB and operate it. Your life may count on it being done. I would look at my daughter and say: "WE can do this! YOU can do this!"

5. Buy a AIS enabled VHF radio with GPS. Research the systems and how they can also be used to identify and find a person who has fallen overboard if they have a PLB that broadcasts an AIS signal too. This is optional and not all items do this. I would select the item based on this, not on lowest cost. I would show my daughter how to make a MAYDAY call on the radio. I would show her how to use the AIS function on the GPS to find the MOB. I would show her how to use the GPS "MOB" function (a button push). Your life may count on it being done. I would look at my daughter and say: "WE can do this! YOU can do this!"

6. I mentioned earlier that before leaving Mobile I would buy and install a Lifesling. These only cost a few hundred dollars but are VERY effective and easy to use. I would install it, and then teach my daughter how to steer the boat in a circle AFTER throwing the Lifesling over the side (instructions are easy). I would practice this as our "Girl Overboard!" procedure. Practice this yourself, with your daughter watching closely for example. When you perfect the moves, then you switch roles. Practice until your daughter knows how to do it and can confidently do it without your help at all. Make sure SHE feels confident in performing this maneuver and action. Your life may count on it being done. I would look at my daughter and say: "WE can do this! YOU can do this!"

7. I would buy a variety of soft (foam) and wood plugs designed for plugging holes in boats (usually due to a through hull failure). I would take one of these (foam plugs) and then show my daughter how to pull the speedo transducer from the hull. When this happens, a lot of water will shoot up into the boat, like from a garden hose. Have the plug handy and demonstrate how to plug the hole with the plug. You can learn how by watching a video on youtube. Then let her do it, actually do it. Do it so there is not panic IF a leak springs in the future. This builds confidence in how to stop a leak. I would look at my daughter and say: "WE can do this! YOU can do this!"

7. I would buy a small fire extinguisher. I would go to some vacant lot or junkyard or a picnic barbecue pit in a park. Get some fuel and put it into a frying pan. Light it so it looks like a galley fire. Get a "fire blanket" and demonstrate and practice with daughter how to throw the fire blanket on the fire to extinguish it. It is VERY easy, if one does not panic. Then do the same using the small extinguisher. Practice, don't just tell. This will only cost about $15 in materials, but it could save you in the future. I would look at my daughter and say: "WE can do this! YOU can do this!"

Fire, and then leaks and MOB are some of the most significant risks you will have on the journey. Failed engine (due to foul fuel) is also common.

So, in the space of a couple of days, I would buy this stuff (in Mobile) and set up my boat, and practice with my daughter (she must have hands on practice) BEFORE leaving Mobile. That kind of practice and instruction would make a "crew" out of her, so she is not just a passenger. And, as I see it, it would help my daughter gain confidence on the water, have more fun and less anxiety on the water, and will give her (and you) something more about her on which you both can be proud.

That is seriously what I would do if I were in your boat shoes.
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8. IF you purchase the boat in Mobile, you will likely want to have it surveyed and the bottom inspected after the boat is hauled out. At a time like that, the "new" owner usually has the bottom painted or small repairs made to the hull or rudder etc. At that time, I would inspect the rudder and shaft and prop and make sure to install some new zincs if needed (usually is a good idea). While installing the new zincs, I would ADD a "line cutter" (e.g. "Spurs" ) to the shaft. Why? Because you will be motoring a LONG voyage and some parts of the route may have many crab pots and lines in the water. The line cutters can effectively cut these to prevent the lines from fouling (stopping or damaging) the engine. South Florida and the ICW are known as some of the places where many of these crab pots (buoys) are located. Given that you are "single handing" I would rather the cutter do the job so I would not have to go over the side to free the prop.
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Old 24-08-2015, 16:19   #9
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Re: Ahoy from NC

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Originally Posted by CaryNC View Post
Hello, My husband and I are shopping for a boat to be sailed in coastal NC, the Neuse River and Pamlico Sound.
I just bought land in Washington, NC and a boat to go along with it. I will be doing exactly that. I am currently refitting in Sufflok, VA about to sail her South.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaryNC View Post
I'm considering a boat that is currently in Mobile, AL
So.

(I looked all up and down the east coast for a good boat including Alabama and I spent 3 years walking on boats before pouncing. I traveled as far North as Long Island and as far South as Miami. In other words, Mobile is not that far for a good boat AND I recommend that you get it surveyed before buying).

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaryNC View Post
and have the crazy notion of sailing her back to NC
That doesn't sound crazy to me at all. There is little to no open ocean sailing (if you want that) along that route. You can sail in the ocean when the weather is good and take the ICW when it is not. Go through Lake Okeechobee and cut the bottom of Florida out of the trip if you want--if you have the draft.

I would be wary of hurricane season, which we just started, but I would make the trip with a close eye on the weather. The season roughly runs July-November (December sometimes). Start watching NOAA. Another option is to refit, wait, and sail her after hurricane season.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaryNC View Post
Anybody who has made that trip, I would love to hear from you, or even for portions of the trip.
I haven't made the trip, but it is on my bucket list. Just recently got a boat that would be suitable for such a thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaryNC View Post
Prior experience: my parents bought a Seafarer 31 when I was 6, and I sailed her until I left for college. I spent 9 weeks aboard Spirit of Massachusetts on a "Seamester" program, with a professional crew, but at least got a taste of offshore sailing.
And you are worried because....?

Quote:
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And I have a 7 year daughter who would accompany me, who has no sailing experience. She's a quick learner though.
Jessica Watson sailed solo around the world at age 16.
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Old 24-08-2015, 16:45   #10
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Re: Ahoy from NC

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Originally Posted by CaryNC View Post
The boat is in very good condition,
Survey. It is worth your $400-$600(?) for a professional opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaryNC View Post
We're planning on driving to see the boat in a couple of weeks, and going for a test sail.
Don't mean to dampen your party, but I looked (walked on) about 40 boats before buying; those pictures can be deceiving.

...There was that Morris 29 Annie in New Jersey--oh how I wanted that boat to be nice inside. It needed a bit too much work. Then the Albin Vega that had had a "small fire" in South Florida. The Flicka that had taken on water and ruined the engine in Washington, NC. The nice Cape Dory 28 in Richmond that looked OK on the net, but its interior was just too dated. The Cape Dory 27 in Tallahassee that just didn't speak to me when I boarded her and the CD 25D in Alabama that wasn't for me either. You really can't tell until you step upon them. Oh, and the Bayfield 29. Oh the Bayfield! Totally flooded. Needed an instant $7000-$10,000 worth of work.

What I finally learned, just to keep my emotions in check, was to expect nothing until I actually examined the boat in person because I got burned so badly so many times by inaccurate pictures.

I really do hope for you that the boat is "the One".

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaryNC View Post
The whole idea may just sink right there, but in the mean time I'll just think about this amazing adventure.
And that it will be.

BTW: it really is nice to refit in a good boat city where you have access to parts and such.

Even though I will be boating in the Pamlico Sound area I am so willing to drive to Norfolk, VA for some parts once I get the boat to NC because it has been so easy to refit here.

Yeah, I have had to order some stuff even in Norfolk, but there is so much easy to fabricate boat stuff that the rural parts of the Inner Banks does not have.

The closest good boat city that I know of is Wilmington, but I am doubtful that it would have been as good as ole' Norfolk.

Equipment I recommend that has not been mentioned:

1) If you or your husband are at all tech savvy, a laptop and OpenCPN. I was amazed at how easy this was to setup on my laptop and how much better it was than a handheld GPS.
2) Even if you have a charting program you can download current charts for your entire trip through NOAA on pdf.
3) I also carry a handheld GPS
4) Look into a VHF radio with DSC, a pretty new and very useful safety features. I bought a Standard Horizon Matrix AIS/GPS (GX2200); it is their top of the line and it wasn't that much.
5) Don Casey's This Old Boat is totally worth the money.
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Old 24-08-2015, 16:51   #11
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Re: Ahoy from NC

Quote:
Select a PLB that also sends out a AIS signal
@ Steady: Are there meanwhile PLBs (monitored by COSPAS-SARSAT satellite system) that also send out an AIS signal?

Thanks!

Carsten
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Old 24-08-2015, 18:20   #12
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Re: Ahoy from NC

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@ Steady: Are there meanwhile PLBs (monitored by COSPAS-SARSAT satellite system) that also send out an AIS signal?

Thanks!

Carsten
Not to my knowledge. That would be a good feature though (but AIS transponders need an antenna).

There are handheld VHF radios with DSC (sort of the VHF equivalent of a PLB/EPIRB). I have a VHF radio with an AIS receiver and DSC for now (lower $) and will buy an PLB/EPIRB in the next few months (higher $$$).
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Old 24-08-2015, 19:54   #13
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Re: Ahoy from NC

Well, we had a miserable drive to Alabama, but a lovely time once we got there. This boat does look her age, she needs new paint all around and new teak, but her rigging is only 2 years old and she's quite solid. We worked really well together, she responded just as I asked her to, and we had a nice sail and short motor. Next step is the survey, and I found a surveyor who "has ruined more sales" according to the guy at the marina where the boat is going to be hauled for said survey. I was starting to think this was a bad idea, but after sailing her, I feel really optimistic. I think the asking price may be a little higher than market value, based on age and general condition, but we are within negotiation range, so we are proceeding. Now I'm getting excited. But not too excited, because if it doesn't work out we're really in no hurry to find the right boat.
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