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Old 12-10-2008, 11:38   #1
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Kemah Texas Checking In

As I write this, I am on a computer that is about the last thing to be packed away and taken to the storage warehouse as I leave from College Station, Texas down to my boat in Kemah, Texas. This is a huge adventure, I am taking my 4 year old female pitbull and plan to live on board the 40 year old boat while I use minimum funds to try to refit it the best I can and sail it down to Mexico (cancun/pureto aventures) for the winter. The boat hasn't been pulled in many years (I assume around 4-5) and the top of the boat has really bad paint that needs to be sanded and redone. The sails are all in really good shape, the motor has a new water pump but I need to build a exhaust riser for the volvo md2 diesel, volvo wants 400 bucks for one, out of the question too expensive. I need new lines for the sails and I need flags. I have procured health permit for my dog and got her shots again to be safe. I have worked on eating only whole food or granola and rice. Milk orange juice and apple juice are all I drink other then water and I even spent about 5 days last week with the power completely turned off at the house to see if I was getting in over my head. I even turned the hot water heater off.....

I have never sailed before but have spent a solid year diligently studying the logic behind it and the technique, I just need to get on the water and apply it.

I have 1000 dollars in my pocket, my boat is completely paid for, I have a months worth of food for myself and 6 for my dog and water for a week, a dinghy with a 2 stroke motor and a transmission shifter consisting of a pair of vice grips. I have big dreams and I am tired of the grind.


I need advice please.
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Old 12-10-2008, 12:58   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Volksdraggin View Post
As I write this, I am on a computer that is about the last thing to be packed away and taken to the storage warehouse as I leave from College Station, Texas down to my boat in Kemah, Texas. This is a huge adventure, I am taking my 4 year old female pitbull and plan to live on board the 40 year old boat while I use minimum funds to try to refit it the best I can and sail it down to Mexico (cancun/pureto aventures) for the winter. The boat hasn't been pulled in many years (I assume around 4-5) and the top of the boat has really bad paint that needs to be sanded and redone. The sails are all in really good shape, the motor has a new water pump but I need to build a exhaust riser for the volvo md2 diesel, volvo wants 400 bucks for one, out of the question too expensive. I need new lines for the sails and I need flags. I have procured health permit for my dog and got her shots again to be safe. I have worked on eating only whole food or granola and rice. Milk orange juice and apple juice are all I drink other then water and I even spent about 5 days last week with the power completely turned off at the house to see if I was getting in over my head. I even turned the hot water heater off.....

I have never sailed before but have spent a solid year diligently studying the logic behind it and the technique, I just need to get on the water and apply it.

I have 1000 dollars in my pocket, my boat is completely paid for, I have a months worth of food for myself and 6 for my dog and water for a week, a dinghy with a 2 stroke motor and a transmission shifter consisting of a pair of vice grips. I have big dreams and I am tired of the grind.


I need advice please.
Hey man,

Haven't got any advice for you but, but i am working on a boat in Seabrook to hopefully go to mexico after christmas. Would like to check out your boat sometime. discuss the trip
take care,
hank
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Old 12-10-2008, 13:15   #3
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It seems like a friend from Kemah told me of a group that sails in convoy from Clear Lake to Isla Mujeres every winter. I was drinking heavily the night that this was related to me but I want to say that there was a doctor, a diesel mechanic, and a couple of others with the group who could be very helpful under certain circumstances. Ask around the marina. Ike may have changed a lot of plans.

Best of luck and fair winds to you.
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Old 12-10-2008, 13:48   #4
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Welcome

When people start saying you're crazy, just remember that all cruisers are at least a little bit crazy - you'll fit right in.

I can't comment on the condition of your boat, but I can tell you that for your intended cruising it's basic systems (rigging, sails, engine/drive train, steering, ground tackle, etc.) need to be in excellent condition. The conventional route from Texas to Cancun and points south is to skip the entire Mexican Gulf coast and make straight for Isla Mujeres in the Yucatan Channel. This is a multiday sail and you want a boat that you are confident can handle nasty weather surprises. This also is not a good practice passage. You need to get this boat as fit as you can and then practice some coastal sailing - which will inevitably reveal the need for additional repair/upgrade.
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Old 12-10-2008, 14:22   #5
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Aloha Volks,
Welcome aboard! Many an adventure was started with less so keep on reading and working on the boat. Make certain your dog is very well trained. Dockside manners are a big plus in an area with lots of other boats, dogs and kids around.
Kind regards,
JohnL
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Old 12-10-2008, 14:51   #6
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I'm with Slomotion that you need a shakedown cruise. If you are committed to going now, you can usually pick up some southerlies off Texas and Louisiana, so you might consider coastal sailing to the tip if the Mississippi delta, stopping in Venice (end of the line in Louisiana) to top off diesel and ice. There are plenty of facilities between Port Arthur, Texas and the tip of Louisiana to fix anything.

The sail from Louisiana to Isla Mujeres is your shortest crossing and should put the trade winds at your beam.
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Old 13-10-2008, 01:51   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Volksdraggin View Post
As I write this, I am on a computer that is about the last thing to be packed away and taken to the storage warehouse as I leave from College Station, Texas down to my boat in Kemah, Texas.
how are you going to hear us with no computer? BTW my sister in law lived in College Station for a couple of years. Small world...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Volksdraggin View Post

I have 1000 dollars in my pocket, my boat is completely paid for, I have a months worth of food for myself and 6 for my dog and water for a week, a dinghy with a 2 stroke motor and a transmission shifter consisting of a pair of vice grips. I have big dreams and I am tired of the grind.

Here's my advice.

You have just left the world of schedules and deadlines. You do not have to be anywhere on a specific timeline. If you think you are not ready or the boat is not ready for a certain passage - don't go. There's plenty of time.

By your admission all your sailing experience is theory. I have been back into sailing for 2 years sailing 2-3 days a week and everytime I go out I still learn something new about sail trim or boat handling. Don't rush the learning process.

Reefing - You have just left the world of schedules etc., etc... There is no rush. As you start out reef earlier than you think. Start shortening sail at 10 knots. You are going to be single handed. You are much better off with a boat going 4 knots in control than 7 knots out of control. Also if you are reefed there is less chance of breaking something and it sounds like money is at a premium so another good reason.

As you learn to read the skies the weather and understand the performance of your boat, you will reef later.

Take the safety gear first and the comfort gear last.
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Old 13-10-2008, 08:29   #8
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Book learning is great but you need to get some real experience before taking a passage like that.

If I wore you I would stay in sight of land and sail down the Texas coast so that if you ran into trouble you could get help. The Gulf of Mexico can be very dangerous to say the least even for the experienced.

Good luck and fair winds on your adventure.
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Old 13-10-2008, 08:58   #9
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As suggested, try a few local runs. Go over to Redfish Island, Double Bayou, and then try a weekend down to Offuts Bayou on Galveston. Spend the $120 on the Tow Boats US package. You are going to need it, I'm betting. Take up Hank's suggestion to look over your boat with you.
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Old 13-10-2008, 09:14   #10
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If you get a chance and have not seen this site you might want to look it over.
Noonsite: Mexico
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Old 13-10-2008, 09:16   #11
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So, your boat isn't perfect, and you're a bit short on sailing experience. Your trip might work out just fine for you, but I'd strongly suggest that you think about the following suggestions as a minimum before you shove off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Volksdraggin View Post
...The boat hasn't been pulled in many years (I assume around 4-5)...
If you haven't done it, you should carefully inspect any parts of the boat that could sink you. Anything to do with a hull penetration. Make sure all the through-hull valves are working properly and are sound; check all hoses, including those attached to your cockpit drains, for cracks and flexibility; check the hose clamps; double up the SS hose clamps on all the hoses; make sure your anti-syphon valves are working; check out the packing gland on the prop shaft. Check your standing rigging. If it comes down in heavy weather, the mast can punch a hole in the hull and sink the boat.

Quote:
...I have never sailed before but have spent a solid year diligently studying the logic behind it and the technique, I just need to get on the water and apply it...
As others have suggested, please do a substantial shakedown cruise, for you and for the boat. Don't try to cross the Gulf of Mexico until you're confident of the boat and of your ability to sail her rough weather.

Best of luck to you!
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Old 13-10-2008, 23:48   #12
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Thank you all for the wonderful advice, I have taken note of all suggestions and focus on making each a standing point to concentrate on so as to not be left with issues I shouldn't have to encounter to begin with.

I have talked to my father who sailed some 30+ years ago and he showed some interest in sailing with me around redfish island and around the bay, I planned to try to get some time in understanding and applying what I learn before I jump off.

Most of my trip has been planned with coastal cruising all the way down to Costa Rica, giving me the chance daily to let the dog on the beach to run around like a heathen and play and poop and for the fear of being out of sight of land and out of dinghy range.

Thanks once again, I do truly apprecate it.
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Old 14-10-2008, 08:23   #13
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Be sure to consider prevailing winds and currents when planning your route...

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Old 14-10-2008, 11:14   #14
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Volks,

I reiterate... take your time!! Definitely try several, or many, coastwise sails down to CC and back... take a friend (preferably one who has sailing experience) or go with a group of boats. As others noted, the gulf can be treacherous... even just offshore. If, make that when, you get into some hairy weather shake it off and persevere. Lots of people take off only to bail after their first encounter with the scary stuff. Go slow, plan well and you will be on your way to the "life".

cheers,

mm
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Old 14-10-2008, 14:42   #15
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Sailing "around Redfish Island" will likely lead to a call to TowBoat US...

An offshore trip to Port Aransas and thence to Corpus Christi would definately let you shake things out. It's about 200 miles...
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