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Old 18-07-2011, 06:31   #1
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Need Help for a Boating Novel

Hi! Brand new here. First time I got in a boat, I was three weeks old, and have loved boating ever since. I am currently writing a novel I could use some help from members here for some factual info, and I'd be happy to write some helpful folks right into the novel.

Like any good writer, I'm writing primarily about topics I'm well familiar with, but I'm a little ahead of the "life imitating art" part where it comes to some of the boating knowledge I need for the novel. I reside in Columbia SC, and boat on Lake Murray here. The novel is set on the Isle of Palms / Sullivans Island where we'd like to relocate to.

I specifically need references, info, stories about three things: boating in the greater Charleston area, the Charleston harbor, and the intracoastal waterway; buying a boat for a "Great Loop" trip, and actual experiences from those who have done the great loop. I look forward to actually making the trip someday, but the book will precede my first hand experience.

Finally, anyone who can give technical details on how they dealt with getting caught at sea in a boat would be appreciated!
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Old 18-07-2011, 07:33   #2
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Re: Need help for a boating novel

Welcome to CF!

I'll bet all your answers are already here on the forum!
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Old 18-07-2011, 07:35   #3
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Re: Need help for a boating novel

I'm sure everyone here would be happy to help with specific questions, but your questions are a little broad to answer without writing a book ourselves. You might want to search the 'net for blogs about doing the American Loop, about the ICW and the like. A lot of members here sign off with a link to their blogs, so search ona topic, such as the ICW and then check out the blogs that you find inthe posts.
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Old 18-07-2011, 08:33   #4
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Re: Need Help for a Boating Novel

Welcome Aboard Cruisers Forum
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Old 18-07-2011, 08:55   #5
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Re: Need Help for a Boating Novel

welcome aboard
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Old 18-07-2011, 09:20   #6
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Re: Need Help for a Boating Novel

Welcome, I was once thinking of writing a book, about a guy who was thinking about writing a book about something or other but I never got around to it...James
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Old 18-07-2011, 18:39   #7
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Re: Need Help for a Boating Novel

Take the trip, see the locations, publish the book. Now take the trip as a business expense. Writers can write off research trips that way.
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Old 18-07-2011, 18:45   #8
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Re: Need Help for a Boating Novel

was a dark and stormy night in XXXX key.........

couldnt resist--sorry.
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Old 19-07-2011, 20:50   #9
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Thanks all! Glad to be aboard. I'll be following up as my work generates more specific questions.

I do have one specific question right now: I am again writing about someone whom I share characteristics with: love of the water but new to specific environments. I'm used to smaller watercraft being used on a lake, 17-22' ski boats to be specific.

Can someone give me their point of reference how it felt the first time to be navigating a smaller craft, say in the 33-38' range, amongst the bigger ships in a harbor like Charleston SC? What did you learn quickly, what did you learn the hard way, what was the most important things you learned early on? I know traffic is traffic and there are rules to follow, whether cars, planes, or boats.

The intracoastal waterway or the open sea doesn't intimidate me at all. However, as someone who hasn't done it before, despite superior speed and maneuverability, mingling a small boat amongst the freighters of the world in congested waters without having learned all the rules and the flow of things is initially a bit intimidating. I want to capture the emotion of someone doing that the first time, and since I am not yet able to do that in person, I need to rely on the first hand impressions of someone who has.

Thanks.
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Old 19-07-2011, 21:33   #10
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Re: Need Help for a Boating Novel

Motor boat or sail? It's the difference between technical writing and fiction...

Motor boat: the huge walls of steel, imagining the slow, ponderous response of such a behemoth, the shifting perspective as the island-size ships cut off the horizon, the view.

Sailboat: the huge walls of steel, so large the wind is shaped by their hulls lying bow into the tidal current, serving as mamoth weather cocks and giving clues to the sailor how best to play the chess game of wind and wave, current and depth in the enclosed harbour.
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Old 20-07-2011, 06:20   #11
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Re: Need Help for a Boating Novel

Ask Jessica Watson about big ships, small boats and fear.



As Hellosailor says, knock up some business expenses It wouldn't cost much at all to hire a small boat, even a dinghy and go close to a moving ship.
Its an interesting experience
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Old 23-07-2011, 14:06   #12
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Re: Need Help for a Boating Novel

Aloha and welcome aboard,
Even studying the rules of the road doesn't help give you a feeling of confidence when navigating with the huge ships entering and leaving a confined channel. Sailboats don't have the speed or maneuverability required to stay out of a ship's way and they have a greater draft with their deeper keels so they can't go close to the shallower shore lines. All in all there is a feeling of absolute helplessness in some cases. Only experience can help. Only a few close calls with the "big boys" will teach you to plan ahead and stay out of their way as much as possible.
Good luck in writing your novel. I think many of us have dreamed of doing America's Great Loop.
kind regards,
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Old 23-07-2011, 14:17   #13
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Re: Need Help for a Boating Novel

Quote:
even a dinghy and go close to a moving ship.
Let's just hand the guy a gun and tell him to point it at his head. That would be quicker, kinder and about the same level of stupid.

fyi, I'm a professional writer. If you expect your novel to have any sense of validity to your readers, go out and research your material by doing the things you want to write about. Otherwise, it'll come off sounding like what it is - material that the author is not familiar with, and not much fun to read.
You can't write about things you don't know or haven't experienced. You can report them, but that isn't the same thing and certainly doesn't read the way you want it to.
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Old 23-07-2011, 14:38   #14
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Re: Need Help for a Boating Novel

Take a look at Charleston up the Cooper River from the west end of Sullivan's Island on a friday night in september and try to pick out the navigation lights of the vessels in the harbor. You'll be lucky to pick up the range lights flashing red at the Maritime Center. With the stadium lights of the high school football games, try spotting the red and green running lights of vessels heading your way. Try and make out the dark shape of Castle Pinckey on Shute's Folly Island. Add to these hazzards the swift currents. Talk to Jeff Davis, Dockmaster at the Charleston Maritime Center. He'll fill you with a long disater list of small private vessels trying to dock at Chaleston. Take care and joy, Aythya crew
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