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Old 06-01-2019, 17:14   #1
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Never Sailed in our life

Hi my name is John Henry. My friend and I just started sailing last month. We left Bay Saint Louis MS. and now in Gulf Shores. We are trying to get to southern Florida. We are sailing in a 25’ with a 3’ draft. We don’t like to sail at night because we can’t see. Can anyone help me with this problem.
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Old 06-01-2019, 17:20   #2
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Re: Never Sailed in our life

Welcome aboard John Henry! Now, what's the problem?
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Old 06-01-2019, 17:27   #3
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pirate Re: Never Sailed in our life

They dont like sailing after sunset so I guess tips for anchorages etc along the way 12hrs apart at say 4kts.
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Old 06-01-2019, 17:35   #4
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Re: Never Sailed in our life

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They dont like sailing after sunset so I guess tips for anchorages etc along the way 12hrs apart at say 4kts.
AH! Thanks for that boatman.... I'm not awake enough I think...
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Old 06-01-2019, 17:38   #5
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Re: Never Sailed in our life

Download a charting app that uses active captain, or the direct active captain app. Has lots of detail on anchorages, etc.

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Old 06-01-2019, 17:45   #6
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Re: Never Sailed in our life

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We don’t like to sail at night because we can’t see. Can anyone help me with this problem.
Start with some moonlight, on a full moon you can see almost like day time, after a while you'll get over it, or not.
Gulf Shores, Alabama Moonrise Moonset Time -- Timebie
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Old 06-01-2019, 17:46   #7
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Re: Never Sailed in our life

Ask the locals they will tell you what to do.

If the weather forecast is crappy stay in.

Don’t push night sailing. You have enough on your hands.

Keep busy. If it’s cold and rainy work on skills or maintenance. Boredom down below waiting for better weather ruins the experience.
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Old 07-01-2019, 04:10   #8
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Re: Never Sailed in our life

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, John Henry.
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Old 07-01-2019, 17:26   #9
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Re: Never Sailed in our life

Hello John Henry and welcome :-)

Your problem is amenable to a very simple solution. Don't sail at night at your stage of experience. It's a whole different operating environment, and you do it only if a) you are a very experienced cruising man, or b) you are a professional seafarer who has to, because your job demands it.

So from Ocean Shores (Alabama, I take it) to the tip of Florida is something like 500 nautical miles if you follow the shore. If you do a bee line the sailing distance is still over 450 nautical miles or something like five days and nights of continuous sailing. So you probably don't want to do that. In a 25 foot sailboat, if the winds are in your favour, you can expect to cover 4 nautical miles per hour "over the ground". This varies a bit depending on tidal currents, but it's a good working average for planning purposes. With two of you standing two- hour tricks at the helm and having a period of working daylight (at this time of year) of, say, 12 hours, You can expect to cover, say, fifty nautical miles a day.

So you need to read your charts and make a voyage plan that mandates for any given day the leaving of one marina/moorage in the early morning and proceeding about 50 NM to the next one which you must have identified before you set out. I don't know where the marina's are on that coast, but all marinas worth visiting stand by on channel 16 VHF. This cannel is for call-up and emergencies only. When you make contact, the marina will tell you to switch to whatever channel they use for communication and you can book a berth for the night. It always nice to be in a hour before sunset. If it's still within normal working hours the office will send a "dock gorilla" down to your assigned slip to help you tie up. If I come into a marina after hours, I pick an easy berth and tie up there. Then I present myself at the office as soon as it opens in the morning, credit card in hand, and smile a lot :-) That way you are always welcome.

So plan on making a MINIMUM of nine overnight stops on your way to Florida. If you cannot reach from one marina to the next in 12 hours, you may have to anchor out. Since you are new to the game you may have a certain trepidation about that. It does need to be approached with some care. If you would like a discussion of that topic, sing out, and we can get back to it.

All the best,

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Old 07-01-2019, 18:29   #10
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Re: Never Sailed in our life

Hi, John Henry.


I'd suggest you look back at your travels so far, and see how far you went in those days. It being winter in the northern hemisphere, the days are short. I would think you might find 25 mi. days more doable than 50. But, you need to check the distances between harbors, because it's better to leave in the dark from where you came into than to arrive after dark in an unfamiliar place. Of course, shorter days' runs means the trip/adventure will take longer.

Do plan to stay in harbor if the wind is too strong, it is a hard thing for beginners to get themselves to do, but usually is the safer course. Pay close attention to your charts, and avoid the shallows, the waves peak up there, compared to deep water, and the ride is faster and more comfortable without the chop.

Reefing: If your mainsail does not have reef points, you will want to take it down and just sail on your smaller headsail, if you get caught out in a lot of wind. It will ease the motion, slow the vessel, make steering easier, and you will feel safer. Especially true if darkness overtakes you at a time when visibility is poor. Zoom in on your chart, and stay in the deep water, sometimes it is much safer to spend the night on the ocean if you cannot see the entry to a harbor or see your way into a marina berth.

Finally, if it all proves too much, don't lose heart. Rent a truck and trailer and drive it to FL, where you will be able to learn in less fraught circumstances. It really isn't like driving a car from MS to FL, there's a whole lot more to be aware of, and it's surprising how scared one can get at 4 knots with the boat not under control.

Ann
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Old 07-01-2019, 20:08   #11
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Re: Never Sailed in our life

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrentePieds View Post
Your problem is amenable to a very simple solution. Don't sail at night at your stage of experience. It's a whole different operating environment, and you do it only if a) you are a very experienced cruising man, or b) you are a professional seafarer who has to, because your job demands it.

So from Ocean Shores (Alabama, I take it) to the tip of Florida is something like 500 nautical miles if you follow the shore.
The problem is, from around Apalachicola Bay (the point where the coast of the Florida panhandle sticks down) to Steinhatchee about 120 nm, as far as I know, there's really no where to stop. The coast is all very shallow, mudflats and mangroves. Even with a 3' draft there's no shelter available.

Once you get past this area then there's plenty of stopping places but this is a hurdle.
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Old 09-01-2019, 02:18   #12
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Re: Never Sailed in our life

John Henry - welcome and most said here don't push it. When we did the Black Sea we planned on 25-35nm days to get out of the afternoon winds that can be brutal. Get some charts or chartbook for the region and plan plan plan.


OHHH - we got inspected yesterday by an examiner here in Israel who test locals on their capt license.
He asked us a question. What is important thing in sailing. the common answer is when to go. WRONG -- the most important thing is when not to go. a motto we have lived with for 12 years of full time cruising.


good luck and ask question = most folks here are good hearted souls
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Old 09-01-2019, 16:54   #13
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Re: Never Sailed in our life

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The problem is, from around Apalachicola Bay (the point where the coast of the Florida panhandle sticks down) to Steinhatchee about 120 nm, as far as I know, there's really no where to stop. The coast is all very shallow, mudflats and mangroves. Even with a 3' draft there's no shelter available.

Once you get past this area then there's plenty of stopping places but this is a hurdle.
That's at least an overnighter for his boat, skipmac. He'd have to leave with a good hope of getting in in daylight. Given his experience level, what approach to that hurdle would you suggest? [I had been thinking if he left places he'd come into during dark, the repeated experience of a couple hours of dark before the dawn might help him acclimate to the night time sailing.]

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Old 09-01-2019, 17:09   #14
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Re: Never Sailed in our life

Quote: "I had been thinking if he left places he'd come into during dark, the repeated experience of a couple hours of dark before the dawn might help him acclimate to the night time sailing.]:

A very good point, Ann! Passing through water you've seen in daylight along a track you've (presumably) plotted on your chart, and knowing that the sun will soon be up to greet you, is far less pucker inducing that heading for shore and a (possibly) narrow and tortuous harbour entrance in the dark of night :-)!

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Old 09-01-2019, 18:55   #15
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Re: Never Sailed in our life

For those sorts of passages, I prefer to leave in the late afternoon daylight, get to sea and then enter the destination in the morning light. Being at sea in the dark isn't too challenging; harbor entrances can be!

Jim
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