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Old 01-05-2015, 11:01   #1
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Or Die Tryin'

I have never sailed a lick, but have decided Iíd like to cross the Atlantic before I die. As Iím 70 years old now, death canít be too far in the future. Iím thinking that if I do a little practice sailing in the ocean off Savannah, Ga, I should be able to get my odds of survival up to well over 50:50 (assuming no dreadfully heavy weather, of course). In any case, I think Iíd rather drown terrified trying than to die of constipation and ennui in rural South Carolina.

So, there are a several decisions to make. Iíd rather make the attempt alone than with company. Iím thinking if I go solo I would rig a Westerly Centaur, an inexpensive boat which Iím told has numerous circumnavigations to its credit, with as many singlehanded and safety features as I can afford, to include collision warning, drogue, sea anchor, etc., and follow the Gulf Stream most of the way. I gather the twin keel Centaur will make the trip rather longer in duration than would most conventional single-keel mono-hulls and certainly of much longer duration than a catamaran, but other than increasing my time exposed to weather developments, the time spent is unimportant.

Any suggestions, comments?
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Old 01-05-2015, 11:16   #2
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Re: Or Die Tryin'

Hi.

First, be aware that some members here might take your post as a troll post, just a frivolous post asking for some stupid answers.

However, I don't see it that way.

Why? Because I understand the "dream" and also understand that as one gets closer to the end of the line/life, one thinks of those things they want to accomplish or do before the game is up.

So, whether you are serious or just trolling, here is my sincere answer to the question:

My Simple Suggestions for a Pleasurable Trans-Atlantic Crossing by a Sailor with Little to No Previous Sailing Experience but Who Has the Dream of Sailing Across an Ocean:

1. Fly to the Canary Islands.

2. Pay a boat owner/captain to take you on as crew when they sail their nice, comfortable, warm, dry, well equipped boat (e.g. a newer larger catamaran) to the Caribbean in the right season.

3. Enjoy the trip across the Atlantic. Take pictures. Drink rum when you get to the islands. Enjoy it to the max.

4. If you still want to buy a boat after your 3-4 weeks passage, buy one in the Caribbean and boat around there.
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Old 01-05-2015, 13:57   #3
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Re: Or Die Tryin'

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Originally Posted by cacalack View Post
Any suggestions, comments?
Good Luck!
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Old 01-05-2015, 14:24   #4
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pirate Re: Or Die Tryin'

From where to where may help with the advice.. East to West is a lot different than West to East.. don't be so coy..
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Old 01-05-2015, 14:47   #5
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Re: Or Die Tryin'

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Originally Posted by cacalack View Post
I have never sailed a lick, but have decided Iíd like to cross the Atlantic before I die. As Iím 70 years old now, death canít be too far in the future. Iím thinking that if I do a little practice sailing in the ocean off Savannah, Ga, I should be able to get my odds of survival up to well over 50:50 (assuming no dreadfully heavy weather, of course). In any case, I think Iíd rather drown terrified trying than to die of constipation and ennui in rural South Carolina.

So, there are a several decisions to make. Iíd rather make the attempt alone than with company. Iím thinking if I go solo I would rig a Westerly Centaur, an inexpensive boat which Iím told has numerous circumnavigations to its credit, with as many singlehanded and safety features as I can afford, to include collision warning, drogue, sea anchor, etc., and follow the Gulf Stream most of the way. I gather the twin keel Centaur will make the trip rather longer in duration than would most conventional single-keel mono-hulls and certainly of much longer duration than a catamaran, but other than increasing my time exposed to weather developments, the time spent is unimportant.

Any suggestions, comments?
I know of one Centaur that crossed the Atlantic east to West singlehanded too but none that circumnavigated (Was that an opportunistic quote from a pushy sellin owner or broker?) the one I do know about was modified by a very knowledgeable owner for the trip. I have sailed many times on a Centaur owned by a friend who bought it brand new many years ago in England, they are capable boats in the right hands but not very good upwind with their twin keels and shoal (3ft) draught. Would I take one transatlantic ? Short answer no way because I'm also 70 and have got used to more living space, comfort and boatspeed over the years, these days we choose to cross the oceans at 36000 feet where the waves don't reach.
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Old 01-05-2015, 14:57   #6
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Re: Or Die Tryin'

check out Webb Chiles blog about an old guy sailing around the world in a 24 foot boat self-portrait in the present sea journal.
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Old 01-05-2015, 15:32   #7
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Re: Or Die Tryin'

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Originally Posted by gonesail View Post
check out Webb Chiles blog about an old guy sailing around the world in a 24 foot boat self-portrait in the present sea journal.
Not a Westerly Centaur then because they are 26ft LOA. I'm aware of feats RTW in all sorts of small boats including Shane Acton in a 21ft marine plywood Caprice, google the book, buy and read it is excellent, If you can find a copy buy it because they are like hen's teeth to find.
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Old 01-05-2015, 19:05   #8
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Re: Or Die Tryin'

Steady Hand -- Thank you for the response. I guess I am interested in basic, basic advice. If such advice is stupid, then I guess I’m guilty of trolling. I wasn’t acquainted with the term. One fellow – boatman61 – wrote that “east to west is a lot different than west to east,” then added “don’t be so coy.” I take it from this, as well as from your advice that I catch a boat travelling west to east, that west to east is a lot easier trip. If that’s right, it’s a good thing to know. Maybe I can find a boat in the Canary Islands.

I’m reading what seems of value to prepare (e.g. Adlard Coles), and I’m not new to boats and the water. I’ve spent thousands of hours in the rivers and creeks of South Carolina, and worked the back deck of commercial fishing boats a couple of years (one year working out of Portland, ME, that included a dreadful trip into what came to be called “the perfect storm”). So I’m not interested in buying a cruise, though I’m sure I could learn a lot about sailing that way. I’ve never sailed; not even a Sunfish. And I want the adventure. There’s just too little of it as I age.
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Old 01-05-2015, 19:31   #9
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Re: Or Die Tryin'

Robin3 -- Thank you for the response. I've gotten the idea that going west to east will make my crossing more difficult. Is this the case? I imagined I could get in the Gulf Stream and practically let it take me across. Bad idea?

If not the Centaur, what small boat would you recommend?

I've started Webb Chiles's blog and like it. Thanks for that too.
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Old 01-05-2015, 19:50   #10
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Re: Or Die Tryin'

A not unreasonable request for information.

I suggest starting with Richard Henderson's excellent book: Singlehanded Sailing.

In lieu of us retyping what's there, read the book. It includes answers to almost all the questions you're gonna have.

There's another singlehanded sailing website book, but I've found in reading it that it's more about techniques than the depth of information I've found in Richard's book, but it's very very good, too. And the price is right.

It was recently posted on this very forum, so do a search.

Good luck, it's great to dream and even better to implement those dreams.
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Old 01-05-2015, 19:50   #11
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Re: Or Die Tryin'

I live in savannah ga. Own a sailboat. PM me.
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Old 01-05-2015, 19:51   #12
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Re: Or Die Tryin'

Quote:
Originally Posted by cacalack View Post
Robin3 -- Thank you for the response. I've gotten the idea that going west to east will make my crossing more difficult. Is this the case? I imagined I could get in the Gulf Stream and practically let it take me across. Bad idea?

If not the Centaur, what small boat would you recommend?

I've started Webb Chiles's blog and like it. Thanks for that too.
Going from east to west, say Gibraltar to the Caribbean is by far the easier trip. Going that way you have both a current with you and generally reliable trade winds. As long as you pick the right time (not summer hurricane season or mid winter when it can get stormy) it is often an easy trip.
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Old 01-05-2015, 21:11   #13
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Re: Or Die Tryin'

Quote:
Originally Posted by cacalack View Post
Steady Hand -- Thank you for the response. I guess I am interested in basic, basic advice. If such advice is stupid, then I guess Iím guilty of trolling. I wasnít acquainted with the term. One fellow Ė boatman61 Ė wrote that ďeast to west is a lot different than west to east,Ē then added ďdonít be so coy.Ē I take it from this, as well as from your advice that I catch a boat travelling west to east, that west to east is a lot easier trip. If thatís right, itís a good thing to know. Maybe I can find a boat in the Canary Islands.

Iím reading what seems of value to prepare (e.g. Adlard Coles), and Iím not new to boats and the water. Iíve spent thousands of hours in the rivers and creeks of South Carolina, and worked the back deck of commercial fishing boats a couple of years (one year working out of Portland, ME, that included a dreadful trip into what came to be called ďthe perfect stormĒ). So Iím not interested in buying a cruise, though Iím sure I could learn a lot about sailing that way. Iíve never sailed; not even a Sunfish. And I want the adventure. Thereís just too little of it as I age.
Hello again.

I don't consider sincere questions to be stupid. I consider stupid answers to be stupid. We are all in a state of ignorance until we learn something.

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OK. We will take you seriously, because your additional comments sound like you are committed to making a Transatlantic journey.

Here are a few responses and some tips. All are offered in a friendly tone of voice.

1. What is most important to you? Sailing across the Atlantic? Or buying a boat? Or, buying a boat and sailing across the Atlantic by yourself?

To me, the "experience" of going across an ocean is something I dreamed of since I was a boy. So I know the feeling/dream. I fulfilled part of my dream by sailing from Hawaii to California. But, since I was a boy I have wanted to go the same way as Columbus, so a "TransAtlantic" crossing is still in my plans for the future. Again, I understand the compelling nature of a dream like that.

Many people say they want to do the third option I listed above, but few actually do it. More people do the second option, but they never go across an ocean.

What would I do if I were in your situation (70) and with NO sailing experience and NO boat?

The first option can be done and could be done THIS year by you on boat with someone else. You would not be on a "cruise" but you could/would go as a paying crew member or someone who is contributing to the cost of the passage by paying for your food, etc.

Many people do this. People of ALL ages. So, I see this as the MOST LIKELY scenario to enjoy a lifetime event of sailing across the Atlantic on a small boat and to GET IT DONE WHILE YOU CAN. It is doable and would cost you MUCH less than buying a boat and outfitting it properly to do it on your own boat. It is a more "sure" bet to get the experience, SOON, rather than years from now. And it is likely to be a LOT safer as you would be making the trip with some experienced sailors or skipper.

2. Some people buy a cheap boat and spend a LOT of time and a LOT of money trying to get it ready to go blue water sailing (like across an ocean) and yet they never do it.

3. Sailing from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean is the "easy" way to go across the Atlantic. It is known as "Trade Wind Saiing" because you will be going in the direction the wind and waves want to go too. Much easier. You said something about buying a boat in the Canaries. I suggest you look at Spain instead, and someone like Boatman61 can help you (possibly) because he is often in Portugal and those areas.

4. Here is a book I highly recommend for those interested in Single-Handed Sailing.

Singlehanded Sailing: Thoughts, Tips, Techniques & Tactics

The author is Andrew Evans, an experienced single handed racer.

It is loaded with practical tips and comments from other experienced single-handed sailors and racers too in 256 pages. Lots of material to consider.

The 2014 edition of the book is inexpensive and is on Amazon and this new edition (2014) contains new material and is also available as a Kindle version! Good for your boat's library or iPad and Kindle too. 

http://www.amazon.com/Singlehanded-S...es+%26+Tactics

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Time Waits for No Man

Time? How much time can you afford to spend getting a boat ready for a singlehanded transatlantic passage? How much time can you afford to spend getting yourself ready for such a voyage?

You could spend years reading all of the forum topics on this site too. There are thousands of comments on countless topics that could help educate you. Or you could also take some sailing lessons. Either way, in order to be best prepared to sail across an ocean by yourself, you should take the time to properly educate yourself (or be educated) on what to expect, what to buy, what to do, and what not to do.

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Steady's Big Tip: Search the Forum Using Google Custom Search

There have been threads posted on the forum discussing many topics at length, with differing opinions. But quickly finding the right thread and the right answer could take a while, if one just browses the forum.

Since you are relatively new to the forum, here is a friendly tip: Look at the green menu bar on the forum pages for the drop down "Search" menu. Click on that to drop down a list of search functions. From that drop down menu select the GOOGLE CUSTOM search feature (the second box down) and then enter several different descriptive terms for your topic of interest. That will do a Custom google search of ONLY this site and it is likely to find answers to your questions or results for you. It is the best and fastest method I have found to the answers I seek here.
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Old 01-05-2015, 21:35   #14
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Re: Or Die Tryin'

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Originally Posted by cacalack View Post
Robin3 -- Thank you for the response. I've gotten the idea that going west to east will make my crossing more difficult. Is this the case? I imagined I could get in the Gulf Stream and practically let it take me across. Bad idea?

If not the Centaur, what small boat would you recommend?

I've started Webb Chiles's blog and like it. Thanks for that too.

I'm not saying not a Centaur nor am I going to recommend any boat. The usual thing in such situations is that the boat that is already owned is used, probably with some significant modifications being made beforehand. The boat that you own and know from stem to stern and have sailed many miles is almost always going to be better than picking an unknown entity at random. For sure I would be very concerned that the mast, the rigging and the sails were in first class condition, probably starting with replacing all standing rigging with new.

BTW I'm actually a fan of the Centaur for what I would call domestic coastal cruising, even short offshore passages in suitable conditions. That said I once stood by a fellow club member whose Centaur had been dismasted in F7 winds sailing downwind close inshore in the English Channel, in his case the cap shroud on one side had failed at the point of attachment to the coachroof (cabin top) this was an early built model and the shroud plates for rig attachment were bolted through the cabin sides above a cabin window. The structure itself failed and a 3ft square of cabin top broke away with the rig which went overboard. Later models had a stainless steel hand hold bar fitted across the side window to transfer the rig loads better. My friends Centaur was towed into Weymouth Harbour by the local RNLI lifeboat where it was temporarily patched on the cabin top and sides, enough to make the 20 mile or so coastal trip to it's home mooring in Poole, under engine of course with the then stripped mast carried on deck. I kept them company for the trip in my own boat by then the weather was much calmer NB the mastless boat rolled so badly that the owner who was never normally seasick suffered severe sea sickness.

I believe someone has already suggested getting a transatlantic trip by going as a crew member on a bigger boat. Many boats make the crossings each year between charter and/or racing seasons working in the Med and the Caribbean and often offer ( for a fee) crewed places on board, usually to people looking to gain ocean miles to obtain an Ocean Yachtmaster or similar qualification.. There is also the annual east to west tradewinds rally known as the ARC between the Canary islands and St Lucia or thereabouts, many of these boats seek additional crew, sometimes because their insurance company insists on it.

I'm not trying to be a naysayer just trying to inject a little realism into what is an admirable bucket list dream. Good luck, fair winds and calm seas.
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Old 01-05-2015, 21:37   #15
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Re: Or Die Tryin'

Thank you, Mr. Jackson. I've ordered Singlehanded Sailing. I've got three books to finish first, but will read it as soon as I'm done with those.
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