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Old 26-01-2012, 15:29   #1
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The Next Step ! Need a Little Advice

Hey cruisers! I've always wanted to sail the sea's and had an awakening when my father got this 42ft Trogan for a working mans' price 2 years ago. Since then I've been trying to get my own boat and put her to the intended use, no dock slips, just the wind at my back!

Well I finally got my own boat, a 22ft Catalina, small, but in great shape and a good starter boat I think. I've learned to sail on the lake here in Texas and I'm working my way to a maiden voyage to the Bahamas.

From the research I've done it seems like a lower risk trip given that i can sail it right to see land most of the way so I'm sure the coast guard would be around the corner if something did happen.

I've got a Katadyn survivor 35 reverse osmosis hand pump for water, a Garmin Dakota 10 with topographic maps and sea routes and AA batteries, 1 marine battery, a propane stove with backup fuel, 2 hotplates for backup cooking, minimum cookware, a first aid kit, and a reserve supply of cheap non perishables, as well as 2 other crew members(I know how cramped with be, but I've lived with these guys in a way overcrowded house and we're still the best of friends.)

Now I plan to getting some charts, a compass, and sextant. another battery and solar panels to set up a trickle charge, a second water source, deep sea fishing gear so I can pull up my own food, a ship to shore radio, a battery gauge, 3 life jackets, and a emergency raft. An extra set of sails is never a bad decision is it?

So My question is, what of the aforementioned items that I don't have should I look at, in terms of reliable brands and such. Or even ones I do. And is there anything else i should look into to make this passage? I have heard of people doing with just a compass on smaller boats, but my inexperience especially with blue water makes me want to be prepared.

And I know I should crew, but my job, lack of money, and drive to not look like an idiot in front of a real sailor impedes me from doing so. Also, keep in mind I am 23, working at a marina so my spending power is really limited. I plan later to trade up as i sail out, but from what most people tell me I can do this trip on the boat I got.
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Old 26-01-2012, 15:52   #2
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Re: the next step! need a little advise

While reading through your list I had visions of your little boat squatting deeper and deeper up to the gunwales.
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Old 27-01-2012, 06:05   #3
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Re: The next step! Need a little advice

so i should be more selective in what i take then, what do you propose i cut?
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Old 27-01-2012, 06:09   #4
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Re: The next step! Need a little advice

you won't need a sextant.
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Old 27-01-2012, 06:26   #5
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Re: The next step! Need a little advice

Just get two handheld GPS's (like Garmin 76's - great prices on eBay) and some waterproof charts. Get some basic navigation tools like dividers, rule, compass, good binoculars, a supply of "grease" pencils to make marks on the waterproof maps - and - take some ASA basic sailing courses and maybe their navigation course. Or, get books that cover the same stuff. Shop at used book stores, if you cannot afford new.

A handheld VHF radio is all you will need and as an extra a used HF receiver that has the capability to receive SSB for weather.

Lamp oil lights in the cabin to keep the output from you small solar panel to recharge the handheld radio and run the little "all-band" radio.
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Old 27-01-2012, 06:28   #6
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Re: The next step! Need a little advice

Navigation in the Bahamas is all pilotage. Get Steve Dodges cruising guide and a good chart book. Mask and snorkle, and a sling or pole spear. Load up on provisions as tings are expensive over here. Pick a good weather window and DO IT. It is no big deal. Just met an 18 year old who just single handed a 27' from Baltimore! He is having a ball and learning alot.
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Old 27-01-2012, 07:19   #7
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Re: The next step! Need a little advice

As many have said and it is quite true, for the Bahamas get the "Explorer Charts" chartbooks. They are not cheap but they are both accurate and up to date and really, the only thing available that also includes written text and "guide" materials for the Bahamas.
Welcome to Explorer Chartbooks

http://www.bluewaterweb.com/featureProducts.aspx?Id=4

and for waterproof charts: http://www.bluewaterweb.com/showcate...e=20&view=grid
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Old 27-01-2012, 07:45   #8
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Re: The next step! Need a little advice

Watch the weather...That's the biggest variable between a nice pleasant trip vs a trip from hell! NO NORTH WINDS... And please do yourself and all other sailors a favor and stop thinking in terms of the CG being there to save your ass...All your planning efforts should be toward self rescue with the CG as the last resort...

Is the Catalina 22's cockpit self bailing? If not keep a bailing device close at hand in the cockpit..

I made the crossing in a San Juan 21 30 years ago...
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Old 27-01-2012, 10:08   #9
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Re: The next step! Need a little advice

Thanks a lot guys! I wasn't really planning on just calling the CG on any mishap, i just run into a lotttt of naysayers so like to mention it as a great all's gone to hell last resort so i don't have to hear there pessimistic jabber. But I will DEFINABLY get those charts and guides yall mentioned, as well as a spear (a assume for fishing) and snorkel. Dunno why I haven't thought of that heh. Also, thanks for the links, i will check them out too.

Another question, how many watts should I be looking for in a solar panel setup? I was thinking about this 45 watt kit for main usage at Harborfreight, but I haven't heard much on the reliability of it.

The cockpit is self bailing and I plan to have a reserve bilge pump on hand with a small solar panel on the foremost hatch dedicated to pumping.

I haven't had much of a chance to talk to any sailors cause there isn't any in my family or friends so most of my planning is limited to reason, research, and common sense i guess all advise is thought and appreciated. My main goal here is to have a self sufficient boat so can live off the ocean, but with a plan b.
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Old 27-01-2012, 16:35   #10
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Re: The Next Step! Need a Little Advice

If you plan on going to the Bahamas - read this carefully first: Regulations - Bahamas | The Bahamas

In my personal opinion Harbor Freight does not have reliable quality solar PV panels. Try instead: Solar Electric Power Systems For On & Off Grid
And there are many other sources of reliable PV panels at good prices.

Anyway, as a "minimalist" cruiser in a small boat keep the electrical stuff to a minimum. Then you can use a small Walmart Marine Battery to power your navigation lights (required at night) and to recharge your handheld VHF and lapbook/netbook computer.

The Bahamas are an unbelievably great place for sailing/swimming/snorkeling/diving and you will have a great time. But everything over there is quite expensive since it has to be shipped in from Florida and other places.

So plan your foods by shopping Walmart and buy "shelf stable" meats like hams, beef, canned fish, poultry, etc. Things that do not need refrigeration. Don't forget to cram in a good supply of beer if you and your buddies are partial to that - as the prices in the Bahamas can make you faint or a teatotaler. You can do all your final provisioning in Florida before crossing over.
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Old 27-01-2012, 18:09   #11
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Re: The Next Step! Need a Little Advice

HA, yes the beer advice is a good one, as well as the harborfrieght. thanks much and i willl be sure to read those rules =)

one last question here i suppose and it may be the most important. What is the best window to make this voyage? avoiding the gulfs roughest weather, and the north wind?
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Old 27-01-2012, 18:28   #12
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Re: The Next Step! Need a Little Advice

Take good charts. Take drinking water. Take a backup GPS if you use GPS for navigation. Take some classes of compass / log based navigation techniques (it can be self-taught). One can get anywhere without any technology, but only when they know where they are and where they want to get to.

Make sure the ship, small as she is, can handle the expected conditions - this includes, but is not limited to, sound watertight hull & appendages, strong rigging and sails. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Take quality foul weather gear, sunblock and shades, a hat or better two.

Make sure you have good cooking facilities that can be used underway. Take some anchor rode, plenty of it, if you are going to stay at anchor.

Go in the right company. Life is too short to be sailing with people you do not like.

Read on in the forum. You will find plenty of answers here.

Have fun. Nourish the dream.

b.
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Old 27-01-2012, 19:47   #13
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Re: The Next Step! Need a Little Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by essail View Post
. . . one last question here i suppose and it may be the most important. What is the best window to make this voyage? avoiding the gulfs roughest weather, and the north wind?
Weather windows (good ones) come by periodically all through the year. However there are more of them (closer together) in the spring/summer - but then you also start to get tropical storms in the summer.

So whenever you do get to the east coast of Florida and are ready for a crossing - you may wait 2 days or 2 to 4 weeks. The weather is dynamic and always changes. But as mentioned wait for winds from south through west and seas below 4 ft in the Gulf Stream. The cycle of winds clocks completely around the compass and it is a matter of choosing the optimum time for your boat speed. There are more specifics about crossings to the Bahamas in quite a few other CF threads.
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Old 04-02-2012, 19:57   #14
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Re: The Next Step ! Need a Little Advice

Aloha and welcome aboard!
Is your Catalina a swing keel model or fin keel model. Does it have a pop top?
It will be tight company with three aboard but at least while sailing there will only be a maximum of two below.
It is very important to choose your weather window so have someone experienced give you their advice and don't go if there is questionable weather on the horizon.
No need for the sextant or all the manuals that go with it unless you are determined to learn celestial navigation.
kind regards,
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:32   #15
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Re: The Next Step ! Need a Little Advice

its a swing keel, and solid top. its a 1975, but was somewhat well taken car of and is pretty solid.
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