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Old 13-12-2007, 11:10   #1
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Bermuda: To Go or Not to Go . . .

My 16 year old son and I are planning a three-week trip to Bermuda aboard our 28' Pearson Triton in June. We'll be departing from the Hampton Roads area in Virginia, 6-8 days each way, with about 7 days in Bermuda. We've been preparing the boat and buying gear. I feel confident in the boat's ability to make this passage. Although this will be my first offshore passage (other than aboard a 425' frigate while in the Navy), I've been sailing for 32 years and feel confident in my own ability to make the trip.

The other day, however, I started wondering about a few things. My biggest concern is this: What happens if, two days from (or out of) Bermuda, we lose the mast? I'm sure we could get to (or back to) Bermuda under a jury rig, but then what? 1. I'm only going to have three weeks of vacation time, so I wouldn't have time to remain in Bermuda for any reason. 2. I'm not going to have money to have a new or used mast shipped out. 3. I don't think I'll even have enough money for two airline tickets back to Virginia. (The mast and boom are original -- 45 years old. The standing rigging was replaced six years ago.)

Here's another thing I started thinking about. We have a tillerpilot, but no windvane. I figure we'll be spending a lot of time on the helm. With just two of us, I'm thinking we're going to be pretty tired when we get to Bermuda. Will we have the strength/stamina/desire to turn around in six or seven days and sail back?

Would those of you with a lot of experience/time at sea make this trip under these circumstances? I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on this matter. Thanks!
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Old 13-12-2007, 11:20   #2
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Worry less.

What IF's are only for the purpose of giving you an ulcer. Don't waste time worrying about what may or may not happen. There will be enough legitimate things to concern you before making landfall.
As for the tiller pilot: I see no reason why it won't work all the way and back. Can it be linked to your GPS for route management? If it can, you need do even less work.
Have a Merry Christmas and worry less.
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Old 13-12-2007, 11:27   #3
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Consider the Bermuda Cup Rally. I did it about 12 years ago, and it was great.
As far as your tiller pilot, if your worried, bring a spare.

Cruising Rally Association - Bermuda Cup

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Old 13-12-2007, 11:55   #4
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Considering that you are:
- time limited (3 weeks)
- financially constrained (no budget for repairs/airfair)
- nervous (you felt the need to ask)

I think a (roughly) 1,200 nm offshore (round) trip is a little ambitious for you, at this time, & under the described circumstances.
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Old 13-12-2007, 12:21   #5
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I pretty much agree with Gord. Your biggest issue is schedule - having a timetable, especially a tight one, can get you in big trouble.

About 20 years ago I crewed one-way from N.J. to Bermuda in the Spring. We wound up waiting close to a week for weather. The trip was uneventful and I flew back. But the boat was sailing on to the Caribbean and wound up stuck for quite awhile waiting for weather - being stuck in Bermuda is a nice problem to have unless you have a fixed schedule. They didn't and it was all good.

You need reasonable spares, repair materials and tools. Most people don't have a spare autopilot; and if you worry about how to quickly replace a 45 year old mast in case it breaks at a bad time, you'll never sail very far.
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Old 13-12-2007, 16:26   #6
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Making plans to sail to Bermuda under the pressures of a vacation schedule is a disaster waiting to happen..
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Old 13-12-2007, 17:47   #7
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No one knows your boat like you. 3 wks and 1200 miles, you decide.
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Old 13-12-2007, 18:00   #8
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If the boat and crew are prepared , go for it. Bermuda is welcoming to sailors and there are facilities who could do a repair. Worst case you fly back and leave the boat on a mooring or at one of the clubs and fly back when you can fix it up. But it is not gonna happen. You guys are going to have a super time.

Follow the weather and the the Stream behavior. Listen to Herb on Southbound, even if you can't check in, he'll be reporting to other yachts making the passage. Give in a call on the land line to let him know you are departing and your ETA. And then report in when you have arrived.

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Old 13-12-2007, 18:01   #9
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"What happens if, two days from (or out of) Bermuda, we lose the mast? I'm sure we could get to (or back to) Bermuda under a jury rig, but then what? 1. I'm only going to have three weeks of vacation time, so I wouldn't have time to remain in Bermuda for any reason. 2. I'm not going to have money to have a new or used mast shipped out. 3. I don't think I'll even have enough money for two airline tickets back to Virginia."

You would be stuck, mate. How about sailing up (or down) the East Coast instead? Something goes wrong and you can grab a bus or train home and then go back and forth while things are fixed.
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Old 13-12-2007, 18:27   #10
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I agree with psteele235. You could have a blast with your son by cruising down the ICW, pick some cool anchorages along the way. If the weather is right, sail back on the outside.

The problem that I see is #1, your lack of confidence (something's wrong). #2, your schedule (recipe for disaster). #3 lack of windvane. I don't think that most tiller pilots will handle the demands of ocean passages not to mention the power consumption.

Eliminate #3 and #1. Keep your options open and if the weather looks good for the passage over, go for it. If you get socked in, in Bermuda, call in sick (it's not like you can just leave if there is a gale warning).

My gut feeling is, your rigging is old and questionable or you wouldn't be bringing up this "dismasting" scenario. If I'm right (I hope I'm not) replace the rigging. It's not rocket science. You can do it yourself. If you can't or don't want to get your hands dirty.....Do the ICW thing.

BTW....Maine is beautiful that time of the year. What an experience that would be........getting back.....maybe not so much...
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Old 13-12-2007, 18:36   #11
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time is everything!

To go to bermuda and back in three weeks without any spare money or time in a 28 foot boat? Hmmm........One thing I know is that along with all the spare and redundant equipment that one should always consider for such a passage are two more things of equal and of most importance: extra cash and extra time! The plan sounds great if all goes perfectly. Therefore, anything but a pefect passage would mean trouble for you. Not worth it, do a coastal trip that will allow for the unexpected and save your money and time off for when you can relax and enjoy a passage like that.
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Old 13-12-2007, 18:49   #12
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Go and do it. If you're back late, you're back late.

Life isn't worth much if you sit and say I gunna do this, I'm gunna do this... no, I'm not. and stories to your grandkids: I was going to go sailing but I didn't. I could have had a great time. I only had 3 weeks but needed 4 and so I didn't go.

Be impetuous! Be young! Be fun! If you die at least you died doing something!



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Old 13-12-2007, 18:56   #13
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Go and do it. If you're back late, you're back late.

Life isn't worth much if you sit and say I gunna do this, I'm gunna do this... no, I'm not. and stories to your grandkids: I was going to go sailing but I didn't. I could have had a great time. I only had 3 weeks but needed 4 and so I didn't go.

Be impetuous! Be young! Be fun! If you die at least you died doing something!



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Forget the grandkids thing. I have 9 and they couldn't care less. If I brake out the videos, they go all glarry eyed. You've gotta live it for yourself. Nobody else cares....except maybe the few that you may be able to impart some small bit of wisdom to on this forum.
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Old 13-12-2007, 20:08   #14
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I agree with most of the people here, if you are sailing you should really have a huge buffer of time in case of weather, equipment, etc.. The whole purpose of sailing is to really enjoy and love it, not to be white knuckled about time tables and such. I think you can all have just as much fun sailing up and down the ICW as suggested.

Regardless of your decision, enjoy and be safe. Cheers!
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Old 13-12-2007, 21:22   #15
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