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Old 07-02-2016, 06:25   #16
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Re: My first Solo Distance Sail

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Ahahahahhahaaaa... That's for sure..
Remember a friend in the UK telling me if I took the Great Circle route Beaufort,NC to Falmouth on a Hunter 37c I'd be across in 3 weeks at hull speed.. should they meet me...
Took 40 days to make the Azores...
HA!
Right???

Piece of cake... We'll have your dinner jacket pressed and ready for your arrival...

Hourglasses never worked that well on boats.... But now come to think of it... They were probably fairly accurate...
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Old 07-02-2016, 07:03   #17
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Re: My first Solo Distance Sail

seasalt, if you check the pilot charts I think you'll find the preponderance of the clear weather winds along the coast near Mobile and Pensacola are southeasterly, and you may find yourself beating to light weather for much of your trip if outside. Clear weather winds will be relatively light, especially in the morning. When the frequent spring cold fronts blow through, the winds will be from SW to NW, sometimes be quite strong during and for a day or two after the storm line passes, and with increasing lightning during storms as the spring progresses (I'm sure you know most of this since you live down here), and you will avoid these by watching the weather.

You're going to be "outside" but in Mississippi Sound from BSL to Dauphin Island, and north of Dauphin Island to the entrance into the canal at Bon Secour is sailable, as is Wolf Bay through Perdido Bay, and sometimes into Big Lagoon, so you'll be able to sail much of the way even if you stay inside. If you stay outside after Mobile, you can still duck into the ICW at Perdido Pass if needed.

With your expected sailing speed and likely low to moderate southeasterlies, I would plan on no more than a two and a half knot speed of advance and wouldn't go outside. There's a bit of traffic, and your estimated 28 hour trip is likely to be more like 40-50 hours. If you have southeasterlies, port tacks will give you zero distance made good toward your destination, and easterlies will require you sail 70 miles of southing during the trip to get a fair course into Pensacola Pass.

Since you are planning to go when no cold front is forecast, west end of Dauphin Island is a good anchorage and is over 50 miles and would break the trip up well...and if you get perfect conditions you can sail to Bon Secour Bay and anchor, another 25 nm. It's a good anchorage that you can get in pretty close to Alabama Point to block easterlies and southeasterlies, and where you can get far enough off the ICW to get out of the wakes of passing boats. From Bon Secour it's an easy 25 more nm inside to Pensacola Pass using the waterway, and another 5 or 6 up to Pensacola proper, or Bayou Chico, and other nearby destinations.

Good luck.
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Old 07-02-2016, 07:03   #18
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Re: My first Solo Distance Sail

Piece of cake. Provided you have decent weather.

Single handed, I would go well offshore -- out of sight of land -- and sail nonstop -- if there's a decent sailing wind. Do you have radar? If you have decent radar set, set the guard zones and cat nap in the cockpit with an egg timer. If you don't have radar, then I would not sleep. There's a lot of carp out in the Gulf you can hit if you're not careful. Be particularly careful to route yourself well away from any oil rigs, but there's also a lot of fishing activity, so without radar -- no sleeping.

If you're not up for that, or there's no sailing wind (common in the Gulf), then take the ICW and stop half way.

Simples.
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Old 07-02-2016, 07:09   #19
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Re: My first Solo Distance Sail

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Originally Posted by fryewe View Post
seasalt, if you check the pilot charts I think you'll find the preponderance of the clear weather winds along the coast near Mobile and Pensacola are southeasterly, and you may find yourself beating to light weather for much of your trip if outside. Clear weather winds will be relatively light, especially in the morning. When the frequent spring cold fronts blow through, the winds will be from SW to NW, sometimes be quite strong during and for a day or two after the storm line passes, and with increasing lightning during storms as the spring progresses (I'm sure you know most of this since you live down here), and you will avoid these by watching the weather.

You're going to be "outside" but in Mississippi Sound from BSL to Dauphin Island, and north of Dauphin Island to the entrance into the canal at Bon Secour is sailable, as is Wolf Bay through Perdido Bay, and sometimes into Big Lagoon, so you'll be able to sail much of the way even if you stay inside. If you stay outside after Mobile, you can still duck into the ICW at Perdido Pass if needed.

With your expected sailing speed and likely low to moderate southeasterlies, I would plan on no more than a two and a half knot speed of advance and wouldn't go outside. There's a bit of traffic, and your estimated 28 hour trip is likely to be more like 40-50 hours. If you have southeasterlies, port tacks will give you zero distance made good toward your destination, and easterlies will require you sail 70 miles of southing during the trip to get a fair course into Pensacola Pass.

Since you are planning to go when no cold front is forecast, west end of Dauphin Island is a good anchorage and is over 50 miles and would break the trip up well...and if you get perfect conditions you can sail to Bon Secour Bay and anchor, another 25 nm. It's a good anchorage that you can get in pretty close to Alabama Point to block easterlies and southeasterlies, and where you can get far enough off the ICW to get out of the wakes of passing boats. From Bon Secour it's an easy 25 more nm inside to Pensacola Pass using the waterway, and another 5 or 6 up to Pensacola proper, or Bayou Chico, and other nearby destinations.

Good luck.
Lots of great information here, but one question -- why do you think he'll only make 2 knots?

Single handed on a trip like that, I would not put up with 2 knots. I would motor or motor sail and keep the speed up. In that boat, I would think that 4 or 5 knots should not be a problem, assuming his inboard diesel is in order.

The Bayfield 25 is a lovely, lovely little vessel -- Gozzard design. Built like a brick house and no speed demon, but plenty of sail area and should be able to crank out the miles at 5 knots with any kind of wind.
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Old 07-02-2016, 07:15   #20
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Re: My first Solo Distance Sail

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seasalt, if you check the pilot charts I think you'll find the preponderance of the clear weather winds along the coast near Mobile and Pensacola are southeasterly
You only get southeasterly winds after a front goes through.

The Prevailing Wind in late Spring, Summer, and early Fall there are SSW-SW. It normally starts like clockwork each day between 11am-1pm

I learned that because I raced there 10 months out of the year for about 12 years and my apartment was on the water.

We used to sail to Pensacola Beach every weekend and the return was awesome on a Nacra 6.0 with a 12-14 knot SW wind which it almost always was. My son and his friends sailed a Hobie 16 over and back as teenagers ages 12-15 looking for "women!"

Now if there is a front coming through like in early Spring you will get northerly and easterly winds

We also raced to Ship Island and Horn Island along the Mississippi Coast. I used to go way west coming out that channel in front of the casinos in Biloxi before tacking then ride the SW Winds right out to the island.

And since the wind was still clocking west, I would gain on the other boats which had tacked earlier the whole trip out.
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Old 07-02-2016, 08:00   #21
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Re: My first Solo Distance Sail

Actually the prevailing wind in my experience rotates with the Sun during the warm months

It's NE in the morning, then goes to SE, then S or directly SSW or SW.

On many of the 100 mile Round the Island Races out of Ft Walton Beach in early September where the gun goes off at 0700, the start to Destin is a beat into the light NE wind which rotates around.

Sometimes there is a lull around 1000 then it will come back up out of the South or SSW and rotate to SW and increase as the day continues.
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Old 07-02-2016, 08:23   #22
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Re: My first Solo Distance Sail

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Lots of great information here, but one question -- why do you think he'll only make 2 knots?
With easterlies or southeasterlies, sailing (not motorsailing), I suggested he would only make 2.5 knots toward his destination. Boat is capable of 5 to 6 in good wind.

March wind rose for Northern GOM...winds are from the eastern hemisphere over 80 per cent of the time, and average force 4....

N. GOM Wind Rose March.pdf

Not sure if that link will work, but the Pilot Charts are available for download at

http://www.offshoreblue.com/navigation/pilot-charts.php
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Old 07-02-2016, 08:56   #23
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Re: My first Solo Distance Sail

Autohelm 1000 uses almost no power at all...will run for weeks on a full battery.

You have 2 batteries. Use one. Save the other for starting. Your old yanmar should also have a manual starting crank...just in case.

It sounds like you have an excellent setup...not sure why you are concerned other than lack of experience. I suggest you take the boat out for some daysails, or an overnight (anchorage) as a shakedown before the big trip.

As others have said, go inside and break up the trip to a few days, so you don't burn yourself out. Or head well offshore during a fair weather window, so you can cat nap safely. Better to sleep during daylight.

Bayfield 25 is an excellent boat...full keel, yanmar, solid. You are set. Good luck, and be sure to post a link to your video after the trip.
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Old 07-02-2016, 09:31   #24
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Re: My first Solo Distance Sail

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Lots of great information here, but one question -- why do you think he'll only make 2 knots?
A friend with a Bayfield 29 spent a year outfitting his boat to head south. He bought every conceivable thing he might need...all chain rode, anchors, extra fuel storage, extra water storage, spare parts, tools, etc. By the time he was done, the boat would only make 3 knots at WOT. He lost a cylinder before he had gone 100 miles. I remember a beautiful sailing day where I literally sailed circles around him with my Cal25. he had full sail up, but just wasn't moving. Its the downside of "lots of storage space".

Knowing your boat is a big part of sailing. The "big trip" should not be your first trip. Best to work up to it. That way you know your engine will start, you know what speed you can average, you know how your boat will behave.
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Old 07-02-2016, 10:25   #25
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Re: My first Solo Distance Sail

Trust your autopilot while you duck below to make a quick lunch? Sure. Take a nap? Never. It is both illegal and dumb. The safe way is to plan for daylight sails of 10-12 hours max. Then drop the hook and get your sleep. You can preplan your stops before you go. Should be a pleasant trip but sailboats are just not fast. Choosing the route will be easy if you include anchorages.
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Old 07-02-2016, 10:54   #26
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Re: My first Solo Distance Sail

A few quick thoughts for any SH sailing.
Read a good SH sailing book - Henderson, Meisel etc - and go off-shore. Sleep for short periods in the cockpit and use a time alarm - eg.Screaming Meanie.
Whether under sail or power only nap when you are on an off-shore tack. Make sure your AIS & VHF and nav lights are working.
Be confident you can reef down safely and quickly.
Leave your sailing plan with a reliable friend.
Check the 3 day weather forecast.
Have good charts and a hand-held GPS.
Wear a PFD ALL the time.
Have drinks, food and snacks close at hand - same for binoculars.
Keep a log - hourly notes with position.
Write a post here when you arrive.
Good luck
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Old 07-02-2016, 11:23   #27
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Re: My first Solo Distance Sail

Was the tank inspected and scrubbed or just fuel replaced? Reason I ask is if there is debris in the tank it WILL get stirred up in lumpy seas and likely plug your filters. I'd take lots of spare filters just in case.

Batteries may appear fully charged when on dock power/charger but have limited or no capacity due to aging and or abuse. A few day sails is no test compared to what you're planning. I would take them out and have them properly tested to determine suitability for your adventure. Replace if any doubts.

Stopping to rest along the way rather than napping may make for a safer and more enjoyable trip. And consider that 30 min naps @ 4 kts may seem adequate to avoid fixed hazards but other vessels in the area are likely going much faster and may enter your danger zone in far less time than your 30 min nap. Just food for thought.
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Old 07-02-2016, 12:08   #28
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Re: My first Solo Distance Sail

I would definitely take the advice to test out your autopilot and battery life before you head out. If you do sail overnight, do it on the outside. ICW at night is not fun, especially in areas where there is barge traffic. Since it sounds like you will be coming from the west, definitely check out Pirate's Cove on Perdido Bay before you get to Pensacola - its worth the slight detour!.......but be warned, many that have sailed in to Pirates Cove have never left!

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Old 07-02-2016, 12:43   #29
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Re: My first Solo Distance Sail

I wonder if your deep cycle battery and starting battery are connected so that your electronics will use only the deep cycle battery, and you have no risk of losing all power of the starting battery. Maybe someone else knows better.

Anchoring for the night sounds much simpler and safer than napping.
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Old 07-02-2016, 15:31   #30
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Re: My first Solo Distance Sail

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I would definitely take the advice to test out your autopilot and battery life before you head out. If you do sail overnight, do it on the outside. ICW at night is not fun, especially in areas where there is barge traffic. Since it sounds like you will be coming from the west, definitely check out Pirate's Cove on Perdido Bay before you get to Pensacola - its worth the slight detour!.......but be warned, many that have sailed in to Pirates Cove have never left!

Neil
They say that the restaurant at Pirate's Cove is where Jimmy Buffett got the inspiration for his song Cheeseburger in Paradise. A lady friend back in the day introduced me to it. We drove over from Pensacola back in maybe 1999



And this is another good sailor song of his ....

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