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Old 12-01-2012, 06:20   #1
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Tips and Tricks for Sailing in Pairs

I have been planning an Annapolis-Newport trip for May on my own Tayana 37 cutter with a 5-person crew. Now, suddenly a friend with a Mariner 31 ketch is suggesting we tag-team. I've never done a passage with two boats or a convoy.

Aside from the obvious - keeping radio and visual contact and trying not to outpace your other half - any tips for doing this?
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Old 12-01-2012, 06:32   #2
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Re: Tips and tricks for sailing in pairs

I wouldn't worry as much about visual contact as radio contact. In fact, if the weather turns nasty I would want enough room between us that we probably would NOT be in visual contact.

Nowadays, with AIS, if you both are properly equipped, keeping track of a companion boat should be dead easy.
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Old 12-01-2012, 07:13   #3
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Re: Tips and tricks for sailing in pairs

When we sailed through Pirate Alley in the Gulf of Aden, we sailed in the company of another yacht that had similar hull speed. We did it for security purposes, and we had no problems. We simply tweaked our speed to stay in visual contact for three days and nights. At night we did not use running lights in Pirate Alley, and we stayed in radar contact. It was actually easy to do.
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Old 12-01-2012, 07:25   #4
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Re: Tips and tricks for sailing in pairs

We've buddy boated successfully with a slower boat just by running a smaller jib. He hanked on his #1, and we went with a #3, and everybody was happy. A few times he closed the gap by motorsailing a bit.
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Old 12-01-2012, 07:37   #5
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Re: Tips and tricks for sailing in pairs

I find this"buddy system "awkward espically with boats of different hull speeds when just motoring.When sailing there will be so much pulling you apart that you will spend much of your time on the VHF just expaining why you are jibing again .

The slower boat will always be thinking :"wait for me". The faster boat will feel imposed upon and that they are draging an anchor.


I love company and think it best to agree before departure to meet at an agreed upon anchorage/ marina. First boat in prepares snacks and drinks.

There's enough going on (decision making) in even short passages without having to explain all to another boat;my own crew is enough ,thank you!

Of course it's doable ,but I'm betting one or both will find it onerous in time.
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Old 12-01-2012, 07:47   #6
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Re: Tips and tricks for sailing in pairs

Thanks all for the advice. I am not entirely keen on the idea for the reasons mrohr mentions.
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Old 12-01-2012, 13:38   #7
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Re: Tips and tricks for sailing in pairs

G'Day all,

While we have done a few tandem trips of short (say overnight) duration, it is a big PITA. Puts unnecessary strains on both skippers/crews trying to stay together. For us, we now say something like "we'll be in X anchorage sometime soon, maybe tomorrow. Love to see you there for a sundowner or whatever". Both boats get to sail as they wish, and the socializing is just the same as if we'd sailed in company.

Works for us, YMMV.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 12-01-2012, 15:15   #8
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Re: Tips and Tricks for Sailing in Pairs

Like mrohr said.

I did it with supposedly identical boats. Even then, it was a lot of work to stay in visual contact, especially at night: you need to constantly adjust the sails to stay close (but not too close) to the other boat. In our case, it was on purpose, in a sailing school...

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Old 12-01-2012, 16:05   #9
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Re: Tips and Tricks for Sailing in Pairs

We traveled with buddy boat a few times. First and foremost, you are responsible for YOUR boat. Do not feel pressured into doing anything that makes you uncomfortable. For example, if you feel the weather warrants another day in port, stay put. If you are not comfortable with an anchorage, move on.
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Old 12-01-2012, 17:13   #10
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Re: Tips and Tricks for Sailing in Pairs

It gets complicated when the skippers don't have the same style for handling their yachts. For example, one might want to shake a reef earlier after a squall. Or one would prefer to get underway earlier in the morning.

To sum it up, I prefer not to commit to sail together. If we manage to meet in port or in the anchorage, fine, but even this must not become a constraint.

After all, the pleasure is even greater if we manage to meet the other yacht on the high seas.

Alain
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Old 12-01-2012, 17:43   #11
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Re: Tips and Tricks for Sailing in Pairs

Are you sailing 24 hours a day with multiple watches? Or are you cruising 40 miles a day? Are you both going to end up in the same place?

You might have the other boat start earlier and end later. Or take a day off halfway through the trip so they can catch up.

If you had the same type of boat or were traveling in questionable areas, then I would be in favor of it.
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Old 13-01-2012, 03:52   #12
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Re: Tips and Tricks for Sailing in Pairs

I'd also question what each boat wanted (in practice) from the other - it's not as if a sailboat could easily come alongside another at sea to effect a rescue.....nor be able to supply a magic solution for folk who have simply bitten off more than they can chew.

To be blunt, if someone else was that keen to travel in company I would be very concerned as to why / WTF they expected from me. I would also be concerned that if we lost contact that some numpty may initiate a SAR on my behalf - just because they were feeling a bit lonely .

The meet you in an anchorage thing would also be my solution - and for that also being a bit fuzzy on the ETA.
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Old 13-01-2012, 05:27   #13
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Re: Tips and Tricks for Sailing in Pairs

It's not really a safety issue -- it's purely social. As what would probably be the faster boat, I'd feel a little guilty of leaving the others behind.
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Old 13-01-2012, 05:48   #14
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Re: Tips and Tricks for Sailing in Pairs

Did Cape verde - Brazil with 2 other boats. 2 of us single handed. Wasn't a problem keeping in touch, we agreed a gps rhum line (well, more great circle at that distance) before leaving. Us 2 singlehanders would wonder off at night then get back to the rhum line, then guess if the rest were behind or infront. Though we were normally in vhf range. Was nice to have a bit of company and someone to lie to about the size of fish caught


Agreeing a gps course beforehand works well.

Tried it another time with 1 other boat but we got seperated almost straight away.
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Old 13-01-2012, 12:20   #15
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Re: Tips and tricks for sailing in pairs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bash View Post
We've buddy boated successfully with a slower boat just by running a smaller jib. He hanked on his #1, and we went with a #3, and everybody was happy. A few times he closed the gap by motorsailing a bit.
This is quite common; that, or sailing the bigger boat with a reef in the main.

Both of you having AIS transceivers is a great idea. Imagine how easy it is to spot a boat when the AIS is giving you a distance and a relative bearing. Even a mast top eight NM back is going to be easy to find on a clear day.

It's also a safety device in the sense that if one boat has trouble, and they lose VHF and AIS, you have a "last known good bearing and distance" to either get to them yourself, or to pass in a MAYDAY relay.
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