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Old 12-10-2008, 14:16   #1
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Smile What 9,000 Miles Taught Me !

This came from another thread and I thought it was worthy of a thread of its own. Its only a few things I learned... I need another 9,000 miles to learn some more and then another to be good enough to know what I'm talking about!

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Any and all information on that route is always appreciated!!
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I learned a lot and would do things a bit differently on some legs next time.

1) Current. Its more important than I thought. A half knot current is too small to appreciate, I thought. However the difference between a half knot current with you as against you is 1 knot x 24 = 168 miles per week. Therefore a 2 week voyage will be extended by 2 whole days. We rarely did over 150 miles a day - we were very tender with the boat, but could never expect to average 168 on a 39 footer.

2) Pilot charts suggest Force 4 for most of the Pacific. thats 11-16kts. I don't remember 11-16 kts. More like 20 to 25. It would have been too much for a Spinnaker. A poled out genoa would be the trick.

3) On the Tonga to Sydney we went the rhumb line instead of the northern route. Reason was to keep the prevailing winds abeam of aft. I don't particularly wish to drive into a 30kt head wind with old sails / running rigging.

4) There are NO chandleries off the coast of the USA or Caribbean. Panama is basically useless and the islands in the Pacific have absolutely nothing. Read my lips: nothing! You must totally provision and fit out the boat before leaving the USA or St. Martin / BVI. Fresh food is available everywhere, of course, but the quality of the tinned food / hard tack / passage provisions varies between low quality and inedible. I had the gooseneck split pin break on me between Marquesas and Tonga and not having a spare split pin(!!!!!!!) had to use an alan key bent and wired. In Tonga I could only buy a zinc coated pin! It just lasted to Aus.

4a) Variety of food is important. If you want to buy a case of tuna cans, for example, consider paying extra and buying single cans of different brands, aditives etc. Even tinned tomatoes are very different if you buy different brands. 3 weeks at sea is difficult to make the last weeks food feel unique.

5) Do NOT listen to other cruisers! Plan your own trip. 2 or 3 weeks at sea is nothing but a wonderful, enjoyable experience! All our legs I wouldn't replace for a moment in my life . The only leg I was worried about was the Tonga to Sydney as I was waiting for the winter lows to drop down and we went on the first batch of highs - we still have 10 kts too much the whole time. The horror stories we filled with nearly put Nicolle off and certainly @#$%'d me off! And then leaving a Bar one night 2 twits said: "Its unlucky to leave on a Friday". I just snapped and gave them a piece of my mind.

And lastly:

6) Don't listen to other cruisers! Make your own plan and decisions


Mark
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Old 12-10-2008, 14:53   #2
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4a) Amen, and over and over again... If you haven't made a long passage, things get down to basics real fast and mealtimes are big highlights of the day.

Plan as much variety as you can and I would go so far as to say each crew member should be required to provision a few "secret" meals before departure as a surprise during the voyage.

If you're singlehanding, when possible ask friends to supply and wrap up some surprise meals for you. Pay them to do it. You'll be glad you did.

Norm
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Old 12-10-2008, 17:05   #3
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If you haven't made a long passage, things get down to basics real fast and mealtimes are big highlights of the day.
Years ago I learned this mountaineering. It's amazing what you can get a crew to do if they have some goofy odd ball desert to look forward to at dinner. You pitch the idea after lunch and they bust their behinds all day. It worked for me too. Off there out in the wild blue food matters. You can never get too creative. Making food the highlight of a day may be the only highlight of the day. On bad days it matters more and on good days there can be no better celebration. Work hard to eat better! All this is to say you can be sailing around blind drunk. Eating well can help more than you think.

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Don't listen to other cruisers! Make your own plan and decisions
Other people are not you. They have experiences and you do too. They may have more than you but what they tell you is based on their experience and to them it does not mean exactly the same as it might mean to you. Good advice is where you find it but it's not about doing what people tell you do. It's about learning from others and making it into your own. Good advice should make you think more not less. There are few "just do this answers". That is except for this one Oh, and the food advice too.
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Old 12-10-2008, 17:52   #4
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That's some great advice. There's a lot to be said for experience; it's hard to beat.
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Old 12-10-2008, 18:38   #5
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Mark and Nicolle - glad you are safe and sound in Oz. What a great adventure!

Your advice from experience is spot on!

I meet lot's of cruisers around here. Many of them know each other from different ports. None of them make plans to sail together or flotilla. Different boats, different performance, different skippers.

Usually it's, "We're headed for Phuket. See you there if that's where you are heading."
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Old 13-10-2008, 00:41   #6
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THANKS Mark for great insight into the journey that we plan on doing someday, hopefully soon!! I am also on the same wave length as not really listening to other cruisers on "pure" advice but from what they experienced during their journeys!!

I have heard that that trip is some of the best fun and most relaxing way to cruise. Of course when you did get hit with squalls, it does get dodgy, but if you keep cool and collected, it all works out in the end!!

Keep those real experiences coming!! I really enjoy reading them so I can look forward to living my version of it!!

Cheers!!!!
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Old 13-10-2008, 00:56   #7
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Mark - I have a few specific questions and goes towards feasibility of a delivery to Asia.

1 - What was your elapsed calendar time for the trip counting "shore days" starting with departure from Florida
2 - What was your on the water days?
3 - What was your longest sea leg?
4 - What was your water tankage and fule tankage?
5 - Approximately how many pounds/kilos of stores did you provisoin for the longest leg?
6 - What were your approximate running/provisioning costs for the trip.
7 - Was Sydney the nearest landfall? How much farther would Brisbane or Cairns be?

With the impending doom in the US I am trying to prepare for a possible purchase in the US and immediate passage to Australia.

I am thinking that if I can fast passage to Oz, I can find a place to store the boat until I build up my freedom chips to finish the delivery to Asia some months later.
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Old 13-10-2008, 06:44   #8
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Even on land meals are a big deal for me anyway. As far as pilot charts. They are only the average. Some get them, and some don't. When doing the Baha Haha in 93 I was quoted for my statement on the weather in Lat38. "If this is the milk run. Then I have spilt milk all over me." The weather was backwards, and not pleasant for a single-handed sailor.

Glad to know you 2 are safe, and would really love to hear Nicolle's take on the whole ordeal. I hope she found it a do again situation..........i2f
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Old 13-10-2008, 08:57   #9
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Maybe he traded Nicolle in Tonga for a gooseneck pin or something...
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Old 13-10-2008, 09:05   #10
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I am thinking that if I can fast passage to Oz, I can find a place to store the boat until I build up my freedom chips to finish the delivery to Asia some months later.
I am pretty sure that this would make you liable for import tax (dependent on how long you store her) make sure you dont get caught out over this.
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Old 13-10-2008, 14:27   #11
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Mark - I have a few specific questions and goes towards feasibility of a delivery to
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Asia.


The log books are on the boat and we are ashore for a few days...

1 - What was your elapsed calendar time for the trip counting "shore days" starting with departure from Florida

Departure from St Martin, Caribbean, was Aprli 14th - October 6th with sailing interrupted in Panama to wait for the canal of about 1 month and 3 weeks in Tonga.

2 - What was your on the water days?
About 74 sailing days (thats an average of 121 miles per day..) I need the log books..

3 - What was your longest sea leg?
3,150 miles in 20 days Galapagos to Marquesas. We beat a Bene 411 and a Hunter(?) 47

4 - What was your water tankage and fule tankage?
Water 440 litres lasts 20 days exactly with no showers and washing dishes once per day.
Fuel was 300 litlres, 150 in tank and 150 in gerrys. Yanmar 56hp charging at 1,000 rpm to 1,200 rpm uses about 1 litre per hour. We charged for 30 mins, 4 times per day in good weather and slightly more often in rough when the auto pilot had to do lots of work. No refrigeration used.

5 - Approximately how many pounds/kilos of stores did you provision for the longest leg?
Nicolle has 2 long legs... Ooops, sorry... ummmm. We provisioned twice: St Martin and Panama and just topped up with fresh veges at the stops.

6 - What were your approximate running/provisioning costs for the trip.

Not much, actually. The provisioning was 2 x $600 aprox plus, say, another $600 on the way and other things.
Fuel: Galapagos US$1.06 per Gallon!!!!!!! Yippee! St Martin US$1.35 per litre? Tonga US$2.50 per litre!
We used less than 300 litres on the whole trip. Damn economical boat! We just topped the tanks off wherever we went.

7 - Was Sydney the nearest landfall? How much farther would Brisbane or Cairns be?

They are closer to Tonga than Sydney. You would go to Cairns. We live in Sydney and wanted to do our landfall at home with the opera house and Harbour bridge... it was one shitty day! Note Nicolles gloves in piccy below!

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Old 13-10-2008, 15:02   #12
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Mark and Nicolle,

Fantastic.
Wonderful.
Great.
Etc.
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Old 13-10-2008, 15:20   #13
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Mark and Nicolle,

Fantastic.
Wonderful.
Great.
Etc.
Everything they said and more!

God I wish I was afloat at the moment.
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Old 13-10-2008, 16:35   #14
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Congratulations on what sounds like a great voyage!
Kind regards,
JohnL
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Old 13-10-2008, 17:06   #15
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What your last nine-thousand miles taught me is that I should be out there following in your wake.

Congratulations on a great voyage.
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