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Old 04-10-2020, 06:14   #1
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Advice for first time crossing an ocean

Hello fellow Cruisers,

Please help new cruisers with your advice on first ocean crossing. We are planing to cross Atlantic (Tenerife to St.Lucia) late November or beginning of December this year. Crew: 4 guys. Sailing experience: regattas (Baltic Sea) and various boat charters in Med, Canaries, French Polynesia, but no ocean crossing experience. Boat: Nautitech 47 catamaran, 2008 in good condition, new standing rigging 2020, full set of sails, electronics, safety, etc. COVID19: yes we are aware of the situation.

Thank you all for advice on how we should prepare for this challenge.

Welcome with all your stories on how you did it and what went good or wrong and what would you do differently next time.
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Old 04-10-2020, 07:07   #2
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Re: Advice for first time crossing an ocean

Weather information and using it to route the boat are essential
  1. Buy or rent an Iridium GO
  2. Buy LuckGrib app and the offshore and weather modules
  3. Buy iWatchSat app to see where the satellites are so you know when to download
  4. (optional) Buy or rent a Garmin InReach

The plan would be to use the GO to download weather into LuckGrib and use that to route. The iWatchSat app is used to make sure an Iridium satellite is in range before you try to download a GRIB. Using iWatchSat, you can avoid the cost of a big antenna, and use a little, portable stubby one.

Before departing, spend a few weeks playing with LuckGrib. It is a powerful product and understanding what it can do is important.

The optional InReach is for your friends to track you. Since the InReach comes with a tracking webpage, and unlimited texts ($60 plan) friends can see where you are and send text messages.
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Old 04-10-2020, 08:42   #3
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Re: Advice for first time crossing an ocean

Consult a professional weather router like Weather routing inc. if you get a Garmin in reach, they can text you directly forecasts, and you can communicate back and forth. That's what I do for my ocean passages. Haven't crossed all the way, but when I transit up and down the US easy coast, I'm in the Ocean for a few days.
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Old 04-10-2020, 12:27   #4
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Re: Advice for first time crossing an ocean

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Originally Posted by bensolomon View Post
Consult a professional weather router like Weather routing inc. if you get a Garmin in reach, they can text you directly forecasts, and you can communicate back and forth. That's what I do for my ocean passages. Haven't crossed all the way, but when I transit up and down the US easy coast, I'm in the Ocean for a few days.
Before investing in a GO, that is what I did. But after 2 weeks of not seeing a GRIB, it felt like I was putting blind faith in the router. Now Chris a good router, and a great guy. BUT with the GO, I am getting the data and "own" the plan.

All that said, I still keep a funded account with Chris so I can get a second opinion.

Really comes down to what you feel comfortable with and what decision you feel comfortable taking aboard the boat, vs keeping them ashore.

Classic case of two good options!
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Old 04-10-2020, 13:16   #5
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Re: Advice for first time crossing an ocean

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snore View Post
Before investing in a GO, that is what I did. But after 2 weeks of not seeing a GRIB, it felt like I was putting blind faith in the router. Now Chris a good router, and a great guy. BUT with the GO, I am getting the data and "own" the plan.

All that said, I still keep a funded account with Chris so I can get a second opinion.

Really comes down to what you feel comfortable with and what decision you feel comfortable taking aboard the boat, vs keeping them ashore.

Classic case of two good options!
I really prefer to see the weather picture myself and make my own routing plans. You may not feel comfortable with that yet, so a weather router is a safe way to go, but DO get some communication device which lets you download grib files and view them yourself.

I never wanted to spend the money on satellite communications so I used SSB and Pactor modem and had gribs, email, and saildocs all around the world.
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Old 04-10-2020, 13:44   #6
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Re: Advice for first time crossing an ocean

A few epirbs
Lots of water
Ration more than you think
Know how and be able to rebuild critical systems within reason.
Reef early and more than you think you might need, weather, systems, etc are all guilty until proven innocent

Whatís your meteorological background?

Knowing how to read weather is important
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Old 04-10-2020, 14:28   #7
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Re: Advice for first time crossing an ocean

Our practice for provisioning food & water has always been quite conservative. The closer to the equator you are, the more daily water you all will use. We do not use alcohol on passages, wanting to be at our best. For an ocean crossing, we provision 50% more than we think we will need for the whole crew. Friends of ours used to plan something special to mark the halfway point, and to celebrate arrival at the destinations.

We've always used SSB radio--my husband, Jim, is a radio ham--so we use radio via a Pactor modem to acquire grib files, and make our plans. It is fairly easy to dowload the schedules and get the charts one needs.

Don't pick up the Covid 19 in Tenerife!, and follow their quarantine procedures at St. Lucia. Most of all, enjoy the trip. If you've never had an ocean passage before, it will be a huge memory for you. I especially enjoy the world coming awake again after the night.

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Old 04-10-2020, 14:52   #8
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Re: Advice for first time crossing an ocean

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...We do not use alcohol on passages, wanting to be at our best...
The other problem with alcohol is it is really hard while eating when the seas are tossing you around like crazy to hold a long stemmed wine glass and a plate of food. Anything you let go of immediately flies away.

But it can be done. If you ever sail with a French crew member you learn how to do these things.
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Old 04-10-2020, 15:52   #9
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Re: Advice for first time crossing an ocean

^^^^wine can be drunk out of juice glasses, like the Basques, and easier to clamp between your knees.....and sit on the downhill side! Besides, stemmed wine glasses tend to break when they are swept away by gesturing hands.

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Old 04-10-2020, 15:56   #10
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Re: Advice for first time crossing an ocean

Crossing oceans , routine sailing easy , living with 3 other men in a room the size of under the stairs, hard !!!
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Old 04-10-2020, 16:05   #11
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Re: Advice for first time crossing an ocean

Unless you're participating in the ARC, get in and out of St Lucia before they arrive.


Take lots of books.
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Old 04-10-2020, 16:09   #12
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Re: Advice for first time crossing an ocean

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPA Cate View Post
^^^^wine can be drunk out of juice glasses, like the Basques, and easier to clamp between your knees.....and sit on the downhill side! Besides, stemmed wine glasses tend to break when they are swept away by gesturing hands.

Ann
"wine can be drunk out of juice glasses" NO!

I may drink cheap wine but, by God, it'll be out of a nice, civilized glass. And if it breaks, well, I've got a box of spares.

Yes to every thing else.
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Old 04-10-2020, 17:50   #13
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Re: Advice for first time crossing an ocean

Quote:
Originally Posted by wingssail View Post
The other problem with alcohol is it is really hard while eating when the seas are tossing you around like crazy to hold a long stemmed wine glass and a plate of food. Anything you let go of immediately flies away.

But it can be done. If you ever sail with a French crew member you learn how to do these things.
not a problem on cat (yes, i know...but somebody had to say it )

cheers,

(we don't drink at sea either anyway)
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Old 04-10-2020, 18:04   #14
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Re: Advice for first time crossing an ocean

Quote:
Originally Posted by wingssail View Post
"wine can be drunk out of juice glasses" NO!

I may drink cheap wine but, by God, it'll be out of a nice, civilized glass. And if it breaks, well, I've got a box of spares.

Yes to every thing else.

Perhaps a catamaran, like the OP said he has, might be in order...
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Old 05-10-2020, 05:10   #15
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Re: Advice for first time crossing an ocean

Thank you everyone for advice.

Regarding Iridium Go, I already ordered one from Predictwind and was thinking of using their offshore weather app, but will check out other tools/apps that you recommended. First need to install Iridium and learn how to use it.

Weather routing service sounds like a good idea too, I would like to have second opinion on whether as non of us have any experience in meteorology of any kind.

Wine only from proper glass - understood!

Provisioning and cooking, this one is important, 4 men cooking on board its going to be big challenge. Any trick on how to store food to last long? we have a fridge and separate freezer, but somehow we should be prepared to loose them both or in general electricity on board. Dried/canned food for this scenario? regarding water we have water maker, but planing to take bottled water for emergency, how much would you take per person?

EPIRB - we have one, why do you need more?
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