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Old 22-08-2006, 15:42   #16
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Maybe try something closer...

If I rember my pilots training correctly every long trip needed the calculation of a "point of no return" which is the point at which it was not possible to return to the start.
A safe point of no return for a small dinghy is going to be quite close to where you start, possibly only a few miles (depending on the skill of the captain and the equipment carried).
I have memories from my childhood of sailing a small dinghy to an offshore island and back, but that was only a few kilometers.
Those on this forum who know the area could advise on just how far a small dinghy could be sailed safely.
Have you considered sailing to places much closer to your start point, carrying supplies and equipment suitable for the length of the trip.
Water and food could be carried as could a waterproof VHF radio, EPIRB, waterproof GPS and map(s). Clothing giving proper sun protection would also be necessary. If I rember the Moth correctly they do have limited storage.
You could also discuss your plans with the local coastguard and accept their advice as to how far it is sensible to go. They would all have been young once.
On a personal level I would find it much more enjoyable and satisfying to travel safely to a near destination.
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Old 22-08-2006, 17:23   #17
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Sailing the Bahamas in a micro cruiser is something I've always wanted to do. It can be done safely if you are prepared. I saw a couple cruising the Exuma Islands for months at a time with a 16' Hobie and towing a canoe with their supplies. A 12' moth would need some serious modifications before doing it.

Here's a web site you will enjoy. These folks are specialists in cruising the Bahamas in a 14' boat.

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Old 22-08-2006, 21:20   #18
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Lets do some math. You sail the boat for 8 hours and then you need a rest. You average about 4 knots against the wind and now you are sleeping with the sail / s down. 4 hours later you travelled 12 miles in the wrong direction. A sea anchor would be a good idea. So every 24 hours you go forward 64 and back 24. Then it gets rough and you capsize and your energy runs low and you lose some provisions. From there on it gets worse. Or, the wind and current blow you in the direction you want to go, you average 6 knots and you get there during day light hours of one day. I would suggest sailing the boat for an entire day in every direction and in all kinds of weather to get a feel for it, then get a bit bigger boat like a Tanzer 22 and make the trip.
I have sailed on small boats.
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Old 23-08-2006, 02:34   #19
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thank you all again for your suggestions as advice, i believe it is quite obvious i should stick to a shorter safer journey to an island maybe not more that a few miles off shore or in a bay where where it would be harder for me to get lost. i ask questions to gain knowledge, i heed the answers to be wiser. please continue with advise, id really like the names of some other locations i could sail that would be adventurous and to an extent safe for my vessel and i. thank you all again, i am wiser for the information i have received.
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Old 23-08-2006, 03:03   #20
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If I'm not mistaken, a Moth is a cat rigged sailing skiff with minimal opportunity to take stores. All considerations for an extended voyage.

Having said that, I had a 14' dinghy that I would sail anywhere, anytime - youthful exuberence.

Jesse Martin, youngest person to solo circumnavigate the globe, with his father and brother "cruised" the north coast of Queensland in a catamaran about the size of a Hobie 16 (if memory serves me correctly). You can probably Google Jesse Martin for further details of his adventures.

Another account I read in a cruising magazine was of a couple who sailed the coast of Greece and Turkey in a 14' Dinghy. The one thing I remember was that one of them would spend hours on end on a trapize and was, towards the end of the journey, able to grab some sleep on the end of the wire!!.

Adventure needs to be encouraged, and it does not take long to find numerous examples of people doing such things.

My advice, be prepared for the worst, and have enough faith in your own abilty to get yourself out of trouble if it comes your way.

Fair winds

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Old 23-08-2006, 03:17   #21
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i have faith that i could sail my little dinghy anywhere, but i am also wise enough to ask before i go which is what i did here. when 15 posts tell me not to do it, then i contemplate and digest that information and came to the decision to not follow through with the plan that was only in the begining phases of research (keyword there 'research' ~ i research everything before i do it). your stories and suggestions are very compelling and make me wish to accomplish a great feat that the old salts say can't be done. I have done many things most would say are crazy, though i haven't made any record books yet. i assure you one day i will be in the books for something i have accomplished, be it sailing to a small island in the middle of the ocean with a 12' dinghy or something else.
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Old 23-08-2006, 08:12   #22
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Its great to see some messages that whilst they may not support the idea of this voyage, do at least point moth12 in the right direction and hopefully for moth12 and the safety services, we'll all see you enjoying a long life sailing far and wide.

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Old 27-08-2006, 12:00   #23
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new plans

I have come up with a new idea or plan. I would like to sail from somewhere on the southern gulf coast of florida down to key west (island hoping my way down there). You may begin telling me this is a bad idea, but i've done the math and calculations and it is by far a better idea than going to the bahama's for my first cruise. I have made up my mind for sure on this plan, so telling me its a bad idea isn't going to help much. If it goes well then i will attempt the bahamas later. Please give me advice on a trip of the kind I am speaking of. Thank you for your help and suggestions.
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Old 27-08-2006, 16:41   #24

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Hey Moth....

I'm not going to even enter the "is it possible" discussion. Although, I say it is with the right preparation and possibly a different - but similar size boat.

What I do want to point out is that learning to sail ANY boat is like learning to walk. First you get up off the ground, then you have to take a few steps.

Just take your current boat out and have some fun with it. Don't bother trying to conquer anything, or hit the highest mark right out of the gate.

What makes trips like you first mentioned possible is preparation. You'll need to go out in Biscayne Bay and sail around until you are very VERY comfortable. Go out in some bad weather (not Ernesto... but squalls). Sail close to home to find out how the boat handles. Always carry a VHF radio, a life jacket (worn if you are single handing), and plenty of water and supplies just in case you are stranded for some reason.

Successful adventurers plan out their attempts and make several test runs. That's really all you have to do.

Go out and try some small stuff first, but do it in bad conditions once you are confident in your boat handling abilities. If you get out in some really bad stuff and it scares you, you'll know the boat isn't up for it. The boat will pretty much let you know.

Also, as everyone says... the Gulf Stream is a fickle little stretch of fast moving water. It can get extremely rough there - like being in a squall in Biscayne Bay. This can happen even on a clear day! It all depends on the wind's direction and how strong the current is.

But definitely get out there in that boat and do everything you can while staying close to shore. You can get in some real rough stuff and trouble even in Biscayne Bay. Give it a shot. Then research a heck of a lot more about what it means for a boat to be a "bluewater boat." You'll need something with some of these characteristics to make your passage to the Bahamas.

Oh, and I'm not sure if your boat will float if swamped. If it doesn't... make sure it does before you go out and experiment in rough weather.
You don't want to end up having it sink to the bottom of Biscayne Bay leaving you stranded the first time you are knocked down.

Also, I should add that it's just like learning to build a car or a house. You need to learn framing, then electrical, then plumbing, foundation pouring, etc... to build a house. There are more skills involved in sailing since you have no opportunity to sub-contract your responsibilities. It's all up to you.

But remember... you can't conquer the sea like you can conquer things on land. The sea ALWAYS wins when you approach it like that.
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Old 28-08-2006, 01:19   #25
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Some learning resources, you might peruse:

The Dinghy Cruising Association:


An online course on marine navigation:

File a float plan*, ensuring that someone (you trust) knows your intended itinerary. Arrange to check in (by phone) with your monitor every several days (at least).

* Float Plan:

Also check out “Boat Safe”
Basic Boating Safety Course, Coastal Navigation Course , and more ...
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Old 28-08-2006, 01:42   #26
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Possible, yes, If you are well trained and tried. Here is a link to small boats -

Take it one or two days at a time. Please take the weather and waves with much caution.

You could also try the Everglades west of Key Largo. Put in at Flamingo. Nobody lives in these Islands but you will see boat traffic during the day and the bugs WILL be BADDDDDD!!!!!!

From Marco Island Fl to Marathon is 90 miles shallow water with no current. You will see boat traffic during the day.

Good luck and talk to people who have done it in a microcruiser.
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Old 29-08-2006, 19:38   #27
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Originally Posted by moth12'
You may begin telling me this is a bad idea, but i've done the math and calculations and it is by far a better idea than going to the bahama's for my first cruise.
You have ambitious ideas, and from what you tell us about yourself, it sounds like you will have no problem achieving them eventually. As you've probably noticed from your other endeavors, it takes time to learn the knowledge and develop the skills. Instead of looking for a great challenge, your first steps are to learn a lot about sailing.

Eventually, you can develop your knowledge to the point where you don't need to ask US whether a particular trip is a good idea -- you will know how to evaluate the situation and decide yourself. You will also know what kinds of problems you might expect to run in to, what preparation you must make for them, and how to limit the risk in the first place.

There is no substitute for practice on a real boat.

There is also no substitute for reading a lot of books too. I mean this to include "how to sail" and "how to cruise" books, but also accounts other people have written about what they have done. You can learn a lot that way, even if you sometimes think "that's a dumb thing to do" (sometimes you're right).

Maybe I sound like an old fuddy-duddy, but with knowledge and skill, you can have confidence in your own decisions.
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Old 08-09-2006, 15:53   #28
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Moth 12',
I know this isn't a direct answer to your question, but, if you've built a car & a house, why not build a somewhat larger boat? There are a number of stitch & glue plywood boats that are inexpensive and wwwwwaaaaayyyyy
easier to build than a house or a car. As a boat inceases in length, it increases in comfort & sea-handling capabilities exponentially. Functionally, a 24' boat is MUCH larger than twice a 12' boat. If you have the confidence to consider sailing a 12' boat on the ocean, you can surely build a boat that could take you anywhere.
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Old 23-09-2006, 08:36   #29
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Hey there, moth12' ... you've made it this far through life in one piece, and it sounds like you are smart enough to both figure things out for yourself AND to ask for advice and heed it!! Maintain that attitude, sir, and you'll be just fine.
Welcome to the wild and wonderful world of sailing!
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