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Old 15-09-2019, 13:06   #16
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Re: Second Attempt

Originally Posted by S/V Adeline View Post
The research I have done leads me to understand that "normal" prevailing winds along the east coast NC southward are out of the NNE.

Is this incorrect?
well the last 3 years when I've gone south the only time the wind was NE was during a front
It is OK if others want to do it different on THEIR boat ....................... sometimes!
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Old 15-09-2019, 13:58   #17
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Re: Second Attempt

I'll not poke at the potential for mechanical problems, etc., and will stick with your routing question.

Forget about prevailing winds and forget about making a plan in advance. The reality is that if you are trying to make the best time possible you have day to day decisions to make. Every day will be a decision about what is the best use of the weather for the next 12, 24, 48, 72 hours etc. based on the current forecast. Research the inlets down the coast and make a list of those you are willing to use; some are wholly unsuitable for keelboats and some would be risky in all but favorable conditions. Make some phone calls to get local knowledge on any you are unsure of. Put a spreadsheet together with all these inlets with the distance between them as well as the distance from the ICW to get out the inlet or the distance from the inlet entrance to get back to the ICW.

With that information you can decide if it makes sense to head offshore on any given day and from any particular location. We will generally head offshore if we have a good forecast to make at least an 18 hour run in favorable conditions and will monitor weather to decide how much longer to stay offshore before heading inshore. Daylight hours are short in December and you don't want to run the ICW in the dark so an offshore run between Beaufort, NC and Charleston SC, for example, will save at least a couple days compared to going inside. If you have a day of bad weather and you can make it to the vicinity of a good inlet in a day you make what mileage you can on the ICW that day with the intention of heading back offshore the next day or as soon as the conditions are reasonable.

As far as how far to travel offshore you want to remain inside the gulf stream, but the coast curves much more than the stream so that the stream is a LONG way offshore of Charleston, for example. If I think the weather supports a run from Beaufort to Charleston I'll follow the rhumb line; that will take you 50-60 miles offshore but you you will save many miles following the rhumb line rather than staying 5 miles offshore. You can pull up forecasts for the current location of the gulf stream to be aware of where it is and stay inside of it. Research the shoal areas you will have to avoid as well as short offshore hops can work against you if you are spending a lot of miles getting around shoal areas.
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Old 15-09-2019, 14:36   #18
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Re: Second Attempt

+1 Dougweibel

I was formulating similar thoughts which you captured well
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Old 15-09-2019, 15:28   #19
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Re: Second Attempt

s/v Adeline, this must be really frustrating, here you want routing advice, and a lot of people with experience are questioning your readiness and that of your boat.

I'm clear across the world from you in Australia, and I am going to try and explain why this is happening. In winter, in the northern hemisphere, the northerly quadrant winds you want to head south on will be coming with the passing cold fronts (storms) that sweep down from Alaska and across the US. The Gulf Stream consists of warmer water, northbound, to warm the south coast of England, and beyond. When the north wind encounters the northbound water, the waves peak up, becoming steeper and of course wave height increases with wind strength. Such sea states can get really ugly, scary, and vastly fatiguing to sail in. This is why it would be challenging, if you were an experienced skipper and knew your boat was sound. Such a skipper would expect equipment failures (because such sailing is hard on the boat.) All that before you get around FL. and head for AL.

The issue of the soundness of your boat was first addressed by Dockhead, who suggested a shakedown period. Given your constraints of distance, time, and money, I hope you can manage some sort of a shakedown. Your boat hasn't been shook enough yet. It is not necessarily over yet, the fixit stage, I mean.

Others have suggested a trip down the ICW as far as you get. You're in a very awkward position here with needing to have the boat where you live in order to fix her up and it being so far away to your home.

If it must be done, the only way I can see for you to do it would be to plan on sailing, not stopping anywhere. You must replace your halyards first, don't want one breaking on you, under sail. Carefully examine the sails. If there is chafed thread on the seams, buy a sailors palm, and some sewing twine, and stitch those seams by hand, that's the cheapest, but the most labor intensive. Otherwise, if there are funds, take the sails (the genoa, the working jib, and the main sail) to the sailmaker and ask if they can be re-stitched. The sailmaker will tell you if the cloth is finished its life. (Or, if you can stick a sharpened #2 pencil through it, you can tell for yourself. Sailcloth can get so used that it's that rotten. Don't go this year, if you have to have new sails made.

If you think you have enough sailing experience to be responsible for a crew, take two other people, the more experienced sailors, the better. [If you don't, yet, then abort the mission. We all want you guys healthy and happy.] Most women would not enjoy what you are about to do [nobody likes being cold, tired, and terrified] , so let your good lady wife help by preparing meals ahead that you can just heat up. Bring her only if she insists on being there to help, and if she's a proven watch stander. Bring medicine against seasickness that you know works, and something extra (like suppositories) to control vomiting if the meds don't work. Understand that if any crew is seasick, you're going to have to abort and get them to land, you have a "duty of care" for them.

Accept that you may lose your job over this, because boats sometimes cannot make much progress in bad weather, and you could still be at sea when your time is up. I'm sorry to say, I really can't guarantee that if you left when you say and went straight through you can make it in time. It's a long way to go when you don't really know what to expect in the way of average days' runs, and all the human errors possible. It is partly about selecting departure weather, and having some navigation and piloting skills. I've met some beginning sailors who were thrilled to have done their first overnight sail, what you're going to have to do is do it like a delivery, and it will NOT be fun, it will be the nightmare part of the dream. Leave in gentle weather, to help your bodies get used to being at sea.

Good luck with it, man.

Who scorns the calm has forgotten the storm.
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Old 15-09-2019, 15:47   #20
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Re: Second Attempt

Morehead to Charleston is a nice overnighter, and Charleston to Brunswick should be another, if the winds hold - otherwise it becomes a double-nighter to St Augustine (IME). The ICW through S. Carolina and Georgia has a reputation for being challenging and the reality is you'll make better time on the outside. Most of the entrances to the ICW along that path are fairly long, and generally daytime only; some of them are local-knowledge only. Sticking close to shore does not make sense, just watch the weather and choose a good window. You can, and will probably need to, stay closer to shore along the Florida coast. Down to about Jupiter you can be 10-20 NM off the coast without getting into stream IIRC, but I think it gets much closer south of that. I'm not sure about the mast height limits or min depths of the Okeechobee, but that should knock a couple days of sailing off the trip.
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