It sounds to me like you are not ready. But you are welcome to disagree. I personally have not done 'it' either, we're going to do our first long stretch in a couple of months, so you can take the following with a pinch or a truckload of salt
, up to you. These are the things that I noticed about your post.
1. You ask how many sails
you would need. This is one heck of a scary question to be asking. If you don't know, then you are seriously underestimating ocean sailing. I would never venture out without a main with slabreefs, fully battened, and at least 3 reefs
. I would also never go without a stormsail set up: either a cutter
rig or removeable inner forestay. You need at least a backup genoa
. Personally, I wouldn't want to be without a reaching/running set-up either: gennaker/spinnaker/poled out genoas.
2. The condition of your sails sounds inadequate to me. Don't forget that you wear your sails as much as, or more, in a long haul than you do in an entire season normal sialing.
3. The rigger says your rig is good for another 5 years. What he means is 5 years of sunny weather
, 3 times a year sailing. I would have your rigging
X-rayed before I went.
4. You need to think about, and have a solution for, emergency steering
with auxilliary rudder
for instance, or other emergency rudder
set up. Also have your rudder and rudder post inspected.
5. You need quality weather
, such as SSB radio
or sat comms.You cannot outrun the weather but you can prepare for it.
6. Proper safety equipment
. EPRIB is only the start of it. Jackstays, clipping points, extra bilge
pumps (I mean a set up you can use in case of disaster: a loose high volume electric pump
as well as additional manual pump), bungs for seacocks, epoxy
kits, separate battery
bank for starter, AIS
7. Just a backup AP box is not enough! Have spares for the ram, quadrant etc. Also hydraulic fluid!
Actually, this post is getting too long. I recommend that you spend some serious time on www.morganscloud.com
to read up on what it takes to go ocean sailing responsibly. Also, the Heavy Weather Sailing video series by Skip Novak will be instructive. These people have really done it and I take their views seriously. The ARC
preparation guide is also very good. I know some say that these guys go overboard
on their preparation, but what I feel is that each skipper
needs to make his/her decision based on solid knowledge. Don't stick your head
in the sand and think it will be alright. There is usually a very good reason for their requirements.
Plan for the worst! The sea takes no prisoners.
Best of luck,