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Old 13-07-2020, 00:55   #1
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Going 60NM offshore with Beneteau 26?

Good day,

Our research group at the university has a sail boat - Beneteau 26 - which we use for research. Our research group looks at developing algorithms and systems for detecting, classifying and tracking cetaceans (whale) using passive acoustics.

We have a localisation system that we want to test out, but this requires that we operate in deepish waters (1000m - 2000m) in order to minimise reflections.

We operate from False bay, South Africa. In order to reach the required depth, the shortest route would be about 60NM.

If we do this, I assume it will be a three day excursion. Day one: to sail out - 60 NM. Day two: Experiments. Day three: sail back.

Would a Beneteau 26 be up to the job?

The boat is certified for 4 or 5 people, but this is too much. I envisage a crew of three if we do this with the Beneteau 26, as space is very cramped.

Obviously, with the Beneteau 26, one will have to choose a very good weather window. The Beneteau has a Yanmar 2YM15 engine - which is awesome. We will take plenty extra fuel with. We have a VHF and a B&G Vulcan 7 installed on the Beneteau. (I will update flares to Cat A/ or Cat B - offshore, we currently have Cat C CoF - 25 NM from land) If we undertake the trip, I would also get a 4 man life raft for the boat.

Would the Beneteau be up to the job, or should we rather look at a more robust boat which is over the 30 feet threshold for proper offshore sailing - something like a Miura 30?

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated,
Jaco
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Old 13-07-2020, 01:10   #2
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Re: Going 60NM offshore with Beneteau 26?

Found by searching,, For crossing the Atlantic Ocean you should aim for a boat that is at least 30-40 feet long. An experienced sailor can do with less. The smallest sailboat to cross the Atlantic Ocean was a 5 by 4 feet sailboat. The record holder is Hugo Vihlen.
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Old 13-07-2020, 01:39   #3
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Re: Going 60NM offshore with Beneteau 26?

I take it you have all sailed offshore before and quite good at it and no one gets sea sick. Whether you are 10 miles out or 60 won't make much difference re safety on the boat unless it is for a rescue. If it was me I would get the uni to fund an EPIRB, better still a personal locator beacon for each crew. If you are planning to be sailing around at night a radar maybe useful, if the Uni is paying get one. Almost any boat will be good in 3 days of calm conditions. Dramas start to unfold with engine troubles and no wind followed by squalls fronting a change in weather, in such a case you will want your rig checked by a professional rigger and ensure sails in good condition, the hull should be hauled and the rudder and keel checked by a surveyor. Life raft is a good idea in case you get hit by one the creatures your are studying. Does the vessel have a CE rating? Insurance may be an issue. Alternatively for the amount of money involved see if a fishing trawler will take you out, at 12 knots, leave at 3.00am - back by midnight.
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Old 13-07-2020, 02:24   #4
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Re: Going 60NM offshore with Beneteau 26?

I was think like Tim Tin.

You need a power boat for this. It’s not a leisure trip.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with the plan, but it’ll leave you exposed to potentially bad weather a lot longer than necessary.
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Old 13-07-2020, 03:25   #5
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Re: Going 60NM offshore with Beneteau 26?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaco Versfeld View Post
Good day,

Our research group at the university has a sail boat - Beneteau 26 - which we use for research. Our research group looks at developing algorithms and systems for detecting, classifying and tracking cetaceans (whale) using passive acoustics.

We have a localisation system that we want to test out, but this requires that we operate in deepish waters (1000m - 2000m) in order to minimise reflections.

We operate from False bay, South Africa. In order to reach the required depth, the shortest route would be about 60NM.

If we do this, I assume it will be a three day excursion. Day one: to sail out - 60 NM. Day two: Experiments. Day three: sail back.

Would a Beneteau 26 be up to the job?

The boat is certified for 4 or 5 people, but this is too much. I envisage a crew of three if we do this with the Beneteau 26, as space is very cramped.

Obviously, with the Beneteau 26, one will have to choose a very good weather window. The Beneteau has a Yanmar 2YM15 engine - which is awesome. We will take plenty extra fuel with. We have a VHF and a B&G Vulcan 7 installed on the Beneteau. (I will update flares to Cat A/ or Cat B - offshore, we currently have Cat C CoF - 25 NM from land) If we undertake the trip, I would also get a 4 man life raft for the boat.

Would the Beneteau be up to the job, or should we rather look at a more robust boat which is over the 30 feet threshold for proper offshore sailing - something like a Miura 30?

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated,
Jaco
60 miles out? This is not big deal. 60 miles one way is a modest day sail; you can get there and back in less than 24 hours. Plan on 48 hours and you'll have plenty of time to loiter and collect your data. Take plenty of food, water, and fuel, especially water in multiple containers. Take an EPIRB (or PLB) and two working VHF radios. That's really about it. If you want to be REALLY safe then take a life raft with you.

Weather window is key. Pick a weather window with F3 or F4 (or even a dead calm if you can carry enough fuel) and don't go if there is material chance of stronger weather than that. Then you'll be fine. Under such conditions you could do such a trip even in a 16' open dinghy (and I HAVE done such trips in a 16' open dinghy).

Power boat? Sure, but a sailboat will be more stable and pleasant. I would prefer to sail myself. Nothing wrong with a Bene 26 in reasonable weather. Not the boat I would choose for crossing oceans with, but it's been done. And sailing 60 miles out and back is not like crossing an ocean -- it's barely out of sight of land.

Concerning your passage plan -- 60m at 5 knots is only 11 hours or so. You don't need a day to get there, and what will you do when you arrive? I would probably sail overnight, do my experiments during the day, sail back the next night. Depending on how much time you need for your experiments, the whole trip might not take more than 36 hours or so.

Be aware of currents and make sure you have someone capable of doing proper navigation, taking currents into account. Be careful about wind against current situations, in such a small boat.

Make sure the boat is in good condition, doesn't leak, has reasonable rigging and sails. Make sure the propulsion equipment is in good condition. You don't want to go even 10 miles out with a dodgy boat.



Last bit of advice: Although in the right weather there should be nothing particularly challenging about this, you will still want to have at least one reasonably experienced sailor on board. Make him or her the skipper.
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Old 13-07-2020, 03:33   #6
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Re: Going 60NM offshore with Beneteau 26?

60 milles out is hardly danger freak land.
People have crossed oceans in washing machines
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Old 13-07-2020, 04:35   #7
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Re: Going 60NM offshore with Beneteau 26?

I'd definitely do that if the boat were in good condition and at least two of you were competent sailors and you choose a reasonable weather window. Assuming you're not going immediately (ie in the depths of winter) then I'd also go with setting off in the evening (so you can see to leave port) and arriving in the morning at your destination, then you can sail back the next night and arrive in the morning. Or two days out there if you need it.

I would insist on epirb, plbs, and a liferaft
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Old 13-07-2020, 08:14   #8
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Re: Going 60NM offshore with Beneteau 26?

Yeah, having done a bit of sailing in my old 24 and now my 29, I'd say it is not the distance from shore but the conditions you can expect that matter. What are the typical sea conditions for that particular area this time of year? Sure 60 nm is not far if sea, current and wind conditions are favorable for 3 days straight, but to say one day out then work and then one day back sounds like it may be optimistic, but I don't know your area. You may be lucky enough to be sailing in an area with steady breezes and fairly calm seas 24 hours a day. Have enough fuel to motor 150 miles+ if needed? I don't have experience with a Beneteau, but I suspect the boat will handle more than the folks can. Being a light boat you'll be bounced around a bit, so everyone should be acclimated or have good sea-sickness meds ready. Is everyone up for bouncing around in the open sea in a small boat for 4 or 5 days? Does the boat have a dodger? The extra protection from the elements while still out on deck can make a big difference in the comfort level. Are you sure you'll have enough room for 3 people and all your equipment? (Clearly I'm coming down on the more conservative side of things.)
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Old 13-07-2020, 08:34   #9
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Re: Going 60NM offshore with Beneteau 26?

It can be done. Make sure everything is in great shape. The Cape is pretty ugly water at times isn't it?
-Good large bilge pump. Shallow bilge in that boat right?
-Life raft.
-First aid kit.
-Spare fuel filters.
-Is there cell coverage out there? I imagine there is...
-Do you have 2 battery banks and switching? Or consider one of those car starting packs just in case.

Make sure your fuel tank is clean; old boats that haven't been out in the "washing machine" often get a bunch of junk churned up in the fuel tank and then the engine has issues.

-Figure an average of maybe 4 NM per hour for planning.
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Old 13-07-2020, 08:40   #10
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Re: Going 60NM offshore with Beneteau 26?

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Originally Posted by Jaco Versfeld View Post
Good day,

Our research group at the university has a sail boat - Beneteau 26 - which we use for research. Our research group looks at developing algorithms and systems for detecting, classifying and tracking cetaceans (whale) using passive acoustics.

We have a localisation system that we want to test out, but this requires that we operate in deepish waters (1000m - 2000m) in order to minimise reflections.

We operate from False bay, South Africa. In order to reach the required depth, the shortest route would be about 60NM.

If we do this, I assume it will be a three day excursion. Day one: to sail out - 60 NM. Day two: Experiments. Day three: sail back.

Would a Beneteau 26 be up to the job?

The boat is certified for 4 or 5 people, but this is too much. I envisage a crew of three if we do this with the Beneteau 26, as space is very cramped.

Obviously, with the Beneteau 26, one will have to choose a very good weather window. The Beneteau has a Yanmar 2YM15 engine - which is awesome. We will take plenty extra fuel with. We have a VHF and a B&G Vulcan 7 installed on the Beneteau. (I will update flares to Cat A/ or Cat B - offshore, we currently have Cat C CoF - 25 NM from land) If we undertake the trip, I would also get a 4 man life raft for the boat.

Would the Beneteau be up to the job, or should we rather look at a more robust boat which is over the 30 feet threshold for proper offshore sailing - something like a Miura 30?

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated,
Jaco
South Africa is renown for building some of the best blue water cruising boats in the world, unfortunately Beneteau is not on that list. How did you end up with a Benteau 26 and how did it even get there? If you decide to proceed, I'd shoot for a 5 day weather window which I'm not sure even exists where you are - it's not called The Cape of Good Hope for nothing. Two oceans converging in a 26' boat (that happens to be a Beneteau) doesn't sound like a good plan to me. Your program might be better served with a blue water trawler to do your future experiments as it sounds like this system will require many more off shore trips.
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Old 13-07-2020, 08:53   #11
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Re: Going 60NM offshore with Beneteau 26?

I grew up in Simonstown, right on False Bay. My first (of many) sailing experiences was there when I was six years old, on a 30ft Centurion owned by the SA Navy. I've sailed keelboats and dinghies on the bay, as well as gone out on Navy ships. False Bay offers some great sailing, but can also be very tricky. Not only that, but you're talking about heading quite a long way outside of the relative protections of the bay. It can be done, with careful planning and appropriately experienced crew, but it does carry some risk. Some of the things already mentioned - EPIRB, PLB, liferaft, etc - are essential, plus I'd recommend a sat phone, and most definitely file a "float plan" with someone responsible, who can notify the NSRI in the event you are overdue on your return.

However, I suspect that doing research on a small vessel bobbing around on the open ocean south of Cape Point is not going to prove very fruitful. You might consider chartering a bigger boat, with a captain who can manage all the navigation and safety issues for you, letting you concentrate on your scientific endeavors. A faster motor vessel can get you out to your target area and back in much less time, giving you more time to work on site.

Regardless of what you choose, just be smart and safe.

Regards,
David.

P.S. Don't even thing about going out when the South Easter is blowing...
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Old 13-07-2020, 10:06   #12
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Re: Going 60NM offshore with Beneteau 26?

This is much more about the crew and the boat setup. The fact that you are asking the question suggests to me that you don't have the experience or confidence to make the decision yourself and therefore probably lack the experience to do it!

Also if this is a university research trip are you a team leader taking students on a research trip? Does that make it a 'commercial activity'? what would your liability being the event of something going wrong and would the university insurance cover it?
Basically the difference is that if you are a leisure sailor all the crew understand the risks and take them on voluntarily, nobody is either paid or gains monetary or other form of financial advantage which would include career advancement or progress in studies. Commercial activity is any form of sailing that involves pay or is a requirement of a job or program where there may be consequences to you occupation or program of studies from declining the trip. Generally a university research trip would be classed as a program of studies and therefore a commercial activity. If it is the rules are very different and both the vessel and the skipper would need to be licensed (min probably Yacht-master with commercial endorsement and boat inspection as a charter boat) I strongly suggest you complete and file a risk assessment and check with the university before going ahead
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Old 13-07-2020, 10:50   #13
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Re: Going 60NM offshore with Beneteau 26?

Having sailed into and out of Capetown and I'm with Davidhoy. The cyclical gales from the convergence of two oceans are predictable and widely publicized. So a three day trip S/B safe if you have the flexibility and patience to wait for the right opening. Also, I suggest that you get tight with the Harbormaster on your plans. We transited the whole Cape of Good Hope on our 35 footer, staying inshore and heeding the forecasts, and we found Harbormasters to be helpful as well as protective of their rescue resources.
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Old 13-07-2020, 11:12   #14
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Re: Going 60NM offshore with Beneteau 26?

So you have highly experienced offshore sailors telling you it's no big deal to sail offshore 60 nm.

But since you are not experience, you can disregard that information.

I sailed my boat out 20 nm and back in 20 nm when I first got it. I was seasick before the midpoint.

Then on the way back in I had to work on a jammed roller furler so as I was going back and forth getting tools I would pause before going below and blow chunks then continue.

I didn't have a lot of experience then with the weird motion of my small blue water boat, but I had lots of experience on boats and blowing chunks so I was able to make the trip.

The beer I had when I entered my nice calm creek was nice to and got that acid/vomit taste out of my mouth. After 5 or 6 more beers at the dock, I was thinking about what a nice sail it had been......

Good thing though the winds never got of 20 knots......
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Old 13-07-2020, 12:16   #15
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Re: Going 60NM offshore with Beneteau 26?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaco Versfeld View Post
Good day,

Our research group at the university has a sail boat - Beneteau 26 - which we use for research. Our research group looks at developing algorithms and systems for detecting, classifying and tracking cetaceans (whale) using passive acoustics.

We have a localisation system that we want to test out, but this requires that we operate in deepish waters (1000m - 2000m) in order to minimise reflections.

We operate from False bay, South Africa. In order to reach the required depth, the shortest route would be about 60NM.

If we do this, I assume it will be a three day excursion. Day one: to sail out - 60 NM. Day two: Experiments. Day three: sail back.

Would a Beneteau 26 be up to the job?

The boat is certified for 4 or 5 people, but this is too much. I envisage a crew of three if we do this with the Beneteau 26, as space is very cramped.

Obviously, with the Beneteau 26, one will have to choose a very good weather window. The Beneteau has a Yanmar 2YM15 engine - which is awesome. We will take plenty extra fuel with. We have a VHF and a B&G Vulcan 7 installed on the Beneteau. (I will update flares to Cat A/ or Cat B - offshore, we currently have Cat C CoF - 25 NM from land) If we undertake the trip, I would also get a 4 man life raft for the boat.

Would the Beneteau be up to the job, or should we rather look at a more robust boat which is over the 30 feet threshold for proper offshore sailing - something like a Miura 30?

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated,
Jaco
Jaco. A miura is the business. But. Ant Steward went around the globe in a 19 ft open boat. Remember winter low pressures and big swell. Beat out and run back. Good luck. It will be a bit uncomfort.
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