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Ocean cruising lessons learned

Posted By: Doug_P182_LKN

Ocean cruising lessons learned - 10/08/08 01:11 AM

So let me pick your brains: I've never done a distance sail in the ocean before. This weekend I'm doing a regatta which will be about a 25-mile point-to-point sail. What are some of the tips, pieces of advice, lessons learned you've gained from doing something similar?
Posted By: ThunderMuffin

Re: Ocean cruising lessons learned - 10/08/08 01:21 AM

Are you doing it in your cat (if so what regatta is this!?) or are you in a bigger boat?
Posted By: Doug_P182_LKN

Re: Ocean cruising lessons learned - 10/08/08 11:06 AM

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Are you doing it in your cat (if so what regatta is this!?) or are you in a bigger boat?


Yes, the cat. She's all I've got (if you don't count the sailboards) and I wouldn't have asked on this board if I didn't mean the Prindle.

It's not a race, just a family-fun thing called the pirates festival out to Cape Lookout on the NC Outer Banks.
Posted By: Jake

Re: Ocean cruising lessons learned - 10/08/08 11:49 AM

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It's not a race, ...


If there's more than one boat, then it's a race!

25 miles is a reasonable distance to do in a couple of hours but you do need to have a few things ready. Be prepared to right the boat without depending on outside assistance and wear the life vests all the time. Don't sail alone and be sure to have at least two people on the boat that can sail it in the event one falls off. Have plenty of water, food....the basics.
Posted By: tomthouse

Re: Ocean cruising lessons learned - 10/08/08 01:16 PM

In addition to some self-sufficiency waterproof food and fresh water, we find it handy to have some other things when we're doing such sailing.

1. A couple of waterproof single smoke and ariel flares is awful handy just in case.

2. One paddle is better than a daggerboard or paddling surfboard style and we wished we had two when the sun went down and we still had a long way to go w/o wind.

3. A fully charged cell phone,

4. LED divers flashlight and a couple of chemical lights and a whistle for each person,

5. submersible GPS,

6. a chart of the area,

7. small waterproof strobe,

8. VHF submersible radio,

9. A few extra batteries in a water proof container with your cell phone is good insurance,

10. A small sea anchor was handy and on one occasion staying put was a good thing and being bow to seas rather than beam on made life better than otherwise.

11. Suitable clothing for expected conditions and something so you can be warm and seen if it turns into an unexpected night-time thing.

12. Give someone who is reliable a copy of your float plan and some instructions if they don't hear back from you at a prearranged time.

13. Give big boats and especially ships a very wide berth. They may or may not actually see you and they don't turn on a dime nor do they stop very well. It is always surprising how fast they are actually going. Just because your a sail boat with the right of way, doesn't mean it will go that way ...and bigger always has the right of way and is more forgiving in a crash than is smaller.

14. PFDs for each whether or not your wearing wet or dry suits.

We were caught out once or twice on such sails and found these kinds of things very useful.

Most of this kind of stuff can be simply lanyard and/or tie to our PFDs so it is easily available for each person whether you or your crew is on the boat or unexpectedly in the water.

On a couple of occasions, we intended a day sail and it turned into a late sail going until nearly midnight. One went unexpectedly until 10 or so the next AM.

Group sailing is great but we generally have often become separated...sometimes never seeing the other boats or they each other.

Assuming what someone else may or may not do is a poor substitute for proper preparation, planning, communication and contingencies. Don't rely totally on someone else to pull your bacon out of the fire.

Expect the best, plan and prepare for the worst, then enjoy.
Posted By: ckuang

Re: Ocean cruising lessons learned - 10/08/08 01:21 PM

lots of spares, spare ropes (especially high load bearing ones in case a stay breaks) spare clip and pins, shackles, a leatherman etc
Posted By: tomthouse

Re: Ocean cruising lessons learned - 10/08/08 01:37 PM

Amen to the spares.

We were sailing out and about and had a side stay shackle split ring catch on a line and go junk. We didn't know it and the clevis pin came out and went overboard.

It was a real bummer.

Our point of sail kept the mast up but we had no replacement anything.

A fellow sailor in the immediate area became aware of our problem and sailed over and tapes a replacement to his paddle for the in-motion transfer of needed parts.

That helped a bunch.

If we had some extra line, or even a knife to cut some of what we had in the way of halyards or sheets, we could have probably used one or both of our trap lines as temp stays.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Ocean cruising lessons learned - 10/08/08 01:44 PM

sunscreen! an all day event on the water can cause sunburn.
Amen to food, water, spares and a VHF submersible.
Posted By: ThunderMuffin

Re: Ocean cruising lessons learned - 10/08/08 01:46 PM

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We were sailing out and about and had a side stay shackle split ring catch on a line and go junk.


Tape every one of your split rings. Every.... single..... one....
Posted By: NCSUtrey

Re: Ocean cruising lessons learned - 10/08/08 01:53 PM

I've sailed that area a fair amount. You'll have plenty of people around if something goes wrong. Watch out for the sand bars and stay in the channel if you're on the backside of the cape. There is a park out on the end of Harker's Island that I've launched from with the Nacra 20/Hobie 16/etc. I've also launched from the old fishery building in Beaufort. Where are you launching out of?
Posted By: ThunderMuffin

Re: Ocean cruising lessons learned - 10/08/08 02:32 PM

[Linked Image]

Backside of Cape Lookout. Many many years ago. Great place to sail. 30 seconds after this picture was taken, we hit a sandbar <img src="http://www.catsailor.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: tomthouse

Re: Ocean cruising lessons learned - 10/08/08 07:15 PM

That's a great pic.

Is cat sailing the finest or what...?
Posted By: Doug_P182_LKN

Re: Ocean cruising lessons learned - 10/08/08 07:27 PM

Thanks for all the advice! We're leaving from the public docks in Beaufort, heading out the inlet and around to the Cape. Weather looks to be low 70's and steady 10-15 winds from the North. Should make for a great sail! 30 boats (mostly half-cats with families) all decorated out as pirate ships, firing stuff at each other.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Ocean cruising lessons learned - 10/08/08 07:44 PM

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30 boats (mostly half-cats with families)


1/2 cats? ummmmmm ... what????
Posted By: ThunderMuffin

Re: Ocean cruising lessons learned - 10/08/08 07:47 PM

So you're going into and out of beaufort inlet.

Some advice for you then,

Check your tides and your winds when you'll be entering and exitting. The currents run in and out of there can be ridiculous and will either suck you out or pull you in if theres not enough wind to carry you.

There's a USCG station right there in Morehead City and are a simple VHF call away if you need them. Overall a very nice place to sail. Stay in the channel unless you want to hit sandbars.

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1/2 cats? ummmmmm ... what????


a good humored jab at monohulls. They're one-hull short of a cat :P
Posted By: Jake

Re: Ocean cruising lessons learned - 10/08/08 08:14 PM

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Stay in the channel unless you want to hit sandbars.



However, if it is light and you're working on getting through an opposing current, get to the shallow edges - the current will flow less strongly there.
Posted By: ThunderMuffin

Re: Ocean cruising lessons learned - 10/08/08 08:28 PM

That body of water can be challenging. You'll be sailing to what you think is open water, only to start seeing sea grass tops popping out of the water.... no visible land in sight for a mile in any direction...

Glad I learned to sail my cats there on my H17 with kick up boards.
Posted By: Doug_P182_LKN

Re: Ocean cruising lessons learned - 10/09/08 02:33 AM

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That body of water can be challenging. You'll be sailing to what you think is open water, only to start seeing sea grass tops popping out of the water.... no visible land in sight for a mile in any direction...

Glad I learned to sail my cats there on my H17 with kick up boards.


One of the reasons why I like the P-18.2 - rotating centerboards. Although during their rotation they'll raise up about 2-inches higher than the deck surface. If you're sitting in juuuuust the right place and hit bottom fast enough... WHAMMO! The "boys" will get a quick awakening. Don't ask me to tell you how I learned this. But all in all - a good catamaran for gunk-holing and shallow-water work.

For those who asked: I like to refer to monohull sailboats as half-cats and trimarans as a cat-and-a-half. (My dad used to call them sailboats with training wheels.) My little jab at the slower, monohull side of sailing. <img src="http://www.catsailor.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Ocean cruising lessons learned - 10/09/08 01:32 PM

The local resturants call 1/2 cats... Chicken Chow Mein
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