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Offshore sailing (Read 1069 times)
Paul G
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Offshore sailing
11.12.2017 at 18:21:56
 
Hi all

I know a number of you have taken your boats offshore.

Im thinking of heading down to the west country next summer, and if the weather is good then maybe across to France and back on a 2 week trip.

Ive only ever done similar trips skippering much larger boats.

Are there any particular strategies you adopt / weather you avoid?
Given the lightweight nature of the design, so you find you get bounced around a lot and rapidly tire in a seaway?

Cheers!
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John Woodhouse
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Re: Offshore sailing
Reply #1 - 12.12.2017 at 09:54:10
 
Hi Paul
Star Trapper has done 106 channel crossings, including Salcombe to Alderney. Boat has coped with just about every weather condition possible. Only thing that really worries is fog - been caught in the shipping lanes twice with it. Clearly one doesn't set off when bad weather forecast - one just copes when it is upon you. With a triple reefed main ST has always been fine. For what it's worth I have motored all the way to Guernsey twice with lack of puffy stuff. Main problem them is getting old fishing gear, lurking in seaweed round the prop. Advantage means plenty of chilled beer!
Don't let size of boat put you off - I reckon on 5 kn passgage speed. I have had between 1 to 5 on board.
I could ramble on - shout if anything specific.
John
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Paul G
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Re: Offshore sailing
Reply #2 - 12.12.2017 at 12:53:32
 
Thanks John, good advice.

5 knts sounds reasonable for passage planning!

Ive also had the pleasure (?!) of fog mid channel, not an experience I'd like to repeat in a hurry. I now carry AIS, I guess you have radar for such situations?

Out of interest, do you carry a life raft cross channel?
Also, have you ever towed a dinghy on longer passages? Im thinking a dinghy would add to the adventure if I head west.

Cheers!
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John Woodhouse
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Re: Offshore sailing
Reply #3 - 12.12.2017 at 18:42:27
 
Hi Paul
Yes, have radar - mid channel & chummy is always sliding down the electronic bearing line (EBL)!!
Yes, always have a life raft - have one available if interested, at home ashore since last serviced.
Re dinghy - Avon deflated kept on board. Towing definitely affects boat speed
John
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Justin
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Re: Offshore sailing
Reply #4 - 13.12.2017 at 18:51:31
 
May I add having motored most of the way from Roscoff to Padstow, it is essential to have plenty of fuel on board.  I carried 20 litres of fuel in plastic cans on Harlequin and refuelled at sea as the existing inboard tank is enough to take you only about 80 Nm in flat water.  I having refuelled again and topped up the inboard tank and the plastic ones we motored from Padstow to Barry the following day in no wind and flat sea.  I had intended to refuel off Ilfracombe but didn't.  At 8 am the next day having just left Barry to motor round to Cardiff, the engine stopped as it had run out of fuel!!!!  With 3 knots of tide taking us toward Lavernock Spit it was an awkward and anxious few minutes.  Thankfully for once I had crew and fuel so we were able to sort it out.
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Justin
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Re: Offshore sailing
Reply #5 - 13.12.2017 at 18:58:30
 
Also if the crossing involves a night passage ensure that you leave land and make land in daylight!  Lobster pot buoys are a real menace now the cowboys all use gps and I've seen them 6 Nm offshore so you don't want to be near land in the dark.
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John Woodhouse
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Re: Offshore sailing
Reply #6 - 14.12.2017 at 09:36:28
 
Justin - you add some good tips.
ST's tank holds 20 ltr diesel. I also have 4*5 ltr plastic cans on board to facilitate 'in flight' refuelling.
Agree re lobster pots & other debris - mainly a problem when under power in my experience - twice caught fishing nets mid channel, both during daylight.
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Paul G
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Re: Offshore sailing
Reply #7 - 14.12.2017 at 17:18:07
 
Great stories guys!

Ive always been offshore in larger boats that can motor to Cherbourg and back easily!

I carry a spare 10L can onboard, but don't fancy refilling in a seaway as the decks are usually awash? My original tank is looking rather rusty at the moment and I might swap it for a plastic one when the weather warms up. Has anyone done it?

Justin, your story of engine cutout on a 3 knot tide sounds painfully familiar. Mine failed once mid way up the hamble on a spring 3kt  tide while single handing. Training kicked in and sailed her onto a mid river pontoon, traced the cutout to an airlock. Bled the system and off. I do listen to the engine note very carefully now though!

Other hairy moments in exposed seas include pots, nets, floating waterproof trousers?!? and being caught in 3-4m waves off Dover while trying to shelter.  The port authorities suggest i standby off the entrance to let 2 ferries out! I remember doing a quick 180 and had the front OF an 8 ton boat out of the water up to the fin when we hit the top of the first wave. Happy days, I think its called character forming? Wink

Thanks for the advice gents, i can see some adventures ahead next summer.

Cheers!

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John Woodhouse
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Re: Offshore sailing
Reply #8 - 14.12.2017 at 21:14:03
 
Hi Paul
Re fuel I carry 5 ltr containers that are much easier for in flight refuelling- done it many times. If your decks awash suggests sailing & engine off!
Re boat tank, my original mild steel version replaced with stainless steel many years ago......John
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Justin
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Re: Offshore sailing
Reply #9 - 16.12.2017 at 08:46:02
 
Hearing of the Hamble cut out I recall motoring down the Hamble in the 70s in a She 36 to race over at Cowes. It would have been the RTIR or some RORC one when the engine cut out. We grabbed a moored boat and hung on to it. It was a blocked fuel line! Thankfully I smoked a pipe back then and a pipe cleaner did the business and we carried on unscathed.  Engines are wonderful when there's no wind or to add cruising speed but pot buoys, semi submerged debris and fuel problems are a real worry.

As John says refuelling on passage is no problem as flat water normally goes with the need for extended motoring otherwise you are sailing not motoring.
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