Saturday, November 25, 2006

So Much To Do, But I'd Rather Be Sailing

Other than having another birthday, November is typically a slow month - The occasional day for sailing in the Northeast is characterized either by howling winds or cold rain or both. None of which is conducive to sailing.

What has been going on is the search for a new boat (new to me, anyway). The project is to find one, preferrably a ketch, in the 40 - 45 foot range with a center cockpit and walk under to the aft cabin. As fast as Inertia is, and as much wind as she'll take, she's just too small for a liveaboard for very long. Especially since I need an office of a sort. But no fear, if I sell my townhouse first, I'm there on Inertia for a bit.

There are several boats I'm considering, such as the Pearson 424, Morgan 43, Gulfstar Hirsh 45, and a few others. They all come in sloop and ketch rigs, but as I sail alone alot, a split rig seems more managable in more conditions. None of them are particularly fast, nor do they point very well, but I suspect that's because of the location of the genoa tracks and the fact that most of them don't have very good travelers.

I've even looked at a Beneteau 46 7 which is ocean ready. It's a lovely boat, but draws 8 feet and is a sloop with a huge mainsail. For me, a recipe for disaster. But it is well equipped. Contact Samalot Marine if you're interested. And you have around $125,000.

There have been several incidents in the news lately (at least the marine news). In the last month or so four incidents of Coast Guard rescues have occurred where the causes were either a poorly found boat or poorly prepared sailors. Check out these links:
There has been a lot of discussion about how much and how far Coast Guards should go to rescue private yachts in trouble. A number of countries in Europe and now Canada either require inspections of yachts going offshore or are contemplating the same - no inspection, no rescue. There already are strick inspection requirements for offshore racing for insurance reasons mostly. Look at the Newport Bermuda or Marion Bermuda races. It's really hard (read that 'expensive') to pass all the requirement's and inspections...

If you're going offshore, you should be prepared as best you can, your boat should be well found, and you should not be expecting rescue. If you can't meet these requirements you should really think twice about long offshore passages.

How can you prepare yourself? The simple answer is know your boat and its systems - not just that they exist but that you can find and fix them. Know how to navigate with a form other than the installed GPS. Several portable GPS backups and batteries, a sextant and the ability to use it, paper (preferrably waterproof) charts as a backup to the GPS charts.

There are so few things anymore where we're not protected from ourselves by those who believe they know better. Sailing, and especially ocean sailing is one of those things that can't be regulated all that well. Let's all keep it that way.

See you on the water!

1 comment:

Zen said...

Happy B-day Captn!

Good advice to those heading off shore. Too much confidance is placed on electronics... Things happen.

The computer is great when it works!
We once had a discussion in graphic design class about if knowing the old ways is still vaild. Some (the kids) said no, the computer can do it all faster. I said, what if you have a deadline $$$$ and the computer crashes...

Stay warm.