Jump to content

Final Details- Trip Planning


Recommended Posts

I've only done this when:

a) playing

b) worried about logging gear & etc on the bottom (i.e. like three times).

might need a couple of different lines handy (e.g. 20 feet for depth 10-20, 40 feet for depth 20-40)

I use a spare diving weight that happens to have a snap shackle built into it, but any small weight would do.

Yeah, the free end can end up wrapping around the standing part by the time you pull it up.  

Popular anchorages can get too crowded for this sort of thing.

image.png.d888e23e898585340b67e1e27b04c8b8.png

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 508
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Ajax carries a deflated Achilles. (Inspect heel of tubes for arrow puncture!)

Seriously - Is the weather that bad in summer? I'd be worried about a lack of wine, but that's just me.

Do you have a towel???   A towel is just about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can carry. Partly because it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you f

Posted Images

@toddster Right, this is similar to what I envisioned (minus the weight).  This would be a real encumbrance in our crowded anchorages on the Chesapeake. Probably less of a problem in many places in Maine but there have been several comments about the increase in sailing tourism.

It's obviously effective but it just seems like something that I'd tangle up and make a mess out of.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah then...you probably need to get it a bit tighter...which is exactly what the tackle would do for you. Got it. 

If there is light wind and no waves the wake of a passing lobster boat / power yacht will do it if you are patient/lucky enough.  Which then begs the question....would they not wake you if they knew they were doing you a favor?  

Crowded Maine is mostly less crowded than Ches.  Some places do/can get tight but are easily avoided.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

In case it's not obvious due to my crude drawing skills, there's only supposed to be one line, looped through the ring with a weight on the free end.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Ajax said:

Yes. I'm sailing up the outside. I won't depart Cape May without a sufficiently long and clear weather window. I can bail out at Sandy Hook if something unexpected pops up.  I know there are inlets along the NJ coast, but if the swell is running, They won't be safe for me.

Depending on my speed of advance and degree of fatigue I'll stop at Block Is. or Cuttyhunk or Onset.  Onset may be ambitious, I'm not sure.

Through the CCC and on to Rockland Maine. Hopefully I can time the tide and current properly to arrive in Maine during good daylight hours. If not, I will heave to and wait outside until daylight.

Well, let me rewind a little bit-  For the mundane Chesapeake part, I'll sail up to Chesapeake City in the C&D Canal and spend the night. I'll time my departure with the current and wind and sail down to Cape May where I may spend another night before going coastal.  If I have a champagne ride down the Delaware Bay, I may just keep going.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Observations lately have had brisk southerlies (15-25) which will make the Delaware Bay ride uncomfortable and rough on equipment. I am watching this closely. If I have to, I'll pick a dead day and motor down rather than smash my way through a 3 second, square chop with my little 33 footer.

Sounds like a good plan.  Are you going inside Long Island?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Haul up the anchor and tie off the rode. Walk to the stern. Your weight aft might be enough to lift the bow. If that doesn't work, blip the throttle ahead, walk up to the bow and raise the anchor the rest of the way.  

If you are in a really crowded anchorage and it is deep, just get it 5' off the bottom, secure it, and go back to the helm. Drive into deeper water free of other boats, put it in neutral and retrieve the rest of it.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Zonker said:

Haul up the anchor and tie off the rode. Walk to the stern. Your weight aft might be enough to lift the bow. If that doesn't work, blip the throttle ahead, walk up to the bow and raise the anchor the rest of the way.  

If you are in a really crowded anchorage and it is deep, just get it 5' off the bottom, secure it, and go back to the helm. Drive into deeper water free of other boats, put it in neutral and retrieve the rest of it.

This also helps clean the anchor off.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I found the leak on my inflatable dinghy. I'm writing the entire thing off.  I've *never* had success getting a patch to stick. I also discovered cracks in the oars' plastic blades.

I'm picking up a lightly used Achilles for a reasonable price this afternoon.  I did score an excellent dinghy lifting bridle at the local chandler yesterday. It will be useful for the Dyer or the Achilles.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/21/2021 at 7:30 AM, Ajax said:

I know there are inlets along the NJ coast, but if the swell is running, They won't be safe for me.

 

Huh?  You might want to check that again there Cap.  You can run Absecon, Barnegat, or Manasquan in any weather.  Hell you can day trip up that coast if you wanted to and there are fun places and great anchorages at each one of those inlets.  For all the shit the NJ coast takes its actually a pretty fun trip/place.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/21/2021 at 7:30 AM, Ajax said:

Yes. I'm sailing up the outside. I won't depart Cape May without a sufficiently long and clear weather window. I can bail out at Sandy Hook if something unexpected pops up.  I know there are inlets along the NJ coast, but if the swell is running, They won't be safe for me.

Depending on my speed of advance and degree of fatigue I'll stop at Block Is. or Cuttyhunk or Onset.  Onset may be ambitious, I'm not sure.

Through the CCC and on to Rockland Maine. Hopefully I can time the tide and current properly to arrive in Maine during good daylight hours. If not, I will heave to and wait outside until daylight.

Well, let me rewind a little bit-  For the mundane Chesapeake part, I'll sail up to Chesapeake City in the C&D Canal and spend the night. I'll time my departure with the current and wind and sail down to Cape May where I may spend another night before going coastal.  If I have a champagne ride down the Delaware Bay, I may just keep going.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Observations lately have had brisk southerlies (15-25) which will make the Delaware Bay ride uncomfortable and rough on equipment. I am watching this closely. If I have to, I'll pick a dead day and motor down rather than smash my way through a 3 second, square chop with my little 33 footer.

You are very well prepared for a lot of low probability problems, can’t hurt. But I’ll say again, the most important tools when singlehanding are the auto pilot and an alarm clock. I recommend again - 100% redundant backup for the autopilot. An AP failure/ problem is way way higher probability than almost everything else you’ve so meticulously prepared for. Bite the bullet, spend the money, get it. 
 

Do you have radar? Written from zero-visibility Roque Island........

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

@CapDave Radar and redundant AP are the one things I simply won't have for this trip. I'm not delaying this trip for those items.

The good news is, @Wess just set me straight and pointed out several points along the NJ coast that I can enter safely during harsh weather so an AP failure won't be fatal.  I have 2 loud alarm clocks. I'll probably grab a cheap, wind-up kitchen timer just in case.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, CapDave said:

You are very well prepared for a lot of low probability problems, can’t hurt. But I’ll say again, the most important tools when singlehanding are the auto pilot and an alarm clock. I recommend again - 100% redundant backup for the autopilot. An AP failure/ problem is way way higher probability than almost everything else you’ve so meticulously prepared for. Bite the bullet, spend the money, get it. 
 

Do you have radar? Written from zero-visibility Roque Island........

@Ajax- I gotta agree here.  You seem to have gone miles overkill on many fronts but ignored the two most critical and absolutely necessary safety components if single-handed and doing extended (multi-day) coastal legs on the outside.  Now mind you the entire trip can be done in day hops and then I agree you don't need radar or AP back-ups.  But if single-handed and running the outside non-stop all the way up from Cape May... I would seriously rethink that.  Just one (OK the second opinion and worth what you paid.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Having lived in Maine all my life and sailed up and down the east coast many time I think your are much more prepared then many of the people who do it every year safely.   Radar is nice but not required.  I use to deliver a race boat up and down the coast of Maine and before it had radar plenty of times it was in the fog.  As far as redundant APs I have never sailed a boat with backup APs.  And plenty that didn't have one.  And that includes single handing a 45 foot race boat that was not set up for single handing.  I am sure you will work it out.  I haven't seen anyone say they would lend or pay for multiple APs or radar.  It's easy to spend other people's money. Have a good trip. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I appreciate your concern. I have taken these points into consideration and I'm going anyway.

  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites

The guy's not solo crossing the Atlantic, he's within a day of a safe harbor all the way up. Good planning, good judgement, and a flexible schedule are the primary requirements. 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Something is going to fail in an unexpected way. You can rest easy knowing that :-). Especially on what amounts to a shakedown cruise. So please just go and do keep us updated on all the unexpected joys and failures.

Sailors do carry backup autopilots. But not for coastal cruises. It is not as easy as buying a second autopilot. One needs a spare or alternate for every single part in the system. From the steering tiller to the diesel tank.

Consider that popular alarm clocks these days rely on the daily charging of batteries. I use a self-powered kitchen timer for this critical life and safety item.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

keep listening to this lot , and you'll be taking two complete boats ........

 

 

 

12 minutes ago, Borracho said:

So please just go

indeed .

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Ajax said:

I appreciate your concern. I have taken these points into consideration and I'm going anyway.

But we haven't settled on a music playlist for the trip yet! How can you even consider setting off without a music playlist approved by the group and then submitted to the Coast Guard?

B)

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
59 minutes ago, Mid said:

ffs , get gone will ya .

Hey man, I'm ready. I'm just waiting for my employer-approved vacation date to arrive. Sitting here in the office is killing me.  All that remains is for me to load food, clothing and the dinghy.

@Borracho My cell phone is pretty loud but I'm bringing a wind-up kitchen timer.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Cruisin Loser said:

But we haven't settled on a music playlist for the trip yet! How can you even consider setting off without a music playlist approved by the group and then submitted to the Coast Guard?

B)

I'm bringing sea shanties and bagpipes with metal guitars.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Ajax said:

bagpipes with metal guitars.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Ajax said:

sea shanties

and to atone for the above I submit this 

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, seaker said:

Having lived in Maine all my life and sailed up and down the east coast many time I think your are much more prepared then many of the people who do it every year safely.   Radar is nice but not required.  I use to deliver a race boat up and down the coast of Maine and before it had radar plenty of times it was in the fog.  As far as redundant APs I have never sailed a boat with backup APs.  And plenty that didn't have one.  And that includes single handing a 45 foot race boat that was not set up for single handing.  I am sure you will work it out.  I haven't seen anyone say they would lend or pay for multiple APs or radar.  It's easy to spend other people's money. Have a good trip. 

Hey, whoa. Slow down there.  Like I said you can do this in daily hops and be anchored every night.  Certainly don't need any radar or AP for that.  I have sailed that coast for the last 40 years, so long before we had either (radar or AP) and did fine.  So of course it can be done.  And to be clear I HAVE spent my own money putting both radar and a spare AP on the tri the wife and I double hand.  Because its prudent and there is a lot of commercial and fishing traffic along the route he is taking.  And fog is pretty damn common as well.  We nearly got tagged once about 30 years ago about 2nm outside of Cape May inlet by a fishing boat coming back in.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The simple, easy substitute for radar is a chart plotter and AIS overlay.  Yep, I know, there’s those little guys that don’t have AIS and logs n things.  It’s not complete coverage but AIS would give me a great sense of comfort (relatively speaking) for crossing the NY VTS lanes, and Boston and wherever else.  It’s the big steel boats that scare me most.  A transceiver is even better.  As a big steel boat driver, being able to identify and contact a specific boat/ship is a godsend.

Ajax, you’re likely more prepared than I would be for the trip.  Have fun, you’re in the ‘go’ mode so don’t let the last minute ‘advisors’ get to ya!

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Pack a LeatherMan Wave multi tool and a mini ratchet set.

Other than that, maybe look into a support vessel to carry the 4 pages worth of extra essential gear suggestions...

...my favourite piece of safety gear that I’ll likely never use is the ol Red Cross wind up shortwave radio with flashlight...perfect for when stranded and in need of accurate weather reports on the other side of the planet...I keep it on board just in case...

...in all seriousness, above all, stay safe and enjoy the trip.

Cheers.

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm envious, Ajax, thanks for taking us along. I've been doing a lot of the same prep work you've done on my 34 footer, also planned mostly solo sailing.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Ajax said:

I'm bringing sea shanties and bagpipes with metal guitars.

If you dont bring "Yacht Rock" did you actually sail to Maine and does it count?  :ph34r:  

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Ajax said:

Radar and redundant AP are the one things I simply won't have for this trip.

Does that mean you have "only" one autopilot?  Or none at all?  Singlehanding without any AP is a pain in the ass and can be very dangerous in some cases, even on short ocean passages (daysails).

Link to post
Share on other sites
57 minutes ago, fufkin said:

Pack a LeatherMan Wave multi tool and a mini ratchet set.

Other than that, maybe look into a support vessel to carry the 4 pages worth of extra essential gear suggestions...

...my favourite piece of safety gear that I’ll likely never use is the ol Red Cross wind up shortwave radio with flashlight...perfect for when stranded and in need of accurate weather reports on the other side of the planet...I keep it on board just in case...

...in all seriousness, above all, stay safe and enjoy the trip.

Cheers.

 

If you like mini ratchet sets...I bought a set for my father in the 1980's at a boat show. I still have it. 

MityMaster1000-y_720x.jpg?v=1612117742

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Ajax said:

I'm picking up a lightly used Achilles for a reasonable price this afternoon.

MM15p07.jpg

Ajax carries a deflated Achilles. (Inspect heel of tubes for arrow puncture!)

  • Like 12
Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, Elegua said:

If you like mini ratchet sets...I bought a set for my father in the 1980's at a boat show. I still have it. 

MityMaster1000-y_720x.jpg?v=1612117742

 

Nice! In the weight to volume to usefulness category the mini ratchet set easily earns a spot on board.

As for this 5 pound magnet...not so much. Luckily the boys in the yard keep a couple attached to the base of their crane for any errant tool dropper to borrow. As the line is only about 15 feet, the magnet isn’t rated for offshore/coastal  fishing just yet...so I think it can stay off Ajax’s master list for the moment.

F05CFA27-5204-499D-AE28-3B71E9E44F13.thumb.jpeg.40d5fb90dcc70a53565839d141bbfa24.jpeg

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Diarmuid said:

MM15p07.jpg

Ajax carries a deflated Achilles. (Inspect heel of tubes for arrow puncture!)

You make some of the best intellectual jokes of our group. 

I picked up the dinghy. It's in great shape with lots of goodies. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Elegua said:

If you like mini ratchet sets...I bought a set for my father in the 1980's at a boat show. I still have it. 

MityMaster1000-y_720x.jpg?v=1612117742

 

One year those were my "sailing friend" christmas gifts. I think I gave away 10 sets. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Stop thinking about all that pesky seamanship and sensible stuff Ajax, and think about us, put one of these on the cabintop.

I prefer 4K, but unless you're sleeping with your satellite provider 1080P will do.   

Pics or it didn't happen. 

gopro.png.0a39d3e1e777381589dc6b3e58d60f6d.png

Actually, the Garmin VIRB is better, nuts amount of sensor inputs.

Quandary: Why do they make these cameras so tiny when you need a small IBM mainframe just to edit the videos? 

   Garmin-VIRB-360-Front-5.7K_thumb.jpg.f073a6500093b6df5cd1b96c34dc932a.jpg

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

It is easy to spend other people's money on the internet... Ajax, you have a death wish if you don't bring a second redundant boat...

Seriously dude, you sound totally thought out and prepared, have a great time.  There are always "what if"s, you can't prepare for them all...

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you gonna troll a feather off the stern pulpit for the odd fresh meal? I've never had much success in Maine waters due to so much floating bladder wrack, but you might have some luck down over the canyons.

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Elegua said:

If you like mini ratchet sets...I bought a set for my father in the 1980's at a boat show. I still have it. 

MityMaster1000-y_720x.jpg?v=1612117742

 

It even has Robertson, kudos to an American company that even knows about it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Chapman makes nice stuff but they intentionally make their bits soft so they'll break before they strip out the fastener. They're intended for gunsmithing and other use cases where the fastener is more valuable than the bit.

On a boat, I'd sooner have a different brand of bit that's harder/stronger, as long as they're properly ground. That said, Chapman's mini ratchet is extremely compact and strong and worth buying all on its own for use with any brand of bit.

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Ishmael said:

It even has Robertson, kudos to an American company that even knows about it.

That’s like, the ONE kind of fastener that is not on my boat*.  

But that’s approximately the number of tools it takes to work on anything my Dad ever built.  My parents were both Depression Era kids.  Which means they never paid money for anything they could scrounge. (It also means they were both preemies who didn’t get any supplemental oxygen :rolleyes:)   So, like, a shed door that Dad built would have three different doll-house sized hinges with six different kinds of fasteners.

Strangely enough, the same sort of thing seems to be going on in my boat! Odd-sized sheet-metal screws in the hull.  SAE in the engine. Mostly metric (and the old torx) in the gear.

It’s like… boat builders (and designers) need retroactive supplemental oxygen!

Once more, I’ll bring up my old 1980 Honda motorcycle that could (almost) be completely disassembled and reassembled with the small tool bundle that came with it. That ought to be the law. :angry:

 

 

*Because I swapped them out last year.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, toddster said:

Once more, I’ll bring up my old 1980 Honda motorcycle that could (almost) be completely disassembled and reassembled with the small tool bundle that came with it. That ought to be the law. :angry:

I had to pull my prop shaft & bearing assembly recently. I built it in the first place so I knew what was involved other than the minor detail about the amount of shit that'd been installed since...

All metric EXCEPT for the taperlock bushing screws which I'd bought and they were 3/16" socket head recesses in a 5/16" UNC grub screw. I didn't have the choice of M8 at the time.

You can't win.

Shit of a thing to get at too so I've added a set of 3/8" sq drive Allen keys both metric and inch to my boat tool kit as well as the ball head ones. Rather have them & not need them than vice-versa.

FKT

Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Wess said:

Huh?  You might want to check that again there Cap.  You can run Absecon, Barnegat, or Manasquan in any weather.  Hell you can day trip up that coast if you wanted to and there are fun places and great anchorages at each one of those inlets.  For all the shit the NJ coast takes its actually a pretty fun trip/place.

Certainly can do Absecon in any weather but Barnegat is shifty and Manasquan’s jettys can look pretty gruesome in the wrong weather. That said you could probably do Atlantic City to Manasquan inside if you’re facing a week of gritty weather outside and get to do NYC and LIS to boot. That was my transit from Ches Bay to New England in a 22 ft catboat singlehanded. Sleep every night and bakeries in the morning plus nice anchorages or clubs enroute. 
 

With decent weather though the outside route will be far quicker. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, deep c said:

you could probably do Atlantic City to Manasquan inside if you’re facing a week of gritty weather outside and get to do NYC and LIS to boot. That was my transit from Ches Bay to New England in a 22 ft catboat singlehanded. Sleep every night and bakeries in the morning plus nice anchorages or clubs enroute. 

Which part of the man wants to sail his boat to ME on vacation is elusive here?

Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Ishmael said:

It even has Robertson, kudos to an American company that even knows about it.

Some joker (ex-Boeing engineer) fitted half my French built boat with Robertsons.  Just....why? Just try finding the Robertson drivers and screws in the US.  Sure Robertson > Philips/Slotted, but Robertson also < Torx 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have not had any difficulty finding Robertson drive bits in the US. All of my bronze cabin sole screws are Robertson.

Someone upthread posted a photo of a large retrieval magnet.  I do have a small 20lb. capacity magnet onboard for fishing things out of bilges and crevices. Not sure how useful it would be for fishing things out of the water in the slip around the boat.

The plan this weekend is to sail to Annapolis, anchor, inflate and deploy the dinghy and generally tidy up the boat and secure ALL small, loose items.  I'll get to test my new dinghy hoisting apparatus and the anchor retrieval tackle.

Wife 2.0 has to work at one of the local state parks for a few hours so I will sail alone. She'll meet me in Annapolis later in the day and I'll fetch her with the dinghy.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Ajax,

i think you are well prepared.  Couple of thoughts on your routing to consider.  A straight shot from Cape May to BI is about 200NM.  That would be around 40-50 hours depending on how hard you push the boat.  That is 2 nights offshore on your own.  I would consider doing a long day trip up to Barnaget, resting up and then doing the run up to BI.  That would reduce it to just one night offshore which, I think is much more manageable.  
my thought is that you really want to be on your A game coming into BI because of the potential fog and commercial fishing boats.  You know yourself better and what you can handle but just something to consider.  
Also note, pay attention to the current forecast between Montauk and BI.  It can run up to 3knots and can make your approach into BI challenging.

good luck and hopefully we’ll cross paths in Maine.  My boat is named SKADI.  If you have AIS you should be able to find us!  

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

@T sailor I mark it as 230 miles. It'll be even more if I sail further to Cuttyhunk or Onset.

How "hard" I push will be decided by weather, my assessment of my fatigue, and how much commercial traffic I'm forced to deal with. I may well end up doing what you suggest.

Thanks for the tip about the current between Montauk and BI.  I'll keep an eye out for you.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

If you happen to pass by Portland in the middle of the night, please be VERY careful of the fishing boats with NO LIGHTS or a SINGLE white light on, and NO AIS turned on.   It was such an eerie experience seeing ALL those boats out there in the middle of the dark.  It was truly amazing we didn't hit anyone.  My wife had to be on the bow with the spotlight checking our path after we nearly hit the first one we encountered.  Thankfully it was a full moon night and we could barely discern these shapes emerging out of the darkness.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, MauiPunter said:

please be VERY careful of the fishing boats with NO LIGHTS or a SINGLE white light on, and NO AIS turned on.

Yep, this has been on my mind for months.  My goal is to get plenty of rest at Onset, then transit the CCC and get as much distance across the GOM during daylight hours as possible.  I'll be about 40 miles out from Portland as I transit.  I'm not sure how far out the fishingboats go into the Gulf.

What's nice about this time of year, is that the days are nearly 16 hours long that far north.

Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, Borracho said:

Consider that popular alarm clocks these days rely on the daily charging of batteries. I use a self-powered kitchen timer for this critical life and safety item.

Ok, I didn’t even know these kind of kitchen timers still existed. What’s the theory with using one of these?  When coastal sailing solo, wind them up for an hour (or whatever) when the situation permits you to get a rest, allowing you to at least get an hour’s rest?

Offshore solo, where you’re more likely to be clear of traffic, you’d be sleeping a bit longer presumably, so use a different type of timer?

(I’m hopefully starting a “Final preparations - trip planning thread next spring” - this may cover off that topic  :-) )

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/22/2021 at 5:06 AM, CapDave said:

But I’ll say again, the most important tools when singlehanding are the auto pilot and an alarm clock. I recommend again - 100% redundant backup for the autopilot. An AP failure/ problem is way way higher probability than almost everything else you’ve so meticulously prepared for. 

My then-brand new Pelagic tiller pilot suddenly went on the blink two summers ago - literally. Screen suddenly started blinking weird stuff.  I must say it was a bit unnerving. We don’t rely on it for life-critical stuff, but if I were solo coastal I think I’d bring a spare. Expensive, yet cheap “insurance”...and it’s gonna fail *eventually* anyway....

EDIT: correction.  Pelagic Autopilot computer suddenly started acting weird last summer (not two summers ago) - I even took a quick phone vid (which I just found on my phone) of the light pattern it was blinking to see if the maker could tell what it meant.  Autopilot failure and not having a spare would suck big time.  Fortunately the Pelagic is modular and easy to swap out components on.

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

Ok, I didn’t even know these kind of kitchen timers still existed. What’s the theory with using one of these?  When coastal sailing solo, wind them up for an hour (or whatever) when the situation permits you to get a rest, allowing you to at least get an hour’s rest?

Offshore solo, where you’re more likely to be clear of traffic, you’d be sleeping a bit longer presumably, so use a different type of timer?

(I’m hopefully starting a “Final preparations - trip planning thread next spring” - this may cover off that topic  :-) )

In high traffic areas, I will nap no longer than 20 minutes at a time.  It takes a commercial ship making 20 knots about that long to reach your position from when it is first visible on the horizon. (Bear in mind that commercial ships are tall so they are visible from beyond the horizon at water level. This gives you a bit of extra time.)

I've done this before when sailing around the Delmarva peninsula. I do not enter a deep sleep.  Every 20 minutes, the alarm goes off. I pop up like a gopher and do a visual sweep of the area, check the autopilot and the plotter, log my position in a logbook and settle down for another 20 minutes.  While resting, you need to learn to switch off your brain and not think about things.  I "sleep" but I'm cognizant of the sounds around me and the motion of the boat, watching for abnormalities.

There's also a trick to "waking up" for your 20 minute checks:  You don't want to rise to full alertness. You just want to enter that state of functionality that you do when you wake up in the middle of the night to take a piss.  You safely navigate the furniture in the bedroom, you manage not to piss all over the floor, then you return to bed. You barely even recall getting up to piss.

You just sort of live in that zone of twilight.  After 30 hours, I found that I was quite lucid and functional and not exhausted.

Evan Andrews' book "Singlehanded Sailing" explains this in greater detail. The book has an entire section dedicated to sleep and fatigue management.

I would not mind extending my nap periods to 30 minutes. I'm not sure the traffic situation will allow it but we'll see. Extending the sleep periods for longer risks you falling into deeper levels of sleep that are more difficult to awaken from.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Ajax said:

, I will nap no longer than 20 minutes at a time.

15 , them extra 5 may well be ......

better deal is to stay out of shipping lanes .

Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

My then-brand new Pelagic tiller pilot suddenly went on the blink two summers ago - literally. Screen suddenly started blinking weird stuff.  I must say it was a bit unnerving. We don’t rely on it for life-critical stuff, but if I were solo coastal I think I’d bring a spare. Expensive, yet cheap “insurance”...and it’s gonna fail *eventually* anyway....

The real answer to this is wind vane steering.  I plan on either a Hydrovane or a Pacific Windpilot, eventually.

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Mid said:

15 , them extra 5 may well be ......

better deal is to stay out of shipping lanes .

I'd probably sleep better sailing to Bermuda. Crossing the traffic separation scheme at Sandy Hook and then at Rhode Island Sound might be like a frog trying to cross the highway.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
53 minutes ago, Ajax said:

a frog trying to cross the highway.

The Singapore Straits are like that, but less so NYC and even less so BOS. In GOM you get an occasion fuel barge/tanker.  

I had a windvane long before I had an underdeck autopilot. I highly recommend them even for coastal sailing, especially the oil derrick looking Monitor. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
53 minutes ago, Ajax said:

The real answer to this is wind vane steering.  I plan on either a Hydrovane or a Pacific Windpilot, eventually.

I've got an Aries, and gotta say it's pushing me towards the "redundant AP" camp. Upwind, great - but below a beam reach? Gybing at 3am for shits 'n' giggles because the wind decided to go from 10kts to 20kts is no fun..
Below decks AP doesn't do that. Maybe it'll grow on me.. 

I've done a good bit of the east coast solo - sounds like you've already experimented with polyphasic & discovered it works for you which for me was half the battle. 
I found that figuring a dry & comfortable station topsides for cat-naps with minimum movement between made things infinitely more comfortable - probably 70% of my sleep was up top. Dodger with wings to the side, bimini + connector - might not be fast, but it's dry. 
I've even tried standing watch tethered in across the coachhouse / companionway on a sleeping pad under the dodger - although the winch farm makes that a bit uncomfortable! 

 
My first trip, I underestimated the impact of difficult navigation towards the end of a 48hr sleep deprived passage. Pick a route you could sail in your sleep (because you might end up doing literally that, ha) - even if it means sailing an extra 4hrs..
When I was planning for a solo CCC approach, I didn't much like the look of Onset for that reason.. Block and Cutty outside seemed better, as did the moorings at Mass Maritime

Enjoy waking bolt upright thinking there's a tanker about to run you over only to realize it's your stern light reflecting on the wind vane. Twice. Part of the fun :lol:

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

@cianclarke What's your vibe on commercial traffic between Cape May and Block or Cuttyhunk?  Lots? Overhyped?  Are they generally attentive? Broadcasting AIS?

After much research into radar reflectors, I settled on the reliable old Davis "Echomaster."  I purchased the deluxe hanging kit. I've tested it out with a stabilizing line to the spreaders to keep it stable and not spinning about.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

Ok, I didn’t even know these kind of kitchen timers still existed. What’s the theory with using one of these?  When coastal sailing solo, wind them up for an hour (or whatever) when the situation permits you to get a rest, allowing you to at least get an hour’s rest?

Offshore solo, where you’re more likely to be clear of traffic, you’d be sleeping a bit longer presumably, so use a different type of timer?

(I’m hopefully starting a “Final preparations - trip planning thread next spring” - this may cover off that topic  :-) )

I meant a kitchen timer that uses replaceable batteries. They last for years. The problem is using a cellphone that likely goes dead somewhere in the sleep-wake-sleep sequence. Also cellphones, in all their wonder, are far too complicated for a sleepy sailor to manipulate. My kitchen timer is really loud and takes no more than STOP then START to insure the next watch. Watches have alarms but are not loud enough.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, Borracho said:

I meant a kitchen timer that uses replaceable batteries. They last for years. The problem is using a cellphone that likely goes dead somewhere in the sleep-wake-sleep sequence. Also cellphones, in all their wonder, are far too complicated for a sleepy sailor to manipulate. My kitchen timer is really loud and takes no more than STOP then START to insure the next watch. Watches have alarms but are not loud enough.

I specified "long ring" when I searched for wind-up kitchen timers.  I don't want to rely on "ding" or "Brrng."  A short, transient sound may not rouse me.

The last time I did a solo overnight, I used my phone and set a really obnoxious klaxon as the alarm tone. It was absolutely loud enough. I kept the phone plugged into the charger to ensure the battery didn't run out.

This time, I'm going to see if the alarm will broadcast through the boat stereo via bluetooth. Even if it doesn't, my phone will be loud enough. The wind-up kitchen timer is a reliable mechanical backup.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Ajax said:

@cianclarke What's your vibe on commercial traffic between Cape May and Block or Cuttyhunk?  Lots? Overhyped?  Are they generally attentive? Broadcasting AIS?

After much research into radar reflectors, I settled on the reliable old Davis "Echomaster."  I purchased the deluxe hanging kit. I've tested it out with a stabilizing line to the spreaders to keep it stable and not spinning about.

The Cape May to CCC leg I've only done crewed. Original plan was FL to CCC nonstop, but weather chasing from Hatteras forced me to pull into Norfolk. Coming in the Chesapeake solo and sleep deprived wasn't so bad - in the daylight at least! 

The various approach TSSes for NYC were the only busy shipping traffic we saw on trips north or south. It was all yuge, and all on AIS, but it was the busiest I'd seen along the coast FL to ME. I didn't recall anything coming in the Delaware. IIRC our CPA alarm was set to 2 miles, and it went off maybe once?

The rhum line from Cape May to Montauk had us too far out for the pleasure craft out fishing and not on AIS.
On one leg, we preferred being ~60miles offshore until Ocean City before making for Montauk, where we certainly saw more fishing centre consoles fishing not on AIS.

Big +1 to the Kitchen Timer idea - my thinking was the UX of a phone's complex timer could be problematic sleep deprived, or with wet hands. 
I bought a manual wind up (turned out to be a PoS) and a digital timer - this was the type of one i preferred https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07KQBWJTS 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Way back in 1966, in Our Man Flint, James Coburn had a wrist watch that (according to the story) would wake him from a trance with a physical tapping on the wrist.  Apple watch kinda sorta does the same thing.  Of course, AW is the worst of the worst at needing daily recharge.  

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Borracho said:

 kitchen timer 

we had a couple quite good kitchen timers . . . but we both had timex ironman's with 3 alarms we used more often.  They were always on you, highly reliable, loud enough to wake you, batteries last forever (or several years at least) reasonably inexpensive - damn near perfect.  The bands used to be what broke first.

From my celestial days, I always had 3 in the nav station (even well after I stopped taking sights, just 'in case') which I atomic time checked once a year and wrote down their rates. It was sort of interesting - some were very highly 'accurate' (very low drift) and some were much less so I tended to move the 'less so' ones onto our wrists (even the 'less so' ones were perfectly fine for normal wrist watch duty) and keep the 'highly' ones in the nav station.  I always though timex was missing a (small) market nice to sell for a price premium the ones which were highly accurate but I guess they never wanted to imply they had this sort of 'quality' variability.

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Ajax said:

The real answer to this is wind vane steering.

But they only work on slow boats.  Fast boats cause the apparent wind angle to shift too much.

 

Alex Thomson: Faulty wrist alarm behind grounding  (16th November 2018)
https://yachtracing.life/alex-thomson-faulty-wrist-alarm-caused-grounding/

Quote

[Alex] Thomson uses two alarms to wake him up while racing offshore: one is an audio device; and the other one an electric-shock wristband.
[...]
“Normally I wake up with the audio alarm. I set the audio alarm for 20 minutes and the wrist alarm for 25 minutes. There were two days [previously] in this race where this [the wrist alarm] was waking me up.”

The previous night after 11 days in the lead of the race since leaving France Thomson decided to get some rest as he approached the island of Guadeloupe so that he could be fully alert for the final section along the coast to the finish.

“I was two and a half hours from Guadeloupe and I thought it will be a long journey around Guadeloupe so I should get some rest,” Thomson said. “I thought to myself: is this a good idea Alex? But I told myself that I have the electric-shock wrist band so it shouldn’t be a problem.

So I put it on but I don’t think it was charged.

“So I overslept the alarm and when I woke up I was grounded on the rocks. Which I have to say is a shocking experience. Never to be repeated.”

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, estarzinger said:

we had a couple quite good kitchen timers . . . but we both had timex ironman's with 3 alarms we used more often.  They were always on you, highly reliable, loud enough to wake you, batteries last forever (or several years at least) reasonably inexpensive - damn near perfect.  The bands used to be what broke first.

From my celestial days, I always had 3 in the nav station (even well after I stopped taking sights, just 'in case') which I atomic time checked once a year and wrote down their rates. It was sort of interesting - some were very highly 'accurate' (very low drift) and some were much less so I tended to move the 'less so' ones onto our wrists (even the 'less so' ones were perfectly fine for normal wrist watch duty) and keep the 'highly' ones in the nav station.  I always though timex was missing a (small) market nice to sell for a price premium the ones which were highly accurate but I guess they never wanted to imply they had this sort of 'quality' variability.

That's funny - they guy I learned from had 3 timex screwed into the lid of his sextant box. I've been tempted to copy that. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dammit, I recently discovered that the high frequencies are fading from my left ear. :o If sleeping on the right side, electronic alarms might go unheard.  Actually it was the oven alarm that triggered this discovery.  I hope it's just wax...

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Elegua said:

Some joker (ex-Boeing engineer) fitted half my French built boat with Robertsons.  Just....why? Just try finding the Robertson drivers and screws in the US.  Sure Robertson > Philips/Slotted, but Robertson also < Torx 

I am one of those jokers.  My French boat will have only Robertson on her once I'm done.  Far too many times I've had to deal with stripped out head on the Philips.  My boat was made with slotted bits.  I hate those!!

Thankfully I have Stone Hardware or Tacoma screw very close to me.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

My Canadian-supplied "kit house" came with a 50-lb box of Robertson screws. And many boxes of nails.  But we didn't use them - we used pneumatic semi-automatic tools for as many of the fasteners as we could.  Actually I can't recall what those screws were supposed to be for in the first place.  Anyhow - sometimes I still feel the pressure to use them.  Oh and everything in the greenhouse is Robertson.  Gotta be careful to set the torque loose on the drill gun or it'll twist the heads right off!  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's a nice, squat one that should stay in place:

https://www.acehardware.com/departments/home-and-decor/kitchen-utensils-and-gadgets/kitchen-timers/6411029?x429=true&utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic-shopping&utm_campaign=organic-shopping

 

Cuz lots of timers just have a little flip easel stand, and that won't cut it. We've used a big, loud AcuRite kitchen timer for years w/out changing batteries; it beeps a long time, very stridently. But it relies on either a tiny foot pad or a magnet to mount it, neither of which is much use on a sailboat.  You could do things with dbl sided tape or veclro mounts, too.

Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, Diarmuid said:

Here's a nice, squat one that should stay in place:

As a candidate for the title of world's-most-absurdly-heavy-sleeper, I have come to value alarm clocks which do not stay in place.

I find that the effectiveness of the awakening is enhanced by scrambling around the floor in the dark looking for the source of that damned racket.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, toddster said:

My Canadian-supplied "kit house" came with a 50-lb box of Robertson screws. And many boxes of nails.  But we didn't use them - we used pneumatic semi-automatic tools for as many of the fasteners as we could.  Actually I can't recall what those screws were supposed to be for in the first place.  Anyhow - sometimes I still feel the pressure to use them.  Oh and everything in the greenhouse is Robertson.  Gotta be careful to set the torque loose on the drill gun or it'll twist the heads right off!  

Up here we call them Robbies. 

I have a working conspiracy theory that the efficiency of the torch head has allowed the world to be flooded with lower and lower grade metal fasteners and that the Robertson was conceived in a more noble era when the grade of a metal fastener at least had to be stronger than tissue paper.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Beer fueled Mayhem said:

I am one of those jokers.  My French boat will have only Robertson on her once I'm done.  Far too many times I've had to deal with stripped out head on the Philips.  My boat was made with slotted bits.  I hate those!!

Thankfully I have Stone Hardware or Tacoma screw very close to me.

We share mfg, but my PO got there first.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, fufkin said:

Up here we call them Robbies. 

 

??  Up where?  I sure as heck don't.

Link to post
Share on other sites

A nice Canadian would leave a couple of screwdrivers on board for the unsuspecting American... what are these thing???  Wait, these must be tamper proof screw heads, I haven't seen a square drive before...  B)

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

M'kay, I puttered the Achilles dinghy over to the mothership yesterday and loaded it solo, using my fancy hoisting bridle and the mast winch. Very easy, no troubles.

The dinghy deflates in seconds when I pull the valves. I can inflate the boat in less than 5 minutes with the foot pump. I timed it. It's light and easy to flip upside down. I tucked the deflated tubes under the dingy floor. This leaves lots of foredeck space for safe work if I have to go to the pointy end of the boat.  As much as I love my Dyer, I'm convinced that the inflatable is the right choice for this trip, this time.

I use a 35lb. thrust trolling motor and a G31 battery *if* I don't want to row.  I've found secure, out of the way stowage for these items but I'm still debating whether I want to bring them.

I've activated my satellite tracker account.

Seriously, once I load my food and clothing I'm outta here.

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/22/2021 at 8:06 AM, CapDave said:

I recommend again - 100% redundant backup for the autopilot.

I know this has been discussed and rejected for this voyage, which makes sense, but I have a question on the theory of operations on this. I am a little dense today so bear with me.

So, is the recommendation to have a 2nd complete set of parts for a wheel pilot? I get it on a major crossing where there is no windvane, but on a 2 or even a 3 day hop what would I actually physically do to fix it with these parts if it broke, beyond a small issue? I can’t imagine taking the wheel off or fix any of the under deck components single handed, even hove to. Maybe I could rig the emergency tiller and take the wheel off to fix the belt, or maybe replace the controller, but that’s not what’s most likely to fail. Seems less dangerous to me to just turn tail and run to the nearest landing spot and gut it out. Or don’t leave home without a windvane. What am I missing?

Link to post
Share on other sites

@loneshark64 I can't speak for CapDave, his idea of 100% is probably different than mine.

In my opinion, you'd carry the part most likely to fail- the wheel drive motor, plus spare belts (for a wheel pilot). For an underdeck AP, carry the ram.   The compass and computer seem much less likely to fail.

Even I would never make an Atlantic crossing with just a wheel pilot. It would have to be an underdeck model but really I wouldn't cross without wind steering.

I'll do coastal with a wheel pilot because my boat is well balanced and will sail on course with out an AP and without me adjusting anything for a few hours at time. Plus, I can bail out at many points.

I would do Bermuda with an underdeck autopilot and no wind vane but not a wheel pilot.

What you carry is all predicated on your personal level of paranoia.

  • Like 3