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In December I'm crewing on a catamaran from Cape Town to the Caribbean. I've done a ton of day sails, overnight sails, and a dozen 2-5 day sails, but nothing like a 4+ week sail.  Maybe 10-12k "sea miles" over the years. 

Pretty stoked since it looks like this trip should be pretty much all downwind or reaching.  I don't think we will be able to stop at St Helena due to covid restrictions, but Brazil might be an option.

Any advice on this passage in particular or ocean crossings in general?

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46 minutes ago, hoektron said:

In December I'm crewing on a catamaran from Cape Town to the Caribbean. I've done a ton of day sails, overnight sails, and a dozen 2-5 day sails, but nothing like a 4+ week sail.  Maybe 10-12k "sea miles" over the years. 

Pretty stoked since it looks like this trip should be pretty much all downwind or reaching.  I don't think we will be able to stop at St Helena due to covid restrictions, but Brazil might be an option.

Any advice on this passage in particular or ocean crossings in general?

Don’t know anything about multihulls 

on a mono …. Roll and heel are relentless 

hard to get comfortable in your bunk as you roll from side to side 

I always bring a cheap inflatable beach mat , inflate and position it under your bunk cushion to create a  high side shape so that you don’t roll from side to side 

at sea the sun is your enemy ..maximum eye and skin protection 

an all band portable  radio is nice …BBC and other programs 

 

C8B25AED-A5E2-4F8A-80F7-97572225202C.jpeg

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If you are right with the weather conditions, it will not be your sailing skills that will be tested, but your liveon board-skills. Be tidy, be clean, make good food, be tolerant, be precise and a good person to be around.

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This is one of the nicest and easiest ocean passages IMO. So yes lots of light wind running / bit of reaching. First ~5 days (~750 miles) it will be cold. The ocean water there are cold. Bring warm socks. On our boat we did watches inside the cabin. Ask the skipper what the policy is and bring clothing to suit (i.e. if you have to stand watch in the cockpit you will want warm hat/gloves/foulies to stay warm.

On a catamaran there is no relentless roll or heel. You just flop onto the bunk so no inflatable mat is necessary.
 

Too bad about St. Helena. Super nice folks. We spent 6 weeks there. Ascension Island is a barren volcanic wasteland so don't feel bad about skipping it.

The "typical" stop in Brazil is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fernando_de_Noronha  - but it's bloody expensive $$/day so we sailed right by and stopped in Suriname (French Guinana would be less trouble administratively I think as it is a part of France. Check on Covid restrictions before you arrive.)
 

- bring a phone with a bunch of pre-loaded podcasts for night watches. Just use 1 earbud though. You want to be able to hear the wind/waves/mast falling down
- bring a headlamp with a red light or red filter for night watches
- sunscreen / sunglasses / hat (the cat probably has a fixed hardtop right?)
- bring a bag of treats for the other crew members for 1/2 way. You will be a hero and be invited on other passages

Totally agree - be a nice person. Be kind to sleep deprived crew members you're sharing a small space with. Do more than your share of the chores. Cook when it is bumpy if you can; or at least help out the cook.
 

 

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Safety equipment. You want an offshore rated inflatable PFD with integral harness. It should have a crotch straps, strobe light and spray hood. Bring a replacement CO2/inflator cartridge. Consider an AIS/DSC device and/or a PLB.  How well do you know the skipper/owner? Condition of boat? Liferaft in service and epirb registered?

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1 minute ago, gn4478 said:

Safety equipment. You want an offshore rated inflatable PFD with integral harness. It should have a crotch straps, strobe light and spray hood. Bring a replacement CO2/inflator cartridge. Consider an AIS/DSC device and/or a PLB.  How well do you know the skipper/owner? Condition of boat? Liferaft in service and epirb registered?

Will def make sure all safety gear is in place. Been chatting with owner on and off for 2 years, spent a few days in Annapolis in a shared Airbnb too. We get along well. Boat will be a new Balance 526, so not worried about condition of the boat. 

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7 minutes ago, hoektron said:

Will def make sure all safety gear is in place. Been chatting with owner on and off for 2 years, spent a few days in Annapolis in a shared Airbnb too. We get along well. Boat will be a new Balance 526, so not worried about condition of the boat. 

Wow.  Jealous!!!

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3 hours ago, hoektron said:

In December I'm crewing on a catamaran from Cape Town to the Caribbean. I've done a ton of day sails, overnight sails, and a dozen 2-5 day sails, but nothing like a 4+ week sail.  Maybe 10-12k "sea miles" over the years. 

Pretty stoked since it looks like this trip should be pretty much all downwind or reaching.  I don't think we will be able to stop at St Helena due to covid restrictions, but Brazil might be an option.

Any advice on this passage in particular or ocean crossings in general?

If you plan on packing  Biltong,  be sure to pickup  a couple jars of Beano 

A biltong and boiled eggs combo can be explosive 

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Be on deck 10 minutes before your watch with coffee ready below. Never bitch unless someone is more than 10 minutes late a couple of times without a *sincere* apology and acts of contrition. Offer to stand watch for a 10 minute overlap to accommodate the new watch. Be kind, helpful, never think you have done enough. Think through strange noises, systems and always ask "how does this work?".

 

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Hopefully the boat will have undergone sea trials that actually tested the rigging, steering.., etc.., and not just a few days of reaching around in light breeze and flat water.

A feature of these kinds of mostly downwind passages is that once you are out even a few days, you are probably not getting back to where you started if something breaks - especially on a catamaran.

You have to fix it or live with it.

Especially with a new boat, it's really important to make sure before you leave that there is not something important that was not done correctly, and will fail the first time the boat sees 25kts.

 

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2 hours ago, us7070 said:

Hopefully the boat will have undergone sea trials that actually tested the rigging, steering.., etc.., and not just a few days of reaching around in light breeze and flat water.

Good call.

The boat splashes in St Francis, so at a minimum there is a 400nm leg to Cape Town before the crossing. My understanding is that this leg is usually just motoring most of the way during a calm weather window, although maybe we will get lucky with some easterlies. 

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3 minutes ago, Zonker said:

Don't fall off. Treat the deck edge like a 1000m cliff.

Umm, wash regularly and you don't need no special powders

 

That was a Euro thing for, what, centuries?  They hadn’t discovered hygiene, while the barbarian Japanese had their hot bath “o-furo” culture for a very long time.  The Euro solution: don’t wash your body basically ever, and apply cologne everywhere liberally, daily.  [smh]

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1.  Real men pea standing up  and your mother isn’t here so you don’t have to clean the fucking head

2.   Don’t worry about that tooth that occasionally bothers you, or get a health check  That shit’s for wussies  

3.  Suck up to the owners wife to get the lowdown on their daughter so you can bang her on the dog watch   Everyone gets lonely after a few weeks 

4.  Bring your normal supply of nicotine because you’ll use less on watch 12 hours a day and jonesing addicts are fun to watch 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Kenny Dumas said:

1.  Real men pea standing up  and your mother isn’t here so you don’t have to clean the fucking head

2.   Don’t worry about that tooth that occasionally bothers you, or get a health check  That shit’s for wussies  

3.  Suck up to the owners wife to get the lowdown on their daughter so you can bang her on the dog watch   Everyone gets lonely after a few weeks 

4.  Bring your normal supply of nicotine because you’ll use less on watch 12 hours a day and jonesing addicts are fun to watch 

 

 

These are all covered in the classic text for seamen, by John Davis: Seaman’s Secrets, published in 1594 (that’s correct; 1594, not 1954). 
 

Page 244, chapter titled “What is the next necessarie thing to be learned ?”  in the link above. Very top of the page.

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Don't be too sure about new boats not being much trouble - I've had the opposite experience plenty of times....Make sure you're carrying a decent supply of emergency drinking water in jugs. Make sure there are backups to make the propane cooking system work (solenoid bypass). If it's electric cooking, good luck, make sure there's enough basic food onboard that can be eaten without cooking.

When provisioning, be clear about what you eat every day that others eat occasionally and vice versa. On a recent passage one crew forgot to tell us he eats eggs for breakfast every morning! We weren't provisioned for that.

A hard drive full of movies will make you a hero.

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