Monday, March 31, 2008

Here is the link that Walter Sidor sent into the Mail list

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Passage planning mind map

here is an interesting site, an attempt at doing a mindmap of all of the concerns to address before a passage

Martin, as the ops guy for the trip, this may be of particular interest to you.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

link to pilot charts or

Crew return trip

Note to crew - I am exploring alternative points of landfall, more on this later.

This is a copy of a note I sent to a group called island hoppers - no response, I think they are out of business.

I am sailing my boat to the Caribbean next year for the first time, and
I need to choose where to make landfall. The original plan called for
arrival in either the USVI, or BVIs, since their return will be easily
arranged from those locations, but for a variety of reasons, it would be
more convenient for those who remain onboard if we made landfall on any
of these islands:

St Kitts,
Sint Maartin
And even possibly Guadeloupe, Dominica or Martinique

I will have a crew of 4 that I have to get back to the North Carolina.
What would be a cost-effective means of getting them home? Scheduled
flights to North Carolina? Scheduled or charter flights to a major
island airport? Charter?, Island Ferry to major airport?

I will also have people coming and going as I travel the islands, and I
need someone who knows the ropes...might that be you?

Friday, February 8, 2008

Divide and Conquer?

At this point we have more offshore crew than we need, and everyone seems pretty serious about going. There are 8 interested.

Madness will have 4 sea bunks with leecloths by the time we leave. This is with the V berth left empty, and two sharing the double in the aft cabin. The double will have two leecloths, one down the center, and one inboard, so nobody will be spooning. With two on watch, that leaves room for 6 total, and that is hot-bunking, which is not everyone's favorite approach.

Bruce and Karl are concerned about the duration of the trip, and would prefer a shorter time away from work due to vacation limits and job resonsibilities.

The itinerary discuusion held on (re-published on this site) on NE-Bermuda-VI vs. NE-OuterBanks-VI leads me to understand that the Bermuda route has shorter segments that are not significantly more dangerous and it's longest leg is shorter than the Outer Banks route.

Considering these three factors, I am strongly favoring the Bermuda route with a subset of each team on each leg. What comes to mind is:

  1. NE - Bermuda
    Crew: Walter, Walter, Bruce, Karl
    Duration: ~ 5 days
  2. Bermuda 1
    Crew: Same as above
    Visitors: Guests of above
    Duration: up to 1 week
  3. Bermuda 2 (may overlap with Bermuda 1)
    Crew: Same as below:
    Visitors: Guests of below
    Duration: up to 1week
  4. Bermuda - VIs
    Crew: Walter, Jack, Mike, Martin, Bob
    Duration: ~7 days

I know that Martin, Bob and Walter S are interested in making the whole trip, but that did not include an extended stay in Bermuda. I have not discussed this with Jack and Mike.

This plan works well for me, in that I get to spend a couple of weeks in Bermuda, which should not be tortorous at all. if we get more visitors than harbor bunks (6 assuming 1 couple, 2 couples makes it way more comfortable), there are hotels, and we could rotate to share the experience and the costs.

The down side is that if anyone wants to go the whole way, it could take over a month, or extra airline travel. Also, if people drop out, we are closer to dropping below the minimum. I think three is the undesireable bare minimum, four or five - ideal.

The upside is that everyone gets to go, we have good size crews, I have experienced crew on each leg, we get to stay in bermuda and bring guests, and we have a shorter longest leg.

Please consider whether this plan works for you and add your comments below so the whole team can consider them. I would like to use the site to record the discussion. I am going to try to have it send you an eamil alert when there is a posting or comment, please let me know if you do not want that.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Ken and Kris move off list for offshore trip south

Ken's other son, Eric, announced that he will be getting married late this year, prompting Ken to withdraw from the offshore sail. Ken still hopes to join me for an extended stay once I am down there.

Kris may not be as interested in the trip as I thought, as he is concerned about the kiting destinations and not as interested in the sailing part of the trip.

Ken has taken responsibility for researching the kiting destinations.

Offshore Update

Just a quick note to let you know what preparations are happening relevant to the offshore portion of our trip:

I would like to discuss all safety related issues as a team. Ultimately, I am responsible for the safety of all aboard and I expect to pay for the upgrades to the boat, so I will make the final decisions. But I would like to benefit from your thoughts and research and share the excitement of the preparations with you. Besides, you need to make informed decisions on whether to set to sea with me, so you need to be involved in the discussion.

Advisory committee: I am thinking about asking for one or two volunteer advisers from the Southern Seas Cruising Association (SSCA) to join our team and monitor our discussions. I think we should volunteer to indemnify those volunteers legally.

I removed all lifelines and delivered them to a rigger for inspection/replacement. No discussion or team decisions needed.

I begin a careful inspection of the steering system next. No discussion will be required.

Communications: Does anyone have a satphone?
I bought a new iCom M700 single side band capable of ship to shore communications from thousands of miles out, useful for calling the Coast Guard if we should need help, or to update them if we think we are at risk. It will also receive weather forecasts while at sea. It will not support email, and there are not marine operators to connect us with telephones ashore. I may buy the equivalent of a satellite blackberry with limited bandwidth and delays measuring in tens of minutes.

Investigating other weather products - Bruce and I are going to look at some software for presenting weather faxes on a laptop; I am also looking into XM Satellite weather products at the Boston Boat show.

Looks like we could have old school weather faxes and Southbound Herb free. it would be really nice to have XM or Sirius weather, but that would run from $800 for laptop software to ~$2000 for the capability in a new, integrated color chartplotter.

We will need to decide whether I need to buy an EPIRB or if a personal beacon is the better option - pricing new and used EPIRBs, learning more about the SPOT device. The EPIRB is monitored by NOAA, and sends only one message "send help, we wish to abandon/have abandoned ship", the SPOT is monitored by a private agency and emergency messages are automatically relayed to up to 5 designated email addresses of our choice. The SPOT also has the capability of sending an "OK" message and a user definable message, as well and the "send help, we are wish to abandon/have abandoned ship".

Life rafts - New or used, coastal or offshore - New offshore =~$2500 Previously owned coastal <= $700. The differences are primarily in the provisions packed in the raft, and offshore rafts have insulated floors, which are less important given where we will travel. We will need to discuss, as I am reluctant to spend the $2500 for one trip. Previously owned (unused, certified, and repacked) offshore may be a possibility Offshore vests - I am inclined to ask you to provide your own offshore vests and harnesses. I have some big Kapok ones, but I would think you would want either a float coat or inflatable (SOSpenders, for example, see


Bought parts for engine driven refrigeration, researching solar panels and additional DC refrigeration. I may beef up the house battery bank. I am searching for a battery monitor used on ebay, I have been outbid on several.

Provisioning - Dana will take lead, and my cousin has volunteered to help. We may try canning pre-cooked meals, as they don't require refrigeration (so we can store much more food for the months in the tropics). We will also provision for the If you want particular meals from home, we could send the pressure cooker and canning materials around so everyone can contribute. If not, be happy with what we provide.