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Old 04-01-2014, 10:56 PM   #21
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Sounds like the wife knows her husband really well and recognized he was in over his head. Most of us know directly or read of those who have died thinking they know the sea and their boat. Sadly their guests and crew go down too with this false bravado.

Two years ago we met some people who were turning back after completing 10% of their trip to Alaska. A faulty charging design on their new vessel was too much too bear, especially after the wild ride they had up Johnstone Strait in big winds and opposing currents. They were smart in knowing they lacked the knowledge and sound vessel.
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Old 04-02-2014, 08:36 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by windmill29130 View Post
Just looked at the charts because I'll be coming through there in a couple weeks. Definitely looks like it could get sloppy out there at the point. The alternate route looks good and doesn't look to be too far out of the way. As stated numerous times on this forum, it pays to not be in a hurry and better safe than sorry.
And if in doubt, access some local information. Boats coming from the other direction. Stop at a marina near the trouble zone and talk to people. Talk to one of the tow boats as they are a source of great information plus the ones to come get you if trouble arises. Then if doubt persists, just don't.

I guess at this point they need to start over. Either by doing the boating correctly or something else. Maybe an RV is their answer. Maybe a cruise ship.

We have years of lake experience, but we took captains classes and hired a captain to train us hands on actually before we even purchased our first boat in Florida. We feel very confident now but we've had excellent teaching and gained experience. Still we will have someone with local knowledge for Alaska. And we recognize our captain still has decades more experience than we do. Now it depends on the boat and the trip whether we'll take it out by ourselves or with captain. But we've put many many hours into developing our skills. WE are presently only 50 Ton Inland Masters. We will reach 50 Ton Near Coastal this summer and 100 Ton Near Coastal around the end of the year. But it's not for the tickets, it's for the knowledge and experience and confidence.

Someone asked what is bad conditions and that varies to everyone. We prefer to do most of our distances outside. I'd say when we first started, bought our first coastal boat, we probably considered anything over 4' to be rough especially with a short period. Now we just don't consider it as enjoyable and it does depend on the boat. In a 44' open sports boat, 6' with 8 seconds isn't dangerous to us but it's just not fun. In a 130' then 6-8' with a 10 second period isn't frightening or scary. Still we will often wait for the next day. But it's not because of fear or skills, just pleasure. Those conditions are ok for a couple of hours, but eight to ten hours like that get tiring and we just don't need to get anywhere that fast. We have friends who don't go outside when it's more than 2'. They just stick to the ICW.

But in spite of all that, the inlets at the wrong time can be uncomfortable and challenging. One has to not get lulled into a comfort. Cruising nicely along think you have it made and forget that you're about to hit a very different area that may have winds and current at odds with each other. That's where practice and experience are so essential. Our captains teaching us never said "I'll take it through here." They always said, "Ok, now I'm going to tell you how to approach and handle this." I remember our first day in the Gulf of Mexico when things got rough, 6-8', and we were close enough to pull into land. But we needed training. So, that's the day we were taught hands on how to handle it from all directions. Our first experience at surfing larger waves. Timing the boat speed to the waves. Learning how things felt at different speeds. We were exhausted but we learned what the boat could handle and what we could. Now if we were considering going out in those same conditions we'd probably stay put but if we were caught out in them, we know we can handle it.

Now many of you have learned over many years. But our first coastal boating was toward the end of 2012 so we're trying to compact and speed our education. From May to September of this year we'll be covering around 7500 nautical miles, 550 or so engine hours, about 70 days of actual movement. Almost like immersion in a language but we covered around 18,000 miles in 2013 in total. Oh but we sure don't put many miles on our cars....lol.
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Old 04-02-2014, 08:42 AM   #23
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One thing we have to be careful about too is remembering what we enjoy isn't for everyone. Not boating. Not the type boat. Not the places. Two of our best friends who live in our guest house on the water will not set foot on any boat in motion or even with the engine running. Finally they have stepped on just to put food on it for us and to look around. The thought of sleeping below deck is horrifying to them. They see a boat take waves and they think that must be scary. And we know that they worry about us every time we go out. But theirs goes back to taking a cruise decades ago and spending the entire time on their dream cruise sea sick. Although with what we know now of cruise ships I strongly suspect it was a sickness other than just sea sickness.
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Old 04-02-2014, 10:07 AM   #24
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3 times this trip NJ to Florida and return...I got into really uncomfortable (not dangerous) situations because the marine forecast winds were greater than 10 knots off.
If I meet someone on the street and they say they work at NOAA I'm going to punch them in the mouth! That's how my rough passage in St. Andrews happened. NOAA predicting not so heavy wind, and then I contacted a boat who had just come through heading South. He described the passage as "manageable but wet" and I let the "manageable" part convince me to go ahead. It was "OK" until we got to about .5 miles from that outside mark and then suddenly it became very bad. And another note is that bad for our boat might not be bad for another boat. If I was in a Grady White it would have been easy. But getting beat up in a our tub going 6.5 knots is no fun.

Takeaway -- NOAA can be WAY off, and another guy's "manageable" might be your "take a lay day." It is worth noting he was heading south and we were going north and the conditions could be completely different for each direction. And NOAA had lied to me before and my sailor friends all had NOAA horror stories.

Luckily for me, my wife and my two dogs forgave me and want to continue our cruising more than ever!
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Old 04-02-2014, 10:22 AM   #25
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One thing we have to be careful about too is remembering what we enjoy isn't for everyone.
A friend of mine who is a professional captain says you need to be a masochist. Between weather, shoaling, currents, repairs in exotic locations and all the rest, it takes a special person to even attempt cruising. That's why we took a two month trip just to find out if we could do it and wanted to do it. Yes, and Yes, and now my wife is begging me to quit my job. I'm starting to take her seriously.
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Old 04-02-2014, 10:23 AM   #26
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Greetings,
Mr. E. Weather forecasting is one of the few jobs you have a 75% chance of being right 50% of the time and still get paid the big bucks. It's not an exact science after all...

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