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Old 01-01-2020, 10:08 AM   #1
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Bermuda Crossing on a GB42

Happy New Year everyone!
As a 7-yr very happy owner of a GB42 with twin Lehman 120s, I want to get some experiential feedback on a long-distance cruise I'm considering for 2021 on my GB42. Up to now the longest crossing I've made was Grand Isle, LA to Sarasota, FL, 420 nm. Other than that I've made numerous overnight trips (8+) offshore Texas diving on reefs 110 nm off the coast. Coastal cruising experience, Galveston, Texas to Cape May, NJ.
I'm toying with the idea of doing a Cape Hatteras N.C. to Bermuda crossing in the summer of 2021, about 640 nm. My GB 42 has the range and it's only a full day more than the 52 hr crossing I've already made in the Gulf of Mexico. I realize it's a blue water trip unlike the GOM when I was never more than 150 or so nm from shore so I wouldn't leave port without a clear 5-day weather window. And I also understand a full displacement blue water trawler like a Kady Krogen, Nordhaven, etc would be a better choice for a Bermuda crossing but I don't have other blue water crossings beyond Bermuda in my plans and prefer staying with my GB.
My questions (2) are: has anyone on this forum done a NC to Bermuda crossing on a Grand Banks trawler? and 2) do you see reasons why a blue water crossing this distance (640 nm) on a GB42 may not be such a good idea?
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Old 01-01-2020, 10:18 AM   #2
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Mr. 49. As you've already mentioned, weather. I might add, be sure to have some SERIOUS life saving equipment on board (life raft, EPIRB etc.) and know how to use it should the unthinkable happen. Will your insurance allow such a passage?
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Old 01-01-2020, 10:55 AM   #3
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Read a few accounts of people sailing to Bermuda in sailboats, and getting caught in unexpected weather, and take that into account.

Morgan Freeman, the actor, did it one time, where he got in caught in bad weather with this family on his sailboat (30 something feet long) on a passage to Bermuda, and wrote about it.

I like adventure as much, or more, than the next guy, but I would really be wary of doing that run without a perfect weather window, in any 42 foot powerboat, trawler included, other than something specifically designed for passages like this. I'm not sure a GB 42, (although a great boat), qualifies.

And, as mentioned above, with all appropriate safety gear onboard.
"It's the tides. They can work for you, and they can work against you. And, confidentially, I've had this problem with the tides before." Captain Ron
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Old 01-01-2020, 10:59 AM   #4
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I'm sure you'll get convincing, possibly passionate, arguments for and against. Similar to first-time expectant mothers when meeting those already with children, the worst experiences will be shared to 'prepare' you for what might happen. Read those offered, and then do what you think you and your boat and crew are ready for. And make sure you have the right anchor(s) for the trip!

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Old 01-01-2020, 11:17 AM   #5
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I think that trip is marginal, for two reasons:

1. A 5 day weather window is iffy. Yes weather forecasting is getting better and major storms are easier to predict and 5 days should be predictable. But it is on the edge IMO.

2. So when the edge falls apart, that boat is not one I would want to be in. It isn't ballasted so its range of positive stability is probably significantly less than 90 degrees, maybe as little as 60 degrees. Also the scantlings and particularly the forward facing windows are not capable of taking green water over the bow. Its downflow capability is unknown. And finally the systems lack redundancy and survivability. Look up the offshore sailboat racing rules to see what I mean.

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Old 01-01-2020, 11:24 AM   #6
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I wonít say yes or no since it is your dream. Many years ago PassageMaker Magazine had an article about a guy singlehanding a GB 42 from Hawaii to Seattle, I think. He ran on one engine and removed the prop from the other engine and half way he dove in and swapped the props and ran the rest of the way on the other engine. You might look up the article and see what he did to the boat to prep for the trip.
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Old 01-01-2020, 11:26 AM   #7
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And do not forget the dreaded Bermuda Triangle!! We have some friends, experienced round the world sailors, motoring south of Bermuda headed to the Caribbean, when their vessel was struck by a rogue wave that damned nearly sank the boat. It hove in the windows, wrecked the electronics and half filled the boat. They were experienced and lucky enough to be able to limp back to Bermuda.
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Old 01-01-2020, 11:42 AM   #8
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On the length of the weather window thing, what's your normal cruise speed? And what speed does that boat run for a "fast cruise" (engines at max continuous, not WOT)? What's fuel burn at each speed and how much fuel do you carry?

On a trip like that, if you can run at say 9 kts instead of 7 and still carry enough fuel and not be beating up the engines, that cuts your trip time by just over 20 hours. If it's 8 kts vs 10, that saves about 16 hours. From a weather planning perspective, that might be significant. Plus, if you're not stabilized, the SD hull will probably also be less rolly a bit above hull speed compared to below hull speed.
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Old 01-01-2020, 12:41 PM   #9
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That boat probably burns 4 gph at 7 kts and 10 gph at 10 kts. I doubt if he has the fuel to go the distance at 1 NM/gal. Most GB 42 Classics have 600 gal fuel tanks.

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Old 01-01-2020, 01:07 PM   #10
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I don't have any experience with ocean crossings in a small boat, or with the GB42, or with those engines or anything, so you already know more than I do about it. But my first thought was the windows. They're pretty big, and if one breaks, then the situation could be very bad. Maybe some Lexan covers?
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Old 01-01-2020, 01:20 PM   #11
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We had friends that did the trip for the 2017 Americaís Cup in a KK42. It was flat seas and pretty much uneventful trip. They did have a weather router. They left from Charleston on June 10 and it was a 911 mile trip and took 125 hours. They said June was great being just before hurricane season.

It sounds like a GB42 could do it but as David mentioned, additional fuel would be needed.

Hereís their route.
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Old 01-01-2020, 01:31 PM   #12
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Call your insurance company and see if they will insure the trip.

The gulf is not the Atlantic.
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Old 01-01-2020, 01:32 PM   #13
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What no one has mentioned is "why?"

I have been to Bermuda a few times and when one sails (or motors) out there you quickly recognize that it is not a great boating area. The whole thing is surrounded by reef and the boating there is limited. You go in to St. George from the NE and clear customs and then either stay at anchor in St. George and use the buses or rent a moped to see the islands or you take your boat around the corner to Hamilton and then you are in the "CITY". If you go to west end you are in the "tourist central" part of the island and a long way from any thing else. When you are ready to leave you then need to again do the weather window and have the long trip back.

I think that part of the fun of boating is being comfortable doing it. I have stories to tell about sailing to the islands and being there but avoiding the big wind is probably more important than being able to tell the story.
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Old 01-01-2020, 02:42 PM   #14
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This may be a dumb suggestion, but would it be easier to leave from North Florida, maybe Jacksonville? Use the Gulf Stream and prevailing southerly (in the summer) winds to push you north? Again, I'm guessing, but would it be that much further?
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Old 01-01-2020, 03:05 PM   #15
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A Fleming 55 made all the way across the Atlantic:
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Old 01-01-2020, 03:27 PM   #16
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You might want to price fuel for the return trip as part of your equation. Automotive fuel is 3 to 4 times the USA price.

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Old 01-01-2020, 04:16 PM   #17
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A Grand Banks is not a blue water boat. Itís also semi-displacement. So it is more than capable of making the trip in good conditions, but you need to determine if you can prepare it for survival conditions. If you donít then your risk factor goes way up.

Storm covers for all windows including the side windows. Complete water tightness of doors, port lights, dorades.

Can you add a thousand pounds of lead ballast, distributed port and starboard to increase your roll moment if inertia and angle of vanishing stability?

Roll attenuation???
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Old 01-01-2020, 04:35 PM   #18
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In about 2001, a Willard 30 made this trip. Aboard was Steve D'Antonio (then with Zimmerman Marine in Virginia, their point of departure) and PMMs Bill Parletore. They had some bumpy stuff along the way, but did okay. The crew bringing her back got rocked a bit more as I recall.

I don't know squat about the Atlantic, but I'm guessing there's a month or two where the seas lay down and it's an immensely doable trip on your GB42. Proper precautions of course - purchase or rent a life raft, weather skills, epirb, etc. But this is doable.

I too recall the GB42 that went to Hawaii. I think it was from California to Hawaii, not the other direction. I know the pacific coast seasons fairly well - going to Hawaii is much easier than returning. Sometime in September or late October, the pacific high sets in and creates favorable conditions for passagemaking. You're looking for the equivalent for the Atlantic. Unfortunately the cruising routes are mostly authored by sailors who are looking for wind.

You may want to ping, the sail-oriented sister site to TF. Bermuda is not a long trek - you may get more people there who have actually made the passage.

Good luck. Sounds like a fun passage.
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Old 01-01-2020, 05:26 PM   #19
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Some interesting comments here. We have been discussing doing this sometime in the future - running from Charleston. On our research so far we certainly haven't raised as many concerns as some of the posters above.

Basically our concerns have been running the 750nm (100 hours +/-) to get somewhere that, as mentioned, might not be as interesting as other places for cruising, and then having to schlep back.
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Old 01-01-2020, 05:39 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by menzies View Post

Basically our concerns have been running the 750nm (100 hours +/-) to get somewhere that, as mentioned, might not be as interesting as other places for cruising, and then having to schlep back.
I agree that the destination isn't worth the return trip. Everyone I know who has sailed to Bermuda did so as a leg in a longer voyage or were racing.

You could make it a triangle - it's something like 650 miles from Bermuda to Halifax, then an interesting trip back down the coast.
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