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First Overnight Sail
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Bozemangirl
Link to this postPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 2:44 pm    Post subject: Question First Overnight Sail

Hello BVI Sailors
First time poster with a question I hope to get some advice on. My husband and I have a charter boat in BVI and get down to the islands about twice/year. My husband grew up sailing in the Pacific Northwest, but I'm new to sailing since 2008. We plan to take off as cruisers in 2014. We have a May trip planned to SVI and I told my husband I would try my first night sail at that time. I'm hoping a nice slow sail maybe Culebra to St John or something like that. Maybe we just do a slow sail out and back to Culebra for the evening. We don't really have to get anywhere. After e-mailing Mike Beswick a few years ago, I don't know if we should attempt this as our boat does not have a life raft--we'd actually planned to go to St Martin and Mike said "don't". We chose to heed his advice. Is it crazy to do a night sail in an an area in which we are familiar without a life raft on board? My husband is not concerned as he is confident we would not go if weather prediction is not acceptable. I've got to do this at some point.
Thanks in advance for any advice and for a place to post the question.
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sail2wind
Link to this postPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 3:40 pm    

It's not crazy, but definitely not allowed by your charter company, unless you are the owners. The other comment is sailing east from Culebra is on the nose, unless you do a long open ocean tack towards St. Croix. The only real obstacle is Sail Rock. Culebra is only about 25 miles to St.John, so an over night is not realistic. We have had some pretty wicked return trips from the SVI. as far as a life raft, only Sunsail and Moorings have life rafts.
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Bozemangirl
Link to this postPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 4:56 pm    

sail2wind wrote:
It's not crazy, but definitely not allowed by your charter company, unless you are the owners. The other comment is sailing east from Culebra is on the nose, unless you do a long open ocean tack towards St. Croix. The only real obstacle is Sail Rock. Culebra is only about 25 miles to St.John, so an over night is not realistic. We have had some pretty wicked return trips from the SVI. as far as a life raft, only Sunsail and Moorings have life rafts.
We are the owners. I didn't put our boat name because my husband might be mortified that I posted the question to strangers.
My husband wants to sail slowly toward St. Croix and then turn toward St. John. I'm sure we'd have minimal sail out. We've done the sail from Culebra to St. John, took us 8 hours. I think my husband's plan is that a normal 6 hour sail would be done in a way that takes about 10 or 12 hours. Thanks for the input. It is appreciated.
I'm sure any recommendations/concerns will have no impact on my husband, but it might help adjust my approach (both alleviate and create concerns!). I just want to get the first night sail overwith. I took a women's sailing course in Seattle and they said the best way to overcome the fear is to get out there and do it.
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DawnB
Link to this postPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 5:56 pm    

Hi Bozemangirl!

I am far from an experienced sailor, but I have done several overnight (and longer) passages and I don't think I have EVER had a life raft onboard. I can't even recall if Jeannius (Mike Beswick's boat) had one when I was crewing with them from St. Martin to Barbados.

When Mike said not to do it, was it because of no life raft, lack of experience or the specific passage? I'm thinking it must have been the BVI to St. Martin passage, admittedly it can be one of the worst experiences ever, and you don't want that to be your first overnight!

You'll be nervous. Of course. Everything looks completely different at night. You'll think you're seeing boats in the distance, clouds forming into storms, whatever. But you'll get used to it. And once you've done it, you might find, like me, that it's another experience under your belt, and you can't wait to do it again!

My recommendation? If you can manage it, go with another couple of crew. Take turns crewing, 2 by 2. If you and your husband are on watch together, you will be much more comfortable than if you were alone. If the whole point is to get used to overnight, don't stress yourself by doing it by yourself. Then, once you're used to what sailing at night looks like, then you can do it alone.

I love sailing at night. No one around, stars in the sky, the waves foaming beside the boat, the sense of peace. Of course, that's all on a perfect night. It's unfortunate that I get to do it so rarely, because charter boats have to be in before sunset, and I don't own my own boat (yet!).

Do it. Don't worry about it. But try to make darn sure that the weather will be fine (I'm sure your husband will not risk bad weather just to make the passage, as that will turn you against doing it again for a long time), but be prepared for the worst and expect the best!

I'd love to hear how it went once you've done it!
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sail2wind
Link to this postPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 6:21 pm    

I agree with Dawn it is spooky, yet thrilling. We did an overnight, Miami to Bahamas and it was awesome. The sunrise sailing due east was amazing. Yes, loosing sight of land for the first time, especially in the dark is eerie. I barely slept between watches, might have caught an hour here and there. The difference between an ordeal and an adventure is attitude, have fun.
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DawnB
Link to this postPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 6:26 pm    

sail2wind wrote:
I agree with Dawn


I'm framing that! Laughing
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Bozemangirl
Link to this postPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 6:35 pm    

Thanks, both of you. I think Mike was giving me lessons learned based on their years of experience. I was asking him what he would have done differenly, what he couldn't live without. I'm a lot like Jean in that I'm up for the adventure, but this started as my husband's dream, not mine. So, I have about 2 months to walk myself through this a few times on the charts. I'm a safety professional by day, so my poor husband doesn't get to do anything without some sort of risk mitigation plan. Ha!
Thanks. I will let you know how it goes.
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sail2wind
Link to this postPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 6:50 pm    

must be the BVI Pirate, brings out the best in all of us. Hey Dawn, it's not the first time

laugh


Bozemangirl, you never can be too careful, or have too many spare parts
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Herve
Link to this postPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 7:20 am    

if you are starting from Culebra I would do a night sail to St Croix, about 45nm 8-9 hours on the beam or at least not to close to the wind, then day sail to St John about 30 nm so 6 hrs or so...again beam reach and finally a great downwind sail back to culebra 25-30nm.
What kind of boat do you have ?
On my cats I never had a liferaft as they are supposed to stay afloat and offer better protection than the liferaft. You also have the dinghy in case of catastrophic collision or such., since are you going to make sure to use a nice weather window....
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Twanger
Link to this postPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 8:59 am    

I love sailing at night, though it has been many years since I've done it.

More reliance on instruments, and you really have to know your lights and aids to navigation.
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RickH
Link to this postPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 7:10 pm    Post subject: Note Dark Time

Hi Bozemangir,

Weíve done a lot of overnights.
Kind of comes with the territory when delivering boats.
I find that my favorite time on the helm, like Dawn said is at night. Since Iíve had the duty/pleasure of setting watch schedules Iíll always set mine for the 2:00 to 6:00 am local. Watch at night when things are quiet is better than going to church as far as getting close to your religion.
When things turn to shit and if youíre comfortable during the day you handle them the same way, except your local visibility is compromised.
A great way to get a feel for the whole thing would pick an anchorage in the SVIís thatís easy to depart in the dark. Leave about 3:00 am take a course to St. Croix and about false dawn youíll get an idea of youíre comfort level and where you want to end up.

Just a thought after a few beverages.
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Bozemangirl
Link to this postPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 7:40 pm    

We've decided that maybe leaving from Great Lameshur, heading toward St. Croix at a slow pace, then turning right toward Culebra might be the way to go. This way, I get this out of the way early in the trip and won't stress about it for the whole 3 weeks. I really appreciate all the positive, supportive comments. I can do this!
I remember another thing Mike B. was concerned with going to St. Martin was that we don't have a dinghy davit and he thought it would be hell to drag it behind us.
The idea about revisiting lights and aids to navs is a good one. I will do that.
The instructor at the Seattle seminar said the greatest part of the sail for her was when everyone else when to sleep and she was all alone in the night. That's what gave me the courage to tell my husband yes. Apparently, many of you feel something similar, so this is definitely worth a try.
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HaftBaked
Link to this postPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:34 am    

We night sail all the time at our home lake in Ohio. Not the ocean, but a blast non the less. I think last summer we sailed more at night than we did during the day. All the power boats are gone and there might be one or two other sailors out.
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sail2wind
Link to this postPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:39 am    

I think you are half baked. Why would you sail at night on a lake?
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HaftBaked
Link to this postPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 11:43 am    

sail2wind wrote:
I think you are half baked. Why would you sail at night on a lake?


Because that is where my boat is silly!! Ha!!! laugh laugh

Seriously, it is a pretty strait forward piece of water, ~3k acres, rectangular reservoir with a marina in the middle on one side with a well lit parking lot. Kind of hard to get in trouble.
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