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Baltimore 2019

Gitane

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Sounding good and sounds like you are ahead of me.

My next decision is what to stow for heavy weather. By all accounts a Jordan Series is the answer. Thing is I’m short on budget and time to learn how to use one. Decisions, decisions!

Same funds and time issues for me on the drogue I am afraid, If it’s stormy on June 16, my strategy is to remain in Plymouth until a good weather window appears.


Heading off to Harwich tomorrow and then will try to sail to IJmuiden. Crossing the North Sea single handed will be a first for me, so we’ll see how it goes. Weather looks pretty benign this week, so hopefully it won’t be a too arduous passage.
 

Pye_End

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It might be chilly, but good to practice staying down below (or sitting at the hatch). The North Sea is probably harder to cat nap than most other places because of shipping, navigation and wind farms. At least you should have a fair wind which makes a difference.

Have a good trip.
 

MoodySabre

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Same funds and time issues for me on the drogue I am afraid, If it’s stormy on June 16, my strategy is to remain in Plymouth until a good weather window appears.


Heading off to Harwich tomorrow and then will try to sail to IJmuiden. Crossing the North Sea single handed will be a first for me, so we’ll see how it goes. Weather looks pretty benign this week, so hopefully it won’t be a too arduous passage.
Hope it goes well Ron.
 

Gitane

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Well, Holland didn’t happen.

Pye-end was right, the forecast for Holland now shows cold and wet, and once over there, windy at times. Not much fun. I don’t like the cold so Holland will have to wait until things warm up a bit.

Still want to do a 100 miles overnight practise run.

Now looking to leave Bradwell and head towards near Lowestoft and back, timed so that I do the bit north of Harwich during the night. My guess is that once North of the N Shipwash NCM, that traffic will be light, so can get some catnaps. Does anybody know that bit of water, is it indeed pretty empty?


The other thought with this plan is that I am always a few hours away from a safe harbour. As this is the first time I will do such a passage, then maybe this option is better than discovering something I don’t know about in the middle of the North Sea 60 miles away from land.
 
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MoodySabre

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There are often vessels anchored a few miles off Southwold. It doesn't show as an anchorage but a "Transhipment area" Otherwise quiet until nearer Lowestoft.
 

Pye_End

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Perhaps easier from where I am, but I did my practiced 'time out alone' mainly SW of Boulogne. Nice patch of water largely away from ships (quite a few fishy boats though). The first 24 hours or so was busy so virtually no sleep, so nicely set up for the learning experience for the following day or two, and plenty of ports to go into once you feel that sufficient learning had been achieved!
 

Gitane

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OK, third time lucky, previous messages were deleted by accident.

I did the 100 miles 24 hrs practise trip earlier his week. Actually it was 26 hrs, but ended being only 97 miles logged as I stopped short due to strong winds being forecast. The passage ended up being from Bradwell to Sizewell and then back to Shotley, instead of back to Bradwell as intended.

For those who are contemplating their first solo overnight practise passage, below is what I learnt from this, for me, a new experience. Note though that I chose a night of benign weather with winds of F3 or less through the night and F4 during day.

1) There be no dragons that appear if you are sailing after dark. The sea and boat behaves exactly the same in the dark as in the light.
2) Even though it was a moonless night, I could see all my lines and sails without having to use a torch.
3) It was a cold night (5 deg C), so I focused on staying in the cabin or at the hatch with the washboards in place as much as possible. I only twice went into the cockpit during the night to adjust our course.
4) For sleep, I did the 10 minute routine, using a cheap egg timer to keep track of timings. Egg timers are easier to use with gloves on than a mobile phone. I would set the timer, sleep for 10 minutes, be woken by the timer, stick my head out the hatch to check for shipping, quickly checked the chart plotter to see that I was still on course and the AIS, then went back to sleep. This worked and I got through the night and was reasonably awake the following day. However, I was tired and needed some extra sleep when I got into Shotley, but I would have quite happily sailed on the extra miles to Bradwell. Incidentally, I saw no ships in my path during the night.
5) My 100 watt solar panel mounted on top of the sprayhood kept up with the demands of the VHF, Chartplotter and AIS on the Tablet, Tillerpilot and LED NAV lights. Batteries remained in the normal range and only took a few minutes to recover to fully charged at the end of the voyage.
6) During the night I slept fully clothed under a sleeping bag, which kept me warm. The only addition next time is a thermal insulation mat to sleep on, as the cabin seat cushions are not thermally insulated and thus drained away heat.
7) I would say that a tiller pilot or windvane is essential if sailing solo for longer distances, and I would even strongly recommend a chartplotter for navigation. Given the many shallows and sandbanks on my route, I would have found it difficult to do pilotage navigation in the dark when tired and also do all the other things that need to be done to keep boat and myself on even keel. AIS is certainly nice and makes navigating around large ships easier, but it is probably possible to do solo passages without it if one sticks to the 10-20 minute sleep routine.
 
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Gitane

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One more thing I would add about night passages.

When approaching the night, I would under canvas the boat so that the boat can look after herself throughout the night. The trick during night sailing seems to be to minimise effort and concentrate on rest and sleep. So, by under canvassing, the boat should sail along balanced and comfortable and this should minimise trips out of the cabin.
 

John Willis

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3 Sep 2015
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In my humble opinion Gitanes is quite right. I always aim to reduce trips outside at night and sure you may lose a few miles, but you will be less stressed and rest better - note rest not sleep. Both important but different, the latter much harder.

I am no racer - don't like spilling my tea so no big balloons aboard Pippin! But have done a lot of solo miles. I also keep boom preventers rigged both sides at all times - also useful when tensioned as hand holds. On the basis that if you go over board you are dead, I also rig my safety lines from aft diagonally to mast on basis 95%+ of my outdoor stuff can be done whilst clipped on there.

I personally would not solo long distance without a windvane but am lucky as the boat came with a Hydrovane. Acts as emergency rudder too.

But in the end each to his or her own.
 

Gitane

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Agree on the safety lines.

My jack stays used to be rigged like most I have seen, along the sides of the boat to the bow, running just inside the stanchions. But, I figured that whilst this may keep me tied to the boat if I fall in, no good if you are single handed, this does not stop you going over the side.

My jack stays now run along the middle of the whole length of the coach roof, round each side of the mast and to the bow. If I want to get to the mast, then I leave the cockpit clipped on with a long life line tied to a point in the cockpit. This life line is just long enough to get to and sit on the coach roof. Once sitting on the coachroof, I clip onto the jackstay with a short lifeline and release the long lifeline. At that stage, I can’t fall overboard as the short lifeline is not long enough and the clipped on short lifeline give additional support when standing on the coach roof when handling sails etc.

I am of course still vulnerable when going from the cockpit to the coach roof, but there are many handholds in that areas either on the sprayhood frame, the stanchions or the coachroof. I also added some loops to the jackstay near the sprayhood to hold onto when transferring between cockpit and coachroof.
 

Gitane

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I have another question.

Which charts will people carry getting to Plymouth as well as during the challenge?

I will be going along the south coast to get to Plymouth, and I have already Reid’s Almanac. Given this, should I just stick to only passage charts for the passages to Plymouth and to Baltimore and rely on Reid’s for the approaches to ports. Or, should I also carry the more detailed Imray 2200 series portfolios for the whole of the South Coast or the Admiralty’s Charts equivalent?


What would the panel suggest?
 

zoidberg

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I would suggest you certainly want one or both charts for the Isles of Scilly.....

And harbour-plan scale charts for anywhere else you might possibly NEED to enter.
 

MoodySabre

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I bought my boat in Plymouth 13 years ago so no internet or Navionics or a plotter. I used passage charts for the Channel and borrowed a Solent Approaches chart. Thames Estuary too of course. I had only ever daysailed before. It all seemed simple and less hazardous then - comparative ignorance was bliss. And exciting.
 

Pye_End

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Agree on the safety lines.

I am of course still vulnerable when going from the cockpit to the coach roof, but there are many handholds in that areas either on the sprayhood frame, the stanchions or the coachroof. I also added some loops to the jackstay near the sprayhood to hold onto when transferring between cockpit and coachroof.
Handholds on the sprayhood are really useful. If you have a couple of spare tethers, put them over the sprayhood - ie one end anchored onto the coachroof forward of the sprayhood, and the other the cockpit side. That way you can hook on in safety and work your way round the sprayhood whilst being tethered rather nearer the centreline than jackstays along the sidedeck.

Charts - I bought some very out of date charts for passage making / planning. I had more recent of the Solent although always end up round the outside . Larger scale of Plymouth area is handy as it is fabulous sailing are. Reeds and electronics kept for unplanned stops.
 

MoodySabre

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Ron Gitane - I've got an 11 year old Eastern Channel chart you can borrow (Imray C12). Also an old Shell Channel Pilot and Roger Oliver's Sailing Around the UK. Will be over on Friday (could come sooner) - when do you leave Bradwell?
 

Gitane

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Ron Gitane - I've got an 11 year old Eastern Channel chart you can borrow (Imray C12). Also an old Shell Channel Pilot and Roger Oliver's Sailing Around the UK. Will be over on Friday (could come sooner) - when do you leave Bradwell?
Thanks Roger, PM sent.
 
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