58 Mile Trip

Thread starter #1
Hello all,

This is my first post on this forum (Hopefully I'm posting this in the correct section). I have been tossing the idea around of doing a long trip in my 1981 AMF sunfish, I have recently restored her back to her former glory and am happy to say that she is as dry as can be (with the help of this forum). Now that I have a dry dingy, the idea has been developing into something that i am seriously considering doing. My plan would be to launch around Cedar Point, AL go under the Dauphin island bridge and head west staying parallel with the AL,MS coast all way to Gulf Port, MS. This trip would be approximately 58 miles. My concern is obviously the distance, I am confident that 45 miles can be done in the 10-11 hours of daylight that I will have but am unsure that 58 is doable. Please don't take this concern as one based on my sailing experience, I simply have never had a gps on board to record my average speed, which makes planing this slightly more difficult. I just wanted to hear about other peoples experiences with longer trips, average speeds, or general input on the feasibility of this being completed.

Some things to consider:

Experience- I have been sailing sunfish since i was 14, I am 27 now and am still sailing on the same sunfish. Sailing instructor for 4 years.

Condition- I understand that some will be rightfully concerned with fatigue. Just to address this concern before hand, I am in great shape and am very confident in my ability to make this trip physically.


Here is the Route:
1542133674470.png
 
#2
The "Longest Sunfish Race in the World" is a roughly 25-mile race around Shelter Island, and per the article below, they finished in about 5 hours.
Campbell Conard, age 15, completes Longest Sunfish Race in the World
That would be through multiple points of sail - I would assume for yours, you would hopefully plan it with the weather patterns to minimize tacking and/or changing your point of sail.

Can you pre-plan for various stopping points shorter than the full 58 miles, and then you'd have options if weather/fatigue/etc prevent you from getting the full distance in?
 
Thread starter #3
The "Longest Sunfish Race in the World" is a roughly 25-mile race around Shelter Island, and per the article below, they finished in about 5 hours.
Campbell Conard, age 15, completes Longest Sunfish Race in the World
That would be through multiple points of sail - I would assume for yours, you would hopefully plan it with the weather patterns to minimize tacking and/or changing your point of sail.

Can you pre-plan for various stopping points shorter than the full 58 miles, and then you'd have options if weather/fatigue/etc prevent you from getting the full distance in?

Tag, thank you for your response, and the article this will definitely help. Your assumption is correct, the plan would be to only use one point of sail for the majority of the trip. I'm expecting the wind direction to be out of the N/NE which would keep me on a starboard tack/ broad reach. There are a few small islands that i could stop at if needed, as well as a few coastal cities Biloxi, pascagoula. I will definitely have a few back up plans if the weather get fowl, or if I have an equipment failure.
 
#4
Here are a bunch of random ideas. As long as the boat and equipment is sound and you are on a broad reach most of the way, here is no reason
why you could not make this trip. After all, a guy back in the '70 sailed a Sunfish from Miami, FL to Boston, MA and wrote a book about it, titled, I recall (?) This Book is Drunk. Read it if you have not already done so. In addition to foul weather gear, plenty of food and water, I would also have a good cell phone and a hand held VHF radio to hail commercial craft of your position and the Coast Guard if you needed big help. Flares would also be good to have if you broke down and needed to guide a rescue boat to your location.

Here is think about. Try half of the trip and see how it goes, This would be a good trial run to gauge fatigue, speed etc.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
 
Thread starter #5
Here are a bunch of random ideas. As long as the boat and equipment is sound and you are on a broad reach most of the way, here is no reason
why you could not make this trip. After all, a guy back in the '70 sailed a Sunfish from Miami, FL to Boston, MA and wrote a book about it, titled, I recall (?) This Book is Drunk. Read it if you have not already done so. In addition to foul weather gear, plenty of food and water, I would also have a good cell phone and a hand held VHF radio to hail commercial craft of your position and the Coast Guard if you needed big help. Flares would also be good to have if you broke down and needed to guide a rescue boat to your location.

Here is think about. Try half of the trip and see how it goes, This would be a good trial run to gauge fatigue, speed etc.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY


Thank you Alan, I heard about that trip, but definitely need to pick up a copy. Great suggestions on equipment as well, I'm going to try to make a 25 mile trip this weekend to help gauge how far Ill be able to go in one day.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
#7
I agree with everything said so far. I just would be sure when you go on the test sail and the real thing you only go if the wind is from a good direction. If you get up and find the wind is coming from the west, postpone the sail and wait for a day when you will be on a reach or run for the trip.
 
#8
It sounds like an epic trip . If I were considering it I would figure 5.8 mph max average on a reach and that would be 10 hours. I would have a backup plan to stop some where if needed... Also I was thinking in an average sailing day I'll bet I sail at lease 30-45 miles back and forth across the lake. In a good wind 3 or 4 miles only takes a few minutes it seems... I am the kind of person that embraces these kind of ideas. You could pick up a used handheld gps off ebay so you can see your speed so you know if you are going to arrive on time. You could end up having to do more miles if you have to alter your course . Maybe try half the distance first and have a plan in case of poor conditions...
 
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#9
No reason such a voyage can't be made under the right conditions, particularly if you're FLYIN' on a broad reach for much of the trip... I sailed the length of the Salton Sea aboard a 12' Minifish, 30 nautical miles in a matter of hours, and that included howling winds tapering off, some doldrums action, a drastic 180-degree wind shift, and winds rebuilding to a mere 8 or 10 knots during the latter part of the voyage. A broad reach is a fast point of sail for most small craft, and your boat should be able to handle the venture... personally, I'd probably do it when the days were a bit longer, as the breeze doesn't always build fast enough in the morning, LOL. :confused:

CHEERS, AND GOOD LUCK ON YOUR VOYAGE!!! DON'T FORGET THE CAMERA & SOME COLD BEER!!! :rolleyes:
 

thieuster

Active Member
#10
Over here in The Netherlands, we do 'crossings' like this every year. But 60 miles is a very, very long distance. I'm surprised that you're not mentioning back-up like a yacht that says with you along the coast. I'm not familiar with the local situation (Never been to AL and MS, but I've been to TX and FL) so I suppose that you want to sail this on one of the longer days of the year. Fatigue, heat, salt, possible problems with the gear. You need to consider that as well.

On another spot of this forum, I've read that the US Coastguard has a lot to say about vests and PFDs. I would be surprised to hear that they allow a trip like this without back-up and/or support.
 

thieuster

Active Member
#11
... additionally to my previous post (it was very early this morning)...

'Crossings' here are one-way trips across Lake IJsselmeer or trips from the mainland to one of the Northern Islands ('Wadden'). Especially these trips from the mainland are notorious for the strong currents.

Dutch Waterway Police (inland waters) and Coastguard (sea) are not too difficult most at the time. Going out at sea with 20+ knots (gusts 32+) with support from 2 RIBs is allowed. Not going out in these conditions without support.

About 8 -10 yrs ago, my son was sailing an optimist and on a very stormy Sunday, he and another sailor went out on a big lake. Three fathers + myself on two RIBs were out as well. All went well and the boys had an experience that will last forever.
A week later, during much better weather, a large Waterway Police vessel came up to us and ordered us to stop... That turned into an interesting conversation...
First, our licenses were checked, our personal equipment was checked and the boat's equipment was checked. That's standard procedure. Then the officer said: " Gentlemen, we were called last week; concerned civilians called us when they spotted you and the boys go out in that stormy weather! We got the message from the dispatcher but decided not to go and have a look. We know you guys and we know that you're a capable crew and that the sailors are capable as well!"
 
Thread starter #12
... additionally to my previous post (it was very early this morning)...

'Crossings' here are one-way trips across Lake IJsselmeer or trips from the mainland to one of the Northern Islands ('Wadden'). Especially these trips from the mainland are notorious for the strong currents.

Dutch Waterway Police (inland waters) and Coastguard (sea) are not too difficult most at the time. Going out at sea with 20+ knots (gusts 32+) with support from 2 RIBs is allowed. Not going out in these conditions without support.

About 8 -10 yrs ago, my son was sailing an optimist and on a very stormy Sunday, he and another sailor went out on a big lake. Three fathers + myself on two RIBs were out as well. All went well and the boys had an experience that will last forever.
A week later, during much better weather, a large Waterway Police vessel came up to us and ordered us to stop... That turned into an interesting conversation...
First, our licenses were checked, our personal equipment was checked and the boat's equipment was checked. That's standard procedure. Then the officer said: " Gentlemen, we were called last week; concerned civilians called us when they spotted you and the boys go out in that stormy weather! We got the message from the dispatcher but decided not to go and have a look. We know you guys and we know that you're a capable crew and that the sailors are capable as well!"
Thieuster, Thank you for your input. I agree having a support vessel would definitely be ideal, I'm looking around to see if any one would be willing to accompany me in a support boat or even just in another sunfish. One good thing about the route that I have chosen is that there are barrier islands throughout most of the trip making the voyage more inland like conditions rather than open ocean.

Sidenote- It is interesting to hear about the regulations in the Netherlands and your experiences. Where I am located, in Gulf Shores, AL you don't even have to have a boating license to operate a vessel that doesn't have a motor. Also, dinghy's like my sunfish do not need to be registered, and you are not required to wear a life jacket, you still must have one available though (I will of course be wearing mine). Thanks again for the input!
 
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L&VW

Well-Known Member
#13
Just some questions:

How will you make the return trip?

As I've been a victim of a broken mast, would it make sense to carry (to windward) a three-pound emergency mast sleeve?

If one-third through this trip, and you're not "making miles" would you try a different day?

To reduce fatigue, will you be securing stores to windward?

If similar voyages are in your future, would you consider obtaining an EPIRB?
 
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thieuster

Active Member
#14
EBIRP sounds good but the chance that it will start working unintendedly is pretty large when sailing a dinghy... I really think that a support vessel is the best and safest option.

If you want to sail a long distance without direct support, you can always opt for this: Texas 200
But I doubt that they will accept a GPR hull...
 
Thread starter #16
Just some questions:

How will you make the return trip?

As I've been a victim of a broken mast, would it make sense to carry (to windward) a three-pound emergency mast sleeve?

If one-third through this trip, and you're not "making miles" would you try a different day?

To reduce fatigue, will you be securing stores to windward?

If similar voyages are in your future, would you consider borrowing an EPIRB?

L&VW, Thank you for the response. My pop's has a place in Waveland (not far from the final destination) I'm planning on spending the weekend there, and my girlfriend will meet me with the sunfish trailer so it would be a one way trip. I would try a different day if not making sufficient headway, but I would have to make the decision based on location, wind, nearest beach/marina.
Great thought on storing my gear windward, Ill have to play around with that this weekend. The mast sleeve also sounds like a good idea, I will have to look into this, I know what the concept is but don't have any experience with them.
I would love to have an EPIRB on board, I know they are an expensive and potentially life saving piece of equipment.
 
Thread starter #17
It's been at least five years since a member was to attempt a similar voyage--maybe longer? We haven't heard back!
Well Hopefully they are well! I intend to video as much as possible of the trip & do my best to edit it into something entertaining. I will Definitely share it with everyone, and report back. As of right now, Weather & family permitting I'm going to attempt the trip Friday 11/23.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
#18
A mast sleeve is not easy to insert. First, be sure your mast looks ok. If it does break, just put a sock or something in the step to protect the bottom of the step. Then put what is left of the mast back in, re tie the halyard to the correct spot on the upper spar, hoist the sail and carry on!
 
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