Grenada or bust

Use this forum to announce, plan, and discuss events, cruises, regattas, shows, sailing destinations, events your club is planning, etc.

Moderators: kmclemore, beene, NiceAft, Catigale, Hamin' X

User avatar
Inquisitor
Captain
Posts: 922
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2007 5:24 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: North Carolina Mountains

Grenada or bust

Post by Inquisitor » Tue Oct 27, 2020 5:38 am

First off - I know this must be insane... but I'd like to start gauging the degree of insanity. I "dared" to die in Atlanta rush hour traffic for 25 years. There is risk to everything... falling in bathtub, lightning strike (particularly with a 30' rod above your head), Atlanta in the rain or snow.

I just read an article about the ban on commercial cruising is about to be lifted, but the CDC says, "to just say no". Considering the COVID will probably be far worse this winter, I would bet the cruising will get locked back down. Not to be too much of an opportunist... but... former cruise destinations must be a bargain and deserted. I used to sail on the old WindJammer fleets in the Caribbean before the children of the founder drove it on the rocks; and I have many fond memories of the cruising and the islands down there.

I've also read as much as I can on this and other forums about cruising to the Bahamas. If (when) I get re-comfortable enough with my sailing, I definitely will add that trip to my list. What I'd like to know has anyone gotten down to say... St Martin, St Lucia, maybe even down to Grenada to hole-up during the hurricane season. From what I gather so far... just crossing to the Bimini's is probably the worst patch of sailing (At least non-storm sailing).

I'd really be interested in what your opinions might be... be it first hand or experienced conjecture.
  • visiting those actual locations on a Mac
  • 50-70 mile blue water crossings
  • what kind of distance might be covered in a 24 hour period under ideal conditions
  • provisioning
  • routing through Cuba instead of the Bahamas
  • maybe even the likelihood that we could put together a multi-month... even year-long flotilla
  • any other thing that might be pertinent (or not 8) )
... like I said... degrees of insanity. I doubt the Admiral would go for it. I might have to fly her in and out at some key islands and do most single handed. This is bucket list territory.
Odysseus, expert on the Siren's call

User avatar
Russ
Admiral
Posts: 6521
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2007 12:01 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Bozeman, Montana "Luna Azul" 2008 M 70hp Suzi

Re: Grenada or bust

Post by Russ » Tue Oct 27, 2020 6:18 am

In a Mac? I wouldn't. It's a great boat for what it's meant for. That is not Blue Water sailing.

I would recommend cutting your teeth chartering in the islands first.

This article got me thinking
https://www.boatus.com/magazine/2014/de ... family.asp
--Russ

User avatar
Jimmyt
Admiral
Posts: 2408
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 9:52 am
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Mobile AL 2013 26M, 60 Etec

Re: Grenada or bust

Post by Jimmyt » Tue Oct 27, 2020 7:27 am

With the right weather, 50-70 miles is a long day. Can it be done in a Mac? Sure. Would I want to try it? No. I don't think it would be that risky, but being that far off shore in a small boat makes me uncomfortable. I've been on the water since I was small, but in open water infrequently, and occasionally in interesting weather. So, it's really a mental thing. If it isn't fun, I'm not going to do it.

For a glimpse at what can be done when you just don't care...

For a trip with a lot less risk, check out this series done in a Mac.

A 70 mile crossing with sail and high speed outboard capability isn't terribly risky if you wait for the right weather, and are thoroughly prepared.

Sailing, you can think 4-5 knots average. Motoring, whatever... The flexibility of a power sailer...

If it's your thing, start making plans.
Jimmyt
P-Cub-Boo
2013 26M, Etec 60, roller Genoa, roller main
Cruising Waters: Mobile Bay, Western Shore, Fowl River

adudinsk
First Officer
Posts: 335
Joined: Tue Aug 27, 2019 12:53 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M

Re: Grenada or bust

Post by adudinsk » Wed Oct 28, 2020 4:19 am

I would stay away from Cuba. Been there many times.. (resorts..not on a mac)
You will be viewed as a walking ATM machine, all the things you need to buy.. water.. fuel..etc will be black market.. SLOW to get, and $$$$$$$.

I have a good friend that does lots of business there (Cuban Cigar distributor in Canada) and he says its impossible to get anything done.. even with HUGE tips. Hates the work ethic there..and the "island time" everyone is on.

It is a pretty location, but talking to other friends that have sailed through it..(much bigger boats) they all said they would NEVER go back on a boat. (you must be rich if you have a boat.... tip me is the attitude there)

Many YouTube vids that confirm this.

As for the boat.. if weather is good.. right time of the year, and you have lots of fuel (and a reliable OB), and good batteries.. (and get a fuel polisher/extra filter at least .. I chartered in the BVI and fuel was usually very dirty..). I would think the boat would easily make it. (with the OB especially) Many have done similar trips.

?I thought there were large groups that would all go together for such trips (possibly even a group of Macs?)

http://www.ne-ts.com/cr/cr-404bahamas.html

I would google others that did the type of trip you are planning, and ask questions... (but I would do it..with proper planning)

AD
(Just my 2 cents worth)

User avatar
Inquisitor
Captain
Posts: 922
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2007 5:24 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: North Carolina Mountains

Re: Grenada or bust

Post by Inquisitor » Wed Oct 28, 2020 6:10 am

adudinsk wrote:
Wed Oct 28, 2020 4:19 am
I would stay away from Cuba. Been there many times.. (resorts..not on a mac)
You will be viewed as a walking ATM machine...
I hadn't researched Cuba yet. I just threw that one in because I recalled my first impression back when it was announced that it was being opened up for us US citizens. I thought how it would have been near a pristine experience and that a couple of years down the road, it'll be just another tourist driven industry trap. Thanks for the reality check.
Russ wrote:
Tue Oct 27, 2020 6:18 am
In a Mac? I wouldn't. It's a great boat for what it's meant for. That is not Blue Water sailing.

I would recommend cutting your teeth chartering in the islands first.

This article got me thinking
https://www.boatus.com/magazine/2014/de ... family.asp
I've considered these in the past, but while still working, I found 7 day vacations barely unwound me before dumping back in the work grind. Back then a couple would easily spend $10k (counting air-fare, spending money and cruise) on one of four cabins on a cat for one week. As large as they were, I couldn't bare the thought of being stuck with another couple whining about the service and not able to get away from them. I even considered doing one of the Moorings, "buy. Let us rent your boat AND MAKE LOADS OF CASH. And get a pristine ready cruiser after only five years... promises." Damn! Dodge'd that bullet out of shear luck. Even though I'm retired and really un-wound... I don't ever want to be constrained to 7 days for anything. With that mentality I can pick my windows and enjoy the view or move on as necessary.
adudinsk wrote:
Wed Oct 28, 2020 4:19 am
?I thought there were large groups that would all go together for such trips (possibly even a group of Macs?)
http://www.ne-ts.com/cr/cr-404bahamas.html

I would google others that did the type of trip you are planning, and ask questions... (but I would do it..with proper planning)
I think you're right. I recall in my last go-around of sailing (ending about 10 years ago) I was starting to plan a Bimini trip and saw a group trying to get a Mac contingent together for the trip. I would have thought it was this forum.
Odysseus, expert on the Siren's call

User avatar
NiceAft
Admiral
Posts: 5065
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 7:28 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Upper Dublin,PA, USA: 2005M 50hp.Honda4strk.,1979 Phantom Sport Sailboat, 9'Achilles 6HP Merc 4strk

Re: Grenada or bust

Post by NiceAft » Wed Oct 28, 2020 6:12 am

Look, any such trip is doable, but that doesn't mean you should do it. As Jimmy has pointed out, "if it's not fun..."

Jaime Alonzo takes his :macm: from Puerto Rico to the Virgin Islands, but the trip you're referring to is much larger. I'd be interested in seeing Jaime's opinion.

Mad Max talked about going to Hawaii in his :macx: . I remember him posting that the stock rudders needed to be replaced with something much sturdier.

Many years ago in airports (I'm old), one could purchase a life insurance policy for twenty-five cents. If you decide to take this trip, can I get one on you? :o :wink:

P.S. I believe the group you mentioned was the Conch Sailors. A few MacGregor Sailors board members have gone with them; I believe Chip Hines went more than once, but that was years ago. I don't believe they are a group anymore.
Ray ~~_/)~~

User avatar
Inquisitor
Captain
Posts: 922
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2007 5:24 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: North Carolina Mountains

Re: Grenada or bust

Post by Inquisitor » Wed Oct 28, 2020 6:18 am

NiceAft wrote:
Wed Oct 28, 2020 6:12 am
P.S. I believe the group you mentioned was the Conch Sailors. A few MacGregor Sailors board members have gone with them; I believe Chip Hines went more than once, but that was years ago. I don't believe they are a group anymore.
I'd be honored! :P

Maybe I can do a raffle.
Last edited by Inquisitor on Wed Oct 28, 2020 6:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
Odysseus, expert on the Siren's call

User avatar
NiceAft
Admiral
Posts: 5065
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 7:28 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Upper Dublin,PA, USA: 2005M 50hp.Honda4strk.,1979 Phantom Sport Sailboat, 9'Achilles 6HP Merc 4strk

Re: Grenada or bust

Post by NiceAft » Wed Oct 28, 2020 6:20 am

:D
Ray ~~_/)~~

User avatar
Jimmyt
Admiral
Posts: 2408
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 9:52 am
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Mobile AL 2013 26M, 60 Etec

Re: Grenada or bust

Post by Jimmyt » Wed Oct 28, 2020 6:58 am

That's the beauty of a power sailer. If you break a rudder, or a dagger board, you've still got a power boat to finish the crossing.

Just because it wouldn't be fun for me, doesn't mean it can't be fun for others.

I wouldn't worry about doing a 70 mile crossing in a favorable weather window, with the right prep. I just wouldn't choose to do it for fun.

AIS, EPIRB, float plan, extra fuel, redundant gps (or other nav), reasonable seas, winds 10 knots (no more than 20) in a favorable direction, couple of days worth of food and water (just in case), life raft or dinghy.

Come on Ray. Where's that free spirited artist when we need him? :D :D :D
Jimmyt
P-Cub-Boo
2013 26M, Etec 60, roller Genoa, roller main
Cruising Waters: Mobile Bay, Western Shore, Fowl River

User avatar
Inquisitor
Captain
Posts: 922
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2007 5:24 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: North Carolina Mountains

Re: Grenada or bust

Post by Inquisitor » Wed Oct 28, 2020 7:14 am

I hope I don't sound like a kayak crossing the Atlantic kook! Apologies to the kooks out there... but really... check yourself in to a safe rubber room. :o

I will be well prepared with all the safety and electronic goodies... water maker, radios, radar, EPIRB. hull... I won't even consider it till Musk sends me my marine, StarLink antenna so I can get RIGHT NOW radar weather conditions and reports. Besides... how will I keep you fine people up to date with my on-going trip report and ask more stupid questions of how to do something without decent Internet? Much of the time now... I barely get 600Kbit Internet. Sometime its ZERO. It will be refreshing out in the middle of the ocean getting 100Mbit! It will be liberating. With that'll I put a live CAM and you can see those dangerous conditions, I'm not leaving the port for. 8) Or start your life insurance claims if I did. :D

It is my current (maybe naïve) understanding that the hardest part is getting over the blue water from FL to Bimini. As long as I wait for non-North wind day forecast, even that's a cake walk. Having a boat that can do 10 to 15+ knots if necessary is also quite the safety net.

But seriously... let me ask you all a couple of pointed questions
  • I've never been in the Mac in real storm seas. I've seen 10+ foot rollers yes in the Gulf Stream WITH a North Wind. Can you say roller coaster ride... oooh yeah! Jumping a cabin cruisers wake going full bore in the Mac seems far harsher. Has anyone here ever experienced storm conditions while in a Mac? Say pull the board up, put out a sea anchor and go below type conditions? I'm sure it'll be a rough ride, with such a relatively light boat, but many light-weight cats would get thrown around as much. I can get safety belts to keep me on-board if in the cockpit or worse yet safety belts to tie me down in the bunk.
  • What makes a "good" blue water boat? I've read quite a bit. The gist I've ever gotten was heavy deep keels make it comfortable. That's it... not safer... just more comfortable. I would contend that same deep heavy keel can get you rolled even easier than a Mac just sliding sideways down the wave face. And again... with 15+ knots at your disposal you can dodge many storms if you know accurately (1) where they are (2) where they're going. I just won't be there. Musk will provide that in spades. I think it'll be a game changer. EPIRBS will be a thing of the past.
  • Hate being depressive and morbid. But have you REALLY thought about the ramifications of the world we now live? I don't mean, can you get TP at your local Walleye World? This virus is NOT going away. There is no "returning to normal!" You thought your children were tied to their phones. How are your descendants going to meet each other in a 6', mask laden world? It is already proven that once having it ONLY gives you immunity for about six months... just enough so you get it again next winter. This winter will be far worse than last winter. At best it will become like just another strain of FLU. I'm not 60 yet, but its far more deadly to those of my age and older. Point being... what are the risks of sailing a Mac across the Gulf Stream vs the reward of the new experiences in exotic (to us) lands? I could go to Walleye World because I must have groceries and die because some SOB decided his no-mask comfort was more important than my life. I'm not looking to escape, I'm looking for life value adding... Netflix doesn't cut it!
Last edited by Inquisitor on Wed Oct 28, 2020 7:58 am, edited 2 times in total.
Odysseus, expert on the Siren's call

User avatar
NiceAft
Admiral
Posts: 5065
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 7:28 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Upper Dublin,PA, USA: 2005M 50hp.Honda4strk.,1979 Phantom Sport Sailboat, 9'Achilles 6HP Merc 4strk

Re: Grenada or bust

Post by NiceAft » Wed Oct 28, 2020 7:17 am

The Conch Sailors had a list of must haves that they insisted on. They also had a rule that the fleet would not go any faster than the slowest boat. There is safety in numbers. Several of our board members have done the Bahama's trip, some more than once. Taking a Mac to Saint Lucia, that's another story :?

By the way, of all of the Caribbean islands I've been to (a whole lot), my opinion is none compare to Saint Lucia. They're all pretty, but Saint Lucia just leaves them behind. Again, my opinion.
Ray ~~_/)~~

User avatar
Inquisitor
Captain
Posts: 922
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2007 5:24 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: North Carolina Mountains

Re: Grenada or bust

Post by Inquisitor » Wed Oct 28, 2020 7:31 am

NiceAft wrote:
Wed Oct 28, 2020 7:17 am
The Conch Sailors had a list of must haves that they insisted on. They also had a rule that the fleet would not go any faster than the slowest boat. There is safety in numbers. Several of our board members have done the Bahama's trip, some more than once. Taking a Mac to Saint Lucia, that's another story :?

By the way, of all of the Caribbean islands I've been to (a whole lot), my opinion is none compare to Saint Lucia. They're all pretty, but Saint Lucia just leaves them behind. Again, my opinion.
THAT'S the site... I remember now. Thanks!

I have to agree about Saint Lucia. It is definitely my favorite. In my more affluent (read bachelor days) I took one of the old Windjammer Barefoot Cruises out of St. Lucia and stayed a couple of extra nights at Ladera.
https://www.ladera.com/peak-to-beach.html

... The only other place I've been that compared was an over water bungalow in Moorea. I won't ever get back there again... in a Mac. I'm not quite that ballsy.
Odysseus, expert on the Siren's call

User avatar
Jimmyt
Admiral
Posts: 2408
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 9:52 am
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Mobile AL 2013 26M, 60 Etec

Re: Grenada or bust

Post by Jimmyt » Wed Oct 28, 2020 9:06 am

Inquisitor wrote:
Wed Oct 28, 2020 7:14 am
I hope I don't sound like a kayak crossing the Atlantic kook! Apologies to the kooks out there... but really... check yourself in to a safe rubber room. :o

It is my current (maybe naïve) understanding that the hardest part is getting over the blue water from FL to Bimini. As long as I wait for non-North wind day forecast, even that's a cake walk. Having a boat that can do 10 to 15+ knots if necessary is also quite the safety net.
  • I've never been in the Mac in real storm seas. I've seen 10+ foot rollers yes in the Gulf Stream WITH a North Wind. Can you say roller coaster ride... oooh yeah! Jumping a cabin cruisers wake going full bore in the Mac seems far harsher. Has anyone here ever experienced storm conditions while in a Mac? Say pull the board up, put out a sea anchor and go below type conditions? I'm sure it'll be a rough ride, with such a relatively light boat, but many light-weight cats would get thrown around as much. I can get safety belts to keep me on-board if in the cockpit or worse yet safety belts to tie me down in the bunk.
  • Hate being depressive and morbid. But have you REALLY thought about the ramifications of the world we now live? I don't mean, can you get TP at your local Walleye World? This virus is NOT going away. There is no "returning to normal!" You thought your children were tied to their phones. How are your descendants going to meet each other in a 6', mask laden world? It is already proven that once having it ONLY gives you immunity for about six months... just enough so you get it again next winter. This winter will be far worse than last winter. At best it will become like just another strain of FLU. I'm not 60 yet, but its far more deadly to those of my age and older. Point being... what are the risks of sailing a Mac across the Gulf Stream vs the reward of the new experiences in exotic (to us) lands? I could go to Walleye World because I must have groceries and die because some SOB decided his no-mask comfort was more important than my life. I'm not looking to escape, I'm looking for life value adding... Netflix doesn't cut it!
I don't see crazy at all. I see someone who has a passion for life and travel looking realistically at a possible adventure. Seems like you're thinking your preparations through. And, I agree that the trip to Bimini might be safer than going to a store right now.

Most I can claim is right at 25knots, gusting somewhat higher, small craft advisory in the Bay. Shallow water produces more chop in lieu of swell. Still wasn't frightening chop; maybe 6 ft or a little better at times. Heavily reefed main and Genoa. Went out knowing it was that way, so I was prepared. No rain or lightning, just windy. So, no. I can't tell you what a 26m is like in a gale in blue water. I would think pretty miserable.

The point is, don't go if there is a chance of a gale. The Mac is perfectly capable of crossing to Bimini in good weather. If you go in bad weather, everything changes.
Jimmyt
P-Cub-Boo
2013 26M, Etec 60, roller Genoa, roller main
Cruising Waters: Mobile Bay, Western Shore, Fowl River

chipveres
Engineer
Posts: 162
Joined: Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:53 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 22
Location: Dania, FL

Re: Grenada or bust

Post by chipveres » Wed Oct 28, 2020 10:17 am

Please don't discount the three Bahama banks. Seven hundred islands, most uninhabited. Scattered about the shallow water Macs are best at. These may cause your desire to go further southeast to abate for two or three years.

Chip
s/v Sand Dollar

User avatar
rsvpasap
Engineer
Posts: 114
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2013 2:05 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26X
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: Grenada or bust

Post by rsvpasap » Wed Oct 28, 2020 3:03 pm

Conch Cruisers archived website. Many logs, trip reports and photos are still accessible. https://web.archive.org/web/20120916110 ... isers.net/

Post Reply