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Crewing a Catamaran – Success is Failure Inside Out

Someone once said success is failure turned inside out.  So, while some might say our first sailboat crewing experience on a catamaran was a failure, we see it as a success and valuable lesson learned.

It was one of those sailing experiences where nothing went right and everything was wrong.  The only true and steady thing throughout this craziness was our optimistic attitudes.

jason sailing

Our new friend Sheldon is an ASA sailing instructor and he just purchased a 2005 Lagoon 410 catamaran.  It was sitting in St. Augustine and he needed to move it to Ft. Lauderdale where he will be keeping the boat.

This is where we come in.  Sheldon knew that we were eager to learn and jump on any sailing opportunities that we could.  He needed a crew and we wanted more experience and education so the situation was perfect.

We found a great place to board the kitties, a friend offered to let us leave the RV at his house and we were all set for our first crewing experience.  Little did we know we were in for a much bigger experience than we bargained for.

What are the odds!  Electrical problems, failed engines, a sea sick captain and no fair winds!

The trip didn’t turn out as expected and we didn’t make it to our intended destination.  We were up for almost a solid 28 hours and by the time we reached the dock at Ponce de Leon we were utterly and completely exhausted…but not defeated. We didn’t panic, we remained steadfast and to be completely honest I am damn proud of how well we did!

Sure, we are just a couple of newbies who were only 15 miles off shore, no biggie right? I can already hear the “that was nothing” comments flooding in.  But for us, it felt like one of those defining experiences…like we just passed an entrance exam to the next phase of our life with flying colors.  Our friend Sheldon gave us plenty of kudos too.

We may be lacking in experience, knowledge and education but we’re determined to make up for it with tenacity.  The rest will come with time.

In other words, it solidified our determination and confidence that we will be sturdy sailors.  It also taught us a lot of unexpected lessons.

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Lessons Learned

Our previous boat ownership and sailing experiences have taught us a lot, but this particular experience really hammered in certain points for us.  We already knew the importance of all the things listed below but now we have the first-hand experience of knowing why they’re important.

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A Well Equipped and Maintained Boat

This Lagoon is a bare bones boat that needs a lot of love (which I am sure it will get).  Proper maintenance would have prevented a lot. This particular sailboat was previously chartered, purchased by an owner that didn’t care for it, then it had sat at a marina for two years with little to no maintenance.

The dingy was flat, anchor wasn’t usable because the chain was rusted through, the life raft was expired, batteries were corroded, electrical was all over the place and the fuel filters and bilge pumps were filled with algae.

We’re handy, and don’t often shy away from work, but a boat like this is far more work than we are prepared to take on.  In our own sailboat search we aren’t looking for a fixer upper like this so we’ll stick to searching out a well maintained boat and try our best to keep it that way.  We quickly found out that Lagoon Catamarans have accessibility to most of the wires and bilge pumps, but it’s nowhere as easily accessible as the Leopards we’ve looked at. This was also a great reminder of how much easier things can be when you have spare parts and the proper tools to install those spare parts when needed.  If we would have had the proper tool for removing the fuel filter, we might have fixed the engine and made it to Ponce de Leon without the sea tow.

In case you’re wondering this 05′ Lagoon 410 S2 catamaran was listed over $200,000 and sold for just under that.

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Survey & Shakedown

The wild and crazy thing for us was that this boat just had a haul out and survey done, yet so many of the issues we ran into were surprises to the new owner.

Big lesson learned!  We will get a reputable surveyor, be present for the survey and won’t assume they will find every issue.  Which is where a shakedown trip will come in.

When it comes to RV’s we always recommend staying close to the service center for the first week.  This way we can use, test, and fix all systems to make sure everything is working well before taking off on a long trip.  We will definitely do the same with our sailboat.  We will stick close to shore, go for day sails and once we feel like everything is in good working order only then will we explore further. Of course we’re not kidding ourselves, things can easily happen at anytime but at least we shouldn’t lose everything like we did here.

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Planning and Un-planning

The original sailing plan was too simple. It was not based on weather or winds and there was no backup plan.  We were to sail/motor directly from St. Augustine to Ft. Lauderdale (approximately 3 days around the clock with no stops).  There really should’ve been more planning and certainly a “plan-b”.

Shel had brought a tiny hand-held gps, a map and a Florida cruising book so even though we lost all electrical we weren’t lost in the water.  Without those few items (along with the compass on the boat) we would’ve had no idea of where we were and we wouldn’t have been able to look up the closest marina when things started going south.

Planning is always important…even though we call ourselves un-planners. We call it un-planning because that is our style when it comes to the big overall travel plans and what new places we want to discover next.  We think it’s important to keep an open mind, be pliable and open to change when you live this very un-sedentary lifestyle.  We never know what curve ball will be thrown our way (good or bad) that could change our plans.

However, just like planning any trip by plane, RV, car, bicycle, foot or any other means of transportation we have to look ahead and be prepared for anything.

We will make sure to have a route planning and travel day check list.  We used one when we started RV’ing to make sure we didn’t forget anything and I see an even greater benefit to use one for sailing until we get our bearings. We can guarantee you’ll see all kinds of checklists being shared later on this year as we begin to create them.

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Not Sure, Don’t leave the Dock

Maybe it was our early years of road tripping in an old VW vanagon that broke down all the time or the combined years of RV issues, but for whatever reason, I am a slightly more cautious person now.  I don’t like taking off in a vessel that I am not sure will make the trip.

In the future, if I am second guessing my vessel, route, weather or just not sure, I simply won’t leave.  Rushing leads to mistakes and there is no need to make things harder than they have to be.

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So there you have it, our full, gritty, lesson filled experience.  A sailboat crewing adventure that was a failure turned inside out.

 

Do you have a failure turned inside out travel experience to share?  I feel like the everything went wrong stories are the most fun to read.  So please share!!!!  We want to hear what happened to you and what you’ve learned!

 

Hello there! I honestly don’t know what to say, so I am going to tell you a bunch of random facts instead. I'm a fish eating vegetarian who hates spiders and loves snakes. I almost never took vacations growing up. I wanted to be Pippi Longstocking (still do). I misspell about every other word I write and still struggle with grammar. I love splurging on a good high tea (which is really hard to find these days). And whatever you do, don’t tell me I can’t do something, because then I'll HAVE to do it!

Comments (131)

  • Christopher Whitcomb

    I like to tell my kids about that ‘road I’ve traveled’ to (in my mind) prevent them from hitting the same potholes I have…
    I see your videos as the same sorta thing. What you’re both doing, is what my wife, older son and I plan to do in two years – that being the time I retire after 37 years in the Air Force.
    I watch and subscribe to quite a few sailing videos on YouTube, you guys are informative, adventurous, and just fun to watch. Class act! Thank you for sharing your ‘learned’ experiences to help prepare me for mine
    Safe travels,
    Chris W.

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  • Rich curtice

    I really enjoy your videos!

    My name is Rich from Ca, I took the ASA 101, 103 and 104 from blue water school I recognized the school from one of your videos. I would like to start telling my story like you guys do, from selling my home to finding my first boat.
    Do you have any pointers on how to get started on telling my adventure of pursuing my dream.

    Please keep up the good work.

    Rich

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  • HMM

    My family of five all enjoy watching your videos. Thank you for sharing your adventures with us! My eight-year-old daughter just has one request: More cat videos. I think she would put a Day-in-the-Life of the Wynn Cats video on permanent repeat.

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  • I’ve been following your blog for a couple of months now, getting ready for a couple of months RV-ing in the US and Canada. Thanks for all the info. It has and will come in very useful. I am loving your adventures and now my husband is enjoying your sailing lessons with me. We are also adventurous. Thanks!

    We live in La Paz, Lower Baja, Mexico. It’s a great place for boating and we love living here, but we have hurricanes once in a while that are not to fool around with. You two must do some thinking about what to do when one comes to you over in Florida because it will happen this summer, and it could seriously alter your plans. I’ve seen more than a few sailboats end up on the beach or in a pile of boats in the local marinas. Some friends with boats anchor out with several serious anchors placed on the bottom and ride it out in a bay when the big storms come. Those that can, take their boats out of the water. Others choose the safest mooring available in the safest marina they know of. Since one doesn’t know when it will be needed, it is hard to reserve that mooring, because everybody will be heading for safety. I am sure you are already giving it some thought. When you get to this side of the Panama Canal in a couple of years, we will look forward to your visit to our city, which is a world class destination for hanging out in a sailboat on the Sea of Cortez also known as the Gulf of California. Happy and safe sailing! Oh, and I have to suggest that you both cover up with a hooded jacket and wide brimmed hat. I know it looks goofy but it is very important. You both look amazing right now but you are going to regret all the sun exposure by the time you are my age. Sun screens are not enough.

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  • RLW

    LOL. I love your video. Though I am still prepping on the RV life that you left, I grew up with boats! I must say what an exciting initiation. Our first adventure was in the Gulf off Sanibel Island FL when mom decided to go to the bathroom on an older boat we purchased and the corroded plumbing system valve broke and started letting water in (it apparently sourced its water from sea) we could not stop the overflowing toilet and had to run the bilge pump until we could get to dock which was about 10 miles away. During that time a massive windy thunderstorm moved in and it was, well, quite an electrical experience.

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  • Oh! My! God! Wow. What an ordeal! You guys have such a great attitude, smiling through all your tough times. Keep it up! This sounds a lot like our first trip as full-time RVers — we had to be towed on day 5 in our brand new diesel-pusher coach! The wire harness fell against the drive shaft and frayed our ignition wire. OY. It’s a long story, one you already know all about. But for newbies, we call it: How NOT to Break in Your New Motorhome.
    https://rvluckyorwhat.com/2015/11/12/how-not-to-break-in-your-new-motorhome/#more-1612

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  • Kim Nowell

    Wow what a adventure on your first trip out. I felt so sorry for you,(was just hoping to see our first trip out to be a fantastic one) but you came through with flying colors and should be so very proud of yourselves. Especially when the captain got sick and you handled it. Enjoy learning and watching as always and wish you all the best as you continue on this journey

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  • Watched this video after your latest video about putting an offer down on a boat. Great that you guys share these adventures. thank you. Best wishes and I look forward to the next episode in your journey.

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  • Bob Andrews

    Back in my yacht captain days, my boss at the time bought a used 70 foot ketch that was located in Antibes. I spent about 3-4 weeks going over every inch of the boat and gathering a crew for the trip back to the Chesapeake Bay. We then spent about 4 1/2 uneventful days motoring on a FLAT calm Mediterranean Sea to the port of Gibraltar. There we spent another week or so making sure everything was good to go, and provisioning for the crossing. We finally put to sea, and for the first time (kind of similar to your experience) we were putting our new (to us) vessel to the test in rough(ish) waters. Motor-sailing into a good sized chop, the engine pooped out. There was no danger, and we simply carried on under sail towards the Azores. What I discovered was that while the 4 1/2 days of motoring on a FLAT sea had done nothing to stir up any of the sediment in the main fuel tank, an hour or so in the choppy waters off Gibraltar did the trick! Fortunately, I had had the foresight to bring along about a dozen fuel filters, and for the times that we did need the motor over the next few weeks, we were good to go. There is no overstating the importance of a good set of tools and a comprehensive collection of spares. Gave the tanks a real good cleaning after we finally got to Maryland, btw!

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  • Victoria Leavy

    We were about half way between Maui and the Big Island of Hawaii in big water (it’s always rough crossing between islands in Hawaii) the sun was bright, the sea was brilliant blue, the sails were tight, our fully electronically equipped and meticulously maintained boat, only 2 years old, was performing beautifully…then this metal KLUNK! The large bolt that holds the boom onto the mast had vibrated out. We had a hard dodger on our monohull, so getting around the rigging a lot easier (a consideration). We fired up the engine, brought her directly into the wind, dumped the wind from our sails, kept her directly into the wind, while my husband and our friend, also a captain, dirt wrestled the sails and main boom. The large bolt didn’t slide into the water, which was amazing in itself as we were fairly well heeled over when it happened. We didn’t have a spare. New boat, right? Regardless of the boat condition and maintenance…stuff just happens. That is a given. The boat was sea worthy and our Yanmar was humming away. So, there was that. And they did wrestle the bolt back into place after a couple of hours. The cat you were on was sea worthy and had sails. In theory, you could have made it to your destination if you had to do so. The sea had moderate waves, nothing unusual and not anything that would bury a pontoon, but it was the right call to get a tow, because you’re here sharing your story and it was your call…no one else’s. The cat would have stayed afloat, but based on other information, the condition of the rigging could come into question. It was a great experience and test of wits. A lot can and does happen fairly quickly. There is no other choice but to stay calm and carry on. That is always plan b. Thanks for posting! Jason looks good at the helm. I hope you put on life vests. Carry your own and wear them. You’ll always know you have the last resort on your body. Its never too soon to have a great life vest! Splurge on expensive life vests that deploy when you hit the water and have a harness attached to whatever vessel you are in. Get the very best money can buy. The kind with all the whistles and bells…literally. Fair winds and following seas…

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  • We love you both so much, and if not for the fact that we have so much confidence in your smarts and judgement, we’d be worried that dear friends are in danger. We can see how much you’ve learned from this experience, and appreciate your sharing it and being so real. Have fun, and continue gathering as much expertise as you can.

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    • Thanks guys! We love you too our international RVing friends 🙂 Can’t wait to hear all about it.

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  • Hi Guys,
    Another great video….finally someone shows the reality; Welcome to sailing; not as wonderful as the brochures, I know. All the problems you experienced are very common; the main switches corrode over time; especially, if not switched off and on once in a while. Also, once out in a storm diesels tanks which are not kept meticulously clean will stir up the dirt and kill the engines, especially when it gets rough; cleaning the filters will only give you a few minutes typically of operation; the tanks have to be clean. Trying to restart the engines can quickly drain the batteries; especially if there is a poor connection in the main switch….which also effects the charging of the batteries while underway….cascading problems one leading to another…resulting in no power and no fun.

    Now suddenly the boat being a sailboat becomes more important than the engines or the electronics; now we are finally where you should have started. So how did it feel to sail it without engines to help you to go to windward; the light displacement and excessive windage make it nearly impossible to sail to windward in large waves unless you carry a lot of sail…which also helps the motion of the boat; typically reducing sail too far makes things much worse. Anyway, I suggest you go out and do some racing, this will improve your sail trim and reduce your fear of wind faster than anything you can do. You need to learn the limits and how hard you can safely push a boat…. The worst I have seen is 60 knots sailing downwind under full sail; hitting 23 knots boat speed before we could reduce sail. Wind speeds like that produce surreal life threatening conditions that defy description.

    Engines: The number one most common problem with most cruising boats today is the diesel engine…average maintenance is estimated at $2500 per engine per year for a saildrive type unit from what long time cruisers of these cats have told me; I believe it as I usually spent $1000 a year on my little maintenance hungry diesel in my cat….doing all the work myself. You need to become diesel experts to keep maintenance cost to a minimum and the engines running. One word that may help you, I often hear for sanity is Yanmar if you must have a diesel. Alternatively, you may want to look at the Seawind 1000 with its 9hp Yamaha outboards (simple, dependable, cheap, and low maintenance, parts available globally), as some of the used ones may be in your price range…great safe sea boats and sail very well. One delivery captain managed to sail one through a Category 5 hurricane…something no other cat I know of has done.

    Seasickness can be avoided; take a lesson from the special forces, spend one hour a day for three days preceding the trip playing a first person video games; this breaks the eye/ear connection and fast tracks you to having your sea legs.

    Backup navigation; paper charts should be there and minimally you should have plotted your position on them every 30 minutes and thought about safe ports along your way to bail out to… Also, you should have at least two backup GPS units that operate on batteries; the old Garmins that just give you numbers are great in that they run a long time on batteries; turning them on every 30 minutes to take down your position can allow your to sail great distances safely without power on board. I have a one old GPSMAP unit that runs on AA batteries (lots of these AA on board as well as led headlamps) that I keep in the microwave when a storm threatens, lighting can disable everything….this gives you a safe backup. Also I have a smaller Gamin already mounted at the helm next to the main GPS plotter that has its own battery while running from main power (so it is always charged); so that it will run a couple hours after a failure….gives you a working navigation without panic so you can focus on what failed and get the main power and plotter back online. Usually replacing a main fuse, flipping a breaker, or even switching the main off and on will be all it takes….anyway, welcome to the sailing community.

    Keep up the great videos; they bring back great memories of my early experiences more than 30 years ago…

    Fair Winds,
    David Hurdle
    SV Pacific Dragon II

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  • Gregory Jackson

    Great lesson learned.

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  • Tim Smith

    My military career was in the Coast Guard and I spent quite a bit of time going out into storms as everyone was coming back in. I learned early on to keep a bottle of Dramamine next to my keys so when I got called back into work, we had to be to sea within two hours of a call, I would take one as I left the house. Only needed it for heading out to sea then I was fine. I also saw were people recommended crackers, saltines were a life saver in the big storms.
    Safety first over everything else should be you goal. You are right to have the mindset to stay put if in doubt. Mother Nature will show you how insignificant humans are real fast. I have sailed through a lot in my career, glassy/dead calm over the equator to 60 foot seas off Newfoundland in the North Atlantic to towing a sail boat through hurricane Gloria off Cape Hatteras and into the ice flows of the Artic and Antarctic. I respected nature and enjoyed every bit of it and we all had the same goal, to safely return home. If you respect nature it will show you some of the most fantastic sights you will ever see.
    Some of the other advice I see on here is good also. Start slow and work your way up to open sea. The Chesapeake Bay here by us is an excellent place to lean to sail. You will see just about all the sea conditions in the bay that would see off shore and never be far from assistance if needed. The bay can be a great confidence builder with new sailors and still test your limits. There is room to build your sailing skills before you have to maneuver around a bunch of islands and inlets. Granted the water is not warm and clear but the Keys and the Bahamas are just a nice run down the ICWW.
    Best of luck in the boat search and in your skill building period. I would be looking at motor yachts because that is what I know, a 42 foot trawler would be great for the two of us at our age. You can always go back to RVing later but learning sailing now while you’re younger is a good opportunity.

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  • Tahnk you guys for sharing your unique experiences! It’s great fun to watch. But as a matter of fact my advise is to get rid of a “skipper” like Sheldon. To start an open ocean trip with a vessel in that condition was the first mistake. A captain that gets sea sick is absolute no go and does not really show his experience at sea.
    Having said that: Kent really seems to be a nice guy. But … showing this Belize 43 junk Cat asking price 299k was showing his broker face. There are so many fine Cat out there in the Miami region that I doubt he couldn’t find you a better one than this. Think about that. Do you need a friend or a competent broker who shows you what you need and can afford …
    The Leopard is a great Cat for an adequate price. Lagoons have the general disadvantage of high booms. Nikki, try to reach the sails for inspection or the rollers to get the sail down if jammed. No way! Lagoons are much heavier than most other Cat hence need more fuel or wouldn’t be as manouverable as others.
    Cannot wait to see the rest of the story before you finally end up on your own boat.
    Keep up the great footage.

    All the best
    Kay
    Berlin, Germany

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    • Victoria Leavy

      Getting seasick is resolved after a day or two. Gyro needs to adjust. A captain can get seasick and still perform well as a captain. I eat a little candied ginger and never sail on an empty stomach. Carbs help. Stress also can add to seasick. Taking that particular boat out after knowing its condition and with a novice crew was reckless IMHO. It looks like the boat needs at least a few months of work before taking her out into open ocean. That said, I agree with the sailor above. How was the sail? Did she perform well? Electronics are not necessary for a great sail. Hope you enjoyed that, which is the most important part…sailing. And as previously stated…life vests, especially at night.

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      • We were blown away at how slow the Lagoon was at tacking and coming about. It was a fight to make progress. I’m sure its part inexperience on our part, but we’ve talked to other cat sailors who say the same thing. Overall we really enjoyed the trip and the learning experience.

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  • Paul

    If you make your way up the DITCH (ICWW) to NC, please stop by and say hey y’all at out dock on Oak Island.
    \

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    • Paul

      Ooops, ment to say our, not “out” dock.

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  • Greetings,
    My wife and two girls (9/10) just moved off a 2006 Lagoon 410s2 in the Caribbean. We started Sept 2014 and moved off in Nov 2015. Watching your video and your search brings back so many memories, we were so much like you two back in 2014. We looked for 4 years before buying an ex charter from The Moorings in BVI. I blogged the whole thing and think you may want to read it. Just reply I will send you a link.
    You are very lucky, watching that last video made me a bit upset you were both put in that situation because the captain is ultimately responsible for the ship. I sailed our boat “Traveller” from BVI to the US/Spanish Virgins and over to St Martin and down to Grenada. Our engines never failed us and we had every condition out there. We were at a marina maybe twice in that year and a half. At anchor, powered by the sun and it was incredible.
    Funny, we are now moving into a fifth wheel trailer to take our family on the road now so that is how we found your videos (very helpful BTW).
    Contact me, so much I can answer as I literally have walked in those shoes and you should consider an ex charter from the Moorings based on my experience. As mentioned the boat was in impeccable condition and we paid what your budget is. Yep it can happen. Just don’t rush it. The first person who saw our boat for sale bought it after looking at 16 Florida based boats.
    Offshore sale (tax free), registering, all nothing to fret about. Starting in the BVI was also perfect for complete newbies like we were then.

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      • Here you go: https://ln01.ppzuav.com/traveller/
        Watching your videos with the RV and the evolution from the start to today you know what you need to for living on the boat and how to make it just like you need. As you go through the boats you probably see the similarities (valid thought).
        PS: Marlena and I watched the episode with the Leopard 43, yes, it is the perfect boat. I was watching and agreeing with you. Buying another that would be the one. The reason may surprise you. The short answer is like buying a used RV, it needs to be ready to go without needing anything further when you leave the dock. You know well stuff comes up even with new stuff. That Leopard was a good example how a boat should be like you want to buy. The difference with the RV and the boat is out there you do not have hardware stores. The blog should do a good job mentioning all this.

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      • John S.

        Others would also like to read this blog as well. Can you make the link public?

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      • David Conger

        Oh, most important (comment), that was so awesome that you didn’t get sea sick. I don’t either. Marlena does as did the girls and that meant I, like you, ended up at the help once underway. Consider this when purchasing. I was able to single hand the Lagoon 410s2. I’m sure the Leopard you can also. It’s not about physical strength at all, more mental to think twice act once. I had a saying, there is nothing so urgent ever anywhere on the boat that requires you to run or rush. The reason is clear, slow thoughtful reactions are the most appropriate. No shame in being ill but knowing at least one person can be at the helm and in control is mandatory IMHO. How lucky was your Captain to have you along 🙂 … and that you all rallied and did what it took to get back safely. With good attention to weather (forecasts are almost never true conditions) you can in the future just avoid those conditions again. From the video I would guess you may have done the worst as good planning and simply turning back (never have to be somewhere) will mean you won’t have to experience that again. Huge congratulations to both of you for what you succeeded in doing on that trip. Definitely subscribed and rooting for your continued success.

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  • Allan

    Great recovery to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
    Does your experience repairing a Lagoon, move the Leopard to the top of your list?

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  • Mike Robison

    As a former USN ship engineer for 22+ years, I suggest you consider having a duplex fuel filter system installed on whatever boat you end up with that would only require you to shift the fuel flow to a clean filter when (not if!) the primary one gets clogged. That way, you can change the clogged filter when things are quiet. Backups for critical systems (fuel, lube oil filters, navigation, fresh water and bilge pumps, etc) are always a good idea, especially if you are living aboard and will be far away from shore/repair facilities! I don’t need to mention routine maintenance, as I think you guys have already learned about that! 🙂

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  • Sounds like a typical trip. I delivered a boat from Fort Lauderdale to Lake Charles once years ago. Trip from hell, but I used it as a learning experience. Remind me to tell you about my delivery from Norfolk to Long Island sometime.
    You guys will continue to be exceptional.

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  • Old Salt

    I thought you guys were focused on the wrong things, like layout and amenities. Engine failure is just a nuisance, but taking on water through a thru-hull or being caught in a sudden gale is serious stuff. Sailing is not RVing.

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  • Bruce Worth

    Always check your gear & systems prior to a trip, plan your trip and plan for backup no matter what – that would include redundant equipment like GPS and radio. Also know your plan B port locations in case of weather to pull in if you are force to do it. What were you thinking? Also where were the meds for motion sickness? Maybe next time to a practice run. Just saying – hope you guys are doing great now that you have learned the hard way. 🙂

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  • Lauren Meyer

    Life jackets whenever you’re on the water! Rules learned from ten years of Grand Canyon river running! Nobody was allowed on the boats without one, ever! We didn’t wear many clothes under them, skimpy, quick dry shorts and bathing suit tops (girls) and the pfd quickly becomes like wearing a shirt! Do it!

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  • Louis and Carolyn

    We appreciate the honesty of your experience. Too many video blogs gloss over the tough times and learning moments. As we too are interested in seeing the world by boat, we’re excited about your future posts. Please don’t let this experience get in your way. There is SO much to learn, and so many of us want to ride along with your journey. Be safe and learn/share everything you can!

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  • Scott Helmann

    We simply love your adventures! Thank you so very much for sharing! You inspire us and we can wait to follow in your “get out and explore the word” attitude about life! You two are so much fun!

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  • I must have missed something. Did you guys rent this boat? Were you trying it out to buy?

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  • William (Bill) Weaver

    I have been in and out of the St. Augustine inlet several times. You will find that inlets can be wicked. The comments about PFDs are good advice. On one trip in cold weather and wearing extra cloths, we hit a wave and I lost my footing. The next thing I see is the sky above and the water below. If I had gone overboard with the extra cloths, it may have ended badly. When I got to shore, I purchased an inflatable PFD and NEVER leave the dock without it being on. They sell them with a feature to tether you to the boat. If you take turns at the helm over night and go overboard, well you get the picture. Bad experiences can be good lessons. Your less than pleasant outing will make you a better boater. We care about you out here.

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  • Dave

    And not a single PFD to be seen being worn and not a single harness anywhere in sight. It would have been some issue if you hit a wave and the instructor headed over board. Since he was the only one that knows how to sail he should have 1. been wearing a PFD and 2. Been harnessed in while leaning over the side. This is how even experienced boaters get in trouble, 1 problem on top of another. Everything in this video was preventable and the Captain should have taught you that. I suggest you get a better instructor, this guy lead you into something that could have ended up tragically. He should have instructed you to never even leave the dock, let alone a multi day trip.

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  • Susan

    It makes me nervous to see you out there with no life jackets on. Just wear the thin self-inflating ones. Lessons learned on sailing. Good luck, we love to follow your adventures.

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  • Larry Odom

    I’m so proud of you two!

    “A righteous man falls seven times, yet he rises eight!” -Solomon

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    • scooter

      Cannot rise from the bottom of shark infested water!!!! Life vests!!!

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  • Well, I’m proud of you both. You aren’t going to let a little mishap threaten to push you off route. You two are amazing people and I’m only sad you flew through California before we could meet up. Now is the time for adventuring. You’ll be the most amazing parents one day. You won’t even need to read books at bedtime. You’ll just tell your kids about your own adventures. =) Keep on keeping on.

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  • Patrice and Kirk Wilde

    You mention that you’ve created RV’ing “route planning and travel day check lists.” Have you posted them anywhere on your site? I’d be interested in looking and possibly using them if you wouldn’t mind. Thanks

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  • John Puccetti

    If I was you I would buy some California municipal bonds and think of a new adventure. Ha ha just kidding.

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  • I totally see this as a success…in failure. The best kind of learning stuff! You guys rocked and have definitely found your sea legs. Can’t wait to see where you sail next!

    Nina

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  • Hugh RJ

    OK you asked for it so here is one embarrassing story…..we were at a dock off the ICW in FL and had been there a couple days, not quite sure why now, maybe weather? (as we always anchored out when we could) and we were leaving first thing in the morning….however the day before a 50+foot sailboat pulled in right beside us, fresh out of the yard, with a gorgeous Awlgrip paint job, navy blue hull and a 6″ gold stripe just below topsides…..wind was blowing, so I asked the dock hand to walk us out along the finger pier with the bow line to keep us from being blown sideways…and the genius untied us and then decided to bugger off and take a break or something so he just threw the line on deck…..right as we were pulling out…..into the wind side on, so of course the bow swung into the neighbor, and our anchor did a great job of tearing up that gold bootstripe for a bit…..lucky for us the owner was great, we swapped phone numbers, I promised to call him and sort it out, which we did and paid him the cost outside of the insurance company, which was less than our deductible as it turned out….if we had hit the blue it would have been another story…$$$
    Now about the time we ran aground in Miami harbor, right next to the cruise ships, and we kedged off over a couple hours and blew the fuses on the windlass so the last 30 feet was winched by hand….and we were in so many passengers photos…..will save that for another day :-)…..but suffice it to say any full time sailor who has never run aground is probably a liar!
    This was the best trip for you guys to have at the moment, and you handled yourselves with remarkable professionalism. You guys will do great, no question.

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  • Having married into a sailing family, it’s been my experience that problems, constant repair, and maintenance of the boat are the norm not the exception. I think my in-laws actually thrive on that problem-solving, and they seem to have all the patience in the world when they’re out on the water. They’re all obsessed with it! Not me. I can’t stand it and don’t have the patience at all. I hope you guys will be able to appreciate that mantra you were given: if you want to go fast, don’t take a boat. It’s so true!

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  • I love your videos. What more can I say.

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  • Wayne Reeder

    I love a train wreck, I sometimes buy a six pack of beer and watch inexperience people launch Boats and bring them in at the boat ramp. Looking forward to seeing this learning curve. Good Luck and God Speed…

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  • Will

    Nikki, you are a pescetarian! I seem to be in that boat as well!

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  • Lance Miller

    Actually it sounds like it was the perfect first trip! Jason got seasick, the captain was down, electrical and engines out, but you made it through successfully. These types of experiences as you well know are always life’s biggest teachers. Sure it would have been fun if everything would have went smooth, but the experience and lessons EARNED on this trip will serve you well into the future. Way to go TEAM WYNN!! #winningatlife

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  • CorkBoulder

    Hey any cruise you survive is a win! You made it, learned from it (as did Sheldon), and you move on. Such is life. Sounds like you had a heck of a good adventure; life is for adventures, anything else is dog paddling.

    While I yearn for a Blue Water sail/cruiser I purchased a Power Catamaran (PDQ/34) in Ft Myers, left there on 4/10/2016 and brought it via Marathon Key and Key Largo via Ft Lauderdale to a permanent slip in the Merritt Island area in 7 days. I spent a lot at West Marine in Key Largo and misc but it’s possible and it won’t break the bank.

    Wynns – it’s possible to live like you’re on an RV, don’t give up the dream! Heck of a lot more territory to range on (but a lot to learn).

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  • Mike Shea

    My wife and I were sharing a large condo at Bella Sirena Resort Puerto Peñasco MX. It was already crazy, 5 adults 6 kids, beautiful, but hot a muggy. We walked down to the seashore and my wife and I were knee deep wading together, relaxing. Then she starts screaming, like I have never heard before. I can’t even begin to imagine. She says her leg is burning and getting worse! I pull her out of the water and look, I don’t see any thing, but she is screaming, and I don’t know what to do. I look in the water and see a man o’ war about 6 inches long with 3 foot long tentacles. I told her to run up and wash her leg in the pool. I got my kids in waste high surf, out off the water!
    I run up to the pool to see if it felt better but, the pain is getting worse. Someone pours Windex on it she is trembling and crying uncontrollably. My brother in gets the idea to take her to the emergency medical clinic. They get her in put her on a table but can’t do anything until our credit card clears, finally 20 minutes later 40 minutes after the stings (5 long places on along her right calf), they give her Benadryl or something after scraping and washing the area. I felt so helpless, I was clueless as to what to do. She started feeling better 3 hours later. We were not prepared for that.

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    • CorkBoulder

      Had that happen to me in Puerto Norte, spent 3 days on a Vodka diet. I’ve heard since that urine or Vinegar is a better option. Good luck talking that up to your wife (Honey I need to pee on your leg) but next time I’m trying that!

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  • Rochelle Furtah

    This video brought back so many memories from my 15 years of sailing a Catalina 30 in the San Francisco Bay and surrounding area. For the first 10 years it was always something. Always learning the hard way. Around the 10 year mark my friend that sailed with us frequently said, “Hey! Nothing bad seems to happen anymore!” And she was right. We had pretty much been through it all. I now have a Tiffin Allegro 33ft and it’s much easier to deal with than the sailboat. I’m glad I had the sailing experience and now happy to be in the RV. Good luck to you both on your very long, sometimes expensive, learning experience. 🙂

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      • David Krumm

        There are so many good comments here, but this one makes the point I would make better than any other. Skippering a sea vessel is much more like piloting a plane than motoring an RV. Set your expectations accordingly. As soon as I saw the heavy weather, I thought, either this is one hard core seasoned captain or you guys are in real danger. I know people who have sailed their entire lives but still hire a captain and crew to move their boats in open water. I love your videos, I’ve owned 4 RVs, sailed my entire life and am a member of a sailing club in the Puget Sound area. Please give yourselves a lot of time (years) to learn how to sail before venturing out in open water without the aid of a true expert. Think of it like karate. You have to be a master in what seem to be variable adverse situations to the untrained. Lots of practice and muscle memory are your best asset. When situations arise, you often have to react, not think. You can loose a limb or a life in a second. That said, you’re living the dream and I applaud you guys for it. So live in sheltered water while you learn (Caribbean, Puget Sound, San Francisco, Mediterranean, etc.) and hire an expert for the big water. Keep up the great videos!

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        • David,
          The beauty is we’re in no rush to go sailing around the world. Any sailing or crossings we will do we’ll make sure to plan well before pushing away from the dock.

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        • Rochelle Furtah

          Really good advice David. It’s not that bad things happened every time we set out, but they happened regularly. You are so right about having to react, not think, when something does occur. And consequences can be dire. Another suggestion, Nikki and Jason, hire someone to do “man overboard” drills with you. Since it will only be the two of you (usually) it is vitally important for one of you to be able to get the other one out of the water if need be. Also, wear a float coat/vest when underway, especially in open waters.

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  • You guys are so funny. I have been watching you guys do your land sailing across the US for some time now and enjoyed every minute of it. But this is getting really fun. I love how excited Jason looked in the beginning of the video. You guys did great, so proud of you! Hope to see videos of your own personal home on water soon. I know nothing about sailing but I know for sure I prefer land. I will enjoy watching your crazy life on the open seas while I kick back under the trees somewhere. Happy Sailing!

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  • Smokin Jim

    Nikki, you are made of sterner stuff than I. If my crew had all become incapacitated, then both engines failed, then you couldn’t get the filters changed or do ANYthing with the engines, and the wind was blowing you out to sea, I would have been a puddle of panic. I guess your nomadic lifestyle has put you in good stead with those other hardy explorers who don’t give up, and don’t crawl under the bed in defeat. Good for you! And Jason, I feel for you and your seasickness. I get queasy merely running water into the sink. Better luck on the next run!

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  • The first thing you learn about sailing is there is no typical day. I had a Catalina tall rigged sloop. It was 4th of July weekend and my significant other had an old friend visiting and they all wanted to take off from Dana Point Harbor, CA and head to Catalina Island for the weekend. I was initially against it, knowing being a holiday weekend, we’d never get into the harbor on a mooring, but would have to sleep outside the harbor on a hook (anchor). My buddy was going to join us, so it was going to be 4 adults, and 3 kids…two of them early teens. My first clue that this was folly came when my buddy and I took Friday off and headed to the boat to make her ready. The plan was to sail over during the night, arriving early in the morning and “maybe” someone would be leaving the harbor for the return to the coast. While preparing the boat I turned on the ship-to-shore radio to catch the weather report. The report told of a hurricane off the coast of Mexico, with heavy winds of 40 to 50 kts. by morning, with seas to match.

    My buddy and I discussed it and while he and I might have gone, I didn’t like the idea of a bunch of no-sailors, especially kids being along. That evening when everyone else arrived, I let them listen to the radio weather report and expressed my reservations, saying we’re going to be out there in full gale force conditions. But alas…no one would listen…they all had their hearts set on Catalina for the weekend.

    It’s about a 6 hour trip from Dana Pt. so the plan was to leave at midnight. All was well…we had plenty of clam chowder and chili and hot coffee for my buddy and I, and the rest planned on sleeping all the way over. Because of the lack of wind I had the motor running but it was getting obvious conditions were changing. The swells were getting much larger and the wind was picking up rapidly. By the time the sun came up, the bow was plowing beneath the waves, which I was enjoying, but it sure lead to trepidation about the idea of sleeping on a hook.

    As predicted, there was no getting into the harbor. We found a sort of sheltered spot and set the anchor. One of us remained on anchor watch to note if we were dragging anchor. Several hours later, we found we were dragging and so was everyone else. Then all sorts of calls to the Coast Guard for evacuation began coming over the radio. One guy had tried to keep a dragging yacht away from his and got his leg crushed, several others had broken theirs and there were many other injuries from people falling from impacts etc.

    Exhausted from the trip over being up all night, I made the decision we were going to return to the mainland because things were only going to get worse here. I got us safely out of the area then turned the helm over to my buddy so I could go below to catch a nap. He didn’t have a lot of experience under sail, especially in full gale conditions, so we were under motor power. I was sleeping soundly when my buddy called below and said the engine had died…I replied something to the effect, that after all, it was a sailboat, so I came on deck and we raised a sail. It turned out to be a true Nantucket Sleigh Ride. We had gale force winds on our stern and were running with the seas, so the huge swells would lift us to the sky, then we’d slide down the other side, burying the bow in the wave…the hullspeed was 6 knots and we were making many time near 10…it required a very delicate touch on the helm to avoid being jibed…and spun around.
    As we neared the harbor I really didn’t want to have to tack up the channel and to the dock in that kind of wind, so I went below to check the engine…it turned out the linkage had come loose from the carb. Hit the key and it fired right up again. As we were rounding the breakwater to enter the channel, a couple on a smaller boat was just heading out….he hollered asking how it was….I told him, “If I hadn’t already been out there, I never would’ve gone out.” When I came up from below after getting a cup of coffee, and looking at the flag at the Harbor Patrol signaling a gale, I couldn’t help but notice him following us back up the channel.

    This was a situation that I would never have gone out in, but allowed myself to be pressured into it. In retrospect, any number of things could’ve gone wrong and resulted in a very bad end, as it was, it turned out, it was the best sail, I ever had in my 10 yrs. of boat ownership.

    However, later when I took up flying, I was reminded many times of this trip. In flying, there’s constant talk about how many people lose their lives each year in flying from what’s called “gettoitis”. The idea that you set aside good judgment, regarding the weather, or the planes airworthiness etc., because you “have plans”.

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    • Mike Shea

      Thanks for the story that was intense.

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  • Rod Reichardt

    I for one think this was the best thing that could have happened. I know it was not much fun but the lessons learned were invaluable. I know you guys already had a healthy respect for the sea but IMO you can’t have too much. Everybody survived and you learned a lot. That’s a successful trip in my book. Seasickness can be completely debilitating. I spent about 24 hours don and out on an offshore fishing trip one time. I had been many times without issues previously. Since then I don’t venture out without at least some ginger capsules. I am glad everyone was safe.

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  • Talk about trip failures – my husband and I went to the country of Panama to visit an ex-patriot friend of ours, who swore the country was “just like Florida, only better.” NOT!! Despite the government’s attempts to attract tourists and people to retire down there, it’s still 70% slums, with garbage and starving dogs along every street corner. Despite this, we were having a pretty good time and decided to take a dugout canoe ride to the Embera Indian village down a river outside of Panama City. These dugouts were large, made of wood, and sat about 8 people plus the Indian rowers. Stepping into the dugout, the Indian guide had me step right onto the slanted bow of the canoe, which was quite slippery. I had a Mae West life jacket on, and couldn’t see where I was stepping, and with the first step, down I went, breaking the two major bones in my right ankle. Nobody knew what to do, so I put the bones back in place and had them strap the life jacket around my foot and leg, which worked pretty good for stabilization. Four people carried me back to the car so we could head 2 hours for the nearest emergency room. 30 hrs. later I was back in the US at our local ER, and then 5 days later I finally was able to have surgery. Too much swelling had developed before we got home from Panama. This all started Feb. 12, 2016, and I am still in an air cast, although I can walk now. I never have the desire to visit Panama again!

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  • In Re: Seasickness, I don’t know how to prevent it, Ginger chews will help for a while, best thing I found is to go in the water tethered, with a lifejacket. Neutral buoyancy, calms the stomach and the gag reflex. Then, make sure there is nothing bigger than you in that particular area of water, and finally when you are calmed down from the seasickness, go ashore soon!

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  • Brent

    Now you know why so many sailor’s wanted to start off talking about their boat, systems, how to stuff before they settle down and start talking destinations. I would not call your cruise (the proper term for it is ‘Shakedown Cruise’) a disaster. Getting a tow is always a little embarrassing for a sailor as we should be able to sail through anything, tack a 16′ beam in a 32′ channel and coast into the dock coming to an exact stop 6″ off for a graceful step to cleat the dock lines. Right. For your first offshore shakedown I would say it went pretty good, you learned a lot had fun sailing and make it into port safely.

    All that pitching you had so much fun in while the boat was breaking through the waves stirred up the bacterial sludge growing on the sides and bottom of Sheldon’s diesel tank. Then you dropped the sails, fired up the engine and pumped all of that sludge until the filters clogged. Use Biobar to keep the growth out of your tanks and if you already have sludge get an enzyme cleaner for diesel to dissolve it, then either pump it out or have the fuel polished. If the water tanks were gross the fuel tanks probably were as well.

    By now you are thinking every sailor should know how to change an impeller, the fuel filters and the alternator belt, know how to use a voltmeter and carry along some fine sandpaper in a well equipped tool bag. Some learn it on the go, some in port (I tried it both ways, much easier in port). A big part of sailing is learning to go with the flow, the engine doesn’t quit if you don’t need it, look for favorable winds and weather and if you find yourself facing the current and a headwind just pick a new destination – besides you had 6 days of food right?

    Bonine (Meclizine) makes you less groggy than dramamine but I am one of the last ones to get seasick so I don’t take it unless the seas are up around 7′ or more. We’ve found those peanut butter/cheese crackers like they sell in vending machines are pretty good for seasick crew. It’s salty and absorbent, always take a case of them they are cheap.

    Have fun, the sail out looked like a blast.

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  • Andy Schiro

    First I would have never the left the dock knowing I had to turn on and off the battery switches to get rid of corrosion. I’m surprised the Captain did that, he should have known better. Did he have a captains license?
    Second, if you get sea sick, I’m afraid your adventure is going to be a nightmare.
    Remember a boat is a hole in the water that you throw money into. Maybe you should try RVing through Europe instead.

    Better luck on your next boat trip, hope things go smoother

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  • Terry Apple

    Darn ! ! ! That was fun ! ! ! (vicariously, of course)

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  • Roger

    Lonely are the brave, as I consider you the brave. An interesting note: I was watching the Wynns on the GAC channel last night. What a surprise finding the two year old program featuring you looking to purchase your first RV on the program “Going RV”.

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  • Deborah Kerr

    Hello Wynn’s!! It will be fun to watch this video in 2 or 3 years after you are “expert” sailors!! You gotta start somewhere!! Again, thanks for taking us along on the adventure 🙂

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  • I thought I was invincible on the sea. I would laugh when others were heaving over the side. I was wrong.
    Your first outing was a good lesson. Respect the sea. Expect and prepare for the worst.
    There will be many good and bad days. That’s what makes it a challenge.

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  • Christine

    As my mama always said…..The finest steel goes through fire. The ocean will demand your respect and reverence. It’s best you suffered this early on, you won’t forget it, believe me. Please be safe, I’m glad you made it back.

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  • Well, that was quite the adventure! It isn’t fun when you are well and things are going wrong, but when you are sick as well, a real bummer! Having been on the water and land, I will take the land everyday! And, believe me when I say, that ocean was not bad compared to some you will incur. RV’s can and do break down and it is costly, but a boat, well, be prepared. Believe me, I wish you both success in this new adventure. Just be safe!

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  • Glad your “wake up call” ended safely. I really can’t imagine your “experienced” friend Sheldon left port without more prep on a boat that had been sitting idle for so long. That was just foolish. That is how sailor’s adventures end with a sad ending. You don’t fly a plane without checking the fuel, electronics, engines etc. The plane won’t stay in the air. A boat won’t stay on course, avoid heavy weather etc without proper means of propulsion and navigation.
    I have to say, you were lucky and no matter how urgent you believe it is to leave the safety of a port, keep in mind you are only as good as the “life boat” you are sailing.

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  • What an experience! Good and bad, overall I see it as a good lesson and experience. It just confirm what you need to have on your next home! Thank you for sharing your experience! We just love following your blog!

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  • I have found Meclazine to be very good at combating sea sickness. Dramamine would give me a very bad headache and then I would still get sick. It is always good to stay on deck and look at the horizon so you brain know which way up is. Good luck.

    http://www.drugs.com/meclizine.html

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  • Laurawl

    Great video and lots of lessons learned! Glad y’all made it back safely. Is there somewhere you both could take sailing lessons? I have only been on one sail boat trip but it looked complicated. There are so many things to know about on the boat, electrical, ropes, sails and then the weather! My friends that I went sailing with own a monohull. They went somewhere in the gulf and took lessons. Good luck! I know y’all will have a great time on this adventure!! Be safe!!

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  • Thank heaven it was calm seas and what looked like light winds. You did the smartest thing; staying off shore at night instead of trying to make it in on your own. Couple of things that may help in the future:

    1) If you can find it – Golden Seal. It is a herbal, non narcotic sea sickness pill that works very well. Start taking at least an hour before stepping foot on the boat.
    2) Chewy ginger candy if you start feeling burpy or begin salivating more than usual.

    As for the boat – I’m assuming you had filed some sort of float plan with someone just in case? Imagine if you were out of cell range and with no other electronics, your radios are dead. Not to mention if the portable gps had failed. If nothing else, always un-plan an un-backup plan. Other than scenery and wildlife, safe sailing should never have surprises.

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  • Paul

    Would it make sense to charter your own Cat for a couple of months before buying? You’ve seen all the damage chartering can do. Why not learn on someone else’s boat? It may seem expensive at first, but I’ll bet it would be cheaper than the cost of learning on your own boat.

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  • Paul

    The first question that comes to mind is how much will it cost to properly maintain a boat to avoid this ever happening again? Routine maintenance, spare parts, emergency tows and repairs add up pretty quickly. Sure, we have to deal with that in our RVs, but this seems to be an order of magnitude greater because of the constantly attacking salt water and life threatening seas. Not to mention that you will now have two engines. I hope you properly account for these expenses in your budget.

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  • Sarah

    So glad you two are ok! Hope your next trip goes more smoothly! At least you learned a lot! Thanks for sharing your adventures with us ❤️ We will be launching a fulltime RV adventure this summer, looking forward to that learning curve ? Did you ever post the RV checklist that you mentioned? If so, could you post a link? Thanks!

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  • Actually I can’t think of a better learning experience. The basics are easy and when everything is going right you have the time to check, review, repeat. THESE are the types of things that are invaluable to learn with “support”. How lucky were you….seems you are destined to do this.

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  • What a perfect learning experience! Had your first crewing experience been on a perfectly functioning boat sailing on smooth seas, these lessons might not have been learned until much later when you were solo with your own boat. Glad you were able to learn so many “what could go wrong” scenarios so quickly– that’s success in my book!

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  • Greg V

    Sailed most of my life and still get sick. I always take a Bonine before I board any boat, even a ferry to cross Long Island Sound. Nothing worse then getting sick!, so avoid it all all cost. Once your body gets used to the motion then you’ll be ok.
    Crossing the Gulf Stream can be the worst. Been there. When the breeze goes against the current the waves get real big and irregular. You ventured into what can be the worst seas on the east coast.
    I hope you guys did not get too discouraged with this, but it does happen. One thing though, “motoring” in a sailboat is quite a bit more unstable then under sail. You need the power if the wind in your sails to “plant” the hulls into the water rather then having them bounce around the top under power.
    Get back out soon, hopefully with better equipment and captain. You need to experience that beauty of a fine sail.

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  • Nikki Buck

    Thanks for sharing your trials & tribulations! What a great learning experience. I’m always so impressed what you guys are able to capture on video in the moment. Onward! 😉

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  • I think you’ve hit all the nails on the head. Too many people leave the dock before they know their boats intimately or go through a complete shakedown of systems (and themselves). Sometimes they get lucky and it works out, but other times it doesn’t and, because they’re unprepared, they have to call for help or end up making their first cruising experience a negative one that puts them off entirely. It’s a real shame . . . and so avoidable!

    Cheers, Stephanie

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  • As Illya said: Welcome to the Ocean. Smooth sailing is a relative term.
    Some reading recommendations – maybe you already have them:
    – Before there were engines on boats, Joshua Slocum sailed around the world: http://www.amazon.com/Sailing-Alone-Around-Joshua-Slocum/dp/0486203263
    – Also: Adrift, A Voyage for Madmen, Surviving the Storm: Coastal and Offshore Tactics, Gipsy Moth Circles the World, The Long Way… There are many more but these make for good reading.
    Listen to: http://themoth.org/posts/storytellers/deborah-scaling-kiley
    Her trip was worse than yours.
    I have a few stories on my web site: http://coleruth.com/category/sailing/ – But this one might be the most interesting as far as learning from other people’s lessons: http://coleruth.com/keep-calm-and-carry-on/

    I sailed on a Lagoon 410 to Baja from San Diego (oddly enough, as part of a transition crew handing it over from the old owners to the new ones). She was a fun boat to sail. It’s too bad your friend didn’t have the fuel polished.. it would at least have prevented some of the issues, which are now much bigger. The new owners of the boat I sailed on are now halfway around the world. Their boat is now for sale, BTW, and they’re the kind of people you could trust to maintain a boat – both of them being aeronautics engineers: https://lagooncatamaran4sale.wordpress.com/

    Hope some of this helps! We live in Stuart – after packing up and leaving L.A. in November – and our plan is to go cruising in about five years. We’re cutting our teeth on a smaller, older boat now, an Endeavor 32. We figure when we buy our Forever Boat, we’ll know a lot more. In the meantime, we’ll sail this one to the Bahamas and the keys to get more experience before the longer voyages… Every experience is like a book in your own mental library to store up for the next trip. But it also helps to read about other people’s mistakes so you can know what to do in those situations, too! If you’re in our hood, look us up!

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  • T C Spencer

    Sheldon should have tested the used boat before buying it.
    Salt retains water in blood which can cause motion sickness.
    Jason could take Dramamine for sea sickness.
    Nikki was in the bottom of the boat with less rocking.
    The 300 mile boat test run detected maintenance problems.

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      • TK Miles

        Bonine 25mg chewable, generic name is meclizine, rarely if ever causes drowsiness….available without a prescription….chew one 30 minutes before departing….been on the market for decades…..Trade name is Antivert when sold by prescription for Ménière’s disease and other vertigo problems. Bonine comes in a blister pack of 8 chewable tablets.

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  • LandL (Leslie/her and Lynn/him

    As always, I am absolutely amazed by the “grit” you two have! And, once again, thankful for your generous sharing. We jumped off our cliff. last week, and are the owners of a new-to-us 1999 Rexhall Aerbus. She will have to be stored for the next month as we unburden ourselves from our stuff and finally retire. Then, we plan to stay in an established park, near service, and close to those who are already on the road. THEN, in early June, we will start the rest of our Life. Because of you two we know we’ll be better prepared than ever! Looking forward to making all of our experiences Successes…..even the hard times. So very happy to have wandered into your lives through this blog.

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  • Garrett

    Judy curious why you chose a Catamaran? Would be interested in hearing why this style of boat over a single hull? I too am saving for a Live Aboard…. Everything I have found out….Cats are horrible in the open waters. Great video as always! Love following along on your adventures.

    Garrett

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  • Lynn RJ

    Wow, what an experience you had. The notion of what the trip was going to be vs.how it turned out is a perfect example of the dynamics of life in a sailing vessel on the water. Your ability to stay calm (or is that really the reason you stopped filming?) and logical helped you get through it. As you said in your post sail/drift comments, it has educated you on the need to be as prepared and possible. All in all, I think it was an excellent excursion filled with essential lessons to arm you for your life on water. BUT keep in mind…most of the time it IS smooth sailing full of the beauty of life with a 360 degree water view, amazing new friends, and fresh air galore. You guys are amazing and we are looking forward to hearing of all your nautical adventures!!

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  • We don’t have a boating nightmare quite as bad as yours but we have a minor skirmish to share. Bought a new to us 29 foot boat and decided to take it out to a Florida island and moor for the night close to shore. We met up with another boater who had years of boating experience and he helped us set the anchors for the night. Here though we weren’t really prepared because to anchor close to the beach you should have 3 anchors (bow and 2 for stern). We had 2 and the other boater was sure everything was set properly. We were so confident we did not set an anchor alarm (bad mistake) and went to bed. I woke up about 4 AM and something didn’t seem right. Looked out and we were parallel to the beach and close to other boats as well as almost on shore. Instead of immediately going to other boats for help my husband and I decided we could handle it (mistake, swallow your pride and ask for help). He jumped in the water with no life jacket and told me to flash the light toward the bow anchor so somehow he could change it (this is after knowing we saw sharks few hours ago). Well anyway you can see bad judgement in middle of night, thank goodness no sharks attacked and we did gain some of our sanity back and knocked on neighbors’ boats to help pull us back away from beach which we did hit. Lessons learned were a lot – # of anchors and be sure type of anchors for different conditions, set anchor alarms, set watches to get up and check, always put life jacket on no matter how safe you may think you are, etc. Most important rule don’t let pride get in your way of asking for help. Glad you are safe!!!!

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  • John S.

    What an intro to sailing you are having!
    You learned some very valuable lessons; ones that you can NOT get from a book or magazine.

    Like Nikki, I also do not suffer form any motion sickness. Also like Nikki I also was the only healthy person on board one quite rough day. The good thing for me is that it was a large mono-hull with all electric winches that made one person sail adjustments easy. My point: At the price you are looking at I hope your boat will have at least two good electric winches.

    You never said how far the sea tow was. Did it take hours and hours?

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      • KC

        Gosh, you should look at boatus.org – unlimited towing (to a near safe destination). For an annual membership of 1/5 of that for unlimited towing!

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      • Dave

        No sea tow membership? Never leave port without a sea tow membership.

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  • Bill

    I believe that you should be looking into boating for a season without the purchase so soon.

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  • Gus Roberts

    Hey Jason and Nikki!

    As always, thanks for sharing! We live 25 miles from St. Augustine and I scared myself to death going out into the ocean from St. Augustine! Crazy waves! You guys are the best and can’t wait to bump in to some day!

    Papa G

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  • scooter

    Plain view corrosion on those terminals can indicate that there was a lack of care for this boat. The owner needs to get a refund on that haul out survey!!! Vessel assist trips are not a success unless you are documenting the tow service!!! There is a good lesson to be learned here, dont sail on a junk boat!!!! That hobby is big bucks for a reason. Complex systems are expensive to maintain and very easy to put off spending the money when you are going to sell the boat. Even the water pump was a rattling hunk of junk. Unsafe water?? Maybe that is what made Jason sick. That barnacle barge needed a week worth of work to be sea worthy.
    So I didnt see a box of Ritz crackers. When the tummy starts to go north a few Ritz and fizzy water will will fix it.

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  • Joe the computer guy

    Oh my. Not sure what to say. One might think it can’t get worse. But it can and will. One the bright side mostly it will be so much better.
    Been sick once on a boat. Worst feeling EVER. I used to own a boat. I have spent many a night out at sea in the tuna grounds off the Jersey coast.
    You certainly have learned a lot on that first day out at sea. Puts everything in perspective.
    Kudos to you Nikki for at least trying to fix that pesky fuel filter. The smell of diesel and the motion of the ocean is what did me in that one time I lost it.

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  • Van

    Not sure how sheldon got his license…any good skipper would have cringed at the unpreparedness of capt. Sheldon.
    The crew is dependent on the skipper…not the other way…there are common knowledge items that must be checked amd rechecked before attempting an open ocean trip..regardless of how short or long.
    Glad you both are safe.

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  • Those waves seemed really scary! I’m so impressed you kept a good attitude and made it back safely.

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  • jack macdonald

    That wasn’t a crummy trip. It was an excellent trip because it demonstrated how badly things can go sideways, and you came out of it intact. If you haven’t done so already, i suggest you invest in some certified training courses. Wanna fly back to Vancouver for a while? We will put you in touch with some excellent sailing trainers. You can stay on our rv while onshore. Jack and Stella.

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  • Craig

    I would not call this trip a failure. It is lessons learned. It is a failure if you go to sea and don’t make it back. I worry about you guys when you experience your first storm. They can pop up at any time at sea. My father ‘ went through a couple with his single hull 55’ Herreshoff sail boat which was able to slip through the waves not over them. Before this boat he had a catamaran, which he called his party boat. Didn’t care for it in the high seas though because it rode on top of the waves in the high seas.

    When you find your boat, are you planning to sell your RV?

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  • As always, the first thought I have after reading your blog/watching your videos is … “WOW! You two really do have wonderful adventures.” The next thought that came to mind is “Whoa… living on a boat really seems like you are living at Mother Nature’s whim.” You are doing a great job learning lessons along the way that will help you when needed. I loved the video and watched with nervousness as you experienced what has to be one of a boater’s worst nightmares. Totally respect that you found the lessons in the experience and that you are moving forward with the next phase of your adventurous life. Thank you for sharing. I’ll keep watching.

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  • Corinne

    Wow. A lot of lessons learned on this adventure. But you will be that much more prepared the next time. Kudos to you two!

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  • Jeff

    If you enjoyed that experience I guess you really will enjoy your transition from RV to sailing! Nice to read you learned something and still enjoyed your crewing trip.

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  • illya

    Welcome to the ocean lol, Did shell buy that boat unseen? I feel sorry for the guy because that is a really poor boat for that kinda money. And i bet the amount it cost to tow and what it will cost to make it a safe boat is going to be a bad deal for him. I wonder if there was something the men consumed that ms Nikki didn’t? I’ve never been sea sick so i don’t know what that’s like. I do know that after 44 rounds of chemo something that actually helps you when your throwing up is Ondansetron 4 to 8 mg. It may be only by prescription but it would be a good tool for the med kit. Horrible experience sounds like but it wasn’t you guys making the decisions is the reason why. I have full confidence that when you get your own boat it is going to be the best decision you guys have ever made and wow will you see some amazing stuff and enjoy it like nothing else in this world. On your own boat you will know the engine and everything after a while and be able to make repairs no problems yourselves. Despite the troubles it still looked like fun 🙂 . I cannot wait for you guys to get your own boat! hurry up!! but don’t rush lol Again another great video, thank you for sharing.
    illya

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  • Hrvoje

    Don’t forget to take the pills for seasickness at least 1h before leaving next time…

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  • Eric

    You are probably already aware of this, but just in case you are not. April 22-26 is the Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show. There are usually catamarans at the show. Might be worth a look. http://www.annapolisboatshows.com/annapolis-spring-sailboat-show/

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  • Lance

    Did you have fun at all? I hope it wasn’t all bad.

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  • As a longtime private pilot we had saying “It’s better to be down here wishing you were up there than it is to be up there wishing you were down here.” Never leave port unless you’re sure everything is up to snuff. There is something to be said for your concept of un-planning but when it comes to a good flight or float, you’ll be better served with lots of planning. Which I know you will.

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  • Well, I say, GOOD SHOW you guys! You stepped up and suited up and … took an awesome sunrise photo, to boot!

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  • Oh my goodness. What a crummy first trip. Hope things get better for you guys! 🙂

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