Myself and a couple of friends are planning to sail over the Isle of Mann TT in early June.
We'll be using a 16ft Speedboat fitted with a 90hp engine My mate who will be driving has very little in the way of sea experience, only fresh water and coast line
In your opinion, is this a good or a bad idea ?
People I've spoken to have said bad idea, but I personally think its do able.
"Sail" is probably a bit of a strong word for a speed boat with a 90hp engine! Think of it the same way as a novice going for a big day in the mountains - know the risks, plan for the worse case and always have a get out.
I think carrying some kind of spare engine would be pretty much vital. It's a long way to drift without one... I'd also go up the coast to somewhere like Sellafield then head across a shorter distance.
It all depends on weather conditions, sea state, knowledge of engines (ie capable are you of fixing it on the water), etc etc. If you've got the right people, the right plan and the right weather it wouldn't be a big deal. Probably a bit boring - that's a long way in a little boat!
In reply to 5cifi: What sort of a speedboat is it? Is it stable enough? If it was something like a RIB I'd be happy enough. You will need to do a lot of planning and ultimately be prepared not to go if the weather looks in any way iffy, but subject to that (and subject to the spare engine comment) I'd definitely do it.
Have you factored in the cost of fuel? Assuming you are running a petrol engine it will cost a pretty penny. If you went as foot passengers on the ferry it would probably be cheaper...
I imagine you're pretty good with a compass and map (& probably a GPS). So at least you'll be able to navigate and not got lost ok. My mate goes sailing with his dad and says navigating the coast line is really easy. Spot two landmarks, measure the angles between you and them, then mark them on he map/charts, triangulate to where you are. You might want to get hold of an up to date nautical chart to make sure you don't hit rocks or sunken ships, and don't forget about the tides.
Boats under sail have right of way against motorised, and don't get in the way of big ships.
Get all that right and wear life jackets and you may well live My boating experience is canals, rivers and what my mate told me about sailing on the sea ;)
Considering the OP and his mate have no/limited marine experience a GPS would be near essential too. As when there's nothing on the horizon (which will probably be a considerable part of their journey) a compass will only tell you which direction you're pointing. This is especially relevant in the Irish Sea as the tidal currents are massive. So will be as determinant of where you're going as what direction you're pointing in, if you aren't all ready taking them into account.
In reply to the OP: Whatever about all of the obvious stuff about what you'll need to bring and your route planning. As I've mentioned above you're going to need to take into account the tidal currents in the Irish sea. As they are significant and when you can't see anything other than the horizon they can significantly effect the direction you end up travelling in.
I don't know about the legalities, but some years ago when I wasn't racing, I decided to fly myself and some mates over there. Upon landing, I was summoned to the Tower for an interview with Special Branch. Apparently, a Flight Plan has to be filed prior or en route to the IOM (I didn't know this), so they may require something similar for Sailors.
As for the single engine nonsense, my aircraft only has one as do the many other aircraft that fly the hop from the mainland.
In reply to 5cifi: if it goes wrong and you both die the world will say it was your own stupid fault, if it goes well you'll have a cool memory and a great story to share. Much the same as every time we go climbing.
Biggest worry for me would be the cost of the fuel
In reply to 5cifi: we planned to sea kayak to the Isle of Man but we had to abandon, due to weather, seem to remember that the tides around the Isle of Man can be quite strong, something to be aware of, so you don't end up in Ireland. Quick google should give you the tidal stream speeds. We planned to go from the Isle of Whithorn which is the shortest crossing 31km I seem to remember
In reply to 5cifi: Thanks to everyone who has posted, very informative, It fills me with more confident.
I'm fairly confident with navigation and we have all the equipment people have mentioned. Have checked out moorings in Douglas and port Erin which aren't to bad costings wise. Not to bothered about the cost of petrol, fun can't be free now can it lol
The main cause for concern is whether the boat, which is a 16ft fletcher type speedboat would manage the sea if it gets a wee choppy and how easy it is to drive in rough seas ! Were more than happy to turn round if starts to get dicey, but I cant see any reason why it wouldn't be ok. The pilot has limited experience on open sea, so I think plenty of research is needed.
In previous years, we've paid to go over on the Packet, but had a brainwave this year to try and sail across ourselves.
Yes doable, but on balance probably a bad idea with limited experience and that vessel.
Whilst 90hp good power on a small light boat, 16ft probably too short for the sea state you are likely to encounter. Small speedboats can be swamped very easily (I've tested this in a previous life, it is very easy to sink a small boat). Sea state/fatigue will limit speed probably to less than 20knots, so the passage will take a good few hours, you'll need 100l plus fuel. Driving a speedboat at sea at speed for hours takes a surprising amount of skill to not damage the occupants, vessel's structure or stuff it badly into a wave...
A single-engined boat should NOT be taken to sea without a reserve engine to get you back to safety (not home) or maintain station. (i.e. a small 2 or 3 hp outboard).
> (In reply to 5cifi) >
> I'm fairly confident with navigation and we have all the equipment people have mentioned. paid to go over on the Packet, but had a brainwave this year to try and sail across ourselves.
When you say navigation do you mean navigation at sea? (In which case I'll shut up) or navigation as per mountain navigation? If the latter you must appreciate that they are two totally different ball games when you factor in the effect of tides and wind. Wind is relatively simple and is generally a matter of heading off to allow for it. Tidal navigation takes experience and practice. You are not only concerned with the effect it has on your position but also how much water you have under your keel if you are to avoid striking rocks or running aground when near to land or shallows.
At the very least I suggest that at least one of you should be up to RYA Day Skipper's standard and ideally Coastal Skipper's standard - or at least have attended a course.
As said check out your fuel consumption. I've got an 85HP Yamaha and when I got it I imagined going round the coast, it's on a 20 foot boat, stopping off on the way but on the first outing I'd used up my first 20L can still in sight of harbour! So even with a few more cans it's realistically limited to day trips. Mine is a 2 stroke, a modern 4 stroke is a lot better, but definitely check it out carefully and take a good amount extra than you estimate as in bad weather you'll use more.
Second point is to get hold of a small auxiliary outboard a 2.5 HP will do with cans and a funnel to refill it so if your main one does go wrong you can get home, even if slowly. The small Tohatsu ones, for example, only weigh about 14kgs so you can stash it forward and only put it on if needed - a bit of extra weight forward is usually good on small speedboats anyway. On this too practice in advance putting it on, starting and refuelling in a choppy sea as nothing's worse than putting your auxiliary on and it won't start or the gear change is stuck (it can happen over a winter).
Lastly don't forget lifejackets, waterproofs, a few flares and practice everything before you go.... all at your own risk, of course, I've no idea if you are up to it or not but it would be a good adventure if you are.
PS. Take a fishing rod and drinking water so if all goes wrong you can survive for a few days
This is a troll. Until I saw the it was the stuff of Scifi. I hope you consider that the advice you have been given has come from predominately climbers.
In the spirit of the advice you have been given, I can only endorse their opinions. It's easily doable.
Ignore the fact you have no knowledge of the sea. Or the sea going qualities of a baby speedboat, or knowledge of seamanship, or the sea, or tides and their effect on direct line travel, or how far you'll get on a tank of juice, or handling a little boat in rough seas (Actually not a problem because it'll sink). Do you know how far it is from Blackpool?
So please go and try it. I do love it when the news has headlines such as "Three men in a Speedboat drown trying to cross the Irish sea".
However I'll give you the following advice based on many years handling a variety of large and small craft, some of it professionally.
A 16' Speedboat can only be handled safely in easy seas, in small swells and little wind. A little above that and it takes extreme skill to handle. They are simply not designed to travel open seas. The wind on the crests of waves will flip one like a playing card. It doesn't matter what skill you have. "Turning round and going back" when you are 20 miles out to sea may not work. One reason being that if the weather is worsening, then you are faced with 20 miles of worsening weather. So when you start shitting yourselves 20 miles out because it's getting scary, you'll have another 20 miles after turning round to go back - in worse weather!!
You need another engine in any case at sea. a 2.5 hp has been suggested. Use this as a sea anchor. (OK you don't know what that is but never mind) A 2.5hp motor on the Irish Sea won't even stop you drifting in a tideway or against a fresh breeze!!!!!! And don't forget that a larger spare will upset the trim of the boat, lifting the bow higher (thats the pointy thing at the front). Go to quick and the wind will get under her and you'll do a backward flip in the thing.
Have you worked out how much extra fuel you need - don't forget a 20% safety margin -and how much it'll weigh? And the effect on the speedy boat's trim and safe loading capacity?
Have you any knowledge of taking into account tidal/wind drift when setting a compass bearing? You'll need to work out the tidal flow at different times to offset the angle you travel at or you'll end up describing a giant 'S' Across the Irish sea which will increase your fuel consumption too and may turn you across tidal races which;ll be fun.
Do remember that as a small manoeuvrable boat YOU will be expected to avoid ALL larger craft. And it's quite likely that some larger vessels won't have a look out and larger ones, such as tankers or container ships may not be able to see anything as small as a 16' speedy boat thing if your'e against the sun. How does your boaty thing handle in the swell created by an oil tanker?
You'll need to think out some contingency plans too. A mobile phone will not work out of sight of land. How will you call for help in the unlikely event that you need help? You'll buy a VHF handheld of course!!
Do you have an operators license for it? You'll need to know the right procedures too. Shouting "Help were sinking" on the wrong channel won't endear you to the pilots taking tankers into Liverpool and if anyone takes you seriously how will you tell them where you are and what help you need?
NB A large merchant vessel will not bother even try and pick you up in a little speedy boaty thingy. It's doesn't have the manoeuvrability.
I'll keep my eyes and ears open for the TV news anyway. Good luck.
Lucky you pointed out the key point that he had to have a radio operators licence to cross the Irish Sea, otherwise we might not have taken you seriously
Why not let him try it? It's his life and there's no reason to believe they would set out in bad weather and without looking at the forecast... nor that after having a few tries they would be able to work out for themselves whether their plan was wise.
By being alarmist and exaggerating wildly you may not be convincing.
Why not let him try? I assume you have no issue with the rescue services being called out on mountain or at sea for those who are ill prepared and incompetent?
I do not think was being alarmist. JUst practical - and from experience!! In much the same way as you'd give advice to a walker with no experience wondering whether they'd be able to stroll up Mon..Blanc or the north face of the Eieger in high heels and shorts.
Of course you do not need need an operators licence to cross the sea. But you DO need one to operate a VHF radio on Maritime frequencies. Otherwise, you won't know what channel/s ships listen to and what channels are being used for distress. Nor will you know which channels pilots use, or coastguards, or harbour authorities, nor will you know what their call signs are, nor your own!!. But most of all you won't be able to make a reasoned distress call yourself, let alone understand the replies and be much use in trying to communicate and understand what is going on.
In reply to Dave Perry: The OP seems to realise that such a trip would not be a trivial undertaking. Most of the replies calmly support this, but I agree with Bruce that you are being sensationalist which is not helping much.
Iím sure I could have used the VHF well enough to call for help, before getting my SRC ticket; even a untrained operator calling for help will receive the same attention as a seasoned expert.
So, I'm being sensationalist? What's your nautical background? With a name like Billy the fish, I guess you are a seasoned submariner or perhaps have spent longer on one wave than I've been at sea? ;-)
In reply to 5cifi: I'm going to reverse my earlier opinion having heard of the type of boat you are thinking of taking. i have a similar boat, and have been out on inland loughs in choppy conditions and it's been ropey enough. You'd be amazed at how even a small chop can upset a small ski boat like the fletcher. The odds of you making it to the IOM in one piece (and back again) in that boat are really low. You could make it if you were lucky enough to have mill pond conditions in both directions, but that really isn't likely at all.
I haven't got a radio on my boat and have no intention of getting one, nor would I deny a person who wanted to the pleasure of finding his own way up Snowdon or Ben Nevis - the comparison with the N face of the Eiger is ludicrous - as climbers being anti-risk seems rather ironic.
We all know that he is unlikely to really set off without a bit of practice and as for straining the rescue services, with that as an excuse we'd do nothing adventurous, if they don't want to rescue him then let him fend for himself. It's only a few miles of sea, on a calm day he'd be across in an hour or two, his problem might be getting stuck there if the wind blew up for a week, but so what, that's his problem.
So your into this come rescue me culture too, are you? Like those who got to the top of the Pillier d'Angle then called the rescue to come an get them as they weren't up to finding their own way down? It didn't stop them claiming the first something or other ascent of the pillar though.
I think you should fare for yourself, and accept the consequence, I often wonder if provision of rescue services doesn't cause more problems than it solves overall. If the OP and his mate had a go without adequate preparation and gear the ran into trouble I'd vote for letting them paddle back themselves, and if they had no paddles... go down with the ship. The thing is I doubt they are so daft and think it's up to them to find their own level by trial and error.
PS. The first thing they are going to find is that it is not a cheap option anyway!
I'm not in the come rescue me culture (whatever that is).
I'm more into if your going to go noodling around the Irish Sea in a bath with an outboard, then take a few bits and bobs that might come in handy.
It's clear that the OP is not an experienced boater, and various people have pointed out that a Fletcher in the Irish Sea may be a little "sporting". If he still chooses to head out with only the AA Book of the Road to aid him then fair enough but it doesn't make him Bill Tilman, just daft.
Why daft, well if he does goes down with his ship as the band plays on, he'll be reported over due and that really will mean a lot of helicopters, lifeboats and a Securitae Securitae to all ships in the area.
In reply to 5cifi: In a Fletcher it is a very bad idea. Having wakeboarded etc behind one and messed about on the south coast around Poole I can tell you it is not a boat to be out in any sort of weather. As an example we headed out of Poole to Studland bay in calm conditions and from the chain ferry it took about 15 mins. On the way back a couple of hours later the wind picked up to force 3 and it took us 45mins with the tonneau cover over to reduce the amount of water we shipped.
I once got a kite surfer wrapped around the front of my boat up at Calshot. He was out of control, we couldn't do anything and he splatted into the bow and got wrapped around the forestay. Kind of reminded me of those squirrels that almost, but not quite make it through the spokes of a mountain bike wheel.
How odd. Look through these forums and there's tons of questions from the less experienced all receiving sound advice.
You know the stuff. "I've no climbing experience, have bought some rubber pull on things with spikes on for snow and was thinking of taking my girlfriend up one of the gullies on Ben Nevis this winter. I can't afford an ice axe but I do have a pair of walking sticks with points. Will it be OK if we use one of these each instead of an axe. And can we do without a rope?"
Do I need to tell you about the advice and caution they'd get?
*The IOM in about 70 miles from Blackpool.
*Speedboats are not designed to cross seas - Ribs may well be, but a speed-boat isn't.
*I've got no idea what 5scifi's maximum boat speed is. But at just less than 20knots it's going to take around three hours to get there on a flat, perfectly calm sea. Which doesn't happen often. And when it does there's no guarantee that it won''t become choppier, due to currents or wind. And then they'll be reduced to dead slow or swamping.
* Our local lifeboat rescues the inexperienced regularly every summer. And this includes speed-boats breaking down or swamping within a mile of harbour entrance during summer.
Perhaps a little more constructive way of dealing with this thread is to ask one or two related questions. I'll start.
Q 1. They take no radio. The speed boat either runs out of fuel, breaks down, or swamps. How will they get help?
NB The reflective radar signal from something like a speed boat won't be good and you are unlikely to see such a vessel from further than two or three miles.
> (In reply to Billy the fish)
> So, I'm being sensationalist? What's your nautical background? With a name like Billy the fish, I guess you are a seasoned submariner or perhaps have spent longer on one wave than I've been at sea? ;-)
Yes you are being sensationalist and in true Daily Mail style, thin of fact; and by you choice of response trying to have a go at my of user name instead of address the comment it looks like youíre struggling to counter that. The odd thing is that we have both agreed that it would be a bad idea.
As for my ďnautical background ranging from working on a survey vessel in the mid eighties, which Iíve long since moved on from. Still boating for pleasure since then, skippering dinghies, motorboats and med sized yachts and picking up tickets from canoeing instructor through to Yachtmaster Offshore on the way, so still learning but not ill informed.
Personally, I'd have thought the lack of a VHF licence would be the least of the worries. I'd be a bit more concerned about the potential for rapid demise myself!
I sailed up that way last year on my round Britain sail on a 38ft 9 ton boat and I kept a close eye on weather forecasts. On a 16 ft speedboat even a F4 could turn into survival conditions on that trip, any more and it would be suicide.
I've been on boats all my life, I was conceived on a boat stuck on a sand bank... Don't confuse experience with bits of paper.
Why assume they'll break down on a two hour trip? Anyway that's why an auxiliary is worth taking if your motor is a bit old. As for being "overdue", why would they be "due", do you leave orders for rescue after x hours when you go boating or climbing? If you do that's what I meant by the "rescue society".
Boating, like climbing, would be much safer if people assumed there was no rescue service, no insurance, and prepared themselves and their equipment accordingly - there's not always someone around to save your skin so it's best to fend for yourself. If you can't, don't go.
In reply to 5cifi: As long as you're prepared and the weather's good i'd say go for it. I know a lot of people who've done it and i've been on a speedboat from the Island over to Scotland a couple of times.
> (In reply to Bruce Hooker)
> Impossible to read past this sentence without all kinds of unwanted mental imagery... Is this a common maritime method of un-sticking the boat?
It's a story Dad used to tell when he was feeling nostalgic, somewhere in those godforsaken muddy flats and islands on the Medway/Thames estuary. It puzzled me too, had they never done it before? Was this a final fling as they thought they were going to die? This was never made clear and both are dead now so I can't ask... whatever the cause it was quite efficient as the result was twins.
In reply to 5cifi:
I'd say it was a good idea, especially if you're taking a motorbike over too as they put the prices up on the Ben My Chree at TT time. If you could get a couple of bikes and passengers it would pay for the paraffin in your outboard for the whole voyage.
just looking at he charts that's 52 nm blackpool to douglas
Ive been 12 miles off in a 15 foot boat off Eddy-stone light on a perfect day
if its your first time way out offshore out of sight of land i wouldn't do it.
first off you'll be looking at about 1ltr to 1.5Ltr of fuel per NM probably more with that 90HP
that's a lot of fuel say 100kg to give you margin, equivalent to another person, so that the weight of 4 in the boat and you going a long way offshore.
in time terms its doable id say close to 3 hrs unless you have totally flat sea and wind and tide behind ya.
bty are you going to be out of range to radio the coast guard? check the coast guard radio relay range chart for that run!
i'd do it but i have ship to shore and some experience under my belt and all the flares and life jackets and an Axillary outboard and have been that far offshore sailing so can imagine what i might be in for.
small boat no engine, no sight of land rising sea state is not a nice feeling
You'd want that engine in tip top condition test it the day before on the water with that weight loading
He doesn't have to go from Blackpool, he could trailer it nearer or go along the coast before heading West. As for fuel he'll use about 20 l per hour on a light boat like this, so 50 l ought to be enough, but a bit of reserve would be good, and I thought there were just two of them... The weight of sandwiches and beer might be problem though.
My idea is that it can be done but he ought to check things out beforehand, he'll soon work pout for himself what it's going to be like - same as with learning to climb really.