Melissa and I have not had any true bluewater cruising experience and this is a concern for us. Stories abound of folks setting off on a long dreamed of cruise only to find out they are either terrified, constantly seasick or simply incompatible with the lifestyle. While I feel confident we will do well cruising, I know that both of us could use real experience with a multi day passage on open water.
I proposed last week that we consider a trip to Newport, Oregon or some other similar coastal port for our vacation trip next year. Neah Bay to Newport is about 270 Nautical miles if we go offshore 50 to 75 miles. This is a distance that we could fetch with Moonrise in three or four days, with the return trip taking a day and a half longer. All estimates are based on leaving around June and should be taken with a shaker of salt. On top of those times, we of course must add our transit time to Neah Bay itself. From Tacoma that can take three good days in Moonrise.
Moonrise is reasonably well set up for such a trip but she lacks any self steering gear which would place the burden on two people to steer her 24 hours a day. While we have vowed not to make any more large cash outlays on moonrise, I would sure love to have an autopilot aboard for such a trip. It is possible I could rent a unit for a month to satisfy our need for a third crew member.
If any of you have suggestions or advice about such a journey, we would love to hear from you. Newport looks like it would be fun destination, with lots of beaches, restaurants and trails for hiking. If you have a favorite Newport hangout, drop us a line.