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I have an older46 ft Hatteras Sportfisher that I have been refurbishing for several years. I just recently made a few short trips and believe I am ready to make a rig run out of Perdido Pass. The boat is slow (15 knts) so I know it will be a long ride. My question is for this type boat what sea conditions can I handle with reasonable comfort? I would also ask what concerns should I have when planning a three day trip?
 

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Depends on the crew! 3 to 4 footers for a 3 day trip should be no problem on that boat. Planing ahead is the main thing to do and make sure you have back-up plans if your "on-deck" crew turns green. You will want to have one or two people up at all times during the night to keep an eye on things. Nighttime is when most people will get sick, especially on the 2nd night after not much sleep.



If you have gone over the boat very well, you don't need to worry much about it! Making sure you have enough fuel to stay out for 3 days would be the biggest concern! Take into consideration that you may have to hold up all night with the motors in gear if the weather turn foul! You will not want to be tied up to a buoy or have a sea anchor out if it chops up. Heading into the seas will be the best bet and it will make for a long night for everyone onboard, not just the person at the helm but will make it easier for some to get some rest if you are powered up into the swells.



15 knots is a great speed to move out at! Drop a few Wahoo lures out back and everyone can chill out until you get where you are going. It also makes a great speed to be able to rig while running... something that takes a bit more skill at 30 knots!



All in all, if you feel the boat is stable and your crew is good, there is no reason why you shouldn't be able to have a successful 3 day outing in the gulf. Be sure to have plenty of high quality life jackets for everyone board, maybe even consider survival suits and/or a life raft as well.
 

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Before making a three day trip I suggest you make a few moreone day trips to get the feel of the boat. This time of the year you should go out in some heavy seas to find out for yourself how the boat handles pick a day when the winds are blowing from the North that way you can get out of heavy seas buy going close to shore. 50 miles offshore is no place for someone to be without any knowledge of heavy seas with a boat that size and everyone seasick. Also you might consider taking an experienced person with you on the first overnight trip. Good luck

 

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That boat should handle anything if it is mechanically sound. The real question is the comfort and safety of the crew. You sound a bit cautious which is a good thing. I would also suggest you grab a few experienced guys from here and ask them to come with you on the first venture. It is a long way from home and you just cant beat experience. In addition, you have the added benefit of making a few new friends. Look through the Bluewater reports and contact Hal or Wade or some of the other regulars on here. There are some exceptional and experienced captains who post on here.

good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all the comments, I know I can learn a great deal from all of you. As I mentioned off shore boating, this boat and the fishing are all new to me.

I have tried to reply to the Private e-mails but for some reason a "unexpected error" message comes up when I try to send them.

I have to admit that I had not thought aboutthe fuel limitations. I like the idea of going out at night nice and slow, leave about 8:00 pm cruise about 8 hours and I should be there before daybreak.The boat has twin 435hp diesels with 600 gallons of fuel....15 gal/hr @ 8 knts??? is only 40 hrs with no reserve.....I sure hope my fuel burn is less than this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As for safety, life jackets certainly, EPIRB and suvival raft are a definite need, do have two VHF radios and currently installing SSB.

As for fishing, Ive been to the Petronis one time and loaded up BFT 10lbs but thats about it. Have done a good deal of snapper fishing and have caught bull reds just off the beach,on aNovember trip we caught and released 27 averaging 20 lbs. Can't wait to get into Wahoos and YFT and anything else!!!!!!
 

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Rastaman (1/10/2008)That boat should handle anything if it is mechanically sound. The real question is the comfort and safety of the crew. You sound a bit cautious which is a good thing. I would also suggest you grab a few experienced guys from here and ask them to come with you on the first venture. It is a long way from home and you just cant beat experience.
I'm agreeing with this. Two of the biggest factors are your boat and the Captain's abilities.We have boats your size running 6-8 footersback in NCduring tournaments.
 

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Those older Hats are built like tanks and can take some amazing punishment, but only if the crew/captain can stand it and know how to safely navigate in those conditions. I would definitely make *many* short trips before trying any overnight trips. At night is usually when the really bad things happen and you need to be prepared. If you haven't taken a boater safety course, I would highly recommend contacting your local power squadron. Even for an experienced skipper, you can learn new tricks, plus the advanced classes can be fun and quite challenging.



I personally wouldn't have a problem running and fishing that boat in 8 - 12+ seas as long as it wasn't real step and depending on which pass I had to come back through on the way back, but no way I would go out overnight without a very firm grasp of how much fuel I burned during actual conditions, and you will burn more the rougher it gets. Good luck!
 

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Your 46' Hatteras, as someone else mentioned, is built like a tank and should be able to handle some pretty nasty stuff. Your best measure to plan a comfortable three-day trip is preparation. You mentioned you had been refurbishing the boat for several years. A good preventive measure is to put the boat on the yard one last time and have an experienced mechanic go through the engine room and put a wrench on every bolt, as they say, and above all, check thru-hulls, valves, bilge pumps and float switches. In other words, make sure all the holes in the boat and their associated hardware are as they should be. You cannot prevent the odd coincidental mishap but you can prevent routine malfunctions.

As for safety equipment, although I have done it in the past, I do not go overnight on boats that do not have an EPIRB. The best EPIRB's are the ones that are GPS-enabled. The ones with the GPS get the Coast Guard to your location in about 2 hours as opposed to six or more. The GPS EPIRB costs about a thousand dollars, but could you put a price on it if you needed it? Certainly a life raft is a worthwhile acquisition, again kind of costly but a great safety tool. If you decide to get the EPIRB and the life raft, it would behoove you to read the manuals thoroughly so that you know how to deploy them in an emergency, and also it is imperative to have them serviced at routine intervals. A sea anchor can help if power is lost in a big sea, but I don't consider this as imperative as the EPIRB and raft. Consider making a waterproof "ditch bag" that contains survival gear such as a handheld GPS, VHF radio, light source, dehydrated foods, water, etc.

Call me overly worrisome, but these are measures I would take to make me comfortable about survival if things went haywire. Some other thoughts: given the choice, we've always tried to leave on multiple-day trips during daylight hours simply because the best radar out there isn't going to show you a 50-foot piece of 2" poly rope floating just under the surface, or a cypress tree, etc. And there are several rigs out there with no lighting whatsoever on them (moreso westerly of the Petronius, but they're out there.) Lastly, if fuel management is an issue on your vessel, you might consider a fuel bladder such as one made by Pillow Tanks in the 100 or 200 gallon range. They can extend your range considerably. We have used them and usually utilize the extra fuel shortly after we believe we have burned that amount of fuel out of the main tanks, thus topping off while we are out there (as opposed to dumping the bladder when we're apprehensive about running out of fuel.) The bladder tanks and tie-downs run in the 600 to 800 dollar range but can prove beneficial when the fishing requires you to run longer.

Above all, use all the resources available to you, especially multiple weather forecasts as can be found on the web, such as the NDBC buoy sites, Weather Underground, etc., and become a student of the weather so as to recognize the onset of nasty conditions before you get caught 60 miles out. Good luck with the boat and your adventures, the 46 Hatteras is a classic and should be a fish-raising machine. Stay safe out there.
 
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