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Friday, January 29, 2016

Escape by sailboat



There are a zillion boats in Florida. Some of the waterways are down right crowded. Certain choke points, like the Miserable Mile, force a lot of boats into narrow channels. Can someone really escape a disaster in a sailboat?

Like everything else, it depends. If there's a local disturbance like a riot, chemical spill, or fire, it's easy enough to slip away. If you are out on a mooring ball or at anchor, you are somewhat isolated from the problems on shore. Even if you were in a marina you'd probably have a better chance than most people. Security at marinas varies from pretty good to nonexistent, but it's not the first place rioters seem to go to. There are better places to start looting. Most boats can be untied from the docks quickly.

How about a more widespread disaster? In a Mad Max world, sailboats appear to have a serious disadvantage: they are slow. My sailboat can do a bit over 6 knots. Just about any power boat can go faster?

In an EMP type situation that disables electronics, being able to raise sail and harness the winds puts a sailboat ahead of most power boats. Only military boats with hardened electronics or extremely old simple motors would stand a chance of working. The majority of power boats would be dead in the water.

Where a sailboat really shines is range. The further off shore one sails, the fewer the power boats that have the ability to follow. If you leave early and give everyone the slip, before long you are past of the fuel capacity of most boats.

Sailboats during the best of times are hard to pick up on radar. Many sailboats carry radar reflectors that are hoisted up in the rigging to make their boat more visible. I've heard of of people stealing a sailboat and it taking days for the Coast Guard and Navy to find them. There's a lot of open space out there. If someone takes measures not to be found, they can stand a good chance of disappearing.

Where to go? Even my little boat has enough supplies to last a few weeks. My big limitation is fresh water, but I can collect rain water. Maybe it's just a matter of sailing up or down the coast to a place that's safer. Perhaps going to an offshore island might be the thing, but I'm sure a lot of other boaters will be thinking the same thing. It might even make sense to just go offshore and wait it out.

While a sailboat isn't perfect, it's a pretty good bug out vehicle. Many people think a big 4X4 truck is the ideal bug out vehicle, but I'd rather be in a sailboat. I can carry a good load, it's not limited to the roads, and it can harness the wind for power. Mainly though, I'm usually on the boat or very close to it. The best bug out vehicle is the one you are already living on.

-Sixbears

18 comments:

  1. Good practical subject. So far, this is my conclusion as well. Your take is similar to others I've read, but also adds to them.

    You said "It might even make sense to just go offshore and wait it out."

    Though I question the practicality of some aspects of it, that's the planned approach of some people/groups, for example, the Sea Gypsy Tribe method described at the link below and various others:

    http://theseagypsyphilosopher.blogspot.tw/2013/07/the-sea-gypsy-tribe.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are problems,imagine dealing with a big storm at the same time?

      I'm keeping my eyes open to different options.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, a sea anchor can only do so much. And if you're going to try to "wait it out", that would be a long time bobbing around.

      Delete
  2. Two big advantages of sail boats are 1) no engine noise - quiet and 2) unlimited fuel. Add to the other benefits you mention and it sounds like a great BO vehicle with an experienced crew like yourselves.

    Desalinator sounds like a good fresh water choice. Given sunshine and appropriate containers, for a small group should work okay as far as drinking goes.

    Great topic - thanks for posting this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I should have mentioned the lack of engine noise. It's a big advantage.

      Desalination is handy, but they are energy hungry complicated systems. I'm more focused on adding more water storage and rain catchment.

      Delete
    2. Just add a Brita water filter, and Bob's your uncle! ;-)

      Delete
    3. Already have one. We use an RV filter at marinas plus then use the Brita to make it taste halfway decent.

      Delete
  3. Never thought about sailboats that way. You are right - it is a good way to bug out!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The best bug out vehicle is the one that you are already living on.

      Delete
  4. The one cylinder yanmar diesal can be hand cranked, needs no electronics !
    Yup, where you're at right now is just a short distance from the ten thousand islands and complete wilderness with plenty to eat and drink for survival.
    Any type RO desalinator is a short term way at best for fresh water, as membranes don't last and can only be stored short term in years.
    Much better to just locate a freshwater source in the Everglades
    I've often wondered if perhaps a houseboat might not be an ideal bugout boat down in that part of Florida. Especially one equipped with a yanmar and simple sail plan. Lots of roof area for water catchment and solar.

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    Replies
    1. "I've often wondered if perhaps a houseboat might not be an ideal bugout boat down in that part of Florida. Especially one equipped with a yanmar and simple sail plan. Lots of roof area for water catchment and solar."

      Agree. I've looked and looked, and have not so far found a DIY sailing houseboat. If you have, please point me in the right direction.

      The other issue with that idea is that such a boat would need to be capable of some coastal sailing. Tricky at best in a houseboat.

      Delete
    2. Something like Dave Z's Triloboat designs might be just the thing. http://triloboats.com/

      Easy to build, shallow draft, huge capacity, plus is designed to sail.

      Delete
  5. The one cylinder yanmar diesal can be hand cranked, needs no electronics !
    Yup, where you're at right now is just a short distance from the ten thousand islands and complete wilderness with plenty to eat and drink for survival.
    Any type RO desalinator is a short term way at best for fresh water, as membranes don't last and can only be stored short term in years.
    Much better to just locate a freshwater source in the Everglades
    I've often wondered if perhaps a houseboat might not be an ideal bugout boat down in that part of Florida. Especially one equipped with a yanmar and simple sail plan. Lots of roof area for water catchment and solar.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like the idea of a water maker, but can't justify the cost, plus reliability is an issue. They seem best for charter boats that can be serviced often and where the guests are not used to conserving water.

      Delete
  6. This comment comes from someone who's only 'sailboat' experiance was a 16 foot Hobie Cat (fun boat).
    But for a bug out boat my choice would be a 30-35 foot catamaran. Large comfortable main cabin area, comfortable sleeping areas, reasonably shallow draft, more stable than a mono at anchor to mention a few. One issue is price compared to a mono hull but for a full time live aboard coastal cruiser I think they would be hard to beat.

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  7. Crap. The first reply I posted mysteriously disappeared. I'll try again.

    Mike: I tend to agree. I'm concerned about price, as you said, but also other issues: longer DIY build time and complexity, compared to something like a triloboat (triloboats.blogspot.com).

    Also, when viewed from above, tracing the four corners, a catamaran is a rectangle of sorts. When I look at it, I see what feels like a lot of underutilized or wasted space.

    If I could get beyond those issues, I'd be sold.

    Yoda

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  8. Even in a boat, it might be wise to stash some radios in a Faraday cage.

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  9. If you are home when the crises hits, is your lake big enough to bug out in or hide in a cove?

    ReplyDelete