10 Things to Consider When Planning An Extended Cruise

10 Things to Consider When Planning an Extended Cruise

When enjoying an extended cruise, you’ll want to be sure that you are prepared for any worst case scenarios.  Here are some things that you’ll want to double check before heading out.

1)   Engine Maintenance.

Check all of the fluid levels on your engine. You don’t want to run into an issue when you are far from shore. Checking levels regularly is a good habit to get into.

2)   Check Sails for Signs of Wear or Damage.

Inspect your sails carefully before departing. If you notice wear on specific parts of the sails, it may be rubbing against a part of the boat. Use rigging tape to reduce the friction on the parts of the boat that are hitting the sail as a way to protect the sail.

3)   Speaking of Rigs, Check the Condition and Tension of your Shrouds and Stays.

The last thing that you want to have happen is for your boat to lose the rig. Be sure that there is no fraying and that there is proper tension.

4)   Check the Bilge and All Inlets and SeaCocks for Leaks.

Even a slow leak can mean big trouble on longer sails and in rougher waters.

5)   Perform Radio Check.

Be sure that your radio is working correctly and can send and receive messages. It isn’t a bad idea to have a secondary hand-held incase your primary radio fails in the event of an emergency.

6)   Check and Prepare for the Weather.

This may sound obvious, but weather conditions can change (especially if you are on the great lakes). If you have a barometer check for quick drops in pressure (which usually indicates a storm may be approaching). Be prepared for bad weather. Always bring clothes for bad weather – if you are improperly dressed during a storm, you could potentially suffer from hypothermia.

7)   Have Emergency Equipment On-Board.

When planning for a cruise, always think about the worst case scenario. We once had to take apart our engine while underway, and having the manual and equipment on-board allowed us to take the engine apart, and fix it. Also consider a boat-plug incase of seacock failure or other problems.

8)   For Extended Cruising, File a Float Plan.

A float plan is a form that can be downloaded from the US Coastguard website, that details the plans of your cruise. A float plan is then filed with the Coastguard or your marina. As you check-in to different ports or return to your home port, you’ll check in based on your float plan. This is a way to let the Coastguard know where you are. If you fail to check in after a set amount of time, the coastguard will know that there may be a problem. Don’t forget to check-in, or the coastguard may deploy resources to look for you.

9)   Provision Properly – It is Better to Have Too Much vs. Not Enough.

Provisioning can be tricky, but with bad weather, weak winds or other issues, you may find yourself out for longer than expected. Bring lots of provisions, and especially make sure that you have lots of hydration. And rum.

10) Double-check Safety Equipment (and make sure that everyone knows where it is).

Be sure to check on your fire extinguisher, flares, signaling tools (mirrors, dye-packs, horns, etc) and confirm that you have the right number of floatation devices. Remember that inflatables only count if they are worn.

What would you add? What do you do to prepare for longer cruisers? Share in the comments!

9 Things to Always Keep OnBoard Your Sailboat

OK, so safety equipment is a give-in. But there are some things that you’ll want to keep on-board to make for comfortable sailing, for you and your guests….

1) Sunblock

We both have pale skin, so for us it is a give-in, but it is surprising how many of our guests also forget sunblock. We keep 3 – 4 different bottles on-board for ourselves and our guests.

2) Water

This is probably obvious, but nothing is more annoying than running out of water – especially since it is often hot when you are sailing. In a sailboat, journeys often take longer than expected, so keeping a significant water supply on-board ensures that you never run out.

3) Ginger Pills and Motion Sickness Relief

Many people don’t even know that they suffer from motion sickness, and we’ve given this to countless guests. Ginger pills are a natural remedy for motion sickness, but OTC motion sickness relief works quickly and effectively.

4) Snacks

Sailboats don’t move quickly, so getting from point A to point B can take longer than expected. Make sure you have plenty of snacks on board to increase your comfort during longer journeys.

5) First-aid Kit

Because you never know…..

6) Rain Gear/Warm Gear

Even if you track the weather forecast, once you’re out on the water moving, the temperature drops. We keep extra warm sweaters and rain gear on the boat for ourselves and our guests, as many are unprepared for the cooler evening weather or how cool it can get while sailing.

7) Extra hats

Many sailing excursions last at least a half-day, and that can be a long time to be out in the sun. We always have extra hats on-board for ourselves (incase we forget or lose one) and guests…. many of our guests forget hats or don’t think of them….

8) Wire cutters or utility knife

If you have a dis-masting (where your mast falls off) you may need to cut your rig loose. Always have wire cutters on hand and a good utility knife that is capable of cutting a line if needed.

9) Ziplock Bags

We once had an iphone die after being in the rain during a storm on the boat. Now, when it is looking like rain, we put our phones in ziplock bags – this keeps them dry but you can still use the touch-screen. WIN.

(they are also good for storing leftovers)

9 Things to Keep Onboard Your Sailboat