10 Important Tips for a Smooth Sailing Experience18 December 2020
Whether you’re heading out for a race, overnighter or extended trip, it is extremely important you are prepared and organised for the planned trip, failing to do so, can be dangerous and irresponsible. To help our fellow sailors Riggtech has put together a list of things to do and check before setting out for a smooth and precise sail, regardless of the conditions you face.
- Use a Pre-Departure Check-List
One important tip in achieving a positive and safe sailing experience is to have a check-list of all the things you need to do or check before departure. This list contains all the equipment, supplies, devices, tools, and parts that must be present and checked for safety and necessity on a sailing trip.
- Inspect Standing Rigging
Depending on the length of the journey you have planned, it’s a good idea to check over the standing rigging of your yacht. The standing rigging refers to the fittings and stays that hold the mast up and braces the sail against the forces of the wind. This involves getting in the bosuns chair and either climbing or being wound with a winch handle up to the top of the mast, then slowly getting lowered while checking all fittings. Things to look for include split pins that need bending, loose bolts, cracks or breaks in wires/stays or rods, checking over the turnbuckles and all other fittings on the mast that can inhibit safety or function on the mast while sailing. If you can’t or don’t want to do this, there’s always the option of getting some professionals from Riggtech to do it for you.
- Check Over Everything
A simple and easy step to ensure a successful and trouble free trip is to check over all the equipment on the deck or at deck level. Things to look for included; chafing or frayed halyards, sheets, mainsheet, or furling lines etc, check winches are operating properly, blocks and sheaves are turning and possibly oiled, shackle pins are tight and that nothing else is broken or damaged.
- Check Anchor Before Use
The anchor, anchor line, chain and anchor winch must all be in good condition because it can be deployed in an emergency (engine problems, unexpected weather or sailing issues, for example). Connection points should be checked, ei. the anchor to the chain, chain to the rope or line and the line to the boat. The chain should be check along its length for rusty or broken links, the same goes for the rope, look for parts that are chaffed. Understanding how the whole anchor system works it also important when lowering and raising the anchor, as well as knowing how much chain and line should be deployed to ensure the anchor beds into the sea bed and so the boat doesn’t drag the anchor or the boat doesn’t end up clashing with others or running aground.
- Utilise Weather Forecasts
No matter how far you are planning to go, knowing the weather forecast is extremely important in ensuring a safe trip. Checking one day before and on the day of sailing is also important because forecasts can change dramatically in a short amount of time. Checking the tides, wind etc is also important, as conditions can change significantly in a matter of minutes.
- Bring and Prepare Charts
Once you have acquired accurate and up to date information about the weather situation, you must plot your sailing courses on your chart ahead of time. Having a chart with you, despite the presence of the latest nautical GPS or chart plotter ensures that your sailing direction will be accurate and safe even if those devices stop working.
- Check Supply Levels
Preparing and bringing your own sailing gear can help you comfort and peace-of-mind. Food, water and fuel supply levels should be checked too, depending on the length of the planned trip to ensure you don’t run out. Checking all safety equipment supplies is especially important to ensure you and your crews safety. Check expiry dates, battery levels and operation of all safety systems. Another simple step is to check you have enough life jackets and enough to suit each person on the trip (ie. the right sizes) Some other things that you should bring include; a knife, sailing harness, weather gear, extra clothes, snacks, and emergency kit and first aid kit. If you’re unsure of what you need, check you local government or maritime websites for more information.
- Rest and Hydrate Before
Before sailing, you must take some adequate rest and keep yourself hydrated. Sailing activities can take a lot of time and will surely require plenty of physical activity. Getting some rest and keeping yourself hydrated can help your mind and body alert during the sailing.
- Share Everything You Know
Sailing on another boat can be different from sailing on your own one. However, you can still contribute everything that you know about sailing and maintaining crucial parts of the boat. You can even help in navigating, controlling sails and lines, lowering sails, and others. Familiarise crew members with the operations required while sailing before departure to prevent issues, damage or compromising safety. Make sure all crew members know what to do in emergencies and where to get all emergency equipment from.
- Keep Yourself Awake and Alert
Keep yourself awake and alert during the sailing if you’re the skipper and have crew help too, as some of the skippers view can be inhibited by the sails. You will need all the energy just to keep the sailboat moving no matter how what the situation is.
Your sailing experience matters and the quality of rigging and maintenance of your boat or yacht contributes to your entire safety and enjoyment. Here at Riggtech, we understand all your needs in order for you to have an enjoyable and memorable sailing experience. Our Online Store can provide you with all your boating and yachting needs. If you wish to enquire about other products and services, please feel free to contact us at Riggtech.
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