Please select your home edition
Edition
T Clewring J-class

Sailing Safety - Think 'Inverted' When Making Cruising Preparations

by John Jamieson on 16 Feb 2013
Captain John Jamieson http://www.skippertips.com
Learn to sail with the mindset that sets you apart from the crowd. Acclaimed author and sailor John Vigor makes a great point in his book 'The Seaworthy Offshore Sailboat' to 'think inverted' when provisioning or cruise planning. Read on for what this means to sailing safety.

Now, none of us plan to face the ultimate storm at sea. Matter of fact, most of us will never set sail in an area where such storms are probable. But you could keep this thought in mind each and every time you stow the smallest item aboard. Whether it's silverware in a drawer, dishes in a locker, books on a shelf, a portable CD player in the cabin, or a spare anchor in a sail locker--'think inverted'.

If the boat were to invert, where would that heavy book, radio, or anchor end up. Would it become a deadly 'missile hazard' or stove a hole in the hull or keel? Here are some other samples to think about, in particular if your plans are for cruising in unsettled weather or unprotected waters. Take a quick look at this list of 'think inverteds' to see which may apply to you.

Seven 'Think Inverted' Sailing Safety Ideas
1. Will your ports be strong enough to keep in one piece? Will they leak? Vigor recommends custom made storm covers about an inch larger than the ports. Pre-drilled and tapped stainless retainers are installed around each port. When needed, you secure the storm cover to each port by screwing wing bolts into the retainers. This provides a strong 'bullet proof' cover to protect these large openings in your boat.

2. How strong and waterproof are your hatches? How can you make them more watertight? Could they use more gasketing or stronger dogs (latches)? Make hatches more secure to keep water out and the sailing crew dryer and more comfortable down below.

No nonsense blue water cruising boats like this Westsail 32 have minimum cockpit volume (see photo) to prevent stability problems in case of boarding seas.

3. Are your companionway boards loose? Would they fall out in rough weather? Would it be better to have tighter-fitting or gasketed boards (or a single board) in a blow to prevent water intrusion down below?

4. How watertight is the companionway slide? That's the cover that slides over the cutout. Often, this area will be weak and leak like a screen door on a submarine in driving rain. Discuss modifications with your marina experts if going offshore to make this vulnerable area stronger and safer.

5. Could your deck stowed dinghy, liferaft, or jerry jugs use more or better lashings? Lashings sometimes become slack over time. How could you make lashings stronger (bungee cord?; automotive type luggage rack tie-downs?).

6. Are your cockpit scuppers of large enough diameter to drain a filled cockpit in a matter of seconds? Or would it take several minutes to empty a cockpit filled with water. Test it out. Close off both cockpit scupper seacocks. Fill the cockpit with a hose as high as practicable. Time how long it takes to drain. Increase scupper drain diameter if necessary to get rid of water in the cockpit as fast as possible!

7. How could you reduce the area of your cockpit (if necessary). Take a look at the Westsail 32 cockpit (photo above) designed for offshore sailing. It has minimum volume so that if filled, the weight of seawater (about 8.5 pounds per gallon), will not lead to stability issues that could cause capsize. Decrease cockpit volume to increase sailing safety in less protected waters.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Check your sailing boat inside and out to think of ways you might improve her watertight integrity while sailing. This will give you the confidence to know she will take care of you in the worst sailing weather--wherever in the world you choose to cruise!

John Jamieson (Captain John) with 25+ years of experience shows you the no-nonsense cruising skills you need for safer sailing worldwide. Visit his website at www.skippertips.com. Sign up for the Free, highly popular weekly 'Captain John's Sailing Tip-of-the-Week'. Discover how you can gain instant access to hundreds of sailing articles, videos, and e-Books!

Pantaenius - Worldwide SupportHarken AUS Reflex 660x82navathome 660x82

Related Articles

Newport Bermuda Race - High Noon takes honours
As the Newport Bermuda Race fleet rushed to the finish line on Monday in the wake of the first-to-finish boat, As the Newport Bermuda Race fleet rushed to the finish line on Monday in the wake of the first-to-finish boat, the powerful 100-foot grand prix Comanche, to the surprise of many they were led by an unusual boat and crew. High Noon, at 41 feet, is fully 59 feet shorter than Comanche and tens of feet shorter than many other entries.
Posted on 22 Jun
Platino recovery - Family confirms that tug has made rendezvous
Reports in social media say a salvage tug has made a rendezvous with the Platino earlier than expected. Reports in social media by family and friends of Nick Saull, the crew member killed during a catastrophic incident abroad the 66ft yacht Platino say the salvage tug which left on Tuesday night has made the rendezvous earlier than expected. The Facebook report says the tug, Sea Pelican, arrived on Friday morning, the weather in the area has eased and with a more favorable outlook.
Posted on 16 Jun
Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron to ban bottled water
Approval has been given to create a ban on bottled water that comes in plastic containers. The RQYS Management Committee has confirmed that approval has been given to create a ban on bottled water that comes in plastic containers. This will place the club as a leader in environmental impact management in Australia and around the world. The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club earlier this year did likewise. Who’s next?
Posted on 16 Jun
Platino recovery operation well underway as crew arrive in Auckland
An ocean-going tug has left Whangarei to locate and attempt to salvage the luxury yacht Platino An ocean-going tug left Whangarei late on Tuesday night to locate and attempt to salvage the luxury yacht Platino which has been abandoned 550km NE of New Zealand. Weather dependent, we could reach Platino by Saturday and have the yacht and body of the person on board back in New Zealand early next week,” says Inspector Graham of the NZ Police.
Posted on 16 Jun
Search for Platino crew member lost in Pacific Ocean is suspended
Maritime New Zealand have advised that the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) has suspended the search for t Maritime New Zealand have advised that the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) has suspended the search for the sailor lost overboard from the yacht Platino on Monday morning, 550km north of New Zealand. Sail-World understands that a tug has left NZ to rendezvous with the boat. That boat is believed to have an NZ Police officer on board responsible for the recovery of the deceased.
Posted on 15 Jun
Platino survivors expected in Auckland on Thursday
Southern Lily, with three crew members from the 66ft yacht Platino aboard, is expected to arrive in Auckland on Thursday The container ship, Southern Lily, with three crew members from the 66ft yacht Platino aboard, is expected to arrive in Auckland on Thursday morning. The master of the Southern Lily, Shashi Prakash, said that seas in the region at the time of the rescue were 3 metres high making for a tricky operation to rendezvous with the dismasted yacht.
Posted on 15 Jun
Platino rescue - Three crew safely aboard container ship
Two men and a woman have been rescued from their battered yacht, Platino, around 550 kilometres north of New Zealand Two men and a woman have been rescued from their battered yacht, Platino, around 550 kilometres north of New Zealand by the crew of the container ship Southern Lily. A rescue line was used to help get the trio safely on board around 3pm.
Posted on 14 Jun
Platino rescue - Top boatbuilder named as dead crew member
Maritime New Zealand has advised that a container ship is re-routing to assist three people aboard the Platino Maritime New Zealand has advised that a container ship is re-routing to assist three people aboard the battered yacht, Platino, 550 kilometres north of NZ. The stuff.co.nz website is reporting that the man who died onboard a yacht north of New Zealand was Nick Saull, the head of an Auckland boat building company, Brin Wilson Boatbuilders, located at Gulf Harbour about 40 minutes north of Auckland.
Posted on 13 Jun
One dead, one missing off 20 metre yacht in gale force winds
Maritime NZ has reported that a search is underway for a sailor lost overboard from a yacht another has been killed Maritime NZ has reported that a search is underway for a sailor lost overboard from a yacht 550km (300 nautical miles) north of New Zealand. The Rescue Coordination Centre NZ was advised at 11.20am today (Monday, 13 June) that one male had been killed and another man, in his 60s, knocked overboard from the 20m yacht
Posted on 13 Jun
Boaters warned to navitage safely as severe weather sets in across NSW
Roads and Maritime Services Director Maritime Angus Mitchell said Operation Boat Safe: Navigate Safely starts tomorrow. Roads and Maritime Services Director Maritime Angus Mitchell said Operation Boat Safe: Navigate Safely starts tomorrow and will continue until sundown on Monday 13 June.
Posted on 3 Jun