Please select your home edition
Edition
Wildwind 2016 728x90

What's the minimum your sailing partner should know?

by Des Ryan on 19 Nov 2012
Panic - does he or she know enough to get you home? .. .
Some years ago a sailor took his non-sailing girlfriend cruising out into the Pacific Ocean from San Diego for the day. After a pleasant few hours they turned for home. Unexpectedly, in mild weather, he fell overboard. The girlfriend knew so little about the boat that she froze and didn't call for help until the boat washed up on a beach. The sailor was never seen again.

You may be overboard, but also you may be incapacitated. What is the minimum that your sailing partner should know when they go sailing with you? Obviously, as the true story above (which sends prickles up my spine every time I hear or tell it) demonstrates, they should know enough to operate the boat and some of its simple functions, alone.

Here is a check-list of skills that your sailing partner needs to know as a minimum to go sailing together:

General boat handling, in case you are incapacitated. They should know:

1. How to get the sails down, how to sail simply and conservatively.

2. How to lower and raise an anchor.

3. How to steer a simple compass course

4. How to set the autopilot or windvane if you have one.

5. How to start and stop the engine safely.

6. How to heave-to.

7. Where the flares and life jackets are located for emergencies

8. How to boil water on the stove safely.

9. Where the bilge pumps are located and what they do.

10. How to operate the SSB or VHF radio, dependant on where you are sailing.

Then, for the all important MOB situation:
(yes, I know, it's NOT going to happen to you - but that's why, on my count watching the statistics mount, more than 10 people a year are lost in MOB situations in relatively calm water):

1. As specified above, they should know how to use the radio, specially on emergency frequencies, and where the MOB button is located. They should know how to set off the boat's EPIRB.

2. They should know how to disconnect and throw over your danbuoy or life ring

3. They must know how to start the engine, and douse the sails. Even if they know how to steer the boat, unless they are a seasoned helmsman they will probably not be able to return the boat to you, so the previous two points become vital.

How well prepared are YOU for the possibility that you will, at some time in the future, be incapacitated or missing and need your partner to maximise your chances of a happy outcome?
Ancasta Ker 33 660x82Protector - 660 x 82Barz Optics - San Juan Worlds Best Eyewear

Related Articles

Coast Guard Foundation receives donation from Ice Hockey Team
Coast Guard Foundation announced today that it received a donation from the Guilford High School Ice Hockey Booster Club The Coast Guard Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to the education and welfare of all Coast Guard members and their families, announced today that it has received a donation from the Guilford High School Ice Hockey Booster Club for $2,568, to benefit the Coast Guard Foundation’s Fallen Heroes Fund and Scholarship Fund.
Posted today at 5:50 am
Bavaria Yachts to introduce Cruiser 34 and Nautitech 46
The Cruiser 34 will be on show at the Bavaria Yachts display at the Strictly Sail boat show at Bayside’s Miamarina The Cruiser 34 will be on show at the Bavaria Yachts display at the Strictly Sail boat show at Bayside’s Miamarina, from February 16th to 20th.
Posted on 13 Feb
Unique Transatlantic Sailing Event - Building friendship across oceans
Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta, organised to celebrate Canada 150, 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation. Sailing in the wake of the great explorers, international friendship and understanding is at the core of this once in a lifetime adventure - The Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta, organised to celebrate Canada 150, the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation.
Posted on 10 Feb
Frigid flying – Coast Guard aircrews take on New England Winter
Freezing rain? Teeth-chattering temperatures? Limited visibility? Coast Guard aircrews are still ready to fly. Freezing rain? Teeth-chattering temperatures? Limited visibility? Coast Guard aircrews are still ready to fly. At Air Station Cape Cod, aviation maintenance and electronic technicians work around the clock to ensure the MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters are prepared and ready to launch. There is one thing the maintenance crews and pilots cannot control: winter weather.
Posted on 9 Feb
On board interview with Lisa Blair - solo Antartica circumnavigation
So far, Lisa is tracking very well in her attempt to become the first woman to sail solo around Antartica. So far, Lisa is tracking very well in her attempt to become the first woman to sail solo around Antartica. After the setbacks of a delayed departure due to gremlins in the electronics, we are delighted to have these answers from her on board. She is well and enjoying her time. Climate Action Now, her Hick 50, left Albany in Western Australia on January 22, 2017.
Posted on 8 Feb
Yachting cartoonist Mike Peyton dies at 96
“The World’s Greatest Yachting Cartoonist” died on January 25, 2017 just five days after his 96th birthday. Mike Peyton, dubbed “The World’s Greatest Yachting Cartoonist”, died on January 25, 2017 just five days after his 96th birthday. A modest, shy man, he eschewed the spotlight and seemed unaware of the esteem which in sailors all around the world held him.
Posted on 27 Jan
Zhik Xeflex® - your shield against cold environments
This radiant barrier mid-layer nearly defies description. This radiant barrier mid-layer nearly defies description. How do you make a water resistant garment that really breathes, yet reflects your own body heat back to you? Where do you find a compression resistant and extremely insulating filling that is nowhere near as bulky as the Michelin Man, yet gives you that kind of warmth and comfort?
Posted on 17 Jan
Sounds like a boat - Lisa Blair's departure delayed due to electronics
Final preparations of her yacht, Climate Action Now by Sydney-based sailor Lisa Blair have uncovered an electrical issue Final preparations and safety checks of her yacht, Climate Action Now by Sydney-based sailor Lisa Blair have uncovered an electrical issue.
Posted on 15 Jan
Lisa Blair starts Solo Circumnavigation of Antarctica
Over 3,500 people have climbed Mount Everest, only two men have sailed solo, non-stop and unassisted around Antarctica. Over 3,500 people have climbed Mount Everest, over 500 have rowed across the various oceans and 12 people have landed on the moon. Only two men have sailed solo, non-stop and unassisted around Antarctica. Sydney-based Lisa Blair, 32, intends to become the first woman, the fastest and the third person in history to conquer such a challenge.
Posted on 14 Jan
When whales meet sails
CAMPER helmsman Roberto ‘Chuny’ Bermudez found himself nearly face to face with whale in middle of North Atlantic Ocean. Currently the database for marine mammal strikes is very sparse. We are requesting sailors and boaters help to submit information on current and past incidents, however long ago that may be. By giving a location, date, identification if possible, and any other relevant information you can help scientists better understand where marine mammals are at risk for strikes
Posted on 8 Jan