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Old 08-03-2018, 11:10   #1
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Things to Practice

By nature, I am a generally risk averse person who likes to be prepared for different eventualities. In another 5 weeks our plan is to head north from Florida some ICW, some short coastal hops weather permitting. In preparation for that trip, I am trying to put together a list of things to practice on the boat before our first trip. I've looked at the safety equipment on the boat and we have new jacklines, tethers, life vests, EPIRB, backup vhf radios and a backup GPS. Our primary chartplotter has its bluecharts updated. So in addition to this, anyone have any additional recommendations on what to practice?

Tacking to hove to
Setting and shaking out the first and second reef
Rigging a preventer for downwind sailing
MOB drills

My plan is to hire an instructor who will go out with us a half dozen times and give us pointers, as well as a captain who will accompany us for our first 48-72 hours and correct us if he sees us doing anything wrong.

I was also considering putting together a quick reference handbook in a folder for my wife and son so they have basic instructions on how to operate the radio, what to do in certain situations, etc.

Any other thoughts?

100% committed to not being that guy who sinks the boat two days into the trip.

We've never done any trips, overnight sailing, or sailing in the Atlantic.
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Old 08-03-2018, 11:22   #2
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Re: Things to Practice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cloroxbottle View Post
By nature, I am a generally risk averse person who likes to be prepared for different eventualities. In another 5 weeks our plan is to head north from Florida some ICW, some short coastal hops weather permitting. In preparation for that trip, I am trying to put together a list of things to practice on the boat before our first trip. I've looked at the safety equipment on the boat and we have new jacklines, tethers, life vests, EPIRB, backup vhf radios and a backup GPS. Our primary chartplotter has its bluecharts updated. So in addition to this, anyone have any additional recommendations on what to practice?

Tacking to hove to
Setting and shaking out the first and second reef
Rigging a preventer for downwind sailing
MOB drills

I was also considering putting together a quick reference handbook in a folder for my wife and son so they have basic instructions on how to operate the radio, what to do in certain situations, etc.
Good list. I assume you are confident docking and undocking in all kinds of conditions (blown on dock, blown off dock)? I have been know to dig up a book to review using spring lines etc.

Make sure you practice reefing in downwind and upwind conditions and maybe in a situation when you've waited too long to reef. Things can be surprisingly "different" when one or two factors change :-)

The book isn't a bad idea, but actually making the crew practice radio calls etc. isn't a bad idea either. Reading in panic situation isn't everyone's forte.
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Old 08-03-2018, 11:47   #3
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Re: Things to Practice

Good list. Also practice:

- anchoring with your crew if that is not something you do regularly.
- tracking your position on a paper chart in case of electronics failure.
- MOB with different sail conditions. E.G. with the preventer on versus off, etc. Not that you will do things very differently but it gets you/crew to think through things in advance.
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Old 08-03-2018, 12:00   #4
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Re: Things to Practice

Sounds like you are taking the most important steps of thinking and preparing in advance, rather than trying to figure it out at sea. If you're like many of us, however, you are experienced and trained, but your crew less so. Consider what happens if you are incapacitated or overboard - how will the rest of your crew handle the situation. If you are going to pay for custom training, make sure they are comfortable with procedures. Have a fun cruise.
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Old 08-03-2018, 12:15   #5
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Re: Things to Practice

Reefing , reefing and reefing. Practice until it's automatic. Also practice determining your location while sailing the boat, it's different than sitting still!. Take note of all possible inlets to get off the ocean. Determine which are problematic and which have enough depth for you.
On the outside the NE wind is prevalent and against the gulf stream. Trying to heave to in any heavy wind there is not easy or good.
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Old 08-03-2018, 12:55   #6
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Re: Things to Practice

Practice all procedures that might be done under stress. Obviously reefing and MOB
Heaving to
Dropping/furling sails
Deploying stern anchor (when your motor just died coming into dock)
Anchoring, while motoring and sailing.
The biggest to me is Practice communication. Everyone must work as a team calmly and efficiently especially in stressful situations.
The better you communicate, the less you find yourselves in those stressful spots.
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Old 08-03-2018, 13:29   #7
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Re: Things to Practice

Just a bit about MOB drills. Do not use a person for the MOB drills. We used Type IV throwable floatation cushions for it in the beginning, and later have done it for caps that blew off, and even fenders we've spotted.

Once everybody has done it---note how important the "spotter" really is--then talk about ways to improve what you're doing. There's lots to read about this, and it is best to practice doing it under sail. (Too hard to not take your eyes off the victim, while you're striking the sails, if someone wants to do it under motor, plus you really don't want the prop thrashing around by the victim.)

Talk it through altogether, and look for how it might not go as planned to criticize the plan.

Depending on age, the son can be the one to push the MOB button on the GPS, or maybe the spotter. Remember, it could be YOU overboard, and they will have to work together to save you. Almost never will someone else be able to come and help within your first 3 minutes, and by then, you should be back to the victim, hove to, and getting them aboard.

Imagining that it is YOU overboard will give your wife and son motivation to at least learn these emergency maneuverings, and hopefully, the into a new marina ones, too. (Get your lines and fenders set up before you go into the harbor, so they're ready as needed.)

If you're taking an instructor, you will be relying on him or her. You will find it is different when it's all on you. Anyhow, they say the Etap is "unsinkable", so you can take sinking right off the list.

Studying paper charts for the area will help all aboard to conceptualize the whole journey, particularly where various hazards and shallows are lurking. Go with the tides, use them to help you, where possible. Keep records, so you learn your comfortable days runs, and fuel consumption.

And, above all, have fun, enjoy.

Ann
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Old 08-03-2018, 13:58   #8
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Re: Things to Practice

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPA Cate View Post
>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Keep records, so you learn your comfortable days runs, and fuel consumption.

>>>>>>>>>>>

fuel consumption

Critical, for when, not if, your fuel sender dies.

Here's a spreadsheet I made for it 20 years ago.

Fuel Log
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Old 09-03-2018, 13:45   #9
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Re: Things to Practice

Fairly surprised that it hasn’t been mentioned
But have you created and refined your
Passage Plan ? A detailed plan/roadmap/ pilotage guide of your route? Including alternate ports
of refuge ?
Google “Passage Plan” for all sorts of
info and sample plans.
You wouldn’t feel safe getting on an airliner
for a 5 hour flight knowing that only the
pilot knows where the plane is going to land
Cheers
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Old 09-03-2018, 14:16   #10
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Re: Things to Practice

All the responses seem to assume you are going outside all the way and doing the ICW . Is this correct ?
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Old 09-03-2018, 14:41   #11
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Re: Things to Practice

IMHO you should be doing this while in FL. The ditch (ICW) is too narrow and has to many things to hit to perform drills. On good days, the coastal waters of FL can be good for training. On other days not so good.

A week training off the Keys and in Biscayne Bay might be a better move.
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Old 09-03-2018, 14:56   #12
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Re: Things to Practice

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All the responses seem to assume you are going outside all the way and doing the ICW . Is this correct ?
*** Should read "and not doing the ICW. Is this correct ?"
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Old 10-03-2018, 06:51   #13
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Re: Things to Practice

Your list is pretty good, as lists go they'll never be perfect as there is always some situation that pops up that we never covered. For your specific list, don't forget to do most of it in the dark too. Pay special attention to the MOB and make sure you atent the only person onboard who can maneuver the boat to make a pick up of a person in the water.
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Old 10-03-2018, 07:09   #14
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Re: Things to Practice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cloroxbottle View Post
By nature, I am a generally risk averse person who likes to be prepared for different eventualities. In another 5 weeks our plan is to head north from Florida some ICW, some short coastal hops weather permitting. In preparation for that trip, I am trying to put together a list of things to practice on the boat before our first trip. I've looked at the safety equipment on the boat and we have new jacklines, tethers, life vests, EPIRB, backup vhf radios and a backup GPS. Our primary chartplotter has its bluecharts updated. So in addition to this, anyone have any additional recommendations on what to practice?

Tacking to hove to
Setting and shaking out the first and second reef
Rigging a preventer for downwind sailing
MOB drills

My plan is to hire an instructor who will go out with us a half dozen times and give us pointers, as well as a captain who will accompany us for our first 48-72 hours and correct us if he sees us doing anything wrong.

I was also considering putting together a quick reference handbook in a folder for my wife and son so they have basic instructions on how to operate the radio, what to do in certain situations, etc.

Any other thoughts?

100% committed to not being that guy who sinks the boat two days into the trip.

We've never done any trips, overnight sailing, or sailing in the Atlantic.
It sounds to me that you've more than done your homework. Now ENJOY the voyage.
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