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Old 10-03-2008, 17:08   #1
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As new owners of a sailing boat we’re trying to build up a set of check lists to help us get into safe routines. We’re weekender's for now, returning to our other lives during the week and I wanted to concentrate on the four evolutions we take the boat through during our weekly life cycle.

The boat currently lives in three different states; asleep in her slip waiting for us to return, housing us at the slip and free on the water. Over the course of the weekend we will typically wake her up, take her out and return her to her slip and then put her back to sleep to wait the next installment a few days later. I can imagine that this is a pretty common pattern for those of us still tied to the shore.

So what do you guys out there do when you
1) Return to the boat after an absence
2) Get ready to leave the marina
3) Have returned to the marina
4) Leave the boat for another week of what some fools call the real life?

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Old 10-03-2008, 17:29   #2

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Tom, there just a discussion about lists here, or in that certain other forum.

I would suggest using a steno pad (I like the format) or some large index cards (durable) and making up only two lists, making them in pencil and revising them for a few weeks.



Depending on your equipment and personal tastes they might go something like this (in reverse of easch other).

1-Open hatch, stow hatchboard & lock
2-Check bilge
3-Check gas sniffer if any
4-Check battery power
5-Check all throughhulls, open/close
Note: Main engine key may be kept on red streamer, on main water inlet.
6-check fuel level, open/close main fuel shutoff valve
5b. Remove/install clean knotmeter throughhull, as applicable.
7-Check all lines/fenders
8-Check all sails, sail covers, hatches, tiller/wheel for exterior damage (secure when coming in) especially LifeSling or other equipment left on deck. (And possibly remove from deck when in port.

Depending on your use and how serious your trips are, you might want to add a VHF check, refrigeration check, water tanks, waste tank,check electrical circuits, insturments and light for operation before going out. It kinda all depends on how compulsive you are and how "daysail, can live without it" you'll be.

If you use inflatable PFDs--make Real Damn Sure to check that the inflation mechanism is good, and you might want to disarm it (and flag that) before any long-term stowage as well.

If you have left the boat for as little as two weeks in "fertile" waters, you may also want to dive on the prop to make sure it isn't overgrown before taking off. I had the pleasure (ahem) to cast off a mooring once after a month of no use in midsummer--and find that I had to raise sail Pretty Damn Quick because "full throttle" didn't do squat. The folding prop had been so badly overgrown that it couldn't move the boat. (Ouch.)

I always find the first couple of sails that everyone has missed something, after that the "muscle memories" kick in and my hands and eyes remember to do what my brain has forgotten.[g]

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Old 10-03-2008, 19:04   #3
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My wife lives for check lists. She makes them all the time. Myself I don't and never have. I think if they work for you then make all you can. Every once in a while she digs something out of a bag that I forgot to pack. I may not like them but I don't mind if other people do.

Since the boat is at the end of the block I can make a lot of extra trips. If you drive more than a few miles I would say make lists of everything.
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Old 10-03-2008, 21:14   #4
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I make a list on xls spreadsheet with columns for:
Date/Priority/Job CODE/ Done by/Description/Notes/Budget, so that I can “sort” them out whichever way I want to

This works great as you will find things in your self described phases repetitive tasks and soon all you need to do is to update the list and just add a few new things, print up and distribute the list.

I find the “Notes” column handy for dimensions/serial #/ or reminder to bring sample. Too easy!
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Old 11-03-2008, 05:20   #5
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I got so automated in whizzing through the pre and post lists (unwritten), it was only when my wife was taking the boat out for a day that I was compelled ( lest she forget something) to commit a list to paper for her. Imagine you are giving the boat to a friend (a stranger even) and you of course want everything used and returned absolutely as the boat is on the dock now. each boat differs, but that's your definitive list . . .
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Old 11-03-2008, 13:02   #6
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Make a list. All it takes is one expensive repair... or stinking boat... or wiscracks from the dock as you attempt to pull away while the bow line is still secured... to make you never forget it again. Not that any of us have ever done any of the aforementioned "ah shuck things"...

I would add checking the refer and all the tanks too.
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Old 11-03-2008, 13:38   #7
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Check bilges and open sea cocks when you arrive
Check bilges and close ALL seacocks before you leave.

These two, especially the second where you close ALL the seacocks before leaving may just keep your boat off the bottom.

Everything else is a matter of convenience..
Have fun and enjoy...

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Old 11-03-2008, 18:06   #8
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Our check lists are built into our log. we live aboard full time so no lists for coming and going. But we do have lists for getting under way, and for regular routines while under way. Everyone develops their own and I am sure there are some items on everyones list that are the same. Getting under way we check tank levels, fluids in engine and transmission, battery conditions and fluid levels, electronics, interior items secure, seacocks working, and bilge pumps functioning, and most importantly weather forecasts to name a few.
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Old 11-03-2008, 19:40   #9
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The only one I have on that list... the hatch boards never leave the boat.

Just because the cockpit is full of stuff and you are gassing up and about to leave, they never, ever end up on the dock.

On a more serious note, checking of the bilge and boot stripe are of primary importance. Dock lines for chafe when coming or going, and a check of the sails and running rigging.

Bilge blower on!

I check the oil before firing up the engine, every time... habit from working on engines whose value is more than my wage in a year. Listen for any funny clicks pops or grinds, with your hand still on the switch watch the oil pressure come up. Let her idle for a few minutes as you get ready to cast off the dock lines, and before leaving keep an eye on the temp and make sure it doesn't peg. I do a check of the engine room in the first 30 minutes on the big trawlers and leave the hatch open on the sailboat. Saved more than one engine by keeping an eye out for steam!

I find the more structured the list, the less observing I am of the operations... and forgetting something "because it wasn't on the list" happens more often than when a casual stroll through the shop highlights most of whats needed for the pending trip. Sort of like going to the store to get a tomato and coming back with pasta sauce and a cart full of donuts...

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