Assuming you buy the boat, there are several very important basics you need to know and practice before you even get your sails
1. How will you get out to your boat on the mooring? Is it by dinghy
with an outboard
or will you be rowing a dingy? If you have an outboard
is it reliable? If it fails can you easily row to your boat or the shore. The trip in a dinghy
to a boat on a mooring and climbing from the dinghy into the boat, can be the most dangerous part of the whole exercise.
2. Once you have got onto your boat on your mooring, do you know how to tie a secure Knot
that will secure your dinghy to the boat or the buoy. If not learn how to tie a bowline. It is secure, easy to tie, easy to undo and the most useful knot
you can know.
3. How is your boat secured to the mooring? Can you cast off easily? Can you also pick up the mooring easily and on your own?
4. Does you 28 footer have an engine
? When was it last serviced? Is it reliable? Do you know how to start it and stop it? Do you know what to do if your engine
fails? If not, do a diesel
engine course (assuming your engine is a diesel). If your engine fails and you cannot re-start it, do you know what to do? Does your boat have an anchor
? Do you know how to drop your anchor
and also how to raise it? Does the boat have a VHF radio
? If not buy a handheld one at the very least. Do you know how to use a VHF
and do you have a VHF Licence? If not do the training!
5. Whatís the mobile phone reception
like where your boat is moored? If itís awful you definitely need a VHF radio.
6. Will you be sailing on your own or with others? If with others do you know what to do if someone falls overboard
and how to recover them? If not, thereís lots online about that. Study it carefully. Hopefully you'll never use it. But if you don't know how, a friend could die.
7. Do you have any experience of boat handling? If not, before you even think about getting the sails
up and assuming you are confident in picking up the mooring, drop your mooring and motor
slowly round wherever you are and practice picking up your mooring again Ė and do it again and again so if itís dark or the sea is lively, you are confident you can do that. And do all your manoeuvring slowly.
8. Finally, whatís your mooring location like? Are there rocks, eddies, tidal effects? Do you have a chart for your area? Or are you better getting a chart on your mobile phone
(be careful, Digital charts
can eat phone batteries). Study the area you are sailing in and talk to other local sailors, if you have any. Identify the safe areas and the hazards.
If you can master all that, then you are ready to get the sails up and learn how to use the wind
to get your boat moving without an engine.
Do everything slowly and keep practising until itís second nature. And accept that things will go wrong from time to time and learn from your mistakes
. We all make them!