Do you have a plan A and a Plan B? Possibly a C? If not, you should probably think about jotting down at least a plan B. Things happen at sea that is sometimes out of your control, the job of a skipper is to take control of the things you can!! It’s worth, if not just for peace of mind, to have a plan B when it comes to route planning. The winds can change, the anchorage could be full, your children might be fighting or you are running low on gin whatever the reason plan for eventualities.
Questions to ask yourself
Is the Boat safe?
- Are all your lines out of the water?
- Is the gas turned off?
- Is everything stowed away safely?
- Is your radio on CH16?
- Are your fenders in the lockers?
- Do the children have lifejackets on?
- Are your winch handles in the winch pocket and not left in the winches?
- Are your hatches shut? Especially your deck hatches?
- Have you checked your engine? (WOBBLE: Water, Oil, Bulge, Belts, Look (does it look okay?) Electrics)
- Are the beers in the fridge cooling for when you are back in port?!
- Are your crew happy?
- Does someone onboard what to do if you go overboard?
- Do you know where the life jackets are?
- Does anyone in your crew know how to make a MAYDAY call?
- Do they feel sick?
- Have they been fed?!
**TOP TIP: You sail to the ability of the least able crew**
Sailing with children should not be seen as a daunting task, in fact, it is an incredible thing to do with your children. An idea, especially when chartering with young teens is to give them a responsibility each day. Child A is in charge of making sure all the lines are nice/throw to shore. Child B is in charge of hatches etc. Be creative. Don’t shout at them!
Challenging winds – mooring and sailing.
Check out our weather page to see when the challenging weather hits your desired sailing area.
Mooring can undoubtedly be a stressful part of sailing. People standing on their bows waiting for you to overturn, your crew not throwing a line that hits the shore, people standing on the harbour wall screaming instructions that you cant hear. It can all get a bit much without the added stress of a crosswind. Mooring shouldn’t be stressful when everyone knows what they are doing.
**TIPS for mooring in CROSSWINDS**
- Prep the yacht ahead of schedule. Fenders, lines and crew all appointed and aware of what they need to do.
- Get the strongest (with the best aim) to throw the windward line. This is the most important line to get to shore first.
- Have enough speed to combat the wind, but not so much that you can see the fear in the eyes of the person catching your lines!
- When going astern, motor as close to the wind as possible into your spot. This gives you some drifting room if you have a gust.
- Start going astern as far away as possible…it might look funny but this gives you so much way you have complete manoeuvrability of the yacht!
Sailing in gusty areas or certain times of the year can be daunting to a new skipper. Particularly in Croatia where you have the Bora wind, or in Greece when you have the Katabatics running off the hills. You can experience some gusty sailing almost everywhere in the world. Read our weather page to find the best time of year to sail in your desired destination.
**Tips for GUSTY sailing**
- Mainsheet on the winch – always. Get into the habit of having the mainsheet locked off on the winch, with the jammer (breaks) open. This allows you if need be, to dump the main which will de-power the boat thus not scaring the life out of your crew. Its a win win.
- If you’re thinking of reefing, its time to reef. Reef before you NEED to reef. Is it the kids day to be captains? Chuck in reef! If the wind doesn’t pick up as much as you thought, great! Chuck the sails back up! Nothing worse than trying to reef in heavy winds. It scares the crew and it’ll shake you up (trust me – we’ve all been there).
- Check the weather. It’s normal that charter companies will not allow you to sail in a predicted force 6.
- If it’s not “reefable” weather, but the gusts are strong, appoint one of your well-fed, warm happy crew to sit with the mainsheet so they can either ease or dump.
For further information on how we support you on your first charter please email us here!