CruisingUSA

Offshore Sailing Checklist To Prepare For Any Situation

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What are the joys of sailing? Is it solidarity, the connection with nature, or the technical skills? Maybe it’s all of the above. Sailing is one of those sports or hobbies that means something different to every captain. But one common feeling? Excitement.

There’s plenty to prepare for when it comes to embarking on an extended sailing trip. You may need to perform maintenance on the boat, study maps and weather patterns, meal prep, purchase extra equipment, or create a packing list. Worried that you’re missing something? We’ve got you covered.

Properly Sized + Fitted Storm Sails

We get it — storm sails are one of those items that we shove under a bunk and don’t think about using until the last minute when the wind is howling and it’s too late to hoist them up. But seriously, storm sails are handy. Whether you’re cruising on a catamaran or sailboat, it’s important to have proper storm sails — both storm trysail and storm jib. 

Test them before your trip to see if they fit. Hoist them up to make sure everything works and that it can be done by one person under storm conditions. It’s beneficial to familiarize yourself with the task so that it’s easier to accomplish when you’re in a bad weather situation. The last thing you need is to be heading into a storm without the proper sails or familiarity.

Watermaker

You need a watermaker for long voyages. Plain and simple. They’re used to desalinate the ocean water. We know, we know, watermakers are quite large. So it might be worth it to build into one of the cabinets. Carrying fresh water in a 750-gallon water tank is heavy, so the option to suck it out of the ocean reduces weight and improves sailing performance and speed. 

Keep in mind that watermakers only effectively desalinate about 10% of the water, and require about 800 psi. Some watermakers can filter about 1-8 gallons of water per hour.

First Aid Kit

You know this, we know this. We’re just double-checking that you have a first aid kit that can save a life. A great first aid kit will be stacked with the following: bandages, gauze pads, absorbent dressings, safety pins, soap, irrigation syringe, tweezers, shears, aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, loperamide, diphenhydramine, thermometer, wound closure strips, board splints, emergency blanket, and alcohol prep pads. 

Upgrade your medical kit for boating with an extra tincture of benzoin to help bandages stick to skin, silicon tape to keep wounds dry, hot and cold packs for pain relief, aloe to soothe sunburn, sunscreen, and meclizine or dimenhydrinate for seasickness.

Seasick Medication

You could be the most experienced boater or sailor but there may come an unexpected time when you get seasick and you’ll be thankful to have medication. Speak with your doctor to see which seasick medication is best for you. There are plenty of options for natural forms of seasick prevention such as wrist pressure bands or ginger. There’s also over-the-counter or prescription medication. Talk to doc and bring seasick medication on board so that you’re able to stand watches and help with sail changes or reefing.

Foul Weather Gear

Nothing worse than manning the helm when it’s raining and you’re wearing khakis. Yeah. Pack bad weather gear including durable jackets, pants, and boots. Breathable fabrics are great when sailing around the tropics while heavy gear is more beneficial for cold weather passages such as Alaska or Pacific Northwest.

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