Plan Ahead

If you didn’t think about it 10 minutes ago, you waited too long.

Actually, certain things you should think about before you leave the slip.  Tradewinds procedures regarding checking fuel levels and rigging the main halyard before leaving are perfect examples.

Here’s another for you.  Is the anchor ready to deploy if needed.  Too often, I see someone look up at the bow from the cockpit then look at the stern pulpit, and announce to someone down below something like “Primary and secondary anchors, check.”  Instead, look at the anchor and ground tackle.  How is the anchor secured in the bow roller?  How is it deployed?  Test the windlass if it has one.  Does it have a control unit that is stowed somewhere (find it).  Where is the switch to turn the windlass on (usually on the DC panel, but not always)?  Where is the breaker (generally not on the DC panel) and has it been tripped?

I was on a boat recently (not a Tradewinds boat) where the owner had secured the anchor using a shackle through the anchor shackle.  He didn’t want it to accidently deploy.  The problem was that he had not used the anchor in years, and over time the shackle had rusted closed.  It took penetrating oil and two pairs of vise grips to get it undone.  Definitely not available for an emergency.

Have you every actually tried setting up the emergency tiller?  Did you know that many of them require a special “key” to open the emergency tiller port?  If so, where is that key stowed?

I’m a firm believer that if I’m ready for an emergency, it won’t happen.  Plan for those emergencies before you leave the slip!

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