Struggling to obtain cruising? Make three lists!

A few summers ago, we went to go to my cousin and their wife have been difficult at your workplace aboard their catamaran in Morehead City, new york, trying to get the watercraft willing to start their first cruising that autumn.

Like the majority of boats that have been into the dense of jobs, the boat was in disarray with lockers available additionally the crew was feeling stressed.

The project list ended up being long and Margaret had been worried sick that they may well not also make it out cruising this present year.

Margaret wanted to simply GO, and she wasn’t happy that her new house appeared to be the storage closet in a western Marine.

Ken wanted everything become right and shipshape and precisely installed. Major anxiety.

 “Where can be your project list?” I asked. They did get one, although there were numerous important jobs which hadn’t made it to the list.

And exactly what are your cruising plans?”

  • They in the offing traveling down the intracoastal waterway with passages out into the Atlantic and make their means before xmas to Marathon in Florida Keys.
  • They would spend per month into the Keys, then cross over to the Bahamas.
  • After a winter in the Bahamas, they would come back to the US for hurricane season, then sail to your Caribbean these autumn.
Okay, therefore now let’s start THREE LISTS:
  1. Things that DEFINITELY MUST BE DONE before we are able to sail south.
  2. Things that we should DO before cruising towards Bahamas, which we could do during our thirty days in Marathon.
  3. Things that we COULD do next hurricane period in the usa before we set sail the Caribbean.

Record number 1 MUST include those projects which can be necessary to properly sail, motor and anchor their method south to Florida.

Ironically, usually these security and upkeep projects have actuallyn’t caused it to be to a list.

  • Charts, lights, anchoring gear, sailing, reefing and preventing systems need to be installed and tested.
  • Often, you can find nagging issues with gear that you keep wishing would simply fix by themselves – you suspect the ship’s batteries could be shot but, living at dock, there is a constant test them in a way to understand without a doubt.
  • You have got had some gas or overheating difficulties with the main engine or the generator.
  • Pulling up the anchor is practically impossible since the chain heaps in a pyramid and obstructs the haws pipe.
  • Just why is it so hard to furl inside jib? How precisely do you reef? The rigging is examined.

Plus most of the administrative and documents tasks, particularly if you will likely to be planing a trip to another country: documentation, passports, insurance, pet vaccinations. Etcetera, etc, etc.

Think very long and difficult about what must be on this list. Record number one also require you to do some cruising and simply take shake-down cruises. You must test your systems and discover what works and does not!

Don’t let yourself begin placing the fun sexy projects, the newest gear you’d love to have, on List number 1 until you have all the undoubtedly, really essential items noted.

Review List 1.

Are you able to get those items done eventually to go out of this year? Hopefully, the answer is yes. BUT DO THEM FIRST. Because as you know, ship projects almost always take lots longer than you think.

Okay, now drop your initial list, and include items to your brand-new lists 1, 2 and 3.

Keep in mind, you will have way more experience under your belt once you reach Florida, and undoubtedly by the time you return to the usa next springtime, and you might have better ideas when this occurs about what and exactly how to put in brand new gear.

You’ll have had a season’s worth of happy hours to discuss motorboat stuff along with other cruisers and study on them too about what works and does not. You might avoid some expensive mistakes by putting off some installation projects today and saving them for next period.

While you make out your listings, research what you would have available at your next stopping point.

For instance, down in Marathon, Florida, you’ll have use of chandleries, hardware stores, shipping solutions, supermarkets, mail service, automobile leasing. You CAN focus on your love-to-have list in Marathon, in the event that you aren’t having too much enjoyable to bother.

In reality, you will likely revise your lists significantly while you are in Marathon – again prioritizing the things that ABSOLUTELY NEEDS TO BE COMPLETE if your wanting to cross the Gulf Stream and sail in to a various cruising environment with never as usage of marine materials and technicians.

And you’ll probably make another three listings another summer time while you prioritize those products you should do before cruising down seriously to the Caribbean.

The following is another situation when creating three lists becomes important: Leaving European countries and preparing to cross the Atlantic on Caribbean.

Usually sailors will cruise European countries, then sail to your Canary isles, complete their preparations, then cross the Atlantic in December or January.

Frequently, i’ve seen cruisers get to Lanzarote into the Canary Islands with no actually thought through what they will NEED for crossing the Atlantic.

Their task list is so long they’ve been sidetracked by all “wouldn’t it is nice” things, and also haven’t noted down or planned the basics.

Here’s an example of the THREE LISTS you might plan this situation:

  1. Things that positively must certanly be done before making mainland Europe (with usage of mail and cargo solution, well-stocked chandleries, marine professionals) – and that should be done to properly sail from Spain toward Canaries, after which across the Atlantic
  2. Things that definitely must be done before crossing the Atlantic, but can be done in the Canary isles.
  3. Items that might be done after arriving in the Caribbean.

Right here, availability of parts, materials and specialists becomes more essential when creating out the listings.

Even though there are chandleries and marine professionals in the Canary isles, these are typically much more restricted than in major European sailing ports.

You might not be capable of geting flares, a boom preventer, liferaft official certification, generator, autopilot or watermaker components, etc etc etc!

You will possibly not be able to find an individual who can diagnose the situation with your autopilot, generator, watermaker, sideband radio or charging system.

And having components delivered in just isn’t as effortless any longer either. Awaiting parts delays numerous an Atlantic crossing. Often cruisers resort to flying team home getting whatever they can’t find locally.

So that your List number 1 has to add longer shake-down passages Before you decide to leave Europe to be able to find out what does not work making repairs while use of marine solutions is still good.

Worse, cruisers usually begin their Atlantic crossing from Canaries without ever navigating around toward essential projects.

Some very common examples:

  • Beginning a three-week downwind sail without the method to prevent the growth from jibing, or without ever having rigged the downwind sails.
  • Devoid of whether working sideband radio or satellite phone to obtain climate underway.
  • Autopilot that won’t steer the watercraft.
  • Incapacity to charge the batteries sufficiently.
  • Bilge pumps that don’t work.
Ken and Margaret did make, make use of and revise those three lists because they began their very first year of cruising.

They realized that one important item for List # 1 would be to obtain the maps and cruising guides and also to research the route they might follow traveling south.

Margaret took that crucial project to heart and discovered the tides and currents, the low bridges therefore the safe inlets along their path south. When you should travel in when to simply take the overseas route, how to play the currents and tides. Once they left, Margaret had been quite prepared to navigate them south.

And additionally they did negotiate over those listings. Both Ken and Margaret placed items on List 1 and 2 that, though perhaps not crucial, were vital that you them – items which made the watercraft home, that made cruising more fun.

5 years later, Margaret reflects on that first 12 months: “just what a lifesaver your go to, and list-separating, turned into. It had been very early November before we got away from there, but we got away We nevertheless utilize that exact same list, it’s just much, much longer now and it has pages and pages of products marked as finished. It’s kind of fun to look straight back over 5 years of tasks…and the beginning 3 listings.”

YOUR lists vary based on your cruising plans, the problem for the various feet of one’s voyage, the opportunities to get parts and professional assistance on the way.

However if you might be getting started and experiencing anxious that you could maybe not get out cruising, or that you may get out there and possess forgotten something essential, make three lists!


About Kathy Parsons

Kathy Parsons took the jump and went cruising for a sailboat in 1989. Over the next 20+ years she lived aboard and sailed the united states, Bahamas, Central America and Caribbean.

Her love for the ocean, the cruising life and the nations and cultures she visited blossomed in many various ways.

She composed two language guides for cruisers cruising in international nations:
French For Cruisers and Spanish for Cruisers, both popular by sailors internationally.

She’s helped thousands to pursue their sailing dreams through seminars she’s developed and delivered at motorboat programs and cruising conferences. She has offered classes and webinars in Spanish for Cruisers, and Women and Cruising, and taught cruising skills, provisioning, cruise planning and cruising the Bahamas and Caribbean. She’s got assisted in sailboat rallies in Europe, the Canary Islands, Caribbean, Panama additionally the Galapagos.

This woman is the creator associated with the web site Females and Cruising, which she developed to offer women and families courage and help in pursuing their cruising ambitions.

Kathy currently lives on land, in Provence, France, an enjoyable occasion that never ever might have happened if she hadn’t sailed away years ago.

Will she go sailing once more? Possibly… Cruising and cruisers nevertheless are close to her heart.


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