If you’ve ever completed a coastal or ocean passage, you’ll know how fun and rewarding a long voyage can be. Some coastlines (like the Queensland coast) allow you to sail all day and drop anchor most evenings in a protected anchorage or marina. This is a wonderful cruising experience but is not always achievable in areas with fewer safe anchorages or ports along the way.
Once you gain enough experience and feel comfortable enough on the open water, you can start to plan much longer sailing trips. You can get away from the coast and truly experience conditions out at sea. Ocean passages also demand you to be more organised and set up for long periods of time at sea. It can be equally, if not more rewarding, completing a long passage where you are self-sufficient for the entire time onboard.
If you are planning an extended sailing adventure, there are some things that you need to consider. Our handy guide will give you some tips and help you decide where to start.
Plan Your Passage Carefully
This is the most important part of your trip. To stay safe and on course, you need to know exactly where you want to go and what the likely conditions are. It is a good idea to scope out suitable boltholes along the way, so you know which parts of the shore to head to if the weather turns inclement and becomes unexpectedly unsafe or uncomfortable.
Tell Others about the Trip
We know that you’ll probably be telling everybody about it anyway – sailing adventures are a fabulous topic of conversation – but definitely leave a detailed itinerary of your trip with somebody back home. That way, if you fail to check in when agreed, they’ll know where to start to track you down. You can register your passage with the Volunteer Marine Rescue at www.marinerescuegld.org.au/ which is highly recommended as they will monitor your progress and assist with weather forecasts in the area you are sailing.
Double Check Your Safety Gear
Before you head out, thoroughly inspect all of your safety equipment. Be sure that all of your life vests, flares, radios, life raft and EPIRBS are in date and in sound working order. Turn electronic devices on and make sure that they are fully operational. Conduct a radio check. It is also wise to have a ‘grab bag’ prepared and ready to take with you in the event of an emergency, be it a serious fire, sinking or medical evacuation. See what to pack in your grab bag here.
Pack Plenty of Food and Water
It is best to take more food and water than you need. Work out how much is required for the days that you’re out on the water and add extra supplies that can be used in an emergency. Even if your sailing adventure goes smoothly, there are all kinds of things that can slow a boat down and add days to a trip. Canned foods like tuna, beans, and spaghetti are ideal choices.
Get Your Crew in Order
Some sailors prefer to experience the open water alone, as it gives them a chance to detox from the everyday pressures of work and family life. Sharing the experience is preferred by most. Sailing with friends or family is a wonderful experience, particularly if all crew members are reliable, physically robust, and happy to pitch in and help with night watches, cooking, cleaning, and other chores. If you are planning to sail with others, discuss living arrangements and roster duties well in advance, so that nobody ends up frustrated or disappointed.
Why Planning Is the Key to a Great Sailing Adventure
If you want to enjoy a smooth sailing trip, plan carefully. Weather conditions are unpredictable and the best laid plans can be affected by sudden changes, so prior planning is key to be prepared for extra days at sea, change of route, etc.
If you need any help planning or preparing for your next sailing adventure, get in touch with our experienced and dedicated team at Multihull Solutions today. With years of experience and a passion for sailing, we know we can point you in the right direction.