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GJW Direct - Yacht 2019 - Leaderboard Newsletter: And we're done


And we’re done

Marine Resources 2017 728x90

North Sails 3Di 60 - 728x90

A spectacular sunset over English and Falmouth Harbours in Antigua - photo © RORC / Arthur Daniel

Dear Recipient Name

Over the last while we have made a point of looking at what the modern cruiser needs to be. It is a fairly subjective discussion on the one hand, given how different we all are, but there are some good, factual elements to consider, and this what we have put down in firstly, The School Bus, then Not a segue, with the penultimate piece in Almost there.

We have gone through items like hull form, construction, rig, sails, creature comforts, auxiliary engine, storm zones, layout, and ventilation, as well as many more criterion and features. That really means we come to the thin edge of the wedge, and that plants firmly in the discussion of safety, and then finally, how do you weigh it all up to ultimately make your decision.

Safety in our sense really falls into the 'prevention is better than cure' category. Don't get me wrong, life rafts, EPIRBS, PLBs, PFDs and tethers, grab bags, portable VHF and so forth are not just mandatory, they make for ultra-smart, as well as the first tick boxes on any list!

Seafarer 2018 300x250   Mars Keel -  Manufactured Keel Systems 250

So these are sort of the inherent items. We spoke of dodgers in Almost there, but it is also the entire cockpit. Where is all the water to go? Remember, at speed, you only need water at ankle depth to knock you off your feet. So how exposed is the helm? A VO65 is like standing in front of a cold fire hose. A Clipper 70 has soft deflectors, but an Amel has the entire cockpit under a rigid dodger. Big difference, not just to how wet you'll be, but also how long you'll last. Tiredness is the precursor to poor choices!

If you have to leave the comfort of the cockpit, then how safe is it at the mast, or on the foredeck? What else is there besides your tether for you to hang onto? Is the fence made from 4mm or greater 316, and are the stanchions mere sticks, or real posts? Can you walk through the shrouds, say like the new Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 490, or are they like some visible force field, and you have to move like Catherine Zeta-Jones playing the burglar/thief in Entrapment (To catch a thief)?

Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 490 - photo © 38 South Boat Sales
Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 490 - photo © 38 South Boat Sales

Heading up to Adventure Island is always to be considered carefully, and thankfully furlers and so forth have removed a lot of the need. Like who wants to hank on the storm jib with frozen hands, or worse, corroded hanks?! Equally, it always happens in the dark, well it does to me anyway, so it is good to know that all the gear up there is fit for purpose, and I'm 100 kilos! Should it all go sideways on you and you 'step off', then the rule to always consider, is that the best asset to retrieve you is the one you just left...

B&G Vulcan 2018 300x250   Selden CX & GX Furling Systems 600x500

These days it is rare when reviewing a boat to comment on how low the boom is. Most sit atop a targa bar or similar, and many a cruising cat with a flying bridge have it so far up, as to request a chopper ride to get there. Yet it is important to consider with any boat. I once sailed a 12m that had a raised poop deck for Chris Dickson, so he could see over the crew. Only problem was that the owner also had another 12m with a normal deck height. If you're over six feet in the old language, then all 12s require you to hit the deck as if about to endure an air raid. Being on KZ3 meant you had to dig a trench WW1 style, and as you have probably worked out by now, one day I got it wrong. It hurt (a lot), but you only do it once! QED.

AMEL 50 outdoor - photo © JS Evrard
AMEL 50 outdoor - photo © JS Evrard

Whilst on deck, literally as well as metaphorically, it's time to look at how quickly you can get to the quadrant or other steering mechanism, and how quickly you can fit the emergency tiller (or other). When it goes badly, all things on a boat require speed, not haste, and this is especially true of the liferaft. I always thought Amel's idea of having it integrated into the fence was brilliant. One pin release and it is in. Perfect for the smallest member of crew, and ideally placed to remember it is about stepping up to the raft, not down!

It is quite the thing now to have the dinghy on davits out aft. Many are powered to make it even easier, and it also means you can leave the donk on the transom, if you are only making a short hop. Do note that bung holes on dinghies are small, which means water comes out slowly. When I was a boy we had to depart an anchorage smartly and try and out run a Force 11 gale. We didn't quite make it, and with no cover on the dinghy, it filled pretty smartly, and the result was it was time to get the bolt cutters out and wave goodbye to my best friend (you could row, sail and motor this little glass gem). This is why you often see them on the foredeck for long hauls...

Local kids having fun in our Plastimo tender - easier to row than a wooden fishing boat! - photo © Mission Océan
Local kids having fun in our Plastimo tender - easier to row than a wooden fishing boat! - photo © Mission Océan

Up for'ard, how accessible and well secured is your anchor chain? Apart from ensuring the bitter end is attached to your craft, think about the brake and/or lock. Do you have an additional backup of Spectra or Dyneema? We were delivering a cat down the coast once when the anchor started to rattle out at a prodigious rate. It was all chain, given where the cat was doing its cruising, and we were lucky to catch it before it all went to Davey Jones. We hove to, but as a cat, it meant feeding it all back in under the trampoline was not going to work out, so we jury rigged a system to the electric primary to bring back 10m sections at time. Long and slow, but again, a wonderful reminder to check, not assume!

Nebo 300x250 2   Zhik 2018 Hyeres 300x250

Large freeboard is de rigueur these days. Cats have steps down each transom usually and a ladder, monos often have a transom door to lower in. But what if the person is unconscious, or incapable of returning themselves to the craft? Have you practised the drill with your halyard? Who is going in to retrieve them? Who has checked there are no lines in the drink before the diesel is fired? Having this stuff sorted before it happens is just good sense.

Down below, it is good to have everyone know how to access the bilge to check for issues, as well as to note how the pumps work and ensure they are doing the job when required. Equally, where are the manual ones, and how are they deployed? Time spent on all these items is well spent, and a mere fraction of what will be required if you had to do it when it was under stress.

Raymarine - AIS700 showing chart targets - photo © Saltwater Stone
Raymarine - AIS700 showing chart targets - photo © Saltwater Stone

The final section of a discussion about safety is the electronics, and as a subset, what to do when they are not working. The following items seem standard to me:

  • AIS transceiver
  • GPS, plus hand held back up, with additional power supply
  • HF (SSB) radio for comms and weather
  • VHF, plus hand held back up, with additional power supply
  • Satellite phone
  • Inverter for running laptop with your preferred nav system/software
  • Tablet for using your preferred nav system/software
  • Relevant charts (and tools to use them) for your area, as well as Pilots or extracts from Pilots for your area (your insurer may well want this as standard)
  • Compass with light, plus handheld bearing producing compass
  • Chart table with white and red lighting
  • Depth Sounder

    So then, how to weigh it all up? Well I am always reminded of the cruisers adage that you'll know how to repair everything, or get there soon enough. We have talked a bit about this in previous editorials, most specifically about getting a larger boat than you might really require, and having the spares on board to get the job done.

    You do make mistakes, but stopping and acknowledging them, so as to move on, is another primary skill of the cruiser. Sharing with the many other cruisers you'll meet along the way is probably the best way to increase the common knowledge. So if you have made sure the boat is ready, do the best you can with yourself, via training and deliveries etc, where applicable. The sea never stops teaching.

    I once read about how people who started sailing on smaller less sophisticated boats made the transition up quite easily, but it was the others who started with all the mod cons - until they stopped working - that could not go back the other way. Indeed, I have found this to be true in most of my working career. Knowing how things got to be the way they are now is a vital component of appreciating how they are now. As I say, the sea never stops teaching, so if you feel you need some more, then get out there in smaller leaps, or go with someone on board, or in convoy.

    North Sails 3DiNORDAC 300x250   Pantaenius EU 300x250

    Time to tack now, and as if putting the proverbial full stop after the noting of the rise and rise of the multihull, I note that Multihull Central is to have a dedicated hardstand area inside the Royal Queensland Yacht Club. Yes, RQ (as it is known) has the space, and an onshore mutlihull display is not an entirely new concept, but the combination is what was most noteworthy. When you add in the trades just adjacent to the area, the overall ambience of the club, as well as its significant amenities, then its centralising of all things cruising looks to be a winner.

    Seawind 1600 Seatrials - photo © Multihull Central
    Seawind 1600 Seatrials - photo © Multihull Central

    OK. So today you will find that we have information for you about deep sea ecosystems, sailing around an island versus driving on it, the ARC, big multihulls launched, new audio products from JL, whales, World Ocean Day, rallies and regattas, coming form the outback to have a trip at sea, debris from the lost containers, museums, food, as well as much more.

    So you see, there are stories, lessons, inspirations and history to regale yourself with. Please do savour... We're really enjoying bringing you the best stories from all over the globe. If you want to add to that, then please make contact with us via email.

    Remember too, if you want to see what is happening in the other hemisphere, go to the top and the drag down menu, select the other half of the globe and, voila, it's all there for you.

    In the meantime, do you love being on the ocean? Well remember to love them back too. They need our help. Now more than ever! Until next time...

    John Curnow, Editor,

    Allen ROA 300x250   Fever-Tree 300x250

  • Fueling a Deep-Sea Ecosystem
    Miles beneath the ocean's surface in the dark abyss, vast communities of subseafloor microbes at deep-sea hot springs are converting chemicals into energy that allows deep-sea life to survive—and even thrive—in a world without sunlight.

    Annual Peterson Cup Cruising Rally: Cruising the Salish Sea
    All BCA members are invited to this unique and fun sailing event in memory of Past Commodore, Lex Peterson, whose legacy is "do it and get out there, BCA sailors, while you still can!

    2018 ARC Portugal: Busy Bayona
    This Saturday morning, the last boat, Aluda, a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 37, arrived in Monte Real Club de Yates. With all the fleet in the marina now, half of them have gone today to visit Santiago de Compostela

    How this whale got nearly 20 pounds of plastic in its stomach
    Last week, a small male pilot whale was found struggling, unable to swim or breathe, in a Thai canal near the Malaysia border.

    Bath museum ready to recommission historic Mary E schooner
    Shipbuilder Thomas Hagan constructed the two-masted clipper schooner in 1906 in a Houghton shipyard, where Bath Iron Works now stands.

    Happy World Oceans Day!
    A set of themes at the very core of current international concerns, the United Nations is honouring it this #WorldOceansDay. The Race for Water Odyssey teams, currently in Chile, are rallying together for their cause.

    The best Lobster Rolls in Maine
    The key to a truly great lobster roll is fresh-picked lobster meat, and Maine has the freshest, most abundant stock of cold-water lobsters anywhere in the world. Lobster roll lovers, welcome to your ultimate bucket list.

    2018 ARC Portugal: Sunshine to dry us all out
    It's Friday and Bayona knows it! The sun has decided to come out to give a warm welcome to our fleet which will be having their welcome party at Monte Real Club de Yates tonight.

    Salty Dawg Sailing Association™ announces Summer Rallies to Maine & Nova Scotia
    The nonprofit Salty Dawg Sailing Association™ (SDSA) invites all sailors to join a cruising rally from the Chesapeake to Maine and then, for the first time, a second rally from Maine to Nova Scotia.

    Scotland Western Isles and whiskey
    With the load of provisions stowed away we enjoyed the meal at the Waypoint Restaurant at Oban Marina. This is a well run and friendly marina with a free ferry service to Oban. Very accommodating indeed.

    How Liz Clark turned her South Pacific sailing trip into a memoir and visual voyage
    More than 10 years ago Liz Clark left Southern California aboard a 40-foot sailboat. She had recently graduated from UCSB with a degree in environmental studies and was headed south to Panama and then across the Pacific Ocean to Tahiti.

    2018 ARC Portugal: First yachts in Bayona!
    Departing from Plymouth last Sunday, the first yacht from the ARC Portugal fleet, Southerner, a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 45DS arrived at 2257 last night in Bayona, Spain.

    Almost there
    We've been talking about boats over the last couple of newsletters. That's pretty handy considering we are cruising site…

    Nebo 660x82 1

    Zhik 2018 Yacht 728x90 BOTTOM

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