Most of you are probably boat owners, so you know a lot more than me about sailing and boat systems, but, I offer my thoughts on planning the bareboat charter to accommodate a mix of sailing, swimming, and enjoying a good meal.
Every decision I make starts with checking and recording the weather forecast for at least the next 24 hours, preferably 2-3 day forecast. I plan for two 3-5 hour passage intervals per day with a 2 hour stop for lunch and swimming and try to make any long passages early in the trip.
I take into consideration that we will need to provision fresh food every 3-4 days and fill the water tank every 5-7 days. If there are novice sailors or kids as part of the crew, we look to get them involved in handling the boat. If necessary, we will do less rather than more to make sure all have a good time. And there’s nothing like bumper or swim ladder surfing when becalmed and it’s way too hot.
We try to get into our anchorage around 2 hours before sunset or earlier if we need to negotiate a difficult entry. This is particularly the case if the anchorage will require us to take a line to shore, though our preference is to free swing on the anchor whenever possible which helps keep smoke out of the cabin when grilling. Also, I try to avoid anchorages that have ferry routes that might feed waves into the bay through the night making for a bouncy, uncomfortable evening.
We’ve encountered situation where the wind has been non-existent or so light that the mooring buoy spends the night banging against the bow of the boat. We discovered a technique to prevent this annoying problem. Using the boat fenders used when docking we create a necklace to surround the bow of the boat at water level. It’s attached with dock lines to the life lines. They mooring line is shortened so as not to range beyond the necklace’s coverage.
It’s probably best for the navigator to take responsibility for the following systems: refrigeration, water usage, solar panels, and holding tank.
- For refrigeration, reload the refrigerator with liquids before departing the anchorage and, if making ice, also set up the ice bags on the cooling element;
- Check the meter for water usage daily and calculate when you’ll have to go to port to refill,
- the only maintenance for solar panels are to make sure they are clean for maximum efficiency. I advise wiping them down as early as possible after first light every day,
- Once underway, evacuate the holding tank and pump salt water through the system it to keep it fresh, remembering to close the tank before entering an anchorage for the evening.
Other Advice: Before Departing Provisions Living Aboard