Want a Restful Night at Anchor?

Halyards beating against the mast, water gurgling, that bottle that keeps rolling back and forth  –  all can make for a noisy nights during a bareboat sailing vacation.

After reading the “Quiet Means Safe” article in Sail Magazine’s October 2009 issue, I remember our evening ordeals during 5 months cruising in the Florida Keys and Bahamas trying to eliminate various sounds for a restful night’s sleep .  I’ve found the same issues affect bareboat charter vacations.  In fact, who wants to listen to that grumpy guest complain the next day.  So, here’s a check list prompted by the sail article and modified based on personal experience:

Thumping Rudder – Make sure the wheel is  amid-ships.  If the lock is worn, use a bungee cord or lite line that can easily be removed. Wake or waves from a boat passing astern can push the rudder to it’s stop.  This can also happen when waves reflect off rocky coastlines if a stern line is taken to shore.

Halyards Banging against the Mast – Ideally, you would shackle all halyards to a fixed position somewhere on the deck (e.g., D rings).  However, with bareboat charters, that’s not always possible and besides, the jib halyard will almost always create a problem since most bareboat charters have a roller furling jib . To eliminate that wonderful banging sound when the wind kicks up at 3 in the morning pull the halyards away from the mast with a line or bungee cord wrapped around the lower shrouds.  I’ve found that one complete wrap around the shroud prevents the cord from running up.

Banging Boom, Vibrating Sheets – Eliminate the vibration you sometimes get from overly stressed mainsheets by tying a line to the end of the boom and securing it to a fixed point on the deck, i.e., winch, cleat, toe rail.  Once done, you’ll be able to ease the sheet enough to eliminate any vibration or squeaking than will occur when the wind increases in the middle of the night.

Grinding Ground Tackle – If you want to reduce the anchor chain grinding or jarring against the roller, use a snubber line.   If it’s provided with the bareboat charter attach the hook end to the anchor rode after the proper length of chain has been payed out, pay out additional the rode until the hook is a bit above the water line, then secure the other end of the snubber line to the bow cleat.  Continue paying out the rode until the stress is taken by the snubber line, not the anchor rode.  If thebareboat charter lacks a snubber, use a dock line attached to the anchor road with a rolling hitch and follow the same sequence described above.

Gurgling Drain – Just a little roll might create some gurgling sound from the drain through-holes. One option is to plug the drains at night or better yet close the valves to the through-hole fittings.

Clinking Bottles – You’ve bought plenty of wine for you bareboat vacation and now just want to stop the bottles from clinking.  If you’ve bought plastic bottles of drinking water, just intermix the plastic bottles with the wine bottles.  As you reduce your stock of bottles move soft side items (e.g., empty bags, paper towels, or luggage) into the storage locker.

Other Bareboating AdviceBefore Departing  Provisions  Living Aboard  Sailing Stuff

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