Thursday, January 7, 2016

PreSail Checklist

You'd think after sailing this boat thousands of miles that we'd have a presail checklist, but we don't. Certainly all the times we flew our plane to Mexico we used a preflight checklist, and when Malcolm was instructing his helicopter students, the importance of using a preflight checklist was drilled into their heads, but, alas, we've never made one for this boat.

Perhaps in our old age we are getting more forgetful, but recently we decided we need a checklist. It's not that we are forgetting anything really important, but a tapping table leaf, magazines on the floor, or having to run below to turn on the winches can drive you crazy. Eventually the boat forces us to tend to things we've forgotten, but we're thinking it would be better to use a checklist and get things right the first time.

So we've made a checklist. Our list has all the usual items like clear counters, secure lockers, gimbal the stove, lash down the dinghy, close all the portholes, etc., but it also has some items peculiar to our boat like close the head sink drain. When we're hard on a starboard tack it overflows. I also have to crawl into the chain locker and stuff pieces of pool noodles into the windlass hawse pipe because water pours in there when we bash to weather. And even after all this time, sometimes things happen that surprise us. On our last passage from St. Lucia to Martinique the large following seas forced water into the generator; something that has never happened before. Although Malcolm easily fixed it by removing the glow plugs and turning the engine over and over to remove the water, we have added "close generator thru hull" to our presail checklist.

Here's a photo of our checklist. We think it looks pretty complete, but I'm sure the ocean will let us know if we've forgotten anything.

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