Our boat and the sea: The two elements necessary for the realization of a cruise. With the good weather the mood seems to accelerate and we are all looking forward to going out for that cruise that we will surely be planning all winter long.
But the organization of a cruise is not as simple as it may seem. We need to have time and take into account many different points that can make a simple walk into an unforgettable journey.
Choose the route
There are many places to visit and most of the time very little time to do so. Therefore, the time factor becomes one of the most important factors to take into account when planning the itinerary to follow. It is not something as simple as it may seem at first sight, since we must be very aware of the navigation possibilities of our boat, that is, the speed it can reach in relation to the pace the crew can bear.
Generally speaking, an average of between 20 and 30 miles per day is recommended for a family type excursion, which can begin with a first day in which the distance exceeds 100 miles, taking advantage of the fact that during the first few days we will be more animated and that tiredness will not have made an appearance.
Once we have calculated the distance that our boat can travel on the days we have available, we will see on the map the possible destinations that are presented to us. Making a simple exercise in which we will draw a circle on a map from the place of departure, we can see the different destinations that are proposed, no doubt appear unknown places and we will like to visit.
Once we have selected the destination, we will conscientiously plan the route that we will have to follow to reach it. To do this, we will have to analyze all the peculiarities of the different areas where we will sail, decide on the stops to be made, get information about the necessary documentation (which will be different depending on the country we visit)…
In this itinerary it is fundamental that we take into account that we should always stay close to a base port, understanding as such that where it will be possible for us to carry out a repair in case it is necessary.
Finally, we cannot leave aside the weather factor, taking into account the forecasts established for the area we are going to visit. Obviously this is a factor that we cannot guarantee, but forecasts based on statistics made during years of observations will give us reliable data.
The calculation of the provisions will be made, naturally, taking into account the number of people who make the cruise and the duration of the same. The ideal is to be able to take everything we consider necessary until the end of the cruise (we never know what we will find in the ports we visit or if the prices will be as fair as they should be), but this is not always possible.
When this happens, when planning the necessary provisions we must take into account the stops we will make and whether or not we will have the opportunity to acquire provisions.
The type of food to be shipped will, of course, depend on the crew’s taste. In order to make an adequate calculation of food, we will plan a series of menus that will be made a certain number of times (according to the days to be spent on board) and according to that we will establish the necessary amount of each specific product, taking great care with perishable type food.
Drinking water is, without a doubt, the most necessary element when we are at sea. Even if we are surrounded by water, the feeling of not having drinking water can become the worst and most distressing memory of the trip. Before filling the tanks, we will dismantle them and clean them carefully, for which we can use water with bleach (which will serve to disinfect). To establish the proper calculation of the amount of liters of water needed, we will consider as an average the amount of 4 liters per person per day, taking into account the use of water for drinking, food preparation and teeth cleaning.
Prepare the boat
The most important thing when planning a cruise is to be sure that everything on our boat is in perfect condition. We must be aware that we may encounter sudden bad weather, a situation that our boat will have to face without any kind of damage.
We will first check the rigging, which should be composed of:
- A halyard and a mooring that can serve as a halyard of respect.
- A jib or genoa halyard or a spinnaker halyard that can serve as a genoa halyard of respect.
- A mooring line for the spinnaker pole.
- One retained for the spinnaker pole.
- One retained for the boom.
- One jib sheet.
- One mainsail sheet.
When preparing the boat we must ensure that it is entirely possible for us to reduce the sail area as required by the wind strength.
After rigging we will check the sails, one by one, checking all seams and trim.
If we wish to clean the sails we will do it with liquid detergent for delicate fibres and warm water.
Another fundamental element that must be carefully analyzed is the engine.
Any handle or belt that we suspect is in bad condition should be changed immediately; of course the filter and oil should also be changed.
In case the engine is of gasoline we will clean the carburetor and change the spark plugs (its resistance in the sea is minimum). We will charge the batteries completely and slowly, leaving the charger to work a minimum of 24 hours.
We cannot ignore the cooling water pump.
Of course, we will check that we have absolutely all the safety equipment required for each of the crew members.
Another place to take special care is on the navigation table, where all the elements must remain perfectly in place: compass, logbook, ruler, transporter… everything must be at hand when needed.