North Sails LOFT NEWS
Story Contributors: Hillary Noble
BUILDING YOUR CRUISING CHECKLIST
How To Prepare, What To Check For And What To Pack
Any trip can be exciting and overwhelming. The prospect of unplugging for a few days to relax and recharge is more than appealing for most, but the flip side of course is packing, preparing and getting yourself ready to go, which can cause a bit of stress. When it comes to a cruising trip, there are some key things to remember before departing the dock to assure you are ready for anything. Hear from our experts in Toronto on how you can get ready to enjoy every moment on your next cruising getaway.
Let’s start with your sails. Make sure to look them over, not the night before or day you’re leaving the dock. Aim to do this at least a week before you plan on heading out. This way you can allow for enough time for repairs and normal maintenance to be done without everyone getting stressed in the final moments. When looking over your sails, make sure to look for holes, fraying threads, batten pockets coming apart and any broken battens. Hearing the “thunk” as your batten goes overboard is never fun! A 10 Point Inspection from our certified service team is a good idea before leaving the dock. Our team will replace telltales, cut & clean loose threads, review UV, check for chafing, luff hardware, and check your spinnaker. Bringing extra repair tape or material is also an option if it helps set your mind at ease for your trip. Your loft can help you assemble a sail care kit that you can keep onboard so that you can make small repairs until you can get to the loft.
In addition to checking your sails, you’ll want to give the boat a good once over. Check all running rigging including lifelines, stanchions, halyards and deck hardware. Don’t forget to check equipment down below. Review your electronics, radio, fridge and stove. Are your batteries charged? Is the VHF charged? Do you have extra fuses handy? Have you loaded maps into your GPS? Is your fuel sufficient in case of emergency? Does your motor need any maintenance?
Ensuring you have enough life jackets for everyone that will be onboard is also essential. Your throwable, anchor line, anchor, and all safety equipment should be stored where you know you can reach it in case of emergency. Safety is no accident!
It’s time to pack. Something that does not spark joy for everyone however for me, I thrive. The trick to packing for a cruising trip is to keep in mind the following:
- Multipurpose items. Keep in mind comfort, and things you can bring that can help in multiple situations. Bags that can be used for food, then can be used for disposing/ storing trash until you make landfall and can reach a dumpster is an example.
- Gear that is lightweight. If you’re going in the summertime, you may think you don’t need your wet-weather gear, but most would agree–if you don’t have it with you, you will absolutely need it! Never leave your foulies at home. Whether you think it won’t rain or not, it’s better to have your gear with you than wishing you had it while being soaking wet. Even in the summertime, when a storm is brewing the temperature drops and if you are stuck on deck helping out or doing a sail change, or just hunkering down, you may get chilly!
- Provisioning is key. Sorting out a menu ahead of time and what you have enough room for will help you avoid missing key items that can really put a damper on your next boat-cooked meal. Each person onboard requires one set of eating utensils, which you wash after use each time so its ready for the next meal. You should also plan for a few extra days in case you get caught in a storm or if you are sitting with no wind for longer than expected. Snacks are always a good idea, in pre-made baggies so that you can grab something quick if you are unable to comfortably cook a meal down below.
Lastly, you’ll want to check the weather before leaving the dock. It may sound like a no brainer however you’d be surprised by how many people do not do this. It’s a good idea to check the radar to see what is heading your way once you leave the dock.
Looking to upgrade your cruising sails? Explore our tips on what to look for in a good sail and Tom Davis’ advice for best cruising sail options. For more information on how to make your cruise a fun and easy one, read more in our Cruising Tool Kit.