The Supa-Shakedown Checklist
**Witty crap moved down below the list...
What it is: (Painkiller)
The Supa-Shakedown is that test cruise you take AFTER you've spent waaayyyy too much time and waayyyy too much money to fix absolutely EVERY ITEM your professional surveyor, rig surveyor, diesel mechanic, electrician, plumber, wife, girlfriend, kids, and shitzu found wrong with your boat. Plus all the additional stuff you yourself found wrong over time in working on or sailing on your boat - or screwing it up while trying to fix it yourself.
In other words, THIS IS NOT THE LIST OF HOW TO PREP FOR YOUR CRUISE! This is a list of the things to look for and test in the shakedown AFTER you've completely prepped EVERY conceivable thing on your boat from chainplates to seacocks to fuel tanks to stuffing boxes to rebedded ports to EPIRBS. That stuff is NOT what you want to be DOING on your shakedown. It's what you want to be testing.
That said, you probably don't want to venture too far from shore on the Supa-Shakedown. If for some insane reason you do decide to start that shakedown 4 days from landfall, that's when you'll realize that the nifty duct-tape-and-steel-wool heat exchanger you designed will not work quite as expected and you'll be screwed. And no, you can't use the shitzu at that point.
Finally, remember that the shakedown is a test of boat AND crew! Test yourself and those with you.
This quote from GeorgeB kind of sums it up:
"We were told that the Hawaii trip would be the equivalent of ten years of hard racing in Northern California without the ability to refit or repair so we were advised to fix/replace anything that showed the slightest sign of degradation."
So, with the help of the denizens of SiNcity. Here's what you do...
(*Note: This list assumes you kinda know how to sail and at least know something about sailboats. It is not intended to fix stupid. That's on you.)
1. Take the boat out in a blow and push it hard, sail and power. See what breaks. (Flybyknight). It may be hard to do this in your area, especially in a single trip, but if you can do the following, the boat is ready for over 98% of the conditions you will experience while cruising:
a.) A minumum 30 miles dead to weather in the open ocean with winds 20 knots or more. That will find the leaks far better than a hose, and will give you a chance to sort out seasick meds, reefing systems, motor cooling, tankage/vent leaks, and velocity made good under various sail/motor combinations. It would be best to beat all night long, but then the admiral would probably mutiny.... (donradclife)
b.) Reaching or running in winds over 30 knot and seas to match, to test the autopilot and sailplan for those conditions. (donradclife)
2. A minimum passage of 2 full nights, which will let you check out the electrical system, night lighting, navigation, weather forecasting, communications, crew fatigue, AIS/radar/visual traffic avoidance, and a whole host of other critical factors. (donradclife)
a.) This is very important, and it is critical that you do the shakedown with the crew that you will be with. That is the time to find out how personalities (including yours) can cope with with stress, fatigue and the inevitable breakdown of all those new fancy systems you installed.
3. Think "upside down" ie: what happens to everything on your vessel if it is turned upside down. Go over everything and put it to that test. Batteries, engine, lockers, cuttlery in the galley, the dingy on davits, etc. you get the idea. (midnightsailor)
4. Make your partner handle the boat - without you! Make the shitzu take a 3 am watch - see if she has what it takes. (mawm)
5. Anchor out for at least 5 nights, to test anchoring systems/technique, electrical draw, refrigeration/cooking, heaters or cooling fans, bunks, etc.
General Boat Integrity:
1. “Hose tests” (high pressure) on all the hatches as well as a “bucket test” on the engine access hatch. (GeorgeB)
2. Some kinds of tests have diminishing returns -- if you make a major change, there is also the risk that the change itself will introduce new problems. Even minor tests require thinking through the process. For example, a test of the inflatable PFD will use it; you then have to put in a new CO2 cartridge. You can't test the new one without using it up. So make sure you understand how to install the new one right. (Tweitz)
3. Would also add to the preflight checklist consideration of jerry cans. If you plan to use them, either for fuel or water, try out the installation first. Make sure they are really secure and not in the way of something vital. And you know how you will be able to use them in adverse circumstances. (Tweitz)
1. Shakedown the crew. They should be able to do most, if not all, the same stuff you can. (Valiente)
2. Test the various types of sea sickness pills to see which one works the best on each person in the crew.
3. All helmsmen do two successful COB pickups under sail (one from windward and the other from a spinnaker run). (GeorgeB)
4. If water is warm enough and conditions favorable enough, safely practice pulling a COB out of the water and on board with whatever rig you have set up for rescue (life sling, etc.). Get really good at it and remember that it will be much harder in the kinds of conditions you'll most like face in an actual COB situation.
5. You should make sure everyone knows where the PFDs are, how they are fitted, how they work (especially if inflatable), how they fit, and are they comfortable enough to wear. (Tweitz)
1. Check your chainplates, shrouds, stays, everything for integrity. Is stuff moving around? Seeing cracks? Seeing leaks?
2. THE WORD FROM THE MAN (KNOTHEAD): When the Shi# hits the fan, it's whether or not you can keep a cool head and whether or not you can suck it up and figure out a way to jury rig a rudder. Or repair a gooseneck fitting with a bunch of spare crap that you find in long forgotten cupboards. The very nature of an emergency is the the fact that often you aren't prepared for it. My best advice is that one should be adventurous. One should be prudent. One should be realistic. But most importantly, one should be responsible. That doesn't mean that one shouldn't be willing to take chances or to push the envelope. It just means that one should always be prepared to take responsibility for one's choices and decisions. No excuses, no whining or bitching and no blaming anybody else for one's own shortcomings. And for what it's worth, people would be amazed at what one can accomplish with a hacksaw and a whole lot of adrenalin.
3. After you change the standing rigging, it needs a stress test to make sure the new installation was done right. (Tweitz)
1. Change your sails, preferably in a blow. Reef and shake out the main. Swap out your headsail - or furl/unfurl it like a madman. How hard is that going to be when it counts? (scottyt)
2. Fly every sail in your inventory. While they are up inspect each carefully and consider likely chafe/failure points. (raindog)
1. Bleed your engine - at sea! - rough sea. (mawm)
1. Can you find your emergency tiller? Use it? (eryka)
2. Deploy the emergency tiller and the emergency rudder in under 5 minutes and execute a 360 turn in under two minutes. (GeorgeB)
1. Measure all electrical loads and constructed an energy management plan to forecast recharging schedules. (GeorgeB)
1. Get a bucket and fill your bilges. How quickly does the pump(s) empty your boat. (Some said to open a seacock for the test - that seems a little sketchy to me - thoughts?)
2. How fast can you get a handle onto the manual bilge pump? What other backup plans do you have for pumping out your boat? (patrickrea)
3. Fill cockpit with water and see how long it takes to empty through existing drains. (mawma)
1. A 400NM and 700NM test of the SSB and also tested the Sailmail connection by downloading GRIB files. (GeorgeB)
1. Test your jack lines, harness and pad eyes. Really test them. If you're in a blow, that'll do it. If not, pretend you're completely hammered and stagger all over the place. (Flybyknight)
2. Is your safety equipment readily available or is it buried under sail bags luggage and other junk that you've just loaded onto the boat? (Boasun)
3. Simulate a life raft deployment in under 90 seconds (especially if the raft is inside the cabin). (GeorgeB)
4. Deploy your drogue/chute device, storm jib (on a removable inner forestay) and a storm trysail. Ideally do this in enough wind to feel the difference. (GeorgeB)
1. Check the cooler! Does it keep the ice icy? To push its limits, PACK it with various proportions of booze to ice (including beer, margaritas, or if you're Sway, pina colada mixers) until you are confident that you can keep everything humming for a 7-10 day passage. (TheFrog)
Last edited by smackdaddy; 07-31-2009 at 06:04 PM.