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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation > Pre-Trip Checkout
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


Thread: Pre-Trip Checkout Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
05-10-2010 11:40 PM
davidpm That was an amazing trip. Brad has a great boat and I learned something the last few minutes of the trip. When Brad was pulling up the the destination dock the the dock hand was trying to get him to park in a dangerous place and he just said no. Lesson learned.
05-10-2010 11:30 PM
CalebD The human factor... probably the biggest variable.
I am recalling when I first met DavidPM on Bene505's boat out at Montauk for a delivery trip back to the western LI Sound. We had all volunteered to come along for the trip and had spoken with Brad on the phone and he had briefly interviewed us and visa versa. All I initially knew was that he had previously owned a Venture 21' and that he and his son had brought the boat up from Annapolis to Montauk together. Knowing that a 50' boat has many more systems then a 21' boat made me wonder a trifle but what I did not know was that Brad was also an amateur pilot at one time. Another point of wonder was that the reefing lines for the main sail had not been set up since he had acquired the boat. DavidPM and another sailnetter set up the 2 reefing lines BEFORE we set out the next morning and it turned out that we really needed them. Brad was a nice enough guy and his boat was less then 10 years old so I don't recall anyone using a fine toothed comb to check out the engine on his boat but we really needed that as well. It was really nice to have other seemingly competent sailors along like DavidPM and DefRich who helped to allay my fears as the weather was looking a bit iffy, even if it was only to be a trip of just under 100 nm down LI Sound.
The weather turned out to be the other most important variable. The weekend in November we had chosen to do the transit was also the weekend that a fall squall decided to show up. After leaving Montauk in light winds and mild fog the wind built up from the S, S/W until it was easily gusting to 40 knots by the time we pulled into Port Jefferson. I believe Brad got a SOG reading of 4 or 5 knots under bare poles alone outside of Port Jeff before we entered the harbor to tie up for the night.
I'll admit right here and now that I am a bit of a chicken shyt and prefer sailing when the conditions are much nicer then what we encountered that day and the next. We ended up motoring from Port Jeff to Glen Cove and the 50' Benetteau was pounding over the 4+ foot waves the now westerly blow we faced with varying seascapes of either all white horses when the wind hit above 45 knots or only several here and there when it went back down near 30 knots with still large lumpy waves for the LI Sound (all wind speeds were verified after the trip from buoy readings on mysound.com). I admit that the conditions alarmed and even scared me a bit as I was not used to them. I even mentioned ditching out in a port like Oyster Bay to him but he seemed to be almost enjoying it AND he had his son aboard AND the saltier of the crew (DavidPM & DefRich) went below to take naps while the boat pounded! It was only 12 more miles to Glen Cove after all and I know the layout of the western Sound quite well and grew up sailing near Glen Cove.
It was a beautiful, awesome and scary trip to me but I am so glad I did it. I am also glad that we had no engine problems and had the ability to reef the main down to the second reef point and take in the jib. We sailed most of the way to Port Jeff but the motor, reefing ability and crew made it all possible. I also enjoyed hanging out in the cabin while the boat was going through its motions and chatting with DefRich who was in the navy (that's how he got deaf); this fact reassured me that I don't get sea sick too easily. I would do it again though in a heart beat.

Not sure if all of this is applicable to your thread so sorry for the drift.
Cheers
05-10-2010 11:26 PM
davidpm Bilge Start
Check the bilge, ideally dry the bilge completely, and shut off the bilge pump.
Check the stuffing box
The idea is to do this first as the checkout will probably take at least a half hour and we want to see if the boat is leaking at the dock. At the end of the check-out check the bilge again and make sure it is not leaking and that the pump works

Deck
Walk around the boat slowly and just look at everything. The idea is to see if something is just not right and to just get a feel for the boat..
Ground tackle size and length.
Standing rigging
Running rigging, Winches, handles, blocks, Trying to see if the boat is in good enough shape to sail and has all the parts.
Hoist sails if possible at dock
Reefing
Dock lines and boat hook, spare line
Steering, Check for unusual play
Emergency Tiller
Manual Bilge pump(s) and handle
Horn, lights, PFDís, Throwable, flares, boat hook
Speedometer, Depth finder, other deck instruments
Tank fills and tank key
Compass
Check all compartments

Engine (deck level)
Start engine, key and process
Transmission, forward and reverse, check cables
Check stuffing box

Skippering
Insurance, Registration
Tax payment proof
BoatUS membership card
Manuals, Maintenance records
Charts
Compass
GPS
Binoculars
Flood Light

Engine (below deck)
Spare parts, belts, impeller, tools, filters, muli-meter
Fuel filter,
Oil check
Transmission check
Oil Pressure (50)
Water Pressure (170 - 180)
Maximum RPM (Lookup) Run engine at 90%
Primary filter bowl
Zinc (Might as well know where it is)

Below Deck
Through hulls, plugs
check all compartments
Chain plates
Fuel tank size (full)
Head (Tank empty)
Tank locations and locations of valves and inspection ports
Fire extinguisher
Propane tanks and switch operation.
Stove operation
Pressure water operation
Head operation

Electrical and Electronic
Main Switch (What exactly does it turn on and off, what is direct to battery)
Use of all switches on panel
What is the charging position(s)
Battery(s) 12.6 volts
Battery 14+ volts with engine running
Radio (check transmit with handheld)
Electronics, Chart plotter, etc

Personal
Fresh Water
Food
Medication seasickness
Clothing appropriate for everyone
First aid kit
Gloves, Boots, Sun Glasses, Hats, Sunscreen, TP (Stuff People forget)
Hand held radio, GPS etc.

Seatrial
Run engine at 90% max and check instruments
Operate all sails
Operate all instruments
Check for leaks


Bilge (End)
At the end of the check-out check the bilge again and make sure it is not leaking and that the pump works.
05-10-2010 11:25 PM
davidpm The next post is my final list incorporating all your suggestions.
It is very similar to SD's boat inspection list with a few missing and a few added. It would be similar to a charter inspection too.
05-10-2010 10:09 PM
davidpm The human factor made it a no-brainer. But since the tide was against us the wind high and the motor flaky I'm pretty sure I would have not done it even with reliable crew.
Of course if their was a gang of thugs running down the dock that would have changed the equation.

You do bring up a very interesting question. Every time we go out their is a decision being made.
Is the crew, boat, weather etc. OK enough to leave the dock?
05-10-2010 12:48 PM
puddinlegs For the trip you describe, it sounds like the 'human' factor was a the biggy! If it had been yourself and a trusted friend, known the basic state of the boat, and the moorage situation at the destination, would you have gone?

(The human factor, it's always the 500 lb gorilla in the room!)
05-09-2010 09:42 PM
davidpm
Quote:
Originally Posted by BarryL View Post
Hey,

That is a pretty comprehensive list. My question, is what do you do if some of the items 'fail' the test? Do you back out of the trip, insist that the items be corrected immediately, forget about it and take off, or what? What if the owner tells you he doesn't have an extra impeller, the fire extinguishers are expired, and he can't find the emergency tiller?

Barry
You read my mind exactly. I was asking myself the same question.
In fact I would expect that many things on the list would not be officially up to "code".
As SD said depending on the trip each item has to be evaluated as a go no-go.
Even if you decide to take the chance at least if you knew what was on board and where and what was particularly dogey you could mentally prepair yourself. No sense looking for an emergency tiller if their is none for example.
For example take Caleb's stuffing box dripping at rest. I'm going for an 8 hr. boat move. I would take the boat out for a spin around the bay for 20 minutes and see how much was leaking. Check the battery twice, check the alternator, check the bilge pump and check the manual pump.
If it filled up the bilge 5 gallons worth in 20 min, I would probably scrub the mission. If it was only a pint or so I would probably take the chance.

There is an accumulative factor also.
Last Fri I went to help move a boat (Pearson 26) up river from one marina to another only one half mile.
There last time we tried it there were 4 things wrong:
  1. Outboard 25 years old would not idle properly which meant it stalled a lot and had trouble shifting and restarting.
  2. The tide was running two knots down river.
  3. The wind picked up to 20 knot gusts
  4. I had the boat tied off in the slip and had the husband put it in gear as we were checking the motor. The wife got very excited when the engine revved and the boat swung a foot in the slip.

I would probably gone for it with only one of those problems but with all four I scrubbed it for another day even though it was only a 20 minute trip.
05-09-2010 09:06 PM
sailingdog It really depends on what failed as well as the scope of the trip. You have to take each item as it stands and how your comfort level is with what doesn't pass.

For instance, say the fire extinguishers and flares are expired... Most fire extinguishers will work fairly well, even past their expiration date, provided they're still pressurized. SOLAS class flares will often work, even years past their expiration date, and are better than USCG-approved flares when they're 5-10 years old in many cases.

If the through-hulls are about to fail...that's a different story...


Quote:
Originally Posted by BarryL View Post
Hey,

That is a pretty comprehensive list. My question, is what do you do if some of the items 'fail' the test? Do you back out of the trip, insist that the items be corrected immediately, forget about it and take off, or what? What if the owner tells you he doesn't have an extra impeller, the fire extinguishers are expired, and he can't find the emergency tiller?

Barry
05-09-2010 08:09 PM
BarryL Hey,

That is a pretty comprehensive list. My question, is what do you do if some of the items 'fail' the test? Do you back out of the trip, insist that the items be corrected immediately, forget about it and take off, or what? What if the owner tells you he doesn't have an extra impeller, the fire extinguishers are expired, and he can't find the emergency tiller?

Barry
05-09-2010 12:08 PM
davidpm
Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
Do you know where the main battery switch is? Do you know where the propane tanks are? Do you know where the emergency tiller is kept and how it mounts?
Thanks SD, you added a couple not on my list and made me think of a couple more.

How is the boat wired? Is there an echo charger? is the bilge pump wired directly.

How is the pressure water setup? Automatic switch? Will it burn out if left on?

Is the depth finder calibrated for water depth of clearance under keel?
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