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


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  #1  
Old 11-19-2009
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What do you always check and why?

I try to sail with as many captains as possible and I've noticed a fairly consistent behavior. Almost everyone is particularly attentive to certain things and after prompting I find out for a very good reason.

The guy that lost his rig is really carefull to check the head stay tang. The guy that lost his engine is really careful to check the oil every single time. The guy that wrapped his prop is hiper-vigilant to keep all lines out of the water.

So what is your obsession and why?
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Old 11-19-2009
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Lots of things. I think you are right about 'once bitten' things.

I listen without listening. Anything a little different comes to my attention and I cant relax until I have sourced the sound. Last night I woke up at 0400. The fridge pump was straining - working fine, just working a little harder.

My father has lost a wooden gaff rig main mast. He can 'feel' the boat strain and appears to ignore sounds which annoy me.
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Old 11-19-2009
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I have a checklist of things to check just before we leave the dock. The list is laminated to a piece of plexi and I check off the items with a grease pencil when they are done. There are other things I do regularly like fill up the water tanks when we arrive and check the holding tank level.
I also have a maintenance list for things that are done once or twice a year.
Here's my checklist

1) Check oil, diesel and fuel filter
2) Set engine power switch (blue) to ON
3) Set house power switch (red) to BOTH
4)Check batteries (gauges next to panel)
5) Switch on Sailing Instruments and GPS on panel (make sure they go on).
6) Close forward hatch
7) Put away anything than can fall off
8) Make sure locker doors are latched

9) Set up jib sheets
10) Remove main cover and attach main halyard
11) Set up furler line
12) Remove insert berween dodger and bimini
13) Remove cover of view port for windex
14) Put on PFDs
15) Turn on engine
16) Turn on GPS
17) Unplug shore power

I'm also very sensitive to unexpected noises and unusual motions and like St Anna and I suspect many other boat people I will wake up instantly at those nosies or motions -- bugs the hell out opf my wife not because I wake up but because she feels I'm not nearly as attentive to things in our house (true)
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Old 11-19-2009
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I always check my pulse. Mainly out of curiosity.
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Old 11-19-2009
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The bilge and through hulls. Then the cooler to make sure we have beer.

"if it's gunna happen, it'll happen out there"

In all honesty, I now check to make sure I have plenty of gas. Wouldn't you know, this one time with the girlfriend when they were calling for 10-15, it didn't blow 5 the entire day, the bay turned to glass, and we were a little short on petrol. She forgave me for it, even though we had to creep along in 2-3 knots of breeze for 36 miles.
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Old 12-03-2009
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I check that the seawater **** to the engine is open by hanging the keys on the gear shift lever...the **** is about a foot away. This also allows me to sniff the engine area to determine if I have a fuel leak.

On a related note, I always check for water coming out of the exhaust. Basically, I damaged an engine by not opening the seawater **** early in my sailing career...an expensive, newbie mistake. I do, however, close all below waterline through hulls with the exception of the cockpit scuppers because I have seen several failures at dock over the years and seeing your boat half sunk because a hose clamp loosened can ruin your day sail.

EDIT: Stupid gay-arsed auto-prude deleted all mention of "cok".
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Old 12-03-2009
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My "check" is similar to Valiente's. Keys are hung on seawater valve to make sure it is open prior to start, and this is in the engine room so I can look things over and check the oil. I visually check the Racor which is right next to the battery switch for the engine. I also immediately check that water is coming out the exhaust after starting. I check that the voltage meter is registering a charge so I know the belts, alternators, regulators are working properly. I generally open thru hulls prior to leaving also to make sure there are no problems (head, sinks, washdown). I do a walk around prior to shoving off to make sure all lines are off and shore power cord is disconnected, and I cycle the shift lever into forward and reverse to make sure everything is connected (had a cable come off once as I was coming into the dock ). For a long trip the list is a lot longer, rigging, water, propane, stores, liferaft, extra fuel, etc, etc.
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Old 12-03-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrd22 View Post
I also immediately check that water is coming out the exhaust after starting.
I did that once and subsequently learned that it will pump water with the seaco@k closed for about a minute till it empties the raw water muffler.
So now I check it twice.
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Old 12-03-2009
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I make sure the engines are pumping water over board, but most of all I make sure I stay on the boat!. ..........i2f
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Old 12-03-2009
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I forgot the why. I have lost a head gasket along the western Baja coast, and been thrown from the boat in the same area going in the opposite direction 2 years apart ........i2f
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