Planning a Daysail

As you embark on a daysail you might need a checklist of the things that you must have to make the day more enjoyable.

First, you have the knowledge that you have already garnered from ASA 101, so you would have decided where to go, how to get there and when the optimal time to sail is. Sailing is about allowing nature to come into your life and dictate everything, so don’t lose sight of the idea that sailing is very fluid and your plans are very much dependent on what the conditions allow you to do. Sometimes the perfect sailing day is spent at the dock simply because the weather has decided not to cooperate with your plans.

Even a day, while tied to a cleat, can be successful.

Things You Need for a Successful Daysail

  • Weather Report – It is always a good idea to have an updated weather report when you go out on a daysail. These days an app on your phone will help you plan your sail and give you a good idea of changing weather patterns. You should know that weather reports can be wrong so you still will need to keep an eye out for changes in the weather that will alter your sail plan.
  • Sunglasses, Hat, and Sunscreen – If you want to ruin a good sailing day attempt to skip the sunscreen. You’ll be at the mercy of the glare of the sun as those harmful rays reflect off the water and the sails. Sunglasses protect your eyes and allow you to keep an eye out when gliding toward the sun and a hat will not only protect your face but it will keep you warm as the wind picks up.
  • Life Jackets – While every boat must have life vests for every person on board it is a good idea to wear one especially when the wind picks up. We are all guilty of wanting to enjoy the sunshine and being free of the encumbrance of a vest but it only works if you are wearing it.
  • Dry Clothing – It is important to remember that you should have a light jacket or windbreaker on board to protect you when the wind picks up and the sun starts moving across the horizon and it is just as important to have a change of clothes on hand. All it takes is for a couple of heavy spray incidents to dampen your clothing to turn your fun afternoon of sailing into a cold adventure. So remember to bring along a few extra clothes and possibly some shoes and socks and store them in a dry bag. You’ll be having a great time as the waves come over the bow with the peace of mind of that you have dry clothes on board.
  • Food, Water, and Snacks – Let’s face it, if you are out on the water and having a good time you don’t want to cut the sail short just to get food. Make sure there is enough water for everyone on board and it doesn’t hurt to have an ample amount of snacks around for the hungry crew.

Things to Do at the End of the Daysail

The end of the daysail gets you back to the dock in a fabulous mood where you want to go out and take your new found energy and apply it to the rest of your day. Hold on there, the boat needs to be taken care of and everything needs to be checked before you call it a day.

This is a brief checklist of things that need to be checked. This list will vary based on the type and size of boat you are on as well as if this is a rented boat or your own personal vessel.

  • Fuel – Take note of how much fuel is in the tank and record it in a log. On some vessels, the fuel valves are closed.
  • Water – Check water levels and note if tanks need to be filled. Once again, not all vessels will have this and a quick daysail may not require the attention of the freshwater tanks.
  • Shore Power – Check to make sure that all required shore power cables are plugged in and working. At the same time, go around and check to make sure that everything that uses power is in the off position. You don’t want that radio to be playing until the batteries die.
  • Sail Cover – Help out with sail covers and make sure the boat looks as good when you leave it as when you arrived. While you are at it, organize the lines and stow away any gear that was brought out during the sail. That includes putting away extra life jackets as well as winch handles.
  • Fan – Does the boat utilize an air intake fan to circulate fresh air throughout the cabin and for ventilation of the engine compartment? If it does, make sure that it is no longer running when your daysail is over.
  • Clean the Boat – Make sure to rinse down the boat and get the salt water off the deck. Did your guests leave some trash in the head or the galley? Check, you’ll be surprised where people will leave napkins and empty bottles. Also, take out the trash. It seems like a simple request but it is easy to do all the work at the end of the day and then forget to take that bag full of trash off the boat.
  • Check the Bilge – It’s always a good idea to check the bilge. Water can build up and bilge pumps have been known to stop working. If you check before and after your sail you’ll be sure to come back to a dry boat.

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