In this article we will provide an elaborate guide which makes note of a number of key points surrounding the preparation required when you want to go offshore racing.
One fundamental thing to first consider is to pick a yacht builder and service provider that you can rely on. So work with one of the world’s best brokerage companies – Moran Yacht & Ship. In addition, the vast range of available anchorages and topnotch marinas will only add to your yachting experience.
When heading offshore on a yacht of any size it’s important to take the view that you may encounter heavy weather of a severity that the boat may get knocked down to 90 degrees or beyond. It’s therefore important that any heavy items that could move around and damage the vessel or crew are firmly secured.
Take time to read the forecast service providers’ websites to learn more about your weather data, particularly the temporal and spatial resolution. Set up a schedule of when you are able to get new available weather data, and at what times the data you will be using is updated. You can also work with an external weather expert to assist with routing options.
You must not forget that the delivery home is the same length as the race itself and for some it’s even farther. Covering more than 500 nautical miles will take most boats around three to four days underway. So just like during the race, in that time there’s a good chance that an intense weather system will blow through. Hence, there is a great deal of weather information provided for the race, but make sure you are just as prepared for heading home.
Heavy weather and storm sails are needed in this situation in order to ensure that a boat can make ground upwind in strong and gale force winds if necessary.
While it’s vital to be able to ride out heavy weather, you’re much more likely to encounter light winds on passage than a severe gale. If it is a windy race, you can afford to allow the boat to be heavy. So, in this case, you will be able to bring along an extra set of spares, which you might be unlikely to use, but are still useful. They can be good ballast, which can provide stacking is permitted in your class.
We cannot stress this factor enough. The key to going offshore is not getting wet. Once you get wet, you are never really going to dry out again. It is easy to think you will be warm when doing a race in the tropics like that of the mediterranean or the carribean, but if you get wet you will still get surprisingly cold at night. So you must not let that happen.
It is vital for the gear that is on deck to be surveyed as well, and that includes shackles, winches, sheaves, turning blocks, lifelines, and so on. First of all, consider purchasing a couple of lightweight spare winch handles. There will be no chandleries nearby to buy replacements, and trimming sails without a handle will not go well.
Below decks will feel safer than being on deck, but many sailors have found out the hard way that it’s nearly as problematic. Handholds should be within easy reach from any point down below, and everything should be stowed securely. Floorboards and batteries should be firmly secured in case the boat broaches. You will also want to make a chart of where on the ship all the gear, food, and emergency supplies are located. If the worst case scenario happens, you will want to get at your repair or safety gear as quickly as possible.
You must not forget to have a fully stocked first-aid kit with prescribed drugs for sea sickness, pain, as well as antibiotics should be aboard. One person should be designated as the “doc,” and that person should have CPR and first-aid training.
We hope that we have given you the adequate information necessary to help prepare you for the journey ahead when it comes to offshore racing. This is not always plain sailing so what is most important is that you and your crew will take all the precautions necessary to remain safe and sound.