Getting your boat prepped for the trip South

BASIS: My cruising life style consists of being at anchor almost continuously for four or five months at a time, then day sailing for three or four weeks, twice per year. During the time at anchor, all my energy needs are met via solar power, the engine starting every other week just to pump lubricating oil thru the motor.

My sailing preparation starts three or four weeks prior to departure.

All systems have to be checked:

1. Diesel Engine:       

-          change filters – engine oil, fuel, and air filters

-          change engine oil

-          check transmission oil

-          check all belts and have replacements

-          check water pump and have replacement seals/impeller

-          check propeller shaft seal

-          check rudder shaft seal

-          check and lubricate steering cables/chain

-          diesel tank inspection ( clean, no leaks)

2. Electrical System  

-          check batteries and have replacement water

-          clean batteries and wiring connections

-          ensure all electronics and lights that have not been used for months (such as running lights, chart plotter) work

3. Safety Systems:     

-          check first aid supplies

-          run bilge pumps and check float switches

-          check flares, wooden plugs, waterproof putty sticks

-          check life jackets and harness

4. Rigging:                 

-          polish and check all turnbuckles/toggles for cracks

-          check standing rigging for broken stands (at deck level and top of mast)

-          quick running rigging inspection

-          check anchor roller

-          raise and lower both sails

5. Interior of boat:   

-          find and repair any water (fresh or salt) leaks; leaking ports, chain plates, or thru hull fittings only get            worse at sea.

6. Fresh Water System:

-          Being at anchor and relatively undisturbed for months, solids can settle in the bottom of the water tank, only to be disbursed throughout the entire water system when the boat gets in a seaway. The tank is emptied and cleaned prior to sailing. All filters changes and water pump inspected. Again, correct ANY leakage.

7. Exterior of Boat:  

-          clean bottom and propeller

 

Get food and beverages ….. sail away..

John

 

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