Set sail, here is the right sequence in 6 steps

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Setting sail and leaving the dock may appear to be the simplest of all maneuvers associated with going to sea, but thinking of it that way is undoubtedly a mistake: setting sail cannot be improvised. Here is a correct sequence in six simple but effective steps.

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The maneuvers for leaving a berth are different, depending on whether you need to leave a pontoon, a buoy, or a buoy. Let’s analyze the most frequent case, which is detaching from a dock. Remembering that, especially if you are about to leave a port that is not perfectly known, you should take care to behave as follows.

Set sail, here is the right sequence in 6 steps

Before leaving

A – Explain to the entire crew how you intend to proceed, assigning precise roles and clearly explaining what your orders will be and their chronological sequence, i.e., how they are to be carried out (demand silence on board, and also remember that a shouted order is itself a poorly given order). As for positions, consistent with the number of passengers (and their actual ability to operate), someone should be at the extreme bow with the function of lookout, especially to alert the helmsman in case semi-floating objects are present in the water, such as ropes and plastic bags that are dangerous to the propeller.

A person at the bow not only frees you from the dead body, but also indicates the clear space for you to maneuver safely. At least one other crew member should be in the middle of the boat, ready with the half sailor to intervene on the port or starboard side. All those who do not cooperate with the operations must not hinder them either, so they must be quiet in the cockpit so as not to impede a good view for those at the helm.

B – Open the engine compartment to allow proper ventilation. Turn on the thruster in good time for it to warm up, checking that it is working properly. Carefully consider the amount of fuel you take on board and make the appropriate calculations for your range for sailing. If you are about to go on a sufficiently long cruise, when the engine is warm turn it off and check the correct oil level. It also doesn’t hurt to take a look at the fuel filters (no sediment and water droplets) and the water filter (which should be perfectly clean).

C – Avoid items being left on the deck that might annoy, damage or even delay the conduct of the maneuver, while making sure that all those you deem useful are there: again, order is an essential element that distinguishes a “Sunday” crew from a “sea-footed” crew.

E – The anchor must be in place on the bow nose, ready to be dropped if the boat is not maneuverable for some unexpected and sudden reason and drifts.


Ready to go

F- Have the main mooring lines, especially the upwind ones, looped through to maneuver without having to get off board again.

G – Start moving only after checking that no other boat is already maneuvering in the same channel arm as you, that there are no cables in the water that could be caught by the propeller, and of course that all the crew is on board.

It is not listed, but it certainly goes without saying, that before any outing you should have a precise understanding of the state of the weather and its possible evolution; it should be verified that everything you need is on board, from legal documents to safety equipment, from food and fresh water (if you are setting out on a cruise) to tools and so on. But these general aspects disregard the maneuver of setting sail and are part of the most obvious common sense.

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