A Checklist Before Setting Sail Prevents Unwanted Mishaps

Setting sail on our first sailing flotilla holiday caused a few mishaps as our vessel was not totally ship-shape and Bristol fashion. This was because we didn't check anything on board. Well, we didn't know any better at the time.

However we saw the light when we joined our friends on their yacht Selkie Dancer for a few days. Andy introduced us to the Setting Sail Checklist. The genuine original can be seen on their entertaining web site. You may even see some pictures of us there too.

Well we took Andy's brilliant idea and (with his permission) modified it to create a check list suitable for flotilla type sailing, where the yachts are not as well equipped as a touring one.

Our inspection checklist was fine tuned on a Beneteau 361 during our next flotilla and it enabled us to be confident that we were as prepared as we ever would be before setting sail.

Anyway this is it:

Going To Sea
Where What Check Notes
Forward Cabin Hatches Secure You don't want any sea to come in during your extreme sailing
Saloon Ports Secure Ditto
Retaining Bars In Place To hold in any books etc. that are lying about on the shelves
Navigation Station GPS Switched On Of Course the yacht may not have this.
Trip Switches As required Usually this means all the navigation type ones (VHF, GPS etc.) Leave fridge on until you cut the engine later
VHF On And adjusted to the correct channel according to your flotilla
Chart Out This will probably be required on deck later unless there is a keen navigator on board
Pilot Available This is the book that tells you all about the sea channels and harbours you will encounter
Instruments Plotter, dividers, biro, rubber Probably just for show but could be useful
Ships Log Opened To read any notes from the morning briefing and record engine hours and anything of interest on the way
Intentions Passed This is to ensure that all the crew know and agree where they are going
Washboards Secure Usually in flotillas in the Greek Islands, they can remain in the locker, but early and late season sailing may need them to be in place.
Binoculars, compass Available They are used quite a lot
Engine Battery Breakers in correct position The flotilla engineer explains all this. It needs checking to ensure that you don't flatten the main starting battery.
Galley Ports Secure You don't want a wet kitchen
Bilge Check Make sure no water has made its way in
Sea cocks Check They should all be closed
Lockers, Table Secure To stop any random banging about
Food Stowed away So it doesn't fly about all over the cabin
Cooking Utensils Stowed away Ditto
Oven Free to Gimbal If can be locked down that is
Gas Off Often forgotten
Aft Cabins Hatches Secure I expect you know by now
Cockpit Safety Lines Positioned You may not be in a dangerous situation but it is reassuring to have them to hand
Instruments Covers Off and stowed You need to see what is going on
Winch Handles Available They usually have little pockets to live in
VHF Microphone Available If you are lucky to have one which will reach to the cockpit
Engine key Inserted
Helm brake Off So you can steer. A tiller helm just needs untying
Pump Handle Test For emergency bailing at sea ??
Life Jackets Available Make sure all the crew knows where theirs is
Drinking Water Available It can be thirsty work up on deck and a quick swig is always welcome
Glasses Strings Attached For those of us with spectacles this is an essential. It is not easy to attach them while you are busy sailing.
Fore deck Anchor Pinned or stowed Obviously you can only do this if you not at anchor, in which case it should be done after weighing it.
Tender Secure On larger yachts it is possible to secure a fully inflated dinghy on deck. This saves all the effort in re-inflating each time you use it. Make sure it doesn't get in the way of anything vital though.
Foresail Ready Can it be unfurled easily?
Brush Secure Although it may be needed to help get the anchor in!
Boat hook Secure
Mast Halyards clear
Mainsail Ready All covers off or ready to unfurl
Aft Deck Lazaret and lockers Secure
Swim ladder Up
Kedge Anchor Stowed and secure Again may need to be done once off the mooring
Helm Seat Positioned When there is a walk through push pit to allow swimming, the seat is removable
Guard Rail Attached May need to be done after the kedge anchor is stowed
Outboard Motor Secure If you have one

Its a bit long but only takes a minute or two to run through and is well worth it before setting sail.

You can download this list either for printing or modifying according to your individual needs and trip.

If you have any questions or indeed any comments about Greek Islands Adventures,

please let us know by using the Contact Us form

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.