Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sailing Safety Checks Before You Sail! (Learn to Sail Like a Pro)

You are outbound for a perfect sail on a perfect day. Have you checked these seven often-missed pieces of sailing gear? Better do it now, skipper!

Have you checked your small sailboat for sailing for the day, the week, or a month? When you learn to sail, you will need to know just what it takes to make sailing safer and more fun. Add these seven often-forgotten sailing tips to your pre-sail checklist to make sure you are ready to sail!

1. Check your Cotters for Integrity

Look over those nautical bobby-pins called "cotter-pins". Every part of your sailing running rigging has these fittings that pin the rig together. If one fails, your mast could come tumbling down too. Start at the bow and work aft. Check headsail furling gear, stay and shroud end swage fittings, lifeline turnbuckles and gates, boom vang blocks, traveler gear, and mainsheet fittings.

2. Tape Lifeline Gates for Security

Do your lifelines have turnbuckles for end fittings--or the more dangerous pelican hooks. Don't put too much faith in a bail to keep the pelican hook in place. Tape the hook to the sleeve for a more secure, seaworthy fitting.

3. Lead Lines Smooth and Fair

Start at the bow and work aft. Check the lead on the headsail furling drum line back to the cockpit. Then return to the bow and check the Genoa sheet leads from the clew back to the sheet or turning blocks. Make sure that each Genoa sheet leads at an upward angle from the block to the primary sheet winch. This will prevent overrides (jams) and big headaches later on.

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