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Getting the boat


People are sailing in anything from single-handed bathtubs to gigantic, crewed yachts. Make your choice depending on your nature. Remember however that it adds significantly to the pleasure to trust your boat - this meaning that you should make sure that it is seaworthy. Itīs no fun sitting in the midst of a large ocean, without no possibility of return, waves braking and the boat screaming. If the fundament is strong and the stays are accurate, youīll feel a lot better.

Buying a new boat is, on the other hand, no guarantee for safety. Last year a boat on the Atlantic lost itīs rudder post and sank. The boat came brand new straight from the manufacturer.

Look for strong hull; jump on the deck to find possible weakening, check for osmosis. It is a good idea to get a surveyor to check the boat with you, telling him about your plans. Fiberglass is light, cheap, but can burn if hit by lightning. Steel is strong, great in lightning but heavy and corroding. Aluminum is lighter but corrodes too. Wood is nice but will require a lot of work. Southern waters will wear more on any material than northern waters. Get the right protection for the hull.

Choose a boat that is livable.It will be your home for a long time, donīt forget the cosmetics, the interior, the floor plan. Mildew and infestions will make miserable times even more miserable.

Replace old fabrics and materials! Install some nice halogens instead of fluorescent, the give so much nicer light and are more power efficient too.

Check all seacocks. Be very careful in doing so, you are going to thank yourself when at a roaring ocean.
Make a plan of all their locations in the boat.
In case of water suddenly flushing in, youīll then know
where to look.
That particular situation is incredibly heart pounding and youīll want to know where to find the seacocks, fast!
Also, go over the stern gland and replace it if in any doubt, unless you want to experience the thrill of sinking.

Next step is to check for leaks below deck. If you donīt do it, the next heavy rain will do it for you. It is no fun taking shelter from pouring water in just another wet chamber. The water will pour in at all kinds of strange places, mostly at fittings on the deck. Change them or fill them with water sealant.

Reinforce the rig. Not too tight, not too loose. If you can get some competitive sailors to do it with you, you are in a gold mine. Otherwise, get the help of rigging professionals. There are numerous broken masts out there every year, leaving people randomly adrift in all kinds of waters.

If you are not very skilled yourself, get a mechanic and electrician to go over the boat with you. Take notes of everything, buy books on the subject and aim to be able to repair the boat yourself with time. Get a good tool box, one for the mechanics and another for electrical spares. You will not believe how everything will fail on you, divided in about 2-3 failures a day, just enough to keep you busy - but just below your "this-is-it" end mark.

Bring all the manuals for everything, store all at one easy-to find place, bring books and tools and you'll be fine. Brand new boats have a lot of small failures too, you canīt escape being self-sufficient. Trust the boat by trusting yourself. It doesnīt take Einstein to fix the boat, but it takes that you have sources to consult (manuals and books) and tools to perform the work.




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