Thoughts on safety at sea:


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Dick
Dick
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Dick - 6/3/2020
Simon Currin - 5/28/2020
Lovely article Dick and so true. I remember on a double handed passage to the Azores my crew, not Sally, fell asleep on watch. Luckily I discovered this early and let him sleep on in the cockpit until his mobile phone pinged welcoming him to Graciosa. I was the Best Man at his wedding and made sure everyone knew about his unconventional way of monitoring an imminent landfall.
Simon

Hi all,
In the above, I was referring to fatigue that builds up during a passage.
I am reminded, there is another another Dangerous Companion: pre-departure fatigue. This is fatigue which results from the work and anxiety that usually accompanies the preparation for a passage. This is especially a challenge for one’s first passage.
On Alchemy, we try to be prepared a day or two ahead of the weather window we are looking at. When well meaning friends are wanting a piece of you and throwing bon voyage parties, it might be wise to go to a quiet anchorage for a night or so to get sorted and settled after the festivities and before departure.
The beginning of any passage is stressful. Everything is far more difficult at the onset of a passage if fatigued and most are far more likely to get seasick when stressed and tired.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Hi all,
Below is my contribution to this month’s “Thought on Safety at Sea” for the e-Bulletin.
Maintenance
I have written about how preparation for catastrophic events (flooding, for example) benefits those responding: IOW, the essence of effective action is good preparation. Similarly, good boat preparation makes likely far less drama. And drama on the high seas is never to be courted. Roald Amundson put it this way, “Adventure is just bad planning.”
And the essence of boat preparation is good maintenance. Good maintenance is the vaccine for a multitude of boat illnesses and is far from beginning-of-season/end-of-season chores: it benefits from a little attention every day.
On Alchemy we make a seasonal “book” of the maintenance that needs to be done daily (check bilge for example), weekly (raw water strainer), monthly (test EPIRB battery), quarterly (zincs), semi-annually (lube steering), annually (strip, clean and lube winches). There are also lists for bi-annual, every 5 years, winter, haul-out, mast etc.
This “book” is our maintenance bible and chore tickler: the older I get the more I find that if something is not written down, it does not exist. We check off chores as they are done and make notes on conditions, repair/replacement, etc.
I will include my full lists in the Forum. It seems likely that many entries pertain to all sailing vessels, but each boat will want to customize the lists to their boat. I have generated these lists over 2 decades of cruising, but am clear that I add a few items every year, so I would appreciate additions/comments/thoughts/etc. I would also appreciate reports on how others approach this important task.

Simon Currin
Simon Currin
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Dick,
I couldn’t find you list posted on the Forum,
Simon

Dick - 6/24/2020
Dick - 6/3/2020
Simon Currin - 5/28/2020
Lovely article Dick and so true. I remember on a double handed passage to the Azores my crew, not Sally, fell asleep on watch. Luckily I discovered this early and let him sleep on in the cockpit until his mobile phone pinged welcoming him to Graciosa. I was the Best Man at his wedding and made sure everyone knew about his unconventional way of monitoring an imminent landfall.
Simon

Hi all,
In the above, I was referring to fatigue that builds up during a passage.
I am reminded, there is another another Dangerous Companion: pre-departure fatigue. This is fatigue which results from the work and anxiety that usually accompanies the preparation for a passage. This is especially a challenge for one’s first passage.
On Alchemy, we try to be prepared a day or two ahead of the weather window we are looking at. When well meaning friends are wanting a piece of you and throwing bon voyage parties, it might be wise to go to a quiet anchorage for a night or so to get sorted and settled after the festivities and before departure.
The beginning of any passage is stressful. Everything is far more difficult at the onset of a passage if fatigued and most are far more likely to get seasick when stressed and tired.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Hi all,
Below is my contribution to this month’s “Thought on Safety at Sea” for the e-Bulletin.
Maintenance
I have written about how preparation for catastrophic events (flooding, for example) benefits those responding: IOW, the essence of effective action is good preparation. Similarly, good boat preparation makes likely far less drama. And drama on the high seas is never to be courted. Roald Amundson put it this way, “Adventure is just bad planning.”
And the essence of boat preparation is good maintenance. Good maintenance is the vaccine for a multitude of boat illnesses and is far from beginning-of-season/end-of-season chores: it benefits from a little attention every day.
On Alchemy we make a seasonal “book” of the maintenance that needs to be done daily (check bilge for example), weekly (raw water strainer), monthly (test EPIRB battery), quarterly (zincs), semi-annually (lube steering), annually (strip, clean and lube winches). There are also lists for bi-annual, every 5 years, winter, haul-out, mast etc.
This “book” is our maintenance bible and chore tickler: the older I get the more I find that if something is not written down, it does not exist. We check off chores as they are done and make notes on conditions, repair/replacement, etc.
I will include my full lists in the Forum. It seems likely that many entries pertain to all sailing vessels, but each boat will want to customize the lists to their boat. I have generated these lists over 2 decades of cruising, but am clear that I add a few items every year, so I would appreciate additions/comments/thoughts/etc. I would also appreciate reports on how others approach this important task.



Dick
Dick
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Simon Currin - 6/24/2020
Dick,
I couldn’t find you list posted on the Forum,
Simon

Dick - 6/24/2020
Dick - 6/3/2020
Simon Currin - 5/28/2020
Lovely article Dick and so true. I remember on a double handed passage to the Azores my crew, not Sally, fell asleep on watch. Luckily I discovered this early and let him sleep on in the cockpit until his mobile phone pinged welcoming him to Graciosa. I was the Best Man at his wedding and made sure everyone knew about his unconventional way of monitoring an imminent landfall.
Simon

Hi all,
In the above, I was referring to fatigue that builds up during a passage.
I am reminded, there is another another Dangerous Companion: pre-departure fatigue. This is fatigue which results from the work and anxiety that usually accompanies the preparation for a passage. This is especially a challenge for one’s first passage.
On Alchemy, we try to be prepared a day or two ahead of the weather window we are looking at. When well meaning friends are wanting a piece of you and throwing bon voyage parties, it might be wise to go to a quiet anchorage for a night or so to get sorted and settled after the festivities and before departure.
The beginning of any passage is stressful. Everything is far more difficult at the onset of a passage if fatigued and most are far more likely to get seasick when stressed and tired.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Hi all,
Below is my contribution to this month’s “Thought on Safety at Sea” for the e-Bulletin.
Maintenance
I have written about how preparation for catastrophic events (flooding, for example) benefits those responding: IOW, the essence of effective action is good preparation. Similarly, good boat preparation makes likely far less drama. And drama on the high seas is never to be courted. Roald Amundson put it this way, “Adventure is just bad planning.”
And the essence of boat preparation is good maintenance. Good maintenance is the vaccine for a multitude of boat illnesses and is far from beginning-of-season/end-of-season chores: it benefits from a little attention every day.
On Alchemy we make a seasonal “book” of the maintenance that needs to be done daily (check bilge for example), weekly (raw water strainer), monthly (test EPIRB battery), quarterly (zincs), semi-annually (lube steering), annually (strip, clean and lube winches). There are also lists for bi-annual, every 5 years, winter, haul-out, mast etc.
This “book” is our maintenance bible and chore tickler: the older I get the more I find that if something is not written down, it does not exist. We check off chores as they are done and make notes on conditions, repair/replacement, etc.
I will include my full lists in the Forum. It seems likely that many entries pertain to all sailing vessels, but each boat will want to customize the lists to their boat. I have generated these lists over 2 decades of cruising, but am clear that I add a few items every year, so I would appreciate additions/comments/thoughts/etc. I would also appreciate reports on how others approach this important task.



Hi Simon and all,
Simon, you are quick and I got distracted for a couple of hours.
Below are my Daily, Weekly and Monthly maintenance check lists to give an idea of how this system works. I will add the further lists (Quarterly, Semi-annually etc.) in the future. Clearly some items are specific to my boat for example “Work HT Y valve”. This holding tank Y valve tends to stick if not worked once a week or so and if it gets stuck, generates an un-appealing job.
Please, come back with questions and suggestions of items that I have overlooked.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

w/m = watermaker
HT = holding tank
prn = as needed
Espar = Eberspracher furnace

DAILY
o    Check fluids (eng. & genset),& Racor filter bowl_________________________
o    Check bilges; ___eng room, ___main ________________________________

WEEKLY    date________
o    Check: ___raw water strainer, ____w/m strainer prn, ___w/m filters prn______
o    Mold patrol________________________________________________________
o    Vinegar toilet______________________________________________________
o    Computer—back up_________________________________________________
o    Watermaker________________________________________________________
o    Work HT Y valve___________________________________________________
o    Dehumidifier vent, clean & vacuum ___________________________________
o    _________________________________________________________________

MONTHLY    Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec
o    Zincs: ______genset, ______Maxprop, ______hull, ____Spurs, _____shaft
o    Engine & genset inspection: connections, hoses, clamps, drips, etc.____________
o    Propane integrity test (do when putting newly filled tank on)_________________
o    Check EPIRB battery & test___________________________________________
o    Superlube toilet prn,________________________________________________
o    Clean shower strainer prn_____________________________________________
o    Run Espar prn or monthly_____________________________________________
o    Test CO monitor____________________________________________________
o    Charge handheld vhf________________________________________________
o    Reefer: ___clean vents and fans, ___defrost/scrape reefer/freezer plates ________
o    Check/oil wood trim hatches prn_______________________________________
o    Computer (prn): ___A1disk clean-up, ___Microsoft error check (p.185), ___defrag- (p.187), ___system restore (p.198) ____________________________
o    Vacuum out vents: ___ battery charger, ___computer, ___reefer,___dehumidifier,___
o    Charge battery packs for drills________________________________________
o    Check eng cubby for water____________________________________________
o    __________________________________________________________________

Dick
Dick
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Dick - 6/24/2020
Simon Currin - 6/24/2020
Dick,
I couldn’t find you list posted on the Forum,
Simon

Dick - 6/24/2020
Dick - 6/3/2020
Simon Currin - 5/28/2020
Lovely article Dick and so true. I remember on a double handed passage to the Azores my crew, not Sally, fell asleep on watch. Luckily I discovered this early and let him sleep on in the cockpit until his mobile phone pinged welcoming him to Graciosa. I was the Best Man at his wedding and made sure everyone knew about his unconventional way of monitoring an imminent landfall.
Simon

Hi all,
In the above, I was referring to fatigue that builds up during a passage.
I am reminded, there is another another Dangerous Companion: pre-departure fatigue. This is fatigue which results from the work and anxiety that usually accompanies the preparation for a passage. This is especially a challenge for one’s first passage.
On Alchemy, we try to be prepared a day or two ahead of the weather window we are looking at. When well meaning friends are wanting a piece of you and throwing bon voyage parties, it might be wise to go to a quiet anchorage for a night or so to get sorted and settled after the festivities and before departure.
The beginning of any passage is stressful. Everything is far more difficult at the onset of a passage if fatigued and most are far more likely to get seasick when stressed and tired.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Hi all,
Below is my contribution to this month’s “Thought on Safety at Sea” for the e-Bulletin.
Maintenance
I have written about how preparation for catastrophic events (flooding, for example) benefits those responding: IOW, the essence of effective action is good preparation. Similarly, good boat preparation makes likely far less drama. And drama on the high seas is never to be courted. Roald Amundson put it this way, “Adventure is just bad planning.”
And the essence of boat preparation is good maintenance. Good maintenance is the vaccine for a multitude of boat illnesses and is far from beginning-of-season/end-of-season chores: it benefits from a little attention every day.
On Alchemy we make a seasonal “book” of the maintenance that needs to be done daily (check bilge for example), weekly (raw water strainer), monthly (test EPIRB battery), quarterly (zincs), semi-annually (lube steering), annually (strip, clean and lube winches). There are also lists for bi-annual, every 5 years, winter, haul-out, mast etc.
This “book” is our maintenance bible and chore tickler: the older I get the more I find that if something is not written down, it does not exist. We check off chores as they are done and make notes on conditions, repair/replacement, etc.
I will include my full lists in the Forum. It seems likely that many entries pertain to all sailing vessels, but each boat will want to customize the lists to their boat. I have generated these lists over 2 decades of cruising, but am clear that I add a few items every year, so I would appreciate additions/comments/thoughts/etc. I would also appreciate reports on how others approach this important task.



Hi Simon and all,
Simon, you are quick and I got distracted for a couple of hours.
Below are my Daily, Weekly and Monthly maintenance check lists to give an idea of how this system works. I will add the further lists (Quarterly, Semi-annually etc.) in the future. Clearly some items are specific to my boat for example “Work HT Y valve”. This holding tank Y valve tends to stick if not worked once a week or so and if it gets stuck, generates an un-appealing job.
Please, come back with questions and suggestions of items that I have overlooked.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

w/m = watermaker
HT = holding tank
prn = as needed
Espar = Eberspracher furnace

DAILY
o    Check fluids (eng. & genset),& Racor filter bowl_________________________
o    Check bilges; ___eng room, ___main ________________________________

WEEKLY    date________
o    Check: ___raw water strainer, ____w/m strainer prn, ___w/m filters prn______
o    Mold patrol________________________________________________________
o    Vinegar toilet______________________________________________________
o    Computer—back up_________________________________________________
o    Watermaker________________________________________________________
o    Work HT Y valve___________________________________________________
o    Dehumidifier vent, clean & vacuum ___________________________________
o    _________________________________________________________________

MONTHLY    Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec
o    Zincs: ______genset, ______Maxprop, ______hull, ____Spurs, _____shaft
o    Engine & genset inspection: connections, hoses, clamps, drips, etc.____________
o    Propane integrity test (do when putting newly filled tank on)_________________
o    Check EPIRB battery & test___________________________________________
o    Superlube toilet prn,________________________________________________
o    Clean shower strainer prn_____________________________________________
o    Run Espar prn or monthly_____________________________________________
o    Test CO monitor____________________________________________________
o    Charge handheld vhf________________________________________________
o    Reefer: ___clean vents and fans, ___defrost/scrape reefer/freezer plates ________
o    Check/oil wood trim hatches prn_______________________________________
o    Computer (prn): ___A1disk clean-up, ___Microsoft error check (p.185), ___defrag- (p.187), ___system restore (p.198) ____________________________
o    Vacuum out vents: ___ battery charger, ___computer, ___reefer,___dehumidifier,___
o    Charge battery packs for drills________________________________________
o    Check eng cubby for water____________________________________________
o    __________________________________________________________________


Dick
Dick
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Dick - 6/24/2020
Simon Currin - 6/24/2020
Dick,
I couldn’t find you list posted on the Forum,
Simon

Dick - 6/24/2020
Dick - 6/3/2020
Simon Currin - 5/28/2020
Lovely article Dick and so true. I remember on a double handed passage to the Azores my crew, not Sally, fell asleep on watch. Luckily I discovered this early and let him sleep on in the cockpit until his mobile phone pinged welcoming him to Graciosa. I was the Best Man at his wedding and made sure everyone knew about his unconventional way of monitoring an imminent landfall.
Simon

Hi all,
In the above, I was referring to fatigue that builds up during a passage.
I am reminded, there is another another Dangerous Companion: pre-departure fatigue. This is fatigue which results from the work and anxiety that usually accompanies the preparation for a passage. This is especially a challenge for one’s first passage.
On Alchemy, we try to be prepared a day or two ahead of the weather window we are looking at. When well meaning friends are wanting a piece of you and throwing bon voyage parties, it might be wise to go to a quiet anchorage for a night or so to get sorted and settled after the festivities and before departure.
The beginning of any passage is stressful. Everything is far more difficult at the onset of a passage if fatigued and most are far more likely to get seasick when stressed and tired.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Hi all,
Below is my contribution to this month’s “Thought on Safety at Sea” for the e-Bulletin.
Maintenance
I have written about how preparation for catastrophic events (flooding, for example) benefits those responding: IOW, the essence of effective action is good preparation. Similarly, good boat preparation makes likely far less drama. And drama on the high seas is never to be courted. Roald Amundson put it this way, “Adventure is just bad planning.”
And the essence of boat preparation is good maintenance. Good maintenance is the vaccine for a multitude of boat illnesses and is far from beginning-of-season/end-of-season chores: it benefits from a little attention every day.
On Alchemy we make a seasonal “book” of the maintenance that needs to be done daily (check bilge for example), weekly (raw water strainer), monthly (test EPIRB battery), quarterly (zincs), semi-annually (lube steering), annually (strip, clean and lube winches). There are also lists for bi-annual, every 5 years, winter, haul-out, mast etc.
This “book” is our maintenance bible and chore tickler: the older I get the more I find that if something is not written down, it does not exist. We check off chores as they are done and make notes on conditions, repair/replacement, etc.
I will include my full lists in the Forum. It seems likely that many entries pertain to all sailing vessels, but each boat will want to customize the lists to their boat. I have generated these lists over 2 decades of cruising, but am clear that I add a few items every year, so I would appreciate additions/comments/thoughts/etc. I would also appreciate reports on how others approach this important task.



Hi Simon and all,
Simon, you are quick and I got distracted for a couple of hours.
Below are my Daily, Weekly and Monthly maintenance check lists to give an idea of how this system works. I will add the further lists (Quarterly, Semi-annually etc.) in the future. Clearly some items are specific to my boat for example “Work HT Y valve”. This holding tank Y valve tends to stick if not worked once a week or so and if it gets stuck, generates an un-appealing job.
Please, come back with questions and suggestions of items that I have overlooked.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

w/m = watermaker
HT = holding tank
prn = as needed
Espar = Eberspracher furnace

DAILY
o    Check fluids (eng. & genset),& Racor filter bowl_________________________
o    Check bilges; ___eng room, ___main ________________________________

WEEKLY    date________
o    Check: ___raw water strainer, ____w/m strainer prn, ___w/m filters prn______
o    Mold patrol________________________________________________________
o    Vinegar toilet______________________________________________________
o    Computer—back up_________________________________________________
o    Watermaker________________________________________________________
o    Work HT Y valve___________________________________________________
o    Dehumidifier vent, clean & vacuum ___________________________________
o    _________________________________________________________________

MONTHLY    Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec
o    Zincs: ______genset, ______Maxprop, ______hull, ____Spurs, _____shaft
o    Engine & genset inspection: connections, hoses, clamps, drips, etc.____________
o    Propane integrity test (do when putting newly filled tank on)_________________
o    Check EPIRB battery & test___________________________________________
o    Superlube toilet prn,________________________________________________
o    Clean shower strainer prn_____________________________________________
o    Run Espar prn or monthly_____________________________________________
o    Test CO monitor____________________________________________________
o    Charge handheld vhf________________________________________________
o    Reefer: ___clean vents and fans, ___defrost/scrape reefer/freezer plates ________
o    Check/oil wood trim hatches prn_______________________________________
o    Computer (prn): ___A1disk clean-up, ___Microsoft error check (p.185), ___defrag- (p.187), ___system restore (p.198) ____________________________
o    Vacuum out vents: ___ battery charger, ___computer, ___reefer,___dehumidifier,___
o    Charge battery packs for drills________________________________________
o    Check eng cubby for water____________________________________________
o    __________________________________________________________________

Dick - 6/24/2020
Dick - 6/3/2020
Simon Currin - 5/28/2020
Lovely article Dick and so true. I remember on a double handed passage to the Azores my crew, not Sally, fell asleep on watch. Luckily I discovered this early and let him sleep on in the cockpit until his mobile phone pinged welcoming him to Graciosa. I was the Best Man at his wedding and made sure everyone knew about his unconventional way of monitoring an imminent landfall.
Simon

Hi all,
In the above, I was referring to fatigue that builds up during a passage.
I am reminded, there is another another Dangerous Companion: pre-departure fatigue. This is fatigue which results from the work and anxiety that usually accompanies the preparation for a passage. This is especially a challenge for one’s first passage.
On Alchemy, we try to be prepared a day or two ahead of the weather window we are looking at. When well meaning friends are wanting a piece of you and throwing bon voyage parties, it might be wise to go to a quiet anchorage for a night or so to get sorted and settled after the festivities and before departure.
The beginning of any passage is stressful. Everything is far more difficult at the onset of a passage if fatigued and most are far more likely to get seasick when stressed and tired.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Hi all,
Below is my contribution to this month’s “Thought on Safety at Sea” for the e-Bulletin.
Maintenance
I have written about how preparation for catastrophic events (flooding, for example) benefits those responding: IOW, the essence of effective action is good preparation. Similarly, good boat preparation makes likely far less drama. And drama on the high seas is never to be courted. Roald Amundson put it this way, “Adventure is just bad planning.”
And the essence of boat preparation is good maintenance. Good maintenance is the vaccine for a multitude of boat illnesses and is far from beginning-of-season/end-of-season chores: it benefits from a little attention every day.
On Alchemy we make a seasonal “book” of the maintenance that needs to be done daily (check bilge for example), weekly (raw water strainer), monthly (test EPIRB battery), quarterly (zincs), semi-annually (lube steering), annually (strip, clean and lube winches). There are also lists for bi-annual, every 5 years, winter, haul-out, mast etc.
This “book” is our maintenance bible and chore tickler: the older I get the more I find that if something is not written down, it does not exist. We check off chores as they are done and make notes on conditions, repair/replacement, etc.
I will include my full lists in the Forum. It seems likely that many entries pertain to all sailing vessels, but each boat will want to customize the lists to their boat. I have generated these lists over 2 decades of cruising, but am clear that I add a few items every year, so I would appreciate additions/comments/thoughts/etc. I would also appreciate reports on how others approach this important task.

Medical Training
Preparing for safety at sea can be more an emotionally challenging issue (actually doing it) than a “best practices” issue (figuring out the way to do it). Nothing may document this better than a recent survey on medical emergency preparedness of about-to-go-offshore sailboats reported by OCC member Dr. Maria Forbes. Her statistics (see the OCC Forum) present a dim picture of both training and medical kit by these about-to-be-on-their-own vessels.
Going to sea, especially for skippers, is a complex mixture of recreation and responsibility. It is not a stretch to say there is a responsibility for the lives of others. One does not go to sea expecting disasters--quite the contrary, and allowing the reality of say, the myriad of possible medical challenges a skipper might face on an ocean passage, is intimidating. Countering a natural reluctance to anticipate and prepare for challenging but unlikely events might be a volitional willingness to imagine the regret that might occur if preparedness was neglected and the worst happened and could have been avoided.
This may not apply if your sailing is along developed countries’ coastlines, but for those who wander widely and cross oceans, medical training (possibly re-training) is the kind of preparation that one hopes to never use. It is also the kind of skill that, if neglected, might allow a handle-able injury or illness to become an emergency or worse.
So, like other safety issues, it might be worth pushing yourself in this area. I am starting an on-line refresher course in wilderness medical preparedness which I will report on in the Forum.
Safe sailing, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Dick
Dick
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Dick - 6/24/2020
Simon Currin - 6/24/2020
Dick,
I couldn’t find you list posted on the Forum,
Simon

Dick - 6/24/2020
Dick - 6/3/2020
Simon Currin - 5/28/2020
Lovely article Dick and so true. I remember on a double handed passage to the Azores my crew, not Sally, fell asleep on watch. Luckily I discovered this early and let him sleep on in the cockpit until his mobile phone pinged welcoming him to Graciosa. I was the Best Man at his wedding and made sure everyone knew about his unconventional way of monitoring an imminent landfall.
Simon

Hi all,
In the above, I was referring to fatigue that builds up during a passage.
I am reminded, there is another another Dangerous Companion: pre-departure fatigue. This is fatigue which results from the work and anxiety that usually accompanies the preparation for a passage. This is especially a challenge for one’s first passage.
On Alchemy, we try to be prepared a day or two ahead of the weather window we are looking at. When well meaning friends are wanting a piece of you and throwing bon voyage parties, it might be wise to go to a quiet anchorage for a night or so to get sorted and settled after the festivities and before departure.
The beginning of any passage is stressful. Everything is far more difficult at the onset of a passage if fatigued and most are far more likely to get seasick when stressed and tired.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Hi all,
Below is my contribution to this month’s “Thought on Safety at Sea” for the e-Bulletin.
Maintenance
I have written about how preparation for catastrophic events (flooding, for example) benefits those responding: IOW, the essence of effective action is good preparation. Similarly, good boat preparation makes likely far less drama. And drama on the high seas is never to be courted. Roald Amundson put it this way, “Adventure is just bad planning.”
And the essence of boat preparation is good maintenance. Good maintenance is the vaccine for a multitude of boat illnesses and is far from beginning-of-season/end-of-season chores: it benefits from a little attention every day.
On Alchemy we make a seasonal “book” of the maintenance that needs to be done daily (check bilge for example), weekly (raw water strainer), monthly (test EPIRB battery), quarterly (zincs), semi-annually (lube steering), annually (strip, clean and lube winches). There are also lists for bi-annual, every 5 years, winter, haul-out, mast etc.
This “book” is our maintenance bible and chore tickler: the older I get the more I find that if something is not written down, it does not exist. We check off chores as they are done and make notes on conditions, repair/replacement, etc.
I will include my full lists in the Forum. It seems likely that many entries pertain to all sailing vessels, but each boat will want to customize the lists to their boat. I have generated these lists over 2 decades of cruising, but am clear that I add a few items every year, so I would appreciate additions/comments/thoughts/etc. I would also appreciate reports on how others approach this important task.



Hi Simon and all,
Simon, you are quick and I got distracted for a couple of hours.
Below are my Daily, Weekly and Monthly maintenance check lists to give an idea of how this system works. I will add the further lists (Quarterly, Semi-annually etc.) in the future. Clearly some items are specific to my boat for example “Work HT Y valve”. This holding tank Y valve tends to stick if not worked once a week or so and if it gets stuck, generates an un-appealing job.
Please, come back with questions and suggestions of items that I have overlooked.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

w/m = watermaker
HT = holding tank
prn = as needed
Espar = Eberspracher furnace

DAILY
o    Check fluids (eng. & genset),& Racor filter bowl_________________________
o    Check bilges; ___eng room, ___main ________________________________

WEEKLY    date________
o    Check: ___raw water strainer, ____w/m strainer prn, ___w/m filters prn______
o    Mold patrol________________________________________________________
o    Vinegar toilet______________________________________________________
o    Computer—back up_________________________________________________
o    Watermaker________________________________________________________
o    Work HT Y valve___________________________________________________
o    Dehumidifier vent, clean & vacuum ___________________________________
o    _________________________________________________________________

MONTHLY    Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec
o    Zincs: ______genset, ______Maxprop, ______hull, ____Spurs, _____shaft
o    Engine & genset inspection: connections, hoses, clamps, drips, etc.____________
o    Propane integrity test (do when putting newly filled tank on)_________________
o    Check EPIRB battery & test___________________________________________
o    Superlube toilet prn,________________________________________________
o    Clean shower strainer prn_____________________________________________
o    Run Espar prn or monthly_____________________________________________
o    Test CO monitor____________________________________________________
o    Charge handheld vhf________________________________________________
o    Reefer: ___clean vents and fans, ___defrost/scrape reefer/freezer plates ________
o    Check/oil wood trim hatches prn_______________________________________
o    Computer (prn): ___A1disk clean-up, ___Microsoft error check (p.185), ___defrag- (p.187), ___system restore (p.198) ____________________________
o    Vacuum out vents: ___ battery charger, ___computer, ___reefer,___dehumidifier,___
o    Charge battery packs for drills________________________________________
o    Check eng cubby for water____________________________________________
o    __________________________________________________________________

More to the maintenance list: Dick Stevenson
QUARTERLY    
o    ELECTRICAL system; ___corrosion inhibit and check all major charging systems & connections, ___dialectric grease electronics connections (handheld, radar, computer, alpha remote, remote vhf), ___ spray alternators in action_____
o    PROPELLOR; ___check feathering prop for ease of movement, ___inspect/ clean prop for pitting, cavitation, corrosion, etc.,__________
o    McLUBE (prn); ___mainsail track and slides, ___jib & ss turning blocks, ___fairleads on deck, ___traveler, ___mast base turning blocks, ___mainsail turning blocks, ___rf pennant blocks, ___sail tracks sheets and blocks, ___stern anchor blocks, ___Monitor blocks, ___whisker pole, __boom sheaves at aft end, __snatch blocks
o    Inspect sails; ___main, ___ss, ___jib, ___spin __________________________
o    Polish fuel; ___starboard tank, ___port tank____________________________
o    Windlass motor clean and spray w/ anti-corrosion__________________________
o    Clean deck wash strainer_____________________________________________
o    Clean/lube all locks_________________________________________________
o    Fire extinguisher inspection, tap and shake_______________________________
o    Reefer: vacuum heat exchanger and interior______________________________
o    Light oil down Morse/control cables___________________________________
o    Clean and wax all plastic windows and hatches____________________________
o     Lube W/M piston shaft prn__________________________________________
o    Oil hatches wood trim _______________________________________________
o    Some sort of medical skills maintenance________________________________
o    Use holding tank & macerator_________________________________________
o    Pump out engine cubby PRN_________________________________________
o    _________________________________________________________________

SEMI-ANNUALLY, ___January, ___ July (July if wintering over)
o    ZIPPERS lubricate: ___dodger, ___bimini, ___windshield, ___main cover, ___coats, ___medical supplies bags, ___scuba bag________________________
o    Run all bilge pumps and inspect; ___cockpit, ___elec bilge, ___elec emergency
o    Undo and re-mouse anchor shackles_____________________________________
o    Check batten pocket bolts____________________________________________
o    Check Antal mainsail car bolts________________________________________
o    Rust on portlights___________________________________________________
o    Spray control cable connections on eng_________________________________
o    Drills: ___fire, ___flooding, ___MOB___________________________________
o    Lube & check steering controls, ___grease bearings in sheaves, ___chk wire tension, __¬chk bulldog clamps_______________________________________
o    Check propane sniffer for proper functioning_____________________________
o    Work all seacocks _________________________________________________
o    Water absorbers in sextant case_______________________________________
o    PFDs and MOB-1 test and maintain___________________________________
o    __________________________________________________________________



Dick
Dick
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New Safety at Sea Thought
Partner Preparedness
I believe I have done about a baker’s dozen of these Thoughts on Safety over the last year or so and I hope they have brought some enjoyment. This last “Thought” is directed at the cruising “team”: often a husband and wife. Offshore passage-making is safest when done as a team and not as a driver/skipper with passenger. And, while unreasonable for each team member to be proficient in all aspects of running the boat, both should, were one to become incapacitated, have the skills, knowledge and experience to single-hand the boat safely home, whether a few hours out on a day sail or a few weeks out on passage. The skipper needs to ensure that his/her team-mate can take over. One method is to “exchange” skipper days. For the skipper, holding back and allowing mistakes will likely not come easily while the partner will likely feel initially intimidated and unsure. Go slowly and be patient and the result will be increased involvement, enjoyment and confidence for all concerned. The goal would be a safer boat and for the less experienced crew to feel more connected and confident while the skipper would feel well backed-up and less alone in responsibility. Then take turns practicing single-handing the boat and learning what the boat needs to make that easier. Finally, especially for those boats that take on crew for passages, a “crib sheet” with detailed instructions on critical aspects of running the boat would be wise.
My best to all, stay safe, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Dick
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Dick - 7/31/2020
Dick - 6/24/2020
Simon Currin - 6/24/2020
Dick,
I couldn’t find you list posted on the Forum,
Simon

Dick - 6/24/2020
Dick - 6/3/2020
Simon Currin - 5/28/2020
Lovely article Dick and so true. I remember on a double handed passage to the Azores my crew, not Sally, fell asleep on watch. Luckily I discovered this early and let him sleep on in the cockpit until his mobile phone pinged welcoming him to Graciosa. I was the Best Man at his wedding and made sure everyone knew about his unconventional way of monitoring an imminent landfall.
Simon

Hi all,
In the above, I was referring to fatigue that builds up during a passage.
I am reminded, there is another another Dangerous Companion: pre-departure fatigue. This is fatigue which results from the work and anxiety that usually accompanies the preparation for a passage. This is especially a challenge for one’s first passage.
On Alchemy, we try to be prepared a day or two ahead of the weather window we are looking at. When well meaning friends are wanting a piece of you and throwing bon voyage parties, it might be wise to go to a quiet anchorage for a night or so to get sorted and settled after the festivities and before departure.
The beginning of any passage is stressful. Everything is far more difficult at the onset of a passage if fatigued and most are far more likely to get seasick when stressed and tired.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Hi all,
Below is my contribution to this month’s “Thought on Safety at Sea” for the e-Bulletin.
Maintenance
I have written about how preparation for catastrophic events (flooding, for example) benefits those responding: IOW, the essence of effective action is good preparation. Similarly, good boat preparation makes likely far less drama. And drama on the high seas is never to be courted. Roald Amundson put it this way, “Adventure is just bad planning.”
And the essence of boat preparation is good maintenance. Good maintenance is the vaccine for a multitude of boat illnesses and is far from beginning-of-season/end-of-season chores: it benefits from a little attention every day.
On Alchemy we make a seasonal “book” of the maintenance that needs to be done daily (check bilge for example), weekly (raw water strainer), monthly (test EPIRB battery), quarterly (zincs), semi-annually (lube steering), annually (strip, clean and lube winches). There are also lists for bi-annual, every 5 years, winter, haul-out, mast etc.
This “book” is our maintenance bible and chore tickler: the older I get the more I find that if something is not written down, it does not exist. We check off chores as they are done and make notes on conditions, repair/replacement, etc.
I will include my full lists in the Forum. It seems likely that many entries pertain to all sailing vessels, but each boat will want to customize the lists to their boat. I have generated these lists over 2 decades of cruising, but am clear that I add a few items every year, so I would appreciate additions/comments/thoughts/etc. I would also appreciate reports on how others approach this important task.



Hi Simon and all,
Simon, you are quick and I got distracted for a couple of hours.
Below are my Daily, Weekly and Monthly maintenance check lists to give an idea of how this system works. I will add the further lists (Quarterly, Semi-annually etc.) in the future. Clearly some items are specific to my boat for example “Work HT Y valve”. This holding tank Y valve tends to stick if not worked once a week or so and if it gets stuck, generates an un-appealing job.
Please, come back with questions and suggestions of items that I have overlooked.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

w/m = watermaker
HT = holding tank
prn = as needed
Espar = Eberspracher furnace

DAILY
o    Check fluids (eng. & genset),& Racor filter bowl_________________________
o    Check bilges; ___eng room, ___main ________________________________

WEEKLY    date________
o    Check: ___raw water strainer, ____w/m strainer prn, ___w/m filters prn______
o    Mold patrol________________________________________________________
o    Vinegar toilet______________________________________________________
o    Computer—back up_________________________________________________
o    Watermaker________________________________________________________
o    Work HT Y valve___________________________________________________
o    Dehumidifier vent, clean & vacuum ___________________________________
o    _________________________________________________________________

MONTHLY    Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec
o    Zincs: ______genset, ______Maxprop, ______hull, ____Spurs, _____shaft
o    Engine & genset inspection: connections, hoses, clamps, drips, etc.____________
o    Propane integrity test (do when putting newly filled tank on)_________________
o    Check EPIRB battery & test___________________________________________
o    Superlube toilet prn,________________________________________________
o    Clean shower strainer prn_____________________________________________
o    Run Espar prn or monthly_____________________________________________
o    Test CO monitor____________________________________________________
o    Charge handheld vhf________________________________________________
o    Reefer: ___clean vents and fans, ___defrost/scrape reefer/freezer plates ________
o    Check/oil wood trim hatches prn_______________________________________
o    Computer (prn): ___A1disk clean-up, ___Microsoft error check (p.185), ___defrag- (p.187), ___system restore (p.198) ____________________________
o    Vacuum out vents: ___ battery charger, ___computer, ___reefer,___dehumidifier,___
o    Charge battery packs for drills________________________________________
o    Check eng cubby for water____________________________________________
o    __________________________________________________________________

Dick - 6/24/2020
Dick - 6/3/2020
Simon Currin - 5/28/2020
Lovely article Dick and so true. I remember on a double handed passage to the Azores my crew, not Sally, fell asleep on watch. Luckily I discovered this early and let him sleep on in the cockpit until his mobile phone pinged welcoming him to Graciosa. I was the Best Man at his wedding and made sure everyone knew about his unconventional way of monitoring an imminent landfall.
Simon

Hi all,
In the above, I was referring to fatigue that builds up during a passage.
I am reminded, there is another another Dangerous Companion: pre-departure fatigue. This is fatigue which results from the work and anxiety that usually accompanies the preparation for a passage. This is especially a challenge for one’s first passage.
On Alchemy, we try to be prepared a day or two ahead of the weather window we are looking at. When well meaning friends are wanting a piece of you and throwing bon voyage parties, it might be wise to go to a quiet anchorage for a night or so to get sorted and settled after the festivities and before departure.
The beginning of any passage is stressful. Everything is far more difficult at the onset of a passage if fatigued and most are far more likely to get seasick when stressed and tired.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Hi all,
Below is my contribution to this month’s “Thought on Safety at Sea” for the e-Bulletin.
Maintenance
I have written about how preparation for catastrophic events (flooding, for example) benefits those responding: IOW, the essence of effective action is good preparation. Similarly, good boat preparation makes likely far less drama. And drama on the high seas is never to be courted. Roald Amundson put it this way, “Adventure is just bad planning.”
And the essence of boat preparation is good maintenance. Good maintenance is the vaccine for a multitude of boat illnesses and is far from beginning-of-season/end-of-season chores: it benefits from a little attention every day.
On Alchemy we make a seasonal “book” of the maintenance that needs to be done daily (check bilge for example), weekly (raw water strainer), monthly (test EPIRB battery), quarterly (zincs), semi-annually (lube steering), annually (strip, clean and lube winches). There are also lists for bi-annual, every 5 years, winter, haul-out, mast etc.
This “book” is our maintenance bible and chore tickler: the older I get the more I find that if something is not written down, it does not exist. We check off chores as they are done and make notes on conditions, repair/replacement, etc.
I will include my full lists in the Forum. It seems likely that many entries pertain to all sailing vessels, but each boat will want to customize the lists to their boat. I have generated these lists over 2 decades of cruising, but am clear that I add a few items every year, so I would appreciate additions/comments/thoughts/etc. I would also appreciate reports on how others approach this important task.

Medical Training
Preparing for safety at sea can be more an emotionally challenging issue (actually doing it) than a “best practices” issue (figuring out the way to do it). Nothing may document this better than a recent survey on medical emergency preparedness of about-to-go-offshore sailboats reported by OCC member Dr. Maria Forbes. Her statistics (see the OCC Forum) present a dim picture of both training and medical kit by these about-to-be-on-their-own vessels.
Going to sea, especially for skippers, is a complex mixture of recreation and responsibility. It is not a stretch to say there is a responsibility for the lives of others. One does not go to sea expecting disasters--quite the contrary, and allowing the reality of say, the myriad of possible medical challenges a skipper might face on an ocean passage, is intimidating. Countering a natural reluctance to anticipate and prepare for challenging but unlikely events might be a volitional willingness to imagine the regret that might occur if preparedness was neglected and the worst happened and could have been avoided.
This may not apply if your sailing is along developed countries’ coastlines, but for those who wander widely and cross oceans, medical training (possibly re-training) is the kind of preparation that one hopes to never use. It is also the kind of skill that, if neglected, might allow a handle-able injury or illness to become an emergency or worse.
So, like other safety issues, it might be worth pushing yourself in this area. I am starting an on-line refresher course in wilderness medical preparedness which I will report on in the Forum.
Safe sailing, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Hi all,
I said a while back that I was taking a refresher course in medical training: below is my report.
Comments on the course;
1.    Medical training has come up upon occasion. There is very little for the offshore recreational sailor and is more easily found among wilderness support programs. In these covid period with time on our hands, my wife and decided to do an on-line course labeled “Wilderness First Aid” (solowfa.com). It is a self-paced training that takes about 16 hours, I think matching the 2-day in house training of the same name and you have a month to complete the course. It is presented under the umbrella organization of SOLO Schools, one of three well known and well thought of wilderness training organizations in the US. It comes with a handbook.
2.    All will benefit, but those sailors who do a lot of hiking will particularly benefit from the emphasis on trail injuries.
3.    This is an on-line course that was cobbled together for this covid time, and should be viewed as an impressive effort. There is definitely a loss from missing class participation where hands-on skills are practiced, but some, or most, of that can be covered by diligent students on their own.
4.    We got a lot out of the course and felt we had renewed some, perhaps much, of the skill-and-thinking set acquired in previous training that is the basis for wilderness intervention.
5.    We certainly noticed that this was a “low budget” locally produced production, but did not feel that this interfered with the training nor did it impact adversely our ability to learn the content. That said some of the whiteboard hand writing and organization could have been improved; additionally, not all is covered in the accompanying text. A lower fee for couples training together would be appreciated.
6.    It is not a wilderness course by my definition: being completely on one’s own. Most interventions are predicated on the thought that there could be an ambulance called to the trailhead. That said, it did cover the essentials of making a determination of the nature and severity of a medical emergency. An offshore sailor would do well to continue training using this course as a beginning.
7.    This not a course that teaches initial and follow-up treatment of moderately serious injuries/illness that do not meet the level to bring rescue hundreds of miles to seas: perhaps the loss of a finger tip in a winch might be an example. Painful, gruesome, worrisome, but within the treatment capacities of a crew with an adequate medical kit and reasonable prescription pain medications and meds for infection.
8.    In summary, I would very much recommend this course for those who have had no prior training or for those whose training has consisted of CPR and a few hours of first aid. This course is far more substantial and might be best described as and “Adventurer’s First Aid” course rather than a “Wilderness First Aid” which should do nothing to diminish its usefulness.
Come back with questions,
My best to all, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

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