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The Lull before the Storm...

by GJW Direct 20 Oct 2017 07:30 PDT 20 October 2017

The UK weather forecasters have issued a red warning for severe weather over the coming weekend. Is your boat "storm fit" as it sits on its berth at the Sailing Club?

Here's a few tips to protect your asset:

  • The boat must always be tied down to something solid. A simple rope over the top won't do the job!

  • Ensure the item you are tying the rope to is solid. DON'T use portable dog lead corkscrew type fixings - they may feel solid when you fit them but they may not be when the ground is waterlogged and soft. They also rust (and weaken) over time.

  • Tie the boat down with a decent length of rope (or you can easily use 2 shorter lengths if you don't have anything handy). A old main sheet is perfect, not a cheap clothes line from your local hardware store.

  • Always tie the rope around a solid point on the boat. A couple of half hitches around the shroud, the same round the mast and again on the opposite shroud are perfect.

  • If the rope is just thrown over the top the risk is that the boat will simply pivot underneath it and it will be no use at all.

  • In the case of a boat with no shrouds or stored mast down, use a ratchet strap to tie down (use carpet under the strap where it runs over corners to prevent chaffing.

  • If you don't have solid ground fixing, make some yourself. A used car tyre filled with concrete with a eye cast into it is perfect. They can be easily rolled for movement and the rubber outer means you don't stub your toe!

  • Not able to do this in the short term? Fill a 99p bucket from B&Q with stones and use as a temporary solution. It could be the difference between your boat falling over or not.

  • Ensure covers are properly secured, a flapping cover acts like hoisting a spinnaker!

  • When the forecast is particularly bad or you are planning to store over the Winter month, consider dropping the mast and storing it elsewhere (does your club have a shed where it could be stored in the rafters?). Not only does this dramatically reduce the windage on the boat it keeps your rigging in much better condition out of the weather.

  • Visually check your neighbours boat and encourage them to take appropriate precautions – there is no point going to all the effort of securing your boat just to find the boat next door has tipped on to yours. This is very common and although you'd expect it to be his fault, you (or your insurers) would have to prove that they had been negligent in not securing their vessel resulting in a potential claim on your policy and an excess payment.

  • Try to encourage your club to fit proper fixings to the ground if they don't have them already. Get some return from your berth fee!

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