The Charter App Web Portal

Tips & Tricks for Safer, Faster and more Advance chartering process.

 

 

 

More info at How-To Module on The Charter App.

Knowledge base

SAFETY at SAILING

While using your sails for navigation on the sailing boat, you will experience an inclination of the angle while using the wind. With catamarans, you will not be experiencing any inclination but again you might want to pay attention to the following chapters, especially if you are navigating in a rocky sea with larger waves.

Closing hatches

In rough weather conditions, you want to make sure that all your hatches are properly closed, otherwise, you might be taking seawater into the boat. Even a small amount of water on your bed can be really annoying, as salt water does not evaporate fast.

So, before you open your sails have a tour around the boat and double-check that all the hatches are completely closed and properly locked.

Securing movable objects

When you will be manoeuvring you will also rebalance your inclination from one side to another. For such occasions, you want to secure moving objects inside the boat. This can be really annoying and expensive experience.

Broken glass is almost impossible to clean. On the other hand, your laptop or mobile phones can fall and possibly break. and you don’t want that to happen either.

So before opening your sails, take a look at the objects inside and secure objects.

Closing drawers, closets, doors etc

Another annoying noise is the sound of doors, closets or drawers opening/closing at inclinations. Doors can be hooked while open or securely closed in a fixed position.

Speaking about drawers and closets, each of them has a button you can press next to the opening side. It’s not enough to close them, you have to make sure to push this button if you want to lock them.

Winch and winch handles usage

The winch handles are your best friends on the boat.

You will want to use them for opening and closing the sails, as well as opening and closing the water and fuel tanks. They can also help you for lifting your anchor if the main system fails to work.

Press a button on the winch handle in order to lose the fixing mechanism first. They are valued at around 200 euros each, so take extra care of them.

If you notice that a winch handle feels shaky in a winch, it can be that it’s not in the best shape. In those cases, is better if you take it out after every single use. The winch will always pull the rope towards you no matter in which direction you are spinning. The clockwise direction will pull the rope slower, resulting in easier spinning for you. An anti-clockwise direction will pull the rope faster and will demand more energy to spin.

Catamarans and bigger sailing boats usually have an electronic winch that will do the hard part for you.

Sailing ropes and lines

Depending on the amount of wind you are taking, the ropes will be under tense pressure and it’s common sense to keep a safe distance from them. A stopper can break or a rope can sleep from its position.

But the most dangerous thing while sailing is the boom. The boom is the vertical metal piece on which the bottom of your mainsail is attached. Especially while sailing downwind, any manoeuvre that means changing the side of the wind on your sails will make the boom slide from one side to the other with great speed and energy.

Nobody wants to be nearby it when this happens, and getting hit by it will make you a man overboard, in the best possible scenario. In case, you are wondering why it’s called the boom.

How to walk on tilted boat

You have to take extra safety precautions while walking around a tilted boat. The inclination means that bigger waves are hitting the boat at random intensity, which will make your floor shaking and slippery on the deck.

It’s good practice to be ready for any random and unexpected tilting. Especially when walking outside from bow to the stern, always have one of your hands strongly attached to a part of the boat that is fixed and can support your weight. The outer fence around the boat is mostly designed for this purpose.

Knowledge base

BASIC SAFETY

Safety first.

Check the weather conditions as often as possible, especially every morning during the sailing week. Analyze the nautical maps before setting your course towards your next destinations.

 

1-Life vests location and usage:

Each boat should be equipped with the exact number of lives vests as the number of the sailing crew. We recommend you double-checking locations and vests.

Their position is usually under the kitchen bench in the saloon, or in cabin closets, depending on the size of the boat. Make sure you wear them on the right side, as otherwise, they could be pushing your head underwater instead of lifting it up.

All of them should have a whistle. We strongly recommend wearing them at all time while onboard a vessel, especially for non-experienced swimmers or in harsher weather conditions.

 

2-First aid kit location:

Check-it. It is usually located under the kitchen bench or skipper bench table in the saloon.

 

3-Rockets/Signals:

The rocket signals are used as a light signalization of your position in case of security or distress to your boat during night navigation.

Signals are usually located in or around the skipper table or close to the control panel of the boat.

 

4-Fire extinguisher location

You want to act fast if a fire situation arises on the boat, therefore is fundamental to know exactly where the fire extinguishers are located on your boat.

Usually, there are at least 2 to 3 fire extinguishers on board. One will always be outside on the deck at the rear part, probably under one of the 2 benches next to the outside table.

The other will be inside, very likely around the skipper’s desk or kitchen saloon table, while others may be in the 2 front cabins.

What shoes to wear on boats

It might sound like common sense, but heels are strongly unadvised to wear on a boat. Not only can they scratch the surface, interior and exterior alike, but they can also be very slippery therefore dangerous for you to wear while walking around the boat.

Any elegant shoe will have the same grip problem that could lead to a dangerous falling on and off the boat, male and female models alike.

The is to walk barefoot while staying on the boat.

Your boat will remain clean longer and the skin provides a good natural grip on the boat surface.

In alternative you can wear flip flops made of soft gum; they should provide enough grip for you to be safe.

During more sporty sailing, with winds above 10 kts, you should wear some comfortable snickers with a soft sole that will provide you with the agility and good grip needed for doing manoeuvres that sailing requires.

Check if your shoes leave marks on the surface.

Pasarella (gangway)

The main reason for man overboard is actually due to mindless Passarella use.

The first thing to consider, especially at night, is that the Passarella is probably wet of humidity.

That will make it more slippery and in combination with the wrong pair of shoes (being barefoot, in this case, isn’t best, as the skin tends to have a bad grip on wet surfaces).

The second and more important thing to consider is an angle that Passarella generates.

The dock is never exactly the same height plus tides are making a diferent angle.

Autopilot usage

Every charter boat will have an autopilot system installed.

You will be using it during calm days where you need to maintain your course for a longer period.

While you put an autopilot ON constantly check if the course you are on is clear.

The autopilot is pretty easy to use, you take your course angle, you press the autopilot button on (that will always be around your steering) and the system will do its best to maintain your course straight.

For slightly changes in your course you can use the autopilot correction buttons, there are usually 4 of them, 2 for the left and 2 for the right. For each side, one button will make a small change of just 1 degree for each time you press it, while the other will change your rumbo for 10 degrees.

If the situation is more urgent and you need to take over control straight away you need to deactivate the autopilot first. There will be a button close to the other for putting the autopilot in standby mode (usually it has written STY on it), you will notice that the steering will let you spin it again.

Basic steering and motoring

Most modern boats don’t need a key to get the engine started. There will be a pre-heat button you must press, and another one to start the engine a few seconds afterwards.

When you are starting your engine be sure that it’s in neutral, especially if you are docking in a marina with boats around you.

The engine gas will be next to the steering control (or one of the steering’s) and vertically installed into the boat. When the stick is looking straight up you are officially in neutral.

Pushing the stick forward gives power to the engine to move forward while pushing it back/down will make your boat to go back.

There will also be the first click in both directions, which means you have set minimal forward or backward power of the engine.

There is also a button on the gas control, usually red color, at the bottom of the stick but it can vary, especially on catamarans. This button is to put the engine in leer gas (battery charging mode). To enter in leer mode, you first need to be in a neutral position, then press the button – while pressing the button add the gas to reach the desired mpg. Do it gently in case you doing it wrong, as you don’t want your boat to start moving around.

Larger vessels have 2 steering wheels for serious inclination, to avoid having the sails covering your sight. In case your steering system fails, there is an emergency steering under one of the laterals outside benches, which looks more like a metal pole than a steering wheel.

It has a stellar ending at the bottom, similar to the one winches have, and you will need to set this ending to the portal you will find close to the steering wheel(s). It’s a metal circle inserted into the boat floor with the stellar entrance on it, and it’s directly connected to the rudder of the boat. You will need to use a lot of energy to steer like that since you will directly be spinning the rudder out of its position, but it can save you in emergencies.

One last gear for manoeuvring, especially on larger sailing boats, is the bow thruster. It’s a side smaller engine situated under your anchor that can give you little side pushes when needed. This is especially handy when docking with a side wind, as your boat will start to lose its straight course as soon as you’ll be losing speed.

You will need to turn this function on with the power button. If you press the left button, for instance, the bow of your boat will start to drift towards the left as long as you keep pressing the button. It’s not safe to keep running it for more than 5 seconds at once, as the engine is powered by batteries and could overheat. Catamarans don’t have bow thrusters installed, as they are having two engines, which allows you to correct your manoeuvres in these cases by using one or the other engine.

Man overboard (procedure)

If there is a man overboard during navigation, the very first thing to do would be to close your sails (if you are using them) as you can not risk sailing manoeuvres while having to deal with a man overboard procedure.

If the waters are calm and the man overboard is a good swimmer, you are a lucky skipper. Just position your stern directly off the wind and go back until you get closer to the man overboard. When you are 10 to 15 meters close be sure to stop the power (to not run over it).

Put the engine into neutral and wait for the person to swim towards you. Don’t use the engine until the person is on board (you don’t want your propeller spinning).

If the weather conditions are harsher and the person is not a good swimmer, you first need to start circling around him in order to throw him the life vest attached to the fence behind one of the steering wheel. Once the person overboard has grabbed it, position yourself with the stern of the wind as before, and start to pull the rope attached to the lifesaving vast towards the boat. If it’s heavy to pull, you can help yourself with the engine going backwards, just pay attention that the rope is staying on the boat (otherwise it will wrap around your propeller and you’ll have another serious problem).

If you are wondering why you have to put yourself with the stern downwind, the explanation is simple. You want the boat to be pushed off the man overboard position rather than having to use the engine not to hit the man overboard because the wind is pushing you into him. Using the engine means the propeller is spinning, and you never want to come too close to a man overboard.

Call Emergency number

More experienced sailor will know that the standard procedure to call for help is via the VHF station, that any charter boat will have installed, usually inside next to the control panel / skipper station.

Please refer to How-To Module on The Charter App to learn the difference in between PAN-PAN, SECURITÉ and MAYDAY and which one to use under different circumstances. Radio channel via VHF you want to use to ask for help in Croatia is No 16. Every Charter comany will provide your with Emergeency numbers for the country you are sailing. It is them requirement.

There is also a direct phone number you can use to call for help at sea in Croatia. You have to digit 195 on your mobile phone and will be connected with the national search and rescue service at sea.

Knowledge base

BASIC SAFETY

Safety first.

Check the weather conditions as often as possible, especially every morning during the sailing week. Analyze the nautical maps before setting your course towards your next destinations.

 

1-Life vests location and usage:

Each boat should be equipped with the exact number of lives vests as the number of the sailing crew. We recommend you double-checking locations and vests.

Their position is usually under the kitchen bench in the saloon, or in cabin closets, depending on the size of the boat. Make sure you wear them on the right side, as otherwise, they could be pushing your head underwater instead of lifting it up.

All of them should have a whistle. We strongly recommend wearing them at all time while onboard a vessel, especially for non-experienced swimmers or in harsher weather conditions.

 

2-First aid kit location:

Check-it. It is usually located under the kitchen bench or skipper bench table in the saloon.

 

3-Rockets/Signals:

The rocket signals are used as a light signalization of your position in case of security or distress to your boat during night navigation.

Signals are usually located in or around the skipper table or close to the control panel of the boat.

 

4-Fire extinguisher location

You want to act fast if a fire situation arises on the boat, therefore is fundamental to know exactly where the fire extinguishers are located on your boat.

Usually, there are at least 2 to 3 fire extinguishers on board. One will always be outside on the deck at the rear part, probably under one of the 2 benches next to the outside table.

The other will be inside, very likely around the skipper’s desk or kitchen saloon table, while others may be in the 2 front cabins.

What shoes to wear on boats

It might sound like common sense, but heels are strongly unadvised to wear on a boat. Not only can they scratch the surface, interior and exterior alike, but they can also be very slippery therefore dangerous for you to wear while walking around the boat.

Any elegant shoe will have the same grip problem that could lead to a dangerous falling on and off the boat, male and female models alike.

The is to walk barefoot while staying on the boat.

Your boat will remain clean longer and the skin provides a good natural grip on the boat surface.

In alternative you can wear flip flops made of soft gum; they should provide enough grip for you to be safe.

During more sporty sailing, with winds above 10 kts, you should wear some comfortable snickers with a soft sole that will provide you with the agility and good grip needed for doing manoeuvres that sailing requires.

Check if your shoes leave marks on the surface.

Pasarella (gangway)

The main reason for man overboard is actually due to mindless Passarella use.

The first thing to consider, especially at night, is that the Passarella is probably wet of humidity.

That will make it more slippery and in combination with the wrong pair of shoes (being barefoot, in this case, isn’t best, as the skin tends to have a bad grip on wet surfaces).

The second and more important thing to consider is an angle that Passarella generates.

The dock is never exactly the same height plus tides are making a diferent angle.

Autopilot usage

Every charter boat will have an autopilot system installed.

You will be using it during calm days where you need to maintain your course for a longer period.

While you put an autopilot ON constantly check if the course you are on is clear.

The autopilot is pretty easy to use, you take your course angle, you press the autopilot button on (that will always be around your steering) and the system will do its best to maintain your course straight.

For slightly changes in your course you can use the autopilot correction buttons, there are usually 4 of them, 2 for the left and 2 for the right. For each side, one button will make a small change of just 1 degree for each time you press it, while the other will change your rumbo for 10 degrees.

If the situation is more urgent and you need to take over control straight away you need to deactivate the autopilot first. There will be a button close to the other for putting the autopilot in standby mode (usually it has written STY on it), you will notice that the steering will let you spin it again.

Basic steering and motoring

Most modern boats don’t need a key to get the engine started. There will be a pre-heat button you must press, and another one to start the engine a few seconds afterwards.

When you are starting your engine be sure that it’s in neutral, especially if you are docking in a marina with boats around you.

The engine gas will be next to the steering control (or one of the steering’s) and vertically installed into the boat. When the stick is looking straight up you are officially in neutral.

Pushing the stick forward gives power to the engine to move forward while pushing it back/down will make your boat to go back.

There will also be the first click in both directions, which means you have set minimal forward or backward power of the engine.

There is also a button on the gas control, usually red color, at the bottom of the stick but it can vary, especially on catamarans. This button is to put the engine in leer gas (battery charging mode). To enter in leer mode, you first need to be in a neutral position, then press the button – while pressing the button add the gas to reach the desired mpg. Do it gently in case you doing it wrong, as you don’t want your boat to start moving around.

Larger vessels have 2 steering wheels for serious inclination, to avoid having the sails covering your sight. In case your steering system fails, there is an emergency steering under one of the laterals outside benches, which looks more like a metal pole than a steering wheel.

It has a stellar ending at the bottom, similar to the one winches have, and you will need to set this ending to the portal you will find close to the steering wheel(s). It’s a metal circle inserted into the boat floor with the stellar entrance on it, and it’s directly connected to the rudder of the boat. You will need to use a lot of energy to steer like that since you will directly be spinning the rudder out of its position, but it can save you in emergencies.

One last gear for manoeuvring, especially on larger sailing boats, is the bow thruster. It’s a side smaller engine situated under your anchor that can give you little side pushes when needed. This is especially handy when docking with a side wind, as your boat will start to lose its straight course as soon as you’ll be losing speed.

You will need to turn this function on with the power button. If you press the left button, for instance, the bow of your boat will start to drift towards the left as long as you keep pressing the button. It’s not safe to keep running it for more than 5 seconds at once, as the engine is powered by batteries and could overheat. Catamarans don’t have bow thrusters installed, as they are having two engines, which allows you to correct your manoeuvres in these cases by using one or the other engine.

Man overboard (procedure)

If there is a man overboard during navigation, the very first thing to do would be to close your sails (if you are using them) as you can not risk sailing manoeuvres while having to deal with a man overboard procedure.

If the waters are calm and the man overboard is a good swimmer, you are a lucky skipper. Just position your stern directly off the wind and go back until you get closer to the man overboard. When you are 10 to 15 meters close be sure to stop the power (to not run over it).

Put the engine into neutral and wait for the person to swim towards you. Don’t use the engine until the person is on board (you don’t want your propeller spinning).

If the weather conditions are harsher and the person is not a good swimmer, you first need to start circling around him in order to throw him the life vest attached to the fence behind one of the steering wheel. Once the person overboard has grabbed it, position yourself with the stern of the wind as before, and start to pull the rope attached to the lifesaving vast towards the boat. If it’s heavy to pull, you can help yourself with the engine going backwards, just pay attention that the rope is staying on the boat (otherwise it will wrap around your propeller and you’ll have another serious problem).

If you are wondering why you have to put yourself with the stern downwind, the explanation is simple. You want the boat to be pushed off the man overboard position rather than having to use the engine not to hit the man overboard because the wind is pushing you into him. Using the engine means the propeller is spinning, and you never want to come too close to a man overboard.

Call Emergency number

More experienced sailor will know that the standard procedure to call for help is via the VHF station, that any charter boat will have installed, usually inside next to the control panel / skipper station.

Please refer to How-To Module on The Charter App to learn the difference in between PAN-PAN, SECURITÉ and MAYDAY and which one to use under different circumstances. Radio channel via VHF you want to use to ask for help in Croatia is No 16. Every Charter comany will provide your with Emergeency numbers for the country you are sailing. It is them requirement.

There is also a direct phone number you can use to call for help at sea in Croatia. You have to digit 195 on your mobile phone and will be connected with the national search and rescue service at sea.

Knowledge base

SAFETY at SAILING

While using your sails for navigation on the sailing boat, you will experience an inclination of the angle you are taking the wind and the strength of the wind. With catamarans, you will not be experiencing any inclination but again you might want to pay attention to the following chapters, especially if you are navigating in a rocky sea with larger waves.

Closing hatches

In rough weather conditions, you want to make sure that all your hatches are properly closed, otherwise, you might be taking seawater into the boat. Even a small amount of water on your bed can be really annoying, as saltwater takes longer than normal to evaporate.

So, before you open your sails and put yourself in the open sea have a tour around the boat and double-check that all the hatches are completely closed and properly locked.

Securing movable objects

During sailing, you will experience a certain level of inclination, as mentioned before. Y

When you will be manoeuvring you will also rebalance your inclination from one side to another. For such occasions, you want to secure moving objects inside the boat. That can be really annoying and expensive, starting from any type of glass object that can fall and break, making it almost impossible to clean it while having the possibility to step on a piece of glass. On the other hand, your laptop or mobile can be the object falling and possibly breaking, and you don’t want that to happen either. So before opening your sails, take a look at the objects inside and secure objects.

Closing drawers, doors etc

Another annoying noise is the sound of doors, closets or drawers opening/closing at inclinations. Doors can be hooked while open or securely closed in a fixed position.

Speaking about drawers and closets, each of them has a button you can press next to the opening side. It’s not enough to close them, you have to make sure to push this button if you want to lock them.

Winch and winch handles usage

The winch handles are your best friends on the boat.

You will want to use them for opening and closing the sails, as well as opening and closing the water and fuel tanks. They can also help you for lifting your anchor if the main system fails to work.

Press a button on the winch handle in order to lose the fixing mechanism first. They are valued at around 200 euros each, so take extra care of them. If you notice that a winch handle feels shaky in a winch, it can be that it’s not in the best shape. In those cases, is better if you take it out after every single use. The winch will always pull the rope towards you no matter in which direction you are spinning. The clockwise direction will pull the rope slower, resulting in easier spinning for you. An anti-clockwise direction will pull the rope faster and will demand more energy to spin. Catamarans and bigger sailing boats usually have an electronic winch that will do the hard part for you.

Sailing ropes and lines

Depending on the amount of wind you are taking, the ropes will be under tense pressure and it’s common sense to keep a safe distance from them in a case of a stopper breaking or a rope sleeping from its position for some reason.

But the most dangerous thing while sailing is the boom. The boom is the vertical metal piece on which the bottom of your mainsail is attached. Especially while sailing downwind, any manoeuvre that means changing the side of the wind on your sails will make the boom slide from one side to the other with great speed and energy. Nobody wants to be nearby it when this happens, and getting hit by it will transform you into a man overboard, in the best possible scenario. In case, you are wondering why it’s called the boom.

How to walk on tilted boat

You have to take extra safety precautions while walking around a tilted boat. The inclination means that bigger waves are hitting the boat at random intensity, which will make your floor shaking. It’s good practice to keep that in mind and be ready for any random and unexpected tilting. Especially when walking outside from bow to the stern, always have one of your hands strongly attached to a part of the boat that is fixed and can support your weight. The outer fence around the boat is mostly designed for this purpose.

BOAT USAGE

Dinghy handling

On a sailing boat, the dinghy will have to be manually dropped down every time you’ll need to use it. You will also need to mount the engine to the dingy each time unless you use paddles or towing it behind the boat. 

The dingy engine will be mounted on the fence behind one of the steering wheel. It’s not heavy nor has a lot of power, but should serve you well for getting on land from your anchor point. Take care when mounting the engine on the dinghy, even if it’s not really heavy it’s advisable to have a person on the boat passing it to a person on the dinghy, rather than walking from the boat into the dinghy with the engine in your hands.

When you will not be entering the marina or docking for a day or more, you will probably want to leave your dinghy into the water and drag it behind you while sailing. If you do so, it’s not advisable to leave the engine on it as it might fall off the dinghy into deep waters.

Put extra attention on the rope while going in reverse, in case the dinghy is in the water, to protect your propeller. Catamarans have heavier dinghies with a plastic bottom and stronger engine power. It would be impossible to lift them by hand, but luckily you can easily release them into the sea and take it back on the catamaran using a dedicated winch.

Toilet and waste tank usage

Depending on the size of your boat you will have one or more bathrooms available. Catamarans usually have a bathroom for every bedroom, which means 4 bathrooms minimal, depending on its size.

All you will need to do is pull out the tap from the sink and start showering (remove toilet paper in a dry position). Some bathrooms have a gravitational outlet that will drain the water you are using directly out of the boat into the sea but most likely you will have a water pump dedicated to doing this. So before taking your first shower you might want to locate the button that is activating this pump. Its position can vary from brand to brand, but it will always be in the same bathroom, usually around the sink.

Make sure you did activate the main water pump on the control panel of the boat, otherwise there will be no water coming from the tap.

Most of the bathrooms will have a manual pump system for the toilet. You will therefore have to pump your organic waste manually out of the toilet. The pump is always located next to the toilet and can be switched into dry and wet mode.

With the first pumping, you are just flushing out the waste, while switching to the wet mode you are also pumping in more water at the same time. Depending on your waste, you want to use one instead of another. More modern boats might have an electrical toilet, which means you will have two buttons to flush out your waste under the same logic then above, one dry and one wet mode.

A concern that all toilets have in common, and this is really important, is that the pipes flushing out the waste are pretty narrow. Therefore, nothing more than organic stuff should be thrown into the toilet, not even toilet paper, because it might clog the pipes and then you have a problem. In this case, you will very probably have to abandon using this bathroom plus it will have an unpleasant smell all week long. Even more, the charter company will charge you several hundreds of euros to solve the problem at the check out process. Since you don’t want to experience any of that, be sure to throw your toilet paper and other non-organic waste in a plastic bag and store it under the bathroom sink.

Lastly, one will have a waste tank connected to the toilet. A waste tank is a deposit in which you can store your toilet waste. As mentioned above, all of the waste from toilets (and the kitchen sink) finally goes to the sea. Therefore, you might want to close the waste tank every time you are anchoring, as nobody wants to risk flushing the toilet while a crew member is swimming around the boat. You also want to close them when berthing in a marina or city docking, you can get a large fine for this mistake.

When you are sailing the open sea, don’t forget to open your waste tank in order to empty it. The valve is always located under the sink in the bathroom. It’s usually the biggest valve you can see, and as with any valve on the boat; turning it vertical to the pipes means you did close it while putting it horizontal to the pipes means it is open.

Gas and gas valve (location)

Usually, the charter operator will provide your boat with 2 small gas bottles for the week. If you plan to cook a lot on board be sure to double check that both bottles are full. The gas bottles are not stored in the kitchen but outside, usually under the small benches behind one of the steering wheel. The spare bottle will most probably be also stored in one of those storages on the deck.

Gas is one serious threat to fire on board, and you want to minimize that risk. That’s why every boat has a gas valve installed, that is usually situated under the stove. Vertical position with the pipes means that the gas valve is closed. It’s good practice to close the gas valve every time you are finished cooking.

Water pump usage and water saving

Every boat has at least one water tank. Usually, there are 2 water tanks, each one with a capacity of between 150 and 250 litres, depending on the size of the boat.

This amount will not be enough for your entire week and you will very probably need to refill it at some point. You can check the water level of your tanks anytime on the control panel. The water tank plugs are located outside the boat somewhere around the edges, and you can open them with your winch. Some boats, especially catamarans, will have a water maker installed onboard. It’s very handy to have one since you can convert seawater to fulfil your water tanks.

In Europe most of the tap water is drinkable, but the problem might be in the water tanks. You can never know how clean they are, therefore we don’t recommend drinking the water coming from the tanks. If you want to drink local tap water, better fill it in separate containers/bottles. In this case, double-check with some local if the water is ok to drink.

There is also a valve to switch from one tank to another. It ‘usually located behind the kitchen benches, but be sure to double-check the position at the check-in because the position can vary from brand to brand.

You will know it’s time to switch it when your water pressure will become unstable. Pay attention, when you totally run out of water, the water pump will continue to work even if all the taps are closed. In this case, you might hear a strange sound. You don’t want it to keep working because it could easily overheat after a while. In this case, turn the water pump off from the control panel till you have the possibility to refill your water tanks.

Sweet water on board is always a commodity and it should be consumed wisely. Try to make your showers shorter or use salt water to clean your dishes. These days a lot of boats has a secondary tap that pumps saltwater in the kitchen sink.

 

Cabin lights switch location

This is probably the detail that varies most from brand to brand, and sometimes can be incredibly difficult and frustrating to find them in rooms, saloon and bathrooms. Make sure to localized them before spending the first night on board.

Note: the cabin lights need to be switched on first, on the control panel.

Electricity and electricity saving

Each boat has at least 2 sets of batteries on board, one for the engine and home batteries for everything else. Boats that have bow thrusters will have a third set of battery, for that purpose.

So even if you can start your engines, that doesn’t mean that your home/service batteries are full of charge. Some boats have solar panels installed that help you maintain the batteries level high even when you haven’t been using the engine, others don’t. Some batteries are in better shape and will last even after one day of sailing (without motoring), others will need the engine to work more often. You can check the level of your batteries on the control panel, keep in mind that a battery that goes under 12V needs a charge, and if you let them go under 11.5V you will damage them greatly.

The best way to charge your batteries is to have them connected to an electrical circuit overnight. Almost any Marina will offer electricity, to connect the boat cable to the electrical circuit.

But you will spend few nights at an anchor remember to use the engine while keeping gas at the leer position. That’s the main use of leer position.

When you notice that your batteries are close to 12V, that’s when you want to start your engine, put it forward – in leer gas – at around 2000rpm for about 20/30 minutes and you will boost charge the batteries.

If you are noticing that the level of your home batteries is going down pretty fast, and you are spending a night anchoring, we advise that you shut down your fridge or air-con at the control panel. The fridge and air-con consume most of the energy besides the anchor winch, and since the temperature is fresher during the night, and nobody will be opening the fridge while sleeping, the overall temperature in the fridge will not lose more than few Celsius.

About the electric circuit on the boat. All the 12V plugins inside the boat will work only when connected to an electric circuit onshore unless your boat has an inverter. Otherwise, just the USB ports will be working, independently if the engine is off or on. You will have one USB port next to the control panel for sure, and if the boat is more modern you will find one USB port in each room as well. Definitely, something to consider while preparing your luggage; power banks are a good idea on boats.

HELPING YOUR SKIPPER

General help

As good as your skipper can be, it’s physically impossible to be able to do everything by himself, that’s why the professional sailing teams count a lot of crew members. Skipper’s main problem is that he can’t be at two places at the same time. At docking, he will need to do docking manoeuvres so you will need to help him with the rest. Don’t be afraid to ask him to explain to you anything you need to know and understand properly, At sailing teamplay is very important

Mooring lines usage

While sailing in Europe, you will encounter mooring lines in the 95% of the docks you will be berthing on. Most probably the first mooring lines you will be dealing with will be in your home marina. Mooring lines are basically ropes connected from the dock to a concrete cube underwater. Usually, you will be fixing 2 mooring lines at the bow of your boat, on the 2 frontal bollards. In smaller marinas, you might be given just one mooring line, usually on the windy side. Make sure to ask your skipper to show you which knot should you be using the mooring.

Knot to the bollards, it’s not a difficult one but it’s important that you do it right. The main purpose is to fix the boat on the bow, not allowing it to move backwards and hit the dock. The rope is about twice longer than the distance in between the dock and the underwater concrete cube. It needs to be longer because the sailor that will assist you while docking needs to be able to lift it up, and you need to be able to stretch it all the way to the bow. We will come back to the docking, let’s understand the undocking first.

Your skipper will need to be nearby the steering while undocking to make sure to take the correct course in order to avoid collisions with other boats around. He can manage the ropes that connect the stern to the dock, avoiding drifting forward while berthing.

As he can not be at 2 places at the same time you’ll need to help him while undocking. When your skipper will give you the signal, you can unknot the first mooring line and throw it back into the water. Usually, it will be the one that’s on the off-wind side. After you throw the first one you will immediately be doing the same thing with the second. Be sure to throw the mooring line as far on the side as you can from the boat. It will need several seconds to sink and you don’t want it to be in the way of your propeller while leaving the marina.

For the docking procedure, you will need to be on the stern of your boat and have the hook stick in your hand. When the boat comes close enough, the sailor will lift the mooring from the water, he can only lift it to a certain point, to catch it with your hook stick just when the boat comes about 1 meter close to the dock. Once you hook it with your stick, lift it up, grab the rope with your hand, get rid of the hook stick and focus on the mooring line.

You need to walk from the stern to the bow, with the rope stretched on the side as far as you can, at least further off the side of the boat you are preparing to fix first. It’s important that you remember that the mooring line is longer than the actual distance in between the dock and the underwater concrete cube and that its purpose is to fix the boat on the bow preventing it to go back, and no vice-versa. Therefore, you need to keep stretching it towards the front as you walk forward. If you just walk forward with the mooring line in your hands without continuously stretching it towards forward, it will logically begin to be stretched on the back. That means you will be pushing your boat backwards, and you want to obtain the contrary effect. You want to avoid the propeller.

Side docking

Side docking is not that common, but you need to understand the dynamics of how it’s done. There will be at least one time you will need to side dock during your sailing week, and that will be on the gas station before returning to your home marina. For the side docking you basically need to use two lines of 20 meters, but instead of having them prepared both on the stern of your boat as for mooring docking, you will need to have one on the stern and one on the bow, both on the same side.

Usually, you want to understand on which side you boat drifts when you turn in reverse. You can easily test it in open sea, just stop your boat into the wind and give it generous backward gas and you will notice that your boat is drifting towards one side. You want to prepare the ropes on the opposite side of your drifting in order to help yourself generating an angle with the dock in the process of un-docking.

For catamarans, this logic doesn’t work, and with the 2 engines you can easily dock and undock on whichever side you prefer, just make sure you have your lines prepared, both on the same side as well. In both cases, be sure to put at least 2/3 of the fenders you got on board on the same side you intend to dock, and check that they are positioned at an adequate height for the dock you are preparing to berth.

There will always be a person helping you onshore, you will need to throw him the frontal line, your skipper can handle the back one. When the sailor gives it back to you, you’ll just need to fix it at the frontal bollard the same way as a mooring line.

Pay attention, you don’t want the rope to touch any part of the fence, connect directly to the bollard. The fence is made to take the human weight, not the weight of an entire boat. 

Anchor usage

While throwing the anchor your skipper will need to be close by the steering wheel in order to make sure the boat is moving in the right direction with the right speed. Therefore, you will need to help him while throwing or lifting up the anchor. Luckily this is probably the easiest task of the 4.

To understand what is happening while anchoring, you must first understand that it’s not the actual anchor that fixes the boat in a place, but rather the weight of the chain that follows. It’s always recommendable to throw 4 times the length of the chain of the depth you are anchoring. If the weather is unstable and if you are anchoring for the night, is better to throw even 5 times more.

Usually, charter boats will not have more than 50 meters of chain available, which limits your anchoring to a depth of around 10 meters. Another important detail is that you want to avoid anchoring over a rocky sea bed because your anchor or the chain might get stuck in between rocks and you will have a nightmare trying to un-stuck it at the depth of 10 meters. Luckily most of the best-protected bays have sandy or muddy bottom, therefore, are risk-free, but it’s always good to double-check this on your nautical maps.

All anchor winches on charter boats will be electrical and you will have a remote control next to the anchor and chain chamber, at the very front of your boat. On the remote control, you have clearly marked the button for lifting it up and down. So, when your skipper gives you the signal, you can start pushing the button down. The chain should be marked with color sign at every 10 meters and your skipper will want to know how much of it is already in the water, so for every 10 meters lift one finger up because he will probably see you better than hear you in this situation.

The skipper will also tell you at which depth you will be anchoring and how much chain to throw consequently, so you will know when to stop. On the way up the process is more or less the same, the only difference is that you don’t want to go all the way up in one straight motion. The weight the anchor winch going up is far heavier than on the way down, therefore you want to give it a second of rest every 5 seconds of lifting, more or less. If your anchor winch stops working, you might want to check your frontal cabins, there should be a switch dedicated to the anchor winch that automatically shut’s it down if you overcharge it, so switch it back on should do the trick.

You can also anchor manually using a winch that you can insert into the anchor winch. Last detail to know about anchoring, watch out the last few meters when recollecting your anchor. If you go too fast the anchor might start to swing strongly at the moment when it comes out of the sea, hitting and scratching your boat. Be more careful last few meters.

Grabbing the buoy

The last type of docking you might be experiencing while sailing is the buoy. The buoy is basically a floating device that is connected at the bottom of the sea to a concrete cube. In other words, is like anchoring. It’s more likely that your line will break during a storm while attached to a buoy, and that’s when you want to consider using 2 lines, one on each side of your bow, to be sure you can sleep merrily even with unstable weather conditions. If the weather is calm you don’t need to use more than one line.

Your skipper will again be steering during the process. You will have one rope prepared on one of the 2 sides, it’s not really important on which one. Your skipper will approach the buoy frontally with low speed and you will need to be on the bow with the hook stick, ready to hook the buoy, lift it up, and put the end of your line inside the top ring of the buoy. Consider that your skipper will not be able to see the buoy the last 10 meters while approaching it, so you will need to be his eyes and correct his course slightly on the left or right if needed, and also tell him when you reach it so he can stop the boat. Sometimes the buoys can be really heavy to lift, so consider doing it with a mate, one to lift the buoy and the other pass the rope inside the buoys ring.

Once you passed the line into the ring, you can release the buoy back into the water. You will then need to stretch your line in order to leave just some 4 meters in between your boat and the buoy, 2 meters on each side. You can then fix your rope on the very same bollard, but for better stability, it’s preferred to stretch it on the opposite bollard, your rope will take a V shape towards the boat.

Be sure you started your operation passing your line under the fence. If you haven’t you will need to repeat all the procedure. On larger catamarans, you will have a hard time lifting the buoy, so it will be easier jumping into the water with the end of the line, passes it through the buoys ring and gives it back to another crew member on the other wing. Don’t worry, buoys are usually placed in clean and transparent waters.

EVERYTHING ELSE

1. Sun protection and dehydration prevention

If you will be sailing during summer days, so don’t forget that the sun is strong all day long, even when it’s clouded or windy. Sunlight reflects from the sea surface more than onshore, and a lot of those rays will end up hitting the boat and the crew on it.

There is a little shade you can find on the boat and being inside during the daytime it’s like being in a sauna (unless you have an air-con). You don’t want to get burnt during your first days and ruin your vacation.

Don’t forget to drink water as well. You should drink at least 1 liter of water per day, the more alcohol the more water you will need. You really don’t want to risk dehydration since you will throw away at least 2 days of your vacation trying to get better.

 

2. Kids on board

Your skipper has a lot of things to worry about, more than you know. If he looks like he doesn’t have work it means he’s a very good skipper. You should put extra care to protect your kids on board, do not rely on your skipper on that matter. Be sure they receive life vests for children before leaving the home marina.

Always look where they are going because they can squeeze between the upper and lower part of the fence. If they are not really good swimmers or the sea is rocky, keep the life vests on them permanently. Especially while using sails, as it takes extra time to go back.

 

3. Seasickness, allergies,…

If you aren’t sure if you suffer seasickness, better take some pills for it with you on board. Pharmacies or hospitals might not be around the corner.

For allergies, especially if you might be allergic to wasps. The more natural the bay the bigger the possibility of having wasps on the boat in search of food. The mosquitos during the night could also be an issue in natural bays. So, don’t risk and take protective products with you.

4. Keys and locking the boat

In our experience, nobody steals from the boat. You are either anchored in the middle of the sea or you are berthing in some marina with surveillance cameras. Besides that, you will always have some friendly neighbour that will keep an eye without been asked to.

But if you don’t feel comfortable leaving your boat open while going for a walk, you can close it with the keys provided by your charter company. In that case, it is better to define a dedicated spot on the outside of the boat to hide the keys. By doing so all the members of the crew are independent about leaving and returning to the boat, and you will avoid the possibility of losing them.

Please review How-To Module on The Charter App.