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How to plan long distance cruises or circumnavigations
Long distance sailing is unlike any other form of transport because you typically cannot plan to simply go from A to B. In fact a sailing passage from A to B can often turn out to be a voyage from A to E to G to C to get to B. This is due to the cyclical patterns of oceanic winds, currents, regional and seasonal weather that are at play at all times. It may even be the case that the scheduled arrival at a destination B would be imprudent and could place the crew and vessel in jeopardy. On the other hand, a much more attractive alternative destination may make perfect sense but is not considered. In short, long distance sailing is complicated and requires knowledge, careful consideration and planning.
Optimising a vessels’ rig for Tradewind sailing
Tradewind sailing is synonymous with extended periods of down-wind sailing. In the traditional or un-modified sailing vessel's wardrobe, the sails of choice for this point-of-sail will be the spinnaker or the goose-wing sail arrangement. Both of these sail arrangements are high maintenance set-ups that require constant vigilance and make reefing either impossible or highly complicated. This is far from ideal in a situation where boisterous conditions can quickly develop and, with the wind coming from astern, the boat will most likely be rolling, from gunwale to gunwale in some cases. These set-ups simply do not lend themselves to vessels with a small crew running downwind, day after day, for extended periods and are entirely inconsistent with a relaxed cruising experience.
Getting about ashore more efficiently
A dinghy or berth will take the crew to the shoreline, but after that sailors tend to get about on foot. This is very slow going and range restrictive to the extreme.
Provision a large quantity of patches for the inflatable dinghy before leaving
A dinghy that will be used for an extended cruise will have a hard life. If it’s an inflatable, a large amount of glue and patches will be required to sustain the expedition. The meagre patch kit supplied is not enough and beguiles you into overlooking this provisioning. In remote places it is very difficult to acquire the correct materials. A variety of materials are used in the construction of dinghies and they all require specific glues and patches for a sustainable repair. Worse, some glues have controlled substances in them. This means they may or may not be obtainable depending upon the regulation of the countries visited.
Refilling an LPG cylinder that is not compatible with the local standard
Cruising vessels are completely dependant on their stoves for hot food and drinks. This, in turn, is typically underpinned by exchangeable 'liquefied petroleum gas' or 'liquid petroleum gas' (LPG) cylinders. But extended cruising takes vessels to other nations and there is, unfortunately, no worldwide standardisation of gas usage, gas cylinders, or gas valves and fittings as far as LPG is concerned.
Courtesy flag etiquette and reducing their cost
When a vessel visits another country, flag etiquette requires a small version of the coastal state’s ensign to be flown from the senior signalling position of the visiting vessel. This is the uppermost flag at the starboard crosstrees of a yacht with a single mast or, where there is more than one mast, at the starboard spreader of the forward mast. It is flown at the bow of a motor cruiser that does not have a dedicated signal halyard. The flags should be appropriately sized and in good condition.Technically, the courtesy flag should not be flown until the vessel is properly cleared by customs and immigration. Until clearance is complete, you should only fly the yellow Q (quarantine) flag afterwhich the countries courtesy flag should be hoisted. In many countries it is courteously accepted to hoist the courtesy flag above the Q flag in anticipation of clearing customs and immigration. There is no legal requirement to fly a courtesy flag. It is simply a gesture of courtesy that a visiting vessel should fly the foreign nation's ensign when they enter and operate in its waters. But how it is observed differs vastly. For instance, some waters may make it a local law to fly the flag whilst others will take more insult from an undersized, faded or tatty courtesy flag than having no courtesy flag at all. So it is best to simply play it safe and fly a quality courtesy flag. If you are flying the local flag in the right spirit i.e. as a matter of courtesy then you are unlikely to cause offence.The problem with the custom of flying a quality courtesy flag is that it can start to cost a lot of money as courtesy flags can be expensive. When one is cruising areas that encompass a number of different nations, such as island hopping down through the Caribbean, the cost of these flags quickly mounts up. It may also be considered impolite to fly a regional flag such as in places like the Channel Isles where there are individual courtesy flags for each island. Worse, the flag you need for the next destination may not be readily available from the country of departure and highly expensive when bought in the port of entry.
Cruising on a modest sail wardrobe
A cost-effective cruising boat purchase may not come with the perfect sail wardrobe.