Articles, Blog

Offshore Passage Preparation: Nothing Should FALL OVER or RUN OUT! (Patrick Childress Sailing #58)

February 11, 2020

So sailing from the dock for the day for a
day sail and leaving the dock for an offshore passage or blue water cruising are two different
animals, Hank Schmidt from offshore passage opportunities is going to tell
us a few other things that he does to get his sailboat ready and safe for an
offshore passage and of course Patrick Childress will be in there with some
supplementary sailing tips as well. Also he is going to tell you about his new
invention – a reef hook for the mainsail. okay we’re at the pointy end of the boat
of course known as the bow, and we’re gonna talk about the way to secure your
anchor. When your coastal sailing you have very little chance of your anchor
coming unsecured. There are no waves that are gonna take the bow and try and take
the anchor off of its anchor perch and have it smash into the sailboat. Swan sailboats were
particularly lucky because they have a great anchor mechanism – a lock right here
which keeps the anchor in place. So when I need it, I just undo that and its
ready to deploy. But again most boats do not have an anchor system like that. you’ll see
that you might have a pin going through just to hold it but before you go
sailing offshore you really want to take a line a couple of sail ties and really whip it
down – tie it down tight so you avoid waves hitting and lifting the anchor up.
So on this sailboat, again very easy, very secure lock so nothing’s gonna hurt it
and the anchor is gonna stay secured and if you don’t have a system like this I’m gonna
get on board and go around to the other end and you’ll see how we have the shank
tied to the side so even though this anchor is secured it’s not gonna bounce up and
down. So again coastal sailing you’re fine the
way your anchors set up but once you go sailing offshore you really want to tie it down
lash it down very very well to make sure the anchor stays in place. The last thing you
want to do is try and anchor in two or three hundred feet of water and have
your anchor all the way down. or if the anchor just falls a couple of feet and is
banging against your hull and you have to send somebody forward to get it. so
again before you leave the dock make sure that anchor or anchors are really secured well.
Our Valiant 40 sailboat is set up with a dual Bow roller assembly so we always have
2 anchors up on the bow for blue water cruising. well maybe not always I’ll tell you more
about that in a second but we have a wire that comes over the top of each of the 2 anchors, and gets
shackled back to the bow roller assembly to hold the shank in place and then on
the very end of each shank that gets tied to a cleat we don’t rely just on
the anchor chain over the windlass to hold everything in place. if we are on a blue water ocean passage or expecting bad weather. While coastal sailing we will take the
number 2 anchor and just move it all the way back and tie it down on the deck
just in front of the coach roof we don’t need all of that resistance way up there
on the bow with waves trying to rip those 2 anchors off of their fittings. I
think a great number of experienced cruisers would agree that a plow type
anchor is not the best choice for blue water cruising. However in a dual bow roller assembly like this a
cqr anchor plow anchor like this is generally the only thing that’ll fit the
anchor puzzle so the two anchors can fit side-by-side. We just put on our boat
this Manson Boss Anchor – b o s s , and it fits very nicely side by side with the
Manson Supreme. But i think what we’ll have to do is make the Manson Boss anchor our primary
anchor and move the Manson Supreme anchor to the number two back up position. and of
course anytime we’re crossing oceans we’ll take the number two anchor and stow
it on deck just in front of the coach roof. This will reduce the amount of wave
resistance on these anchors as much as possible. Okay another offshore sailing tip we have:
Pelican hooks and the lifeline gates… again most people will open the lifelines up and
if you just leave them on the deck, of course somebody can step on them scratch
the decks or the teak or something like that. So what I always
tell people to do is to get in the habit of clipping the lifelines back into the lifelines
itself. So what that does is it prevents… if you’ll see these these just screw on and
off they cost about $60 a piece so you really don’t want to lose it …so you just
get in the habit of taking both your lifelines gates taking them off when you’re at the
dock and closing them that way they can’t accidentally spin off on you and
again nobody’s going to go ahead and and step on them and damage the teak.
And then a tip that I do which is nice to keep you on on deck is when you do go
offshore and again I don’t do this one if I’m just going out day sailing for a
couple of hours. But if I’m gonna go sailing offshore I’ll open up the gates… I mean
go ahead and close them so a closer look at the lifelines Pelican hook you can see they’re
adjustable so you can get that on all right
and then you have the the cotter ring there and then again we tape over the
lifelines Pelican hook because the idea is this is the cotter ring and I’ve taken one off
your jib sheets or other lines can wrap onto the ring and hook into there and
pull that ring off again the force of the jib sheet so all of a sudden your
gate snaps open so again with it taped shut, we close it, depress it and then
we take our tape and we just do one wrap around .again not around and around and
around it’s just to keep the lifelines from opening that little bit and then I fold it over
to make it easy to get rid of later on but that way if the jib line catches your
cotter ring and pulls it out it’s still not going to open up your hook and lifelines, and
you’re still safe from that opening up and someone falling overboard. I
double-checked with Hank and he said in decades
using this method he has never once had that Pelican hook of the lifelines open up on him.
However if somebody felt more comfortable putting some wraps around
the pull ring of the lifelines, then go right ahead. So when you get to Bermuda and it’s time
to take it’s real easy to open them up again take it off
flip it back into itself you’ll never lose them you’ll never put a scratch and
duty to your deck and nobody will go overboard because they’re secured for
going offshore .so again just another little simple offshore sailing tip easy to do easy to
incorporate into your habits another small tip although at Port it
doesn’t seem very important but offshore would be a major problem is something as
simple as just leaving the top up on your suds because again everything moves
around at sea it goes into there and all of a sudden all your soap slowly spills
out and you have no dish soap and you’re in the middle of a transatlantic and of
course there’s no convenience store to go get some more what I do is I just buy
them in smaller sizes certainly if you’re gonna do a really long trip you
can get a big one and just keep refilling the small ones or you can just
get a some boats will actually have a soap dispenser or something that built
into the galley so of course then you wouldn’t have to worry about that a soap
dispenser like this is easy enough to install just drill the right sized hole
and then you screw it up from the bottom and you’re ready to go
the trick is getting one that last if you go to the Home Center and get one of
those soap dispensers that has chromed the chroming will come off in about a
year year and a half and it’ll look terrible
this one is stainless steel it’s very expensive it was very difficult to find
but it’ll last a very long time it’s been in here for at least six years and
with this we don’t spill any soap we just don’t have any problems with
bottles falling over okay we’re back in the aft head to show another similar
small problem that could turn into a bit major problem a lot of boats run with
their water pressure pump off that way you don’t have to worry about a hose
breaking losing all your water if your engines running you wouldn’t hear it
offshore it’d be a big problem you go to use the aft head and you don’t get water
or you run out and you leave it up in this up position again doesn’t seem like
a big deal but what happens if somebody up by the nav station puts on the water
pressure pump and goes to use the forward head we’ll see what happens using the forward head or turning the
water pressure pump on use the head and we’d be losing water back here and it
has happened to be on the trip with somebody left the faucet on in the wrong
part in a different header somewhere we put the switch on to the water pump and
because we didn’t hear the water pump run and we lost all our water again not
a big deal if yo are coastal sailing but out in the ocean if you lose a
bunch of the fresh water overboard because somebody left tap up, you have a problem. So again
always be careful always make sure even if no water is coming out to always
leave all your taps down and off. One day we’ll do a video on granny bars, a
tremendous safety item I wish we would put these things on years ago. But right
now I want to show you our custom mainsail reef hook. So I’m going to take the sail cover
off and it will go over to the port side of the boat come on over and take a look
at this mainsail reefing hook this part of the sail is called the dog
bone and these are the dog bone rings for reefing purposes I like to use two
rings on the mainsail reefing hook because it holds the tack of the sail closer to the
boom and it just gives me a little better shape. I don’t think it really
matters I could go with just one ring but it raises it much higher but the
problem has always been I would hang on have to hold on to these rings try to
raise the sail with my left hand then all of a sudden they lurch at the sail boat
makes me drop my hand from these rings because I have to hang on to the mast
and continue to hoist the sail and the whole time these things are falling off
and I’m right back to where I started. If I’m lucky just one ring stays on and I
can go ahead and hoist and I just let it go at that.
So I finally took a spear gun head like this one, ground down the rivet
that holds the two barbs on to free up the barbs and then I came back to the mainsail
reef hook and ground flat spots in the reef hook so I could attach the Barb and
use a stainless steel rivet to hold the barb on so now it’s impossible for these
dog bone rings to come off I mean use one I can use two and no problem so
what’s nice about this is that now when I go in to put a second reef this will
not come off it’ll always be ready to use in the first reef position so let me
show you this starboard side and how I set up then the second reef coming
around to the side. In Srilanka I had another reef hook made which is the
mirror image of the portside reef hook it has to be out and away from the mast
so when the boom comes over this part doesn’t hit up against the mast the
strange thing about this mainsail reef hook is I wanted 316 stainless steel. it took
about a month and a half before it was totally rusty and the weird thing is
there’s absolutely no attraction to the magnet! so it’s some kind of stainless
steel that rusts easily. Anybody has any information on this they can tell me
about it that would be great. I tried to replace
this mainsail reef hook here in Richards Bay but nobody easily could make this tight bend
so maybe when we get down to Cape Town I’ll have a new one made
i sanded this all down and then primed it with two-part primer so that’ll hold
me for a while until I can get a new one made. So a reef hook with a barb… I wish
I would have had this decades ago. What clever things do you do when you go sailing on an offshore passage?
Leave those comments in the comment section down below. If you liked the
video (please) give us a thumbs up! if you didn’t like the video (please) give us a thumbs up and
if you love the video, (Please) leave us a tip in in the tip jar! Hey thanks for watching see
you next time!


  • Reply Patrick Childress Sailing February 6, 2020 at 2:35 pm

    Do you have any sailing tips that you use to keep things secure while sailing? If so…please leave your favorite sailing tips in the comments below…If you haven’t already subscribed…we hope you will!
    Speaking of preparing for offshore sailing…we depart in 12 hours to sail from East London to Cape Town, South Africa…so we may not respond to your comments right away…but please leave them for us so we can reply when we get internet along the way or upon arrival. -Rebecca

  • Reply Qatar Sailor February 6, 2020 at 9:37 pm

    Very valuable information, thanks 👌

  • Reply Chenega Bfree February 6, 2020 at 10:03 pm

    Great stuff often over looked. I’m going to use the reef hook latching idea.
    We need a forum on self designed systems cruisers have found useful…

    SV Fascination
    *I built Brickhouse way back when in Bellingham. 👍👍👍

  • Reply Irenaeus Herok February 6, 2020 at 11:41 pm

    By far the best sailing channel… a lot of useful and informative content. Thanks Patrick

  • Reply Dennis Grosen February 6, 2020 at 11:47 pm

    I don´t know how its in other countrys but here in D.K we have a grading for stanless steal A2 and A4 where A4 is for marine use and A2 is used on land and you can`t tell the differens with a magnet fair winds and thank for all you advices 🙂

  • Reply Dana Smith February 6, 2020 at 11:54 pm

    I appreciate all your work, all your videos!

  • Reply Armando Flores February 7, 2020 at 1:46 am

    Thank you. Great tips!

  • Reply k adamsen February 7, 2020 at 2:49 am

    Being a Dane … from Denmark … with a sailboat too – Dennis below is correct. We call A4 steel for "acid-ok" and A2 aced not ,,, ok. And the international system A2 = AISI 304 and A4 = AISI 316. The AISI 316 can furthermore have A70 or A80 strength. But the "stainless steel" system can be complicated. There is AISI 304, 316, 410, 420, 904 and 254SMO. Welding also adds further knowledge. But anyway: Dennis is correct: Use A4 steel on boats. A2 will rust. Everything is about adding mostly nikkel to iron. But you can add Molybdaen, Carbon, Nitrogen, Manganese, Silicium, Titanium etc. Stainless steel is a science taught to me as an engineer 40 years ago 😊

  • Reply k adamsen February 7, 2020 at 2:59 am

    I can by the way see you some times use A2 steel on your reefing system and the bolts. A2 steel is cheaper, but it will rust and will not last for more than 5-10 years. Use AISI 316 only at sea.

  • Reply David C February 7, 2020 at 4:39 am

    Great tips Hank and Patrick! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply thomas Stanton February 7, 2020 at 4:40 am

    Nice idea for the reef hooks only thing I could think of is to add a spring so they close automatically.

  • Reply Play b4work February 7, 2020 at 5:17 am

    Wouldn’t it be safer to bring your reefing lines back to the cockpit? Or is that not an option on old boats? Seems like all new boats have this system.

  • Reply Lex Maxwell February 7, 2020 at 9:50 am

    Oh, and your suggestion to permanently install the soap dispenser is definitely way better than any other solution. I would just add 3 things:

    1. You can water the soap down to about 1/4 strength and it is actually easier to use and reduces soap use by 50% (good for your weight/storage, wallet, and the sea). In a more liquid form you can use it directly without having to wet things (hands, dishes, sponges) first. This also saves water. You can get the amount of soap you need when you need it instead of losing half your soap on the first dish. You can feel free to rinse and squeeze the sponge out more often (cleaner) without wasting soap.

    2. Just use the pump that comes with the cheap bottle of liquid hand soap. You can still mount the pump to the countertop and the bottle underneath if you want. Lightweight plastic pump with a stainless steel spring that costs <1$. I've been doing it for 6 years and I've had to replace the pump 2 times, but they basically come free with soap. I keep a few spare pumps now and try to buy soap in more environmentally friendly packages.

    3. Easy mount: stainless steel L-bracket with a hole the size of the mouth of the bottle (probably custom made, but it's one bend and one hole, anyone can do it). Screw the bracket to the bulkhead, put the mouth of the bottle through the hole, screw the handpump on, done. Not as pretty as a nice stainless steel hand pump integrated into the countertop, but if you can't do that this is cheap and very easy to install and it's one less thing that can go wrong on a crossing.

    …you should give OPO a gentle reminder that the time for switching to a more biodegradable soap was about a decade ago. They are in all the modern western supermarkets now. Soap is very bad for marine life (esp. plankton and reefs). The faster it breaks down the better. If it is a little bit less effective, that is ok (see tip #1 and you can just use more without wasting anything).

  • Reply cruise jackson February 7, 2020 at 9:59 am

    Great episode thanks for the advice

  • Reply Ratus Bagus February 7, 2020 at 10:00 am

    I witnessed an unintentional anchoring. Lead fleet, 40'ish boat about 1000 yards ahead!
    Close/beamed beating in 18knts in a 15meter depth over a Greek sand seabed. I didn't know what I was looking at until later when I found out it was the anchor.
    It was kind of like a Chinese Gybe, a pitch-pole and a 180 degree turn pivoting on the bow all in one.
    An image seared on a 20 year old memory, the Hull was at one point 30 degrees upwards, bow under water, fin keel blade a meter or two clear and the rudder way way up. Then came the pirouette on the nose from starboard to port tack before splash down.
    Amazingly no serious injuries just bumps and bruises below decks and only one MOB, the helm. The boom thrashed so violently that overboard was safer.
    There were 2 support ribs as it was a taster sail on a holiday. I doubt it inspired many sailing careers.
    They lost the bow roller. I think it would have been worse if the rode was all chain and rubbishy bareboat small plough.

  • Reply Ratus Bagus February 7, 2020 at 10:11 am

    I've stepped on soap liquid below. Only a shin bruise but could have been worse.

  • Reply Ratus Bagus February 7, 2020 at 10:29 am

    Patrick. Thanks for the bullhorn Idea. But I've often wondered if tying a permanent line to it, feeding through the sail reef point down to a mast-base fixed block and back to the cockpit would work. You'd pull this line tight first. Then your 3rd reef line, then halyard in the up haul.

  • Reply Ratus Bagus February 7, 2020 at 11:21 am

    In these days of gender and identity politics probably better to stick with "mast pulpits". Gone are the days of fun and boomers. So says someone who was checked for referring to a manhole cover and castigated for holding open the town hall building door I'd just exited, for a person coming in carrying a box and a jacket and bag, who happened to be a young woman executive. Instead of nothing or "thanks" and for all to hear, she loudly informed me as she walked through unhindered, that she was a woman, not disabled. I sexistly slinked away.
    Now I'm cautious with my "generational attitudes" in case my grey and aged presence is deemed offensive. Having said that, I checked granny bars in a sailing forum and there was a discussion that referenced gender but interestingly not age. So our gals are fine and humorous (or is that humor us) it's just the kids we gave too much latitude too early.
    A youngster explained what woke means. Never heard of it.
    The idea of off grid is growing in me.

  • Reply Aboard Ohana February 7, 2020 at 4:19 pm

    We have a laminated sailing checklist (Sorry I am professional pilot). We use a dry erase marker and check off completed items. I check items on the left side, and my wife check items on the right side. That way everything is checked twice so nothing gets missed. All loose items are secured in baskets, all cabinets and drawers latched. No dock lines are removed until the checklist Is completed. When done, just wipe the checklist clean and its ready to use next time. When we are at anchor, our boat is always kept neat as if we were at sea, since you never know when you may need to leave an anchorage gone bad in a hurry, which always seems to happen in the middle of the night.

  • Reply alex bowling February 8, 2020 at 12:43 am

    Volume issues!

  • Reply Marcel D February 8, 2020 at 4:38 am

    Lots of good ideas here (as always)! How long have you had those spear barbs on your reef hooks? My first impression is that this is a terrific marketable idea (read: 'retirement income generating' idea if you can patent and market it) My second thought was: how has it been holding up long term? Any chafe on the luff at all from the rivets?

  • Reply Melinda February 8, 2020 at 6:58 am

    Can't hear the main speaker!!

  • Reply S/V Tattoo February 8, 2020 at 8:04 am

    Excellent tips. I use the thick dish soap paste available in many Asian countries. You've probably seen it during your travels in margarine like tubs. It takes up little space and I never lose a drop. 😁

  • Reply darz3 February 8, 2020 at 12:03 pm

    Gated reefing hook, great idea

  • Reply Yana VG February 8, 2020 at 8:26 pm

    “We’re here at the pointy end of the boat” 🙂 Great tips thanks Hank and Patrick!
    My small tip is to use rubber shelf liners around the galley so things don’t slide around as much while cooking and to store fresh fruit/veggies in something like a “Cotton Mesh String Organic Organizer Shopping Handbag Long Handle Net Tote [amazon]” tied to something in the cabin so they can swing freely and not bump into anything.

  • Reply R.Nathan Sinclair February 9, 2020 at 7:22 pm

    Happy 2020, I just wanted to pass on to Rebecca that it was so nice to see her in front on the camera. She did an amazing job setting off the video. She was relaxed, down to earth, and seemed to be herself. Mr. Childress, you always do a great job, and are so helpful to all. Namaste, Following Seas, and keep up the awesome work, Nathan. 😉🙏🏼❤️

  • Reply jim jeffries February 9, 2020 at 9:41 pm

    Love those hooks with a gate, brilliant.
    As far as the stainless, lots of global shame to help China realise that she should take more pride in quality. I have had pure copper, stainless, etc., manufactured in china, have lots of other junk besides what it was suppose to be.
    The only current solution I have found is by paying attention to where the metal was manufactured and to speak plainly and openly of the problem.
    Thanks for another great video, and enjoy your week

  • Reply N Hall February 10, 2020 at 12:27 am

    I believe stainless steel becomes non magnetic by heating it to a much higher temperature. I'm not sure if 304 or 316 makes a difference.

  • Reply Paul Badger February 10, 2020 at 4:13 am

    Check this out, it may help with your stainless steal rust problems.

  • Reply Jase Walters February 10, 2020 at 12:42 pm

    Does 40 cases of beer work for extra ballast? (for a while)

  • Reply Ben Lindner February 10, 2020 at 5:48 pm

    Hi Patrick and Rebecca the '77 Valiant 40 for sale in Malaysia is back on the market. It is a blister boat like yours, the broker is suggesting that the whole surface of the topsides be removed and then to re-glass the outer layer of the entire boat. Below the waterline has already been done like that. I see that you did not do that on your boat, was there a reason that you chose to grind out the blisters and fill the holes instead of stripping the entire surface? Btw apparently there is a planing machine available to do the stripping relatively quickly. Thanks, Ben

  • Reply Jörgen Salomonsson February 10, 2020 at 6:06 pm

    I belive all stainless can rust if not properly polished after heating.
    if it wasn't shiny try polich it again..
    thank's for tips

  • Reply S/V Pame February 11, 2020 at 6:29 am

    Wonderful video! Keep up the GREAT work!

  • Reply Ellul Walker February 11, 2020 at 4:11 pm

    OK. My tip. Take a wavy potato masher along on passages.

    A spinnaker halyard shackle failed. We gathered and stowed the sail but that left the shackle and 6" of halyard dangling from the masthead sheave.
    My crew came up with a ludicrously stupid idea to get it pulled down. I left him to it to give him something to do while I thought of something sensible.
    The masher's grill was the kind that was a single rod bent back and forth like a snake. He opened up one bend wider than the halyard diameter, tied the masher to the topping lift and a cord to its handle. "Raised the masher" , used the cord to pull it onto the spinnaker shackle (in one attempt) and pulled it all down, again, with the cord.
    Now I have to live with the constant retelling.

  • Reply bill hanna February 11, 2020 at 7:15 pm

    Im pretty sure thats Thailand S/S , they use it for gates & fences – Looks great for 12 months .

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