11:26 UTC


COG 268°T

SOG 10 Kn

Today's sailing boats are a combination of equipment, tools, mechanics and imagination. To provide as much comfort as possible for the crew, modern boats have become increasingly easy to manoeuvre, pleasant to live in, but more complex to manage and maintain. The sailor of yesteryear was an expert in steering the boat, trimming the sails, scanning the horizon for premonitory signs. The 21st century sailor spends much more time looking at screens and engine rooms than scanning the horizon. His attention is often focused on the equipment on board. A good modern sailor must be able to carefully observe all the vital elements of his or her vessel, so that he or she notices in time if something is wrong.

"He who does something he loves on the first of the year, will do it all year round," a friend texted me as soon as she heard I was crossing the Atlantic these very days. This phase got me thinking, not so much about the time I will spend sailing, but the time I will also spend checking! Ever since I took command of this boat, I have instituted a routine of checks to be made while sailing: in the engine room, at the rig, at the batteries, in the bilges, on the wheelhouse, etc. So on the first day of the year, thanks to these checks, we were able to point out problems that if not caught in time could become major damage:

The trough pin is secured with a self-locking nut, but for some reason it started to come loose and we caught it just in time, when there were only a couple of threads left before it came completely out and potentially knocked the boom down on deck.

The pin of a batten carrier had been mounted upside down, with the nut at the top and the screw head at the bottom; this also unscrewed, leaving the batten and the batten carrier free to go dangerously into the mast and get stuck, preventing the mainsail from being lowered.

I will conclude by saying that even on the first of the year, the checks have prevented us from major trouble; this knowledge means that I will probably spend the year doing routine checks, even though that is not really why I like sailing!