Even with the best of planning, every sailor has been caught in an unexpected gale or surprise thunderstorm. Bareboat chartering has the added element of a fairly unfamiliar boat to manage during bad weather.
When sailing in any destination, preparation and caution are essential to dealing with difficult wind conditions.
It’s always a good idea to practice reefing your mainsail, at the dock, once you pick up your chartered boat. Be sure to ask your operator about the boat’s reefing system, and possibly do a trial run with the representative present. You can read more about different reefing techniques by clicking here.
You’ll also want to stay abreast of the weather reports- you can never be too prepared when it comes to knowing what to expect for the day. Sign up to receive mobile phone text updates, check the internet and listen to Marine Forecasts. Don’t be afraid to ask local sailors or fishermen about their predictions, as they will be the ones with the most experience in the region.
Be extremely aware of your surroundings, by finding out which areas to avoid. If the weather looks dubitable, by all means play it safe and stay where you are- enjoy a day on land. Have a contingency plan for if the weather gets bad while you’re out, by knowing where you can safely get to land at all times.
If in doubt about a certain course, consult with your LateSail advisor, or look it over with a local guide. You’ll also want to be familiar with the geography of the area, placement of reefs, areas of high traffic and strong currents.
In foreign waters you can never have too much information, so be sure to stay informed and be extra cautious during your bareboat charter.