Always have a sailing boat ready to sail when under way.

Engines rarely stop working when you are conveniently tied up alongside, in most cases they seem to stop at the most exciting moments, usually when leaving or entering harbour.

Of course a prudent skipper will keep the boat in a condition that it can be sailed, that is with the main sail cover off, and the headsail still rigged-until the boat is moored at the end of the trip.

It is also worth bearing in mind that the anchor should be available for immediate use. An anchor which is in the bottom of locker, or requires the chain to be shackled on before use is asking for trouble.

I was one running a beginners course in the Thames estuary when we heard a mayday message on the VHF radio. The message was from a sailing vessel and it said that his engine had failed and he was being blown on the shore. As we were very close, we were able to assist the lone yachtsman with a tow, but the whole situation was baffling to my trainee crew who asked "why doesn't he just anchor?"

Sometimes, when under stress, the obvious solution is easily missed.

 

 

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