Practical boat tips: A few last pearls of wisdom

Summer is coming and I’ll soon be sailing so here are a few last tips from the heaps found in my handy book, Practical Boat Bits and Tips.

The Dinghy Painter

The dinghy painter should not be just any old rope nor even good quality nylon or braided polyester. It’s imperative to use floating rope for many reasons. For one it’s easier to fish out the sea, but more importantly when going astern there will be no chance of it fouling a prop and stalling the engine, be it the outboard or heaven forbid, the ship’s engine if the dinghy is hanging astern. Silver rope is perfect for the job. To make securing your dinghy fast and easy, splice a soft eye in the free end that is just big enough to drop over your bollard.

Watch Keepers Safety Belt

When on night watch we always wear a watch keeper’s belt. Ours is made from wide webbing with good quality plastic buckles that clip shut securely and won’t burst open in a raging sea. On the belt, and attached to it are a high powered strobe, a pea-less whistle in its own little pocket and a PLB – personal location beacon. Also on ours is a product that’s no longer available which sets off an onboard klaxon horn if the watch keeper should fall overboard. For peace of mind, at the change of watch the one going off makes sure the one going on puts this safety belt on.

The Ships Log

We have always kept a log of our journeys on board Banyandah. When we first started sailing forty years ago we used store bought log books, but they proved rather expensive, so we designed our own page, photocopied it and put a bunch in a folder. We’re a little more clever today and now use lined A4 hardback notebooks obtained from most newsagents for about $5. I rule the columns myself.

The left hand page records the voyage’s cumulative and hour miles run, course steered, wind, sea conditions and barometer while the right hand page is for engine use, sail changes, and whatever comments we like. We do this for day runs too. Originally used for dead reckoning, our log books have proved a handy place to record fuel used, water and gas bottle change-over so we easily know Banyandah’s vitals.

Boat maintenance notes are recorded in the log as well. Sometimes we fill in every hour or sometimes an uneventful period goes unrecorded. At change of watch the ship’s position is always recorded. Keeping a log book has never been a chore. On those long night watches it fills idle time and now we have heaps of log books to reminisce and inspire the grandchildren.

Looking forward to a coo-ee and sharing an anchorage with you. Happy safe sailing – Jude Binder

For heaps more photos and details, shout us a wine for your copy of Practical Boat Bits and Tips by Jude Binder

Jeanneau JY60
JPK August 2023
Jeanneau SO380
Race Yachts