How to Prepare Your Boat for Heavy Weather - Storm Tactics
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Lin Pardey explains how to clear decks and secure items below for heavy weather. These storm tactics will help you stay in control of the situation. From STORM TACTICS, 84-minutes. Download for just $12.99 for Windows Media and QuickTime at Storm Tactics delivers the skills you need to weather storms with confidence. It's the next best thing to having Lin and Larry Pardey onboard, coaching you on storm tactics as the seas build and the rigging howls


Now let's get down to some of the details that'll help you to feel much better about how you come through storms. It's really important to make sure that things, both inside the boat and on deck, don't get loose. Because, if nothing gets loose, it will make you feel much more in control. I know the minute a locker door opens by accident or a pot full of food spills on the floor, it makes me feel like life isn't quite in control. So, the first thing to think about is how are you going to clear your decks when you are caught in heavy weather, when a storm's brewing. A delivery skipper friend of ours used to say, anything left on deck, consider it sacrificial. One of the main items that can get washed off in a knock down is a life raft stored on deck or on the foredeck. Consider a different storage place for that. Consider different places to store fuel cans, tanks, anything on your deck. Look at ways of making your canvas work easier to fold down. If you have a canvas dodger, you have to be able to fold it away when there is a chance of a knock down or heavy water on deck. Otherwise, a wave smashing against the canvas can rip the dodger fastening right out of the deck, or almost as bad, it can bend the dodger frame. And if it bends just right, it could make it jam your companionway hatch. Not a desirable situation. A lot of people have spray cloths on their lifelines to protect the cockpit area. If you aren't willing to remove them when the heavy weather brews, consider having them securely attached at the lower edge but have the other three sides with what we call, break-away lashings so that a wave hitting the canvas just snaps the light lines securing them and it folds down against the deck in a natural way. Then you lash them back up later when things calm down. Down below you have to make sure things stay in their place. You have to have proper dish retaining racks. A few of the special hold-downs we have on our boat include these locks on our floors to keep the floor boards from coming up, to keep Larry's wine down below in the Bodega, as he calls it, the wine cellar. We use these safety belts for our settee seats. We use similar safety belts in our bunks, because, underneath all the bunk cushions are heavy cans. And onboard Finrose, Becky and Evans have very successful door locks that solved one of the problems that happened at sea. Things inside lockers can move. And if they can snap the locker open from inside, you end up as I said before feeling slightly out of control when the contents of the locker falls on your floor. They also have these commercially available floor lock downs made by ABI, strong, easy to use, a very good idea. Take a good look at your stove. If you have a gimbaled stove, how is it retained in the brackets in which it gimbals? Some stove brands have their little gimbaling pins set right into a U-bracket. But the U-bracket has no retainer across the top. So, in a knock down, the stove can be thrown right across the cabin. This happened recently here in Chile, in the canal south of where we are right now. The wife happened to be right in the line of flight. She was hit by the stove, fortunately not badly injured, but she said to her husband, that's it, I'm finished cruising. So, everything inside the boat has to stay where it belongs in a knock down situation.