It's like stepping into an alien environment filled with equipment not encountered on dry land!
And when it moves; when there’s ropes and all sorts of foreign objects trying to trip you up, it’s also apparent that it demands considerable co-ordination and balance not to go slip sliding into something that could cause you damage.
So if you are to enjoy cruising yachts a few fundamental guide lines should be known and observed. Some yachts do have a pre-sail chat about safety aspects and where to find things, the weather expected and destination.
1. The skipper is in supreme command, there is no true democracy! OMG sometimes it is put on plaques like 'The Skipper is Always Right' in case you forget!
Yelling and shouting from the skipper, (I don’t like it) but don’t get into an argument about it, why? Three very good reasons … one being he could be yelling a command or warning because he has concern for your safety or the safety of the yacht.
The second reason is you’re going to be spending a lot of time in a confined space together, no excuse. And number three is it is a sailing tradition that the crew buy the skipper drinks once ashore, even if he has been abusive. Still don't like it!
2. Watch your footwear. No black soled shoes, high heels, dirty sole all which could mark the deck and make you unpopular.
And don’t unpack your gear and spread it around, space is something that most yachts don’t have a lot of, consider others.
3. Always remember this essential rule, ‘one hand for the boat, and the other for what you are doing.’ Why do you think its called man overboard? Because a lot of men that go over board have their flies undone.
And a lot of other injuries come from not adhering to this rule, this includes in the cabin, you will find a lot of ‘hand holds’ inside and outside cruising yachts.
4. Using the toilet (heads) needs a set of instructions on its own when on cruising yachts. First thing is usually on a plaque saying; “Don’t put in the heads anything that has not been through the body.”
Marine plumbing is smaller and notoriously prone to fail, ask how to use it before you have your legs crossed and desperate to relieve yourself.
Most have a pump system that doesn’t like too much toilet paper and needs a certain amount of pumps with the sea cock open. Ask the procedure here.
All a bit to remember when new on a yacht, and they are not all the same, so save embarrassment, ask! Good sailing etiquette will keep everyone happy!
5. The boom, the horizontal attachment on the mast, can swing from one side to the other with or without warning, stand up or even sitting in its path and you could get a hefty blow that could send you overboard or cause major damage usually to your head.
One of the times you could hear the skipper get very vocal as a warning or instructions that he is changing course.
6. Don’t sit on any ropes or pieces of gear, as they can move at amazing speeds and cause rope burn, whip out and leave a nasty welt and in the worst scenario take off fingers.
7. Sitting in the companion way when on cruising yachts, especially if this is close to the ‘main’ (sail) traveller, is a hassle to others wanting to get in and out, and a danger to you if the traveller slides from one side to the other, another way to cause self damage.
Learn the Rules Enjoy the Sail!
Don’t let any of this put you off going on cruising yachts! Remember when you came into this world you had to learn the rules!
A women’s dilemma no matter where she’s going is what to wear … this is no different, except when it comes to nautical clothes there is a lot to consider.