Before the Cruise
Before each cruise the Cruise Leader (Cruise Secretary or his nominated deputy) will:
- Decide, based upon the latest forecast and local knowledge, if the weather conditions are such as to facilitate a safe cruise
- Decide upon a suitable destination. As this will depend upon the prevailing weather, it may differ from the destination previously published
- Produce a passage plan
- Ensure that each helm is aware of any potential hazards to navigation en-route to, or at, the destination
- Establish the ‘buddying system’ and ensure all helms are aware of who they are paired with
- Undertake a functional test of radio communications equipment
- Complete a Seafarers Cruise Sign On Sheet and display it on the worktop below the blackboard in the wet room. This will record the class and sail number of each boat, names of helms and crews (with contact numbers), the destination, departure and return times
- Appoint a Shore Contact whose name and contact number should be added to the 'Sign On Sheet'
- Prior to departure advise the Shore Contact that the cruise is about to sail.
- If deemed necessary, inform HM Coastguard
- If wanted, raise the ‘Cruise in Progress’ flag.
Each Dinghy Helm is to ensure that:
- He/she has sufficient skill/knowledge to cope with the more likely events. e.g. are aware how to cross a shipping lane, can right the boat should it capsize
- The crew are able to follow instructions in the event of an incident on the water
- Their boat is adequately equipped - see Equipment below
- Personal Flotation Device sized correctly (essential for ALL)
- Communication systems: VHF Radio, waterproofed mobile phone, flares, hand or head torch, a whistle for low visibility, maybe even a transponder!
- Anchor, chain, rope
- Oars/Paddles or an outboard engine
- Enough fenders and rope to moor alongside a pontoon or other dinghy
- Mast Head Flotation device (a prerequisite for all Club boats)
- Adequate sustenance (food and drink) for the event and consider unforeseen circumstances
- Suitable clothing/personal protection for all-weather conditions (wetsuit/drysuit/spray top or spraysuit and a dry change of clothing)
- First Aid Kit
- Sun Block/Skin Protection
- Passage Plan for outward and return legs. A sketch showing your course, identifiable waypoints/markers, hazards, destination and high water time should suffice. Bear in mind that it is easy to become disorientated even in moderate visibility.
- Charts are useful but have a habit of blowing away; a waterproof notebook with a summary of you trip may be more practical
During the Cruise
During a cruise the Cruise Leader is to communicate with the Shore Contact:
- Inform the Shore Contact when the cruisers reach the destination AND ..
- Inform the Shore Contact when the cruisers set off on the return journey
- Any other communications considered necessary by the Cruise Leader eg if any participant has decided to separate from the main party.
On return from a cruise the Cruise Leader will:
- Inform the Shore Contact that all cruisers have returned
- If HM Coastguard has been informed of the cruise, advise HM Coastguard that all boats have returned safely
- Lower the ‘Cruise in Progress’ flag if necessary
- Take the 'Sign On Sheet' into safe custody to be used as the basis for his cruise report
You may wish to sail single handed. This is fine provided you are confident of your abilities and have a suitable buddy boat. However, solo sailing is not encouraged or supported by the Club. If you do so it will be at your own risk. You would be prudent to inform someone ashore of your itinerary and ETA/ETR as above.
If you decide to separate from an organised cruise, you should inform the Cruise Leader. From that point, you proceed at yoyur own risk.
A Shore Contact can be any person who has agreed with the Cruise Leader to be contacted to confirm the safe arrival of the cruisers at their destination and on return.
In the unlikely event that that the cruise does not return, the Shore Contact should raise the alarm either by calling HM Coastguard and/or by contacting any member of the Club.
Club members would have access to the Cruise Sign On Sheet left in the ‘Wet Room’. The information on the Sheet should be provided to HM Coastguard to assist with coordinating any search.