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
- Ensure that the on-shore coordinator has access to the information recorded on the 'Sign On Sheet'
- Prior to departure, raise the ‘Cruise in Progress’ flag on the mast behind the racing tower and advise the on-shore coordinator that the cruise is about to set sail
- If deemed necessary, inform HM Coastguard
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 maintain communication with the on-shore coordinator or, as a minimum:
- Inform the on-shore coordinator when the cruisers reach the destination AND ..
- Inform the on-shore coordinator when the cruisers set off on the return journey
On return from a cruise the Cruise Leader will:
- Inform the on-shore coordinator 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
- 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.