Avoid These Beginning Bareboat Charter Mistakes

Avoid These Beginning Bareboat Charter Mistakes, Avoid These Beginning Bareboat Charter Mistakes
Avoid These Beginning Bareboat Charter Mistakes, Avoid These Beginning Bareboat Charter Mistakes

This list is from one of my sailing students. I wanted to know what surprises he had while chartering right after taking ASA/AS 101, 103, and 104. These were his responses, and you can “read between the lines” and to his voyage as you progress through his tips.


1. Your briefer and briefing will be brief.  

2. Expect your nav system to go down, and be hard to work, so have a plan.

3. After dinner and a few cocktails, finding your boat at night in a mooring field with 40 boats can be tricky.  Unless you want to make friends with everyone in the mooring field, find a way to mark your boat.  Battery-operated Christmas lights on the pulpit or forward lifelines work great.  

4. Write out your pre-departure boat checklist, because you’re going to forget stuff.

5. Do a sleep-aboard the night before you leave. The sleep-aboard makes the next day a lot less stressful.

6. You are going to wake up the night before you leave in a panic, thinking, “what the fuck am I doing?”  This is normal.

7. You’re there to sail; your “crew,” guests, friends, and family; not so much.  Expect to single-hand the boat.

8. Single-handing a boat for 4+ hours when you are “new” to Bareboating is a lot of work. Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.

9. Order extra water when provisioning the boat. The odds are you don’t have enough.

10. Thinking you can use a SUP (with 3 people on it) to get to and from your mooring and the dock is a bad idea. See #11. 

11. You need a dinghy!  See #10.

12. Unless your crew is made up of Navy Seals, rent a dinghy ladder (female crew members over 40 will appreciate it for their modesty and convenience).

13. Bring something that will let you label the clutches.

14. Don’t count on seat cushions.

15. Bring small bills ($1.00 and $5.00) for tips.

16. It can get hot on a boat without a/c.

17. If you turn the fridge off; your meat will spoil and smell bad.  

18. You probably don’t need to turn the refrigerator off every time you turn the engine off.  Just keep an eye on the battery.

19. If you sleep with the overhead hatches open and it rains, you’ll get wet or have to jump up from deep sleep to scramble and close the hatches.

20. If you have bug screens, #19 takes just long enough for your bunk to get soaked.

21. Make sure the crew member grabbing the mooring line knows not to “hook the eye.”  The boat hook will get stuck, and if the boat moves, you’ll lose the crew member, the boat hook, or both over the side. Hook the “neck.” 

22. Don’t lose your girlfriends’ son over the side while picking up a mooring ball.  She’ll get pissed.

23. Telescoping boat hooks float, but getting it back can be a real challenge.  Put a line on it or bring a backup.

24. Bring a few zip ties.  These come in handy for all sorts of things, including fastening a line to your boat hook.

25. When you return to the base, hope you’re not docked across from a Lagoon 450 Catamaran.  Your girlfriend, who has been sailing on a monohull without A/C, refrigeration, or much privacy, will return from “checking it out” and declare; “next time, we are going on that!”

26. Renting a Lagoon 450 for your sailing trip in Italy is expensive.

27. Raise your mainsail slowly, and don’t count on an inexperienced crew member to watch the sail clear the lazy jacks.  Let the crew member crank the winch.

28. The mainsail can get caught on the lazy jacks and rip.

29. Bring Duct tape. It comes in handy and can be used for things like repairing a small rip in your sail.

Want to Learn to Sail? Already know? After 50 years of sailing, I still had some things to learn from these two highly recommended books:

The Complete Sailor by David Seidman

The Craft of Sail: A Primer of Sailing by Jan Adkins

Avoid These Beginning Bareboat Charter Mistakes, Avoid These Beginning Bareboat Charter Mistakes

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