Heavy Weather on Charter


You see, when you look at the charter companies' gorgeous brochures, it looks like that the weather in the usual charter areas is always magnificent. It is true but only most of the time-otherwise, why would we go there in the first place? Well, fact is, you can encounter bad weather -and sometimes very bad weather - basically anywhere.

If you are a prudent mariner, you will listen to the weather forecast every morning and night and at least once a day. Depending on your skills, if you hear anything like: "wind over 25/30kts., watch out, because chances are there will be gusts over that. And if you are somewhat novice, our advice is to stay at your current anchorage and not to go out until the gale or tropical wave or whatever it is, exits your area. After all, you are in vacation, so why put your crew, yourself and your boat in danger? No reason for that. And even if this means that your pre-planned itinerary has to be rearranged, then no big deal. It is NEVER, never, a good idea to underestimate the elements of Mother Nature. Now, if you are already at sea, and the weather worsens, here are a few guidelines.

The Golden Rule: Prepare Early

I like this old rule of thumb: "If you're thinking about reefing, it's already too late". So do not wait that your boat is overpowered to reef your sails. There are 3 indications telling you that your boat is overpowered:

In each case, the boat and the crew are unnecessarily suffering AND you are sailing inefficiently.

In conclusion, reef early when you feel the wind really hardening and/or when you see -in the tropics- this dark gray squall line coming at you from the horizon. And try to start by reefing the jib or genoa.


In Preparation for Heavy Weather