Education during Winter Season

Education during Winter Season

1. March 2017 Off By Søren

The planning of the coming summers cruising, the next stage in bringing Carpe Diem home to Denmark, is increasing. However, this post is dedicated to some very different topics:

  • Dimensions of cables in a 12 vold electrical system
  • Avoid corrosion
  • Best mast tilt for cruising
  • How to enter a life raft
  • Handling hypothermia
  • Understand a weather forecast
  • Quickly predict a weather change at sea.

When an opportunity for learning more about offshore cruising arises, you should grab it. As we are sailing in new waters this summer, this is just what I did. Both Danish Sailing Association and DOCA (see links) offer training during the winter season. Courses at Danish Sailing association are often small (a couple of hours) and relevant, and courses at DOCA are a bit longer (up to a day) and very relevant for offshore cruising.

The following is the training I participated in during this winter:

Offshore safety at sea, theory and practice
This one-day course was important and exciting. It had a theoretical part mostly around rules and preventing bad situations, and a practical part, where we were thrown into the water, training how to keep warm, swim in waves with an inflatable life jacket, how to enter a life raft, and finally being hoisted by helicopter from the life raft.

Safety at sea

Safety at sea seminar by DOCA

I learned a lot. If we get into a situation where we have to abandon the boat and get into the life raft I know more about what it takes. A very important thing to take away from the training was never to underestimate how difficult it is to get a person overboard back in the boat. We need to look at a way to use a gearing or something else. But most important – stay in the boat, don’t fall off…

Trimming rig and sail
Many years ago, I was trimming rig and sail every weekend at races. However, it was on an optimist dinghy, many years ago, and not entirely the same as trimming a sailboat even though the principles are the same.

During last summer’s cruising it was clear that the rig had not been trimmed for a while, which was also as expected. It was not too bad, but for the longer legs, like the Bay of Biscay with bigger waves and probably more wind, the rig is currently too loose. Danish Sailing Association had an evening seminar on trimming rig and sails on a cruising boat for offshore sailing, hosted by a professional sailmaker and trimmer. He went through good ways to set the rig right, where to set the sheet traveller in different kind of weather to make the sailing as comfortable and safe as possible – and of course as fast as possible.

Electrical installations on leisure yachts

Electrical installations on a boat

Cable dimensions for 12 Volt

One might think, that 12 volt is easier and less dangerous than 230 volt as we have in our houses (here in Denmark). This is not the case. When voltage is low, current is high, and not using the correct cables, or not using fuses, can start a fire. In addition, it is not easy to ensure high durable batteries. This depends on how deep you discharge the batteries, and how they are charged again.

The above was some of the subjects on a 1-day seminar I attended. Another subject was corrosion due to not using right materials or wiring.

I am still looking forward to this seminar, as it is not until March. It is a 1-day training in predicting the weather at sea. Both when planning before leaving the port, and while at sea, where it is well known, that the weather is not always as predicted. In these cases, it is a good thing to be able to see a weather change before it takes place.


With all the above theory in place, we should be able to sail on the Bay of Biscay this summer.