The Long Cruise
##Ocracoke Lighthouse in Ocracoke, VA. Photos by Tom Hale
7. Stabilized binoculars are available for about $400. They are well worth it when you are trying to see a distant navigational aid in poor lighting, to read the contact information on a bridge, and to see the name of the vessel passing you. 8. Understand the “slow pass.” In this dance, the slower boat has to take the lead. The name must be visible. The radio must be on channel 16, and it must be monitored. As the faster boat gets to the stern of the slower boat, the slower boat must drastically reduce speed to about one knot. 9. Learn how to dim your electronics for night operation. You will at some point have to run late in the day. Entering a river entrance, creek, or harbor at dusk is not a good time to try and figure how to dim the equipment to maintain your night vision.
10. Use your boat! Most problems are encountered in the first week of the trip. Often boat owners are so focused on preparing that they fail to practice. A couple of weeks before your departure, take a cruise and run the systems hard. Run the engine at high cruising RPM for a full day or two. Load up your icebox with water bottles to be sure they freeze in an acceptable time frame. Anchor in deep water or at least anchor with all of your scope out in a high-current location. Then,
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work with your crew to retrieve the anchor. This tests the windlass, but also the foredeck crew and the driver have to be able to communicate with each other. Be sure you have a good clear system of hand signals to communicate as the anchor is retrieved. 11. Make up a boat card. You will meet a lot of new cruising friends, and you will cross wakes with them repeatedly before you get back to your home slip. #
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Published on Aug 13, 2015