Barefoot Sailing Club

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BFSC Home Cruising What is Cruising

Barefoot Sailing has a very active cruising program. It isn’t required that you have a boat to cruise with us. You just need to have a love of sailing! In this publication, we will try and outline the basics of what cruising is, what a boat owner should expect and if you don’t have a boat, what you should do as a guest aboard someone else’s boat. Finally, we will cover the “Raft-up.” What is a “Raft-up?” Well, it’s usually how we conclude most of our cruises when we all tie up together for our social time! In short, A PARTY!

What is a cruise? To some, a cruise can be a simple as going down to the dock, getting on a boat, grilling out, drinking adult beverages and never leaving the dock. To others, it may be much more complex and include a multi-day adventure out on the lake or at a blue water location of your choice. Either way, there are some basic items that will make your life easier in any circumstance.
 
The Coast Guard requires you to have certain basic safety equipment. It is wise to have a few extras of those items to be on the safe side. Beyond that, you also need to have the comfort items you feel you need. These items are based on a couple of factors such as the season, length of your cruise and how many people will be going with you. You wouldn’t dress the same way in Winter as you would in the Summer. Some of the basic items are: grill, ice chest, food/drink, towels, blankets, extra clothes, sanitary products and the like. Other items that make life a wee bit easier are: sun screen, sunglasses, and a hat. While many of you would brush these off as warm weather items, the effects of the sun are still out there and are magnified on the water year round.
 
If you will be opening your boat to guest sailors, what should you expect of your guests? What do you need to provide? Most of this will depend upon your own personal hospitality standards. However, for the case of brevity, let’s base this on the BFSC guest who is not known to you.
 
As the skipper, it is YOUR boat and you are held responsible for anything that happens OR fails to happen. It is wise to have “Rules of the Boat” that you can easily show, or brief, your guest. This will make what you expect of them perfectly clear. Also, if they are new to sailing or new to your type of boat, show them how the various pieces of equipment work and what you expect them to do while on board. During this briefing, point out any potential danger areas that are in and around your boat.
 
You are NOT responsible for having extra food, drinks, clothing or PFDs for your new guests that you meet at the skipper’s meeting. That being said, it is always a good thing to have extra PFDs and safety equipment on board. If you don’t have extra PFDs and your guest didn’t bring one, then the guest cannot go.
 
What is a guest expected to do and bring to the cruise? Besides a great attitude, remember that the person you are sailing with is providing you access to their boat and that they are not your entertainment director. Be ready to serve as a crew member. If you have questions, please ask them of your skipper. They will be happy to tell you all about their boat. They have invested thousands of dollars and are likely eager to show the boat off to you.
 
As a guest, you need to provide for your own comfort. As in any sport, there are certain pieces of equipment you need to have in order to play. In sailing, it is important to have your own Personal Flotation Device (PFD), sailing gloves and deck shoes. Most boating and outdoor stores carry this type of equipment. Even stores such as Walmart and Target carry some of these items.
 
You will also want to have a small ice chest that you can carry something to drink and eat. While most of the BFSC skippers have extra to eat and especially drink, it is best to bring along items that you like to eat or drink. Another thing is to bring a change of clothes. You never know when you may get wet and have to change.

  

Rafting-up

 

The Barefoot Sailing Club (BFSC) has a long history, of using any excuse to raft-up! The true nautical term for the act of tying two or more boats together is known as warping. While it seems pretty easy to do, and in fact it is, there are things that you need to have and do in order for this to be accomplished safely.

 

Equipment:

EACH boat should have, as a minimum, a line fore and aft of sufficient length to secure your boat and one spring line. In addition, you need to have three fenders. It is also a good idea to have a marine band radio to help in communicating during the raft up process.

Insure that your lines are secured to YOUR boat. Pass the free end, with the loop, to the stationary vessel. Have your fenders out on the same side of the boat that your lines are secured for rafting up. If you are rafting up to your port side, your lines and fenders are on port. If the raft up has to break apart quickly, all the boat has to do is throw off the loop.

Procedure:

There will be a designated “Raft-up” leader and base boat, usually the largest boat. They will set their anchor. Once all is settled, the base boat will signal/call to the first boat to come to within 3-4 feet alongside and parallel to the base boat. The arriving boat will toss the free ends of their lines to the stationary/base boat. The crews will gently pull (surge) the boats to the proper distance from each other. Once the lines are secure and the spring line set, the next boat will be called in to repeat the process. One will usually alternate sides of the base boat. If the first boat warps on the port side, the next will warp on the starboard side of the base boat.

Crew Duties:

Crew: The entire crew is to help insure a safe warping. If anyone sees something unsafe, immediately let the skipper and the rest of the crew know. Many of these jobs will be combined for smaller boats.

Skipper: As with everything in boating, the skipper is responsible for everything that happens, or fails to happen, on their vessel. Primarily, the skipper will be at the helm of the boat but, will also overseeing all the actions taking place. Only proceed to the “raft-up” when asked to do so. This will insure that the crew on the receiving boat will be ready to assist you in your warping up to their boat. Move at a slow enough speed to maintain steerage and minimum contact if the boats do come together. Follow the directions of the “Raft-up” leader. Determine how you want to have your spring-line placed to help keep the masts/stays of the boats from getting tangled when the boat is rocking. Do not shut down your engine, until all warping on your boat is complete. Once done, prepare to assist the next boat coming alongside your vessel.

Foredeck: The foredeck is critical in this as the boat will be moving forward and it will be up to you to be able to act quickly to avoid contact. Prior to moving in to the raft-up, place the forward fender on the opposite side of the boat from where you will be tying up. Your primary duty is to pass the forward line to the receiving boat and also help keep the two boats from coming together in an unplanned and unsafe manner. Once these tasks have been accomplished, assist in the securing and adjustment of the spring-line. Be prepared to assist in securing the next boat to come alongside the boat on which you are crewing.

Mid--lines. Be prepared to assist in securing the next boat to come alongside the boat on which you are crewing.  Prior to moving in to the raft-up, place the mid-ship fender on the opposite side of the boat from where you will be tying up. The mid-ship crew member is responsible for passing the spring-line to the other boat and keeping the boats from coming together. Once the fore and aft lines are secured, assist in the adjustment of the spring

Stern: Prior to moving in to the raft-up, place the aft fender on the opposite side of the boat from where you will be tying up. Your primary duty during the warping is to pass the aft line to the receiving boat and also help keep the two boats from coming together in an unplanned and unsafe manner. Once these tasks have been accomplished, assist in the securing and adjustment of the spring-line. Be prepared to assist in securing the next boat to come alongside the boat on which you are crewing.

 

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