by Dylan Winter for Small Craft Advisor
1) If sailing is possible, sail
If sailing is not possible wait patiently for sailing to be possible. The
weather will always change for the better. You will always enjoy every sail
more than you thought you would.
2) Always have a bucket on board.
A bucket is a wonderful thing—keep one near you at all times. Clean,
well-maintained boats need buckets just as much as leaky old ones.
A good bucket is a wonderful safety aid. Detailed analysis of entirely
invented accident statistics prove that buckets have saved more lives
than buoyancy aids. Few boat bilge pumps can match the water-shifting
power of a frightened man with a bucket.
3) Never cuss the boat.
Sailing is pure physics and if things go awry then it is not the fault of
the boat. I had a friend who used to cuss his boat something rotten—but he
also kissed her stern and said thanks at the end of every sail. His boat
maintenance skills were entirely lacking.
4) Clean fresh fuel
Feed your boat engines with only the very best you can afford. Old fuel is
trouble in store. Don’t keep it—feed it to the car or the lawn mower where
it is not mission critical. When you pull the cord or press the starter
button on a boat engine then you really want it to start.
5) The skipper should be the calmest person on board
It is good for the morale of those around you. However, if everyone around
you is frightened then be aware of the possibility that they know something
6) Patience is the sailors best friend.
When correctly applied in large quantities it will keep you out of trouble.
Patience can also be of great assistance when trying to get out of trouble.
7) Never complain about the food.
This is a golden rule – unless you want to be the cook. If you are the cook,
then you alone can complain about the quality of the food —others on
board are honour bound to praise your culinary expertise.
8) Do not own too many boats.
This is very, very important. Good sailors own just two boats—a big one
and a small one. Too many boats is a massive curse and acts as a distraction
from the main happiness in life—which is sailing. Good boats require
maintenance. Maintenance requires time—time you should be sailing.Owning
too many boats is now an internationally recognized disease—it is called
PNM or Poly Navicular Morbus.
9) Never criticize another man’s boat.
An internal dialogue about the merits or faults of other boats is fine. By
all means walk slowly and thoughtfully around every marina or boat park you
come across. Just do not let that internal dialogue escape into the external
10) Always have a plan C
When plan A comes unstuck and plan B gets moved up the pecking order, then
Plan C should be a serious proposition.
A fun video on the “Egg Banjo” from Dylan’s Keep Turning Left blog.