PxPixel
Hardening Targets - Sail Magazine

Hardening Targets

We were savoring a meal of fresh mahi-mahi with new friends and soaking up the quirky backpacker atmosphere of the Caribbean beach town we planned to explore the following morning. Winterlude, our Passport 37, was anchored less than 100 yards away, just out of view. After lingering over one last rum punch, we dinghied back out to our boat in time to catch the last rays of the setting sun
Author:
Publish date:
irons1

We were savoring a meal of fresh mahi-mahi with new friends and soaking up the quirky backpacker atmosphere of the Caribbean beach town we planned to explore the following morning. Winterlude, our Passport 37, was anchored less than 100 yards away, just out of view. After lingering over one last rum punch, we dinghied back out to our boat in time to catch the last rays of the setting sun over the picture-perfect anchorage.

After tying off our dinghy astern, I boarded the boat and started down the companionway hatch. Then I stopped and stared at the empty navigation desk where our laptop had been. The list of missing items grew as we went through the boat. Finally we came upon the screen that was dangling from the hatch over the Pullman berth. We knew immediately that we’d allowed ourselves to become victims of petty thieves.

Fortunately, most thefts from boats, wherever they occur, are perpetrated by random opportunists. You can tilt the odds in your favor by securing access points to your boat’s interior and changing your habits to make it much harder for others to remove gear from your boat.

If you want to keep it, put it away or lock it up. Go over all items on deck, and store below or in a secure locker anything that could be removed quickly by a thief. Those things you should keep on deck, like containers of gas for the dinghy, should be locked to a strong point on the boat.

Get local knowledge. Local VHF or SSB radio nets can provide information about safety issues and places to avoid. Even if there is no formal net, there may be a VHF frequency (other than channel 16) that is being used by cruisers.

Don’t discuss your plans on VHF. Avoid broadcasting information you don’t want to make public, such as when you’ll be going ashore, because it lets any listener know when your boat will be unattanded. Always assume your cruising friends aren’t the only ones listening.

gas

Lock when you leave. Lock all hatches and the companionway. And check the companionway hatch: Is it sturdy enough to resist a hard kick? Could your lock be cut with a pair of common cable cutters? If so, correct the situation.

Hide your valuables. We remove all our electronics from their usual locations before we go ashore. My laptop is hidden in a drybag, and I store our camera, cellphone, camcorder, iPod, and cash out of sight. I store the same gear in the same place every time to make sure I can find it.

Leave a light on. Lights make it appear that the boat is occupied. Leaving a radio on helps, too. In locations where opportunity thefts are likely, the more questions you raise in a prospective thief’s mind, the less chance there is that your boat will become a target.

Leave the anchor light on. Some cruisers I know have installed a motion-detector alarm in the cockpit; others have mounted a flashing red light by the companionway. The light isn’t connected to anything, but a would-be thief won’t know that. We have a Mega Light utility light (davisnet.com) in the cockpit, and we often leave it on. Alarms are available that turn on lights, make a noise, or both.

Related

Josie-helm-2

Chartering the U.S. and Spanish Virgins

Flying into Tortola in the British Virgin Islands one December morning, three months after Hurricane Irma, I felt like a war correspondent dispatched to the battlefront rather than a sailing magazine writer on an assignment to go cruising.As my LIAT plane descended toward Beef ...read more

Crew-North-27M004

Weather Gear for Inshore Sailing

Just because you’re not planning on braving the Southern Ocean this summer doesn’t mean that you won’t have some dicey days out on the water. If you haven’t got the right gear, a little rain or humidity can make things miserable. As with all safety equipment, “it’s always better ...read more

atlantic-cup-trailer

2018 Atlantic Cup Video Mini-Series

Atlantic Cup 2018: TrailerThis past spring, SAIL magazine was on-hand to document the 2018 Atlantic Cup, a two-week-long Class 40 regatta spanning the U.S. East Coast and one of the toughest events in all of North America. The preview above will give you a taste of the four-video ...read more

3DiNordac_webheader

3Di NORDAC: One Year In

One year ago this month, North Sails launched a cruising revolution with the introduction of 3Di NORDAC. The product promised to deliver a better cruising experience for a market that had not seen true product innovation in over 60 years. Today we’re celebrating the team that ...read more

HB96k_EP

Sea Eagle’s HB96 inflatable SUP

What SUP?Dinghies and kayaks are all very well, but there’s nothing like a stand-up paddleboard for exploring interesting new shorelines while giving you a good workout. Sea Eagle’s HB96 inflatable SUP makes a fine addition to your boat’s armory of anchorage toys, either on its ...read more

DSC_0031-43

Charting the USVI and Spanish Virgins

When my friends and I booked a one-way bareboat charter with Sail Caribe, starting in the U.S. Virgin Islands and finishing in Puerto Rico, we were a little nervous about what we would find in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria—even seven months later.When our plane ...read more

SailRepairKit

Know How: Sail Repair Kit

Despite your best efforts, there will inevitably be times when your sail gets damaged while at sea and needs to be repaired. First, no matter what the job, you will need to do a quick damage assessment, a task that requires a flat wooden surface, sharp scissors and a helping ...read more

01-061018ROAC-8149

Coming of Age at the Atlantic Cup

Midway through the final race of the inshore portion of the 2018 Atlantic Cup, the three boats in the lead—Mike Dreese’s Toothface 2, Mike Hennessy’s Dragon and Oakcliff Racing, representing the Long Island Sound-based sailing school of the same name—suddenly broke free from the ...read more

01_silken_2018-03-08-0052

North U’s Regatta Experience Program

“Want to check the keel?” North U Coach Geoff Becker calls to me from back by the transom. We’ve just suffered our worst finish in the regatta and are absolutely flying on our way back to shore, spinnaker up and heeling at an angle that feels like maybe we’re tempting fate. ...read more