Hardening Targets Page 2

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:

Communicate with nearby boats. If you’re going ashore, go to your nearest neighbors and tell them in person when you’ll be returning. This can be very important if you plan to be off the boat for a few hours or more.

bars

Lock your dinghy. If you leave your dinghy at a dock, bring the ignition cord with you. Bring a handheld with you in the dinghy. Also bring a small flashlight; you may be gone longer than you had anticipated. Lock your gas can in the dinghy, and don’t run the cable or chain through anything that can be easily cut or smashed.

Our boat doesn’t have davits, so at night we hang our dinghy on the main halyard on a three-point bridle. Once the dinghy is hoisted clear of the water, we lock it to the boat. Some cruisers take their outboard off every night and lock it onto the rail; we leave ours on the dinghy, secured with a Master Bar lock. We hoist the dinghy high enough that anyone coming alongside in a small boat cannot reach it.

Don’t describe your boat. When you’re ashore, don’t give strangers (or anyone else) specific details about your vessel. You never know who might be standing next to you and listening.

Dress conservatively. This is a good rule anywhere; leave the fancy clothes, flashy jewelry, and large amounts of cash safely on the boat.

Use one credit card. We use one card exclusively when we’re cruising. If the card is lost or stolen, the notification process is relatively simple and isn’t related to any other aspect of our finances. We always take the card with us when we go ashore; we believe it’s safer than leaving it on the boat.

Internet cafs. When you go online at an Internet caf, always finish up your session by accessing the history or preference component on the computer’s browser; the location will vary depending on the browser, but it’s generally listed somewhere on top. Delete all the URLs you have used. Finally, close the browser.

Lock the companionway at night. The lock on the inside of our companionway is relatively light (our choice), so we also place a wooden dowel in the companionway hatch track. It’s similar to putting a stick in a track to make sure a sliding glass door stays in place.

Bars for hatches. We thought long and hard before we put bars on our hatches. We were reluctant to do so at first because of the danger it posed in case of fire. After our break-in, however, we had stainless-steel bars fabricated for all the hatches and designed them so we could remove them quickly from inside the boat in case of a fire.

All these precautions are easy to implement, and most are just plain common sense. Implementing them in an organized way will make it much harder for an opportunist to come by and steal important and/or valuable gear from your boat.

Related

qr_main

Antal: QR Clutch

Get a Grip Italian deck gear maker Antal’s two new QR clutches not only have high holding power—up to 3,500lb for the QR10 and 4,800lb for the QR12—they can be opened and released under maximum load, so there’s no longer any need to take up the strain on a winch before freeing a ...read more

leadpicBoxes

DIY: Easy Drawers and Boxes

During the extensive refit of my Pearson 40, I needed to create a significant number of custom-sized plywood drawers and stowage bins, or boxes. These included 10 under-floor storage bins, under-sink organizers, boxes for tools and stores, and even a specially fitted cat ...read more

ARC2018Flags

Tips on Gaining Experience Passagemaking

Whether you want to build a sailing resume or just gain practical experience, getting more miles under your keel is key. You can sail a lifetime of summer afternoons and never quite get the hang of cruising—where creativity and offshore savvy result in self-sufficiency and ...read more

arc18-3981

Stories from the Cruisers of the ARC

Each December, the docks at Rodney Bay Marina in St. Lucia are abuzz as the fleet of the ARC—the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers—arrives to much fanfare. No matter what time of day or night, the staff of the World Cruising Club, organizers of the 33-year-old rally, are there to ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com A sign from outside the box  Rev counters on modern engines are driven electronically from a terminal on the alternator. If all is well, as soon as the engine fires up the revs will read true. If, ...read more

emSelf-tacking-jib

Ask Sail: Are Self-trackers Worth It?

Q: I’m seeing more and more self-tacking jibs out on the water (and in the pages of SAIL) these days. I can’t help thinking these boats are all hopelessly underpowered, especially off the wind, when compared to boats with even slightly overlapping headsails. But I could be ...read more

01-LEAD-hose-leak-CREDIT-BoatUS

Know how: Is Your Bilge Pump up to the Job?

Without much reflection, I recently replaced my broken bilge pump with a slightly larger model. After all, I thought, surely an 800 gallon-per-hour (gph) pump will outperform the previous 500gph unit? Well, yes, but that’s no reason to feel much safer, as I soon discovered. The ...read more