offshore checklist

Nearby at all times

Below deck

At the helm

On deck, ready for deployment

Rigged and fitted aboard

Boat construction and fitting out

Offshore checklist sourced from Vic Maui and Yachting NZ Cat 1.

Our experience

We used this checklist to prepare Pino for our departure from Canada in 2016. We did our best to fulfill most of these requirements, as they were put in place to keep people safe. We left with a roller-furler without a storm jib, but in hindsight, we should have had one. We reduced the jib in heavy weather, but a dedicated sail would have been better. A heavy storm jib is also useful for self-steering using the poled storm jib method.

While in the north pacific ocean, our boat was knocked down, and we had not adequately attached some of the floorboards. It did not cause any damage inside but it could have. In the future we will secure these properly. We also did not strap down the engine, relying entirely on the engine mounts. A friend had his engine leap out of the engine room in a severe storm, the boat and crew barely made it to port in one piece, no one wants that experience.

Neither of us had first-aid training, relying entirely on books and lived experiences. If you're able to get training, do it (now we have training).

We did not have an EPIRB, but if you can afford one, get it. We had a registered PLB instead, which is not ideal, but better than nothing.

VHF antenna failure at sea


In March 2023, our friends Andreas and Birgit on the sailboat Muktuk sailed from La Paz MX to Okinawa JP. On any long sail, breakages happen, and you have to be ready to effect a repair with materials already onboard. We received an email from Andreas(via satellite phone) saying that their VHF antenna had broken off the top of the mast, and that they were looking for some advice on making a replacement antenna.

Andreas had taken a Basic Amateur Radio License course many many years ago, but still remembered the basics. A Basic Amateur Radio License course teaches you how to build and operate a radio. We confimed some details with our radio expert friend Amatecha, and sent them instructions.

They were able to make a separate antenna. After this event, we thought it wise to recommend materials to build a DIY antenna in the offshore checklist. An even better recommendation, is to also take a Basic Amateur Radio License course to familiarize oneself with radio components.

Read up on their antenna adventures. They arrived safely in Okinawa JP on March 20th 2023.