Glen Gable of Salinas, California asks:

1) Please describe how go about checking the engine room and other systems. How do
you do this when the others are sleeping at night, etc..?

2) The boat has said to be encountering seas that were 3 to 5 ft and confused. Last week here in Monterey Bay the buoys where showing 20 ft swells every 17 seconds. How do you handle rough seas?

Ray Danét responds:

1) It sounds like Glen knows that our N40 has the engine room door in the guest cabin. We also have an inspection hatch in the sole of the main saloon. Underneath this hatch we've mounted our big toolbox which acts like a step going down.

2) This is a pretty open ended question but to emphasize some major points: First and foremost, you should have the right boat for the type of cruising that you are going to do. For the type of cruising that we are doing you want a full displacement hull with a full ballasted keel, a good
AB ratio and a righting moment that will bring you back if you should have a knock down. And it goes without saying that you need the range to get there.

Also, it is imperative to be a safe cruiser and a good driver. (Just as there are good and bad drivers on the freeway, the same holds true for the ocean.) Obviously, you shouldn't cruise in a hurricane area during hurricane season. We carefully chose our route and schedule so that we end up cruising during the best season for each ocean. (There are some great books on route planning.)

Finally, when you do have the boat you intend to take cruising, try to have that boat at least one year before you go (two years would be better.) And USE, USE, USE that boat as much as you can before you take off. I've seen too many people sit at the dock reading books, putting new gear on their boats, but never actually going out. For these people, when their dream of cruising is actually realized, something inevitably comes up - say, they hit their first little storm. The inexperienced cruiser doesn't know what to do, they become scared and turn around and the dream that they had for so long is but a memory.



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