When you got your first bicycle, you probably dreamed about where you can go. Get your first sailboat, and the same urge can kick in. You may have a far distant destination in mind or just a weekend to relax away from the workday chores. The bonus is improved sailing, and navigation skills are an automatic part of the adventure. If you have a cuddy cabin boat with lifting keel, there are literally dozens of places in Charlotte Harbor to go. Let’s make a plan that promotes a safe and enjoyable weekend.
First, get the boat equipped for cruising. The boat should be sound in hull and rigging and have all Coast Guard-required safety equipment. Any marine supply store can review what you have and advise where replacement is prudent. The engine should be reliable. However, small sailboat propellers cavitate in medium waves, so you should be able to reduce your mainsail size with reefing and sail comfortably. You will be anchoring and want to be able to sleep through a blustery night. Use the anchor size recommended, five feet of heavy chain, and rope rode sufficient for 20-foot water depth (140 feet).
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