Heavy Weather

Depending on the nature and length of the weather expected, careful judgement is called for as to the timing and amount of preparation. Better to be overly cautious, and assume it will be worse than the forecast. It is very difficult to do anything on the deck once a storm has arrived. Prepare EARLY and THOROUGHLY.


  1. Consider taking seasick pills or other remedies and look out a supply of vomit bags (ziplocks)
  2. Turn engine/generator on and charge batteries
  3. Get current weather forecast and decide on strategy
  4. Reduce sail and/or heave to
  5. look out storm sail
  6. If serious storm expected look out the Jordan Series Drogue
  7. Check that the portholes and hatches are tight, and put drop boards in companionway
  8. Review position, and navigation plan and hazards
  9. Prepare hot food, some hand food, and hot water. Fill everyone's water bottle.
  10. Secure Windpilot, remove the wooden vane and bring up its rudder vane
  11. Remove tow generator from water and stow below
  12. Check everything on deck is secure: tie downs, halyards, dinghy, etc.
  13. Secure everything below as needed (see checklist)
  14. Bring loose and unneeded items from deck/cockpit and store below
  15. If lightning expected, hang copper protector over lee side and put computer, handheld GPS and handheld VHF in oven
  16. Eat a hot meal.
  17. Keep a watch, and maintain the log and plot current position on chart.


  1. Look at any sheets which might be chaffed and protect
  2. Close mushroom vents
  3. Secure cockpit/deck lockers
  4. Prepare to deploy the Jordan Series Drogue
  5. Bring in cockpit cushions and stow below
  6. Close all seacocks except for cockpit drains and engine intake. Tie note to all appropriate equipment indicating the drain is closed.
  7. Decide what to do about using the head.
  8. Get out and have handy:
    • Vomit bags
    • 2 large buckets
    • Large plastic see-through bags and wire ties
    • Spare set of clothes for each person
    • Towels, pillows, and blankets
    • Extra bungies and line
  9. Remove bimini  to reduce windage.
  10. Consider releasing oil (1 quart every 3 hours) - open sink drain seacock and put a pin hole in oil bottle, and put the bottle in the sink (if this is the windward side). If sink is on the leeward side, hang (plastic) bottle from a windward shroud.
  11. Keep engine on if needed to maintain way–so long as exhaust is not in danger of getting swamped. If so, turn engine off and close exhaust seacock and put reminder flag on starter key
  12. If possible, check on deck for chafe, etc., periodically.


  1. Remove all potentially loose items and bag them in double see-through big plastic bags. Store them under table, in the shower, in sail locker, or on the V-berth
  2. Close the door to the V-berth and lock it closed from the cabin.
  3. Stuff towels or cushions in food lockers and galley equipment spaces. 
  4. Put cockpit cushions on cabin floor for extra berth if needed.

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This page was last modified on: January 31, 2013

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