Provided by Steve D’Antonio Marine Consulting, Inc.
Below you will find excerpts from Steve D’ Antonio’s “Marine Systems Excellence” blog. With nearly 25 years of experience as a marine mechanic, electrician, consultant and boatyard manager, Steve ranks as one of the most knowledgeable boating experts in the country. His ability to explain highly technical information on a wide array of boating topics in a clear, easy to read and easy to use manner has made him one of the most widely read boating writers and lecturers today. Steve’s commitment is to strive to improve the safety and reliability of boating products while increasing the confidence and enjoyment boat owners. In short, Steve strives to help bring the fun back to searching for, building, maintaining, repairing and owning a boat. Links to Steve’s website can be found below.
Risk Assessment for Offshore Passagemaking I
by Steve D’Antonio
In part one of this two part series I’ll discuss the means by which you can assess and minimize risk when cruising.
Cruising and Risk Assessment
As one might expect, I’m given the opportunity to cruise aboard a variety of vessels making passages in various parts of the world, from icebreakers in Antarctica and naval vessels in the North Atlantic to recreational trawlers and sailing vessels in British Columbia and the Virgin Islands.
Before I take advantage of such an opportunity, however, I carefully assess the likelihood of how “successful” the passage will be. The definition of “success,” by the way, varies with the opportunity. I ask myself a series of questions, starting with, ‘what do I hope to get out of making this passage?’ In the vast majority of cases, the first answer is, ‘enjoyment,’ I love to cruise, particularly to far-off locales, the more remote and the higher the latitude the better (more on that in a moment).This is followed by my desire to stay fresh in my trade with regular sea time, then broadening my experience as there’s simply no substitute for doing what you write about or advise others on, and finally in gathering editorial and photographic material.
Risk Assessment for Offshore Passagemaking - Part II
by Steve D’Antonio
When I received an invitation to cruise aboard a Nordhavn 68, it had the making for a perfect passage, for me. I knew the boat and the owner very well; as a consulting client, I worked closely with him during the vessel’s build and commissioning. When he mentioned he was bound for Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, there was little else I needed to know. Both places are high latitude, and I count them among my favorite cruising grounds, particularly the latter.
However, had I not known the vessel so well, I would have posed a long list of questions before agreeing to make the passage, starting with, how many miles did she have under her keel since commissioning? All new vessels, especially complex vessels as this one was, have breaking-in periods. Shakedown cruises are designed to shake out defects, flaws and problems in new and refit vessels, and they should occur in relatively protected water, close to homeport, where skilled help is readily available. This vessel had several thousand miles, including an offshore passage to Bermuda and over a year under her belt, giving her a clean bill of health for cruising to a remote location.