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With the assumption that the boat has complied with the off-shore race regulations as required by the race organizing committee.




  • Captain who shows leadership

  • A majority of crew with previous off-shore experience and a couple of young, fit and agile crew

  • Helmsmen

  • Competent sail handlers

  • Navigator and Assistant Navigator

  • Other skills you want to have covered are:

  • Weather and Gulf Stream expertise (if crossing the Gulf Stream) –In addition, consider using the service of a professional weather router

  • Electronics

  • Mechanic

  • Rigger

  • Damage control

  • Medical - not necessarily a doctor, but someone – preferably 2 - who have taken a recent First Aid/CPR course


Boat Inspection

  • Delivery Captain and Owner locate and review ship’s documents

  • Mast Inspection

  • Bilge pump inspection

  • Steering cables

  • Thru hull fittings and plugs

  • Engine operation – starting, and any unique characteristics

  • Oil level, spare engine fluids (transmission, oil, etc.), belts, etc.

  • Battery charging schedule

  • Fuel level and extra fuel (calculate consumption for motoring underway and battery charging)

  • Jack lines

  • Water tank level and extra drinking water

  • Galley stove operation and fuel

  • Food inventory - (Does any crew member have a food allergy)


Safety Gear – Locate, Inspect and discuss with entire crew

  • Diagrams of stowage of safety gear and thru hull fittings should be posted on the bulkheads

  • SAT phone, VHF, DSC, SSB –Emergency frequencies, operation, etc..

  • Establish available minutes on SAT phone. Buy more if in doubt!

  • Pre-program SAT phone with emergency phone numbers and voice mail and activated to talk to weather advisor, go onto the internet, and talk to Point of Contact ashore on a pre-arranged schedule

  • Radar and AIS

  • PFD’s, tethers and thigh or crotch straps, light, whistle and knife. Discuss proper fit of PFD

  • PLB’s -( Registered with NOAA reflecting homeport passage) Or AIS MOB Personal Locater Beacons

  • MOB button

  • Emergency tiller and steering options with loss of rudder

  • Drogue

  • Fire extinguishers

  • Flares

  • Life raft



  • Med kit, Locate, Inspect and replace items if necessary- Consult the boat’s medical officer for the race

  • Medical Form: Have each crew member complete a medical form indicating height, weight, allergies, medicines, emergency contact, doctor’s contact information, etc.

  • Encourage crew to begin seasick regimen before becoming seasick! This is especially important for first timers.

  • Boat’s emergency contact ashore should have a list of crew, the name of their emergency contact (i.e. next of kin) and contact’s phone numbers


Damage Control – Locate, Inspect and Replace, if necessary

  • Tools

  • Spare parts

  • Materials to minimize flooding

  • All Thru-hulls



Stations Bill –

  • Crew Assignments in a catastrophic emergency

  • Discuss with entire crew


Practice Drills with written instructions – Entire Crew

  • Discuss General Safety Procedures (These should have been sent to each crew member prior to the race)

  • Man Overboard (MOB)

  • Abandon Ship

  • Fire

  • Flooding

  • Man Aloft

  • Reefing

  • Storm Sails

  • Steering with no rudder


Other things to Consider:

  • Purchase of a tracker, such as SPOT

  • VHF or SSB net with other boats leaving at the same time

  • Attend weather briefings at RBYC

  • Keep the departure date flexible – You may have to delay your departure OR you may choose to leave on an earlier date to take advantage of a good weather window.


And there will be other things that you will think of!!




For additional information that will be helpful in your preparations, go to the Safety at Sea link of the Cruising Club of America (




This checklist has been prepared by the Safety at Sea Committee of The Cruising Club of America, Inc. (the "CCA") for the sole purpose of serving as a reminder of general safety-at-sea topics to be considered by crews of sailing vessels that intend to make a passage in Atlantic Ocean waters between lat. 25 degrees North and lat. 45 degrees North from the finish of an ocean race to another port and  are (i) manned by crews with substantial offshore sailing experience; (ii) in full compliance with the requirements of the current (2014-2015)  ISAF Offshore Special Regulations Governing Offshore Racing for Monohulls and Multihulls, Including U.S. Sailing Prescriptions, for Category 1 Races; and (iii) have been inspected and found to comply with such requirements in the recent past by one or more of the race organizers.  This guide is an outline only and is not intended to be a complete or detailed guide to all preparations required for such a passage on any particular type of vessel.  The user of this checklist acknowledges that the safety and seaworthiness of any vessel, including the structural soundness of its hull  and rig, the condition of its gear and equipment and its preparation for an extended offshore passage, is the sole responsibility of the owner, captain and crew.  Any user of this checklist by the use hereof agrees to waive any liability of the race organizers or the CCA (and of any committee member, officer, employee, agent  or member of the Governing Board thereof) to such user (or to the heirs, successors or assigns of such user)  arising out of any accident or other incident occurring on or relating to any vessel during such a passage, including any claims concerning damage to property, personal injury or death.


CCA Contact: Anne Glenn, email at