9 Key Steps for Returning to Cruising

Fair weather has returned, and the return to cruising aboard your boat is near.  We are eager to return to cruising, to escape the everyday, to change the scenery and experience exceptional moments on the water.

Jeanneau advises you to scrupulously check your boat for a safe return to cruising with full peace of mind.

Whether you are preparing for a day trip or a longer cruise, here is a check list to guide you in your preparations before cruising.


1. Protect Your Hull



In anticipation of a new season with your boat, check the condition of your gelcoat and inspect it for any cracks or leaks.

If you find impact marks or cracks, proceed with their repair and ensure that the hull is clean.

If you wish to protect your hull from marine growth for the season, consider cleaning the hull of your sailboat.  Schedule the following when the weather allows:  sanding, polishing and painting.  Plan to complete this step just before putting your boat into the water.

Please note that, in France, dedicated spaces are reserved for this purpose in your harbour.  Wear protective clothing and gear for the preparation of your boat in the designated area.

Take advantage of this time, while your boat is hauled out of the water, to inspect the through-hulls and through-hull valves.


2. Check Your Engine


When winterizing your boat, you will normally have changed the oil in the engine and put antifreeze in the cooling circuit.

Even so, we advise you to contact your Jeanneau Dealer, who can conduct a complete review of your powerboat to keep your equipment up to date and offer professional advice to ensure your peace of mind at the start of a new season.

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The engine remains a key safety element for handling at port, so don’t neglect its maintenance.  Take advantage of the occasion to check your fluid levels, and check for any possible leaks.


3. Check Your Batteries


In the interest of safety on board, your batteries are indispensable elements on a sailboat.

Before setting sail, you should charge your batteries and ensure their good condition.

Should you have the slightest doubt, you can also have them checked by a professional to ensure their proper function before returning to cruising.


4. Check Deck Hardware for Leaks

You will soon be headed back to cruising aboard your boat.  Now is the time to ensure that your deck hardware is well positioned and still watertight.  Over the winter, the junctions with the deck could have been weakened, or certain elements may have deteriorated.

To test this, spray water over all of your portholes, your life lines, your winches, etc., and watch to see if water enters.  In the case of water entering the boat, remove the hardware from its location to clean it, and then reinstall it after having degreased it, applying polyurethane sealant.


5. Install Your Sails


We all dream of free time and cruising once more after spending a winter sheltering in place.  Whether single-handed or with crew, it will soon be time to study the weather, to raise the mainsail, and to return to authorised cruising.

After having winterized your sails in dry storage over these last few months, return your rigging to its place, and take care to unfurl each sail into the wind to ensure their proper installation. Check the condition of the head and the clew, as well as your reef points, check that the battens are not damaged, and inspect the condition of your lines.


6. Check Your Safety Equipment

It is vital to check all of your safety equipment (number of vests, distress flares, extinguishers, charts…) and to ensure that all safety equipment is in perfect condition before returning to cruising.

The inflatable life vests are equipped with gas cartridges with a date of expiration to respect. The expiration dates of the fuses should also be checked.  Remember to check the batteries of your man overboard (MOB) light, as they may have lost power.

If these items have an obsolete use-by date, visit your ship chandler to bring your safety material into compliance before cruising.

You must also have your life raft checked by a professional by the inspection date.



7. Install Your Anchor



Are you planning to set sail for dream anchorages, where you will enjoy moments of utter relaxation and springtime weather?  Are you imagining sharing with your crew the joys of cruising to small ports in your zone?  Whether you will be anchored at a mooring or a harbour dock, it is important to first check the anchoring system of your sailboat to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

Install your anchor rode and ensure that it is well secured to the boat.  The return to cruising is an ideal time, as well, to inspect the condition of the anchor chain, the mooring shackles and the dock lines.

Do not neglect these elements.  If you have the slightest doubt, change the weakened equipment or request professional advice.

Equip yourself with fenders, as your boat must be ready to anchor in all situations.


8. Inspect Your Equipment

Check your bilge pump.  Whether manual or automatic, start its system to ensure that it is functioning and effective.  In the case of water entering the sailboat, it should begin to function and enable you to respond as necessary.

As boats are equipped with various elements that are fixed or screwed into place, we advise that you check all these attachment points on your bimini, your swim ladder, your pulpits, etc.  These may have loosened over time, and the return of the cruising season is the moment for you to conduct a thorough inspection.

9. Test Your Electronics

As your final step before studying the charts and setting your course, ensure that your electronic equipment is properly connected and that there are no malfunctions due to fuses that must be changed or oxidation.


Your Jeanneau Dealer Is There to Assist You!


If you have the slightest doubt before returning to cruising aboard your sailboat, contact your nearest Jeanneau dealer, who can offer you professional advice. 


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