Preparing for a Solo Ocean Voyage on a Small Boat

Preparing for a Solo Ocean Voyage on a Small Boat

When at sea on Wave Rover I am continually focused on the task at hand. My senses are heightened and I’m in the zone. Watching, listening, and standing by like a coiled spring ready to react to whatever challenge may arise. Wave Rover is your world and she must be kept safe and sea worthy throughout the voyage.

Ashore, it’s a different world. Wave Rover enjoys the safety of the Harbour.  I occupy myself with more terrestrial pursuits. I socialize with other sailors and new found friends. We tour our new horizons and enjoy the new experiences.

Rapidly over a few days or weeks the coiled spring that was ready to react at sea, begins to show a little rust. It’s at this time that a good skipper knows it’s time to start preparing for the next passage.

The first thing that I start doing is looking at the weather. Truth is I never really stop looking looking at the weather. It’a a preoccupation that most skippers have and usually the first topic of conversation when we meet.

As a solo sailor I have it easier than others in the sense that I don’t need to motivate a crew or think in terms of their special needs or schedules. I simply decide that I’m leaving and start searching for a suitable departure date. At the same time I am looking over the charts and deciding on the best course. Where possible I consult with other skippers who have made a passage to my next port. But this isn’t always the case and one then consults the pilot charts or books that describe the best possible times and routes to make a similar voyage.

Two days prior to my departure date I ensure that my drinking water is topped up and I have a complete supply of dry and canned rations. I ensure Wave Rover has adequate fuel for her outboard motor and then I do an engine run up to ensure the motor will start when I need it. Other routine items are also seen to at this time such as alcohol for the cook stove, laundry, and books to read on the passage.

The day before departure I will go to a market to get fruit, veg, and yogurt. I will activate my Garmin Inreach communicator and ensure that it is operating properly. I also will remind my local friends that I will be departing the following day. Usually I give them a time of departure as often they want to see me off.

The rest of my preparation falls into more of a personal routine. I will go out for a good evening meal, usually this means a steak and a big salad. I will make calls to my wife and family. Then it’s time to get a good sleep.

The morning of departure I start off with a good shower and shave. I always prepare a hot stew to be consumed later when Wave Rover is clear of the harbour and all dangers. Then it’s off to see the authorities and present the appropriate ships documents. Wave Rover is made ready for sea in all respects, everything is stowed, sail covers are removed, head sail is hanked on, and the anchor is in the standby position in case of emergency. The last item is laying down on the bunk for about an hour and visualizing the upcoming passage in my head.

There’s nothing left but shaking hands, saying goodbye and untying the mooring lines.

And if you are really lucky your friends will even see you off.

The video below shows Wave Rover’s departure from the port of Horta.



16 thoughts on “Preparing for a Solo Ocean Voyage on a Small Boat

  1. Fancy a beer in Gran Canaria?

    I folow your adeventure since you left Canada, and inspires me… I am living in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, I would be very pleseant to meet you in person and share a drink or what ever…

    Please, let me know if you don´t mind to spent some minutes with me, or if you need something, now its the moment.

    I hope to see you soon.

    Fair winds !!

  2. Alan,
    I have been reading your posts and following your adventure. Your brother must be jealous. Good luck as you move forward.

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