Tips for long range cruising

Cruising couple, John and Kim share some tips on long-range cruising, from the set up on their Oceanis 50 to anchors, weather, safety and navigation.
John Clinton: My name's John Clinton. I'm a half owner in the boat. That half there's mine, the other half's my wife's, Kim. This is a Oceania 50, it's rigged out for cruising. It's very strong rigging and it's a very, it's an ocean going cruising boat, if you like, but we have got our creature comforts. We've got two ensuites onboard, showers and toilets, electric holding tanks. We've got two fridges. We've got a freezer as well. We've got an espresso coffee machine as well as a manual one just in case we run out of LPG.

We're fully rigged out with a generator, it's underneath where I'm standing here and that will produce enough power for us to charge up the batteries when we're cruising. We've been down as far as Tasmania, we did the Sydney to Hobart once, ticked that box, but most of our cruising is done when we want to do it. We're very lucky that we've got sponsors so we go off as far as Port Douglas, work our way all the way down the coast and it's all done mainly by myself and Kim. We're very lucky to have a crew that come in for the regattas like this that we're at at the moment and we sail with 12 people at these regattas.

The worst experience I had, I think was after we'd done the Sydney to Hobart yacht race, coming around the bottom of Tasmania and we left a day early and there was huge waves and a lot of wind, like 50 knots at times. We foolishly left a day early, which we should never have done. We had about, in that one hour I think there was four maydays, three yachts had got knocked flat but we were, fortunately we'd dressed for the occasion before because we knew that the wind was coming up but it was on the edge and there's nothing like being on the top of a huge wave.

You just feel like you're going up about four stories. The thing you've got to have is a really good anchor and really solid chain. That's what we believe. You've also got to be very, very careful with your weather and don't bash the boat up, because if you start bashing the boat up, it's going to give way at weak points and what is the next weak point? You won't know until you get out there. I think you need to make sure that you know a lot about navigation. I'm very fortunate because Kim has taken that onboard. She's a lot quicker than I am but you've both got to know everything.

I'm Kim Cardow. I'm part owner of Holy Cow. I guess primarily navigation is my most important job, which I really enjoy. I have my onboard navigation system. I have my iPad, I have an iPhone and I've got a separate computer as well, so that there's always going to be some back up if everything goes down. The iPad and the iPhone are both waterproof. I have extra GPSs, and I keep a log of everything we do. I generally have, whenever we go somewhere new I have tracks on so I can follow where we've been and touch up courses to suit so that we can go back somewhere or I can give that information to somebody else along the way.

Safety-wise, the boat's got an EPIRB, it's a 4R6 and then on top of that Kim and I have got our own personal EPIRBs. If we've got a crew onboard, everyone wears a life jacket and they've also got a tether, especially at night. We don't set the autopilot and set it on a course and then go down and have a cup of coffee. No, no, someone's always looking out, every moment of the trip because you just never know where something might come from. We're very careful about that, yeah.