Fitting-Out Yourself and Your Crew
Having decided to go long term cruising, you are probably already an experienced sailor, at least in your home waters.
If you are aiming to sail Atlantic Europe and into the Med, then Crew members should be at least at the Day Skipper level while the Skipper should be at Coastal Skipper level or ideally higher. You will gain loads of experience and knowledge, as you go, but a good grounding in seamanship is essential.
I am not necessarily advocating formal training, you may have learned your skills with Mum & Dad, but if not, then the RYA Training Scheme is one of the best in the world. Check out East Anglian Sea School for a list of courses available. If you intend to go ocean hopping then I hope you don't need me to tell you what skills you will need to acquire before your go.
You must ensure that at least 2 persons on board hold an International Certificate of Competence (ICC) for your vessel and its dinghy. This is a mandatory requirement in many countries as the ICC sections are translated into many languages.
Both the Skipper & Mate should gain some experience in handling your new boat single-handed as either may need to take over in an emergency. Single-handed Man Overboard (MOB) and Recovery is an interesting challenge on a large yacht which may require some equipment changes on board.
Other things to master:
- First aid (At least 2 persons on board)
- Short range radio VHF (Ideally 2 persons on board)
- Long range radio SSB (at least 1 person)
- Engine maintenance (at least 1 person)
- Basic Electricals and use of a multi-meter (at least 1 person)
- Outboard maintenance (at least 1 person)
- Sea survival (everyone on board)
- PADI basic diving (at least 1 person for under water maintenance)
You should also be familiar with stripping and servicing your winches and windlass.
You should be able to repair a hole in your dinghy or liferaft.
A basic understanding of NMEA for sharing boat data around your instruments, VHF Antenna connections and WIFI connectivity will massively improve your ability to cope with common problems. These are not easy skills to acquire however there are many books available and most Electronics Chandlers will offer to talk you through it if you are buying kit from them.