Sailing on Lionheart
You’ve been invited for a day or weekend as a guest aboard the Sailing Vessel Lionheart. When we were first invited we had a number of questions about preparation, clothing, etc. We had to step up to the plate and ask any number of “dumb” questions, a couple of them more than once. So we decided to help our unsuspecting slave labor…oops, I meant honored guests, by summarizing the tidbits we picked up over the last couple of years, and in particular, tips about Lionheart and the Portsmouth area.
Lionheart is a 1997 Beneteau Oceanis 461 . She is 46’ long, her beam is 14’ she draws 5’9” and weighs a svelte 25,000 pounds. Her mast extends 65 feet above the deck, in case you’re thinking about asking to be winched to the top. She has a forward cabin with a king ; a main saloon with a settee berths which is never used for sleeping and two aft cabins with queen sized berths, one of which is the “garage” which we use to store all the junk that you’d normally tuck in your garage. She also has a galley (kitchen) with stove, refrigerator and freezer, microwave and two marine toilets also known as heads, one forward and one off the port aft cabin. Marine toilets are somewhat different from your home unit, and although instructions are printed under the lid, please feel free (PLEASE!) to ask how to use it before you try. The only proviso is that one needs to be judicious in the amount of toilet paper one attempts to flush at one go. It clogs much easier than the typical home toilet.
She is a sloop (one mast and one forward sail called a jib), with furling gear on both her jib and her mainsail, so she’s extremely easy to sail. Yes she can be sailed by one person. She is powered by a 80 hp Perkins turbo diesel engine. She has tankage for approximately 50 gallons of diesel fuel and 215 gallons of fresh water. With an average fuel consumption of about three quarters of a gallon per hour at 7 knots, that gives her a range of 466 miles under power.
First things first. For many people, their boat is their home, so simply stepping aboard someone’s boat without permission is like your friendly neighbor walking in your front door and sitting down on the couch without bothering to ring the doorbell. We don’t live on our boat, and so it doesn’t seem like that big a deal to us, but it’s a supreme faux pas to not ask for permission to “come aboard” someone else’s boat.
Most guests like to help out, so we’ll probably ask you to assist with departure from and arrival to the dock. A couple of supremely important points: she weighs 25,000 pounds, which, even when moving very slowly, has a lot of momentum, so don’t put a body part between the boat and anything solid. It will probably break whatever you stick out there, necessitating a quick trip to the hospital, which could seriously cut into the cocktail hour. Second, if you are handling one of the dock lines when we return to the dock, I will get you close enough that you should be able to step (albeit with a little stretch) onto the dock; acrobatic, death defying leaps for shore are not only not required, but are severely discouraged. If you go in the water it could be you that’s between the boat and the dock. Of less importance, but still good to keep in mind, if your helping us to depart, make sure you get on the boat before she’s too far from the dock for you to easily get aboard. Getting wet and or getting left behind are both bad form. Finally, if you don’t feel comfortable helping, say so; I enjoy handling the lines, and so generally assume that others do too.
Another saying worth mentioning is “one hand for the boat and one hand for yourself.” That means hold on with one hand when we’re underway and use the other to accomplish whatever your working on. It will take you awhile to get the rhythm of the boat and we don’t want you to slip and get hurt. As with the departure, please let me know if you want to help sail the boat, and if so, what duties you are comfortable and confident with. Also, if I use a nautical term, like “pull on that thing-a-ma-bob,” and you’re not sure which thing-a-ma-bob I mean, please ask before pulling.
If your going out for a day sail you should plan on wearing reasonably warm clothes that allow you fair freedom of movement. Remember, Maine is generally chilly, even in the summer. Mark Twain’s is supposed to have said “the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco” but I suspect that’s only because he never spent the summer in maine Thin layers that can be added or removed are best. If cotton gets wet (particularly with salt water) it’s wet for the duration, so poly fleece and wool are better choices. A hat, sunglasses, chap stick, sun block and a camera are also de rigueur. Hat and sunglass “croakies” are recommended; they attach the hat/sunglasses to your clothes/neck so they won’t blow/fall overboard and be lost/lost. Deck or tennis shoes should be worn. Leather soles are good only if you intend to go swimming and black rubber soles that leave marks on the deck could earn a severe flogging. Call before you come and we can discuss outerwear. We have four sets of foul weather gear (foulies) on board. If we’ll be four or less, we’ll have you covered for outerwear as long as your bigger than a elf and smaller than a moose.. If we have more than four adults, you may need to bring waterproof and windproof outer gear if you have it. We will have personal flotation devices for each person on board. Ours are the highest rated offshore Type 1 PFDs. We also have two inflatable PFDs, which are much more comfortable and allow you a lot more freedom of movement. If you have you own inflatable type PFD, feel free to bring it, along with any other personal sailing gear you have.
Another thing to be aware of if your new to sailing, is that sail boats tip....A LOT. The side of the boat, which is about three feet above the water, while sitting at the dock, will be about 6 inches above the surface of the water while underway, at least until a gust hits, then it will be under water. The boat is designed to heel (tilt over) 20 to 25 degrees in typical conditions. No, it won't tip all the way over, and even if it did, the 9000 pounds of iron in the keel would straighten us right up after the knock down. This is why we discourage bringing children out for their first sailing experience. We've had a couple bad experiences where young children were very scared, which detracted from the trip for everyone.
If your coming for the weekend, a couple of additional items. First, even a large sailboat is pretty cramped, so bring the minimum necessary stuff. We have sheets, blankets, pillows etc. for the beds, so sleeping bags are not necessary. We have enough towels for four people, but if there will be more than that check with us about bringing a towel and hand cloth. The day we go sailing, assume you'll need a dry change of clothes when we get back. Also, pack your gear in a soft-sided bag. When we're underway thing tend to slide around and hard sided bags leave scratches or gouges on the interior.
If you require medications, best to bring them. We have a comprehensive offshore medical kit, but it’s always best to bring what you know works for you. If you’re coming for a sail in the Bay, seasickness is not generally a problem, as there are no swells in the Bay. Swells are generally what make people seasick.
Safety is of prime concern on LIONHEART, and we take it seriously. That said, for your peace of mind, you should know that we have the latest distress beacon that transmits our position to satellites, a newly serviced six man offshore rated life raft, ham radio, marine single side band radio, and multiple marine VHF radios including radios which digitally alert the Coast Guard with our position in case of distress, single sideband radio, a Satellite Telephone system, a powerful 4,000 watt color radar, four GPS units including 3 separate charting systems, a full complement of lifejackets, safety harnesses, and enough flares to put on a 4th of July fireworks display. The boat is fully equipped for lengthy offshore travel; far more than is needed for our typical sail along the coast, where we’re never far from Coast Guard assistance. We will generally brief you as to the location of all our safety gear before we leave. No… it’s not because Phyllis works for the airline, or because I hold a USCG Captains license, it's because we’re both really serious about safety.
I don’t want you to think this was my idea, so here’s a quote from Chapman’s Boating Etiquette:
"A guest’s work is never done. Visiting a friend’s summer house for the weekend, you might expect to sleep late in the morning, enjoy a leisurely breakfast on the porch with the newspaper and the puppy, venture out to go antiquing or to pick apples for a pie, perhaps take a dip in the pool, drinks and a video after dinner. No work, no cleaning, no tidying up. Minimal exertion, maximal leisure. A guest’s function on a boat is usually as crew, and crew is expected to be active and keep busy."
So, if we ask for some help loading provisions, handling lines, raising the sails, stowing the fenders, etc., we’re not being lazy or rude, we’re just doing our best to make you feel at home and part of the crew.
Here are a couple of documents you may want to print out before you join us: