Pre Departure Check


In pre FPB days it would take us two or three days of work to check the sails, rig, rigging, engine, and systems. With Wind Horse this is down to half a day. We started in the engine room yesterday, got interrupted, and finished this morning.

Shown above is the first step, checking all of the bolts associated with the steering system. The grimace is a part of a loud “arghhh”, a necessary aspect of tightening – or checking – these connections. The bolts include:

  • Tiller arms
  • Drag link
  • Hydraulic cylinder bases
  • Piston clevis lock nut

All of the bolts were tight, except one of the four on the port cylinder base which took half a turn.


Next the salt water pump impellers are checked. They are both fine.


Then the alternator belts, idler pulleys, tensioners, and alternator mounting bolt. All OK.


The final item with tools are the CV axle bolts.

In addition:

  • Check oil and coolant (tranny and engines)
  • Inspect hydraulic system
  • Tie down all loose gear
  • Clean salt water strainers
  • Clean watermaker membranes and replace their raw water filter

The rest involves getting the deck and emergency gear ready which we will cover in another blog.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 16, 2010)

9 Responses to “Pre Departure Check”

  1. John Poparad Says:

    Apparently tightening does not mean a particular torque setting? Sheering a bolt is not a concern?

  2. Steve Dashew Says:

    Hi John:
    On some items we do take the time to use a torque wrench. However, with the bolts in question here, the strength of the bolts, leverage of the socket drive handle, and operator arm strength are such that this is not a risk. And we do know from experience what these should feel like.

  3. tom white Says:

    Hi Steve

    Why not replace your RW impeller once you have the pump opened? Do you replace them every so many hours regardless of condition? 99.9% of us never see the hours you do, so every year replacement, is pretty normal for me.

  4. Steve Dashew Says:

    Howdy Tom:
    These impellers were new 400 hours ago. We typically replace them once a season, at the first sign of wear, or at 1000 hours, whichever comes first. So far, we have not had a total failure under way (but have had a few vanes come off in 4800+ hours).

  5. Kenneth Murrow Says:

    Mr Dashew:

    Should all the fan “fingers” on the salt water pump impeller be bent in the same direction?


  6. Steve Dashew Says:

    Hi Kenneth:
    I have asked many times whether or not impeller vanes need to be oriented the same way and always been told it makes no difference, they will sort themselves out.

  7. Daryl Lippincott Says:

    Hi Steve,
    I usually put lock-tite on bolts that need to stay tight. Then if one puts a “witness mark” with a dab of paint on the joint between the standing and moving parts one can tell with a look whether anything has moved. For really critical things safety wire is a good thing.
    Thanks for your efforts at our continuing cruising education.

  8. Steve Dashew Says:

    Hi Daryl:
    Good suggestions on Loctite and witness marks, both of which we are used to working with on our gliders. For various reasons we prefer not to use a thread locker on the bolts in question. But the witness marks could be a definite help.

  9. In 9 weeks, are we really at the Equator? | Sailing sophie Says:

    […] Conduct end-to-end rig/system inspection /bolt tightening (the Steve Dashew way) […]