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4 rough-water tips

Small-boat expert Chris Fertig highlights four important areas to be aware of when running offshore or in rough water.

Chris Fertig broke the Bermuda Challenge record in a 37-foot center console.

Prepare: Any problem, such as a loose electrical connection or a cracked windshield, will be heightened significantly in rough conditions. Before leaving the dock, make sure all components are functioning and that the boat is in tip-top condition.

Look ahead: In big seas, the skipper and crew need to look ahead as far as possible to assess wave sets and adjust course and speed.

Avoid complacency: Don’t become too comfortable and lose alertness at the helm. You never know when the next wave set will differ from current conditions. Skippers tend to become complacent more often in following seas.

The pride factor: Swallow it. Call off the trip, slow down or wait until conditions improve to make a safe passage possible.

See related articles:

- Into the breakers

- When the going gets rough

February 2013 issue