Here are some (Hobie Gary) tips for beach cat crusing that you might find of some passing interest.
Recommended Gear to Bring on Boat:
Waterproof VHF marine radio in a waterproof radio bag. Standard HX350S Submersible is one of the best choices for catamarans. Protect the radio from direct hits by ocean waves. Keep it inside a duffel bag or other container when not in use. Make sure your battery is fully charged before leaving! Don't wear down your battery by using the radio unless necessary! Most radio failures are battery failures. Waterproof bags aren't perfect. They often leak a tablespoon or two of water. In order to prevent this from corroding your radio (esp. the battery charging contacts), always remove the radio from the bag after sailing and rinse it in fresh water.
PDF of appropriate size, with attached whistle, for each person. These must be worn at all times.
One wetsuit per person, of appropriate size. It is recommended to wear the wetsuit all of the time from the beginning of the trip to avoid fatigue from cold, wind, etc.
Three meteor flares and three hand-held flares
A paddle (daggerboards do NOT count!)
Minimum 1 liter of water per person (more recommended).
Map of crusing area. If you laminate this in clear plastic shelf lining material (about $3/roll), it will be waterproof and tearproof. Bring 2 copies in case you lose one.
Rigging and trapeze wires in good shape. Any rusty wires or wires with broken strands must be replaced before the trip. Also check the trapeze wires, hooks, adjusters, and lines.
A righting line sufficient to right the boat unassisted.
A 50 foot or longer tow line, 1/4 inch minimum. This line is also used to secure the boats on beach when unattended.
Give your boat a shakedown sail BEFORE the day of the trip! Check the sails, rigging, righting line, etc. Practice tacking, gybing, trapezing, and otherwise sailing your boat with all crew and gear aboard. Practice a capsize and righting to make sure you know where everything is, that it is working properly, and that your gear won't cause a problem. Also, practice furling your jib around the forestay in case this is needed because of high winds. Make sure the jib can be tied securely and won't come undone in the wind, even after 3 hours of flogging.
We also often take two ABS plastic sewer pipes, strapped under the tramp.
One is a 4 inch and the other a 3. We nest the 3 inside the 4 and glue screw on covers on the 4 inch at either end.
We use these to "roll" the boat onto the beach which is much esier than draggng it.
Put one under the bow and lift the stern so you can put the other pipe under the midsection.
When that one pops out the back of the boat while roling it up the beach, stop and put it under the boat's bows. and continue rolling until the ohter one pops out.
This is very easy and beats other ways I've tried.
Large Dry Bag - These are large enough to hold a sleeping bag and clothes, etc for 1 person. Get this early! Suppliers are West Marine, REI, A16, and Cascade Outfitters (go to http://www.cascadeoutfitters.com/riverhome/bagsm.html
). West Marine usually has 2-3 in stock, and can get more from their warehouse in 2-3 days. But, if 15 people show up just two days before the trip, there wont be time to order enough drybags and there might be a problem!
Sleeping Bag - We usually go in the summertime so it's not too cold. However, remember that it's outdoors and it could get chilly at night. Also, there is usually a lot of dew that falls at night, and if you are sleeping in you bag under the sky (this is what I do), it will get a little damp on the outside. You may not want to bring an expensive down bag, however, as there is always the possibility that it could get wet while sailing on the boats! An inexpensive to medium cost synthetic sleeping bag is usually a good choice.
Sleeping Pad - If you want to sleep on the ground, bring an Ensolite pad or similar to keep your sleeping bag off of the dirt and rocks. This will also keep you warmer. I prefer to sleep on the trampoline, since it is like a giant hammock. It is much softer than sleeping on the ground, and also significantly warmer, since your body heat isnt going directly into the cold ground.
Tent - It can be used either in nearby campgrounds (if avaiable) or on the beach next to your boat. If it is one of the self-supporting kinds (with a built-in frame), you could also set it on the trampoline, to keep the hammock effect but still have an enclosed sleeping space.
Tarp - If you want to sleep on the ground, you may want a tarp to place under your sleeping bag & pad. You could also use a tarp & some spare lines to make a tent on the boat using the boom. This is the easiest, unless you get thundershowers and pouring rain.
Toiletries - toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, hairbrush or comb, etc.
Clothes - General suggestions are:
1 pair jeans
1 rain slicker
1 hat (for sailing or general usage)
1 pair shoes/sandals - If these can get wet, they are easier to carry on the boat since you dont need to fit them in a drybag. If you want to do a lot of hiking, choose appropriate shoes to bring along.
Spare trash bags + duct tape - These may come in handy for emergency waterproofing of extra gear.
A large nylon duffel bag - I place my drybags inside a duffel bag when carrying it on the boat. There are several purposes for this:
1. The duffel protects the plastic drybag from puncture.
2. The duffel has extra pockets for stuff that doesnt need to stay dry. This also includes fast-access items like water, snacks, radio/GPS, etc.
3. The duffel deflects the initial brunt of waves from the drybag. Full force waves may force their way inside the seal of the drybag. The duffel cuts at least 90% of the waves force before it hits the drybag to reduce this problem. Another tip: face the drybag seal toward the rear of the boat (inside of the duffel) to further reduce wave-induced leakage.
4. The duffel is easier to attach to the boat. Duffels usually have several strong handles, which can be tied with lines. Use 2 lines to attach the duffel to your boat. The primary line is about 8 long, and is tied from the duffel to the mast. It should be very strong and tied securely. The spare line can be coiled and stuffed somewhere out of the way. The second "working" line is only 3 long, and is usually tied to one end of the duffel. The other end can be used to secure the duffel to the windward side of the boat in a convenient position, or to the mast when tacking/gybing a lot. In the event of a capsize, you dont want 50 lbs. of gear attached to the trampoline or the mast, where it would work against the weight of the crew, perhaps making the boat unrightable. To avoid this problem, if you capsize, just untie the short working line and let the duffel float in the water. It will still be secured to the boat by the longer, primary line. After righting, pull the floating duffel from the water and back onto the boat.
Other stuff to consider:
Spray-suit (semi-dry suit) or spray-top to wear over your wetsuit. These really help to keep you warm by cutting down the evaporative cooling of water from your wetsuit.
Sunscreen, hats, sunglasses. You should also wear retaining devices for your glasses and hat. I use croakies on my glasses, and I use an old batten tie from my hat to my shirt (attach with a safety pin).
Swim goggles - These may be handy to keep spray out of your eyes if it is very windy/choppy
Trapeze harnesses for all on board. If the wind is very strong, the boat can be much easier to control when one or two crew trapeze.
Spare pins, clevis pins (ring ding's), and shackles for your boat.
Towing insurance in case of breakage - SeaTow, BOAT/US, and Vessel Assist offer cheap insurance (e.g. about $70/year for unlimited towing). If anything breaks halfway to Catalina and you need a tow, it could easily cost you $500-$1000 depending on distance, weather conditions, etc.
Marine insurance for your boat - If bad weather forces you to abandon your boat, if high waves destroy your boat on the rocks, or if some other calamity strikes, you will wish you had this. It is very inexpensive (about $10/month for full coverage). It will also protect you if you collide with another boat and must pay repair costs or personal injury damages.
When packing, put things into three piles: 1 the stuff you'd die without or be arrested; 2 the stuff that'd make the trip just a little more comfortable; and pile 3 the stuff that would really be handy.
Then take all of pile 1 and only a few carefullly selected items from pile 2. Leave all of pile 3 at home, it will just be in the way all the time, and weight too much.