Equipping Your First Sailboat: Things to Consider When Visiting a Chandlery Shop

Equipping Your First Sailboat Things to Consider When Visiting a Chandlery Shop

You’ve daydreamed for years about being the proud owner of a sailboat. After spending countless hours reading reviews online and squeezing yourself under dozens of sailboats, finally, one captured your attention. It looked perfect, and you could picture yourself in control of its sails and rudder, exploring the sea.

While it may have seemed simple in your imagination, there are a few things you must attend to before you can slice through the waves. Unless you purchased a boat ready to sail, you now have a project on your hands. It’s time for equipping your first sailboat! Don’t worry, though, you just need to visit a reputable chandlery shop and use the following list to get your brand-new boat sea-ready just in time for the sailing season.

Essential Equipment for Your Sailboat

Safety Equipment

Even though accidents involving sailboats are less frequent than those involving powerboats, any accident is too many. Always be ready for the worst and carry the recommended equipment to keep everybody safe. It usually includes:

  • Flotation equipment for each passenger on board;
  • Emergency medical kit;
  • Signal flares;
  • Fire extinguisher;
  • Alarm horn.

An Anchor

boat anchor

Some boat owners think their vessel doesn’t require an anchor, especially if they won’t be out on the water for a long time. An anchor, however, is a must for emergencies. If you ever find yourself stranded, you’ll need to anchor yourself to stop yourself from drifting, and while you’re at it, you’ll need some extra line.


Ropes are a crucial part of any sailboat and are most frequently used for docking, anchoring, towing, and rigging. Depending on the size of their boat, the weather, and the activity they need it for, most boaters will typically use some type of nylon rope or polypropylene rope.

Nylon rope has excellent stress absorption because of the elastic nature of the material. Given the strength of the wind and waves, this is essential. Nylon rope is also generally affordable, flexible, sturdy, and resistant to rot and mildew. Unlike other rope materials, it’s also easier to handle and stands up well in the sun.

The most popular uses for polypropylene rope include wakeboarding and water skiing, but nylon rope also works. A rope made of polypropylene is almost as strong as nylon and floats, making it ideal for these kinds of activities. But remember that this rope won’t last as long as nylon because it is much less resistant to the sun’s UV rays.

Sailing Blocks

The nautical word for a pulley is “block.” Sailing blocks help perform a variety of tasks on a sailboat. Lifting big objects and resisting strong forces with rope is much easier, thanks to blocks. They also prevent damage to ropes when going around sharp corners.

These integral parts of the rigging are usually located in the cockpit. They can be made of bronze, stainless steel and even wood which is an excellent choice for preserving the look of older sailboats.

sailboat equipment ropes sailing blocks

VHF Radio

VHF (Very High Frequency) radios have a range of 8 to 48 kilometres and allow for two-way communication. With their restricted on-water range of cell phones, they are far more dependable. A VHF radio is typically the quickest way to contact rescue organisations, a towing company, or the harbormaster in coastal or inland waterways. Talking with other boaters, listening to weather reports and alerts, phoning the race committee, and contacting a lock or bridge operator are some more uses.

There are fixed and portable radios. Fixed radios are more reliable, but they can also weigh more which can be a downside for some boat owners. One of the lightest and smallest fixed VHF/DSC radios on the market is the iCom M330GE. The front face is as small as a smartphone. Despite its diminutive size, the IC-M330GE has exceptional performance and ease of use, packed in a stylish design.

Standing Rigging

You may need to replace the standing rigging depending on how old your boat is, how it was used and treated, and how it was maintained. Corrosion and broken wires are warning indicators that a wire rope is past its prime.

The standing rigging is what keeps the mast in its upright position. Consider the sails as hands that push on the mast like a large lever. All of the force must be transferred via the standing rigging to the sailboat’s hull in order to prevent the mast from breaking or bending. While some of the power propels the sailboat ahead, other portions of the force heel (push) the sailboat over.

equipping your first sailboat standing rigging

General Buying Tips

And, of course, there are more pieces of sailing equipment than the items mentioned in this article. Some are for your boat’s protection, others for your safety, and a few are for comfort and plain old fun. Generally speaking, most marine supply stores will keep a range of products in the following product categories in stock:

  • Equipment for rigging, flags, wind indicators, shackles and fittings for anchoring and mooring;
  • Pumps, heaters, kitchen and cooking appliances, plumbing and toilet supplies, and refrigeration equipment;
  • Deck brushes, general DIY equipment, varnishes, polishes, sealants, lubricants, and paints;
  • Instruments for GPS and navigation, maps, compasses, clocks, and barometers;
  • Radar and autopilot technology.
  • Chargers for solar and wind energy, batteries, power inverters, plugs, and switch panels;
  • Headlamps, touches, and another safety lighting, as well as interior and exterior lighting;
  • Life rafts, flares, horns, life jackets, emergency supplies, danbuoys, and throwlines.

And for a better shopping experience, here are some tips that can help.

Accept Advice

Since they are usually part of the sailing community themselves, many chandlery owners and employees take pride in their product knowledge and the guidance they can give consumers. Use their help, especially if you are new to the marine business and may be prone to purchasing the wrong goods.

sailboat on ocean

Take Advantage of Online Shopping

During the times of lockdown, buying chandlery online was the preferred way to outfit your sailboat. As a result, online sailing gear stores have vastly improved their customer service, with free returns and next-day delivery becoming standard. And of course, you can compare prices and goods offered by different stores to find the best deal.

Ask for a Discount on Bulk Orders

You might require a large quantity of some items more often than you can imagine. This is usually the case when buying blocks or ropes. Because the owner or his family frequently run the chandlery shop, the staff is quite receptive to discount requests if you’re buying in bulk.

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