Every fall, as we watch our friends who have joined the Salty Dawg Rally to the Caribbean get their boats and themselves ready for the challenging passage, I’m reminded of the last minute essentials that go in the passage plan. I’ll assume, hopefully, that all skippers have made their boats absolutely seaworthy and equipped with all the spare parts, tools and manuals needed to repair anything that breaks; and, I’ll assume that the boat has all of the safety gear needed for any emergency and the redundant communications systems needed to signal an emergency, get daily weather forecasts and keep those on shore up-to-date on your progress. So, what essentials often are left to the last minute before a long ocean passage? Water, food and fuel. Drinking water: even if you have a watermaker, you need to carry enough water in tanks and bottles for every crewmember to have at least half a gallon per day for at least twice the number of days anticipated. Food: You need to carry enough breakfasts, lunch fixings, snacks and dinners for at least 50% more days at sea than anticipated, plus a generous store of canned, freeze dried and bottled spare supplies. Cooking Fuel: Enough to last at least 50% more days at sea than planned. Diesel fuel: You should have made a fuel consumption chart for your particular boat so you know how far you can motor at low, medium and high rpms, plus you need to carry enough fuel to motor at least 30% of your anticipated distance, or a minimum of 500 miles. In some equatorial regions, such as Panama to the Galapagos or Bali to Singapore, you need enough fuel to motor 1,000 miles. So, when you see skippers and crews scurrying busily in the days before a weather window opens, these last-minute essentials should be the main things on their lists.