Saturday, February 18, 2012

More Cruising Gear

Still tethered to the dock here in Marsh Harbor anticipating another trip by Mike to the U.S.A. as his mother`s health deteriorates.I have been thinking of more items that make our boat life easier.
1. a sailrite sewing machine that we used to ensure a full cockpit enclosure which protects my redheaded husband from too much sun and acts as a protected porch area adding space to our small boat.Mike has used the machine to restitch stress areas on our canvas and several sails from people who had rough crossings.
2. Spot  allows us to update position of the boat for our concerned family and has a panic button to give G.P.S. position to authorities in an emergency
3. St. Brendan`s Isle is our mail forwarding service,they scan our mail and we can print,delete or save mail and they will forward a package anywhere
4. Solar garden lights, we have several on the deck to allow safe night climbing on and off the boat.We use cheap ones from Harbor Freight and Home depot rather than pricy marine versions
5. Divers Alert Network,includes a policy for medical advice and medivac transfer if needed for a small yearly fee.The safety updates and beautiful diving magazine alone are worth the price
6. Step stool that folds,being short it allows me to get off the dock with all the tide changes as well as reach down into the bottom of the refrig
7. Lightweight clothing,we have switched to mostly very thin fabrics as laundry everywhere is 4 dollars to wash and 4 dollars to dry,I am too lazy to bucket wash all clothes,we really only need one pair of long pants and the light weight fleece jacket for cold fronts early in the season so most cold weather clothes were off loaded last summer
8. Travasack bedding,this is a sleeping bag concept with the sheets top and bottom that velcro in,have had ours 4 years with one extra set of sheets to rotate and love it,makes bed making a breeze.We also bought hypervent fabric as bottom layer to help wth condensation as well as Froli system that works as an innerspring followed by boat cushions topped with 6 inches of memory foam,we bought a king size memory foam topper from Walmart and cut it to size allowing doubling in the vberth
9. Sodastream machine, have had ours 5 years and love it,we make diet cola,root beer,cran raspberry sodas and never have to haul cans or bottles or dispose of the trash
10. A.T.M. card,the best local restaurants have cash only,Marsh Harbor has atms for Royal Bank of Canada and Scotia Bank that are safe and reliable.You also need cash for entry fee into the Bahamas

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Cruising gear.

I have been asked a few questions about what gear we use on our boat, so I an posting a list of the gear we use. Just remember I probably like too many creature comforts and our list is not all "must have" equipment. We are not roughing it !  We spent a few years preparing for cruising, getting the boat ready, going to cruising seminars at the Annapolis boat show and West Marine, reading a lot of other cruisers blogs, and cruising forums on the Internet.

1.  Adequate battery bank           We have 3 group 27 batteries for the house bank  and one group 24 deep cycle for starting with a automatic charging relay between them.

2.  Solar Panel                           Ours is a 130 watt Kyocera panel with a Blue sky MPPT solar controller. I would like 1 more panel!

3.  Wind Generator.                   We have the Air Breeze wind generator. it does have as high of an output as the AIR-X but it starts charging in lower wind speeds and is self regulating.

4. Anchor windlass.                     We have a Lewmar PF 700 as that is what would fit on our boat. It is so nice to push a button to raise the anchor.

5. washdown pump.                     As you raise the anchor and Muddy rode it is indispensable to clean them for storage before your anchor locker is full of mud.

6.  Good anchor and backup.       I have a Manson Supreme with 200' of chain and 200' of 3 strand for my main anchor and a Lewmar Delta with 25'of chain and 250' of three strand for a backup. ( I have never had it all out but I sleep well )

7. Dock Lines                             At least 6 long dock lines and a couple of spring lines if your are taking a dock as you will be tying to pilings and not side tied to a floating dock.

8. Dinghy !!                                 Your dinghy will be your taxi and main transportation while cruising. A hard bottom dinghy is preferable as it tracks better, won't abrade through when you drag it ashore on beaches and coral. You also need an outboard large enough to move it along.

9.  External WIFI antenna.         We have a ALFA WIFI USB antenna ( $40. ) that will pick up a signal in most anchorages. There is some free WIFI , but you may have to pay to log on. Some marinas have free WIFI but not all.

10.  Engel Freezer                     It is nice to have Ice, freeze extra fish, lobster and frozen meat.

11.  Watermaker.                      We have a Spectra 150  It is not a necessity but it makes our life much easier for us, we do not have to carry extra water on deck, haul water when anchored out, and skimp on showers.

12. Pressure cooker.                 Helps to reduce fuel usage while cooking and tenderizes tougher cuts of meat.

13.  Extra containers for fuel and water on deck with a way to lash them down.

14. Racor 500 fuel filter with plenty of spares and biocide for suspect fuel.

15.  Oil change pump, plenty of spare oil and filters.

16.  Honda 2000 Generator.     Great to have so you don't have to run the engine at anchor when wind and sun don't keep up with the demand .  Also will run water heater for hot showers and small appliances.

A fellow Cruiser Tom on Dreamcatcher has some great tips and a good gear list and links. Here is a link to his blog;

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Marsh Harbor Marina & Jibroom Restaurant

I have returned to the Bahamas from Ohio and visiting with my mom, she is now stable and not in pain and in a nursing home being taken care of. Family is close by to her and we will be in contact with them while we continue our cruises. We are docked at Marsh Harbor Marina and will use this as a base while we spend the rest of the winter in the Abacos just doing short one or two day trips to the neighboring Cays and returning back here. The staff here has been great to us and constantly checked up on our boat and Chris while I was away. The marina is a small  68 slip family run business and they feel like family to us, we couldn't of picked a better marina to stay at. Marsh Harbor is a great place to base yourself while sailing the Abacos, there are numerous different Cay's all within a day sail from here and all of the provisions, fuel and transportation is nearby. The airport with daily flights back to the US is a short cab ride from the Marina so that anyone can fly in or out whenever they feel like. The weather has been perfect so far this winter with only one cool spell for a day or two. Chris has not had to wear a fleece jacket at all and we sleep with the hatches open every night. So maybe we will visit the far Bahamas next winter.