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We have developed a philosophy of building redundancy into our life, from redundant systems on the yacht to redundancy in financial arrangements. We want to have some type of back-up for virtually all systems and 2 or 3 for very important ones. Read on if you are planning to join us.

Yacht Systems

System Primary Redundancy or Backup Notes
Anchoring 45# CQR 1. 22# Danforth on bow
2. 20# Fisherman
3. F37 Fortress, storm anchor
4. F11 Fortress stern anchor
We keep 2 anchors on the bow and one on the stern ready to go, others stowed.
Engine w/alternator 1. Solar panels and wind generator
2. Spare alternator
3. Emergency regulator
1. Both secondary systems provide 'hands-off' methods for keeping batteries topped up; we used them for 30 days of sailing when engine failed
3. We built an emergency alternator with light bulbs and switches to bypass defective Balmar regulator.
Bilge Pump 500 GPH automatic system 1. 3500 GPH automatic system
2. 10 GPH manual pump in cockpit
3. 30 GPH manual back-up pump
4. Engine driven back-up pump
5. High-water alarm
See our Bilge system design for details.
Communications 1. VHF
2. Marine SSB
3. Mobile phone
1. Handheld VHF
2. All-band ham radio
3. Iridium satellite phone
Compass Magnetic compass at helm 1. KVH fluxgate compass
2. Two handheld compasses
3. Autopilot has fluxgate compass and display
This is probably the most important navigation instrument off-shore
Computer Toshiba Tecra Toshiba Satellite We try to keep our data backed up and critical programs on both PCs.
Emergency Notifications 406 EPIRB 1. 126 MHz mini-EPIRB
2. Inmarsat C
3. Marine SSB
1. Short range but good for location finding
2. We are not registered with Inmarsat, but they will respond to an emergency transmission
3. Of little value since few organizations monitor the emergency channels.
4. Seldom useful since VHF range is short and few ships are DSC-compliant yet.
Fresh water pump Electric FloJet pump Whale foot pumps  
Fresh water supply Two water tanks 1. 10 gallons of fresh water in jerry cans
2. Watermaker
We carry water in jerry cans to drink in case our tanks become contaminated.  The watermaker can be used when we are motoring for extended periods of time.
GPS Garmin 126 GPS 1. Handheld GPS
2. GPS jacket for iPaq handheld organizer
Instruments B&G Network:
1. Depth
2. Wind speed
3. Wind direction
4. Speed indicator
Independent systems:
1. 2d depth sounder: lead-line
2. Handheld wind meter
3. Windex masthead unit; telltales
4. 'Walker' towing log; GPS
Off-shore the instruments are not very important; close to shore the Depth Sounder is your most important instrument.
Navigation Charts Electronic CMap system on personal computer We use the electronic charts a lot, but still consider our paper charts to be our 'primary' system.
Outboard 8 HP Yamaha 2 HP Tohatsu Actually, we have given our back-up outboard away, but carried it for many years and it was comforting when in areas where outboards were targeted by thieves
Steering Autohelm 4000 1. Monitor windvane
2. Autohelm tiller pilot
3. Hand steering
4. Emergency tiller
Emergency tiller connects directly to rudder-post thus bypassing the helm and all cables. The Tillerpilot can follow a compass heading while using the windvane mechanism to steer the boat.
Weather information Buoyweather email messages via satellite phone 1. Inmarsat C receiver
2. HF radio broadcasts
3. Cruiser nets
4. Weatherfax
While in marinas the internet is the best source; off-shore we use all of the methods identified.


System Primary Redundancy or Backup Notes
Email Hotmail 1. Backup accounts at other services for land access
2. Stratos account for access at sea
3. Inmarsat C
We have found selective blocking of access from some countries to some services in the US.
Financial Checking account with VISA card Independent accounts and cards at 2 other banks with reserve funds.  
On-shore storage contact One relative Two or more alternates including all possible means of contacting them. We lost over $10,000 of family belongings when our primary contact moved.
Web-site updating FrontPage 'Publish' function via phone line 1. FTP file transfer via satellite phone We have often found it difficult to connect our PC at some Internet cafes or have been unable to find internet cafes

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