Selecting and equipping a sailboat for
extended cruising offers the opportunity to make a lot of mistakes - and we have
made our share. Print our notes and read at your leisure.
Having selected a yacht based on our knowledge at the time, we believe we
should have changed our criteria somewhat:
||we felt a 38' boat was
the biggest we could handle comfortably, we now believe
a 40'-46' boat is easily handled by a
middle-aged couple, and many handle boats up to 60'
||We focused on US
magazines, books and articles and now believe that
there are many European and New Zealand boats just as
good as US boats, and many are more suited for off-shore
||we did not consider how
the relatively low freeboard of our yacht translates
into wet passages - higher is better as long as the
yacht remains stable.
||We considered a canvas
dodger adequate, but experience in bad weather has
convinced us that a hard dodger with a protected
steering station makes off-shore passages more enjoyable
|In our zeal to add
features, we have probably added too much weight
- Radar - 25 lb at about 20'
- Wind Generator - 30 lb at 15'
- Mast steps on mizzen - 20 lb
distributed over 30'
- Genoa roller furler - 20 lb
distributed over 45'
- Staysail roller furler - 10
lb over 25'
- SatNav and Loran antennas and
cables - 10 lb over 30'
At nearly 2000 ft-lb, that weight
and windage has undoubtedly decreased our stability
and slowed us. Each person should reach a judgment
on what to install and where. We should have
consulted the boat builder before adding this much
weight. Unfortunately we added it one at a time
rather than as part of an overall plan. It should
probably be counterbalanced by 400 lb. at the bottom
of our keel.
||Not much to
say other than "follow
manufacturer's recommendations" - be extra careful to change oil
and filters on or before scheduled
when first noticed - when we have left something to do
'another day' it often causes a more expensive problem
before it gets fixed.
kept Long Passages exterior teak in
good shape and has narrowed down our thoughts to:
- Varnish - 8 to 10 coats as a base and reapply 2-4 coats per
year provides the best looking finish. Use good quality such as Interlux
- Sikkens Cetol - Next best in appearance and much easier to
apply and maintain - 3 coats initially and 1 coat per year after a quick
- Polyurethane - Our cabin sole has polyurethane and has a few
spots where water has come up through screw holes and discolored it -
repair will be difficult; we avoid using polyurethanes.
||We tend to
use Sika-Flex most of the time since it has
been available everywhere and seems satisfactory. 3M 5200 and 4300 are also
good products, and widely available.
|| If at possible, use
Petit Trinidad - we used
it as long as we could get it in the US and Caribbean, and it lasts up to 3
years. Otherwise we have found that a hard coated paint is best as we
can clean the bottom in anchorages and not remove the paint. Interlux
makes different formulas under different names around the world, and we have
found them satisfactory.
philosophy on items to carry has changed a little since
we left the US. It boils down to:
- Emergencies - Carry what
you need to cope with emergencies and to get the
boat into a safe harbor - oil, filters, tools,
materials to seal an underwater hole, etc.
- Routine Repairs - With
FedEx, DHL, and Airborne Express, one can get most
items almost to anywhere in the world - at a cost -
in a few days. Keep on hand those items which are
most common, easy to stow, and of low cost;
- Power Tools - When we left
the US we had a full set of power tools aboard - we
now believe the essentials are: a 3/8" drill,
soldering iron, and hot knife; all others are handy
but can be rented or worked around.
- Boat Enhancements -
We used to carry lumber and plywood for boat
projects - they have been useful but take up a lot
of room and can be obtained locally or ordered.
- Catalogs - We keep the
West Marine and Defender catalogs readily at hand.
found corrosion between dissimilar metals to be a major
annoyance and maintenance headache
Some examples, applicable to most
- Fasteners in spars -
Stainless screws or bolts in aluminum spars will
corrode in the presence of salt water - always
use a corrosion inhibitor such as Starbrite 'Anti-seize',
'Duralac, or Bostik 'Never-Seez' when
fastening stainless to aluminum.
- Base of Mast - Our boat,
like many others, has a metal base on the keel to
hold the foot of the mast. Water can get onto this
joint and corrode these pieces together even though
they are both aluminum. Use and anti-seize as
mentioned above on this joint.
- Wire Splices - Salt water
will wick into wire splices where crimp connectors
are used, and cause corrosion between the copper
wire and tinned connectors. Use tinned wires at all
times, use the new heat-seal connectors where
appropriate, keep wires away from wet places.
- Hose Clamps - Some clamps
use soft steel for the screw and/or band - we now
use a magnet to check the clamps and discard clamps
with any soft steel parts
- Ground Tackle - Anchors
and chain are a combination of stainless and
galvanized steel so corrosion is possible. We had a
cotter pin disintegrate so that
our anchor fell off -
we now check all fasteners regularly.
- Ignition Key - We found
that the zinc ignition key on our Yanmar reacted
with the chromed ignition switch, and eventually
dissolved the key - don't leave the key in the
switch when not in use, enclose engine panel, and
spray with corrosion block.