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Old 02-06-2008
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The most important piece of equipment

Before we left Hawaii our friends in the Ala Wai had lots of advice about what we needed. One was even interviewed later, after we had been reported overdue at our destination, and told how he had advised us not to leave without a SSB set. Advice we chose not to follow for our own reasons. Most of our friends were concerned that we would not be able to call for help or check in with family and friends during our Northward crossing of the Pacific to Puget Sound. They thought we should carry a satelite phone, SSB or even a ham set or have some sort of email capability. But we considered an EPIRB and VHF adequate.

Our crossing should have taken 28 to 36 days. There has been at least one crossing by a sistership to our Lealea in just 26 days. We made our landfall at Tatoosh island on day 55. We had been reported overdue and some of our friends and relatives were concerned, especially when the Coast Guard called them for information about our plans and our vessel, but those who know us and our experience and our boat were not worried.

The most important piece of equipment? I had balked at the expense knowing that nearly all of the accounts I had read of past voyages by others in similar boats had been made without it. My wife and First Mate pursuaded me, however, and so I installed the Powersurvivor 40E watermaker a few days before we left. We carried 45 gallons of fresh water in the main tank and in five gallon jugs; a heavy load for our Vega 27. It would have been enough for a normal passage and possibly even for our longer-than-planned 55 day voyage. But the water maker made the difference between peace of mind and high anxiety or worse.

We arrived at Neah Bay with six gallons left in the main tank, never having had to conserve even a little bit on water use. In fact, once we realized that the watermaker would easily provide our needs, we made a point of using up the water in the jugs to lighten the load. We ran the watermaker for two to two and a half hours every other day to fill our day use tank without seriously draining our house batteries which were kept charged by solar panels and occasionally running the engine.

We do not regret not having nor do we plan to install any more sophisticated long range communication equipment. That does not mean that others should not do so. We do however consider the ability to survive on our own more important than the ability to call for help or talk to friends and relatives while at sea. Though my mother in law disagrees

I posted nother thread about our trip in the General Discussion forum but didn't mention the water maker there.

Malie ke kai

Last edited by vega1860; 02-06-2008 at 03:52 PM. Reason: to add email notification
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