Join Date: Aug 2008
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From someone who has been there, these are things that I think are essential if you are truly going offshore in the Atlantic and want to be safe as possible. Sat phone, SSB, Weather Fax, Radar, AIS, underdeck autopilot, back up autopilot, storm sails, large anchor with chain rode, back up anchor, liferaft, Solas flare package, electronic barometer, GPS chartplotter, jacklines, harnesses.
Things that are nice but not essential. Crash forward bulkhead and/or water tight bulkhead, storm shutters, storm drogue, generator, electronic charting, HH GPS.
If you have a production boat you might want to look into stiffening the large panel sections in the hull, upgrading hatch to offshore version with reinforced hatch opening, reinforced portlights with lenses upgraded to Lexan, upgraded scuppers to increase drainage, upgraded dodger to larger tube size, upgrade halyards with Kevlar cover in area of masthead sheaves, add additional attachment methods for storing the pole. Replace any hoses that are suspect and make sure all through hulls are operational and double clamped.
I'd also think that you want a fiberglass professional to asses all the tabbing on the boat and reinforce where necessary. A thorough going over of all mechanicals and spares would be prudent. I'd also replace the prop shaft, cutlass bearing and have the engine aligned if they haven't been done in the last couple of years.
Now if you are going to the Bahamas by way of South Florida pretty much everything above is unnecessary.