Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New England
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It is pretty simple to plumb a head so that the holding tank can be easily pumped out. A composting head may be more trouble than it is worth, since disposing of the waste on land may be an issue, especially since the waste really isn't safe to dispose of unless it is fully composted, and in most cases that won't be true.
You will need all the standard safety gear: Flares, Horn, PFDs, etc., in addition to the cruising gear.
Some things to consider:
1) Electrical usage--One of the best investments will be a good battery monitor to see what your actual electrical usage. Without knowing this, you can't plan your battery bank size or passive recharging system with any real accuracy.
2) Fresh water--This is a scarce commodity, and not always available or free in the Caribbean. Having a watermaker is really your only option, unless you really want to cart jerry cans of water around on a regular basis.
3) Refrigeration--The only choice for refrigeration on a boat like yours is 12 VDC based refrigeration. I'd point out that refrigeration isn't a necessity, but it is awfully nice to have. Engine-driven or 110 VAC refrigeration really doesn't make sense on a boat that is going to be anchored out most of the time. A small 12 VDC refrigerator, like the Engel portable refrigerators, can be run off of the house battery bank and the load can be handled solar panels. I keep my boat on a mooring and run the refrigerator all season long using solar panels.
4) LED-based lighting--This is one of the simplest ways to reduce your electrical load. However, you do have to be careful about your navigation lights. Using non-USCG certified navigation lights can leave you liable in a collision.
5) Cooking Fuel--Propane is probably the best fuel to use overall. However, it can be somewhat difficult to get at times. Getting composite LPG cylinders reduces the problems of rusting, and they're far more economical than the aluminum cylinders. Diesel is another possible option, but temperatures can be difficult to control on diesel cooktops. Alcohol is probably the least desirable fuel, as it is more expensive than diesel or propane per BTU.
Be aware that you'll probably want to learn to cook using basic staples, like flour, beans, rice, pasta, as canned goods and fresh foods can be very expensive in the Caribbean. TVP and fresh caught fish can help supplement the diet in terms of protein, as can beans. However, I would recommend avoiding the reef fish and trying for pelagic species instead due to the risk of ciguatera poisoning. There is no reliable test for ciguatera toxin, so avoiding the fish that can be contaminated with the toxin is probably your best bet.
6) Trash--Be kind to the environment and responsible for your trash. It is probably best to avoid disposable plastic containers as much as possible. Also, avoid bringing cardboard containers aboard, as they're often a source for cockroach eggs and can lead to cockroach infestations of your boat--something to be avoided if at all possible.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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