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bell ringer
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Next year I plan to quit working, sell the house, and cruise full time. I plan to spend the first years cruising the Eastern US coast, The Caribbean, Central America, and Mexico. I consider all of this really just coastal cruising.

Currently I'm only planning 1 boat upgrade before leaving since there are lots of opportunity to buy stuff as needed so it is best to wait to verify that something really has a need. But if you have/were doing the same trip, what equipment and upgrades would you put on your boat?
 

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A bit hard to answer, not knowing the extent of your inventory of gear at present...

But for starters, I would make sure you're covered as regards a light air sail inventory, whether that be a Code 0 or asymetrical. In my observation, the inability to keep moving thru the light and moderate stuff seems to be the biggest failing among the cruisers I see up and down the East coast, especially as boats are becomeing more and more loaded down with all the crap some folks think they can't live without :) I seem to recall you don't have a downwind pole, either, I'd add that to the list...

I think your general approach is a sound one, however... Excellent idea to resist the temptation to acquire stuff, before you really feel the need for it...

Oh, and if you aren't already using a Rocna or similar as your primary, get one... :))

Just my opinion, of course...
 

bell ringer
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I didn't list my current equipment so the thread would apply to more than just to me. As example I already have a oversized Manson Supreme with 350 feet of chain.
 

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I am not sure I would call what you propose as coastal cruising. Yes its not like crossing oceans, but its a lot different from harbor hopping on Long Island Sound. I would take a look at the equipment requirements for offshore/ocean races. Quite a bit more extensive than the USCG requirements.
 

Junior Member
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Not sure I'd treat that cruising too lightly. The smallest things will drive you nuts, as there will not be a WM or hardware store on every corner for the little bit and bobs that keep our boats on the go. You probably already have tons of spares, that is where I'd put my spare change into. Last week used stain, sannpaper and brushes I bought in Malaysia last year. Tomorrow sewing some Sunbrella projects from material I hauled back from the states. Used velcro today that has been on the boat for ages. Found that my sewing palm has deteriorated beyond repair, a quick trip to Rolley Tasker is in order later this week. Replaced two snaps on a hatch cover today as well. Filter changes later this week. The list of spares used on an ongoing basis is quite extensive. Better then money in the bank.
 

Over Hill Sailing Club
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+1 on spares for everything, tools for everything. I consider a windvane an essential piece of gear. Also an SSB radio for weather, safety and a HAM license for email (or else a sat phone) so you can stay in touch from anywhere. Sat phones are nice but costly. Wi-fi and cell phones become non existent a short distance from shore and if you visit remote (the nicest) places.
 

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Hey,

If you are going to be on the boat for extended periods of time, comfort becomes very important. I would make sure you have things like comfortable cockpit cushions, cockpit shade from a dodger / bimini, a real mattress for your main berth, real gear for the galley (pots and pans, cooking utensils), and that sort of stuff. I don't live on my boat (nor do I plan on it) but after 3-4 days aboard I really start to miss the comfort items. My boat is not really set up to cruising, just day sails and a few overnight trips.

Barry
 

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Get a chart :) You've listed a huge cruising goal for one year. If you don't mind going at an easy pace everything you need can be obtained along the way. It will be fine.
 

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Auto-pilot and/or self steering

Good coffee making technology ( if you're a coffee drinker) I like a french press.
A good thermos

Fishing gear, a good net, and a strong bucket.

Good reading material for those days you are boat bound.
 

Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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I would not be quite so casual in describing your route intentions. When you say Caribbean where do you mean?

I agree with the idea of spares and general purpose stuff. I would want a raw water pump for the engine, they seem to go fairly often and are no locally available in most places. Take enough diesel fuel treatment and the like. We could not get the stuff made by Racor in Australia (Parker, the company that makes it were there but did not import it). We have found various uses for some wide rubber tape used to seal edges in backyard fish ponds and for shrink wrap tape. JB Weld is wonderful stuff.

I think you either want vane steering or an autopilot system with lots of backup (or an entire redundant system).
 
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Old soul
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Our route is similar to the OPs, although we're including a bit more northerly cruising (Newfoundland & Canadian Maritimes). We're well equipped for self-reliant cruising, and already carry a lot of spares. I'll be adding a few more engine ones, like a spare water pump (as KS suggests). And I second Jon's comment about light-airs sails. In our first 1500nm (through the Great Lakes) we've already learned how vital these are.

The things we've left off the typical equipment list so far are:

  • EPIRB: Even in NFLD, we'll rarely be outside of VHF range.
  • Sat phone &/or SSB: Not clear what our long-range communications needs will be.
  • Watermaker: We carry 200 gallons of water. Will see if we can manage without.
  • Big outboard: We carry a small outboard. Most people say we will regret this decision. We'll see...
  • Liferaft: Hope I don't find out this is needed ;).
Before heading down the St. Lawrence I am making two additions to the boat: Radar & more solar.
 

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[*]Big outboard: We carry a small outboard. Most people say we will regret this decision. We'll see...
Ya, you'll feel like a putz. While I'm rowing in from the anchorage the other cruisers have gone roaring by to and fro 3 times or more at 20 knots for internet, cappuccinos and doggy walks. Your life will be miserable like mine without a 15hp or more RIB.
 

Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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Mike, my reactions to your omissions, and I know this is a so far list.

...

  • EPIRB: Even in NFLD, we'll rarely be outside of VHF range. Not sure about this one. I think I would want an EPIRB or possibly a sat phone, if you can get a plan where the time does not expire. Rarely being out of VHF range means you sometimes are. Many of the outports are now abandoned and there won't be that many fishing boats out there and precious few cruising boats.
  • Sat phone &/or SSB: Not clear what our long-range communications needs will be. See above. I think increasingly a Satphone is coming to replace SSB, although we have the latter but not the former.
  • Watermaker: We carry 200 gallons of water. Will see if we can manage without. That is a lot of water and you will be places where water is readily available and generally free.
  • Big outboard: We carry a small outboard. Most people say we will regret this decision. We'll see… Don't know who the 'people' are what big and small are here, but we have a 6 hp motor and I was thinking yesterday that I generally don't run it very hard. Probably could have done with a 3 hp or something similar.
  • Liferaft: Hope I don't find out this is needed ;). Something I would want. Considering the cost, look around for sales, it is something that I consider essential. I don't think you need one of the really expensive brands. We have a Viking offshore (cheaper brand) and it will have to do if the worst happens. Look at the service interval and pick one with three years (I don't think there are longer ones, and don't know if there still are one year intervals - that can get expensive in a hurry.
Before heading down the St. Lawrence I am making two additions to the boat: Radar & more solar.
Certainly need radar for where you are going. We have a cheap digital radar and am quite impressed with it. As for solar, how much do you have? We have solar and wind and appreciate the fact that most days it is either sunny (NFLD?) or windy. Down here it is both so we haven't had to run an engine for power in the last month.
Cheers
 
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formerly 'BoatyardBoy'
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I'm going on a limb not knowing what you have, but safety items should be first. Inflatable life jackets (because they are more comfortable), harness(if not built into the pfd), tethers, jacklines of appropriate material and size. Also, if you don't have a VHF then you should get one and a backup handheld or two handheld radios(they can be inexpensive or expensive as long as they can hail on 16). Spare life jackets and throwables, flares and other lifesaving equipment.

I'm sure there's others but that the bare minimum necessities.

Oh and make sure your nav lights work and have spare bulbs if you have incandescents or a spare portable nav light(think the flash light clamp type or the cool Navilight deals)

- Ronnie...on the geaux
 

Old soul
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Mike, my reactions to your omissions, and I know this is a so far list.
Thanks Bruce. I really appreciate your thoughts on my list. I don't want to steal the OPs thunder here, but just answer, or flesh out my comments:

EPIRB: I know there will be places we'll be out of VHF contact, with no one close by should something go very wrong. I guess I'm comfortable with that risk. But we may decide to add this item to our list.

Sat Phone: I would happily purchase one if I could afford the ongoing expense. If anyone knows of a plan where minutes don't evaporate, I'd love to know about it.

Our outboard is a 3.5 hp. It moves our portabote extremely well, but all too often I've been told that we're going to regret not having a 20+hp zippy RIB. So far I can say they're wrong ... but I live to learn.

The liferaft question is a constant one. It's both a cost-benefit analysis as well as a risk assessment. I haven't seriously considered different types/brands. Perhaps I should...

We have 100 watts of solar, and and 400 watt wind generator. The combination is great. I figure with another 150-200 watts of solar we will be completely independent of the diesel.
 

bell ringer
Joined
6,187 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I spent a couple of minutes making the following that I will add to during the next year to check and consider the items:

Autopilot
Chart plotter/gps/charts
VHF
Engine filters and oil
Various electrical connectors and wire
Good primary anchor & secondary back-up
All normal safety items (vests, flares etc.)
Couple good flashlights
Good dinghy and outboard
Way to charge batteries other than main engine
Refrigeration
Good batteries before leaving US
Dodger and bimini/sun shade
Cockpit cushions and outside pillows
Extra fenders and dock lines
BBQ
Good mattress
Good cookware
Music
Way to watch a movie once in a while
Non-raggy sails
At least 50 gal fuel tankage/storage
At least 100 gal water tankage/storage
Curtains
Fans
Heat
Good company
Good salon cushions
Board/card games

Notice I'm not very focused on disaster items.
 

TROUBLE
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Our outboard is a 3.5 hp. It moves our portabote extremely well, but all too often I've been told that we're going to regret not having a 20+hp zippy RIB. So far I can say they're wrong ... but I live to learn.
I'm with you Mike. We have a 9' dink and 6 hp outboard. So far, it has worked out well for us. Light weight is a plus for us since we don't have davits. If you have a beefy set of davits, and a 40'+ boat, by all means go with a rib and big outboard.

I just might invest in an EPIRB, since the price has come down quite a bit. With no life raft, getting picked up sooner, rather than later, would be good.

Ralph
 
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