December 17, 2000
Cruising canvas in the Trades under Bequia, Grenadines
Stern-to a coconut palm under Ste. Lucie's Pitons
Deep Bay, Eustatia Sound, Virgin Gorda, off charters' maps
Shaft seal/transmission repair at Bobby's Marina, St. Martin
Same, Bobby's Marina is in Phillipsburg, St. Maarten NVI
Same, the old Brittany way: Carenage at AYC dock, Rye NY
November 29, 2000
PIANISSIMO, List of Past Offshore Upgrading Works, What worked, What did not, What needs correction:
(Hull, Steering, Anchoring, Rigging, Sails, Dinghies, Interior, Engine, Galley, Electrical, Nav., Instr., Safety)
HUL 1, Deck Leaks: Re-bedded cabin windows and hatches were dry. But mainmast wiring thru-deck fitting (FIX), deck joint (FIX one winter?), port drain elbow (FIX), stanchions and chain plates, all leak rainwater (seawater in heavy swells or spray) on head and cabin soles, despite silicon caulking attempted on chain plates. Main cabin sole needs a drain to bilge, to avoid having to sponge after heavy rain/spray. 4" porthole on head sole is too awkward for drying mast pole foot under sole: CARVE OUT HEAD SOLE, leaving rims for strength, to fit a Bowmar hatch or no cover at all (OK under teak grating), for better access to drain and storage.
HUL 2, Dodger: new windows stayed clear, but stbd zipper now tears open easily. After rain reached fwd bunk in 60+knts storm wind, heavy clear curtains were made in Horta to hang on bimini zippers, with velcro and snap opening down the middle, providing good shelter from rain and cold, with good visibility of Autohelm/wheel
HUL 3, Cockpit lee-clothes: were measured but not acquired. They might have reduced cockpit filling every 20 mn by rogue waves during height of storm. But spray is normally rare (dodger sufficient) and it is so nice and empathic to see and feel the sea close by, better for watching horizon too, so no regret so far.
HUL 4, Bottom Paint: 60% Cu Pettitt ablative antifouling held very well (now standard on Moorings’ charters, with 2 additional foot-wide coats at waterline. Was refreshed with 3 coats in St.Martin, Jan00, plus 2 coats at waterline. Moisture check in St. Martin, Jan00 showed same small spots/areas aft port as before, RECHECK at next haul
HUL 5, Awlgrip: looked amazingly perfect for 2 years through St.Martin, then nicked by dinghies, smeared by inch thick tanker bilge spill (Clifton, Union), colored at bow by brown ICW waters, possibly weathered by Caribbean UV
STE 1, Steering: Rack-and-pinion wheel connection very robust, needs checking/adjusting yearly for play (Nov99 last). Lazaret has room for Cape Horn windvane and Autohelm 1000. Unload and return Windhunter which worked a few days only, with many defects despite many replacements: corrosion, leaks, hard steeering, Autohelm 4000+ wore out fast in offshore swells: frequent jump-offs despite belt replacements; gear play; one small wheel bearing broke in June, so Raytheon replaced the whole steering wheel module. Refurbished pilot seems to worked well on LI Sound’s small waves, wind to 30kts, once Raytheon-Windhunter hydraulic jack was disconnected.
STE 2, Rudder: No problem with new rudder (‘98), gudgeon seal (‘97), and original rudder post and lower bearing. (HUL 6) Post upper bracket (in lazaret), reinforced with glass and resin, had no more play despite heavy weather
ANC 1, Electric Windlasses: Powerwinch 501 (rope) and 35 (1/4" GT chain and ½" rope) did well, 501 routinely lifts the usual tackle: 22# claw + 30’ of 3/8" chain (previous 8’ of chain was unable to help the Claw/Bruce hold)
ANC 2: Second anchor line (30ft chain, 150 ft 5/8’ nylon along rail in sunbrella fold, 22lb Claw on bowsprit) was systematically used for day and overnight anchoring, with 2ft long reinforced plastic hose to prevent chafing on roller and on Delta anchor (at rest on stbd roller). 35lb Delta w/150’ 1/4"GT chain + 150’ ½" nylon was briefly tested but not used in fact. That chain needs to be regularly cleared in the well, especially after heavy listing or rolling. This is helped in daylight by clear plexiglass plate replacing original deck pipe obsolesced by windlass
ANC 3: Bowsprit reinforcement, moving chocks to the bowsprit foot: Good, NEEDS spare rollers and butterfly nuts
ANC 4: Heavy shackle at the foot of bobstay was never used, but available for long towing or mooring (eg,, shock-absorbing nylon cum hook on the all chain rode: to splice in permanent place?).
ANC 5: Original neoprene roller on centerline wore out to axle during a 20 hour tow at 6.5 kts in calm + swells, then as lead for drifter tack line to cleat. NEEDS replacement (design?) but new rollers both sides prevent axle removal
RIG 1, Flying Forestay: Sliphoek attachment to bow chainplate, plus chafing liner on spreaders: Kim’s transition (SAL 1) piece and the whole system worked well for heavy weather jibs: hank-on yankee or 80sqft/10oz storm jib (which might better be 100 sqft). It also allows to set two poled jibs (Genoa + Yankee) for running downwind, used often in 5 to 35 kts winds (roll Genoa), especially when wind may rise too fast for the pole-less spinaker/drifter
RIG 2, Mast steps: Rope ratlines sag, teak ratlines expensive and complex, plus windage. Extend mast steps to boom
RIG 3, New self-tail 6" primary winches (Anderson all SS) were invaluable, and old winches moved to cabin top too. Garhauer (all SS) rope clutch great (triple stbd: main and staysail halyards, topping lift; double port: spinaker)
RIG 4, Mizzen mast: (a) stays were upgraded to ¼" 316SS as specified by Gilmer; (b) flying backstays added in (HUL 8) way of head sheave of new mSS/MOB halyard; (c) original arch support was reinforced at junction of feet to hull bottom, where large flat unstiffened area flexed under load and caused mizzen mast to move back and forth, and lean forward in way of main boom. Check if any hairline cracks in reinforcement or around reinforced area.
RIG 5, Mizzen sheet: Bring forward on boom, inside pushpit, out of way of wind vane, fishing, hydro-generator
SAL 2, StoBoom Mainsail: As was of concern, StoBoom proved inadapted to offshore work, because taking extra turns requires coming into the wind, and even re-sending the whole sail if existing turns have been submitted to high wind pressure. During the unannounced (dynamic fetch) rising storm of 9-10July99, with initial turns good for 2 reefs but more needed, up to 10-12m steep swells and 50-65kts wind did not allow coming to. Main stretched around boom inner rod, a full batten was permanently twisted (removed since), and sail stowing remained very difficult. Worse, in a forced gybe, boom overcame preventer, and the lower 3 sections of mast track were torn off. Repairs in Horta consisted in replacing thin SS squares by thicker squares capable of 3 screw turns instead of 1-1/4, and using mechanical screws with hollow excel heads that could be reached by an excel key through the plastic sub-track in which the sail’s luff tape is retained when hoisted. Main sail was used only twice briefly since 4Jul99 in light head winds, each time with difficult re-stowing into boom even in good weather. ACTION: Deploy main sail to recover, unship Stoboom. Dismount Stoboom track (needs mast down?). Alternatives: (a) re-install previous boom with old sail (both recovered from J.Geils, have old main sail examined) and modify stoboom sail for old track and straight luff without battens plus 2 reefs (no need for 3rd reef: drop sail, reefed mizzen is enough); (b) new Profurl boom, very expensive as it requires new mainsail and solid vang with 35 degree or more (check if possible at all); (c) do away with mainsail altogether in favor of full size mizzen staysail, accepting low performance (or more frequent motorsailing) in light headwinds. PRICE 3 ALTERNATIVES
SAL 3, Mizzen Staysail (mSS): Small mSS (20x17x10, 1.5oz ripstop) was handy and fine for winds 5 to 15kts, at (RIG 6) 490–30 deg fwd, +80 aft. If wind is dead aft, prefer twin jibs. Tack is at main mast foot, or moved to foot of lee or upwind backstay (on lee backstay, can combine with twin jibs in light breeze, as stud’sail), depending on wind angle and jib/mss masking. Sheet goes through snap shackle on mizzen boom. Halyard on hinged sheaves, upmast and down across port primary winch, is handy for ensign, or winching MOB. Mizzen backstays are stowed against forward mizzen stays, deployed with mSS or in heavy winds and seas. Adjustable Triatic of Spectra/T100 drew favorable comments from English cruisers who liked ability to let go or cut if one mast "totters", to save the other mast. CONSIDER FULL SIZE MIZZEN STAYSAIL, eg, 20x20x15-18". Possible alternative to mainsail (SAL 2)?.
SAL 4, Mizzen: new 10oz, one reef/free border sail was bent on all year. Reefed in 15-30kts wind, with 7-11 turns on Genoa typical. Down in strong beam/down wind for helm load. Inspect old mizzen, add reef if good enough.
DIN 1, Dinghies: Portable stowed well on port rail line, but tended to fill up from fwd under tow unless kept very short (2ft line), lifted against transom and hitting it, whenever waves were short or steep, ie, often in 15-35kts trades. Inflatable stowed well ahead of fwd hatch, but oars were the wrong ones, had to make special rope attachment
INT 1, Storage: Port hanging closet improvement (with 2 plastic bins) kept dry cargo despite leaks along hull wall. But deck leaks create abundant wet spots in side shelves (cabin and kitchen), and under settees
INT 2, Settees: heavy plastic sheets placed under the two settees with lifted rims protected mattresses from deck leaks. Cabin settee mattresses, which took a week of sun to dry on deck in Horta, were never wet again.
INT 3, Storage: Existing storage hammocks above settees, and lee-cloths keeping sleeper or paraphernalia on settees, all made of nylon netting, were practical and effective, cool in tropics. Moving off and on the back seat on stbd settee to reach storage is difficult, unless all 3 screwed studs are tightened at appropriate protruding length
INT 4, Holding Tank: check if clean before setting up for US waters. There are no pump-out stations offshore US
INT 5, Mosquito screen: material for hatches was acquired in Lanzarote, but not fitted by lack of time or laziness. Best solution to moskito problem seems to be small battery-powered French fans with replaceable product cartridge
ENG 1, Shower Pump: New Pacific did not work, even after cleaning filter. Water, even when drawn , falls back into sump. FIX (Pump, check valve, blow lines?)
ENG 2, MaxProp: may have lost some forward power in swells (check e-mail discussion with Frederick, re: change pitch?) but good in reverse. Put vaseline when idled for long, as barnacles can grow fast and block deployment. End zinc corrodes fast, even when shutting off batteries and hanging zinc from mizzen stay, was reduced to thin lace when changed in Horta (underwater, Aug99), St.Martin (on hard, Jan00) and Rye (at dock/low tide, Oct00).
ENG 3, Propeller shaft: Disconnected from transmission box, as detected on leaving anchor at Mindelo, Cape Verde (no power forward or aft) and confirmed at sea during Hurricane Lenny’s calms (30N in 10 days, 2400N route took 24 days to St.Martin!): shaft had pulled aft 2", stopped by zinc placed inside bilge gouging into shaft seal face. We had to be towed in and out of Anse Marcel, before sailing to Bobby’s Marina in Philipsburg, to lift and replace trasnmission coupling (damaged original, no locktite on locking screws), as well as dripless shaftseal with new PYI, same as on Swans, completely passive unlike previous Boatyard-installed Tide Marine (see ENG 4)
ENG 4, Dripless shaftseal: Very difficult access to original shaft seal caused Boatyard to recommend dripless seal. Yard installed Tide Marine instead of envisioned PYI. I discovered too late the cooling water hose, and expressed concern as non-passive. Indeed, a small leak developed in the Azores (after 2500N), but only under power when pressure is applied to seal cooling water. Inspection in connection with transmission cable replacement in Porto Santo showed the hose to be half torn, possibly in connection with rotation of the shaft seal, and heavy salt water splash corrosion in the area behind the engine. Hose was replaced, but was found cut again when shaft seal was replaced by PYI in St.Maarten, as forward seat was damaged when shaft pulled from transmission. PYI replacement has worked very well since (don’t forget to squeeze out the bubble on launching). Cutlass bearing sleeve was very corroded. Check again whole area for corrosion, including transmission cable (see ENG 5). Discuss ENG 3-5 with Yard, and reinstall zinc on shaft in bilge to hold in case of disconnect, as was omitted in St.Martin (locktite was argued to be "sufficient" after omission was discovered despite clear instructions)
ENG 5, Transmission Cable: On arrival at Porto Santo, Madeira Group, during maneuvering in stiff wind to take fuel at commercial dock, I found no power aft. Fortunately no other consequence than a big scare for crew and dock manager, and light damage to port anchor roller and bobstay (re-check bobstay for hairline cracks). Transmission cable was found broken (power fwd available as cable was pushing inside sheath against broken end) by heavy salt water corrosion, whether from aforementioned recent splashing, or other, longer term cause that should have been identified winter 98-99. It took 9 days to replace: 8 days to obtain via Funchal ferry, plus 1 day to install, and replace shaft seal hose with reinforced fuel hose. Gear and gas handles have become sticky (together, need to hold one when working the other), so check again, correct stickiness, and keep cables well greased.
ENG 6, Transmission Oil: Boatyard had advised there would be no need to change oil, but noises in Tenerife-CV (possibly due to shaft slowly disconnecting) caused checking in St. Martin. A pint of oil was added to low level
ENG 7, Westerbeke 30: main diesel worked well, seems to consume 0.6-0.7 gal/h at 1800rpm (x1.25 = 2250 on gage), and 0.8-1.0 gph at max. continuous power 2200rpm (x1.25 = 2750 on dial) which can be required in heavy head winds and/or swells. Oil and oil filter were changed every 70-120 hours (steady operation offshore at 1800 rpm is kinder than typical coastal off/on operations where 50 hr oil change is recommended) in Horta, Tenerife, St.Martin, St.Vincent, Virgin Islands, Luperon (Hispaniola), Cape May. Every other change: Drainage from bottom plug (rather than pumping through dipstick tube), fuel filter and raw water impeller changed. New water pump was installed on two changes (Horta, St. Martin), but there still seem to be raw water leak in pan (FIX).
ENG 8, Gauges: Yard-installed Voltmeter failed after a few weeks, Fuel gauge after a few days, so dipstick tube was handy. A two ft ¼"dowel is used, with notches every inch, for about 5 gal intervals (50 gal in 9-10" tank height)
ENG 9, RPM, alternator: indications multiply actual rpm by 1.25 since new Ample 100A alternator was installed. There were several instances of "no indication from start", or "lost indication", sometimes linked to no charge. This led to re-tightening alternator belt, including at sea, so make sure you have procedure and tools pat. INVESTIGATE with Westerbeke why slot on engine drive wheel is too small compared to second wheel and alternator, causing early wear and tear on belt. LIST all belts identification and dimensions (alternator, water pump).
ENG 10, Zincs: not changed on engine or water heater, as location could not be found. Any other zinc besides shaft?
ENG 11, Starter: had several repeated non-starts wheezing, worsening (more non-starts and grinding noise before each starting: bendix problem?) from Flores to Horta, AZ. Could not find replacement/repair all over Horta, except in the end, by sending to Lisbon, so brought back to New York, for repair via Peter at Boatyard. Also bought "pre-owned" spare from same source. No problem since, despite 0.33v starting battery per E-Mon…
ENG 12, Fuel Filters: 2 Racors in parallel proved very handy when brown algae/goo seeped in (Tenerife). Fuel circuit diagram was painfully established then. When changing underway, make sure to turn valves in right order! Sight bowls regularly, and permute every 6 months or when dirt shows. Despite electric fuel pump (a great addition), 3 (rather than only 2) injectors need to be lifted when purging airlocks on re-commissioning fuel system. Biobor was religiously added ever since at each refueling…
ENG 13, Filters List: List adapted fuel (primary) and oil filters from different manufacturers. Avoid over-tightening. Primary fuel adapter was bolted through wall in St.Martin (other side is wet locker, used as dry locker) as screws came loose. If staying in Canaries through Harmattan (sand laden wind) season, consider air filter (currently empty).
ENG 14, Automatic bilge pump: light detected and measured well cooling water leak on first dripless shaftseal. Spare submersible bilge pump was never wired and rigged: suction and exhaust flex hoses on hand, need wire and 12v connection (where) for use all along the boat bottoms (cabin sole, bilge under engine) and deck (anchor wash?)
ENG 15, Seagull Outboard: Fuel valve unavailable in NY, so engine was stored empty until Horta, where a Yamaha (DIN 2) cycle valve was installed. Still, it heated up and sputtered off after 15 min. at Tobago Cays, so was left in Bequia for repairs. Descaling cooling water circuit, and a new injection pin are supposed to make it new ($400!)
GAL 1, Water: Rain recovery was never necessary, with 60+ days of drinking water on board at the start, and bottled replenishment everywhere. Tank water was only used for cooking, washing and deck shower (fed through forward hatch from shower tap in head, also connectable to kitchen tap for cockpit use), but Clorox or Iodine was on hand. A PUR 35 water maker (fwd of stove, quick disconnect for emergency evacuation) was not used, nor the PVC tap installed in the port cockpit locker on the deck drain hose. Longest offshore legs trips were 19 (NY-AZ) and 24 (CV-StMn) days, each lengthened by 5 and 10 days by calms, but a Long Island skipper was stuck between Bermuda and Azores for 60 days in calms when his engine froze, and he was lucky to get water from a passing freighter. In retrospect, get enough bottled water for all drinking needs, and you can shower at leisure albeit moderately, especially if you cook un-pealed potatoes and lobster in seawater, and rice or noodles in 1/3 seawater.
GAL 2, Freshwater System, FWS1: the twice-repeated leak under the kitchen sink did not reoccur, but a similar leak affected a connection under the forward sink against the aft bulkhead: A very short section, hence lacking flexibility to compensate for even slight misalignment, pulled off several times in heavy seas.
GAL 3, FWS2: Port hand pump had to be dismounted, and plunger exchanged with saltwater hand pump (seawater service less essential than icebox draining), both cleaned. New 3 valves arrangement allowing to choose Icebox Drain (normal), or FW Tank (if electrical pump fails) or 2ft Suction Hose (eg, to tap into tank, bottles) worked well.
GAL 4, FWS3: The engine-actuated heater gives very hot, often boiling water: Can it be SET AT A LOWER TEMPERATURE? Isn’t it time to check and change a ZINC ANODE? (where?)
GAL 5, FWS4: The suction pipe in the water tank (aft, stbd corner) detached at the soldered top, due to corrosion. It was very hard to dismount, then repaired in Sao Miguel AZ, but with too short a tube section, leaving a good inch at the tank bottom as "unpumpable". CONSIDER replacement?
GAL 6, Stove: Wayfarer (2 burners + grill) worked well, except the grill’s spark lighter, which broke off very early. The electrical supply cable was cut much too short, ignoring the gimbaled motion. REPLACE with longer wire!
GAL 7, Propane bottles: should be aluminum, since they will not be exchanged. Refill is a rare enough operation, so it is not worth the risk of getting an unsafe bottle. Aluminum would avoid the rusty print under the spare bottle on the stbd waist. A 10 lb "squat" bottle in a "minilocker" (Trident, via Defender), atop the port aft bench, provided a wonderful seat with good comfort and visibility, still protected by the pushpit. Each bottle lasted several months, and the "European" adapter was all that was needed to refill twice, in the oil tank farm north of Arecife, Lanzarote; and just before entering Marigot in St. Martin. Island gas is butane or mix of propane-butane, which worked well
GAL 8, Microwave and Toaster oven: were used twice in Horta while shore power/charger lasted, and take room. Cooking crew (a blessing!) preferred propane. Larry used pressure cooker on thick aluminum griddle for bread.
GAL 9, Kitchen sink: Too deep, allowing seawater in the bottom, with heavy corrosion and smell of stagnant gray water, made worse when closing the new valve under the sink. A solution to problem I is to install new, 2-3" shallower sink with screwed bottom closure (try first such closure on existing sink, if it can be cleaned?). Problem II may require emptying directly through a new thru-hull, preferably aft of raw water intake, if one wants to avoid frequent heavy bleach flushing. (but is it worth an extra thru-hole in the hull?)
GAL 10, Adler Barbour Super Cold machine: Worked very well, but never made ice unless under excessively prolonged running under power, so ice trays were discarded to give more room inside cold box. Much room for bottles/cans allows to live without ice cubes or bits of (rare) ice blocks after a few days at sea. Sea water cooling option remains available, but did not appear necessary, with air suction from the cool bilge, and opening port cockpit locker when practical for freer air exhaust (avoid cramming that locker full to cover). AB Cold Machine enough?
ELC 1, E-Mon (Ample): worked well, most useful, but showed steady loss of voltage on Optima starting battery, down to 0.30 volts after 15 months… despite superior starting. INVESTIGATE with Dave Sneade. AGM batteries have more than 2x205 AH in hot tropics vs. 163 AH at 40F back home, underwent only one or two "deep cycles" (down to below 2x50AH), mostly operated between 100% and 66%, thanks to solar. Can they winter on board?
ELC 2, Solar Panels: two Siemens SP75 worked well, feeding through a Steca 20N charge controller via two 20 ft leads, and 3-prong plugs located on the left side of the switch panel above the four breakers (440AH Housebank/ Optima Starting Bat/Parallel/Windlasses). To close the hatch on the leads, a 0.5"x2" slot was cut at each upper corner of the top hatch board, allowing the leads (and the CARD cable) to sneak under the hatch cover heave, when the cover is closed and locked. Optimum exposure requires moving the panels around, easy enough in harbor. But, after fixing the panels on the port cabin side for the Trades crossing, I left one as is and just moved the other on top of the Plastimo Canister (survival inflatable) located ahead of the dodger, and that was good enough, given the necessity to use the engine from time to time in harbors or islands lee. Only one panel is needed if away long term. If a triple regulator can be found, consider using 3x55W panels rather than two 75W, for better modulation of power supply, more available suitable locations, and less awkward moving between these locations.
ELC 3, Lighting: Most incandescent bulbs were progressively replaced by (a) LED which are expensive, dim (red only good for running light), often short or zero-lived. Halogen w/adapter is much better value for light/energy/cost.
ELC 4, Galvanic Insulator seems to have performed, if only by staying unheard; also Parallel Solenoid, unless causing E-Mon to show voltage wrongly declining to 0.33v on starting battery? TRACE inverter functioned well, but charger rattled (relay chatter?) with no charging at the end of Horta stay after working for a couple of weeks on new 230-110v/15A/50Hz Transformer (30A setting was reduced by half, to 15A as instructed by Trace engineer for 50Hz operation, after first engineer said no change needed). No charging/chatter on US 110V/50Hz. FIX.
NAV 1, Running Lights: Port red running light burnt, replaced with red LED bulb for energy economy, but used only as back up to masthead tricolor/strobe. CHECK why white mast top light went out in June99 storm.
NAV 2, Compass: Main Compass froze off and on, then for several hours, between Flores and Horta AZ, did not happen since. Bubble appeared on cold weather in 1999, hampers visibility when steering to compass, disappears in extreme heat. Compass light was connected to masthead running lights, and cockpit plug replaced in Punta Delgada with heavy duty stainless plug, but frequent faults still affect compass light connections (CHECK & RESOLVE)
NAV3, Charts: Bellingham 2/3 scale copies less expensive but found by crew to hard to read (need magnifier with built-in light). Consider only large routing charts (eg, No.12 for North Atlantic) plus latest guides: Ann Hammick’s The Atlantic Islands; Chris Doyle’s Leeward Is./Winward Is.; Bahamas Yachting Guide, plus charts of refuge harbors, eg, Casablanca, Dakar, Luperon (hard to find, I drew a useful sketch from cruiser gab!) Beaufort, Bermuda. Exception is beautiful Caribbean Yachting Charts from Germany, very readable with latest data (5 sets).
INS 1, Depth Sounders: Interphase Probe forward looking sonar worked well, although display went blank for no (SAF 2) discernible reason a few times on approach below 10 feet (CHECK via e-mail?), requiring putting on the old sounder, which is supposed to be stopped to avoid interference. This is easy due to a switch on the side of companionway for the latter. No interference was noted from barnacles/weeds, or when both transducers worked simultaneously, but no systematic and long tests were made. Note sensors are on separate sides of long keel.
INS 1bis, Wind: mast top connection was omitted in Spring 99, made up aloft. Ten days at sea, data disappeared despite power supply OK. Three weeks ago, data reappeared, but speed is erratic (normal, too small or none) and direction is false. Latter should be re-calibrated, but connection needs checking and re-doing for better reliability
INS 2, CARD Radar detector: works well as long as (a) it is tuned close to zero like a squelch and (b) incoming
(SAF 3) vessels have their radar working. A number of large vessels did not operate any of their several radars (antennas not revolving), including a large passenger ship steaming around Formentera SW point in the Canaries! That is very dangerous to cruisers who need 2 or 3 alarm clocks set every 20-30min, even less for faster boats/cats. TRY LOBBYing SOLAS for harsh penalties for not operating radar: Radar watch is unenforceable, but radar-less sailboats can’t detect and avoid large ships if these don’t operate at least one radar. Fishermen are more excusable.
INS 3, Reflectors: Two large Davis reflectors were initially hung on spreaders, one in rain catch position, the other (SAF 4) on double rain catch as recommended by Practical Sailor. Several ships acknowledged seeing us well from afar on their radar, including with only one Davis up, which became the normal procedure, due to losing both sides at once to chafing (4 such events in 10 months at sea despite chafe tape, so keep one ready to hoist).
INS 4, HF Receiver/Fax: Si-Tex HF NavFax/Receiver with software for laptop was rarely used after initial test, even in US waters. Speaker was replaced in Bahamas as magnet had rusted. Portable RadioShack HF/SSB receiver was used offshore for France Radio weather forecast, but it failed to predict, even acknowledge the 10 days of calm induced in the trades zone by Lenny!
INS 5, Satellite Magellan GSC100 email cum GPS: GPS worked fine, but Sat Communicator Mode was most (COM 1) frustrating, even when back in west hemisphere. We did not receive any message until back in Caribbean, and very rarely at that (one out of 5 or 6, random origin, also applies to Orbweather). The Italian station passed a few messages from the Africa coast and Cape Verde, then total silence both ways until a few hundred miles from St.Martin. Dozens of messages were sent from ship, and there was no difference between the few which arrived and the many which got lost. Since we did not receive any ms for the first 10 months (and only a few among many after that), we could not guess that our wives were totally without news during hurricane Lenny. PS review noted user unfriendliness, but we were not so much bothered by that as by a total lack of reliability and a scarce, poor, in some cases unintelligent support. Equipment to be returned.
INS 6, GPS: My Magellan GPSs (above plus Blazer) worked unfailingly, but 900+$ for a GPS on the otherwise (NAV 2) unserviceable GSC100 is very expensive! Double 12 volt cigliter and/or (for GSC100) 110v adapter. Crew’s Garmin ("Vasco de G…") and Magellan GPS 100 also worked well. Unship LORAN and antenna!
INS 7: Davis sextant, Mary Blewitt tables were never used. 3-5m offshore swells often mask horizon. SELL
SAF 3, Lifelines: Forward turnbuckle of port upper lifeline broke off in storm. Rusty spots abound 2yrs after lifeline replacement: better to avoid plastic sheathing next time, in favor of PLAIN, NAKED SS WIRE.
SAF 4, Plastimo Inflatable/Canister: never opened (bought Nov98, needs inspect./service); hydrostatic trigger never unpacked. Located on brackets on top of hatch cover shield, it hampers forward visibility (forward dodger window is clear and large enough) when you sit inside the cockpit, it helps to have a higher seat, eg, on the propane box (see GAL 7). Other possible location is aft stbd, across propane bottle, after removing Windhunter wind vane module.
SAF 5, Misc. Safety: survival bag (EPIRB, VHF, fireworks, rations, ship’s papers/passports/cash/creditcards), knockdown ability (shock cords and hooks on all drawers, icebox cover et al.; addhesive rubber seals on cockpit lockers and lazaret cover); rope handhold near stove (plus cooking belt, which cracked and had to be re-sown once), each side of forward door, head, above settee for quick standing; ring on each side of cabin stairs and jacklines. Clear procedures on harness (to be hooked upon climbing off cabin) and lifejacket with strobe light and whistle. Wood plugs attached near each thru-hull. We never used the locking bolt installed to secure main hatch from inside
SAF 6, Emergency tiller (2). Small compass attached to stbd fwd bulkhead in cabin is spare. Repair compass light.