Personally, I wouldn't go to Mexico
without all of the above, except perhaps the watermaker IF you carried way over 100 gal of water and preferably more. Sure, some boats don't have an electric windlass but you tend to avoid putting out enough chain in that case and that is not a good thing. I don't remember anyone who had a manual windlass
was happy with that after they got away from home.
You absolutely MUST have a good bimini/dodger. The sun is relentless in the southern latitudes. You get a lot tireder standing watch with waves drenching you in rougher seas and rain. The heat and sun are killers down south. An autopilot
is a MUST as well.
And remember, if you think gear
is expensive to install at home, just imagine how expensive it is in the Caribbean
and Mexico IF you can get the right parts
. If you need it get it now, unless you have more money
than I do and have the patience to wait in foreign ports
for friends or other cruisers to bring down equipment
(or you fly up and return with it yourself).
But if you are young and like roughing it, don't drink or use much water, don't mind hauling up 200' of chain with an anchor
on it, can stand watch for hours at a time (in the daylight much less at night) when you are fatigued beyond the limits of safety
, and don't mind being sunburned to a crisp on a hot boat, then fine, go ahead without these basics.
If you can afford it now, I'd go for it now. If the reason for delaying it is to wait and see if you need it, don't pay any attention to any of the large number of people who have already been there and done that, then go ahead. But you'll have plenty of work to do in foreign ports
without finally equipping your boat with these items.
My apologies if this sounds too preachy. It's the result of seeing too many sailors down there who regret not having this gear
. You can get by without a radar/chartplotter (but need some kind of charts
for everywhere you go), AIS
LOL, liferaft (understanding what risks you are taking), SSB
, and some other gear (like an outboard
if you can handle rowing in and out of swell in Mexico or plan to stay in marinas
and you have a rowing dink). But you absolutely need enough electricity to run your lights when sailing at night, at anchorage, your VHF
. Amazing how quickly you burn through that. One of my pet peeves are boats without anchor
lights and/or running lights (go LED!). You can do without diesel
a lot longer than you can water. Getting water from shore in your dink, or having it delivered to your boat, or going in to marinas all the time are real hassles and expensive. You will need to do it without a watermaker but you need to avoid doing it every week. And you can live with a manual windlass
if you are fit enough.
I totally understand the money
, time, and the hassle issues of trying to do too much. IMHO the guys who say "just do it" and have left without these items have not gone to Mexico and stayed for long. I have seen boats without these but not many. I know lots of cruisers who rued the day they planned to add stuff in Mexico or the Caribbean. Just sayin'....