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Old 13-10-2008, 06:10   #1
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ESSENTIALS for Carribean Cruising

So, the boat search has begun in earnest. Carribean cruising awaits this spring, so I thought it might be interesting to see what people who have cruised the Carribean (or other places, for that matter) regard as their most essential piece of equipment on their boat. Anything is in play here, so what is the most essential bit for YOU??
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Old 13-10-2008, 07:17   #2
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Bimini.
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Old 13-10-2008, 07:48   #3
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Dinghy with a powerful enough engine.
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Old 13-10-2008, 07:52   #4
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Interesting that Zanshin suggests "bimini". I'd have to agree. The weather is usually so nice down here that you'll want to spend most of your time topside. Protection from the sun and rain will add a lot to your comfort level.

Our bimini is connected to the dodger with a "bridge" of canvas, so the whole cockpit is shaded from the sun. We added vinyl side curtains to the bimini, which allow us to sit in the cockpit when it's raining, and we can drop one or both of them on the windward side when sailing to keep the salt spray out of the cockpit.

I also had a custom tarp made to fit over the staysail boom on the foredeck, above the forward hatch, which is in the cabin where we sleep. It's nice to have the fresh air, and not have to jump up to close the hatch when the frequent 3 am shower blows through.

Finally, I had a 4' x 6' rectangular tarp made from Textilene, which is an outdoor fabric that has a somewhat open weave. Ours blocks 95% of the light, but it comes in different densities. The tarp attaches to the bimini with "Lift-the-Dot" fasteners and hangs down vertically to block the sun, with grommets and ties at the bottom. Very important at cocktail hour, when the sun is low, and can be blinding. The fasteners are set all around the perimeter of the bimini at proper intervals, so that the sun screen can be positioned wherever needed.
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Old 13-10-2008, 07:53   #5
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1: Ground tackle
2: Solar panels (but I had refrigeration and a below deck autopilot)
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Old 13-10-2008, 09:18   #6
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BBQ - too hot to cook down below.
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Old 13-10-2008, 10:47   #7
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BBQ - too hot to cook down below.
sounds like it may be too hot to do anything down below. is air conditioning a must, or will open hatches/fans do the trick? anyone have a good set up for sleeping in the cockpit?
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Old 13-10-2008, 10:49   #8
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1: Ground tackle
2: Solar panels (but I had refrigeration and a below deck autopilot)

Starfish, any thoughts on solar panels vs. wind generator? how much power do your solar panels actually provide?
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Old 13-10-2008, 10:54   #9
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Bimini.
Spelling wrong - bikini(s) on the foredeck
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Old 13-10-2008, 11:00   #10
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sounds like it may be too hot to do anything down below. is air conditioning a must, or will open hatches/fans do the trick? anyone have a good set up for sleeping in the cockpit?
We installed a lot of Hella fans--ten, as a matter of fact. They use very little juice, and keeping the air moving is the key to being comfortable. As long as you're planning to anchor out most of the time, the tradewinds will keep you cool. If you want to stay in marinas, it might get a bit uncomfortable sometimes, but I don't recall coming across anyone cruising down here who used A/C.

Our forward cabin was always very comfortable. Never felt the need to sleep topside.
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Old 13-10-2008, 11:56   #11
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Spelling wrong - bikini(s) on the foredeck

was waiting for someone to point out the obvious
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Old 13-10-2008, 11:57   #12
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Old 14-10-2008, 11:04   #13
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starfish had mentioned earlier that good ground tackle is important. any anchor types that work best in the carribean? what type of bottom is most prevelant in the anchorage areas?
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Old 14-10-2008, 11:54   #14
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I've anchored in most of the eastern Caribbean islands. It's mostly sand. Sometimes you find sand over hardpan--keep away from that. Sometimes there'll be eel grass, but you can usually find a sandy spot to drop in. In an enclosed basin, like Rodney Bay Lagoon on St. Lucia, you'll find silty mud.

My Delta with all chain rode has performed very well down here. It digs in well, and resets quickly if the wind shifts. In the course of anchoring in "normal" winter-time conditions, we've experienced winds in the anchorage up to 40-45 kts. That doesn't include any tropical storm conditions. Buying an anchor at least "one size too big", based on the manufacturer's sizing charts, is a good idea.
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Old 14-10-2008, 11:56   #15
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... what type of bottom is most prevelant in the anchorage areas?
Most recommended anchorages are over a sand bottom, especially in the Caribbean.

Generally speaking, most anchors will hold well in sandy bottoms. Rock, coral and shale prevent anchors from digging in. If possible, avoid grassy bottoms, where it is very difficult to set the anchor.
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