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Old 13-05-2012, 22:50   #241
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Re: The Cruisers Essentials List

I was in Costa Rica and the Canal Zone this last winter- and I agree to use the Visa is much easier. Have not flashed a lot of USD since I was in the Amazon around Iquitos. That was a few years ago. When people are poor it just seems bad taste to pull out a wad of 20's.
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Old 14-05-2012, 03:13   #242
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Re: The Cruisers Essentials List

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I'm thinking about getting the credit cards you can buy & load with whatever denomination you want. The even sell the cards in grocery stores so I can get as many as I need and only put $500-$1000 on each so it won't hurt as bad if hacked. I have places to hide a small card or even add money to them online so never have much aboard and use as I go. Not sure how it will work exactly but it's sounding like a good idea.
Make sure you read the T&C's especially on the expiry date - would be slightly annoying to find that 12 months (?) later your cards were no longer active, or cash had been lost? .


In regard to the unviversal currency thing, I don't think there is one. Unless you are going somewhere with serious currency restrictions (and therefore an active blackmarket, with usually a known in advance preference - probably USD) then any of the major international Currencies (USD / EUR / GBP - and likely a few more) will be exchangeable for local money easily enough over the counter at a bank (or similar), or failing that your cards will spit out local currency from an ATM. Many Shops and Hotels etc (but no guarantees) will likely accept "your" currency - but usually at the cost of crap exchange rate.

IMO really no substitute for local currency, the only potential problem is getting some - especially when first arriving. For that making sure when you leave (if you ever intend to return - or think that you may do) that you retain enough to get you started just in case you arrive at the wrong time (i.e. a national holiday - and the nearby ATM is empty, and the next one is a short taxi drive away. or you wait a day or so). You just have to swallow the currency risk .

To my mind wandering around (and trying to spend) your own currency in someone else's country is simply bad manners, plus it does kinda mark you out as a no nothing tourist (not to say that always possible to avoid!, but IME every little helps). Plus in practice whilst you may be able to spend "Your" currency over the counter likely you will get the Tourist rate....that coke may only be $1, but tastes better if it costs 50c - even if you have to pay in local currency.


On the security thing, more is better by that meaning more than one hiding place. On the person I find (in addition to a wallet - still useful as don't want to be accessing your secure / secret stash everytime you want to buy a coke!) that a belt wallet (loops onto the belt and drops inside your trousers) works well - is discrete to wear and a bit more hidden than a money belt. In regard to onboard, a locked safe / fixed money box is useful - if only to prevent casual pilfering, but a few hidey holes also good - the main problem is remembering where they are / what is in them! With boats there be a squillion choices, which makes it a lot harder for someone to rob than a hotel room - as me Missus explained to me, only takes 30 seconds to "clean" a hotel room, "everyone does same" (and not many choices). Not to say that she ever did that!, she was a bit more direct . Would have made a good(?!) Pirate .
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Old 15-05-2012, 10:29   #243
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Re: The Cruisers Essentials List

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The autopilot argument is a little misleading. To have an autopilot that steers to the wind and has sufficient power in a storm is a big ticket item. Rock an x5 for a grand for motoring and light air. You don't need an amazingly powerful autopilot for benign winds. Two days at forty knots made me appreciate a wind vane. Even at the high side, a hydrovane is about 8k, an x5 is 1k. Under ten grand. Don't need a chartplotter or even an electronic wind instrument. Fully integrated autopilots imply a cost to all the surrounding systems.
For a single hander an autopilot is a vital piece of seafaring.
There were good ones; Neco to start with.
Today it is rubbish. Thanks to overtake after overtake of companies, making things cheaper and worse.

Windvane is (for me) no solution. My boat is small but heavy and a hellish creature in following waves (due to the undeep keel).
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Old 15-05-2012, 11:31   #244
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Re: The Cruisers Essentials List

I would agree that some type of autopilot is essential for ocean work. I think that what you use on your boat is secondary to your way of sailing. My auto is still changing, but for right now I am too cheap for a Monitor.
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Old 16-05-2012, 02:30   #245
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Carry cash, now is the least useful thing. Especially carrying a " reserve" currency ( is that the yuan now ! ) because I was always getting appalling exchange rates when I bought stuff. ( and usually you were caught in a had to buy it now position)

Credit cards and debit cards are best. Carry as many as you need. Definitely ViSA and MasterCard. Forget Amex and the others. Generally you need a small amount of local currency or reserve currency say like 200-400 dollars equivalent.

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Old 16-05-2012, 02:49   #246
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Re: The Cruisers Essentials List

Visa & MC are also in Europe the most common cards. Now we have international PIN also the regular bankcards are the quickest way to pay, so the costly charges of Visa and/or other cards are avoided be it that your bankcard is a direct debit.
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Old 17-05-2012, 07:57   #247
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Visa & MC are also in Europe the most common cards. Now we have international PIN also the regular bankcards are the quickest way to pay, so the costly charges of Visa and/or other cards are avoided be it that your bankcard is a direct debit.

Be sure to carry a couple though. We used the credit cards a number of times (even to get cash until we found the high $ charge to use!) with no problem until one day...we were having so much fun we forgot to check the expiration date. Oops. Luckily, we had another that we could use until we could get home!
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Old 17-05-2012, 10:07   #248
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Re: The Cruisers Essentials List

Not only own more than one, but have an emergency stash with a card and whatever you need to get home. In a watertight container next to your ditch bag?
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Old 17-05-2012, 16:01   #249
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Re: The Cruisers Essentials List

"Forget Amex and the others. "
Not so quickly. Amex used to settle foreign currency transactions daily, so you knew you'd pay what the rate actually as. MC/Visa actually got sued over their policies of clearing currencies once per month, and often charging their customers more than Amex did.
In addition the real Amex cards (not what they call the "junior" cards) give you some perks like having mail sent to the Amex offices globally and held for you. These days, it pays to look at all the options. And especially to ask what the foreign currency policies are, because they are not all the same.
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Old 17-05-2012, 20:33   #250
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"Forget Amex and the others. "
Not so quickly. Amex used to settle foreign currency transactions daily, so you knew you'd pay what the rate actually as. MC/Visa actually got sued over their policies of clearing currencies once per month, and often charging their customers more than Amex did.
In addition the real Amex cards (not what they call the "junior" cards) give you some perks like having mail sent to the Amex offices globally and held for you. These days, it pays to look at all the options. And especially to ask what the foreign currency policies are, because they are not all the same.
That's all very well but virtually nobody takes the card anymore. Try buying diesel with Amex LOL

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Old 18-05-2012, 13:36   #251
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Quote:
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For a single hander an autopilot is a vital piece of seafaring.
There were good ones; Neco to start with.
Today it is rubbish. Thanks to overtake after overtake of companies, making things cheaper and worse.

Windvane is (for me) no solution. My boat is small but heavy and a hellish creature in following waves (due to the undeep keel).
Not that you brought it up, but I'm a sure a big reason that wind vanes aren't as popular on this forum is because of cruisersforum's love of catamarans.
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Old 18-05-2012, 13:44   #252
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Re: The Cruisers Essentials List

As I wrote often, Cat's are no use here. With the unsteady winds of the present I prefer to have the electric type. I found an old Neco and will pursue this further. Some parts are missing and might be an obstacle. Windvane is for Ocean cruising, not what I do.
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Old 18-05-2012, 14:12   #253
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Re: The Cruisers Essentials List

What also works well as a Plan B (or more acurately is a Plan Yikes!) - is having someone back "home" who you can rely on to Western Union down a couple of K of "get me out of a hole" (or outta Dodge!) money - at the drop of a hat (phonecall). For that I used to leave a couple of signed cheques with me Father (he always had the cash to go instant - but helpful for me not to rack up IOU's).

Appreciate that you can do the same with Wire Transfers from bank accounts - but Western Union works.....and is quick - sometimes with Wire Transfer abroad (or even domestically) can take a while for money to surface, even if you do get good value on the date (i.e. the receiving bank did have the cash - just didn't know it!) IME it happens just enough to be annoying when needing cash ASAP.
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Old 20-05-2012, 15:56   #254
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Re: The Cruisers Essentials List

I don't know if a metal sextant is really necessary. I think the plastic Davis Mk sextants work just fine. They're smooth and easy to operate and they're really lightweight, so your arm doesn't get tired and it makes it easy to take an accurate reading in choppy weather.

I also think solar panels should be on the must-have list! Either that or a wind turbine. Something besides a motor/generator to charge the batteries.
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Old 23-05-2012, 03:48   #255
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I don't know if a metal sextant is really necessary. I think the plastic Davis Mk sextants work just fine. They're smooth and easy to operate and they're really lightweight, so your arm doesn't get tired and it makes it easy to take an accurate reading in choppy weather. .
Couldn't agree more. In the early 80s, when i was a kid, we were crossing oceans fine with a plastic sextant. In the upcoming passages, I will be teaching my 10 y.o. son how to do the calcs since he already knows how to kiss the horizon with a plastic one. And he is more than capable of adding and subtracting numbers that do not exceed 360.

It was hilarious in West Marine a couple of years ago when I asked for a plastic sextant, dividers and parallel rules. They said they had none of that in the store, it had been years since they sold them and would I care to see the section which was totally dedicated to chart plotters?

"no thanks, get the old stuff in and I'll buy that!"
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