Haven't been back here for awhile to see how you are doing. Sounds like things were going fine till you ate it on your bicycle. Bike's are great transportation and exercise but terribly unforgiving of error or inattentive drivers. Have ruined both my shoulders trying to ride above my skill level. Hope you are heeling well and off the crutches by now.
We made the trip south from in the '70s in . I believed in KISS then and still do. Glad to hear that your seeing it that way also. It seemed that the more toys on the boat, the more the misery. We had no refrigeration
, kerosene 2 burner stove with oven
, kerosene lamps, a mast head
fluorescent running light, self steering
vane, a ham radio
with manual tuner, and four sails
Our W32 was a true cutter
, the rig we sailed with most of the time. We had a Reacher drifter for light air conditions. The main had three reef points. An asymetrical spinnaker
instead of the Reacher and a genoa
would be the only sail changes I'd make in retrospect. Would put roller reefing on the head
stay. We sailed most of the time with a double reef in the main. seldom used the first reef point and the third reef point only once. We had a single spinnaker
pole for poling out one head sail. We dropped the main and used the main boom to pole out the other headsail for dead downwind sailing. On your boat, you will probably get more drive from the main. Would definitely have a third reef point added to the sail when the wind
kicks up and you need to go to wx. The conditions sailing around the Islands will give you a better idea what you need for headsails. If you don't go with roller furling
, consider having a reef point added to your working jib
. It will carry you through all but survival conditions and cut down on a sail bag. A genoa
and an asymetric would probably keep you sailing in almost all conditions.
Kerosene lamps don't work in SoPac. The water and air temp are so high, the lamps make the cabin
too hot. Get some efficient fluroescent or LED fixtures for the lights that you will need use the most.
If there is any way to swing it, try and get a 6-12 month visa before you leave. We loved the Marquesas
, visited all the Islands and then went on to a couple of the Tuamotus before going on to Tahiti
. We had a 6 month visa so weren't rushed to get on to Papeete like most of the rest of the cruisers. Papeete is forgetable unless you like to be tied up next to a freeway. Only stay there as long as it takes to do what you need to do there. We really liked the solitude of the Marquesas in June-November. The freeway was closed from the US by the Hurricane
season so we had the Islands to ourselves. Of course, there were a lot fewer boats out there then so there may not be a low season anymore. You will probably not be able/want to try and lay the Marquesas from Hawaii
. It will be an uphill trip from Tahiti
but not a bad sail.
The Tuamotus are great if you like to dive. Take a good spear gun, not one of those junk Hawaiian Slings. You'll have fresh fish
for every meal if you care to jump in the water and paddle around. Be sure that you are set up with a good mask and fins and a weight belt so you can make yourself neutral buoyant. It's easy to get down to 50' free diving
if you are slightly negative buoyant. A rash guard would be a good thing to have but you won't need a wet suit. A decent dive light will also insure unlimited Lobster. We got so sick of lobster that we turned it down if people offered it and only dove for it ourselves a couple of times a month after the new wore off.
stuffs to take. Canned butter, it will keep for about 6 months without refrigeration. Really needed for those Lobster feasts and the good French Bread available everywhere in FP. Take plenty peanut butter. Never ate much of it before or after FP, but the baguettes cry out for PB. It's grossly expensive to buy it down there. Popcorn makes a great/easy snack, is easy to store, and cheap
. There were no greens available, except Papaya, outside of Papeete when we were there. If you crave fresh greens, and you will, get a sprouting kit and stock up on seeds. The Mormons are a great source for dehydrated/freeze dried foods. We bought a lot of different stuff but wished we'd taken more soup mix, dried green peppers, and cheese. The stuff wasn't the most appetizing by itself but really added to stews, noodles, beans, etc. when mixed in.
Talk to the local fisherman and get yourself set up with good lures and a fishing
kit. You don't expensive rod and reel. A couple hundred feet of 200# test hand line and Stainless Steel
leader will get you a lot fish for not much money
. We always dragged a line when approaching an anchorage even if we didn't want to eat a fish, if caught. A nice Mahi will win you lots of friends among the locals and is a good barter item for the local produce.
One note of warning. Don't eat any reef fish in the Marquesas, lobsters and Pelagic fish are safe even if caught close to shore. Ciguatera is endemic to those islands and the locals don't know what's safe. Fish in the Tuamotus, that we visited, are safe but check with the locals before you go spear fishing
. The Tahitian Islands have some Ciquatera but they are pretty much fished out so not that much of a concern. The locals seem to know what areas are safe to fish if you do try your hand.
As I said before, get an awning. It will keep the sun off the decks and make the boat livable. An awning just over the cockpit
is nice but won't do a thing to keep the cabin
cool. We made a pup tent like wind
scoop for the foredeck. It was basically just a rectangle of sunbrella with grommets at the middle and corners of the edges. Tied the peak to the head stay and down to the thwarts at the front. Strapped it down across the deck
just aft of the fore hatch
. It made a very effective funnel to force air through the boat all day long. Only worked at anchor
as the bow had to be faired into the wind.
Get an Avon
Redcrest/Redstart or the Achilles equivalent inflatable
. You should be able to carry it, with one half inflated, aft of the mast. It can serve as your combination dinghy/liferaft. These are good boats for diving
, and shore access. They are reasonably easy to row, will carry 2-4 adults, and lots of gear
. We rowed ours for miles around SoPac after our motor
gave out. Don't know if I'd even want to take an outboard
with me next trip.
BTW, may have a 50 watt solar
panel available this summer if you need one. Have located a couple of used 130 watt panels
and won't need the smaller panel. Of course I have to get the boat to Kona from SF but that's planned for this summer. Any plans to sail to Kona anytime soon. I keep getting a sailing Jones with my boat in Alameda and me here most of the time. Might even be talked into helping you with some projects.