keep it simple.
if you're heading south, ventilation should be a big consideration. at anchor
you will usually face into the wind
, so arrange to have as many forward facing opening hatches and ports
you can fit. get or make windscoops too. and screens of course. we are fortunate that our boat, a csy 37
, was designed for caribbean
cruising - it has six overhead hatches and nine opening ports
skip the watermaker
. we cruise
the east coast
and the bahamas
and have never been in a situation where we were running out of water
. it's widely available and not that expensive; i think we paid twenty cents a gallon last summer in the abacos. a lot cheaper than buying
, installing, and maintaining a watermaker
. and you may not want to run the watermaker some places because of water
spend the money
on solar panels
. we have one 135 watt kyocera
and it provides about half the electricity we need; when i get around to installing a second panel i have never have to run the gen again. if you're in the buying
mood, get lead acid golf cart batteries. simple to use and maintain. we have four.
for an anchor
light i suggest the bebi owl. (google it). it's an led array that's incredibly bright (my boat always stands out in the anchorage) and uses almost no power at all. also much more reliable than my old davis anchor light.
and of course, if you're anchoring
out, don't forget EXCELLENT, not just GOOD, anchoring gear
. all chain and big anchors. on your boat i would recommend no less than 120 feet of 5/16" high test chain and a 35lb manson supreme. in our neck of the woods most anchoring is in less than fifteen feet of water so 120 feet should be enough for an all chain rode
. don't be one of those guys who uses clothesline and a walmart anchor and then drags all over the harbor.
bags are good and simple, although we elected to modify a garden sprayer instead.
we have a small propane
heater that runs on one pound cans. we fill the cans from the 20lb bottle with a little device that costs about twenty bucks. after you've filled a dozen cans the device will have paid for itself. it takes the chill out of the room but on cold nights we find a sleeping bag is still best.
wind vane self steering
is expensive and a pain to use. any good wheelpilot
should do well on your long keeled boat. a friend of mine with a similar boat uses the raymarine
which he's pretty happy with. i use the cpt autopilot
of course. nice to have a small outboard
too. bicycles are not a necessity and can be a pain in the neck. most cruisers i know who started out with bikes got rid of them early on.
just keep it simple. the less you have the less you will fix. for instance, i don't have an onboard gps
plotter. i use a simple handheld gps
- no charting. got three of them now, bought for under fifty bucks apiece from people who just had to upgrade to the latest and the greatest.
one more thing to get. cruising guides
. nothing like reading up on the places you want to go way in advance of actually going. it will give you some encouragement to go ahead with your plans and you won't feel like a stranger when you get there...