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Old 16-08-2007, 09:03   #16
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I have been going to the Bahamas since 1990 and can count the number of times I bought water on the fingers of one hand. The last time I bought water was way, way back in Marsh Harbour. Free RO water is available in a few places and there are good cisterns in some other places. In marinas in Nassau there is a surcharge of about $8 a day for water. We usually stay in the marina for a day or so while clearing in and take on very little water (Nassau water sometimes doesn't taste the best) as we have just crossed then. I agree a watermaker doesn't make sense for the Bahamas, with the watermaker comes more electrical requirements. It would be nice to have one and a dedicated generator but now we're talking $15,000 or more.
Rick I
Toronto in summer, Bahamas in winter.
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Old 16-08-2007, 16:53   #17
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Those blue 5 gallon jerry cans are looking, better and better.
Sailing - Just Add Water
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Old 17-08-2007, 15:24   #18
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To Do list are a great thing to have... but as you Must be aware... if you attempt to do half of these things you will not be on the water for the next two years....

Cruising is a thing in progress, take care of the critical safety items first the work then work the list to what ever priority best suites your requirements and budget... but don't consider doing it all before you start to cruise!! It just will never happen....

Also don't write off the Carib. Sailing is often easier than in the area your talking about and far more fun. US and British Virgin Islands are probably one of the easiest cruising grounds in the world... far easier than just getting a cross the Gulf Stream from Florida to Bahamas... not many "mountains" to climb/ walk up in the Bahamas!!!
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Old 18-08-2007, 11:36   #19
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I don't think anyone seriously claims that watermakers are cost savers for the Bahamas - they are expensive and high maintenance. In my view it's really a life-style thing. If you like to sail the out-islands, water is going to be hard to get; you often have to go somewhere else to get it or jerry-jug it by dingy; it often costs money; and it has to be treated/filtered anyway. If you like hot showers everyday, want to make ice cubes, etc.... well, the last thing you want to do is move from a comfortable anchorage in iffy conditions just because you need water. There are an amazing variety of cruising styles, but ours requires a lot of water, few cruising boats carry enough, and we are big advocates of watermakers for the way we cruise in the Bahamas. Power can be an issue and we often ran the engine when making water, but we didn't have to - all it takes it a large battery bank and alternate means of charging it ($$).
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Old 06-11-2007, 03:12   #20
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From what I know (not much), cruising is mostly “ anchoring” and only 5-10% sailing..
Get the biggest anchor you can handle and ALL chain (100” minimum).
Good night sleep is a valuable thing on a boat.
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Old 06-11-2007, 15:56   #21
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Ahoy, Speedoo;

Firstly, congrats on your "new" baby and your cruising plans. You've picked a reputedly well-built design that properly fitted out, ought to be easy to solo.

I'm by no means a Carib "vet" (yet), though I've been down the fixer-upper road (still on that road, in fact), so I may have some useful perspectives. Not to burst your bubble, but I too thought I was getting a helluva bargain: I essentially paid off the previous owners' yard lien and got a free boat. Five years and $120K later she's finally starting to look like a boat again (Reality Check, you are soooo right). Hopefully you don't have half the nightmares I had, but I'd advise that you assess the basic gut-level structural integrity of your Islander before you spend your first cent on gear. Sure, Florida/Bahamas is a pretty small geographical area, but Mother Nature can get awfully testy in this part of the world, and the skinnier the water the testier she can be and the quicker she can get there. I echo some others' sage advice above about thoroughly checking out things like hull-to-deck joint, chainplates, keel bolts, standing rigging. A long day's work from a guy with a surveyor's shingle will be money well spent.

Assuming the good doctor says the patient is fit to travel, I have a couple observations about your wish lists:

13 hp Volvo diesel: I had an MD7A on a Cape Dory 30 years ago; about the strongest current you can make any headway against is 5 knots. I concur with a comment above about the possible hassles in getting across the Gulf Stream.

Four foot draft: You're definitely in better shape than I am with six, but you'll still have to pay close attention to the color of the water ahead in the Bahamas. Even cats drawing 18" can't go anywhere they please.

New Bimini and dodger, aluminum frames, do it myself: Good luck with that, I've been told that one's first homemade dodger is quite the learning experience; also, I'd rather have stainless frames than aluminum.

22 lb. delta which I consider an adequate primary, and I will add an oversized fortress (37, I believe): I agree with those above that think your Delta a bit small; Since that Fortress 37 should be about the same weight as the Delta, I'd at least use that as your primary, and shop for the biggest/heaviest Testy Mom Nature anchor your wallet and locker can handle. Also, yes, go all chain. Your Delta and mixed rode will make a fine lunch hook.

three reefs, so I don't have to carry a storm trysail: I'd still seek a good used one out; try Bacon's in Annapolis. Reefing sucks when its already blowing stink.

Add storm jib. Currently there's a good headsail (130 or so) on a good furler. Should I look for a small jib that goes on the furler, or one of those "gale sails" that is attached over the furled headsail?: If you've got some serious weather coming, I'd drop the furled heads'l entirely; the windage from a rolled-up jib can be fearsome. So, yes, I'd look for a storm jib to hank on in place of the roller.

Origo alcohol two-burner: I endured an alcohol stove for eight years. Even after you learn their ways, they're a royal pain in the tuckus, underpowered, and sometimes downright scary. A used two-burner propane will cook a lot more like the stove at home, and shouldn't be too spendy. Propane tanks, particularly the old steel ones, are plentiful in the islands, as is the infrastructure to fill them.

icebox: Decide how high to triage the hassle of hauling ice (and in the tropics in summer, you keep about 2/3 of the ice you left the store with). It's a manageable situation if other things take precedence. Short of a complete fridge rebuild and the installation of new mechanicals, think about a self-contained unit, like that made by Engel. Very efficient and reliable, and it can live anywhere on the boat.

jerry jugs: No matter how big your tanks, they're a way of life in the islands; you'll develop some decent biceps and back muscles, and you'll quickly become an ardent conservationist.

Replace bad depthsounder and knotmeter: By all means, but you'll still want to steer by color in reef areas; by the time the sounder tells you you're aground, you'll be yelling, "No sh*t, Sherlock!" at it.

handheld Garmin GPS as backup: Kudos on your intentions of using paper charts and guides; Get 2-3 cheap handheld GPSs to confirm your triangulation. They're practically giving them away in cereal boxes anymore. Salt air will eat everything electronic over time.

Add solar panels: A fine idea, and in my mind better than the noise of wind gennies, but tough to find a place to mount them that won't be in the way and don't make the boat look like Sputnik. With shadowing by spars, clouds, etc, count on getting about half of the daily amp-hours as the panels are rated for.

Add DC driven fans below:
Yup, plus add more dorade vents if you can; no such thing as too much ventilation (well, okay, an open boat has too much).

Nice to have stuff:
solar showers should be adequate for just me: Unless you're lucky enough to find a real salty girl someday, you're right, they should call solar showers Bachelor Baths.

Add windvane to supplement tillerpilot: I'm not sure you'll need a vane until you're looking at some serious time offshore.

Upgrade primary winches to self tailing. The current two speeds have those blue rubber attachments that seem to work fine.: If you're soloing, you're going to want true self-tailers. The rubber dinguses (at least the ones I've met) work just "okay".

higher output alternator: As said above, I'm not sure how many amps the Volvo 13 can drive.

Add SSB: Yes, get one. A great multi-tasker, and your best source of real-time weather info.

Add a small hatch in head:
Oh yes. Bump this one up to the must-do category.

Very unlikely to do:
A stronger engine, if I can find a way to do it for cheap:
Yeah, it's boat-shopping time first, methinks.

Add Radar:
Nice to have, perhaps not necessary for Bahamas/Florida only.

Add windlass:
If you go with all chain, yeah, you'll want one.

Upgrade some current fixed ports to opening:
Again, more air is better; but don't go cheap here, spend larger coin and get hefty ports; doesn't take much of a breaking wave to break the cheaper ones.

Ft. Lauderdale: My favorite used gear source happens to be in your town, Sailorman. See Dave Zutler in the Used Dept., and tell him I sent you.
Sailorman New & Used Marine: The World's Largest and Most Unique New & Used Marine Emporium

I've also heard good things about this place (in Miami, I think) for new gear:
Boat equipment- sailboats, fishing, electronics, electrical, rigging, navigation

Also, IMHO, an essential bible for the owner of a fixer-upper is Nigel Calder's Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual.

Hope I haven't spent too much more than the .02 you asked for. Good luck!

"Give a man a fish, and he can eat for a day. Give a man a boat, and he can't afford to eat for the rest of his life."
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Old 06-11-2007, 17:01   #22
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Origo alcohol two-burner

Also, you will have trouble getting fuel for this in the Bahamas/Caribbean. You can get propane most anywhere.
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Caribbean, extended cruising

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