Merry Christmas from Team Radiance and the Koala
12/26/2008, Brisbane, Australia
Best Wishes for the New Year.
Compression Post Christmas Tree
The week before Christmas.
Waving the big flag.
11/05/2008, Brisbane, Australia
Excerpts from Election night speeches of Senators John McCain and Barack Obama
10/26/2008, Garden Point Pile Moorings, Brisbane, Australia
Senator John McCain:
"A little while ago, I had the honor of calling Senator Barack Obama to congratulate him.
To congratulate him on being elected the next president of the country that we both love.
In a contest as long and difficult as this campaign has been, his success alone commands my respect for his ability and perseverance. But that he managed to do so by inspiring the hopes of so many millions of Americans who had once wrongly believed that they had little at stake or little influence in the election of an American president is something I deeply admire and commend him for achieving.
This is an historic election, and I recognize the special significance it has for African-Americans and for the special pride that must be theirs tonight.
I've always believed that America offers opportunities to all who have the industry and will to seize it. Senator Obama believes that, too."
Excerpts from Remarks of President-Elect Barack Obama
Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008
"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.
It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.
... It's the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.
... I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to - it belongs to you....It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and 10 dollars and 20 dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation's apathy...and from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, ...This is your victory.
I know you didn't do this just to win an election and I know you didn't do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime - two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century.
...The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America - I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you - we as a people will get there.
...And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world, our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down, we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security, we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright, tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.
...For that is the true genius of America: that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow
...America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves: If our children should live to see the next century... what change will they see? What progress will we have made?
This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time: to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth - that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism and doubt and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:
Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America."
10/26/2008, Brisbane Airport, Australia
Glad to see Daddy.
Malou in Paradise
10/18/2008, Manihi Atoll last year
Malou in Paradise.
A little of Manihi
As you may know it has been more than a year since we left the Manihi atoll. We have been writing on this blog posting from time to time since. We want it to feel like we did at Manihi, but it impossible for us to do. So here is the first part of our notes from Manihi. They are not as finished as we would have liked them to be.
...a continuation of a posting made JULY 10th, which read:
[...Shortly after anchoring, a local man came up in his open work boat, welcomed us to Manihi, and handed Steen three fresh baguettes. "Fernand", a bread baker in the morning and a black pearl farmer in the afternoon, looked about 40-something, but said he had five grown children, the youngest 12. He invited us to his home, and offered to pick us up the next morning his work boat. Surprisingly, we are the only cruising boat here, and so we have this part of Manihi, (the beach combing and snorkeling), all to ourselves...It should be a good week.]
First we will say that it was a VERY good week, an amazing week in fact. We were treated with a level of hospitality and kindness that made us redefine our concept of generosity. Generosity in the Polynesian culture is a concept different from the generosity we know. It ties to a much looser sense of ownership. To grossly simplify this sense of ownership one could say that, anything you have, that I ask for, you are obligated to give me. This includes possessions from yams in the ground to your children. If you have some time, look into this on the internet. It is very interesting, and gave Captain Cook a lot of trouble.
We experienced many of these acts of generosity in the week we spend in Manihi. One morning on the wharf Angela noticed a lady with a hand-made lei that she was wearing around her head. It was made of little pieces of bright orange fabric, and it was beautiful. Later that day we meet this lady on the street. Angela complimented her on her lei. With a big smile the lady put the lei on Angela and said, "I am glad you like, it is yours". A similar thing happened to me after church. I had noticed that Ferdinand's oldest son was wearing a very nice tie with a beautiful tropical print. When a complimented him on his tie he said, "I have made it myself. I am very happy you like it. It is yours". I tried to refuse the tie, but got a look from Ferdinand telling me not to be disrespectful. Just a brief glimpse of a culture.
and now for the story of a few more days of our stay at Manihi:
(Our second day in Manihi and we thought Fernand was planning to show us his home, but his invitation turned out to be to his black pearl business on 'his' motu (small island) separated by shallow water from the rest of the atoll; the atoll is basically a series of low-lying motus strung together in a big circle like a necklace, surrounding a lagoon; the remnants of an ancient volcano. The villages are built on the largest motus and Fernand's business is on one of the smaller ones.)
Steen: Around 10:00 am, Fernand picked us up at Radiance in his large workboat to take us down to his motu and pearl farm. The mile long boat ride there took no time at all with his gigantic outboard motor, (all 90 horses running at full gallop). Malou thought that was great fun. Fernand's wooden dock extended out over the reef, and the fish in the clear shallow water looked exactly like what you would find in a big city indoor aquarium. I know that is a pathetic benchmark to have for coral fish, but never the less that was what I thought of. His daughter, son and niece were busy pulling up oyster lines from the dock and at the same time fishing for dinner.
Angela: The small buildings on stilts where Fernand's family operated their pearl business was not actually the 'pearl farm' itself, but rather the place where they did the delicate 'oyster operations' you have to do to eventually end up with a black pearl. The only 'farm' associated with the pearl business is four meters beneath the water a hundred yards from shore.
Steen: We were introduced to Fernand's wife Stella at her workbench. Stella places a mother-of-pearl made from Mississippi abalone, in a little pocket she cuts in the oyster. She places a small piece of black oyster meat in with the pearl, in exactly the right spot. Without this little piece of 'meat' the pearl will not turn black. How anybody figured that out the first time I do not know. Stella has been working with these pearls for many years and can place a pearl in the oyster in 15 seconds. From her workbench the oysters are tied to ropes and suspended 4 meters below the surface out in the lagoon. Every 4 to 5 months each rope is taken to the reef for 2 days. In that time the reef fish completely clean the growth off the rope and the oysters. After 15 months in the water, voila! a black pearl.
Both Angela and I found it very interesting to see how these black pearls of the South Pacific were made. Malou, however, was more interested in a little yellow puppy named Rusty. Malou loved him so much that when we got back to Radiance she named a coconut 'Rusty'. We drew on a face and ears with a marker and he has a bungee cord for a tail. Malou takes really good care of Rusty.
Steen: Fernand had told us that he had plenty of water on the motu and that we were welcome to do our laundry there. So we brought some of our laundry and intended to do it by hand as we had become accustom to. We were very surprised to see that Stella had a 24V washing machine, out back behind a little house. Everything on the motu runs off solar panels. They even had a 24V full size refrigerator.
Lunch began with delicious fresh coconut milk straight out of the nut with a straw. Then we had fresh oyster with lime. We had no idea that Malou liked oysters so much. We looked away for a moment and Malou had eaten half of them. We had to move the plate away from her in order to enjoy some ourselves.
Next Fernand had a dozen fresh sea snails that he cracked the shells on and cleaned in the shallow water right before eating them. They were so fresh that they were still wiggling on plate. Malou was less crazy about these.
Fernand would like to put in 5 mooring buoys outside his motu. Each buoy would be chained to a large coral block. (The biggest headache when anchoring in these lagoons is getting your anchor fouled in coral. Not only is it a headache, it also damages the coral when the chain is pulled free. A mooring buoy would solve both problems.) He also plans to have a small dinghy dock so cruisers could get ashore and eat at the small restaurant he wants to open. Very industrious.
We were surprised to learn that a pearl farmer from Manihi could be so well traveled. Fernand had been to the United States twice. One time on a 40-day coast-to-coast-north-to-south tour. He has seen more of the States than most Americans.
So where does a family from Manihi go on their annual vacation? New Zealand, where it is nice and cool and green. Fernand has taken his family to New Zealand 7 times and had only good things to say about the country. We are looking forward to going there ourselves later this year.
As we motored back to Radiance, Fernando cracked open a fresh oyster, rinsed it off over the edge of the boat and handed it to Malou. She popped it in her mouth and ate it as fast as she could. He was so impressed that he brought 'Malou' two dozen fresh and sliced oysters the next day. We had oysters for lunch and dinner.
Today we went exploring the outside or ocean side of the reef. It is a strange place to be. You are walking one millions of years of accumulated coral pieces piled up on the rim of a volcano. The inside crater of the volcano forms the shallow lagoon. The outside of the volcano drops straight into the ocean. When you stand 50ft from the edge of the outside reef you can through a piece of coral into 600ft of water just outside the reef.
The outside reef is full of life both in the sallow water and in all the small tide pools. Both Malou and Angela found many pretty coral and shells to bring back to Radiance. Instead of walking along the beach back we thought it would be easier to cut across the motu to get to the dinghy. We were very surprised to find dense and tough vegetation across the 150 yard wide atoll. It took a while to get back across. We wished we had our 'old' dog Hank with us. He was a very good bush wackker and would quickly have found the easiest path back.
Once we got back to the lagoon we wadded back through the shallow warm water towards the dingy. There were colorful fish everywhere. This was a great place for Malou since she could walk in the water while looking at the fish. Malou and I did not have the camera and was getting ahead of Angela since she was taking many pictures. When we were almost back at the dinghy a small black-tip reef shark swam by us and over towards the coral block Angela was standing by. I tried to tell Angela where to look, but was so excited that that I got my left, right, up and down all confused. By the time Angela finally looked the right way the little shark was far gone. We have not seen many sharks yet. There was one swimming around Radiance in Nuku Hiva chasing a large school of fish. I saw a 4ft black tip reef shark while diving along the steep cliffs at Nuku Hiva. So I was a little disappointed that this little guy got by Angela without her seeing it.
That night we went to dinner at Fernand's house and saw a local dance performance later that night.
The following days Steen went fishing on the outside of the reef with Fernand and caught his first Yellow fin tuna. Angela helped Stella with baking for the local French pastry competition. We made friends with George and Isabella on a Canadian boat. We exchanged farewell presents from Ferdinand's family.
More about that in a later posting
10/01/2008, Between Fiji and New Zealand
I have added an other YouTube video. This one is taken on the second to last day of our trip from Fiji to New Zealand. Our little home going up and down.
I think this was the day we caught this yellew fin tuna.
No I am not in Moorea. This photo of the black tip reef shark was taken in Moorea last year. I have an old 1988 sony underwater camera. From back when sony made that whole line of yellow plastic incased products that were waterproof. This old camera still manages to capture a photo from time to time. Out of the 36 negatives on this roll, only 3 came out with an actual photo. So the other day I scanned this photo.
The shark was one of about ten swimming around our legs while petting the stingrays. It took a bit to get used to. But they were very calm and stayed at least 3 feet away from you. If you tried to swim up to them, they would just swim away. Like the one in the photo that I was taking a close-up photo of.
This is where the shark lives
This is a photo of Moorea seen from the west, Tahiti in the back; you can see a small round island at the bottom of the photo. That is where we went to feed and pet the stingrays. Radiance was at anchor in the bay that you can see all the way out in the back toward Tahiti. The dinghy ride from the anchorage to the stingrays was always very interesting. The first half of the trip is very shallow coral reef. And you have to follow a narrow passage between all the coral head and reefs. You have to pay attention all the time or you will hit the reef. One day when heading back to Radiance it was raining so hard that I had to put on my diving mask to be able to see anything. Malou and Angela were hiding the best they could under a towel, while I was trying not to beach the dinghy on the reef.
Smoke on the water Fire in the sky
Yes, I know the title of this posting dates me, but it was the best I could think of.
This entire week here in Brisbane is a celebration of the river. This annual celebration is called River Festival. The biggest part of this festival, at least if you count participants, is the Riverfire last Saturday night. This is a city-wide fireworks display.
For those of you familiar with the Commencement Bay WA and Portland OR firework on 4th of July. Try to imagine 6 of those displays going off at the same time, synchronized. Add a bridge covered in fireworks, and to finish the whole thing of a fighter plane flying low over the river dumping burning jet fuel in a stream behind it. It was a very extravagant affair. Tanking pictures of fire works and jet planes is not my strong side. So I have only posted one picture looking aft out of the cockpit at downtown and one of the bridges. You can see many more photos at this link. Not all from this year, but it looks just the same. RiverFire
It turns out that the pile moorings we are at these days are the best spot in town to watch this. The banks of the river along the botanical garden were packed with 1000's of spectators. The river was packed with 100's of boats. Some people arrived 24-hours in advance setting up camp on blankets and dropping anchor.
I had friends from s/y Halfskip over for a Papeete favorite of ours. Rump steak and pom frits with rockford sauce. It was a fun evening.
Sunday morning had another Brisbane tradition planned. The Goodwill Bridge, which is the walking bridge from Brisbane City over the river to South Bank, was the site of the RiverBBQ. This is a free BBQ breakfast, served on the bridge. This event was in one way more amazing to me than the fireworks the night before. As I walked onto the bridge I could see that the lines for the BBQ were 200 people long. -The BBQ breakfast was a hotdog wrapped in a piece of toast bread.
So, some of you may be thinking. "He hasn't posted anything for a month and once of a sudden he writes 349 words just because he saw some fireworks".
Well, it is pouring down rain, and has been all day.
Everybody else does it
08/18/2008, The Brisbane river
Everybody else does it, so why shouldn't we?
I have posted a movie on YouTube.
You should be able to find it at www.youtube.com if you search for 'radiance' and 'aries'.
Or this link:
What works, and how it has worked for us.
Thanks a lot for the blog posting. Here I have been writing for 2-weeks on a posting about what works and what doesn't. And then you beat me to it.
You leave me no other choice than to post what I have got so far.
So hold on folks, here it comes. It is a little rough on the edges.
What has worked and what has not worked (for us)
Well, where do I begin. How about here?
The Tayana 37 has worked great for us. I think she is probably about the largest boat an inexperienced short-handed crew like us should take on a passage.
If I was going down to a dock to pick a boat just for passage making, then I think I would pick a 32-34ft generously canvassed cutter. She would have a moderate displacement, maybe 10,000lbs and a long keel. Such a boat could give you a good passage time, 120nm a day, without being too uncomfortable in the sea.
However, we spend most of our time, not counting the 3-years we lived aboard, at anchor in protected waters. Then it is nice to have room aboard, both for humans, and for storage space. Heck, if I were to pick another boat at that same dock to at lay at anchor in, then I would pick something like CT54. It is about compromise.
We do not know of a boat that does everything perfectly, we have seen some that come pretty darn close, and being blatantly biased, the Tayana 37 is one of them.
Her hull is build like a tank, as most '70's Taiwanese boat are. Her construction is really simple, which is both good and bad.
Hi-tech materials and building methods generally makes better boats, no doubt about that. However, such boats tend to be designed and build closer to the limits for better performance and for better profit to the yard. They are often harder to maintain and repair yourself as well.
When Ta-Yang build the Tayana 37's they used 3 things. Polyester resin (lots), Fiberglass (even more) and teak (tons). The mixed the two first and made a hull and a deck. Then they cut up a great big heap of teak and put it inside the hull piece by piece to build one big piece of furniture. That is it.
You can get to all of the bulkhead to hull connections, you can pull the bilge tank out in 20 minutes, the engine lift straight up through the companionway. The bad part of the simple construction is that they did not make it simple because they believed it made a better boat. They made it simple because they did not know enough about boat building to make it complicated. This lack of knowledge lead to some issues here and there on the Tayana 37.
Let me stop this rambling along about something I really do not know much about.
A Tayana 37 is not a perfect boat, and I would not recommend it to anybody. I would not recommend any boat to anybody. Because finding the right boat that fits your needs is half the fun, and if you are looking for the perfect boat then you will never go anywhere, because I will bet you, you will never find it.
So when you have fallen in love, and bought that boat, that you will put all your eggs in, then in my opinion you must have 5 more things. You need a GPS, paper charts and some good sails, a strong vindvane and a shortwave radio.
So let's start with that.
We used our, it came with Radiance, old Magellan Nav 5000 GPS all the way from Tacoma to the Koro sea in Fiji. We had a bit of hard weather one night, and the Koro sea made it to the circuit boards in our beloved GPS. (we had a $20 ebay spare GPS) Yes, if you look up the Magellan 5000 online, or if you use to have one, then you will know that this is 15 years old. It is the size of a large brick and the term handheld is a bit of a stretch. We loved this thing because it was simple use. It had a big button for each of the 3 functions, and for each of the numbers 0-9. No multi-function buttons and requirements to hold in any combination of buttons at the same time to setup something.
And maybe the best thing about a handheld GPS- it is really easy to install on the boat. All you need is a bungy cord.
Now we have a Garmin EtreX handheld that we bought in Fiji. It is OK, but it is not a Megellan Nav 5000. And it is to small to install with a bungy cord.
I believe that paper charts are superior to electronic charts onboard, because paper charts increase safety. Here is why. With the above mentioned space age technology you can determine your position down to half a boat length, while the hazards on the chart were located using a sextant and a wind-up chronometer 200 years ago. And yes, to the best of my knowledge, and experience, the chart basis for all the electronic charting programs are these sometimes very old paper charts. So here you are, zoomed way in on your electronic chart to a scale that this chart was never even close to be used at, saying "don't worry, we are at least 100 yards of the rocky shoal. Just keep your course and speed". It frightening how we trust whatever comes up on our computer screen. (That is a whole other blog subject, and it is not about sailing)
I think the combination of the paper chart and the GPS is good. Because you know that you are always a little inaccurate when transferring those GPS co-ordinates to the paper. You keep a larger margin of error in your mind and your decision making.
Let me use an example that we have written about in our blog already. Suva harbour channel. We approached and passed through this channel in the dark because we had that little red boat shape blinking on our computer chart showing us that we were on the right heading. We would never have attempted to enter this channel with a paper chart. We would have stayed way off the reef until daybreak. Nothing happened. But we were lucky. You can read about a less lucky crew on our Suva blog posting.
There is one clear advantage to having a electronic chart program installed on your computer. Say you have something like MaxSea installed, then you have almost every chart for the entire globe. Just don't zoom in too much, and be very careful if you have to use them.
It is quite amazing what these pieces of woven plastic (called Dacron so they can charge more) can do. Day in and day out they propel you, your boat and all your belongings along across the ocean. It is quite remarkable, and I tell you, it is something to sit in the cockpit, lean your head back watching those taut white sail powering you along. In reality they produce about the same as a large riding mower (20hp). But they feel much more powerfull than a 300hp motor boat, I don't know why that it is.
So how did we go about picking our sails. We were lucky to live in the Pacific NW. Among the many very talented, and dedicated boat professional in that region is a sail maker by the name of Carol Hasse
Carol makes cruising sails the way they should be made. Strong and finished by hand. Only a few sail loft in the world can put out sails equal to Carol Hasse Sails. I never asked for a quote from Carol for a sail, because I know from other people that our main sail would be in excess of US$6,000. And we needed a whole new suit of sails, Main, Staysail and Yankee. We had to ask ourselves if we really needed to have the best sail in the world to go cruising. We did not think so. You can find many articles written by Carol Hasse online and in old sailing magazines. Two websites that I referenced quite a bit was of course Carol Hasse's webpage but also on Cruising World magazine's webiste.
Based on what we learned from Carol's material online, we put together a specification sheet for our mainsail. This included such old fashioned things as, 1-1/2" panel overlaps, hand-sewn rings, hand sewn bolt rope on all 3 sides of the sail, hand sewn hanks and hand sewn leather reinforcements at all wear points. I also specified that the length of all corner and reef patched should be about 15 percent of whatever part of the sail they were reinforcing. (Our main sail luff is 45ft and the foot is 13-1/2ft so the tack patch is 6-1/2ft by 2ft) I send these specifications to a dozen sailmakers in the US asking for quotes. Guess what, the sailmakers that didn't die laughing, wrote back and said, "if you want a sail finished like that, then you should contact Carol Hasse".
I could not afford a Hasse sail I knew that it would cost 4-month of the cruising kitty. Instead I choose to a local sail maker. This guy was also a Trans-Pac and Vic to Maui racer on this own boat, so I had confidence that he at least know how much one depend on the sail performing day after day. The affair of getting the mainsail that I wanted turned out not only to be very frustrating but also very long. I ordered the main sail in June and 3 sails later in February we had the main we have today. It turned out that the local sail maker actually did not make the sails. The sails were made somewhere else, and I think this somewhere else sail loft thought I was nuts in what I was asking for. I also think that the local 'sail maker' had a little trouble controlling what came out of this somewhere else sail loft. Bottom line is I finally got what I wanted. The sail is well build out of 9.5oz bulletproof sailcloth. The corner and reef patches are the size of a sheet of plywood and about as easy to bend. And I have never been afraid that it would not hold up to what we asked of it.
For the Staysail and the Yankee I was hesitant to continue with my previous sailmaker, but I was determined to get the hand finished work I wanted.
I had noticed something on our old, and original, Yankee on Radiance. It was beautifully hand finished and it was from the Fare East. So I contacted a few sail lofts in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan to see what they could offer. I know were little about the Fare East and how business is conducted. But one thing I do know now is that they will compete on price and are very good at it. I don't think any of the Fare East lofts even looked at my specification beyond the 3 measurements they needed to get me a quote. Lee sails had the standard run-of-the-mill sail that was the closest to the hand finished work I wanted. Well all they really had was leather behind all the bang-on sail hanks, but it was better than nothing. I put my faith in them and began an interesting string of emails with Helen at the loft in Hong Kong. She wanted to give me the most inexpensive sail as possible, I wanted her to give me the best quality possible for the money.
After 2-weeks or so we had come to a mutual understanding of what I wanted her to make me. And I had a long email string documenting the cloth I wanted all the hand-sewn details, and my absurdly large corner patches. She said you will have the sail in 3-week. And by gully, on the 21st day there it was. And it was perfect, just what I had asked for.
2 month later I asked her to begin my Staysail. I was erroneously assuming that she knew who I was and that I was a little nuts when it came to the details. 21 days later I got a run-of-the-mill sail. Oh what a different sail that is. I guess that the very low price quote should have been a indicator that I should have gotten a little involved in the design process again.
I am not sure where to fit this little piece of information in so I will just let sit here all be itself.
All sail lofts, all over the world uses that same cloth from one of these 3 mills, Bainbridge, contender or challenge. The difference is how they put it together. The sun could not care less who put it together of course, it will send it evil UV rays and eat your sail up.
When it come to choice of rig as in gutter, sloop, or ketch which is the three most common rig types. Then I would pick a cutter rig, which is what Radiance has got. For a Pacific passage, the only change I would make from the traditional gutter with her small foresails, would be to rig a (I know it is a bad word) roller furler with a 110% genoa that could be polled out. I would rig a heavy weather hank-on staysail on the inner forestay. 75% of the time you will be running almost dead downwind, and a poled out genoa would work well, maybe with a little bit of main and storm tri-sail up.
Any of the three common rigs will perform just about the same, and each has got its strong side and its weak sides. It is about compromise. I would not, based on my experience, try a more exotic rig such as a gaff or anything with topsails. It seems to me that these would be hard to handle in heavy weather.
One comments on roller furling and hank-on sails. We have hank one sails, and I have never used a roller furling. But I have heard many stories about roller furling fail under heavy load or unfurl in high winds. For a rig with large sails I think roller furling makes sense, but I would get the largest and beefiest furler available.
We have a traditional cutter rig with two small headsails, they are about 65% each. A sail that small you would probably never furl partially. So it will either be up or down, in that case the hank on sail is perfect. There are very few things that can go wrong with a piton hank, and if it breaks, you just sew on another one. The only thing that I have to be careful about when pulling a headsail down, especially in big seas, is to avoid the halyard getting entangled in something like dorade or a cleat on the mast. When that happens the sail will not come all the way down, and you have to let go of it and untangle the halyard. It is a real pain in the, when that happens.
One more thing, if you ever loose you mast overboard, and have to jury rig, a furling sail is no good, because it has no hanks.
A STRONG WINDVANE.
I do not have much to say about the choice of windvanes. I think they are more or less all equal. Some have been around for years. You see a lot of Monitor, Aries and Sailomat, so I guess they work or people would have thrown them overboard. We have a 30-year old Aries No 3. Her name is Wanda. And if it wasn't for the fact that Wanda is bolted to the stern of Radiance, and that it would awkward to get back there in the dark, I would kiss her good night too, when we are on a passage.
One thing I do know for certain about windvanes. You would have to be crazy to leave without one.
SHORT WAVE RADIO.
Onboard Radiance we have an Icom 802 with a Pactor IIIex modem. We bought the radio while in San Diego after realising that it is really nice to have weather info readily available while at sea, no matter when and how far from shore you are. Most of such weather info we receive via our email and not voice, with the exception of talking to Don Anderson down the coast of Mexico and across the South Pacific out to Palmerston. The email capability is what we use the most.
The equipment package is rather expensive, it will set you back with as much as $3,300 before it is all up and running. The up and running part in it self is a fairly straightforward. The running cables and mounting of the equipment is like any other electrical installation on a boat, you wish you had along thin arms with 3 elbow joints, sort of like those space creatures. The only really big decision that you will have to make is how to get a good counter poise. (I have been told that is what bounces the radio wave out into airways, and you need as much as you can get) How to get this is the question. But be careful, there is a fair amount of differences in opinion on how this counter poise is obtained. These discussions can get a little heated.
To get lots of this counter poise on Radiance I tapped a bolt into our encapsulated cast iron keel and it works great. Lots of radio waves bouncing out.
It is certainty possible to venture out to sea without a SSB radio. But it is a great help to us beginners and it is comforting to check into the daily radio net and hear all the other cruisers.
So that was the equipment that you in my opinion need.
The next piece of equipment almost made to the above list. Our Old-fashioned hand cranked Coffee grinder. You can get the grinds just perfect and uniformly grinned. Unlike the electrical grinder that leaves you with mix of powder and large chunks of beans cut in halves and everything in-between. And there is something therapeutic about hand grinding your coffee in the morning. No matter how bad the weather is.
This is a very close contender to the coffee grinder when it comes to making this list of the 5 must have items.
We have an Amp-Air tow generator. It is simple to install. It is build to outlast just about any boat or owner. It is quite. While under way we get between 75-100 amp-hours per day (24 hours). Which is more power than we need.
The 3 instruments in the cockpit.
Our old 3 Autohelm ST4000 has been all we needed, even though they never really worked. Our wind gauge did not work when we left Tacoma, and still doesn't. Our knot meter has always been way off, but we always go as fast as we comfortably can. Our depth sounder works great in 5-300ft of water. If the water is any less than 5ft then you can clearly see the bottom which keeps you alert. And when the water is deeper than 300ft then I would rather not know. I don't know what it is but there something creepy about floating on top of 1000's of feet of water.
So when it comes to the cockpit instruments, I would say that the 3 basic, wind, speed and depth, is all you need. And it is nice if they also work, at least the depth sounder.
The fishing rig that has work best for us is made with surgical tubing. We have 4ft of ½" rubber surgical tubing with a 60lbs fishing line coiled up inside. It is simple and cheap to make, and needs almost no maintenance.
You take the tubing and push the fishing line through the hollow center. Pull out about 3ft of line in the other end and tie a hitch around the tubing. Then stretch the tubing as far as it will go while feeding the line into the tubing. Now comes the slightly tricky part, you tie a hitch with the line around the tubing. Now the line will coil up inside the tubing.
Secure the three foot piece of line to the boat and your favourite lure to the other end. Allow maybe 150ft of line for the lure end. Fasten the tubing with a clothe pin to a lifeline.
Now when fish hit, the cloth pin goes flying and the tube stretch out and take the impact of the hit. Just pull the fish in hand over hand. I know what you are thinking- you can't pull in a open ocean game fish in with your bare hands you need a proper reel. Well chance are that you are not going to have a giant 200lbs tuna like fish hit your little lure, and most of the giant full grown fish has been taken by the tune fleet anyway, and you just ate it out of a small can. Secondly, if you are so 'lucky' to actually hook one of those giants, then you better hope your luck continues and the fish escapes. Because you do not want it on deck of your little boat or try to get the hook out while hanging over the railing.
We use Petite Trinidad, black. It has a bunch of cuprousoxide, which is the workhorse of bottom paint. It works great for us.
Get good brand name cordage. I bought some cheap online stuff and it kinks like crazy. Even after being used for almost 10,000 miles.
All chain anchor rode.
If you going to the South Pacific, then get as much chain as you can carry. You cannot anchor with rope in coral. We often anchor in 50ft of more. At a 5:1 scope you need at least 250ft of chain. You can cheat a bit by letting the last bit of anchor rode be rope. The rope should be no longer than the depth you are anchoring in. We have to cheat even more since we mistakenly only carry 100ft of chain and 300ft of 1-1/2" rope. What ever rope we have to let out to have sufficient scope we have to keep of the bottom by tying our fenders to the rope every as we let it out. It works but is not a good solution.
We have a 45lbs CQR for our main anchor. It has worked great so far. I wish we had a 100lbs fisherman's anchor like a 3-piece Luke. That would be a good anchor if the weather gets really bad and the bottom is questionable.
Don't get me started on 4-stroke outboards, or outboards in general. We have just bought a 2-stroke 2.3 horse outboard. So far it seems like the perfect outboard. You can lift it without mechanical assistants, and you can, or at least should be able to fix it yourself. We have never had a use for all the 8 horses that our `big' outboard has got.
Get a good dinghy. We didn't. Inflatables are great because they are stable and easy to swim from. A hard bottom dinghy is much easier to row though.
We have a Dickinson Newport. Very nice when just slightly out of the tropics in the winter half of the year.
What we call coastie suits are what the US Coast Guard wears when the go to sea. Big insulated orange cover-alls. They will actually float and are considered a life jacket Our coastie suits are made be Mustang and are like a little pilot house that you wear. It is always nice and toastie inside. If you were to ask Angela to choose between her coastie or me. Well, I will just leave it with that.
Plastic containers for food.
Get good quality. If you are lucky enough that you live near a speciality container store then arm yourself with measurements of all you lockers and go spend a fortune. It was worth it for us. Space is always in short supply on a cruising boat. The more efficiently you can pack a locker the better.
Honestly, a head never works as well as you want it to. If it plugs or breaks once a year, then that is once to often. The LaVac does not use a lot of water when flushing so it will not fill your holding tank as quickly. And if you ever need a spare bilge pump fast, then all your have to do is cut one hose and you are moving water out of the boat.
Submergible 12V bilge pumps.
We had our 12V bilge pump leak just a little bit of current into the bilge water. That ate the bottom of our full tank. We were loosing 5 Gallons an hour in the middle of the Pacific. I am now through with 12V submergible bilge pumps. In New Zealand I installed a vacuum switch in the bilge and a 12V heavy-duty diaphragm pump far away from the bilge water. So far it works great.
We used to have one. In average they do not give you many AH in the battery as one would think. Most need 20 knts to produce anything near 15 amps. Even if you get 20 knts every 5 days for 5 hours making 15 amps you still only made 75 amp-hours. That is an average of 15 amp-hours per day. You would much better of with a couple of 60W solar panels. You can make 15 amp-hours in 3 hours on a cloudy day with those. Maybe I am just mad because I lost our rotor blades in 200ft of water at Palmerston.
Real plates and silver ware.
It is enough like camping already, you got to have some standards.
Keel cooled refrigerator.
I guess they work as well as can be expected. If you install a refrigerator on board, don't think you will have fresh cold food forever. Because it will break. Most likely when you get to that remote tropical island. Then you will end up with a big black plastic bag on deck full of all the food you used to have in that nice cold icebox. We lived without an icebox between Bora Bora and Fiji. Really it is not such a huge deal not to have refrigeration. Most of the food you buy in the majority of the world is not refrigerated anyway. As for the bronze keel cooler on the bottom of Radiance. It seems to work great, and it certainly an advantage to dissipate the heat into the water instead of into the boat.
If you size it small enough, you can run it every day or every other day. No need to pickle between use. A small unit uses a small amount of watts. If you can run it in the middle of the day when voltage is high from the solar panel output, then it become fairly cheap amp-hour wise. We have a PUR-35 and it uses 3 amps at 12.8 volts to make 1-1/2 gallon per hour. (5.5 liters).
Cruiser or Cruising.
Something that never worked for us, and I have used several times in this posting, is the term "cruiser" or "cruising". It gives people an idea that we lay around in lounge chairs on deck with cocktails and land our dinghies on perfect white sand beaches to play our pre-arranged beach games. Which, at least for us, is not an accurate description. In Danish we are called "langturs sejlere" which translates to "long-trip sailors". I think that is a good description, though it sounds a little clumsy in English. We could call it "Trans-ocean sailors" or "small boat voyagers". I wonder what other languages call us. Any ideas?
That is all I can think of now.
All this 'stuff' may seem confusing and complex. It really isn't. It is just like being a one-man maintenance department in a small self-sufficient city. Except at much smaller scale.
Before we bought Radiance, a friend of mine, Joe, told me "everything I know, I have learned on my boat". It is very true.