KISS for Sanderling
01 September 2013 | Jamestown, R.I.
Books, blogs, magazines - over the past year I've read countless resources on how to set up a boat for long-term cruising. Sure we did this before but that was 14 years ago and there are lots of new products on the market to support cruisers. Wifi boosters, satellite phones, chart plotters, new man overboard rescue equipment - it's enough to make you a little goofy trying to sort it all out.
The overriding theme for the boat preparation has been to keep it simple - stupid. With that in mind we decided to take off the generator and the water maker as they were basically just big maintenance projects. We also replaced the refrigerator with a significantly more energy efficient version. We did add a big solar panel to replaced the energy form the generator - always nice to be as green as possible.
The toughest decision was Automatic Identification System (AIS) that is completely new since we did this trip. AIS will display the ships in your area on a chart plotter or similar screen. It also gives lots of nifty information such as the name, heading, speed, and the closest point of approach - just how close a call will it be? Can't imagine what it would do if it calculates that you're actually going to collide. Everyone I spoke to sang its praises - a must have piece of technology. One article basically said that it was the single most important piece of electronics on the boat - really. There's one small problem with AIS - not every boat is required to transmit on AIS. So while you're staring at your screen - you're only looking at part of the picture. You still need your radar to make sure that you don't get run over by some sport fisherman who watching TV while he is running at full throttle.
I'll keep it simple and rely on my 14 year old radar to keep us safe.