Background - When we decided to become full-time cruisers, rather than buy our "forever" boat and set off around the world, we took a different approach and moved aboard our "for now" boat in New Zealand for the 2013/14 season. We used it as an opportunity to do a shakedown cruise to discover what works and what doesn't for us in terms of the cruising lifestyle before we buy our next boat. This is the third in a series of posts on how it all went.
One of the biggest benefits of doing a "shakedown cruise" on our "for now" boat was that it gave us a really good idea of what we want on our next boat - both the must haves and the nice to haves. If you've read some of my earlier posts, then it will probably come as no surprise that a fridge is a must have for our next boat. But as Scott keeps reminding me, there is a lot more to a boat then its galley. We kept a running list in the back of our logbook and recently took it out to do a little review. It seems pretty comprehensive and we think we've captured the big items, but we thought we would share it so that we can get your thoughts and feedback.
Our wish list is pretty big, so we'll start off in this post with some of the stuff that makes life easier.
|Our Rocna anchor which Scott picked up with his bare hands.|
As we'll be getting a bigger boat with a bigger anchor, a windlass will probably be an essential. A windlass is basically a gizmo that makes pulling up heavy things easier. The anchor chain is wrapped around a cylinder and you use a crank to lower and raise the chain. It is kind of like pulling up a bucket of water from a well. Not that I've ever done that, but I've seen the movies where Lassie barks, "Johnny has fallen in the well! Come help him! Follow me!" And when you follow Lassie to the well, you see a cute little windlass with a bucket attached. If only Johnny had bothered to use the windlass instead of trying to haul a bucket of water up himself, maybe things wouldn't have ended so badly.
Although you can get electric windlasses, we probably want some sort of manual/electric hybrid one. There are enough systems and equipment that can break on your boat, why take your chances adding a windlass that can only be run with electricity. Seems much more sensible to have a hybrid version so that we can always fall back on the manual option if needed.
2. Lazy Jacks
|Jack the Cat|
Lazy jacks are basically a spiderweb like contraption of lines that are attached to your mast and boom which make furling your mainsail much easier. The mainsail is trapped inside the lines which means that it doesn't tumble down all over the deck in an untidy manner. I hated it when it was windy and I had to try to flake the mainsail on top of the boom and get it tied down. Inevitably, I would get one section done, go to tie it and then it would slip off onto the deck. And I would have to start all over again while Scott shook his head at me in the cockpit. Bring on the lazy jacks.
3. Roller Reefing
|You can see the Reef Rite set up without the headsail on it.|
4. Self Tailing Winches
|You can see one of our non-self tailing winches. Imagine the contortions as one person cranks the winch, while the other tails and helms the boat at the same time.|
Winches are another one of those gizmos that make life easier. Your lines are wrapped around a spool which has a crank which you turn to pull in and let out your lines. And for my mom and others out there, when I say "lines", I really mean "ropes", but apparently you can't say "ropes" if you want to be accepted into the sailing community. That would be too easy. You are required to learn to speak Nauticalese and acquire lots of bruises on your legs. And know how to use a winch.
Our winches on our last boat weren't self-tailing which meant that while I cranked the winch, Scott had to hold the line and pull on it. We had some interesting gymnastic moves going on in our cockpit with me contorted in some sort of strange position to get enough leverage to turn the crank, Scott steering the boat with the tiller with one hand and tailing the line with the other. Why go to all that trouble when you can get winches that do half the work for you. They cost more money, but it seems like it would be worth it. If our next boat doesn't come with self tailing winches, it isn't something we would probably invest in right away, but they would definitely go on the wish list for Santa.
So what do you think? Do you have any of these items on your boat? Are they fabulous or could you live without them?