Setting up your helm requires some thought as to how best to utilize what is often limited space. Whether you are refitting an older boat or buying a new one, make sure the instrumentation works for you, and critical instruments are where you can see and operate them with a casual glance.
Carrying night vision on your boat offers great utility, and is great fun. It makes night travel a lot safer, providing you with the tools to see in the dark. Highly recommended equipment, more affordable than ever before.
The question of single engine versus twin engines has been beaten to death many times over, in my opinion. It really doesn’t matter which you choose, as a single engine with a bow thruster can perform as well as a boat with twin engines. But given how the marketplace has evolved, many buyers are looking at older trawlers, and the age factor somewhat changes the discussion.
The best way to have a trouble-free cruising season is to perform a thorough sea trial after you launch the boat. And be sure to run the boat at full throttle, which will surface equipment and components that are ready to break, clog, or disintegrate.
Here is my version of a traditional chain hook with locking gate, custom made of 3/8-inch stainless steel plate. It is super strong and will never separate from the anchor chain, so I can sleep soundly, knowing the snubber/bridle will do its job even if we are in shallow water.
Installing these MTU engines is not your everyday boat yard scene, so everyone came to watch it happen. Rent a crane, hire some professionals to oversee the operation, and we're done by lunchtime. Of course, hooking it all together takes weeks.
Brian Calvert is still enjoying life in the Philippines aboard his Selene trawler, Further. His adventures continue, but after so many miles and eight years of wandering adventure, it's time to take care of business on the boat and its systems. His experience is worth reading as you plan your own passage to paradise.
Adding a second, remote fuel filter vacuum gauge at your helm is another tool worth considering as you plan for extended cruising. It takes some of the guesswork out of running your boat, and you will feel more confident that things are well in your engine room.
Do you know about Sea Tow's Automated Radio Check service? It should be part of your normal operations routine, and used often to ensure your radios and antennas are working as well as you hope they are. Far better than the traditional radio check of throwing out a call and hoping someone will respond. And let's leave "10-4, Good Buddy" ashore, please.
Conversation with industry specialists often drifts into other related topics. In this case, we talked about how best to size a propulsion engine for a new boat, and then selecting the right size generator for the boat's electrical demands.
Reviewing some notes from my travels, and finding the comments are as relevant today as they were a few years ago. It is refreshing when engine guys speak the truth even if it goes slightly against the company party line.
The value of an engine survey can't be overstressed when looking for your ideal cruising boat. A separate effort from a general boat survey, an experienced mechanic's skill at judging the overall health of a boat's engine(s) and generator gives you the ability to decide if the boat is right for you, or if you should keep looking. More so than any other element of a cruising motorboat or trawler, the engine room is the most important space on the boat.
Rather than guess what speed you should run your boat, it is important to develop real-world numbers of the speed and burn consumption your boat reaches at various engine speeds in open water. Depending on how your boat is equipped and loaded, and the propeller(s) you have, it is a straightforward process to develop a speed/fuel burn performance curve that will identify the sweet spot for running your boat at cruising speed.
Along the way of determining this ideal speed envelope, you will also get an sixth sense of when the hull and engine is in harmony as she glides through the water with maximum efficiency and reasonable fuel burn. This is a satisfying project every boat owner should create for his or her boat.
Knowing how to properly run your propulsion engine is the key to long term health care in your engine room. I share great advice from Alaska Diesel that relates to all pre-ECM diesel engines, both power and sail.
Finding ways to make your trawler or sailboat better capable of traveling offshore. All of these efforts result in a better seaboat, even if you are not planning to cross oceans. And these upgrades will better familiarize you with the many systems on a cruising boat. And that brings confidence.
We continue our look at how to prepare your boat for going offshore in a powerboat or trawler, and what you should address to make sure things go as planned. The stresses of offshore travel are different from running in protected waters and preventative effort can help ensure a trouble-free passage, which is what we all aim for.
Rapid advances in many technologies provides opportunities we have not seen before. While recreational boat lags behind other industries in adoption, we will see future boat choices that have a significantly lower carbon footprint, and allow us to enjoy cruising without impact on the environment.
Putting together a fuel delivery system is best done by taking a high level view and making it as simple, as accessible, and as futureproof as possible. Eliminate unnecessary fittings, use fire rated, CG-approved fuel hoses and high pressure fittings, and your system should be reliable and trouble free for the life of the boat.
I went along on what will likely be the last sail of the year. Boats that have not gone south are being winterized and properly stored. This past Saturday we brought a Hallberg-Rassy to its winter yard at Herrington Harbour North in Deale, MD.
And today I help bring a Selene 40 trawler over to Jabin Yacht Yard in Annapolis for hauling and shrink wrap. It’s that time of year.
In Part 2, we identify some of the fees, rates, and fixed expenses of cruising. Knowing these up front really helps when creating a budget for extended cruising. The value of the cruising experience is worth every penny, of course, but it’s important to know ahead of time what you’ll need to keep going.
We start a new series that explores the cost of cruising. No matter what boat you own, there are certain expenses you will incur on an annual basis for maintenance. These are important to keep the boat cruise worthy.
A movie worth watching, about a remarkable couple who went above and beyond the dreams of normal sailors. Whether it was to circumnavigate Antarctica, or follow in the footsteps of Captain Cook, this family lived a life at sea.