Cruiser’s Power Tool Kit

Given that we let all of our tools go with the McCurdy and Rhodes 56, I'm thinking a lot about optimal tool kits for cruising boats. Actually, I have gone way past the thinking into full-on tool-lust, followed by inflicting serious damage on our bank account as we rebuild our tool collection in anticipation of our new boat.

This has been, and continues to be, a fun and interesting exercise since rarely in life do we get a total re-do opportunity for anything—let's not talk about my three marriages—let alone a re-do based on 50 years of relevant experience and 30 years of cruising remote places where having the right tool aboard was vital.

Have To Be Selective

The other thing that makes this interesting, and useful for others, is that the new boat displaces less than a quarter of the old, so Phyllis and I have to really think about what tools we really need, so we don't weigh the boat down and thereby screw up the sparkling sailing performance that was our primary selection criteria in the first place.

And that tradeoff is not unique to us. Even with bigger boats, overloading is one of the most common mistakes I see out there. Taken to extremes it will not only ruin a boat's performance, it can get to the point where the boat will no longer rise to a sea properly or accelerate in a gust of wind, but instead will heel and bury.

Heck, I have even seen quite a few boats so far down in the water that their cockpits no longer drain properly, a seriously dangerous situation.

Point being we can't just dump every possible tool on the boat that we think we might need.

But, on the other hand, we need to guard against using the wrong tool because we don't have the right one and thereby making an already shitty repair situation a lot shittier.

Like most things in offshore voyaging it's all about tradeoffs.

So let's take a look at the power tools we have bought and recommend:

John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 18 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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