These days the offshore sailing community seems to be fixated on rig automation, but a well-specified and installed set of winches will contribute far more to a successful passage than all that expensive failure-prone stuff.
Good cockpit cushions are a lot more important on an offshore boat than you might think.
Phyllis and I have been thinking and talking a lot about which boat we will buy after Morgan’s Cloud sells. And a big part of that has been setting a specification and budget, but in a different way.
These days it seems like hardly a month goes by without the announcement of a new and/or improved safety device, aggressively marketed as the latest thing that we all must buy, to the point that it’s getting impossible to keep up. Here is how John decides which of these new technologies to put energy into understanding and which to ignore.
There are few areas on any boat that are used for more diverse tasks than an offshore sailboat cockpit. Everything from lounging on a quiet day at anchor to handling a fast-moving emergency at sea with a bunch of sail up…in the black dark…in fog…with a ship bearing down on us.
Given that, picking a boat with a good cockpit layout is one of the most important parts of boat selection. Let’s look at what really matters.
In Part 1 I looked at induction electric cooking and concluded that for most cruiser usage profiles, particularly for us live-to-eat types, propane was still a better solution, and greener, too. So what about liquid fuels Alcohol, Kerosene and Diesel? Let’s take a look.
Three months ago I did some experimenting with induction cooking and wrote about it. And that spawned four more articles as I investigated the changes to a cruising boat’s electrical system required to support high loads like those from electric cooking. So now we can properly answer the original question, is electric cooking practical on a yacht?
These days there seems to be an endless fascination with yacht (both motor and sail) cockpit amenities, but we must never lose sight of a cockpit’s primary function: to be the command and control centre of a vehicle that operates in a potentially hostile environment.
In Part 1 we learned that it was inefficient, and often impossible, as well as potentially dangerous, to supply the high-load equipment, that so many cruisers seem to want, with a 12-volt system. And, further, that the solution to this problem is either to forgo all very high-current (amperage) gear, or select a boat with a 24-volt system. So let’s look at that.
So which is better, 12 or 24-volt DC systems for live-aboard cruising? Like most things, it depends. Here’s a definitive way to determine which is best for your boat and usage.
Do you need a topping lift? John shares how to decide, and how to rig it if so, as well as a cool hack to reduce topping lift related chafe and noise at sea.
These days we are seeing more and more gear added to boats, much of it AC supplied through inverters from the battery, that demands current (amperage) way higher than even dreamed of a decade ago. But will our electrical system buckle under the load? Here’s how to figure that out ahead of time.
Rigid vangs were once only seen on racing sailboats, but cruisers can benefit, too. John explains why, how to choose between the two types (mechanical and hydraulic), as well as how to fit and use one safely.
There’s a lot of unreliable poorly-supported gear in the marine electronics space, so John gets super excited when he finds kit that goes against that trend, and even more so when it reduces an intrinsic danger.
An analysis for any live-aboard cruiser who is considering a lifestyle that will require more than about 250 amp/hours at 12 volts (3 kWh) of electricity daily.