We started in Everett, Washington made our way down to Mexico then headed west with the trade winds to circumnavigate the blue earth.
The map above shows our route circumnavigating the world. It also shows how we communicated. Each dot gives our position and we usually have a short message with it….like “Help we’re in the middle of the ocean and don’t have a cell signal!”
You can go to www.shiptrak.org, type in my ham call sign, KE7CSP to bring up the positions.
There are three main methods to communicating while on long ocean passages,
Satellite phone – Call anyone anywhere. Has Internet & Email Capabilities
SSB Radio – Talk to other SSB Radio Users. Has Email & Weather Report Capabilities
HAM Radio – Talk to SSB & HAM Radio User. Has Email & Weather Report Capabilities
The satellite phone is an option that you may want to pair up with a long-distance radio like a SSB or HAM in order to talk with other cruisers on cruiser nets. You can use all 3 of these systems to send emails (text only, no images).
We used a HAM Radio and Winlink 2000 with Airmail (the client software) to send emails and access weather reports. Each system has their pros and cons. Like the learning curve on setting up an SSB or HAM is steep, so bring a parachute.
When it comes to selecting your vessel to cruise around in… the age really doesn’t matter.
You still need to get her ready for cruising and keep it in tip top shape.
Here are some advantages to purchasing an old boat…
You can get one with essential equipment already installed on it. (Radar, Water-maker, Radios, Life raft)
It’s been tested. You can find out what are the problem areas on your boat by checking blog sites or old boat forums
The cost is less than a new boat.
Advantages to purchasing a new boat…
You can outfit it with the equipment you want.
It will have a boat warranty
Less wear and tear on the vessel
Pick the right boat that fits your needs, either day sailor, coastal cruiser or offshore voyager. But remember keeping boats maintained is constant work, no matter the age of the boat. We met a cruising family out of Holland that purchased and outfitted a new steel boat. They were surprised at how much time and money it took to keep it running. “It’s one reason I bought a new boat. I didn’t want to repair it.” was what the owner told Kelly, as they were fixing a leak to his inboard motor shaft.
To keep with the Cruising Library theme, I have another recommendation. In the day and age of electronic charts, How to Read a Nautical Chart (2nd Edition), is good companion to have on board. Nigel Calder, is well respected within the cruising community. Many of his books I have recommended because they teach novice sailors skills and are excellent guides for experienced sailors.
How to read a nautical chart has been updated to include electronic charts, but also covers paper charts too. Knowing how to read a paper chart is a vital skill to have for the simple reason that electronics can fail. It has happened to us where our computer screen went blank. We found a small saltwater leak that got onto our computer. We pulled out our chart and plotted our way to the destination.
But here is another reason for knowing how to read a paper chart; it gives you a better comparison with scale and your location than an electronic chart.
The Healthy Cruiser’s Handbook is a must have in your cruising library.
There is not a doctor or hospital when you are hundreds of miles into your offshore passage or when anchored at a
remote bay. So this book is a valuable resource and must have in your cruising library.
It covers what you should pack in a first-aid kit and is very specific to common ailments cruiser’s experience. These include how to treat swimmer’s ear, reef cuts and even a not so pleasant topic, traveler’s diarrhea.
When in Mexico we picked up many of the recommended medications that were over-the-counter in the pharmacia’s versus getting a doctor’s prescription in the States for the same items. I would take this book into town and have the pharmacist look at the name of the medication. They were able to get the right items for me. Then I highlighted in the book the medications I purchased for easy reference when it was needed. The most helpful item was a powder-form anti-biotic we used for reef cuts we got from surfing.
The best part, I’ve seen this book for sale on Amazon “used” for under $2.00.
I prefer bare feet when I am on our boat. But when it comes to sailing, I will admit, I can be a bit clumsy either stubbing my toes on cleats or dropping a wench on them. So I needed a good pair of shoes that will cover my toes.
Buying boat shoes should have the following qualities:
Non-marking soles–otherwise you might see black shoe prints on your deck.
Water-proof & dries fast.
Grips the deck- slipping on the deck can be dangerous.
Style should also be a consideration. I like the light blue and white stripes in the shoe and there are many colors to choose from. But most important is the fact that I can protect my toes with an added bonus of hiding my non-pedicured nails.
There are some products that must be promoted, especially if they add knowledge and value. For Kelly and me, Handbook of Offshore Cruising: The Dream and Reality of Modern Ocean Cruising is the book to read if you are interested in cruising on your own boat.
While still landlocked in our jobs and dreaming of cruising to tropical islands, this book opened our eyes to what cruising is really like, the kind of gear needed, type of vessel to buy, and what to expect.
The author will not fill your head up describing the cruising life as paradise–garnished with gorgeous sunsets and Pina-Coladas, which does exist. Between the covers is an honest depiction, of the good and the bad, and an author that tells the experience well. It is worth the price new or used!
Many people a looking at chartering a boat for their vacation. To make it a safe and fun holiday keep a few basic tips in mind.
Arrive at your destination one day ahead. This will allow you to stock the boat up with the provisions you need, like food and beverages. Plus doing your own provision will save you money.
Pack your clothes in duffle bags or backpacks. Hard suitcases with wheels won’t stow well on a boat.
Don’t over pack! Cabin storage isn’t spacious. Plus you won’t need as much as you think. For example wearing shoes on board a boat is optional.
If sharing the expense of the charter with friends, pick them well. You will be in confined spaces so whiners and hot tempered people should remain on land and not on a boat.
When you are on the vessel, remember the electricity and water supply are limited. You will need to conserve meaning long showers or needlessly keeping on lights is very wasteful. On this vacation you will lower your carbon foot-print.
There should only be one skipper in charge on the boat so when things go haywire (and they can) there is one person making the final decision. Choose the person well. 😉
Now go out and enjoy the freedom of cruising on a boat.