The 10 best pieces of kit (not in any in particular of order, although in my opinion the isolation transformer wins in spades):
1. Auto – helm ST5000
• The only time the auto helm ever failed us was in very high winds and big waves. We’d go up one wave and it was working extra hard to put us back on course. Having the auto helm enabled us (I mean Larry) to get much needed rest during the night. Larry was surprised at how little battery juice it used. It was much more reliable that the Airies wind vane, which is now up for sale;
• Again what a life saver. Larry would set a proximity alarm so we could sleep; if a vessel was within 10Nm from us, an alarm would sound. Although primarily large vessels and ferries have AIS, more and more yachts are discovering the benefits of AIS over radar (cost being one of them);
3. Iridium phone
• Absolutely priceless piece of kit. Using the XGate program larry was able to download weather at any given time. We were also able to call home from time to time and send/receive emails.
4. Engel cooler
• Again so surprised at how little battery power the cooler used. We never anticipated using the cooler for the crossing. We thought once we left Sydney we would have to turn it off. We had it on the whole way, even making ice! As I update this blog in Ponta Delgada, it is still going strong
5. Rocna anchor
• Set first time, every time in any sea bed. Check out the youtube video on Rocna anchors. Enough said.
6. Trojan batteries (4)
• Use 100% pure lead. Most other battery makers use recycledlead. They are expensive but well worth every penny. It would take 24 hrs with the fridge and auto helm operating full time before the battery would degrade. Allowed us to have self steering and refrigeration for the entire crossing.
7. Isolation Transformer
• This is my particular favourite . Notwithstanding the fact that it was bought in the US from a medical supply company (well done Larry!) , all Larry had to do was change a few wires when we got to Europe and la voila, it converted 220V to 120V.So I use toaster, coffee maker, hair dryer and wax pot, just like home!!!!!!!!!!!
• Cannot say enough about fans!!!! We’ve met so many people since arriving in Flores without a bloody fan on their boat! WTF is up with that?? Larry has installed a fan in every important locale, including bed spaces, bathroom, nav table and galley. We have a total of 6 fans. We sweat morning, noon and night – fans are essential.
9. Stay sail
• Like having that 6th gear in your car; great for above 25 kts.
10. Butyl Tape
• Not the grey useless stuff you buy at the chandlery, $20 for a 20 ft roll, but at Trenton Window and Glass (for example) it’s black, $5 for 20 ft roll and works way better. You know the commercial for Frank’s Hot Sauce? We put this shit (black butyl tape) on everything! That’s what we do!
• The couple on the boat Squall, never had any leaks before the crossing. But when they were in the same storm as us, they said there were waves of water coming in the window. To the point when we saw them in Flores, they were washing every cushion and every piece of clothing they owned (or so it appeared). Other than our coach roof hand rails leaking a bit because they had the grey butyl tape, we had no issues whatsoever with water in the boat, even during the 3 day storm. We failed to mention butyl tape to Numa, even when we saw him recaulking the window with regular caulking. Our bad.
• Larry discovered a blog on one of those winter nights when he was constantly researching how to do things better, of a guy rebuilding his boat. He was very descriptive on how to prepare holes etc for butyl tape. It made all the difference. In a nutshell, he drills the hole with a dremel bit that creates a ¼ inch well inside the hole. The hole is filled expoxy, left to dry and then drilled with a counter-sink on the top. Next, wrap your bolt or screw with butyl tape and the counter-sink will force the butyl tape around the screw or bolt. I can honestly say, “as a female” we have never had an issue water wise, with anything that we have applied butyl tape to.