Posted by: powellpjc | March 19, 2009

Exciting times, expensive times.



This boat project is definitely under way. I plunked down my visa today at the boatyard and said, ‘OK’, let’s do it.

By that I mean, let’s order the necessary parts—electronic, mechanical and steel—and I’m all in. The list is long. It really doesn’t need to be but these are modern times and one might as well keep up. I’ve never used a ‘chartplotter’ before but one is on order (3 large.) Apparently this gizmo will tell me where I am on an electronic chart (coverage available for the whole world) and with another additional unit, the ‘AIS’, it will tell me what other ships are in my area; what speed they are going; what heading they are on; what they are having for dinner, etc. For a guy used to a sextant shot every 2nd or 3rd day (giving a location +/-7 miles) this chartplotter seems necessary regardless of expense.

I have a refrigerator—and it makes ice. The ice takes time but is a comforting feeling. Never had a fridge before. This boat has radar, something else I’ve never used. It is intuitive, however and will surely break down when it is really needed.

I have a single sideband radio. This allows 2-way communication world-wide (assuming the spirits of the ether are cooperative). It also allows for—with an additional modem hookup—email worldwide. We are talking about a 9600 baud modem. If you think back to your Commodore 64 computer you get an idea of the transmission speed. No pictures, no internet but messages are sent and received. I have a VHF radio, too. Don’t know why and don’t need one but I have one. Never had any type of radio transmitter on a boat before.

I am upgrading the sound system to a unit that is compatible with iPods and with waterproof speakers in the cockpit—regular speakers down below.

Sleek and Steel

Sleek and Steel

Among the other items I’ve never sailed with before  and now have;

-a propane 3-burner stove/oven. Propane is fast, cheap and dangerous. Way better than the old alcohol stoves which were cheap and dangerous.

-a pot belly diesel stove. This throws off good heat and impressive smoke. I have been chased out of the cabin more than once. It will be necessary at the higher latitudes.

-a wind-vane self steering device. This works when the wind pipes up and steers the boat relative to the wind. Uses no power and will break down.

-an electronic tiller arm. This will steer a compass course while the boat is under power. It uses a lot of power and will break down.

-a canvas bimini. This is a waterproof cockpit roof. It costs $1500 (I’m getting a new one) and is not waterproof when the rain is horizontal.

-a cockpit dodger. This helps deflect the green waves than sneak up on you and prevents rain from entering the companionway. It doesn’t help with waves from behind nor horizontal rain.

This boat has room for my Yamaha electronic piano, never mind my squeezebox.

Oh, and one more thing. Two immense fishing rods with reels. I don’t like fishing but I like eating fish. These rigs will keep me fed.

I will be 6 weeks—maybe 8—in the harbour getting ready. I live aboard the boat now. I hope to be living aboard for a long time to come.


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