Mid-Life Cruising Sabbatical

Chapter 3

Our Boat

I am now going to describe our boat, "Down Time" and how she was equipped when we made the decision to go. Then I'll describe what we did to make her ready for cruising.

"Down Time" was (we sold her when we got back, more later) an Endeavour 40 built in 1982. The keel is modified full. LOA 40 feet; LWL 32 feet; Beam 13 feet; Draft 5 feet (before you load her up); Weight 25000 lbs; Ballast 9000 lbs (bagged shot in keel).

The Endeavour 40 is a center cockpit sloop (sometimes cutter) with two staterooms and a main salon. One stateroom is completely aft and the other in the bow. Both have full heads, with the forward head having access both from the stateroom and the main salon. These boats were very popular among the Caribbean charter companies in the mid 80's because the layout was ideal for two couples. I am told they were designed by the same person who designs Island Packets and I can certainly see the similarities.


The companionway comes into the main salon. To the left is the galley in an alcove. There are settees on each side running fore and aft. To the right of the companionway are the nav station and the passageway leading to the aft stateroom. On the right (as one passes aft) of this passageway is the main engine room access and on the left is a multi-purpose area. In "Down Time" this area was a workbench with parts storage below. On some it is a quarter berth and on some it is a huge freezer.

The forward stateroom was a fairly conventional v-berth with storage under. In fact, we used the whole forward stateroom as storage. When we had guests we managed to cram all the stuff somewhere else so they would have a place to sleep.

The main salon with its two opposing settees was where we spent most of our time. We each had our own settee. These settees would also pull out to make double berths, but we never did so. Each settee had storage under and behind.

The galley had a normal ice box to which had been added an Adler Barbour Cold Machine. The stove was three burner propane. The sink was a very deep two compartment and we had a built in microwave oven.

In total there were four hatches and 16 port lights (all opened).


"Down Time" was a conventional sloop with no extra rigging. She had a single spreader with two lower and one upper stay per side. The forward stay had been replaced with a Hyde roller furling system. The backstay was also our HF antenna. She had been outfitted when built with a Hyde after-the-mast main furling system. This was apparently common with the Endeavour 40 because we have seen a lot rigged this way.

Winches were all Lewmar of various sizes. The only thing unusual here was that the primary winches were #48 (very big) and they were electric! Now I know you purists out there are tut tuting, but don't knock 'em until you've tried them. Back in 1982 I am sure that #48s were the smallest electrics you could get so that's why they were that size. Now you can get much smaller electrics.

So let's talk about all that roller furling and the electric winches. Oh yea, I am sure you purists tut tuted about the roller furling too. We were rigged in such a way that the jib sheets, the jib furling line and the main outhaul and furling line could be led to the electric primaries. Even the main and jib halyards could be led to the primaries making going up in a bosuns chair like riding an elevator: just push the button! I assume nobody argues with furling head sails these days since every single boat in the last BOC used them. Yes, furling mains are not as efficient as the conventional kind, but boy are they convenient. I'll even give them the nod for safety. How many times have you not reefed when you should have. You know, "The wind won't get much higher," or "The squall will pass us by." With a furling main its so easy you just do it.


Bimini with full cockpit enclosure. Forward and aft sun awnings (which we took but never used) completely cover boat. Covers for all hatches. All canvas was Sunbrella.


Roller furling/reefing main; 135% Genoa; storm jib; Cruising spinnaker. We did not take the cruising spinnaker with us primarily because of its size. The storm jib was rigged to replace the Genoa, but we neve used it.


We had a 35 lb. ersatz CQR, a 15 kg. Bruce and a 20 lb. Danforth (used as a stern anchor). I don't remember about rodes because we replaced them all. "Down Time" also had a Nilsson 2000 vertical electric anchor windlass. The CQR and the Bruce were carried on rollers on the bowsprit.


Center cockpits don't have much room for lockers. We had a large anchor locker on the fore deck (we could carry 600 feet of 3/4 inch line, 90 feet of 3/8 chain and a Fortress FX-37 there). Aft we had one general purpose locker to starboard and a propane locker on port that could hold two 20 lb. bottles.


We carried 73 gallons of diesel in a single tank located in the keel under the engine. We carried 120 gallons of water in two tanks that were interconnected so they acted as one.


Standard Perkins 4-108, Hurth 2.5 reduction water cooled transmission and three bladed prop.


"Down Time" had a 7.5KW Westerbeke generator. The motor here was actually a three cylinder, 21 hp. Mitsubishi.


Danforth Constellation Compass.
Standard Horizon VHF.
Standard Horizon VHF handheld.
Furuno 24 radar.
Furuno LC-90 Mark II Loran.
Autohelm 5000 integral autopilot.
Motorola Triton SSB.
Signet wind speed and point.
Signet SmartPak depth, speed, log, etc. system.


Avon 3.10 inflatable with Sears (yes that's right -- see we didn't do everything right) 7.5hp motor.


Five 8D (or equivalent.)
Two automotive.


Two Delco 66 amp alternators on Perkins. Two Professional Mariner Dura 30/50 110 volt chargers.


Two 30 amp panels supplied from shore power or generator.


Two Marine Air reverse cycle units (19,000 & 6,000 BTUs).


Jensen stereo with Sony CD player.
RCA 110/12 volt color TV and Totevision 110/12 volt VCR.


Life jackets--Eight Type I.
Fire extinguishers--Four USCG B,C size I; One USCG B,C size II.
MOB pole.
One type IV horseshoe with strobe and one ring.


Magma barbecue; several pairs of binoculars, including a Steiner pair with built in compass; clocks; navigation tools; flags. There must be a lot of others. Ask if you want to know something specific.

OK, so that's the way she lay in April 1990. Here are the changes and work we did by the end of the year:


Of course we checked everything for wear and tear and replaced stuff that needed to be. In October we had "Down Time" hauled for the normal bottom job. I assume everyone knows what is done in a "normal bottom job" in salt water. If anyone doesn't, just ask.


We had a rigger check the standing as part of a survey for new insurance. This included the dye testing for cracked fittings.


We got rid of the ersatz CQR and bought a real 45 lb. CQR. The copies are worthless. We had dragged several times with it in Biscayne Bay. During our entire 31 month cruise the real CQR dragged only once. Don't buy anything but a real CQR! We rigged the CQR (our primary anchor) with 60 feet of 3/8 inch HT chain and 300 feet of 3/4 inch line. We rigged the Bruce with 30 feet of 3/8 inch HT chain and 300 feet of 3/4 inch line. We bought a Fortress FX-37 as a storm anchor. Thankfully, we never used it.


I had rebuilt all the furling stuff since I had owned the boat so we felt OK with it.


We replaced the one we had and bought a new one (remember we could carry two). We just went to Kmart and bought $20 galvanized ones. I personally don't think the stainless ones are worth the price. We also rigged a fitting that let us run our barbecue grill off these tanks. Sure was easier than carrying all those little propane cylinders.


We had the sails checked and repaired as necessary. I believe we replaced the sacrificial cloth.


We added davits to the stern to carry the dingy. We got the light weight kind that are 1 inch stainless tube, stand on the cap rail and clamp to the stern pulpit.


We replaced the old Motorola SSB with an Icom M700 with the appropriate automatic antenna tuner (I don't remember the Icom model). The Motorola was crystal controlled and had few channels. It had been on the boat when we bought it and never really used. We bought a Trimble TransPak GPS. That was about the only portable in those days (October 1990). We paid $2800 wholesale!


"Down Time" had three hanging lockers plus a wet locker. We converted two of the hanging ones to more useful storage by adding shelves to them. We also used several duffel bags to carry lines. These were carried on deck.


"Down Time" had Raritan electric heads. We converted them to manual. The electric mode uses a lot of power.


We added a deck shower so we could wash the salt water off and not track it below.


We added a Power Survivor (now Pur) 80 12 volt DC R/O desalinator. We had plenty of AC power to run a larger capacity unit, but I could never find the space to mount the motor and pump. We got the modular version and installed it under the cabin sole. We plumbed the unit to output the water directly in our tanks. We also installed a diverter valve so we could direct the water out a fixture we added in the galley. This allowed us to taste test the water before we let it go into the tank. It also let us fill water bottles (which we kept in the fridge) so our drinking water did not pick up a plastic tank taste.

The direct plumbing was a little dangerous since a failure would have polluted all our drinking water. The Power Survivor did have a sensor and automatic diverter to prevent this and we did carry an emergency 5 gallons on deck. Our watermaker produced all the water we needed and from time to time we supplied other boats in particularly dry and remote anchorages.


When I think about our batteries I am reminded of the scene from "Das Boot", you remember I'm sure!

"Down Time" carried an enormous number of batteries. We had five 8Ds (or their equivalent) and two automotive starting batteries. This was the way she had been built and here was their use:

There was one starting battery each for the engine and the generator. These were located above the generator on a shelf in the engine room. There was one gel cell 8D for the anchor windlass located under the v- berth. Two of the other 8Ds were normal house batteries and the other two 8Ds were for the electric winches. These four 8Ds were located under the main salon settees.

Charging for these batteries was provided by two ordinary automobile alternators on the Perkins and two Professional Mariner Dura 30/50.

The only change we made before leaving was to add a switch that allowed the winch batteries to be used as house batteries. A couple of months into the cruise we admitted that our charging system needed work and we added a Professional Mariner Cruising 80 charger. This was not the answer either and I'll talk more about this later.

Oh, I keep saying "8D or equivalent." I'd better explain. Two of our 8Ds were actually four 6 volt batteries hooked together in series in pairs. These were Surettes (sp?). The Surette people had recommended this approach. I believe it gives more capacity, but I am not sure. It does make them easier to handle since an 8D full of acid weighs about 160 lbs.


At our haul out we had a brand of shaft line cutters called "Spurs" added. These were great! If you are not familiar with these, they are two pairs of very sharp knives that are attached to the shaft and the strut. One pair is fixed and the other turns with the shaft. The theory is that they cut any line that would otherwise foul your prop. They do just that.

We encountered hundreds (maybe thousands) of lobster pots and fishing gear. Traveling at night these things are impossible to see. It's a great comfort to know that you won't have to go over the side on a dark night to clear a fouled prop!

We know the Spurs did there job because we could see the threads of line hanging from them when we went swimming.


We bought an ACR Class B EPIRB and a used Avon 4-man offshore SOLAS liferaft in a valise. I remember having the life raft serviced in some place out near the Miami airport. Part of life raft servicing is to inflate the thing and see that it holds air. We climbed inside and swore it was the first and the last time we would ever be in it. We were right.


A 12 volt cigarette lighter type inverter. This was great for powering our coffee grinder and my laptop computer.

US and other country courtesy flags. Here's a bit of trivia. You've all seen the US Ensign, that's the flag with red and white stripes and a fouled anchor surrounded by stars. Technically this is only recognized in US waters, so to be "proper" you should fly the plain old stars and stripes. You'll need courtesy flags for each country you plan to visit and a yellow quarantine flag. If one of you sews, there are kits you can buy with material and patterns for every country in the world. Flags take a beating. I think we went through three or four US flags.

A micro cassette recorder. We used this to record weather broadcasts so we could transcribe them.

I am sure I have forgotten some of the things we did. I'll put them in future articles as I remember. I'll also tell you what we would have done differently and give you our opinions on our ideal cruising boat.

Jim & Diane

Send comments to: jkbarrentine@earthlink.net

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