Mid-Life Cruising Sabbatical

Questions and Answers
Part 1

These questions were received after Chapter 3


Re: MLCS-03...
Very interesting and painstakingly detailed (which I appreciate).

A few questions come to mind:

Were you happy with the dingy davits you installed and the general
arrangement of carry the dingy over the stern?

As you will see in #04 (which I am working on) I would have preferred heavier duty ones. I think ours only cost $200. They were from a place called Offshore Marine. It would not be safe to carry a dingy on davits over the stern on open water passages. When we did those (across the Gulf Stream, Mona, Anagada) we carried the dingy on the fore deck. Island hopping we used the davits. "Down Time " had a reverse transom which did not make raising the dingy easy. It always caught on the lip of the transom.

This will entertain you. Here was our fire drill for raising the dingy.

Jim in dingy, Diane on deck.

Jim takes dingy to side of boat and hands up loose items (fuel tank etc.) to Diane.

Diane opens stern gate and drops boarding ladder and the lifting lines. Jim takes dingy to stern and secures dingy using painter.

Jim attaches one lifting line to motor and loosens motor toggles. Diane takes up slack on motor lifting line and Jim climbs up stern ladder.

Jim hauls motor up and stores it on its stern mount.

Jim climbs down ladder and back into dingy, attaches both lifting lines and climbs back up the stern ladder. Diane pulls up ladder and closes stern gate.

Together we hoist dingy. When it catches on the lip of the transom, Jim uses the deck brush to push it off and we continue hoisting.

We tie off the hoisting lines in an elaborate cross pattern we devised.

We use heavy rubber cargo straps to further secure the dingy from side-to side movement.

This whole thing too about 10 minutes after we had done it 100 times or so.

One cheap option to davits would be a hoist arrangement using a halyard off the mast to lift the dingy and place it in a cradle on the fore deck.

Overall, were you happy with the boat itself as a sailing/living

Yes, I think the Endeavour 40 is a good boat for this sort of cruise. We encountered no fewer than five others on the trip. That's more than any other model/size we saw. Of course, maybe we looked for E 40s.

Did you make a lot of use of the SSB?

Yes. See article #04.

I'm sure you'll talk about charts, but just in case: how did you go about
identifying which charts to get and where did you get them? Did you end
up purchasing/aquiring charts enroute?

Scheduled for our Navigation, Electronics and Communication article.

Pur 80: What was the maintenance like on this unit? Did you restrict yourself from operating it in busy (read polluted or oily) harbors?

All watermakers are high maintenance. Remember that you are forcing sea water through a membrane under high pressure. We carried a rebuild kit for it but never used it. Here's why. The manufacturer said a rebuild would be needed after about 800 hours. We were less than that (maybe 500) when the unit suffered a serious failure. We were in the Virgins and returned it to the manufacturer under warranty. Since they did a rebuild as part of the repair we never had to.

We absolutely did not run the unit in oily water. This will ruin the membrane. I remember sailing along with the watermaker running and seeing an oil slick ahead. One of us would run below to turn the unit off. We didn't worry about polluted water. It is my understanding that an R/O unit will filter bacteria but not viruses. Maybe we should have been more careful, but we never had a problem. The big AC units offer UV lights to sanitize the output.

All R/O units like to be run every day. If you are going to go more than two or three days (like you are at a dock) without running the unit you have to pickle it. This involves running a chemical solution through the membrane to keep things from growing in there. When you put the unit back in service you have to flush all this stuff out.

Steering: You mention the Autohelm unit - did you consider a wind vane?

Never considered one and never saw anyone use one. We saw boats that had done ocean crossings with them but they did not use them in the Caribbean. On one of our passages (see future articles) ours steered the boat for five days straight with no problems. If the sails are properly trimmed there is very litt;e work (and therefore wear and tear) on the autohelm. Also little power consumption.

Navigation: You mention the electronics, but did you take a sextant and associated references?

Yes but only as a source of entertainment. More later in the Navigation, Electronics and Communication article.

Safety: I didn't see any mention of a drogue or sea anchor. What was your storm strategy (short of the "first and last time" philosophy you adopted vis-a-vis the lifraft :)

No drogue or sea anchor, probably should have had one. When we left we did not plan to make any passages longer than two days. We felt we could wait for weather windows that would give us at least this much time. If need be we would have used warps as drogues.

Safety: Did you use jacklines and/or harnesses at all?

Oh yes very definitely. For anything other than island hopping we rigged jack lines port and starboard and both wore harnesses all the time. Anytime we went out of the cockpit (even island hopping) we wore harnesses.

Need convincing? Read this.

We met a couple in Georgetown, Bahamans who decided to sail/motor their Brewer 44 directly to the Virgins. Several days out he was on watch and she below sleeping. He saw something on the aft deck that looked like oil and went out of the cockpit without securing his harness to check it out. The boat lurched and he went overboard. As he went over he screamed which woke her up. She came on deck to find him gone and nowhere in sight. She turned the boat on a reciprocal course and actually found him. Guess what the odds in that were. They were so shaken up over this that it was days before they could even relate the story on the radio.

By the way, we are writing these articles as we go. Some of you have asked for all in a bunch. Sorry they don't exist yet.

Jim & Diane

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