cruising season 2023
5 months away? cruising the south west pacific.
What is the drawcard that inspires such a big challenge? It is not normal. Is it the challenge of the unknown? Is is it challenging yourself?
Whatever the reason, it took us a solid two years of gradual steps to be in this position.
Is the yacht up to it? We certainly have been some remote places for months on end, so the bugs were evident that got ironed out at each haul-out.
Somehow get to know each squeak and shudder. You get more confident in your planning.
You get the odd wake-call and close encounter of the terra-firma kind. It's to shallow, or there are huge rocks just centi-meters below the keel.
Until you motor your precious asset into these situations, it's hard to understand.
It wasn't until we had been offshore that we realised exactly what 2-metre and 3-metre swells were.
We soon realised too, how little we knew until we did our first rally. It was the cheats way of jumping the cruising queue, letting you understand the gravity and planning for this type of adventure, without the risk.
Morphine on a yacht? Everyone hates needles at the best of times. Why on earth have morphine? Freshwater tanks split into two with a valve... why?
A yellow flag? O.N. registration, Jacklines, joker valves, PLB's, and spares that would make a 'poor junk shop owner' wealthy. Police want EDN and IDN forms, electronics serial numbers. The list goes on...
'We have bought the dream boat. Needs a bit of TLC, then we can make those dreams come true.'
The fact is that offshore remote cruising requires total self sufficiency. We bought a vessel that had sailed extensively through the Pacific single-handed.
To find, the gas compliance was not actually compliant. All life jackets came out with the ark, totally not acceptable in todays world of best practice.
An offshore remote first aid kit, what a surprise to a non-medical novice.
One of our saildrives actually had metal pieces in the oil drain. This was after 'the salesman' provided evidence that it was a reconditioned saildrive, fitted only a few months previous in Fiji.
insurers & first aid
Evacuating a person mid-ocean is insanely costly and the skipper is responsible, unless documented otherwise.
The evacuee then cannot use their travel insurance cover, because the incident occurred in international waters on a private yacht.
The Insurers too, wanted their insurance by requesting a 'yacht survey' before they considered your application.
For those of us over 50, heart seems to top the list. Defibrillators (and training) are often part of the kit, as well as current CPR and resuscitation techniques.
A dedicated Marine First Aid Course is very high on the list, followed by the Insurance 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' scenario.
If you weigh over 75kg, and are the MOB (man-overboard), the crew must be able to quickly recover you from the water.
Verbal discussion on the MOB techniques are very quickly forgotten, so what's the alternative? The crew needed clear documented direction and preferably practice.
We originally started with a Dan Buoy, but moved to a Jon Buoy. Having tasted the swell offshore, we had to change our recovery technique for the MOB once at the yacht.
HF out, satellite in...that simple. Thanks to Elon, Starlink and Iridium-Go have opened up safety and communication in extremely remote sailing.
We still have VHF (portable and fixed).
I was asked by my electrician 'why do you want a second autopilot installed?'
As a mainly solo sailor 50% of the time, its all about redundancy. I have seen lightning first hand, disable a yacht offshore.
In this electricians 40 years of marine experience, it was rare that electronic cables need to be replaced. Don't believe this, then take a look at Parley Revival's lightning strikes. Colin has had two. In both instances they only replaced units.
It is highly likely that two fully installed autopilot systems would both fry in a single lightning strike. We see strong merit in component replacement methodology, and it's cheaper too.
So we now carry the electronic units (such as the autopilot) separately in their own little faraday bags away from electrical cables.
The various units can be quickly interchanged, making fault-finding quick and simple. We also happen to carry two long cables, enough to rebuild a whole rudimentary autopilot system.
Please jump to our other pages for MUCH MORE, in the INDEX under articles.
There is a lot that needs to be done to take this OFFSHORE CRUISING step.