10 Items to Make Winter Sailing More Comfortable


Whether you’d want to extend your cruising period in to the colder months or make a voyage towards the wilds of the high latitudes, there’s extra planning involved.  (posted June/July 2016)

You’ll check over your rig, your steering, your engine, your systems, your electronics, plus ground tackle to make sure everything is in good working order; you’ll overhaul your security gear and possibly atart exercising . equipment, such as for instance success matches; of course you don’t have a heater you’ll install one. All that’s the important part. However, if you’d like to make your winter sailing comfortable also safe, listed here are ten items that goes quite a distance to keep up crew morale.

Katadyn desalinator

Katadyn desalinator

1. A DESALINATOR  for a long time I happened to be a proudly primitive sailor whom hefted buckets of water from shore to dinghy to boat, and whom took saltwater showers. Since 2014, I’ve been a watermaker convert. I’ve a Katadyn 40E PowerSurvivor (now offered by Spectra) that creates one and a half gallons each hour at four amps. It’s great: We wash my cookware in fresh water and they don’t corrode; I take (brief) fresh water showers and I don’t must fill my tanks with water from coast if it’s at all questionable. Plus, i could run the desalinator off my solar power panels. Clearly this will be a ‘great to possess’ product for almost any latitude, but there are two reasons it’s specially good for cold weather cruising.

First, it may be difficult if you don’t impractical to fill from coast within the high latitudes. The Arctic is just a desert without much drinking tap water to start with. So water there may be expensive when you can even obtain it at all. Plus, it could be tough to carry it to the ship. Including, there are not any ports north of Nome, Alaska and north for the Bering Strait it is just exposed coastline with surf breaking on beaches. Getting ashore requires persistence. On my recent voyage up there, we additionally had to anchor several kilometers from the nearest village on a few occasions. I happened to be happy not to have to heft jerry jugs then! As an alternative, We spent seven enjoyable months without filling from shore and without rationing. In sub-Arctic latitudes, it can also be challenging to fill from shore, either because you are far from civilization or as the ports are designed for commercial and fishing traffic so that the docks are high piling piers, maybe not well suited for a sailboat.

2nd, you won’t be doing much swimming through your cold-weather cruise, nor do you want to especially wish to take a bucket bath on deck. So that it’s actually nice to be able to make fresh water to bathe in. It cann’t need to be much—We usually just warm up a kettle for the sponge bath—but it creates a positive change in morale.

Sat phone and router linked to the laptop

Sat phone and router linked to the laptop computer

2. SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS If you’re venturing toward Arctic, where HF signals are weak, an Iridium set-up (other providers have spotty protection up there) might be your only option for getting climate information. On my voyage toward Alaskan Arctic, we used an Iridium Extreme phone having an outside antenna and OCENS software and not had a dropped connection. It was essential for receiving climate and ice information. In fact, i might put this within the ‘essential for safety’ category for anybody venturing to your Arctic.

Outside these extreme latitudes, satellite communications fall more to the ‘great to own’ category. We find the ease and speed with which a satellite connection downloads GRIBs and emails a genuine luxury after having spent years fiddling with my SSB. Plus, it’s nice to learn i could in fact phone or text those in the home from anywhere. This provides real reassurance in every situation, but particularly when you’re going to cool climes. And don’t your investment satisfaction thus giving to those kept on shore!

Tucked to the resting case inside gulf of Alaska

Tucked into the sleeping bag in gulf of Alaska

3. A SLEEPING BAG If you’re regularly resting in sheets and blankets on your own cruises, you could disregard this incredibly cozy item. If you don’t have limitless fuel, your cabin will still feel cool even with a heater operating. I really like my sleeping bag: I heat up quickly when my watch has ended and thus fall asleep faster. I personally use a resting bag liner in order that I just launder that as opposed to the entire case. Truly the only downside is that you won’t need to get out of it for your watch.

4,5 & 6 AlpineAire dinner, fishermens gloves and ski goggles on a passage on Arctic

4,5 & 6 AlpineAire meal, fishermens gloves and ski goggles for a passage on Arctic

4. ALPINEAIRE DISHES cold temperatures sailing can be rough weather sailing, and only probably the most iron of stomachs can joyfully prepare coq au vin in pitching galley. I used to consume U.S. army rations during gales but they aren’t especially tasty, therefore I now consume AlpineAire meals. They’re natural, freeze-dried, instant dishes that really do taste delicious. They certainly were created for backcountry hikers, but they’re similarly good for a stormy evening at ocean. You simply add boiling water toward pouch, stir it, wait ten minutes and consume it right out of the pouch. No cooking, no dishes. Wonderful for nauseated or tired watch-standers. My favorites are most likely the vegetarian Mountain Chili, the Mac and Cheese (convenience food!), and Pineapple Orange Chicken. There’s additionally some very nice gluten-free options like crazy Quinoa Pilaf.

5. FISHERMAN’S GLOVES  I’ve experienced many pairs of these inexpensive orange hardware store gloves. They’re fleece-lined waterproof plastic gloves which can be well suited for taking care of deck in cold, wet conditions. I personally use them for from pulling the anchor into the bow roller to reefing to steering. They allow sufficient dexterity to be an easy task to work with and they’re warm enough also for arctic conditions. The drawback usually after the fleece inside gets damp, it remains wet forever more, so you’ll require a bunch of pairs agreeable.

6. SKI GOGGLES  Protecting your eyes from sunlight and glare is essential, specially at ocean in which you’re confronted with UV rays doubly they bounce off the water. Usually this implies sunglasses, ideally polarized. While the temperatures begin to drop and wind starts to howl, though, ski goggles is really nice. They keep the face warm and keep wind, rain, and spray from your eyes on damp days. On cold, clear days they serve exactly the same function as sunglasses but with the benefits of warmth and wind security and completely wrapping around the face and blocking UV rays on all edges.
7. AUDIOBOOKS  often standing view keeps you very busy, but there are various other occasions when it is just a matter of maintaining a sharp eye on things. On those watches i love to read publications, looking up from the page every couple of paragraphs. Rougher seas and spray can destroy your books, though, therefore I’ve switched more to audiobooks while on high latitude voyages. As soon as I’ve got it playing, I tuck the ipod inside my coat, put in my earbuds, and I’m ready to keep awake and alert for the next four hours. An audiobook additionally makes a good escape when you’re experiencing only a little seasick or just simple fed up with a long, cool passage and yearning for shore and limitless hot showers. I’ve heard everything from Dan Brown’s thrillers to Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series up to a biography of Mozart interspersed together with his music.

Pelican situation for digital camera gear

Pelican situation for camera gear

8. WATERPROOF, CRUSH-PROOF VINYL CIRCUMSTANCES Several brands—Pelican, Nanuk, Seahorse, Crash Cases—make these incredibly sturdy situations which you’ll properly keep any or your individual electronics. I use them for my laptop computer, smartphone and all sorts of my digital camera gear. You’ll cut right out the foam on the inside towards form of your device and, after the case is closed and latched, your gear will likely be safe from water and any kind of effect. I stow my material in them all the time, in the calmest anchorage, and I also feel confident bringing my digital cameras and computer ashore inside dinghy even in chop and rain. They’re great no matter where you sail.
9. ACTIVE DEHUMIDIFIER  You might think that is just necessary for a motorboat kept within the tropics, but you’d be surprised how damp the interior of a ship will get in high latitudes, too. Mold grows fast also it’s difficult to beat, so it’s better to prevent it before it begins. If you intend on investing enough time in a marina with shore-power, or you want to keep your boat either in the difficult or in water, it’s worth getting an energetic dehumidifier. I’ve left our boat for 2 winters in Dutch Harbor in Aleutian isles, Alaska, having a General Electrical machine draining continuously down the galley sink drain, and my motorboat was wonderfully dry and sweet-smelling upon return.

Beers to commemorate reaching Pt. Barrow, the northernmost point regarding the usa

Beers to commemorate reaching Pt. Barrow, the northernmost point regarding the usa

10. BOOZE No, actually. The greater remote your cruising grounds, the greater amount of high priced everything gets. And several places in Arctic are dry villages due to high prices of addiction among indigenous peoples in the past. Therefore if you’d always celebrate crossing the Arctic Circle with some champagne, or if you’d just like a beer one placid night at anchor (I’m not advocating consuming at ocean!), it’s cheaper and easier to carry it with you. And who doesn’t want some rum as soon as the forecast demands freezing spray?

Ellen Massey Leonard completed an international circumnavigation at age 24 and recently sailed the woman classic cutter towards the northernmost tip of America at aim Barrow into the Alaskan Arctic. She ended up being honored to get the Cruising Club of America’s 2015 Charles H. Vilas Literary Prize. She chronicles her adventures in terms and pictures at www.GoneFloatabout.com and on Instagram @ellenandseth.

Offshore Anticipation


Preparations for the Bermuda Race are planning to commence, but getting ready for an overseas passage isn’t unfamiliar territory despite the variety possibilities that lurk as time goes by  (posted June 2016)

I simply made my flight reservations. Moondance, the Swan 56 we delivered to Spain final June is now in St. Martin and has to be brought house to New England when preparing the upcoming Bermuda Race this June. Michael Johnson, Moondance‘s owner, Tom Carrol, Dana Bolton and I will deliver the ship to the Jamestown Boat Yard (JBY) in belated April. All the crew have previously taken their Safety at water Seminars therefore the motorboat and crew had been completely prepared the transatlantic this past year despite the fact that it had been 1st transat for some of these aboard.

Moondance will once again be re-inspected and fawned over before our departure from St. Martin in two weeks, but that journey north will provide united states with ample possibility to refine the JBY worklist, prepare for the state Bermuda Race inspection and generally speaking reacquaint ourselves with the motorboat before pushing her harder in battle conditions. Being over-prepared is just a concept so it totally beyond my comprehension.

In fact, it really does not make a difference whether you’re finding your way through a mid-winter passage up the East Coast regarding the U.S., a Newport to Bermuda Race, Pacific Cup or just an extended cruise, having your preparation wrong or insufficient can truly add to the danger and probably will reduce the enjoyment for the trip. Joyfully enough, and unlike all of the deliveries that I make, people have significantly more when compared to a couple of days to prepare for passage.  Regardless of timeframe necessary, though, the bare bones of planning remain much the same for everyone.

Despite the truth that I’ll again be loading up my backpack and lugging my ocean bag through airports and parking lots, Charles Nethersole has already been onboard ensuring that Moondance is prepared for ocean, and my own brain is training the overseas details.  At the least this time around i’ve the blissful luxury of knowing a number of exactly what we’ll take for once we arrive in St. Martin.
Regardless of the fact, but my first task is to survey the particular onboard situation and seek advice from Charles and Michael.While I poke around into the nav place, finding ship’s documents, charts, and tools and trying out the Iridium phone, computer as well as other other instruments, I’ll ask the usual questions. “just what does it seem like for fuel and water?” “Have you had the opportunity to check on every one of the thru hulls?” “What have we got onboard for sleeping bags?” The questions will quickly move down my tongue as quickly as they can be answered. “How well is the dinghy secured?” “What’s the problem with all the tools that people have? Think About the sail fix kit we had onboard final summer time?” More questions will observe as I get into full-on information collection mode and I make reference to my generic pre-departure check listings.

After the initial overview, we’ll finish an exact selection of everything we must buy.  Simultaneously, we shall develop a a number of items that have to be done on the boat just before departure. We shall digest into two teams of 2 or 3 people each, one team to do the shopping and other group to stay onboard for the time, planning the watercraft for departure. If the preparation group believes that they will desire a couple of items to complete a certain task such as specific tools, we’ll include that towards the range of things to purchase prior to going regarding “shopping spree”.

Most of the time, we often break tasks into various divisions: nav area, sails, deck hardware, mechanical, provisioning, safety and so forth. I’ve a rather generic listing of tasks that needs to be addressed just before departure, plus pretty complete set of tools that i’d wish for long passages. Neither list is wholly complete. Nevertheless they give a good start in the idea process. Some things regarding lists apply to a particular boat or passage, plus some things don’t apply.  Together, they provide a great starting place from where to build an accurate list that will assist united states obtain a motorboat from aim the to Point B, anywhere on earth. For short events, we might require a minimalist way of spares and tools, but on long passages and events, we shall wish to have a more comprehensive bag of tricks that we could solve numerous possible dilemmas.

As soon as offshore, we understand there aren’t any malls, chandleries, sail lofts or machine shops.  We’re it. And we’ll have to make do with whatever we’ve around or learn to do without one. We’ll must fix it or forget using it when something is broken. And things do break. Spinnakers blow out. Racor filters must be replaced. Hose connections leak. Winches begin to rattle. Lines chafe. You will take to your very best to take care of nearly all of those things prior to departure. You’ll check lines while underway. You’ll make sure to reef very early and downshift your headsails conservatively. But issues will occur anyhow.  And the thoroughness of the preparations will decide how effective you are in conquering those issues.
whenever shopping group returns utilizing the acquisitions, the things will likely to be stowed and updates given by both groups. If the onboard planning group requires more hours or gear to perform necessary tasks, the shopping group can pitch in or fetch the required equipment. Whenever we’re prepared to keep, the final remaining tasks is to fill up the fuel and water tanks. We are going to leave the marina dock, visit the gas dock last but not least head overseas. If one of the water tanks possesses leak inside top, the formerly purchased and stowed fast setting epoxy may be used to simply take that off the selection of tasks. Once we fuel up the main tanks, we’ll additionally refill four five-gallon jerry cans and another of two two-gallon jugs that individuals formerly purchased.  We are going to keep one of many two-gallon jugs empty to utilize for waste oil whenever we need certainly to alter oil while underway. And we’ll make use of the two gallons of diesel fuel for things like topping down Racor filters, finish gaskets or other tiny tasks if necessary and steer clear of using a large five-gallon jug while bouncing around in a motor compartment. Prior and likewise to topping down our tanks, we are going to all go for a ride to your regional West aquatic or other chandlery to see when there is whatever any of us thought required to bring.  I want everyone’s mind involved inside procedure so we don’t keep any such thing critical behind just as it hadn’t taken place to one of us.

If we now have the true luxury of the time by having an unfamiliar motorboat, and also as element of our preparations for the Bermuda Race, we will just take the boat out for considerable evaluation days ahead of the final preparations, seeing just what could need readjusting or extra attention.  Water studies certainly are a valuable learning tool, therefore’s better to find out your weaknesses during trials than to find out them 500 kilometers from coast. Onboard Moondance, we’re lucky that individuals are doing our pre-race sea studies during our distribution up from St. Martin. We are going to have a number of complete team sea studies in-may and June to look for extra tasks and to assist the rest of the crew become reacquainted utilizing the vessel.  We were all onboard last June, but that does not imply that somewhat “refresher course” isn’t beneficial in 2010.

Our preparations for this next trip would be extremely quick and efficient, thanks in big measure towards efforts that Charles is undertaking.  Having some one familiar with the ship as well as on site prior to the rest of the crew’s arrival will be a critical element in the method this time.  Engines has been run, oil changed, and things very carefully surveyed even prior to most of us getting to St. Martin.  Diligence and concentrate by everybody else involved will eventually allow it to be all feasible through the Bermuda Race and Moondance’s ultimate return house.

Couple of passages are totally problem-free, but hopefully the ending back in brand new England will be utilizing the boat in better shape than just before our arrival in St. Martin.  If we’re able to achieve that goal, it’ll be because of preparation as well as the efforts that the team help with throughout the campaign.

Throughout the preparations we have broken the method down to several easy actions: 1) evaluation of present situation of ship, 2) arranging exactly what would have to be bought and achieved into lists, 3) buying and completing the mandatory tasks by the assigned teams, 4) re-evaluating the specific situation with everyone’s input 5) reacquainting the entire crew because of the watercraft.  We shall test things while heading out from St. Martin, and hopefully, we are going to restore our understanding of Moondance while making the lady a safer, better vessel.

Bill Biewenga is just a navigator, delivery skipper and weather router. Their web sites are www.weather4sailors.com and www.WxAdvantage.com. He is able to be contacted at billbiewenga@cox.net.

Sailor Fighting for his Life after Electrocution

Published by Blue Water Sailing Media, a unit of Day Communications, Inc., Middletown, RI
Publisher: George Day

Blue liquid Sailing Media publishes Blue liquid Sailing mag,
Multihulls Quarterly as well as other titles.

Cruising Compass Advertising Product Sales:

George Day, Newport, RI

Scott Akerman, Portland, ME