As we end this thousand mile trip down the pacific coast here are some lessons learned for anyone thinking about a similar trip or project.
1. Don’t do it unless you have the time to throw at it. By this I am referring to the purchase of a boat in a far away land and the time to move it.
2. Sweet equity is a great thing when it comes to boats because an owner needs to be knowledgeable about every system on board. My hands have probably touched every square foot of this 25 year old classic. Sometimes not because I wanted to but because I needed to. Specialization does not work on boats. You need to be a jack of all trades.
3. Simple things – to keep things from sliding
4. Don’t go cheap on autopilot or chartplotter. Getting 10, 15 or 25 years out of a system on board makes for great bragging but, not a good thing when it goes on a trip of a lifetime.
5. Vacuum gauges
Where you can see them
6. Cooking – Healthy is better but costs more. Prepackaged meals suck. Don’t irradicate your food. Try foreign dishes like you do at home, thai, asian, max etc. Substitute but try something even if you don’t have all ingredients
7. Assign sleeping locations
9. Not too many rules please!!! Most adults are responsible and don’t need to be treated like idiots or irresponsible.
10. Water – Bring bottled water for drinking and feel free to use the rest without concern.
11. Know your fuel burn rate.
12. Clean up daily and don’t run out of plastic garbage bags, toilet paper, paper towels, or cleaning supplies including dishwashing soap. Use only liquid soap.
13. 36 hours at sea takes its toll so celebrate happy hour daily
14. Fans – great for hot and cold weather
15. Fluids – don’t fall short or check your engine while running every 12 hours.
16. Tools – carry every tool a mechanic, carpenter or hardware store does
17. Dinghy – we use ours as the life raft, garbage dump, keeper and holder of all junk along the way.
18. Bar b que – the weather can never be bad enough to bbq, if it is you screwed up some where in reading a future forecast. You can always make sandwiches so what is the big deal about people thinking they have to stock up on ready made meals.
19. ON Crew – Some crew members are easier than others. The easier ones have an idea of how to spend time aboard. Some just won’t stop talking. On a 41 ft boat it is fairly easy to pick up and move to another level when the endless, did I say endless, continual stories from decades of living begin eeking out like a firehose. Know what a conversation is, usually a two way exchange between people, but when one crew member begins dominating the entire conversation for hours on end it can get old fast.
20. Keep pushing the envelope to increase your comfort level. Sail, cruise at night, your boat can take way more than you can
21. And finally. Don’t overreact to anything, it frightens the crew!!