When you think about sailing off into the sunset, there are a few pieces of essential equipment you probably want to have. Our boat had none of them when we purchased it. The previous owner only took this boat out on a small lake. I am still trying to figure out how he sailed on Lake Pierce in Rockford. By the time he got any wind in his sail, he would have been at the other end of the lake. Forget tacking, there isn’t enough room for that.
We wanted to get this boat ready to sail on the Great Lakes and in the Florida Keys. There were many things we needed to replace or upgrade. Some electronic equipment was also needed. You will see a few things that aren’t essential but we felt they would make things easier for us.
A sail stop was something we didn’t even know existed until we were installing our single line reefing system. The directions kept talking about using your sail stop to keep the sail from falling out. Sail stop, what sail stop?
We have always struggled with the sails falling out of the mast when you lower them. You mean we could have solved this problem with a small $10.00 item. Oh come on, seriously!!!!!
We never knew such a cute little thing existed. I think our boat probably had one when it was new. Where it ended up, we will never know. It was important enough, I bought two of these. When sailing you need spare parts whenever possible. I will not be without one of these again. If your boat doesn’t have one, stop fighting your sails and get one.
There are three different ones. Take a good look at your mast before ordering.
We looked over all our hardware on the boat and discovered some of it was rather worn. We decided to replace the headstay and turn buckle. I called Bluewater Yachts and ordered the headstay for our boat. Since they are the only distributor for MacGregory they knew exactly what I needed.
Bluewater Yachts website talked about the fact that you should never use a straight quick pin or a ball lock type pin on your headstay. They will fall out and your mast will come down. They stated it is not a matter of “if” but “when” it will happen. The thought of the mast falling on my head in a high wind, didn’t give me that warm fuzzy feeling. Threaten me with a mast falling on my head and I will purchase just about anything. So we also order a new bow pin along with the headstay. We suggest ordering two of the bow pins. You would not believe how many times I have dropped the pin when raising the mast. We also thought it was important enough to replace the 15 year old mast base quick pin for $11.00.
Our life lines were old, yellowed, and cracked. It was not a safety issue to replace them but it made a big difference in how the boat looks. We had Bluewater Yachts put a pelican clip on the line so it could be disconnected for easier entrance and exits. It made a big difference when these short legs had to get out of the boat in high water. We were at Lake Mendota in Madison Wisconsin after a huge rain. The water was level with the dock. This made the boat so high off the dock it was hard to get in and out.
Silly me, I thought have wind… sail away. Seems it is a little more complicated than that. Any sailor can tell you how important it is to know where the wind is coming from. We needed to shop for a wind indicator to put on our mast. This wind indicator is easy to install. Dave actually takes it off and stores it in the truck. We could leave it on the mast, only we are afraid of breaking it off. I am still a work in progress. Dave is trying to teach me how to use this and how to tell where I need to point the boat. I am extremely directionally challenged. This is not going to be easy for him.
Almost as important as the wind direction is the wind speed. For me I want to know exactly when I should panic. I tend to keep the wind meter by me so I can keep checking out the wind speed. Remember that to get an accurate wind speed you have to take the measurement the wind and then subtract the boat speed. This will tell you approximately when to panic.
To measure the speed of the sailboat we use our Garmin GPS Chartplotter. It can give you the speed of the sailboat, the average speed over the trip and the miles traveled. It does much more than that, but we are discussing wind today. Hint: this is a great device, yes there is always a but. It sucks batteries. It takes 2 AA batteries and they only last a few days because the GPS is always searching. I have tried Energizer and Duracell and they lasted about the same time. Rechargeable and lithium batteries do last longer.
We ordered the Garmin Marine Mount 78 Series so we could mount it in the cockpit out of the way. It works perfectly but you do have to be careful to make sure it is clicked in. There are little slots on both sides of the Garmin 78SC. If you do not have the mount snapped into those slots it falls out.
I am working on this!!
Where Do I Put My Drink
You just can’t sail without a cup holders. I wanted the folding type so they would be out of the way. We ordered these for both sides of the cockpit and one for the back. We mounted one on the side of the locker so Dave can have a drink while at the tiller.
Surprise… the Tiller Moves
Did you know if you let go of the tiller the boat goes in a circle. I found this out during on of my panic times. Dave had asked me to take the tiller in high winds. He was going to go up and take down the front sail. I was struggling with the tiller, the boat heeled way over and I lost it. I let go of the tiller and sat on the floor in the cockpit. This was one of our first times out in high winds. I am much better now.
Our boat had a tiller tamer but it was broken. We decided we needed to replace it. This little device keeps the tiller in a set position. It is supposed to make it so you can sail alone. Dave would attempt this but, you know who will never actually put this device to the test.