What Are We Doing To Get Ready???

Getting Ready

I know it seems strange to be working on a sailboat with 7 inches of snow falling.  But then again, it is mid April in Illinois.  That means we can go from below freezing to 70 in one day.  We are working on detailed blogs about each of these projects.  This is just a sneak preview.

  Spring in Illinois 4/14/2019

Things We Have Finished

Our motor was running great but Dave wanted to make sure we didn’t have any issue.  This is after all the original motor.  We ordered a new water pump and fuel pump kit from Crowley Marine.  They are a great place to order motor parts from. You put in your model and serial number,  it then shows you a schematic of your motor to order parts from.   Dave decided to actually order two of each.  That way we would have an extra onboard.  The kits came with detailed instructions, so anyone can do it.  The whole process took less than an hour.


The Tiller

Dave’s next project was the tiller.  Ours was old and starting to split where it was laminated.  I wanted the new curved so it didn’t hit us in the knees.  We also wanted it to match all the wood on the boat.  Dave gave the new tiller just enough of an angle that it clears our knees.  It is solid oak with a mahogany and teak oil finish.  A cover made of sunbrella,  was just what we needed to protect his beauty from the weather.

Things We Are Updating This Year.

Here is a look at a few things we have purchased or are planning to purchase for the boat.  We can’t wait to get them installed, darn weather permitting.

We are so tired of chasing after ice.  Our Orca cooler kept things cold for days but you still needed to go get ice and the ice took up so much room in the cooler.  We decided to go with an Engel Refrigerator/Freezer.  It can cool to -5 degrees.

 This should work great with our new lithium batteries from  Battle Born and our current solar charging setup.

Our new depth finder/chart plotter should also work great with the new battery system.  We purchased a swing mount  from RAM mounts.  We can push it back into the cabin and it can swing out into the cockpit. This Garmin is also Bluetooth so we can send the charts to our IPAD.  We will post pictures when we get it installed.

Safety Items We  Added

Some friends of ours had a small fire on their boat.  They are convinced the only things that prevented their little adventure from becoming a tragedy, were the items below.

 We have a fire extinguisher on board.  We bought these for ease of use and to keep back by the motor.  They put fires out really fast. On a boat that is exactly what you need.  The other item they used to get their fire out fast was a fire blanket.  These are great for battery or cooking fires also.

Current Project

Our current project is  rebuilding the rudder.  We have done a lot of reading on how it is beneficial to change the tilt of the rudder on a Macgregor.  This will help with the heeling and weather helm issues.   He moved the pivot hole about an inch forward.  We are told this makes a huge difference compared to the original design.

Dave decided we also needed to re-glass the rudder.  Here are a few pictures of before he began.  We are planning a whole blog on this project.

When Dave began looking into repairing the rudder, he found it had areas that were cracked, thin and spider cracking.    This was especially true on the side that the previous owner patched.  Dave cut out the bad area and is in the process of epoxying in a new section.  Next, he will fiberglass and gel coat  the entire rudder.  This will also fix all the nicks and chips from hitting the propeller.

To Prevent Heeling

I try really hard not to freak out when the boat really heels. Usually, I am okay to about 15%.   I am getting better each time we go out.  Screams  haven’t been heard coming from our boat in awhile.

A few things that help with heeling are a boom vane and a traveler.  We ordered the boom vane kit from Blue Water Yachts.

The boom vane keeps the boom from raising up and causing an accidental jibe.  It is great for running down wind to keep your boom flat.

The other item we are currently installing is a traveler.  I had the winter to research these expensive little items.  We decided to go with a Lewmar size 1 traveler.  With our boat,  we could have gone with a size zero to save money.   But everyone we talked to said they wished they would have spent the extra and purchased the size 1.  We ordered our traveler from Defender.  After shopping around, they had the best price. They are not sold with the lines so remember to order that as well.    We ordered red specked line for the port side and green specked line for the starboard side. In the picture they used all yellow.  You need about 25 ft of line for each side.

The traveler adjust the angle of the boom to the boat,  to prevent heeling.  This will make me a very happy sailor. The traveler also helps control and adjust the twist in the main sail.

Other Projects?

Other projects we will be working on this spring include fixing and gel coating some nicks and chips in the hull.  We purchased a bunch of gel coat supplies from Jamestown Distributors.  They came highly recommended by Andy Miller from Boatworks Today.  This is a great website with tons of how to videos.  This guy makes boat restoration look easy.

When the weather breaks, someday, we will be rebuilding our Macgregor Trailer.  Dave wants to take the boat off, sand down the trailer, and repaint it.  This will give him a chance to check for rust and repair any welds.  This is after all the original trailer.

We are planning blogs on all of these projects so check back for pictures and videos.


My Favorite Spotlight

When you are out sailing you need a spotlight that is strong and bright.  You will need it for overnight sails or just finding a place to anchor after dark.  If you are sailing after dark you may need to shine the spotlight on the sail to get another ships attention.  Sometimes, you just want to see what is next to the boat.

We have tried many different spotlights and none were as light and comfortable in the hand or as bright as this one. You do not want it to be uncomfortable in your hands or too heavy. You may have to hold it up signaling a freighter for hours.


There are many advantages of the Rayovac Virtually Indestructible  Spotlight.  As the description states, this is the light that’s always on.  It takes 6 AA batteries.  Because it is LED,  it lasts for at least 8 hours of constant use. I left it on overnight and it was still bright.

Reasons It is Best For Sailing

This spotlight is 670 lumens bright with a 440m beam distance.  You will be seen by other vessels.  It has an energy saver mode for when you don’t need it especially bright.  This mode is 80 lumens at 164m.  Using this mode the spotlight will run for 40hrs.  There is a lock on the handle so you can’t accidently turn it on and run the batteries down. The wrist strap will prevent you for dropping it overboard.

You are on a boat after all, so you want the spotlight to be waterproof.  Not only because of rain and waves,  but so you can take it below the waterline.  It can be submerged into 1 meter of water and will remain waterproof for up to 30 minutes so rain is no problem.

This light was even drop tested at 15 feet and still survived.

These reviews are not paid for in any way. Our opinions are not for sale. If we don’t like something we will tell you why.


InstantPot Review

Everything on a sailboat needs to be small, compact and portable.  If possible you want it to serve more than one purpose.  This is where the InstantPot  comes in.

Quick Meals

Especially,  when we are docked and able to plug into the marina electric, an InstantPot is a great cooking choice.  It does not create as much heat as cooking on a stove.  It can’t boil over or splatter. You can cook a whole meal in 15 minutes.  You have one pot to wash.  Not to mention this little pot does more than pressure cook.  It is a crockpot, yogurt maker, rice cooker, and steamer.  If you use your boat’s electric for the Instantpot,  it only uses 700watts as a pressure cooker.   It perfectly fits the description of compact and serves more than one purpose.  You can join a facebook group on cooking with an Instantpot  or you can buy one of many cookbooks.

Clean Up

The internal pot is made of easy to clean stainless steel.  That makes clean up a breeze.  With a small  3 quart Instantpot  you can cook for two without having to deal with leftovers.  Remember refrigeration is limited on a boat.  You can’t have stacks of  leftovers.

Unraveling the Mysteries of a Cruising Budget

guest post by Deb Akey

And So It Began

One cold winter morning, when you’re hugging your warm coffee mug while checking Facebook, a photo of a sailboat pops up in your feed. “Escape winter and come sail in Paradise!” the ad proclaims. Curiously, you click the link.  You spend the rest of the day reading about sailing, ariound warm tropical destinations, and exploring yachtworld.com. With the  seed planted, you spend the coming days reading cruising blogs, forums, and online magazines. The dream is born.  Remember you will need a budget.

But How Can You Possibly Afford It?

Any drastic change in lifestyle requires research.  Where you will live, what you will do, and how much it will cost.  When exchanging a land-based life for one with the sea, that research can be challenging.   Unfortunately,  the sources of information are limited. There are books, like Skipper Bob’s Cruising Comfortably on a Budget


Lin Pardey’s Cost Conscience Cruisers.


There are forums like Women Who Sail on Facebook and cruisersforum.com, and there are the cruisers who are willing to post their budgets on their blogs. Many people are inherently private about finances.  They are reluctant to disclose them which makes it all the more difficult to get an idea of the full range of cruising budgets. Whatever the source of information, the difficulty arises when you try to apply someone else’s experience to your own expectations.

Look At Others Budgets

There are as many cruising budgets as there are cruisers,. So, when you begin to attempt to form your own projected budget, it’s important to try to figure out how you want to live. First, take a look at the way you live on land. If you like to eat out a lot now, it’s not likely that will change once you move onto a boat. If you can’t live without internet on land, you will probably want it even more once you cast off the docklines .  Phones, Ipads, and computers, along with ways to feed them bandwidth, will be a huge consideration in your budget.

Things to Consider

What level of discomfort are you willing to tolerate? Can you live in a 28-foot boat with a camp stove and ice box or will it take a 34-foot boat with an alcohol stove and small fridge?  Or maybe you’re thinking about a 42-foot boat with a full galley, 2 cabins and 2 heads?  Or will you need a 50-foot, brand new sloop with bow and stern thrusters and all the bells and whistles? Is it your dream to take a defined time to cruise, say a year or five years.  Maybe you  are you wanting to move onto a boat for the foreseeable future?

Plan A Budget

Your budget will vary year to year because of major boat maintenance like bottom jobs, new solar panels,  electronics upgrades and canvas work.  After a few years,  you’ll be able to sort out what your requirements are. After five years of cruising, my recommendation is to take your estimated budget and increase it by at least half. That will put you close. Here is a list of our budget items as an example.

Boat Budget Items

  • Initial outlay to purchase a boat. This can vary wildly, depending on the way you want to live. We have met cruisers who paid less than $10,000 for their boat, and others who have paid more than a half million dollars. The reason that it’s relevant as the first item on the list is because the next item, boat maintenance, will depend largely on the initial cost of your boat. Once you’ve signed the bill of sale, you still have a large amount of money to spend on preparing the boat to cruise. Don’t be fooled by “turnkey” boat listings. Even a well-equipped cruising boat will need upgrades to meet your personal style. Some people say that 30% of the purchase price is realistic for this outfitting. Our total was significantly higher.
  • Boat Maintenance. The general rule of thumb is that you will spend around 10% of your initial boat purchase annually in maintenance costs. It can be much more if you don’t know how to do any of the maintenance yourself and can’t source parts carefully.    Keep in mind that parts bought outside of the US will be three to five times more expensive , largely because of VAT taxes, shipping, and customs charges.
  • Docking and mooring balls. This is another place where it’s important to understand your own comfort level. Can you anchor every night or do you need the comfort of a dock with full facilities? Do you require air conditioning when it’s hot? At an average of $2.00 a foot per night, docking can add up to more than a standard mortgage payment. Mooring balls are certainly less expensive at an average of $20 per night,.  Some can be had for $300-400 monthly, but this is still a significant budget item. We planned to anchor all of the time.  The reality of it is that we spent way more time on docks than we had planned.
  • Insurance. Different types of insurance can be one of the biggest expenses in a cruising budget. Depending on where you want to cruise and how expensive your boat is.   Boat insurance can run upwards of $4000 per year or more. If you think you’ll go without it, then long-term docking is out of the question. Most marinas require at least $300,000 in liability insurance to dock.  A marina will take you as a transient for a night or two.  However,  if you sign a two-week or month lease they require proof of insurance. Also included in this category is our towing insurance.
  • Pumpouts. Some marinas in the US have free pumpouts. They’re usually municipal marinas and they’re not very common. A lot of municipal marinas charge five dollars and the private marinas charge anywhere from ten dollars to a dollar a foot.
  • Navigation. We’re huge tech geeks. We have two IPads that are identically outfitted with multiple weather and navigation apps. Some of them, like Navionics, require a subscription fee.
  • Fuel. Not a huge expense for us since we mostly sail, but diesel for the boat, gasoline for the generator and dinghy.  Don’t forget,  propane for the stove are all budget items.

Personal Expenses

  • Medical Expenses. Medical insurance is a whole can of worms too involved for this post. It requires careful research into what is covered while you are traveling, where your permanent address is, and what your medical history is. Some cruisers elect to travel to Mexico and some Caribbean islands to receive out-of-pocket care at a reasonable cost. Medical bills can end a cruise prematurely. We know a lot of cruisers that had to sell their boats and return to land due to health issues. Our own experience included two unexpected medical bills that stole a year of cruising funds and caused us to need to refill the cruising kitty with long-term jobs. We also include our emergency medical evacuation policy with DAN in this category.
  • Food. Food costs can also vary wildly depending on where you travel . In US waters you can usually get to typical grocery stores,  your costs will be similar home.  In the Bahamas, food will be much more expensive and less readily available. While on some Caribbean islands and Mexico, food is less than in the US.  Eating out can kill your budget faster than anything else. If you’re used to eating out in your landed life, add lots of money to this budget item.
  • Ice. We Americans love our ice and it’s one of the things we personally just don’t like to do without. Our fridge holds a ten pound bag of ice in one corner which we go through every day when working in a boatyard in Florida. It can last up to  one a week in cooler weather.  Ice can range anywhere from $1.25 to $5.00 per bag. We keep a collection of reusable ice cubes in the bottom of our fridge for emergencies, but there’s just no replacement for real ice in a tall glass of lemonade on a hot day.
  • Water.  Most US coastal areas have free water  if you’re on the dock pumping out and getting fuel. The notable exception to this is in the Florida Keys where water runs an average of twenty cents per gallon.  . In the Bahamas it can run anywhere from twenty cents to a dollar a gallon. The next boat we buy will have a water maker.
  • Alcohol. If you drink in your landed life, you will drink more on a boat. The reason for this is that nearly every cruiser gathering we’ve been to has included alcohol.  . Sundowners in the cockpit, gatherings in bars on shore, and beach parties.. It is always around and it’s always expensive. We know some cruisers that drop fifty or sixty dollars  once a week in bars. I once saw a cruiser budget post that had a *note that said, “Does not include alcohol.” I immediately discounted the whole budget because it was completely unrealistic not to include it and it made me distrust the rest of the information.
  • Clothing. Not a huge budget item for us. Cruisers in general tend to wear the same shirt and shorts for days at a time before washing them (did I hear you say ewwww?)   They generally wear them till they simply won’t hold together anymore. We do occasionally run across a couple that dress stylishly, but it’s rare. Shoes, however, are a very essential and expensive item.  This is not one to skimp on. We usually go through a pair of Keens and a pair of tennis shoes or boat shoes of some sort or lighter sandals each year. That can to amount to a large amount.
  • Laundry. This is another wild variable. Some do all of their laundry in a bucket onboard and hang it on the lines. While in the Bahamas, I wash in a collapsible tub in my galley sink.   I have an antique wringer that clamps onto my counter. Then I hang on the lifelines. But when we’re in a mooring field or on a dock, I  use the  laundry facilities there. Fees for the machines can range anywhere from free at a few rare marinas, to an average of $2.00 per load in the US to as high as $10.00 per load in the Bahamas.

Communications & Entertainment

  • Communication and Data. Some cruisers  have a single prepaid phone and rarely use it. This is not us. Our eleven grandchildren are on shore and we want to talk to them.,  frequently.  We both kept our own phones as well as two iPads.   We  primarily use the IPADs  for navigation but also for data. Separate phones make it easier when one of us goes ashore.   We have a way to touch base.  Our bill for phones and internet is nearly $200 per month.  This  is higher than the average cruiser, but it’s a non-negotiable expense for us.

  • Legal/Safety/Registrations. A kind of catch-all for things like Coast Guard Documentation, state registrations, taxes, EPIRB registrations, satellite communicators, new safety items like flares and life jackets, and Customs decals.
  • Entertainment. For us it’s primarily Netflix and Kindle downloads. Some people like to visit all of the pay-to-enter tourist traps.  Those expenses would fall into this category.   We avoid most of them, preferring a quiet anchorages and a good book.

Misc. Expense

  • Miscellaneous Supplies. I’m not one of those people that can log every penny spent. You may wish to, but I would rather spend time sitting in the cockpit watching dolphins. For us, this category includes things like paper products, printer paper, notebooks, postage, and a lot of things we buy on Amazon.  It might be something like new Command Strips or some sheets or towels. It might also include gifts you give  .You might elect to have a separate category for gifts given. For us, this category includes our mail forwarding service through St. Brendan’s Isle.
  • Land Travel. This one includes all the expenses for trips back home to visit grandkids – airfare, rental car, food, etc., the rare inland touristy venture, bus passes, Uber, and car rentals for any other reason. From the fall of 2015 to the spring of 2016 we had three deaths in the family. Emergency travel like that is always the most expensive . Emergency travel added almost six thousand dollars to our budget during that time period.
  • Hurricanes.  Each time we have had to prep and evacuate for a hurricane,  it has cost us in the neighborhood of fifteen hundred dollars. Dockage or mooring, rental car, hotels, supplies to prep the boat like tape and shrink wrap…it just adds up.

Can We Do This?

I know this  can be overwhelming and a bit discouraging.  It’s better to understand the challenges that you face before you make the decision to go. As I write this, we are living in a small studio apartment in St. Louis, about as far as you can get from the water. The boat is sitting on the hard in Titusville, FL awaiting her new owners.

Where Are We Now?

When we left in 2013, we knew we wouldn’t have sufficient funds to last until we could claim Social Security.  It was decided that leaving was too important to hold off any longer.   We would figure it out along the way.  Many cruisers have been able to find work in boatyards and marinas.  However,  after working in a boatyard in the Tampa Bay area for two summer seasons in a row, we realized that type of work was just too hard on our aging bodies.  With rapidly dwindling funds ,and no desire to tap our retirement investments, we elected to take a two-year job and sell the boat.

It was a difficult decision for sure. We miss the lifestyle more than can be expressed.  We’re looking forward to the end of our time here and the purchase of our next boat. Even with all of the difficulties we faced financially, we would not have traded the last five years for anything.

Can We Afford This Life?

Can you afford it? Only you can decide whether the life you can afford on the water is one you want to live. The benefits of cruising,  the beauty of nature, the feeling of independence, the wonderful camaraderie with your fellow travelers .  These things are worth a great amount of sacrifice to get there. But, the key to your success  is how honest you’re able to be about  how you want to live. If you can make your budget and your expectations meet somewhere in the middle, then you’re about to embark on the most remarkable adventure you’ve ever experienced. And say hello to the dolphins for us.


Our Article in Good Old Boat Magazine

Good Old Boat 2019 January Edition

About a year ago, I submitted an article to “Good Old Boat” magazine. The article was published in the January edition. The article describes our first two years of working to make Seabreeze our own.

What Is New?

Since the article was submitted, we have been very busy working on and sailing Seabreeze. The following, is just a few of the blogs we will be posting this winter. Carol is planning to do a blog once a month with “how to” directions and photos.

Upcoming Posts!

Things we have completed and will be blogging about include:

  1. Remodeling the head was a priority. We replacing the pressed wood with white birch and a new storage cabinet.
  2. Mahogany was used to trim the top deck.
  3. Building new glass and screen doors for the cockpit.
  4. The back locker was a mess of unused space. Organizational compartments and a self draining cooler were added to make it more functional.
  5. Other things we have added to make Seabreeze easier to live on.

Projects in the Planning

A few of our current projects include:

  1. Making a new tiller with a curve to prevent it from hitting our knees.
  2. Designing a new dagger board with an easy lift system.
  3. Customizing a new rudder with an easy lift system.

Watch for these and many other new articles, as we continue to customize and enjoy Sailing on Seabreeze.

Getting Ready For Spring Sailing

I am talking about the boat silly, not me.  Besides, you may have noticed that they cancelled spring for this year, at least in Illinois.  Today is  April 15th and we are expecting snow tomorrow.  I’m being optimistic and starting to work on my spring move in plan.  I have already taken my master shopping list and stocked up.

I’ll show you pictures from Amazon,  so you can see what I am recommending.  Before you order something, check around for sales.  Menards for instance, had the Concrobium on sale for $5.99 a can.  It usually sells for $9.99.  You can  buy a set of two x-large space bags at Menards.  Amazon and Walmart sell them in sets of multiple sizes.  You will never use the small ones, why pay for them.

Fall Storage

Every fall, I take most of our stuff out of the boat and  store  it in a spare bedroom.  We remove cushions, sails, bedding, clothes, and anything that can get damp or moldy.  We wipe down the vinyl  with vinegar water and tearfully store everything away.  All the other stuff goes in Rubbermaid containers.  We put peppermint tea bags with the sails to prevent mice from getting comfortable.

Spiders and Mice

Yeah,  I am aware they need someplace to live…they can try the neighbor’s camper.   Did you know that bugs and mice do not like peppermint.  This is lucky for me because I do.  We live in a farm house in the middle of a cornfield.  Mice and spiders were constant uninvited guests.  Dave planted peppermint all around the foundation of our house.  We hardly ever get a spider or mouse in the house.  Not to mention, the yard smells wonderful.

Ways to Make Peppermint Work For You

So, you can’t plant peppermint around your boat.  What does work is  essential oils and tea bags.  After we take everything out of the boat,  I throw cheaper generic peppermint tea bags in the corners.  They are easy to clean up in the spring.  You can even put a peppermint tea bag in the Rubbermaid sail containers to keep the mice out.  It beats the smell of mothballs.

Making Peppermint Balls

At Wal-Mart,  I purchased these little round wooden balls called doll heads.

They come in bags of 6.  The reason for the hole in the middle is so the essential peppermint oil can soak in.  I buy the cheap peppermint oil in the pharmacy section of Wal-Mart.  You then put the balls in a sealable bag and add peppermint oil.   The balls will soak in the oil making them fragrant, but not greasy.  After a few days, take them out and place them around the boat.  You can use them over and over again.  I place fresh ones around the boat in the spring.   We put the balls in each berth, under the sink and in the bathroom cabinet.  Yeah, I hate insects.

Fall Bedding Storage

For the winter, the bedding is washed and then sealed in Space Bags.  My sheets and blankets  are fresh and ready to go when spring finally gets here.   I buy the extra large size for blankets, sheets, comforters, and pillows. I have found that Space Bags only work if you store them in another container, tightly packed.  If they are allowed to expand they will.  Stick to the Ziploc brand. They are the only ones that stay vacuum sealed.   I have gotten them on sale at Menards for 2.00 each.  Don’t buy the set of different sizes.  You will only use the large.

Desiccant Bags For Moisture

I throw a few small desiccant bags in each bag before sealing. This keeps them fresh and dry.

A friend a of mine also throws a scented dryer sheet in with hers.  Dave doesn’t like things that smell like perfume so I stick to the desiccant bags.

Storing Towels Fall and Spring

In the container marked towels,  I can store all the towels since they are vacuum sealed.  The towels are not in spacebags.  I have a Food Fresh sealer.   I buy the big rolls that is 11″ wide and seal up a wash cloth and towel in each bag.  Then in the spring I just open the ones we will use and leave the extras in the bags.  They get stored away incase we have guests.  This way they stay clean and fresh and take up no space at all.  I can do the same with extra sheets and blankets.   I usually leave out three sets of towels and 3 beach towels.  That leaves me with 3 sets of each in the storage area under the front berth.  Since all my boat towels are blue, my camper towels are green and my house towels are white, I know exactly where each towel goes after wash day.

Food Storage

Hint:  I also use these bags to store food.  I take the food out of the original packaging. Then just measure enough for one meal and vacuum seal.  I write the cooking directions on the bag.  They take up almost no space.


First Aid and Toiletries

All the food, first aid supplies  and toiletries are removed when we pull her out of the water in the fall.   This is when I check for any item that will expire before the end of the next sailing season.  If something will expire,  use it in the house and replace it in the spring.

Also, I want to start the sailing season off with new supplies, we use up the shampoo, body wash, and toothpaste.  Things like razors, hair brushes, and things that are not expiring go back in the Rubbermaid container till spring.

Rubbermaid,  My Best Friend

Labeling each compartment with a number makes it easy to find things and restock.  We have a corresponding  Rubbermaid container for each.  Our master list is written up by compartment numbers.   I  also mark one box galley and one bathroom.    Restocking the boat in the spring, is fast and easy.   Someone, who is of the male gender, gets really anxious to hit the water in the spring.

In the fall we just fill up the containers and store them.  As we are filling them,  I circle the things on my master list that need replacing.  This way my shopping list is done for the spring. Then,  before spring I go shopping and drop the items in the right Rubbermaid container.


All Electronic equipment is removed in the  fall.   I remove the batteries from everything from the GPS to the clock on the wall.   We have ruined too many of my favorite toys leaving the batteries in.  Give the partially used batteries to your grandkids for toys.  Start the season off with all new batteries.

I have written,  on my master storage list,  how many batteries each electronic device takes.  For instance, GPS (2 AA).  Now, when I go shopping I know what I need for fresh batteries.   Come April they all get fresh batteries and a quick start up to test.  I also have a container on the boat with an extra set of fresh batteries for each electronic device.

Boat Batteries

Remember that your main boat batteries will discharge over the winter.  Keep them charged up to extend their life and make sure you are ready for spring. About once a month Dave plugs in the boat batteries and gives them a little extra juice.

Winter Grime Has To Go

Dust and dirt somehow finds its way into a sealed sailboat.  In the spring we wash the interior with soap and water. Then we rinse with vinegar water,  about a 50/50 mixture.  The smell is gone the moment it dries.   Remember, vinegar kills and prevents mold.

Once it all dries,  we spray Concrobium Mold Preventer.  You want to spray it  in the compartments, where the cushions go, on the floor where the carpet goes, and in any dark corners.  The aerosol seems to get into every crack.

I was lucky to find this on sale for $5.99 a can this spring, you guessed it, at Menards.

Moisture and Mold Prevention

Concrobium keeps the mold from growing.  We spray it a few times a season under the cushions.  If you have been sailing awhile,  you know that this is where, no matter what you do,  moisture collects.

Another problem area is under the mattress.  This year we purchased a product called Hypervent: Condensation Preventing Matting.  It reminds me of a furnace filter.  It provides enough air flow to keep it dry under the mattress and prevent mold and mildew.   I have more info on mold prevention in the article, “Oh No  Mold”

Why This Works For Us

With this system,  it only takes me an hour to unload the boat each fall.  I am washing and sealing the items away when I can’t be out in the boat.  One shopping trip to restock the boat every spring.  Then about two hours to restock it with supplies and make up the beds.  We are out on the water quickly, making the most of the first warm days. That is if we get any??



Pots and Pans: How to Store Them All

In a sailboat you have very limited space for dishes and pans.  We solved the dish problem when we built the dish cabinet.  Now, we needed to  figure out what to do with all the cooking utensils.

Space on a sailboat is at a premium.   I wasn’t about to decide between clothing and pans.  We would have starved to death.  There had to be something  that would take up less space.   I found the Magma nesting pans.

This is 7 pieces all stored inside one pan.  One  handle fits all the pans. The Magma pan set comes in a 7 piece or 10 piece set.  I ordered the 7  piece set.  For the sailboat,  I felt the 10 piece set would be overkill.

They even sell a  carrying case to store it all in.  There is enough room to store your pan set, handle and few utensils.

Easy to Store Easy to Clean

Not only do these pans store inside each other and take up very little space, they are very well made.  They are ceramic coated for easy clean up.  This means you will not be able to use metal utensils.  On the upside,  you won’t be spending so much time scrubbing them either.

The pans are made of stainless steel.  They are heavy enough to heat up fast and keep the heat. If you also use the Wonderbag these pans will be a wonderful addition.

The Magma Nesting Pots are worth every penny.  And now I can have clothes and food.


Under Seat Storage Problems

We were in love with our boat from the moment we brought it home.  The problem came when we tried to move our stuff in.   I originally thought there was more than enough storage.  The problem was access.  When they designed the boat they put the storage out of sight,  but also under the seats and mattresses.  It didn’t seem like a bad idea until I tried to find something.  I needed to put it in the storage hole and know it stayed there.

I will give you links to where we purchased these items.  At the time we bought them this was the cheapest place.  Check out I-boat, West Marine and other places for sales before you purchase.

Hide and Seek

Originally,  you would  move the cushion and there  was your storage.  Problem, you put it in that mysterious hole and you never find it again.  The  seat compartment is an open area.  So when you put something in the hole it can end up way at the other end  in a big pile.   The storage went from one end of the boat to the other.   You also have to remove the seat cushion  to get to the storage.  This drove me crazy.  I want things exactly where I put them.   It is like living with Casper the ghost.  I put it in the far locker and then had to guess where Casper moved it to.

My Idea

Sometimes my ideas really hurt Dave’s brain.  I wanted doors on the front of the seats.  We started looking at doors and designs.  I wanted something that would allow more air flow in the lockers.  So, we started looking for louvered teak  doors.

Under the Sink

Amazon had the perfect door for the area under the sink.  The door was originally a black plastic material.  We took that out and installed this door and frame.

 Our door under the sink. This door comes complete with frame.  This is where we keep all our tools.

Door under the sink.

Garbage Mess

I have major issues with garbage.  I do not want to go into the cabin after a nice day of sailing to find the garbage everywhere.   After about a month of this, I announced  we had to do something about garbage control.  We either had to find a way to contain it or not have any.

Dave decided that it was a shame we had all this space by the control panel.  So he put in a teak door.  Behind it is a metal frame that we alligator clip the garbage bag too.  When it is full we can take out the tool box that is located behind the sink door, and remove the garbage.

We couldn’t find doors the size we needed so we got creative.  We purchased teak vents.  Then Dave used strips of teak to build a frame.  This is what we used for all the door in the front of the seats.


For knobs we used.

We also have a door in the head that goes to a garbage right next to this one.  We can access and empty both from the door under the sink.

For knobs we used these.

Under The Seat Storage

The storage under the seats was impossible to work with.  We decided to put storage doors in front.  You can see two of the three on this side of the boat.  There are also two on the other side.

Storage for  Hardware

Dave used channel iron and Altoid mint containers to store away all his pins, clips, and screws.  These are behind the first door. This space was totally unusable before we installed this door.  You couldn’t even get to it.

Above this rack is the storage area I use for food.  It was supposed to be a cooler.  It works better for dry food. We use an Orca cooler under our table for cold food.

But We Needed It Separated

We needed to be able to separate the other space under the seats.  So, behind the other doors we have glued in pull out drawers. I bought these drawer units at Wal-Mart.  We sectioned it off using one inch styrene and then covered that with the plastic sheeting you put on the wall behind a tub. This way other things we put in the top storage area wouldn’t get wedged between.  This added floatation and made a great wall.

We still wanted to be able to use the space on top these drawers.  We had a bunch of space we could use under the seat doors.  So we built that in by putting the styrene on top the drawer containers.  You can see how that looks before we installed the drawers.  This picture shows how you can put down that rubber shelf liner to keep things from slipping around.

Under the Beds

The storage space under the beds was wide open.  I put a can of butane fuel in one section and never found it again.  The styrene and plastic worked so well we decided to use it to section off the storage spaces under the beds.  This gave us quite a bit of useable space for things we don’t need very often.  You wouldn’t want to put things you use every trip under there. It is too hard to lift up the mattress.

Out of the Way Storage

I wanted a place to keep the charts and the battens for the main sail. Here is  the 1″ PVC pipe for the battens and a two inch PVS pipe on the other side holds the charts. Our rain gear is in the net.



The Stairs

My favorite storage place in the whole boat is the stairs.  The original stairs were ugly and unsafe.  They were very narrow and steep.

The cabin looking into the main berth.

Dave designed these to be safer and also provide storage.   I keep all my manuals and a few safety items in the top stair storage area.

You can see how easy it is to give your boat your personality.  That is one thing I love about the Macgregor.  Seabreeze is becoming an extension of us.

Coming soon the new companionway door and screen door.  Here is a sneak  peek.


Cooking For Food Poisoning

Review of the Wonderbag

Everyone was  talking about this slow cooker called the Wonderbag.   It was added to my cart a handful of times.   I kept backing out due to my fears of food poisoning.   I could not get past the fact that leaving food out is considered dangerous on all levels.   You leave the food cooking in this bag for up to 8 hours.

After many discussions on the sailing forums,  I decided to order one.  It is a non-electric retention cooker.  What that means is, you first heat  the food to boiling.  You then place the pan, lid and all in the bag, cover it with the top cushion and pull the draw strings tightly shut.  The recipes will tell you how long to leave the food in the bag.

Before Using, When The Bag Arrives

The bag as it arrives vacuum sealed.

When the bag arrives it is vacuum packed and the foam must be allowed to expand.  You take it out of the plastic and shake it to loosen the foam pieces.  Then you simply pull the drawstrings closed and wait for the foam to expand, about an hour.  Now, your bag is ready to use.

Okay, Ready to Try It Out!!!

Trying it in my kitchen first seemed like a good idea.  If I ruined the food at home we could go out to eat.  If I tried it out on the boat, there would be no lunch.  Also, my plan was to keep a close eye on the temperature.  This would be easier at home.  I used this thermometer to keep an eye on the food without opening up the bag.


Advantages of Non-Electric

I could see the benefit of not using all our stored solar power to run a crockpot.  A crockpot running for 8-10 hours is a real drain on the solar batteries.  Cooking while the boat is heeling is a real pain.  This way I could get it to boiling, put it in the bag and sit it safely in the sink.  In the sink it couldn’t tip over or spill.

My First Time Using the Bag

I decided to make the Beef Stew.  I put all the ingredients in a heavy ceramic dutch oven pan,  then brought it to a boil.   The cookbook that came with the Wonderbag said to let it sit for a minimum of 4 hours.  I checked the temperature throughout the cooking process.   At no time did it drop below 135 degrees, which is considered  a safe temperature for food.

After five hours we served the Beef Stew with cooked rice.  It was really good.  Everything in the pan had continued to cook while in the bag.  I was actually surprised.   I was expecting either raw food or food poisoning.   We had neither of them. Next time I will use a few more seasonings than it called for. That will not change the cooking of it but will make it more to our liking.

Now I See the Benefits

For sailboats this means cooking without gas or electric.  It also means one cooking utensil  to wash.  You will mix and cook it all in one pan.   I also love the idea that I can put it safely in the kitchen sink, knowing that when I come below, food will not be all over the walls.  When we are out on the boat I want to be on deck enjoying myself not below cooking.  Cooking this way only takes a few minutes to bring it to a boil.  I do not have to be below stirring.

This really is a great way to cook onboard.  The Wonderbag folds,  taking up no more room than a towel.

These reviews are not paid for in any way. Our opinions are not for sale. If we don’t like something we will tell you why.  We purchase the products, which means we are not in anyway compensated for our review.








Adding Carpet and Preventing Mold From Finding It

I spent weeks looking for the perfect throw rugs for our boat interior.  The problem was I liked them,  but  the love factor was not there.  I googled nautical theme rugs and nautical theme carpet.  There were some that I liked from Home Depot so I ordered them.   Again, I didn’t love them and I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of throw rugs that could shift around the boat.

Google To The Rescue 

I will be the first to admit I am a little creeped out when Google sends me ads based on what I was searching for.  It feels a little too much like someone stalking me.  This time however, I was thrilled to have google send me this ad .  When  I opened my browser and saw this carpet,  I was ready to send Google a thank-you note.   This carpet  was being sold by Bed Bath and Beyond.  A quick trip to Home Depot to return the other rugs was all it took for me to order this carpet.  I had spent $107.00 on throw rugs.   This is  a large rug and I paid $64.00 after applying a 20% off coupon and free shipping offer.

It is an indoor/outdoor carpet,  so it will not wear as fast and should be easier to clean.  It will also be better in a moist environment like a sailboat.

Perfect Rug… Too Big

I loved this carpet. See how it matches  my cushions perfectly.  The color is off in this picture.  The vinyl is white on the seats and the blue is the color of the picture above.  The lighting in my living room made it look yellow.

Seats and rugs match

More Rugs

Because the carpet was so large,  it was a 5x9ft carpet,  it wouldn’t fit in the space I was trying to cover.  We ended up cutting it and getting two identical carpets for the same area.  This means we have a spare for later.  We were also able to cut  a small piece for inside to put shoes on and a small rug outside the companionway door to keep dirt out.

The boat is dirty and dusty from the winter, please ignore the filth.   I wanted you to see how it fit in front of the companionway.  So,  we were able to get two of the interior rugs and two smaller area rugs out of this one carpet.  We found a local carpet shop that could bind the carpets while we waited.   It cost us $45.00 to get all four rugs bound.  They did a wonderful job binding them.

So, all things considered the four custom fit rugs cost us $113.00 after binding. The throw rugs were $107.00.  The throw rugs would not have stayed in place the way this rug will.

You can see how the rugs look when they are in the boat.  In these pictures they are not bound yet.  We were just checking the fit before we took them to the carpet shop.   It looks like they are not going up against the wall but there is actually a curve to the floor.  It goes right up against that curve.

We will be putting one of the large carpets away for a spare.  The other carpet will go in the boat and be able to be removed at any time.  Even if I just get sick of it.   Because the carpet is not glued or taped down, we will be able to remove it to shake or wash.  Since it is indoor/outdoor,  washing it should be a breeze.

Mold, Not On My Boat!

Before we put the carpet down, we will be  washing the floor with vinegar to kill any mold spores.  After the vinegar dries the smell goes away very quickly.  We will then be spraying the floor with Concrobium.  The aerosol spray works best.  Although, if you have a large area you can get it in a gallon jug.

It is important that you can get the Concrobium into all the tight spaces.  The Concrobium will prevent the mold from starting for 3 months.  Using this stuff has solved  all our mold problems.   I would not sleep on our sailboat without it.  We spray Concrobium under our mattress and seats to prevent mold due to condensation.  It is 100% non-toxic.


You can take any carpet and make it work in your boat.  It just takes a carpet knife and little planning.