5 Tips to Reduce Anxiety Before You Sail Away

After we purchased Seabreeze, I started following all the blogs I could find.  Sailing Britican,  quickly became one of my favorites.  So, you will understand how excited I was to have Kim Brown,  from Sailing Britican,  write a blog post on reducing anxiety before sailing away.

Kim, Simon and Sienna are at this time sailing somewhere in the Bahamas.  To say I am jealous, is a real understatement.  Enjoy Kim’s article and check out her blog.

An Introduction to Kim and Britican

Sailing Britican is a family blog about how they sold up and sailed away in 2013.   Captain Simon is British. First Mate, Kim, is American and their daughter, Sienna (age 3 1/2 when leaving land) is both – thus the name Britican (BRITish & amerICAN).

Thus far,  they’ve circumnavigated the Mediterranean, crossed the Atlantic, sailed up the Caribbean and along the east coast of America and Bermuda doing over 23,000 nautical miles. The family creates videos on YouTube and writes articles with the hopes of entertaining, educating, inspiring and connecting with other sailors.

Britican’s Experience

As we enter our sixth year as sailboat owners and forth year as full time sailboat liveaboards, we’ve racked up quite a bit of experience.  Recently, we celebrated 23,000 nautical miles of travelling.

Looking back, the most difficult part of transitioning from a land-based life to one on the sea was the overwhelming learning curve. The sheer amount of things needed to be mentally consumed causes once organized and stable people to feel totally out of control.

Although the cruisers life is well worth the effort there is an initial phase or ‘bump’ that has to be overcome. We’ve met many others, just starting out, that could have benefited from some beginner tips; perhaps advice that will allow the bump to be lower and shorter!

Tip One:  Feeling Overwhelmed

Realize that there is, indeed, an initial phase and its totally normal to feel overwhelmed and out of control. No matter how much you prepare, you ultimately won’t truly be prepared. And that’s okay. I often equate this transition to being similar to having a baby. No one actually prepares you for what’s to come and it’s because it’s just not possible.

Many new boaters romanticize about sailing into a sunset, swimming off the back of the boat in calm tropical waters and enjoying the sights and sounds of foreign countries and islands.Those things are all a part of sailing and they are fantastic.

There are also the not-so-great parts.  It’s not fun going through a storm. Nor is it enjoyable to be ‘stuck’ somewhere waiting on parts. It’s hard to wait, sometimes weeks, for a weather window. And it’s certainly not fun when you have to quickly learn how to be a plumber, mechanic, electrician, refrigeration expert, short-order cook… not to mention sailing in all sorts of conditions. Expect to feel overwhelmed and also expect this phase to eventually end.  Knowing that it’s a part of the process will make the transition easier.

Importance of Becoming an Expert in Anchoring

Before leaving your homeport become an expert about anchoring and in particular your anchor and anchor equipment. For some reason,  this topic often gets missed when preparing to head out into the sunset. Many boaters, us included, learned how to sail, how to maintain an engine and spent countless hours planning on what we’d take on the boat versus leave behind.

What we didn’t fully appreciate was the whole complex world of anchoring. Considering that it’s the anchor that will keeping you from heading into harms way, it’s imperative to be happy with what you’ve got and how to use it. I can’t tell you how many new cruisers I’ve met that are going through the ‘bump’ and realize too late that their anchor doesn’t hold, they don’t have enough rode (chain or rope), or they never learned the tried and tested techniques on preventing an anchor from dragging.

Living through the bump is one thing. Not being able to sleep due to the fact that you don’t have anchor faith is an added worry; one that can be avoided. (Resource: How To Anchor: A Checklist To Prevent Dragging)

Preparing For Water… In The Boat

Create a map of all your sailboat’s through-hull fittings in addition to tying an appropriately sized bung to each fitting using a piece of string. Put the map on the wall. Furthermore, make sure you have a system (e.g. checklist) of testing your automatic bilge every week and ensuring your high water alarms work.

We’ve had water flowing into our boat on a few occasions. It’s not something that anyone wants to talk about or even consider, however, this is not the kind of thing a new, or seasoned boater should ignore. Boats get holed, stopcocks fail and engine hoses burst. To ensure your ‘bump’ phase is less stressful, it will help you to have a plan on what to do if water enters the boat.

If and when water comes in, you’ll need to pull up floorboards and determine which direction it’s coming from and then head in that direction, pulling up more floorboards. If the engine is running we check that first, as it can be a blown hose. Failing that, we start looking at all the through hull fittings. Knowing where to look and having the means to stop it will provide you with an increased sense of control.

Prop Failure

Make sure that you have snorkeling gear, a wetsuit and at least one oxygen tank and regulator (even it you’re not a diver). It is not uncommon for props to get fouled. We’ve had ours fouled five times. In some occasions the prop will still operate and in others it becomes completely inoperable. The first time our prop was fouled we didn’t even have a mask – it took my husband 45 minutes in a fast running freezing cold tide to get a 12’ fisherman’s net off the prop.

Aside from snorkeling gear we also have two small oxygen tanks that take up very little space. They only hold ten minutes of air but we use them often. The oxygen also helps when we have to inspect the hull and change anodes. Furthermore, we’ve used the tank to dive on our anchor to ensure it’s bedded in. It’s a small amount of equipment that provides a huge amount of help.

Take Spare Parts

Spend time considering what spare parts are necessary and then stock them on your boat. If you’re going to venture into places like the Caribbean or Pacific getting parts becomes a lengthy and costly process. The more you can take with you, the better. Of course you have to be realistic about cost and space.

Consider various scenarios with what you can and cannot live without. If you have two heads, perhaps it’s okay if one goes down. If you don’t have an ancillary hand pump from your fresh water tank, having an extra fresh water pump would be high on my list. Many boat components have service packs or spare part kits. Engines, generators, toilets, pumps and so forth all have service packs. Find out what you have (e.g. the make and model of your engine), search for a service pack and determine whether you need it or don’t.

Now the Good News

The liveaboard lifestyle can be the most amazing experience. It’s full of adventure, incredible sights and many new friends. We’ve been going for several years now and I can’t foresee us stopping anytime soon. It truly is a dream world, but the initial breakthrough from living on land to living on the sea can be bumpy. Hopefully some of these tips will provide you with some key areas that are worthy of consideration.



Seasick Prevention on Your Wrist

I wouldn’t venture so far as to say I have never been really seasick while onboard.  If I don’t get up and go on deck first thing in the morning,  I  do get nauseous.  But this has been easy enough to control.  I  just make sure to get outside and look around as soon as I wake up.

The Reliefband is FDA cleared for nausea and vomiting associated with motion and morning sickness. The big plus is that unlike drugs, you don’t turn it on until you are feeling sick. Pills have to be taken prior to feeling ill.


How Was i Going To Review This Band?

When I first talked to Good Old Boat about doing a review of the Reliefband, I had my doubts.  I was also not sure how I could test it since I am not prone to getting seasick.

Watching a movie while down below will usually make me run for topside.  After watching an entire movie in rough water, I wasn’t so much as queasy.  The movie wasn’t bad either.

Still Not Convinced

Reading in the car for 3 hours has never been possible before. Even when I look up every few minutes, I still get motion sickness.  I can usually read about a half hour then need to stop.  We were going shopping a few hours from home.  If I could read on my Kindle the entire trip…then this thing works.  Guess what, I read for 2 hours there and 2 hours back home.  Not a bit queasy, although I did get tired.  This was not a concern, since I fall asleep reading in my living room.

Before I Give It The Thumbs Up

As I said early on, I don’t get really sick.  So I decided to put it to the ultimate tests.  First, I borrowed it to a friend that was sailing with us.  She always gets sick and has a hard time keeping down her breakfast.  I had her apply the gel and put the band on.  I told her not to turn it on until she felt sick.  My test was to see if it would work after someone was ill.  After about 5 minutes she turned it on.  She felt 100% better and turned it off after about an hour.  There was no need to turn it back on for hours.  According to my tester, she said it was her best day out on the water ever.

Now I wanted to do the ultimate test.  If it worked for a  pregnant friend then I could give it the two thumbs up.  Then I could be sure it did exactly what they claimed.  So, I  had her test  it for a week. When she felt sick she put it on and it worked like magic.  As a matter of fact, I had a hard time getting the band back from her.

If motion sickness is a problem you have to live with, give this band a try.  If you are out sailing by me you can borrow it to try.

Happy Sick Free Sailing.

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.



Never Enough Space

Everyone admits that no matter how much storage space they have, they will  fill it.  This was so true for us.  Our first home was a 3 story farm house.  You guessed it, we filled it, the garage and the barn.

Finding Space

When deciding to live on a sailboat, you need to step back and take a look at what space you have to work with.  You are right, it isn’t much.  It is time to decided what you can live without, then get rid of it.  What you can purchase that will serve more than one purpose.  Also, what you can get that will take up less space, things like collapsible strainers.

Kitchen Equipment

We replaced bulky pots and pans with a set of Magma nesting pots.  Magma offers either a 7 piece or a 10 piece set.   For easier cleanup, I purchased the ceramic  7 piece set.  If you love stainless steel, they have a set for you too.  A padded storage bag makes it easy to keep them all together and prevents scratches.


A 3 quart Instant Pot  will serve as our pressure cooker and crockpot.  The Instant Pot is a rice cooker, yogurt maker, crockpot, steamer, and pressure cooker. This makes it easier to cook healthy meals while underway.  Unlike a regular pressure cooker, it can be plugged in then placed safely in the sink.  This will prevent it from sliding around.  Using a pressure cooker on the stove would require me to stay right next to it.  It would be too dangerous to just leave it on the stove while the boat was heeling. I want to eat dinner not scrub it off the walls.

The dishes and silverware are all safe in the dish cabinet.  It was decided that if a kitchen utensil did not collapse for easy storage or have more than one use, it would be replaced.  All our kitchen utensils now fit in a small plastic tote on the counter.

How and Where to Store it

In one of our earlier blogs, we showed you how we designed and built our sail hammock.  You can pull the hammock out for storing sails or you can push it up against the wall and use the whole bed.  Our grandkids can sleep on the bed with the hammock out.

To keep all the cooking gear in one place I purchased a heavy duty trunk organizer with carrying handles.

You can adjust the size of each compartment to fit your equipment. We store the Magma pan bag behind the trunk organizer,  under the sail hammock. Since the sails do not take up the whole hammock, I purchased a pull out storage bin to put the towels in.  Before the bin it was impossible to find a towel.  They always ended up stuffed to the back.   I could  air dry before I  got my hands on a towel.  






When asked most sailors will tell you they don’t wear clothes on their boat, especially once they get to the Bahamas.  I don’t know if they are lying or not?  But, that won’t be me.   To keep our clothes within reach I found a closet organizer with drawers that only cost about $20.00 at Wal-Mart.  It has hooks that go over our hammock rod.  I goes right in front of our equipment bags so I can slide it from side to side to access what I need behind it.

Our next blog will have information no how we turned our not so easy to access storage,  into a perfect storage area.   These doors were not there originally.  We will show you how we built and installed them.  

Ouch!!! Knees in the Bathroom Door

I noticed on most sailboats that the bathroom door opens the wrong way.  Originally, our door opened with the hinges on the left side when you are facing the door.  The door opened up against the front berth.

Knees In Chest?  Not So Comfortable

I am only 5’2″ so most bathrooms are fine for me.  I have plenty of knee room.  I can even dress in the bathroom.  Dave  on the other hand, not so much.  His 5’10” legs hit the old door.  

Our bathroom door was getting a little rough.  It was buckling at the top from moisture and splitting.   We decided we would replace it at the same time we installed the new dish cabinet.  Dave wanted to cover the dagger board housing with nice white birch as well.  Originally the housing was covered with a sort of carpet type material.

Bathroom door closed.

My Idea Of A Bathroom Door

To make what I had in mind, Dave had to build a whole new door frame out of mahogany.  We used the same 1/2 inch white birch plywood and stains as the dish cabinet.    At first we were going to use the old door as a pattern.  Then I got the idea that if we opened the door with the hinges on the right we could hook it open when not in use.  The door hooks to the trim that covers the dagger board housing.  We also thought it would be great to be able to leave it open while changing. The new door makes a great dressing barrier.    So,  Dave made it to just barely clear the cushions on the seat.  Now I have a dressing room to change in.

Bathroom door open for changing.

DJI Mavic Pro Drone

Dave received a toy drone for Father’s Day.  It was great for learning how to fly but, you guessed it.  It got him hooked on flying photography.  Dave used his usual technique for talking me into getting a professional drone.   He started with how much the grandkids would love it.  Especially, our grand-daughter Millie who is fascinated with remote control helicopters.

Drones That Were In the Running

We started out looking at the DJI Phantom III and the new Phantom IV.  They had everything he wanted.  Problem was we wanted something we could take on the sailboat.  This means it needed to be compact and couldn’t come in a storage suitcase. The Phantoms weighed almost 4 lbs and comes in a large carrying case.    Enter the DJI Mavic Pro.  This little guy comes with a shoulder bag for storage and only weighs 1.6 lbs.

Shoulder bag containing everything needed to fly the drone.


What Sold Us On the Mavic Pro

The Mavic Pro is lightweight, compact and foldable.  It has a 4 K video camera with a battery life of 27 minutes.  It comes out of the case folded up.  You simply unfold it, attach your cell phone to the controller and fly off.

A few things make this drone perfect for life on a sailboat.

  • It is light and compact
  • Has many camera settings and features including time lapse video.
  • Can charge with hub (up to 4 at a time) via 110 or individual batteries charge by 12volt battery charger
  • It is very stable with precision hovering.
  • Collision avoidance means your drone will avoid crashes you don’t see.
  • Compared to other drones this little guy is extremely quiet.
  • Has a follow me feature
    • Will follow the sailboat shooting video and photos.
    • It is also perfect for shooting photo finishes of sailboat races.
  • A return home function
    •  It returns to you with the push of a button or when the battery is getting too low.

You can view the first videos Dave shot with the Mavic Pro and his video reviews.

What I Like About The Mavic Pro , You Tube Video

Dave describes the difference between the Mavic Pro packages.

Watch How Easy It Is To Set Up

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 purchased this drone for our own personal use not for review purposes.

First Videos Shot by Dave Using the Mavic Pro Drone.

Fort Jackson In Georgia- Video- Dave’s First

Tybee Island Georgia Lighthouse.  Shot the 2nd day with his drone.

This video was shot after dark because we could not fly a drone over the lighthouse during business hours.  It is a restricted no fly zone.  You can see how great it shoots even after dark.  My Nikon camera was having a hard time getting a reading with these conditions.

A lighthouse still shot taken with the drone after dark.


Watch the blog this summer for more videos taken from the sailboat and of our clubs sailboat races.

Anchors Away

There is one thing you can’t sail without…well yes, you need sails but I am talking about the anchor.  The problem with anchors is that they are bulky.  By the time you add chain and line they are a real pain.  They follow murphy’s law…if it can get tangled in a heap, it will.

If you have a larger boat you may have an anchor bin or a windlass that rolls it up neatly for you.  In a small boat you have to bring it in by hand.  Then you have to store it.  This is where your problems begin.    Just try to keep all that line and chain from becoming anything but a mess… I dare you.

You can spend all your time trying to get the chain untangled , so you can deploy your anchor and go for a swim.  Or, you can come up with a better way.  At first we stored our anchors in the back locker in a heap, then an instructor showed us a better way.

Enter the Five Galloon Buckets

We took lessons from an instructor who taught us to put each anchor in a five gallon bucket so you can lower it down into the front hatch.   You will want to add the  line and chain to the bucket as it comes out of the water.  In other words the anchor sits on top of  the line and chain. You will notice our anchor buoy ball sits on the very top.   When you are ready to deploy the anchor it  comes out of the bucket the same way you fed it in.   Best of all no tangles.  

When we are off swimming or sleeping at night we clip the rope handles onto the halyard lines.  This way we don’t lose the bucket due to wind or waves.

The anchor buoy ball is a marker to let other boaters and/or  jet skiers know where your anchor is located. Without it, someone could get tangled up in your anchor.  Trust me those river mosquitoes do get that close to your boat.

Float ball on anchor line. Bucket clipped to front stay.

Where to Store the Anchors

We store the anchors in the locker when someone needs to sleep in the front berth.  When we don’t need to have the mattress in that area,  we drop the anchor buckets down thru the front hatch and into the berth.

Dave lowering the anchor bucket down through the front hatch.

We can push the buckets over to the side and take them out the same way.  They are easy to reach right inside the hatch door.  Dave  painted the bottom of the buckets with liquid rubber so they don’t slide all around the berth.

The original metal handle didn’t give enough.  Rope handles were the answer.  They make it easy to maneuver the bucket in and out.  Dave drilled two holes in the bucket and made a rope handle for each.

Weight Distribution

Remember when you are deciding where to store your anchors that weight matters.  Those anchors, chain and wet rope are very heavy.  You want to take into consideration weight distribution at all times.  The boat will heel with wind.  To keep it upright and stable you want all the weight onboard to be as evenly distributed at possible.  We have one battery on each side of the boat. We put the anchors on the opposite side of the berth as the water jugs.  See where I am going with this?

It takes time to get things just the way you want them in your boat.  Don’t get discouraged.  Hang out with other sailors and  see how they do things.  You can’ t have too many options or opinions. Okay, maybe too many opinions,  if they are coming from your in-laws,

Happy Anchoring!!!

In the next few months we will be doing blogs on:

  • How We Built The Cabinet In The Bathroom
  • Building and Installing Storage Drawers
  • Product Reviews
  • Rebuilding and Organizing Our Locker
  • Adding More Storage
  • How We Organize Our Stuff
  • How We Built The Wooden/Glass Companionway Door
    • To replace the fiberglass door.
      • AND MUCH MORE!!!!

We Needed Fresh Safe Water

There Was No H2O

When we bought the boat there was a hand pump faucet,  but no water storage tanks.  Remember, Seabreeze was previously only used for short day sails.  We needed fresh safe water and somewhere to store it.

Our plans have always been to take long trips on Seabreeze.  There is just not enough room to take gallon jugs for cooking,  drinking and washing. We would need about a gallon of water,  per person,  per day.  Besides, who wants gallon jugs rolling around the cabin.  Using drinking bottles created too much garbage.

We purchased a 5 gallon plastic tank in the camping section at Walmart.   It held enough water for a long weekend and we could always refill it.  In our town we have a place that fills 5 gallon jugs for the kitchen type water dispensers.  They sterilize and fill them for about $2.50 each.  This way we are sure our water tanks are clean and safe.

Dave hooked it up under the sink.  This caused two issues.  It took up a lot of valuable storage space under the sink.  Plus, every time  the boat heeled the container tipped over and it ended up leaking.

We Needed A Better Solution

We tried putting other things next to the water jug to hold it upright. But it  always seemed to find a way to  spill.  Not to mention  the tank was difficult to get in and out of the space under the sink. By the time you tilted it enough to get it in place,  you had spilled part of your water supply.

We knew that the front berth was not going to be used unless the grandkids were staying with us.  There had to be someway to secure the tanks.  But, they had to be easy to access so we could fill them.

Dave decided we could mount them on the wall and they wouldn’t be in the way even when we needed the bed. He built a little shelf on the wall  higher than the sink so gravity would siphon the water for us.  We  did not want them sitting on the mattress sweating.  Again, a possible mold issue.

A Wall Solution


After setting the jugs on the shelf, Dave mounted three flat eye straps, one on each side of the jugs and one in the middle. He laced the one inch nylon cinching strap through the left eye, around the first tank, through the middle eye and then around the right tank. Finally it goes through the right eye and across the front. The strap then cinches across the front.

Now For The Plumbing

Dave ran a section of clear flexible plastic pipe under the bathroom floor to the sink.  Next, the flexible pipe was connected to the PVC section on the wall.  You can use  the flexible pipe all the way through, but he felt the PVC would be sturdier and fasten to the wall better.  The PVC could also accommodate fittings for attaching the clear water hose.


Preparing the Water Tanks

Now, holes needed to be cut in the lids for the clear plastic tubing to fit through.  This tubing needed to be long enough to syphon to the bottom of the  containers.  A piece  of PVC pipe long enough to go from the lid to the opposite corner of the tank was slide into each of the tanks. This PVC is just a guide that the clear plastic tube runs through.  It has to be tight so it can’t fall into the tank and get lost.   Without it the plastic tube would just curl up and not suction off the bottom.

When the tanks need to be changed, you unscrew the cap and the clear plastic comes out with the cap.  Once refilled,  you reinsert the clear plastic tube into the  PVC pipe and screw on the lid.

The red tubing is the pipe coming from the water tanks. The clear goes to the faucet from the valve. You can see the bottle for the soap dispenser.

The plastic tubing come out under the sink.  Dave installed an on off valve with an on/off knob located on the counter.  When you change the tanks, you need to pump the water to prime it. Once it is primed it just syphons when you turn the valve on,  you don’t have to pump.

You can see the soap pump as well as the button style valve for turning the water on.

With Sinks Comes Soap

This is slightly off the topic.  My other big complaint in the kitchen would have to be soap spills.  I’ve  had various types of containers for hand and dish soap.  They always seemed to tip over leaking and dripping everywhere.  We found a nice metal under the sink soap dispenser at Home Depot.   Metal will last longer than the cheap plastic ones.  This little 5 minute install has saved me hours of cleaning up soap spills.

You will also notice the clear plastic tubing on the faucet.  The sink faucet was not designed very well.  Water was directed  up the side of the sink.  This plastic hose directs it down into the sink with less splashing.

A Place To Store Dishes

How Our Cabinet Idea Came About

We decided that we needed someplace to store our dishes. I didn’t want yet another tote to trip over.  There were a few options.  We could store them in the area under the sink.  However, it  was not  a place you want to store dishes.  It was more of place to put dirty tools.  Putting them under the seats in the hatches meant that I would have to move all the  seat cushions to get a plate or bowl.  All these options seemed unworkable.

If you have ever been on a sailboat,  you know that a shelf is no option. Anything that isn’t glued down or secured in someway is going to learn to fly.  I don’t care how unbreakable your dishes are supposed to be, they will break.  Nothing is safe unless it is made of rubber and can bounce off the walls.

I sat in the boat and looked around.  There was all this unusable wall space above the sink.  There had to be something we could do with all that. Enter hubby and the answer.

Think Think Think

We tossed around all sorts of ideas. A shelf with a railing to hold things in.  A container on the wall for the plates to slide down into.  I had found these adorable dishes at Amazon, they needed to be seen and enjoyed.

So, Dave came up with the idea of a cabinet where they could all be secure. A simple china cabinet, if you will.   Also, you can see how this cabinet actually gave the wall behind the sink more support.

What Floats Your Boat

When working on your boat, do not remove any of the flotation foam located in the walls or ceiling. I know it is tempting to remove just a little so you can fit that cool cd player in,  but don’t do it. When we bought our boat, one of the first things we had to do was rewire. The electrical system hadn’t been used and from age it was all corroded. We had to go into the walls to run the wires. We noticed that some of the styrene had turned to just a bunch of loose balls. It was almost 17 years old. We did replace some of it with new and even added more. It doesn’t hurt to add more, JUST DON’T REMOVE ANY! This is what floats your boat and prevents it from sinking.

The Design For Our Cabinet

I will give you a basic outline of how we built our cabinet. However, it will be different for you. It will depend on the space you have to work with  and the dishes you purchase.

Dave built the basic cabinet outline and then laid out the dishes to see how they would fit and how large each cubbyhole needed to be. This is where your dimensions will differ from ours.

Before Our Cabinet


Before the dish cabinet

On the back wall you can see the old mirror. The mirror was yellowed and cloudy. We took the mirror off and found that due to moisture we had some mold behind the mirror. This was pretty normal and wasn’t a big deal since we were planning to replace this old plywood with something nicer. Dave used the old plywood as a template for the new wall.

For the back of the cabinet we decided to go with yellow birch because when stained it looks the most like teak. It is also light weight.  We purchased a 4x8x 1/2 inch  sheet of yellow birch plywood. You don’t want it too thin, it will warp.   Too thick,  just adds unnecessary weight.  This would need to be finished on both side because, it would also become the wall in the bathroom.  The back of the cabinet wall is 40×30 inches. The acrylic mirror we purchased on Amazon was cut to the size we wanted 16×20. The dish cabinet measures 17×20 1/2.

I wasn’t crazy about this cabinet sticking out over my countertop. Space on a sailboat is at a premium.  Giving up my countertop space would not be a good trade off.  After a few days of thinking about it, Dave had the answer. There was space in the bathroom not being used for anything. It wasn’t going to be in the way,  so Dave built the cabinet into the bathroom about 3 inches. We now have a beautiful wood wall in  the bathroom.  In this picture you can also see the door where the bathroom garbage is stored. We explain how and why we did this in another blog.



How We Got The Dishes to Stay Put

So, I knew I wanted the dishes to show off. Above all, we wanted the dishes to stay in the holders. Now, we just had to figure out how. The whole dish cabinet measures 17x 20 ½ and is built out of 1×6 mahogony boards. The cubbyhole for the plates has slits cut for the plates to sit in. Dave then built and designed a little spring latch to keep them in place until I wanted to use them.  He used a small strip of teak wood with a hacksaw blade embedded into the top to give it the spring.  He also put a notch in the spring holder so it would catch on the first plate and hold it in place.

A Place For The Bowls

For the bowls he stacked them all behind the fold down door.  You simply open the door and there are your secure bowls ready to use. This measures just slightly larger than the bowls.  This carrier worked better than grooves for the bowls.  To hinge the door he used a piece of stainless threaded rod fit into embedded stainless steel nuts, so it can pivot. Always use stainless on a boat.  Rust stains are not a pretty decoration.

Cups Can’t Roll Around the Cabin

Next,  the problem  became what to do with the cups.  I didn’t want them swinging from hooks only to fall and break.  Dave used a hole saw and chisel to make a little rim for them to fit. They are really tight and have so far gone nowhere.  The indentations are deep enough to keep them  safe and secure.


The Silverware Was Too Pretty To Store Away


Our next challenge would be the silverware I found with a nautical pattern on it. I had to show that off too.

So he built a silverware holder at the bottom of the cabinet. This holder measure 9 1/2x 4. He cut a notch for each piece of silverware using a scroll saw.  Each piece of silverware slides in sideways then turns to sit in its own groove.

Dish cabinet

Too Much Space…Not Enough Cabinet

We were almost done. We didn’t need the dish cabinet to cover the whole wall but, we did need something under the cups.   Plus, the old mirror did reflect some light back into the cabin to brighten things up a bit.   It just made sense to measure the leftover space for an acrylic mirror and mount it next to the dish cabinet with 3M Spray glue.   We ordered a safety acrylic mirror from Amazon. Some places online called them play area mirrors.  They will flex with the boats movement and not crack.

Seal It!!  Mold is Not Your Friend

Remember that you will want to seal the wall behind it to prevent mold. So it is important to finish this area with stain and/or polyurethane before you install the mirror. For the stain we used Minwax Wood Finish Penetrating Stain.   To get the teak look we wanted,  Dave wiped on the Colonial Maple and then went over it with English Chestnut while it was still wet.

We used a clear gloss indoor/ outdoor  polyurethane made by Helmsman.  You will want to make sure you use a high end marine polyurethane.  No, the cabinet will not be in direct contact with water but the moisture that collects in a boat can cause cheaper polyurethanes to bubble and peel.  Not a good look for your new gorgeous dish cabinet.

When you are staining and applying polyurethane on your wood don’t stop with what you can see. Make sure you get it on every edge you can’t see. Trust me moisture will find it’s way in and cause it to buckle up or worse yet grow mold. By sealing even the edges you can’t see,  you will have one less thing to worry about. We ended up putting about 6 coats of polyurethane on the cabinet.

My dishes can be enjoyed and used on a daily basis.  They do not slip or slide even when we are pulling the boat.  Trust me the roads in Illinois can be rougher than most lakes.

Navigation and Weather Apps for Your Electronic Toys

I know years ago they sailed with only paper charts and prayer.  I am so glad we are past that and now have electronics and software to help us enjoy our passion. Yeah, I am aware we still have paper charts for navigation.  Yes, we  can sail without these toys but why would we want to.

Some of these apps can be installed and used without an internet connection. Others will need either cell or internet service.  Most of the time I can use my cellphone as a hotspot, but that doesn’t always work.

There is a new internet system in the works that will allow everyone to take their internet with them anywhere.  Yes, even on a sailboat in the middle of the ocean.  Since planes fly everywhere it works everywhere. The Internet will bounce off the planes overhead.  It is call  Airbourne Wireless Network,  so keep an eye on the news for its launch.  They have tested it, now to wait for approval. Since I live in the middle of nowhere with very slow internet, I am looking forward to this system for home and sailing.



Dock Your Boat
Android and Apple
Skipper in training app you download
freeApp for simulating the physics of a boat during harbor maneuvers.
This boat- and harbor-simulator for docking and undocking under engine serves as a realistic trainer for skippers. The idea and the creation came from an enthusiastic sailor. The simulator helps to improve your skills in safe maneuvering of sailing yachts in different environments such as in narrow spaces in ports and marinas, using the propeller walk as well as the effects of crosswind and current. It also allows to handle lines and fenders. Besides the playful character of this simulator game the learning effect is creating the most value added for users. A range of different scenarios with various levels of difficulties are available for selection. Uncomplicated visual onscreen help with short text guidance passes on the basic principles to get a feel for the handling methods. Wind and current can be modified. For advanced users they provide a scene-editor via in-app-purchase.

How to Sail
App for mobile and PC
This app has over 170 tutorial lessons to bring you up to speed with many navigation techniques and safety procedures.
Learn to Sail Apps
Apple, PC, and Android
$3.99 each
Sailing lessons in Apps.

Top Sailor Simulator
App for Apple and Android
Top Sailor is a highly realistic sailing and motorboat simulator. Take Top Sailor with you and learn basics of sailing! See how wind force affects the sail and test your skills against AI opponents in a yacht race. Learn how to trim the sails to make the most use of wind energy. Discover when there is a risk of capsizing. Practice sailing downwind and upwind, tacking and gybing. Improve navigation skills, sail race strategy and tactics.



NOAA Weather App
Android and Apple app
This app uses NOAA point forecasts from your GPS location to get the most localized weather available. Point forecasts are great for climbing, hiking, skiing, or any outdoor activity where weather from a nearby city isn’t accurate enough.

Marine Weather by Accuweather
Android and Apple app
Stay connected to the latest, real-time, marine weather conditions with Marine Weather™ by AccuWeather. Designed for mariners and other water hobbyists, this free, customizable app features MinuteCast™, the leading minute-by-minute weather forecast that is hyper-localized to your exact location.

THEYR Gribview 
Apple and Android

Ventusky – Wind, Rain and Temperature Maps–free
Apple and Android app
You can use it on the website on download the app to your device.
Animated wind, rain and temperature maps, detailed forecast for your place, data from the best weather forecast models such as GFS, ICON, GEM.

App for apple, pc and android
Don’t miss a day on the water or in the air! SailFlow makes it easy for you to find the wind and weather data you’re after no matter where you are. You can use as a website on your PC or download the App.



Apple and Android
Don’t miss a day on the water or in the air! WindAlert makes it easy for you to find the wind and weather data you’re after no matter where you are.

Android, Apple or laptop via website
Pro $2.99
Wind and weather reports & forecasts for kite surfers, wind surfers, surfers, sailors and paragliders for over 40000 locations worldwide

Global Coverage Anywhere in the World at 9km Resolution. View Free Forecasts!
Outstanding Accuracy · Live Wind Observations · Free GRIB Viewer
Services: Grib Viewer, Iridium Go, Marine Weather Forecast, Yacht Racing, Power Boating, Cruising.

Windy: Wind map & weather forecast (also known as Windyty)
Weather radar, wind and waves forecast for kiters, surfers, paragliders, pilots, sailors and anyone else. Worldwide animated weather map, with easy to use layers and precise spot forecast. METAR, TAF and NOTAMs for any airport in the World. SYNOP codes from weather stations and buoys. Forecast models ECMWF, GFS,

PocketGribApp $5.99 Apple and Android

With PocketGrib you can download, view and analyse global weather data while on the go. Wind, precipitation, pressure, temperature, wave and other data extracted from GRIB files are displayed through our powerful GRIB viewer interface. Perfect for sailors (both sailing and in the pub), windsurfers, stormchasers.



AyeTides     Apple and Android App
AyeTides and AyeTides XL show the tides and currents for over 12,000 locations around the world*. AyeTides and AyeTides XL give you the day’s tides as tables and interactive graphs. See what the tides are doing next week or next year. See sun rise, moon rise, etc., and how the tides respond to the moon.
Several tides apps are available for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. It’s a great idea and a handy way to keep track of the tides without carrying around printed tide charts for every location. A good tide app is especially useful when you’re cruising to different areas and need accurate information on local tides – and potentially water currents as well.

Charts and Tides
App for Apple and Android
Free but you do have to purchase the charts you need
The all new Charts&Tides for iOS7 is finally here! Now get access to charts, tides, ActiveCaptain information, GPS navigation and more in a well designed package. Use it at home to research and plan your trip. Use it on your boat as  a navigation tool to route to your final destination.

My Tide Times
Apple and Android
Pro version is $1.99
My Tide Times is the only tide tables application you’ll ever need. Whether you’re surfing, fishing or just going to the beach you’ll be able to use it to get quick and easy access to the tides. We think it’s the most beautiful tide times application on the market to date.

US Tides
Apple and Android app
Seven days tides tables and charts for more than 3000 US locations as provided by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).
Displays sunrise, sunset, moonrise, moonset times and moon phase.

View Tide Charts | USHarbors
This is a website with printable charts
USHarbors delivers free printable tide charts, onshore and marine forecasts, weather buoy data, radar, harbor guides, and a directory of coastal businesses.




Apps for Apple and Android
The world’s #1 Boating app! A favorite among cruisers, sailors, fishermen and divers. Find the same detailed charts and advanced features as on the best GPS plotters. Download the app and get an automatic 2-week free trial of Navionics

Transas iSailor – Marine Navigation, Chart Plotter and AIS Viewer for …
android and apple app
Transas iSailor is a marine GPS navigation system intended for use on iPads, iPhones, Android smartphones and tablets. An excellent solution for boats and yachts owner navigation.

For apple, android, and laptops from the website
The large community of ActiveCaptain users shares their experiences to make all of our boating adventures safer, less expensive and more enjoyable. Learn from others and share your own experience by registering a free account. ActiveCaptain is social. Your electronic boat card is your digital passport to meeting others, …

Garmin | ActiveCaptain App and website
For apple android and laptops from the webpage
ActiveCaptain™ App. All-in-one App for the Ultimate Connected Boating Experience. The free all-in-one ActiveCaptain™ mobile app allows you to manage your marine experience from nearly anywhere. It creates a simple yet powerful connection between your compatible mobile device and your compatible Garmin …

Isail GPS:NOAA Charts
App for Apple and Android
iSailGPS, the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch GPS App for NOAA Marine Charts for USA waters, even where there is no cell service.

Marine navigation ap for Ipad and Iphone
A good all-round package and especially versatile for ability to use raster and vector charts from multiple providers.


website not app
Join the new age of discovery
To help you find anchorages and marinas.

Anchor watch
Apple and Android app
Anchor watch is a position logger, SMS alarm and sound alarm and it monitors the device’s current location and informs you if the location of the device changes too far away from the set anchor. In that case, it will sound an alarm and optionally send an SMS.

Android and Apple app
Be alert if your anchor drag with a simple yet full of features app.

Anchor Zone Alarm
Android and Apple app
Just draw a circle around your boat with a finger and turn it on. It does not get easier than that. Area alarm will help you to not get into trouble when sailing.

Toilet Paper and Potty Onboard

An Unusual Topic

I know this is a strange topic for a blog.  If you are part of any of the sailing groups on Facebook, you know this is a hot topic.  Women go on for days about what to do with toilet paper and how to go to the bathroom onboard.   I am going to be writing about options others have discussed on the forum.  Yes, a little crude at times.

Types of Bathroom Systems

Some larger sailboats have a storage tank that needs to be emptied at a marina.  The cost is minimal at about $10.00.  If you are going to be doing a crossing and have a small storage tank, this will be an issue. With this type of system you have to worry about wipes and toilet paper clogging the plumbing.  When it comes to the job of cleaning out the plumbing, I am going to be very busy that whole day.

Others have composting toilets that you don’t have to deal with very often.  The downside of these toilets is the smell, especially if you are not living aboard.  The odor builds up when the boat is closed up for any extended time.  So if you are a weekend sailor, your might not want to install this type.  Or you might need clothes pins for your nose or maybe stock in Glade plug ins.

Our boat is smaller so we have a portable camping type toilet.  It holds about 5 gallons of waste. This type needs to be emptied quite often.  Toilet paper is a problem because it fills up the tank quickly.   Women are also a problem because we use the bathroom more than men. But then again men don’t want to sail without women so it is a catch 22.

You also want to pay attention when you buy the holding tank chemical packs.  You want to be sure to get the ones that specify they contain an enzyme or waste digester.  If you get the little packets called deodorizers they will not help break down the waste.  They will only make the waste smell better.

What To Do With the Toilet Paper

Many have suggested that you don’t put your paper in the toilet.  They suggest that you put it in a Ziploc bag and throw it away.  Others, use bathroom wipes and put them in Ziploc bags.  Never put the wipes in any onboard toilet.  They will  NEVER break down.

I have to admit I don’t have a problem with the plastic bags idea. What is the difference.  I change my grandchildren and throw their diapers and wipes in the garbage.  Then again I am from the generation that used cloth diapers.  Not a pretty picture.

When we retire to Georgia and sail for weeks on end putting our TP in plastic bag will more than likely be the plan for us.  But until then I will throw it in the toilet.  Our longest trips right now are 5 or 6 days.  Our onboard toilet can handle that.

The TP Test

Some have suggested that all toilet paper breaks down.  Well I tried the experiment below.  I am here to tell you this is not true.  Our home is also in the country with a septic tank so I found this experiment interesting.

I purchased a package of each of the following toilet papers:

  • Camp-Chem in the camping section of Wal-Mart
  • Scot Rapid Dissolve RV paper in RV section of Wal-Mart
  • Scot One ply (this was suggested as a good alternative to camping tp)
  • Angel Soft
  • Great Value the Wal-Mart brand (note to self hurts the  behind)

The experiment was to  put one piece of each in a cup and add really warm water.  Wait and see which dissolved the best.  Full disclosure the Great Value was still pretty much whole the next morning.  So not only is it scratchy, it doesn’t dissolve at all.  You will empty it out of your toilet pretty much in the same condition your put it in there.

The moral of this story is that if you are really concerned about your toilet paper breaking down then you should use the camping toilet paper. It started to break down almost immediately.

There are things that other women are doing on board to remedy this problem.  I hope you find these useful and somewhat comical.  I will admit I have used some of these while kayaking and camping. 

Other Options

So let’s talk off shore long distance sailing trips and crossings.  You can’t risk filling up your head while in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.  The easiest ways to prevent this are:

  • Not putting toilet paper in it
  • Nothing but solid matter goes in. ( I was trying to reference poop nicely)
  • Using another means while under sail on long voyages. ( I am not here yet.  I am not even close.)  In my family I was the only girl and I had older brothers.  Can you spell princess?  Well, this royalty, does not go poop in a bucket and throw it overboard.

The Yellow Stuff

Many of the women on the sailing forum use other methods to get rid of the yellow stuff.


I do own one of these and mostly use it while kayaking.  In the Great Lakes a crossing may take 4-8 hours.  You can’t just flip the kayak and go.  The water is too cold and the waves make it harder to re-enter.  With a Freshette, I can move to the front of the seat and use this device with an empty water bottle.  All while under my kayak skirt so nobody sees.  When we get where we are paddling, I get rid of it.

Other women use this as a stand up device over the side of the boat. Some even use an empty milk jug with a lid.  I have used it while hiking.  Because of the way it is made there is no need to lower your pants, so nobody can tell what you are doing.

Hint:  I have tried to use one of the devices called a Go-Girl.  I like my shoes too much to use that one.  It is so flimsy it goes all over the place.  The Freshette has a nice tube so you can use it with a bottle or aim it away from your feet if hiking. It is also stiff enough not to collapse.

Travel John

For me this option is too expensive.  I have used these on camping trips.  There is no way you will convince me to leave the safety of my tent to pee in bear country after dark.

I also keep them in the car for those times when the grandchildren just can’t wait.  Plus, they are great when you live in Illinois and get caught in a blizzard.  My brother was once stuck on RT 80 for 10 hours after a blizzard with accidents closed it.

Travel Johns are disposal urinals that contain the same gel as in  diapers.  When the urine hits the gel it expands and hardens.  It can’t spill and you just throw it away.

If you are just a weekend sailor you can get away with using camping toilet paper with a portable toilet.  What you do with your toilet paper, well that is between you and whoever has to empty the toilet.