When your boat is stationary for any length of time – either at a marina or at anchor, if you’re going to be living on the boat and using the various systems there are several key things to keep an eye on. Below you’ll find a 10-step Sailboat Maintenance Checklist for routine mission critical daily and/or weekly checks and a video where Simon and I demonstrate the steps.
Note: the below checklist can be found in my guide, ‘Checklists for Sailors: Passage Planning, Sailboat Maintenance, Cleaning, Medical and More’ in addition to 19 other checklists. You can get more information on my guide by clicking on the image below. The guide comes in either digital or hardcopy format and the hardcopy can be shipped within the US. If you’d like to purchase the hardcopy guide outside of the US, you’ll find it on your local Amazon website.
Every morning, or at least every few days, survey the bilge for water, oil or fuel leaks. It’s good to get in the habit of lifting a central floorboard often just to make sure that the bilge is dry. I especially lift the floorboards after a heavy rainstorm and when turning on the engine or generator if it hasn’t run for a while. Leaks can come from a variety of areas – we’ve had a fresh water shower hose form a slow trickle through to a busted hot water hose causing the floodgates to open. We’ve also had leaks coming from holes in the deck, loose hatch seals and improperly sealed windows.
TIP: The first thing to do when you find a leak is to taste the water. Is it fresh or is it salt?! That is the first clue to start problem solving…Furthermore, freshwater leaks are manageable but saltwater could be a big issue!
#2 – Test the bilge pump and ensure it’s on automatic
Test that your bilge pump is working to ensure it’s working and ensure it’s on automatic. Bilge pumps are mission critical. Some boats have engines, batteries and other valuable systems below the waterline. A leak could become disastrous very quickly if the bilge pump isn’t triggered.
#3 Check the raw water sea strainers
Check your seas strainers! If you’re running your generator, air conditioning/heat, refrigeration or anything that requires a raw or salt water cooling system to run, you’ll want to keep an eye on your strainers. Interestingly, we never had to clean our strainers in the Caribbean or Mediterranean but along the east coast of America we have to clean them weekly.
#4 Ensure all raw water flows are flowing
Check the water flow on all of your raw water cooling systems. Make sure that you can see the aircon/heating/refrigeration/genset cooling water easily flow out of the boat. As with most of our Sailboat maintenance checklist tasks we’ve learned by experience. One day I noticed our freezer water outflow barely trickling out. I immediately knew there was and issue and was able to fix the problem before it became a disaster
#5 Check the fresh water level
Our fresh water system is pressurized by an accumulator tank. If and when we get too low it throws our whole system out of whack and it can take hours to get it working correctly again. For us, it’s imperative that we never let our water tanks empty. Another reason to keep an eye on water levels comes down to a decision to ration. If you want to stay at anchor for a few more days yet you’re running out of water, it’s important to reduce water consumption. Or…if you have a watermaker, it might be time to make some water.
#6: Check your battery charge levels every day
Depending on your batteries and the systems you have to keep them charged over time you’ll get to grips with how long you can last without having to take action. Some boats have solar and wind power that constantly tops up the batteries. Other boats, like ours, depend on having our generator running periodically to charge them up. We keep a very close eye on our battery charge level and when the charge level gets low we charge them.
#7: Keep and eye on the Fridge/Freezer Temperature
The effectiveness of a fridge/freezer can often depend on the temperature of the sea that you’re in. In the Med you might need one setting and then once you get to the Caribbean you’ll have to change it. Furthermore, many boat refrigeration systems get a build up over time making the unit less and less effective causing the need to slowly reduce the temperature gauge. At least once a week I’m changing our temperature gauge with the goal of keeping the fridge temperature blow 5 degrees and the freezer below freezing.
#8: Generator checks
If you’re running the generator often you’ll want to check it’s vitals at least once a week. Check the oil, water level, belt and have an overall look around for leaks, loose connections and any dirt. Keeping the genset clean will allow you to see leaks easily.
#9: Run your watermaker weekly even if you don’t need water
Depending on what system you have most watermakers need to run at least every 7 to 12 days to keep the system in good shape. While at anchor it’s easy to keep the watermaker active but when entering a marina for a long-ish stay it can be forgotten. If at a marina for longer than the 7 – 12 days a temporary pickling can be put in place to preserve the effectiveness of the watermaker.
#10: Dive on your anchor if possible and/or considering re-anchoring and if at a marina, check your warps
If you’re in clear waters and it’s easy to dive on your anchor, go down and check it out. Make sure that it’s firmly set in. Additionally, look at the chain along the seafloor. Over time chain can rub on rocks and get damaged or worse, it can hit reef and destroy it. Especially in strong tidal areas anchors can get dislodged, chains can get tangled in rocks/reef and the ultimate effectiveness of your ground tackle can be compromised. Just because your anchor may have been set for days doesn’t mean that it will always stay set.
And when you’re at a marina, check your warps every time the tide changes. Also check when the wind starts to blow or before a storm is coming. Conditions change often and although the boat might seem to be docked fine, a change of tide might cause it to become dangerously close to the jetty. Look at the fenders as well. Fenders can pop up unexpectedly.
Sailboat Maintenance Checklist – 10 critical tasks VIDEO
There you have it – the 10 critical daily and/or weekly boat maintenance checks when on anchor or at a marina.
If you have daily or weekly sailboat maintenance checks that you’d like to add, please leave them in the comments below. Check out more of our sailing and sailboat related checklists here: Sailing Checklists
As always, a big ‘thank you’ to all our Patreon patrons, Sailing Britican Guide and T-shirt buyers. Note that all the t-shirts we had on in the video above can be purchased. You’ll find them in our Sailing Britican Etsy shop. There’s T-shirts for everyone – women, men and children. They make very unique gifts for loved ones! Click on the image here to see our full range of designs and colors.
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It’s been 2 1/2 years since my family and I have left our sailboat, Britican. Although we don’t like time away from the boat we wanted to attend a wedding, catch up with family and friends and reunite our daughter with her British preschool buddies.
Interestingly, even when life gets stressful on the boat or difficulties arise, I’ve never want a vacation. I’ve never think, ‘Oh – I wish I could just fly to Hawaii or Tahiti!’ First of all, if I’m going to visit a foreign location I want to bring Britican with me. Secondly, I feel as if my life is one big vacation anyway so why would I want a break from it?!
That being noted, however, we didn’t want to miss our dear friends wedding – Graham (Alexi) Sale and Andrea Ball were saying ‘I do.’ And to make matters more interesting, the wedding was a Halloween theme. So, we all had to come dressed as ghosts and goblins.
In addition to attending the wedding, my family and I made the rounds to see as many friends and family as possible. We spent hours driving all over the country but it was well worth it. After a two year separation from our loved one’s it was so nice to see them, eat some good food and catch up on everything we’ve missed.
It’s amazing how a couple years have gone by. But once we met up with our friends it’s as if there was no time had passed at all. We fit right back into our gang in Aylesbury as if we never left.
In the video below, allow me to show you our trip from Charleston, South Carolina to England. We do some sightseeing in the historic maritime city of Portsmouth. Thereafter, we attend the Halloween wedding, see some friends and enjoy being ‘home’.
Time Away From The Boat Video
If you missed our last episode where we went 55 mph on a 420 Outrage Boston Whaler with 1400 HP outboards, got a drone donated to us by Patron Tim Ishii (and tested it out!), took Britican up a river to a boatyard for a haul out to determine our CopperCoat issues, rescued our dinghy that fell off the davits, viewed a Mason 44â² sailboat for a reader, started discussing our imminent travel plans to head to the Bahamas and more…check out: Liveaboard Life
And keep in mind that the Holidays are coming up. If you want to buy your loved ones an awesome nautical T-shirt or other nautically inspired presents, please visit the Sailing Britican Etsy Shop.
The post Time Away From The Boat appeared first on S/V Britican.
Within the past couple weeks liveaboard life has been awesome. We enjoyed the speed of 55 mph on a 420 Outrage Boston Whaler with 1400 HP outboards, got a drone donated to us by Patron Tim Ishii (and tested it out!), took Britican up a river to a boatyard for a haul out to determine our CopperCoat issues, rescued our dinghy that fell off the davits, viewed a Mason 44′ sailboat for a reader, started discussing our imminent travel plans to head to the Bahamas and more.
Watch the Liveaboard Life video by clicking on the image below. You’ll gain an insight as to how varied and eclectic life really is while calling a sailboat ‘home’. And as aways, please leave any comments or questions in the comments below. Enjoy!
Are you thinking of moving from land to a boat and enjoying the liveaboard life? If yes, check out my various sailing guides. I cover a variety of things from buying a boat through to owning, maintaining and sailing a boat. Check out my online shop here!
Other liveaboard life articles that you might find of interest are:
When living on a sailboat or enjoying long sailing vacations, mosquitos become an everyday problem. There are ways and means, however, for mosquito control on a sailboat. Below lists 10 tips for sailors.
Note: The video, highlighting everything in this article for the 10 tips for mosquito control on a sailboat is at the bottom of this post.
1. Make sure every window, hatch, porthole and companionway has a screen.
Some sailboats are fully kitted out and come complete with screens. Many screens are permanently fixed and others are removable. Some boats have some screens for some windows and not for others. When moving aboard a sailboat the first priority (aside from making sure the boat is seaworthy) is to fit screens to any opening missing them.
The great news about this task is that itâs very inexpensive to make screens, the materials are easy to find and the end result is monumental. For three years we lived with the constant threat of mosquitos in our boat.
We woke to buzzing in our ears and welts on our body.
After making a concerted effort to use screens on the port windows and hatches, make screens for the deck saloon windows and create a solution for our companionway our nighttime visits and welts decreased by 99%. Rarely do we find a mosquito on our boat anymore.
Why we didnât make an effort to fit screens to every opening from the beginning is beyond me. The results have been nothing short of miraculous.
I suppose I just assumed that if there wasnât screens on the window they must not be needed?!
If your boat doesnât have screens for the port windows, please read my article/watch my video on How To Make Port Window Screens. The article/video will demonstrate how to make port window screens for less than $2.50 each and I include links to all the supplies used.
If you need to make screens for hatches or large windows, I used some inexpensive long lasting machine washable screening found on Amazon. Additionally, I hemmed my screens with indoor/outdoor material affixing Velcro with a sewing machine.
Massive Tip: Sticky Velcro will stick fine to the window/headboard/hatch encasement however sticky Velcro will not stick well to material. Furthermore, you can’t machine sew sticky Velcro to material – it just doesn’t work (the needle gets gooey and after about four stitches the sewing machine freaks out). Youâll want to buy the Velcro tape (industrial strength) and then get a roll of one side of Velcro (male or female).
Sticky Velcro: VELCRO Brand – Industrial Strength Low Profile – 10′ x 1″ Tape – White
Velcro for sewing: 1″ White Velcro Tape Loop Only 25 Yard Roll
Screening I used: Saint-Gobain ADFORS CHARCOAL FIBERGLASS SCREEN 48″ X 84″
And for the Indoor/Outdoor material, I ordered it from Fabric.com â just do a search on Indoor/Outdoor material in the color you prefer.
For the companionway I used the same system of screen and indoor/outdoor material however, I inserted rods or bars into the edges of the left and right side of the screen so it hung over the open hatch area and stayed in place. Due to the sliding hatch door, the use of Velcro wouldnât work nor would it look very attractive. For the bars, my husband, Simon, got them at a DIY store called Focus. The store cut them to the length we wanted. I just took the bars and sewed them into the material.
2. Have netting on board in case of emergencies
On a few occasions weâve needed to use severe mosquito control techniques. Once, while in Turks and Caicos, islands above the Caribbean Sea, we had an epidemic. All our screens were on, however it started to rain.
The rain was failing in huge drops so we had to act fast. During the process of opening the screen to get access to the hatch windows, flocks (or shall I say âherdsâ) of mosquitos came rushing into the boat. We had hundreds.
Simon tried to kill them all but it was a never-ending battle. In the end, we put up netting over our bed and the three of us (our daughter included) managed to get a good nightâs sleep.
The net we use on our bed is a Coghlan’s Mosquito Net. You can get this kind of netting in a variety of sizes. Itâs good because you can tie it from four corners. Thereâs also bed netting that is held up by one point in the center of the bed. Whatever works best for your sailboat, youâll have to decided?
On our netting we have carabineers, or latches, that hook to our lee cloth fittings, closet door and a handle (watch us put it up in our Mosquito Control Video – it’s below). When we need to get the netting up we can do so very fast.
In our daughterâs room, sheâs in bunk beds so itâs easy to tuck netting into the top bunk and hang it over the bottom one.
3. Make mosquitos a consideration on where you anchor or berth
There are places known for mosquitos. There are areas where mosquitos are more prevalent â marshes, near the woods, and rain forest, etc. Read sailing blogger reviews of anchorages and marinas. Look up information on forums and pilot books.
If an area is bad for mosquitos decide on another area or consider anchoring further from shore.
4. To kill mosquitos use the electrified racket
By far, the Zap IT Racket works the best. Weâve had all sorts of contraptions that are supposed to attract mosquitos and kill them. No matter what, the best thing that works is to have the racket nearby and zap them yourself when you see them.
And of course thereâs the added luxury of closure when you hear the mosquito pass on.
As a side note, I was told by several people about making a mosquito trap with a large soda bottle, water, brown sugar and honey. I havenât tried this approach as our screens are now doing an excellent job, but it might be worth a try.
Check out the video âhow to make a home made mosquito trapâ here!
5. Use Deet but use it sparingly and not as an every day solution
Over the past several years Deet has been found to be safer than it was once deemed. One of the most common bug sprays with Deet in it is Off!.
A while back studies found that Deet caused neurological problems but those findings have been found to be false.
Iâm not a fan of Deet or any chemical that you apply to your skin. Whatever goes on your largest organ, your skin, gets absorbed into your blood stream and is pumped around your body.
However, when youâre in an area where thereâs West Nile Disease or Zika Virus I think Deet is a necessary evil.
There are alternatives to Deet that are natural and work well. This leads me to tip number six.
6. Natural Oil Based Solutions â Skin So Soft and Essential Oil Mixtures
Since I was a child my family has used Avonâs Skin-So-Soft around our campfires. As soon as the bugs came out, so did the sweet smell of Skin-So-Soft. Iâm not sure how a perfumed bath oil became so known for itâs anti-mosquito properties but most families opted for the oil over Deet based applications.
We often use Skin-So-Soft when weâre getting off the boat for a while. Due to itâs oily nature it can cause stains on the cushions, leave marks on the teak deck and make the fiberglass slippery. I put our Skin-So-Soft in a spray bottle and apply it once weâre off the boat.
Better than Skin-So-Soft are essential oil mixtures. Using a combination of water, Vodka/Witch Hazel and some drops of essential oils you can create less oily sprays that work just as well as the Skin-So-Soft.
Furthermore, essential oils can be found almost anywhere in the world now days!
Sienna and I made a mosquito repellant using a 3-Pack Variety of NOW Essential Oils: Mosquito Repellent Blend – Citronella, Lemongrass, Grapefruit found on Amazon.com
The recipe for the mosquito control remedy is as follows:
– 4 Tablespoons of distilled or boiled water
– 1 Tablespoon of Witch Hazel or Vodka
– 15 Drops of Citronella
– 23 Drops of Lemongrass
– 10 Drops of Grapefruit
Put all that in a spray bottle, shake before use and then apply. Note, however, that citrus-based essential oils can cause skin to burn in the sun so read up about essential oils before using them.
Sienna, Simon and I prefer this mixture as itâs not greasy at all. I do still, however, suggest you apply it off the boat or in an area where drops wonât cause the area to get stained or slippery.
And hereâs another natural mosquito repellant recipe
– 20 Drops of Lemongrass
– 20 Drops of Citronella
– 5 Drops of Tea Trea
– 10 Drops of Rosemary
– 1 Â½ ounces or 3 Tablespoons of a carrier oil
This essential oil repellant is also good to put on bites for soothing relief.
7. Wear long sleeve shirts, pants and/or cover up with a sarong/beach wrap
Get a sarong at my Etsy store!
If the mosquitos canât get to your skin they canât bite you. The more you cover your body, the less chance youâll get nibbled on.
Furthermore, covering up helps to protect from the sun. I have a variety of very light cotton long sleeve shirts and cotton/linen pants that are light enough to wear during the summer.
More than clothes, however, we use sarongs or beach wraps. Considering that I sell the sarongs in my Etsy shop I have one of each aboard the boat. When our daughter, Sienna, isnât using them to make forts, we all use them to cover us up in the cockpit to protect us from the sun and/or the bugs. Many sarongs are so light and airy that theyâre a delight to have wrapped around you. And yes, even Simon will use a sarong for protection!
Real men use sarongs â hehehehee.
8. Eat garlic and onions and keep the beer away!
Mosquitos are attracted to your blood type, the smell of your sweat and carbon dioxide. Anyone thatâs exercising outside thatâs a blood type O should be vary cautious! Sweat, lots of breath and the blood that mosquitos like best is a recipe for disaster.
Soâ¦you now have my permission to be a couch potato! Youâll get bitten far less than those that are breaking out in a sweat. Or so the experts say.
On a serious note, I think itâs necessary to eat raw garlic and raw onions (rather than cooked) to smell bad enough for mosquitos to run the other way.
We managed to get these two stinky foods into our system with one of two ways.
1. We eat lots of Bruschetta. Itâs very simple and exceptionally yummy. Tomatoes, garlic, herbs and salt. Get our recipe and watch us make it here: The Admirals Bruschetta
2. Brie or Camembert Cheese with Garlic. Just buy a round brie at the store. Usually it comes in a wooden crate. Slice raw garlic very thin and poke it into the cheese. Heat the cheese up for a few minutes in the oven â it makes the cheese oozy but the garlic stays raw. Then dip with bread. YUM. (And yes, itâs fine to eat the rind).
Regarding the beer side of thingsâ¦research suggests that mosquitos like beer. If you drink beer youâre effectively increasing your tastiness!
9. Mosquitos can see you!
I always thought that mosquitos had some sort of infrared radar that could find us humans behind closed doors. They can see us breath and are attracted to carbon dioxide but they also are attracted to dark colors. In the video that Simon and I made about mosquito control tactics we suggest wearing camouflage! Hahahaha.
10. Test out a variety of things to determine what works best for you.
There are plug-in devices, contraptions that run on butane and then thereâs things like burning coffee grounds/banana leaves, having a citronella candle or plant on board through to electric zappers, mosquito tape and wrist bands.
For us, weâre always looking for something we can do or use every day that doesnât use energy (electricity or gas) and wonât be a fire threat. Furthermore, my thumb isn’t very green – plants don’t seem to last on board no matter how much love and attention I give them!
By far, our best line of mosquito control techniques is to have screens on every opening on the boat. Failing that, we spray ourselves with something stinky, eat something stinky and use our electrified mosquito racquet!
What tips do you have? Please leave them in the comments below.
Mosquito Control for Sailors – 10 Top Tips Video
Other mosquito control on a sailboat tips sent in by readers:
Fredâs wife used the following spray. Sheâs usually a mosquito magnet, but didnât get bit once: Dr Mercolaâs Bug Spray, an effective and non-Toxic spray
Alain de Masson recommends a commercial version of the military grade insect repellent he used in the past, located at bushman-repellent.com
David Solowan from Belize recommends a soap that doesnât have Lye in it called Zote. And then to use âSeason Allâ on meat and salads. No matter what, donât use perfumed soaps.
Joe uses something called a Bug Baffler
Travor Batts wrote in, âRegarding your mosquito challenge, we live in the south also and mosquitos are always a challenge. We have found a few remedies that help, such as dabbing our clothing or skin with peppermint oil. We also have planted several small potted plants from the mint family and lemon grass that help keep a barrier zone around our common public spaces. I know plants on a boat are difficult, but the plants are small and there are a number of creative solutions for keeping plants on boats.’
Paul Terrell wrote, You should try the Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard. It works really well.
Alex Gray sent in this: Regarding mosquitos, get a Mosquito Magnet:Â These devices are very effective, they use propane (one 20 gal tank lasts for 30 days) to create heat and CO2 which emulates animals and very little electricity to run a small fan. The nice thing about them is that after 2 weeks, which is the mosquito life cycle, the female mosquito population is eliminated and no new mosquitos will be around.
Kerrie Penny wrote, âHey Kim, we have and are living in tropics for many years! Indonesia, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, Darwin and now in India! The best I have found to keep the mosquitoes off you is oil. Coconut, baby oil, any oil, as they slide off you! I know it is not ideal on bedsheets but beats the mosquito and also sand flies. Another is eucalyptus oil! They hate it.â
Bruce Handley sent in, âHi, Kim try using a mixture of Detol and Listerine mouthwash mixed together in a spray bottle. Spray on feet etc. it works a treat and isnât harmful to humans. It works a well here in Africa.â
Rob recommends Thermosell Portable Mosquito Repellers (operates with a butane cartridge)
Nathalie Larouche wrote, âAs for the mosquitoes, you might have heard about vitamin B? Here’s a link for more information
Nancy Sharpe sent me another essential oil recipe:
Bug spray recipe….Water, witch hazel, peppermint (essential oil) and arborvertia (essential oil). Equal amounts of water and witch hazel. I would suggest 8 to 16 ounces. Use a glass/metal spray bottle. Add 20-30 drops of arborvertia and 10 drops of peppermint. You spray it on yourself, but I think you can also spray it around you.
David Roberts wrote, âHi Kim, Try taking a 1000mg capsule of Garlic a day, its good for your heart as well.â
Andy wrote, âHaving been in the field and camping in swamps with the military we found something that worked great for keeping mosquitoes off us. That was garlic. We would consume a LARGE amount on garlic and it worked. One of our fellows brought whole cloves soaked in olive oil and handed them out to us. We (about 15 of us in the tent) each ate a raw garlic clove. The mosquitos wanted nothing to do with us for about 3 days. (Neither did anyone else). We went unbothered while everyone else in the camp was eaten alive. Might be worth a try?â
The post 10 Tips for Mosquito Control on a Sailboat appeared first on Sailing Britican.
Buying a sailboat – how do you ensure that you get it right? What priorities do you need to consider when making the final decision? More on this to come, but first, let’s take a step back in time… (Note: the video on buying a sailboat – prioritizing what matters most is at the bottom of this post).
The first home I lived in during my adult life was small. I moved from America to England to marry my British prince.
My prince, unfortunately, wasn’t the kind that had lots of money.
It was an interesting moment when I discovered that one door leading from the living room went into the kitchen no larger than four square tiles. (It was so small you had to shut the door to open the fridge. And it was a miniature fridge with miniature ice cubes in the freezer. How quaint!)
And the other door, much to my dismay, did not lead to a second larger living room, a den or a patio room. The other door led to a closet.
Eventually my husband, Prince Simon, and I made more money and upgraded to a larger house. Unfortunately our new house was located next to railroad tracks. We were told that a service train went through once a day, but otherwise, the track wasn’t used.
What the estate agent didn’t tell us was that the track was a staging area for all the commuter trains going to and from London every day.
Between 4am to 5am every morning we’d hear loud revving engine noises and have our bedroom fill with diesel exhaust fumes.
We’d often say, ‘when we get our next house it will be better because we’ll choose one that is larger, that isn’t next to a train track and, and, and…’
When it came to sailboats we went through a similar process.
We started off renting sailboats for week long vacations. We’d spend a week in Turkey, Greece or the British Virgin Islands getting to grips with sailing, living the sailing life and discovering what we liked and didn’t like about the sailboat we rented.
We’d enjoy our gin and tonics in the cockpit debating whether maple or beech was the best wood interior. Did we like slap reefing or in-mast furling? Would we want to manage without autopilot? The list went on and on.
We then bit the bullet buying our first sailboat, a Moody 35’, named Selene.
Selene was a great boat. We purchased her off of eBay for a very modest price and thought of her as our training boat. The ultimate goal was to eventually upgrade and expand our sails to foreign waters.
But in the mean time, we loved how solid Selene was and enjoyed the safety of a center cockpit. Neither Simon nor I, however, enjoyed the lack of standing room. We both had to tilt our heads in all areas of the boat and getting from the galley to the master cabin required us to crouch down to make the 4’ hallway clearance.
After ten years of chartering over ten different boats and two years of bobbing around the south coast of England on our Moody we had a nice set of likes and dislikes. When the time came to buy a vessel to house our family for an adventure of a lifetime we knew what we wanted.
Across our travels, however, we’ve bumped into several sailboat owners that unfortunately haven’t had too much experience with boats prior to their purchase.
The results of buying a sailboat that isn’t right, however, can be severally annoying on one end and a full blown nightmare on the other.
More often than not we’ve met boat owners that had a dream, purchased the wrong boat and ended with a nightmare. Some couples we’ve met spent ages buying and fixing a boat up only to discover they didn’t actually like to sail.
Other sailboat owners we’ve come across purchased a sailboat that was too difficult to maneuver scaring them off sailing forever. Heck, go to any marina in the world during high season and just sit and watch how many boats actually get taken out of the marina.
What you’ll find is that most boat owners spend years dreaming and some eventually get the boat. Unfortunately, however, that’s were the dream often ends. The boat, for one reason or another, just sits in the marina.
How can you avoid this from happening to you? How can you avoid getting the wrong boat?
Well…aside from testing out as many boats as you can and possibly purchasing smaller boats working your way up (building confidence and getting experience), you can learn from others that have traveled the path you’re following.
Ask as many boat owners as you can about what they like and don’t like about their boat. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll discover. Oftentimes you’ll find a small golden nugget of information that will help you make a better, more informed decision when you buy your boat.
But before you start asking too much about boats, please do one thing. Make sure you go sailing. And I’m not talking about taking a class or going out for one of those Catamaran sunset cruises. I can’t tell you how many people we’ve met that actually don’t like sailing and only found out after they purchased the boat!
Sailing is very slow, very unpredictable and is actually everything that the modern world is not. It’s not fast paced. There’s no instant gratification. You often don’t get to where you want to go…but there lies the beauty.
Sailing is most often peaceful, calming, natural and full of all-encompassing bliss.
But it’s not for everyone.
That aside, Simon and I made the video below where we discuss seven things that were important to us when considering buying a sailboat. There are hundreds of options and different things are important to some and not others. Like anything in life, we all have our own special set of experiences and preferences.
For us, some key considerations included headroom (being able to stand!).
We also wanted a center cockpit as it’s the safest option for children. Our daughter was 18 months when we stared sailing and 3 ½ years old when we left land permanent. Having the enclosed cockpit more central to the mast and away from the water provided a wider barrier between us and the sea.
Simon and I wanted a heavy ocean going boat. We wanted a boat that was solid and would slice through the waves rather than be bounced around like a beach ball. The heavier the boat, the more sturdy and smooth she’ll be. And being prone to seasickness, I wanted the smoothest safest ride possible.
And the amount of bedrooms were a factor. We love having friends and family join us on our adventures, so we wanted at least one extra room for a couple and/or family. Our minimum room requirement was three rooms with perhaps space for others on sofas or the extra bunkbed.
When it came to the question of Monohull versus Catamaran, there was no question.
We have always been monohull people and I suspect we always will be. When planning a trip around the world, we wanted a boat that could weather all situations and for us, a monohull, felt right. There’s no right or wrong in this area – it’s what works best for you, what you feel safest with and essentially, what you want to do with your boat.
When it came to look and feel, both Simon and I have more modern tastes so we wanted the boat to be light and airy rather than dark and stuffy. We knew that boats with deck saloons have big windows allowing light and the lovely breezes in.
And finally, the size of the boat had to be big enough to make a home yet small enough for the two of us to handle with ease.
So…four years into our purchase decision and after living aboard non-stop how do we feel? What do we like and what don’t we like?
To my surprise, there’s very little we’d change. I’m super thankful we didn’t go any larger. I don’t think we’d be able to effectively sail a larger boat not to mention the larger costs involved.
The one thing that I’d do different, however, is I’d find a boat that was less power hungry. We have to run our generator to use our oven, run the watermaker, use air conditioning, wash our clothes and top up our batteries. Over the years I’ve gotten better at timing many things at once and now it’s a routine. I suppose, however, that I’d prefer to be less dependent on a Diesel generator and make more from natural resources like the sun, wind and water. With ongoing advancements I’m sure that it won’t be long before boats are running completely from green energy.
Otherwise, we love Britican. We love what she’s enabled us to do and see. We’re so grateful for the time we’ve had with her and the times yet to come.
Will there be a next boat for us?
Interestingly, for the first time in my life, I’m not thinking about bigger and better. There’s things I’d like to do to help Britican like update her antiquated electronics and find ways of increasing our solar/wind power options but aside from that, Simon and I love our castle (and we don’t have ice cubes at all)!
What other priorities should you consider?
In my guide, ‘Choosing the RIGHT boat – prioritizing what matters most,’ I offer over 40 other items that you might want to consider when it comes to choosing the best boat for you. Best used as a discussion document, this guide will enable the reader to consider options – perhaps some of them hidden.
For example, did you know that in the past 30 years, the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers and similar other sailing networks have determined that the largest reason for sailboat abandonment is rudder failure. Is rudder construction and configuration high on your list of priorities?
What about the galley layout? Did you know that many liveaboard cruisers regret getting a boat with an open planned galley layout (versus a galley that is U-shaped or along a corridor). The reason being that theirs nothing to hold onto or lean against when sailing.
In my guide, you’ll get a four page table listing a variety of options to consider, how they may affect you and a system for you to prioritize what matters most to you/your partner/your family. Always remember, the more you define what it is that you want, the more chance you’ll actually get what you want!
Get the guide now – Click here!. There’s a full money-back guarantee so if you feel the guide doesn’t give you many gold nuggets of valuable information, you have nothing to lose.
Buying A Sailboat – Prioritizing What Matters Most Video
Any questions or comments about buying a sailboat? Please leave them below.
A few days ago I struck up a conversation with lady who has survived cancer twice, recently had major eye surgery, endured teaching children for over 30 years AND got her captains license. Interestingly, she was now ready for living the dream.
Now with her âall clear,â she was deciding whether to get a job as a Captain or just buy her own boat and sail the seas. Money wasnât too much of a necessity â it was more about the adventure and experience. She smiled as she contemplated her options.
I felt positive energy emanate from this lovely 55-year-old woman. It was great to see the smile of a child peak out from a face thatâs not as smooth as it once was. I could also feel this sense of renewed life force. She felt that sheâd been given another chance, being a double cancer survivor, and she was ready to go for it.
And then a dark cloud came overhead.
Within a second, everything was gone. The positive energy, the smile and the renewed life force.
My new temporary friend (letâs call her Jane), turned to me and said, âYeah, my plans are exciting however I have a 93 year old mother that doesnât want me on the water. Sheâll get too scared if I go to sea and I feel like Iâd damage our relationship.â
I then quizzed Jane a bit asking if she had other siblings? And yes, Jane is the middle child between four other brothers; none of which the mother âworriesâ unduly about. I also asked, what would happen if she went without her mothers consent and the answer was, âI donâ know. My mother just isnât a water person. She just doesnât get it,â (Which probably translates into âshe just doesnât get me.â)
Surely a psychologist can analyze this scenario very easily and us non-psychologists can just as well come to our own conclusions.
Mother is an excuse. A crutch.
I donât expect to see Jane living the dreamâ¦and it saddens me to no end.
And Jane isnât the only one that Iâve come across in a similar situation. What makes things more difficult is when elderly parents need care or are going to need help transitioning into care.
What do you do then? Postpone your dream of sailing to stay home and make sure mom/dad are okay? And once that happens, is it then time to postpone the dream due to the new grandchildren? Or perhaps, worse â time to postpone the plans indefinitely due to our own health problems?
The sad thing in all of this is that the person who is held back by an excuse really doesnât see it as an excuse. They truly feel that they just canât do it and matters are out of their hand.
So Iâm writing to you, today, to ask you if by some small chance, youâre possibly using something as an excuse not to live your dream?
A health issue, elderly parents needing assistance, older children that might still need your help, grandchildren on their way, making just a bit more money before itâs okay to live the dream?
To snap myself out of my own excuse-making machine, I often project myself to a 90 year old woman and ask myself, âKim â did you regret not _________-?â If the 90 year old version of me says âyesâ then I feel the fear and do the thing Iâll later regret if I didnât.
We all drive to work, watch TV, eat dinner and repeat. On some occasions something out of the ordinary happens and itâs usually a lasting memory, but unless we feel the fear and do it anyway, life can become too flat. I donât want to make it to 90 and not have much to reflect upon.
Saying that, it doesât come easy for me.
Every time we go out sailing (if itâs been a while), I crap my pants. Iâm shaking with nerves. Every time we enter a marina Iâm scared to death weâll hit something. During night sails I sometimes canât figure out if the tanker is coming towards me or away and I have a panic attack.
When weâre out sailing and on the go I get way more relaxed but I want you to know that I find my lifestyle scary. A lot of times I want to go hide under my covers but Iâve found ways of forcing myself to push forward.
And every single time I do, I feel better for it. No regrets â eh?
As a side note, Iâm not saying that itâs âokayâ to dump your parents on your siblings, tell you children that youâll meet the grandkids after your return from you 10 year around the world trip or quit your job early. What I am saying is that excuses stop us in our tracksâ¦ If you know itâs an excuse perhaps you can then find alternative options.
For example, Simonâs dad was terribly upset when we left the UK. The guilt on Simon and I was, and to some extent, still is, high.
Not only was his only child leaving, but we were taking his only grandchild. Our daughter, Sienna, is the love and light of his life. What we did to find a way forward was to plan visits for Keith to come to the boat (when we werenât sailing too much), and more recently weâve had him visit us for months at a time while in America. Weâll get him a fully furnished apartment for the month. Itâs low cost, Keith feels settled and we enjoy each other making new memories.
We also fly back to the UK periodicallyâ¦
…and during big holidays like Christmas, we make sure weâre always together or that Keith is with family.
Soâ¦any comments, thoughts, words of advice?
If yes, Iâd certainly love to hear them and Iâm sure that others would too. Please leave them in the comments section below. Once you leave a comment it will be sent to me.Â Iâll then have to approve it before it goes live â this is to reduce spam. If an error appears, donât worry â the comments section works âº Thank you in advance.
And if you’re looking for extra inspiration, please purchase my Boat Buying Guide, ‘How to live the dream – A goal setting belief changing guide’
Here’s what Jerry from NC had to say about the guide:
‘I purchased this after having this dream for years, Kim provides a step by step process in how to make your sailing dream come true. Remember a dream will never happen unless you set goals and a goal is nothing but a dream unless you take action. Kim questions / answers section as well as make a movie section helps you visualize where you want to do and helps you take action to make the goals you set become reality GREAT job Kim!’
The objectives of the ‘Living the Dream’ guide are to:
uncover what your limiting beliefs are so youâre conscious they exist
define where you want to go, why you want to go there, with whom and when you want to do it (plus a bit more)
create a visual that encapsulates the dream (donât worry â drawing is not necessary!)
create a belief blueprint, or filmstrip, of where you are now and where you want to be
ultimately increase your chances of living the dream
Get the guide now here: How to Live The Dream. If the guide doesn’t move you closer to living your boat buying dream, I’ll give you a full refund. No questions asked. So come on, let’s get the show on the road!
The post How to end your delay in living the dream appeared first on Sailing Britican.
If you ask ten sailors what the best anchor is, you’ll get ten different answers. Furthermore, what works for one sailboat/one sailor won’t necessarily work for you. A better question to ask regarding the best anchor for your sailboat is this:
My boat is a (type of boat),
it weighs (weight),
has a beam of (width),
I plan on anchoring predominantly in (area – eg. Caribbean, etc.),
where the depths are up to (depth of water at high tide),
and the seabed is predominantly (mud, sand, grass, rocks, etc.),
I plan on being in the area during (season – eg. outside of hurricane/typhoon season),
and would like to carry no more than (chain/rope),
furthermore, I need to pull the anchor up using (my hands, automatic winch, etc.)
Ask that question followed by:
Do you have experiences anchoring within those specifications and can compare and contrast what anchor worked best for you?
Now that’s how you’ll get a more productive answer.
This is Simon happy with his anchor choice…Click the picture to check out Mantus Anchors
And there are two major components to successful anchoring – it’s certainly not all about the anchor. It’s also about the anchoring technique used.
Out of all the things I see that sailors get wrong (inexperienced and experienced), anchoring is top of the list (myself included – how do you think I’ve learned how not to drag?)
A fantastic anchor, perhaps perfect for your boat, won’t do you any good if you don’t properly set the anchor using the correct amount of scope considering the seabed, weather conditions, and so forth.
But lets push anchoring technique aside (but before I do, if you’re not sure about your technique, check out my Anchoring Guide…)
***READER REVIEW*** “This is was the perfect guide for me to read! We’re about to sail around the Mediterranean for the season and I’ve been waking up night after night worrying about anchoring. Your tips on how to anchor are spot on. No one ever explained it so simple, yet concise. And I love the tip about the marriage savers. I’ve order some. Thank you for writing this guide Kim. Like all your guides they’re easy to read but pack a punch.” S. Mann
Let’s focus on the question at hand; what is the best anchor for your sailboat?
A key point is that you must match the strength of your anchoring equipment to your boat and its likely cruising grounds/conditions. In other words, you’ll need to determine what the load, or pressure, on the ground tackle will be in your worst-case scenario. Will you be sailing on a lake experiencing the maximum of 30 knots of wind OR might you get caught in a tropical storm or hurricane?
Once you understand the worst conditions you might get caught anchoring in, you’ll be best apt to decide what anchoring equipment is required to keep your boat from dragging.
Of course, if you’re only sailing in an area that has one kind of sea bottom research the various anchors to determine which one excels in that kind of setting. Better yet, ask locals as to the best anchor for the area.
If, however, you’ll be cruising to various different locations it’s important to get the best all around anchor.
When we started looking for the best anchor for our sailboat, aside from being adequate to handle our load, we looked for the following:
Needs to sets fast
Easy to drop/launch and fits will with the windless
Sets in a variety of different bottoms (predominantly sand and mud)
Is likely to reset itself if it does break loose
Low risk of being fouled by the anchor chain when it swings
Can break down making it easy for stowage
Is light enough to be able to pick up but heavy enough to drop quick and dig in
Will hold strong during storms
We watched several YouTube video reviews, asked what other sailors where buying and read various compare/contrast articles.
With a variety of good options out there, we felt somewhat confused as to the best way forward…
That is, until we acquired a new anchor for our dinghy.
Our grapnel anchor was terrible and we needed something better to hold our dinghy. If you’ve ever been to the Caribbean, there are dinghy docks on most islands. The docks are great but if you fail to use an anchor to keep the dinghy from smashing into the dock with the tide you’ll soon have a popped dinghy. (Yes – learned that by experience too. We popped our old dinghy on a dinghy in Mustique).
Very rarely did we ever anchor our dingy for the sole purpose of anchoring – it was almost always used as a popping prevention tool.
Simon would tie us onto the dinghy dock, throw the anchor over, jump off the boat to push the anchor in (grapnels are terrible for setting themselves)…and then he’d get back in the boat, pull the anchor line tight and off we went.
Hardly an ideal process. And Simon had to walk around wet for a while!
The new dinghy anchor we acquired was a Mantus Dinghy anchor. Upon getting the new anchor, Simon, Sienna and I decided to test its effectiveness against the Bruce (claw) and grapnel. We tested all three anchors in dry sand (to see how they moved), wet sand to see if they set and out in the harbor to put them under an engine load. Watch our Dinghy Anchor Review here.
Hands down the Mantus anchor was the winner.
Simon putting out Mantus together
With such positive results, we decided to get a full sized Mantus Anchor for Britican.
The Mantus ticked all our needs:
It’s one of the fastest setting anchors out there
It’s easy to drop off our bow and fits our anchor plate area
The Mantus sets in sea bottoms that we mostly anchor in – sand and mud
If the Mantus gets turned upside down (something that worried us with our previous anchor) the roll bar enables the anchor to right itself and reset
If we need to store the Mantus anchor, it breaks down and lays flat
I can lift it up. Our previous anchor, the Excel, was impossible for me to lift.
I’ve written this article not necessarily to promote Mantus, but to show you the process in which we came to our conclusion. There are loads of great anchors out there but the key is to find the one that will be best for you.
If you do, however, want a Mantus, we’re a part of their affiliate program. If you click this link and then buy anything on the Mantus website you don’t pay any more yet we get a commission. Using affiliate links helps to pay for articles like these and the 100+ videos that we have on YouTube. Click here to check out Mantus Anchors
If you do, however, get a Mantus Anchor, this is how it comes packaged and how you’ll need to put it together.
Mantus Anchor – How to assemble it
Any comments or questions? Leave them below.
Links to Items mentioned in the video:
Buy the t-shirt Simon is wearing in the video! It displays a Britican exclusive compass design with the quote, ‘Not all those who wander are lost’ by Tolkien Buy now!
Check out an anchor, or other goodies, at Mantus Anchors – clicking on this link will enable us to get a commission from your purchase at no extra cost to you. Affiliate, t-shirt and guide sales are a large portion of the funds that help to pay for hosting, IT support, video equipment, etc. thus providing quality free educational information.
Grab a copy of our ‘How to Anchor – A checklist to prevent dragging‘ guide. The guide comes with 16 steps to properly set the anchor, 20 tips to help a novice go from beginner to expert fast and how to choose the right equipment for you and your boat.
And if you want more information on anchoring, check out the following:
We’re happy to announce that Britican survived Hurricane Irma. Irma was a tropical storm by the time it hit Charleston so we got lucky. Very lucky. So, this hurricane Irma update is a positive one. (Note that there is a video update at the bottom of this post).
Unfortunately, so many other boaters, boats and people did not have such a positive outcome. Simon, Sienna and I are still working on how we can best help those in need, aside from giving money to various charities… We’ll soon be sailing to the Caribbean and I wonder if there will be some volunteer opportunities for us to get involved in?
It’s difficult to worry about your own situation and then see other people’s situations go from bad to worse. And all the while being confined to a house waiting and watching news updates. My father and step-mother were stuck in area where the eye went right over the top of them. It was so painful to hear their fear and not be able to do anything to help them. I’m happy to report that they’re both okay and their home suffered minimal damage.
Hopeless and helpless is how we felt.
Let me get on with my update…In the past 24 hours we’ve had hundreds of emails, FB and YouTube comments asking how Britican got on. To our horror, we learned that she dragged about 150 yards from the middle of the river to the edge of the reeds. We believe that the keel may have been stuck and Britican was leaning into the river bank.
Our information came via our friends, Ron and Mercedes, on sailing vessel Samana. Ron and Mercedes anchored next to us. After the storm passed the couple arrived at the anchoring site hours before us. When Ron called, he said something to the effect of, ‘Things are looking good. Your boat is floating but…’
I hung on tender hooks wondering what was coming next. Ron is one of the calmest guys I know. He could get blown over and he’d just stand back up, dust himself off and say quietly, ‘wow – it’s breezy out.’ Last year during Hurricane Matthew, Ron kept so calm and so peaceful… This year was the same. The guy is my peace guru.
Anyway, Ron went on to explain that Britican dragged anchor, she was against the reeds along the side of the Cooper River and looked like she was staying put. We were still at least four hours away by car. Can you imagine knowing that your boat has dragged, the tide is rising and you don’t know if the anchor has reset or not?!
Simon and I felt ill beyond belief. Ron said he’d check things out and get back to us.
Ron had to use a canoe to get to his boat to be able to collect his dinghy. It wasn’t a quick and easy trip as he had to work against the tide and the boats were quite a way out!
We patiently navigated the insane I95, the main road that connects the east coast going north and south. At one point we had a few lunatic drivers near us – all tailgating going 80 miles per hour. The traffic was start – stop…and when the flow started going fast, people went full out.
Simon got out of the way of the crazy drivers and can you believe the four main drivers that were tailgating all crashed right next to us! One of the cars seemed to blow out sideways as it was crushed from the front and back with a part of the wing mirror hitting us. No one was hurt – it was simply a fender bender that happened due to lack of space between cars. Simon and I counted our blessings because we could have so easily been caught in the crash.
After the accident we tried to find alternative routes.
Our friend, Becky, who was with us on our Sailing to Bermuda voyage called up with a variety of alternative routes to take. By the time we got into South Carolina we quickly got off the I95 and enjoyed the backroads of the Lowcountry.
Another call from Ron came through. He said, ‘I’m on the boat…I think we can get her out of the mud/reeds. Walk me through turning the engine and windless on.’ (A windless is the device that pulls up the anchor – it’s a winch).
Simon and I then had to give very precise instructions on how to prepare the boat to run. During our Hurricane Irma boat preparations we sealed off the engine exhaust, closed stopcocks, turned off batteries, taped down instruments, etc.
One thing led to another and Ron, Mercedes and a guy named Mike from a Catamaran anchored nearby, got Britican out of the mud and anchored back in the river.
And then…Mercedes bailed out our dinghy
Then the lovely couple took it to land so we’d have a way to get to our boat.
If there’s some sort of award for best sailing community members they need to win the award. And their help didn’t stop there either. They kept in touch with us as we motored down the Cooper River. Ron and Mercedes rode the high tide down the river an hour earlier than us.
When we arrived at the marina, they helped take our lines and ensure we got in safe and sound.
Mercedes & Ron – We thank you with all our hearts!
I also want to say thank you to my brother and sister-in-law for putting us up for a week, my mom and step-dad for being there for support…AND Tim Ishii & Mrs Clark for helping to find a place for us to stay (if needed). Also, thank you to Becky for offering to take Sienna and provide driving instructions. Captain Matt for offering to bring up a trawler to get us unstuck and the 100’s of emails, facebook, YouTube and twitter comments, offers for help, prayers and well wishes. Thank you!
Hurricane Irma Update #2 Video
We’ll create a proper video update for next week. We just wanted to make sure that everyone following our story knew the outcome. If you have any questions that you’d like us to address, please leave them in the comments section below.
Here’s a quick five-minute update on the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. We are all fine but we’re still uncertain as to how Britican is. We’re driving back to Charleston, South Carolina today and hope we find her in the same state we left her (and in the same place)!
Hurricane Irma Update Video
To watch how we prepared the boat for the hurricane, please visit: Hurricane Irma
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.
We also have other articles/videos from previous years hurricanes and tropical storms. Check those out here:
READER REVIEW “You can spend hours reading through various blogs, groups, posts or you can get this guide/checklist that provides everything you need to know instantly. Kim – you’ve done it again. You’ve taken something that’s an unknown for me and made it easy to quickly get up to speed. Whatever guide you write, I will buy. You are amazing. Thank you. You do a huge service to all of us that need that extra help.” S. F. Jackson
French onion soup is comforting and gratifying. The flavors of caramelized onions are deep, the soup soaked bread with melted stringy cheese is hearty and the combination of all flavors and textures makes a filling meal.
Furthermore, French onion soup is a good clear-your-plumbing remedy if you’re feeling a little backed up ?
When I was a younger, my mom and dad would take us to a restaurant called Sunny Banks up along the St Lawrence River outside of Cape Vincent, New York. My mom would often get the French Onion soup and so would I! It was such a treat.
As I grew up I’d order the soup from time to time at other restaurants. For some reason I have meals I cook at home and meals I order out. For example, I never cook fish unless it’s out on the grill – it stinks up the boat. And I rarely make Eggplant Parmesan because it takes ½ day to make!
French onion soup was always an order-out option.
Looking back, I made an incorrect assumption. I presumed that making the soup was difficult. My mom is an amazing cook but she never made it at home so I just followed suit!
To my delight, however, I made the soup in my solar cooker (read the 10 Benefits to of Solar Cooking here) and discovered that its probably one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever made.
If you haven’t yet purchased or made a solar cooker yet, I highly recommend the Solavore Sport Solar Cooker – it’s the one that we use on Britican.
Solar Cooking Recipe – French Onion Soup
6 – 8 onions (I’ve used all sorts – in the video they were white onions)
Beef broth (carton or use cubes to make around three cups)
Sherry to taste
Salt & pepper to taste
Toasted bread – French baguette works well
Sliced provolone, gruyere or even cheddar cheese
Roasted garlic (optional)
Slice the onions and add them to the pot. Add a tablespoon or so of butter and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Put the lid on and place in the slow cooker. Leave for at least three hours but it’s fine to leave them cooking all day.
Once you’re getting ready to eat, remove the pot and add the beef broth and sherry. Give it a good stir. Put the pot back in the solar cooker. While it’s warming up again, toast some baguette slices with sliced cheese over the top.
When you’re ready to put everything together, put a cheese covered slice of bread in a bowl and then cover it with the French onion soup.
Alternative uses for the caramelized onions
Use them as a base for a curry – caramelized onions are perfect!
Put them on top of burgers, sandwiches
If you have any suggestions, add them to the comments below…
Solar Cooked Roasted Garlic (optional)
Take a whole garlic bulb, and cut the narrow ended top off exposing the garlic cloves. Put in the solar cooker pot, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and cook for a couple hours.
Solar Cooking Recipe – French Onion Soup Video
Some books on Amazon about Solar Cooking
The first book listed below is the one I purchased before buying a solar cooker. It’s full of great information about how solar cooking works, how to build your own solar cooker, frequently asked questions and over 100 recipes.