What Went Right

Sails – Hydranet rocks. My Main and jib still have mostly good shape after an abusive 15,000 miles. You can stitch it when you need to. Doesn’t delaminate. Recommended for any offshore boat.

Mast, Boom, Rigging – Only failure was my own doing, leaving the jib halyard on the clutch. No significant chafe. Loving the blocks I soft-shackled onto the outer main reef points.

Deck gear – Anderson 5200’s are great. Harken black magic blocks amazing, even old ones.

Water ballast system – All pumps, tanks, plumbing, valves all good, great to have to keep the boat on her feet and stay comfortable.

Engine & alternators – All good, no problems.

“Home Brew” 400 AH 12v LiFePO4 Battery & pseudo BMS – flawless performance. Amazing power at hand, 200 amps in no problem. My homebrew BMS even worked as a backup battery monitor when seawater ate the Victron.
Electrical wiring – No failed connections. Not one. Design worked as intended. Since I designed and installed the wiring I’m going to take a victory lap on this one. Masthead, deck, steaming, running, and interior lights all still work. Not one failure except the reverse polarity switch for the tricolor/anchor light that got hit with seawater.

Watt & Sea Hydrogenerator – once I learned how it talked to me, all good worked well.

Zamp Solar panels – yup, all good

Repair Stuff
Tools – I took almost every tool I needed, the exception being files to file down mainsail track car guides in Puerto Williams. This was needed as Sparrow apparently has a custom track. For power tools I took a drill and grinder with an inverter to charge the batteries. I might add a small reciprocating saw (I took a hand saw) and sander if I were to head offshore again. A wood chisel oddly ended up being a very useful tool.

Leak repairs – Supplies carried included amalgamating tape, plumber’s putty, epoxy putty, LifeSeal, Splashzone, EternaBond Tape. All was used to varying degrees to stop leaks.

NKE Instruments & Autopilot – I’m impressed with this system. Autopilot with L&S hydraulic drive has had no issues. Not one after 15,000 miles and it drives non-stop. The wind, heading, boat speed information is well damped out of the box. Displays fully
configurable. Almost never an issue. Truly impressive. Then again, I did the install. Oh, yeah – high fives all around!

I did have problems with two pieces of the system. The ultrasonic speed would drop to zero in light conditions (boat moving say, 4 knots or less), then come back after 20 seconds or so. Autopilot doesn’t like this, but luckily it only happens in light air. The other problem I have is with the WiFi box. I had a lot of trouble getting my computer to stay connected and eventually gave up. I’ve been using a handheld VHF for GPS data to support navigation and routing. I understand NKE has an updated WiFi Box now. Even with these issues, I can heartily endorse NKE.

Vesper Watchmate 850 – Been on the market for years but it’s a great low power unit for offshore sailboats. The more I use it, the more I like it.

Furuno Radar – Solid as expected from Furuno.

Echomax XS Radar Reflector – great to get respect from ships, and alarms trigger sooner than AIS gets picked up. Not a big deal – 60 miles instead of 50, but still, good to know something is in the vicinity.

Dell Extreme Laptop 7424, and windows Tablet 7212 – Both still work great after 3 months in a crappy environment. Of note, I did have problems with the chargers though both for the computers and phones. Since all my hard wired gear had no problems, next time I would hard wire a computer and backup.

Expedition – The routing flexibility is impressive. I do lots of different routes for passage planning. Great software. Used Squid for European model weather, no issues there either other than forecast accuracy in certain areas.

Garmin Inreach – No problems. Tracking stayed on all the time.

Iridium Certus – I am putting this on the what went right list, but I have mixed feelings about this system. First, it worked as intended. Connections were always solid and fast. The downside is there is no controlling what your computer – or god forbid phone – does once it connects. It’s basically an open connection to the internet. Windows and other programs will want to start downloading updates and who knows what else. There are firewall settings and 3rd party software to try to control this, but you have to be thinking about it all the time. The firewall settings are not for the faint of heart. It’s not a simple system setup. The result is you will pay dearly for all the data that gets sent back and forth that you couldn’t care less about. It’s on the list as it worked as intended, but it was a poor user experience. The reseller I went through could have done a much better job with going through how my system was setup.

Mintaka Duo Barometer – No problems, calibrated with LAX before departure and appeared dead on with forecasted GRIB pressures in Southern Ocean. Wish I had mounted it in a more visible location.

Patagonia Capilene is still the standard
Old Musto HPX pants from 2012 still going strong. Amazing. Gill OS1 jacket solid.
Muck boots perfect.
Helly Hansen Skagen decks shoes great. Yes they stink like every other pair on the planet, but they stick to the deck and stand up to my abuse.
Heavy weight Fleece pants (hard to find)
Darn Tough wool socks
Seal Skin socks for low pressure systems
Wool hats a must at high latitudes, and wear in the bunk.
Wichard jacklines and tether – I like that they are rugged and purposeful Spinlock Deckvest – Comfortable, and luckily I didn’t have to test it.

Klymit inflatable pillow – who cares if it gets wet?
Klymit air mattress, the bigger one
0 degree tall Coleman sleeping bag with Goretex sleeping bag shell – very good in Southern Ocean
Jetboil & welder’s sparker – totally reliable
Peak Refuel dehydrated food – Better than Mountain House
Hand Coffee grinder – fresh ground coffee makes a difference! Basic wool blankets to hide under when you have no heat at 55°S. Bose SoundLink Revolve + – Sounds great and holy crap it still works!!!

Other Gear
Headlamp – Fenix HL50R – pretty much the last word in headlamps at sea. Always worked, never a fuss, battery lasts a long time. Downside: heavy.
Binoculars – Fujinon FMTRC-SX, the last pair of binoculars you will ever buy. Delightful optics. Heavy but weight doesn’t bother me. Gill Deck Bags, 60L – Rugged and everything stayed dry inside. Used to store supplies, parts, tools, food,…

Funny, looking at this list, what was left to go wrong? Well, boats are complicated…

3 thoughts on “What Went Right

  1. Hi Whitall,

    Glad to hear that the Certus service is working in general. I understand the frustration of uncontrolled data usage. I did send out some tips and ideas earlier via email on how to address it but I haven’t heard back on whether you had a chance to try those and if they have worked. I was hoping you’d have a chance to add a couple software pieces to your laptop before leaving your last port. If you want me to further restrict what data is flowing over the link, just let me know what you need to work and I will restrict as much other stuff as I can.

    Fair Winds!!!

    Richard Anderson, Sea-Tech Systems


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s