We are always looking for ways to improve life on the boat or make it a little bit more convenient. The items below are things that we’ve found that have been useful for us – and they cover a broad spectrum of areas from the galley to safety and then some! The majority are on Amazon and links are included within the descriptions. If you click-through and order one of these products, we’ll get a tiny little credit – thank you, our sailing kitty purrs with appreciation at any support it can get!
For each item not available on Amazon, we will reference where we found the item.
Safety and Tools
We’ve been looking at headlamps for several years – just haven’t found one that met all our requirements. Until we took a closer look at the Mantus headlamp. This lamp comes on with a red light first so it doesn’t immediately screw up your night vision, the next click turns on a white light followed by a brighter white light. The fourth click turns into a flashing emergency light. Even better it’s waterproof down to 10 meters so if you need to check your keel or anchor, now you’ve got a light to do it. Oh – it also has a rechargeble battery and a wrist strap if don’t want to wear it on your head. Click here for the Mantus Headlamp.
After our CQR anchor would not set in a couple of grassy bottoms, we decided to replace it with a Mantus Anchor. We waffled as to whether we should get the 45lb (classified as a working anchor for our size of boat) or the 55lb “storm” anchor. We figured bigger was better. And how has it worked? Even better than expected – it has held firm when other boats have gone drifting by and stayed hooked when the wind direction changed multiple times over the course of several days in one anchorage. Love it! Click here if you are interested in learning more about Mantus Anchors.
There is much debate as to whether headsets are needed or worth the money when hand signals should be adequate. After we put Gaviidae on the rocks at Old Dave’s Harbour last year, we were firmly convinced that hand signals don’t work when you have to change course frequently and you are in uncharted waters. Now we arrive in an anchorage very quietly and are quite amused when we hear yelling back and forth when other boats arrive. If you want more information, see Cruising Solutions.
A couple of years ago I purchased a Boye Rigging Knife as a present for Dan. I kind of thought maybe he’d occasionally let me use it – Wrong! He carries it in his pocket every day and uses it all the time. I ordered this through Charlie’s Charts which is owned by fellow Women Who Sail members Holly Scott and Jo Russell. Note: this is not a cheap item but as long as you don’t drop it overboard, it’s worth every penny.
We purchased our DeLorme InReach Explorer 2-way satellite communicator at REI but they are available at many locations including Amazon. It pays to shop for the best price or promotion if you decide to get one. Initially we thought we’d use this so family and friends would know where we are at any given moment. We also linked the device to our website Where Are We Now? page and found that some of our friends were able to send us messages through this page. While that’s all fun, the Explorer’s real purpose was as an emergency locator (which we did not have to use!) and to receive weather updates in locations too remote to get weather via VHF. We set it up to receive text-message weather updates at no cost by using one of the three pre-set messages (which can be edited).
We had difficulty finding yellow jerry cans (of any size) for carrying extra diesel. While most people seem to get the taller cans, we opted for a squattier, less tippable style–important on rolling decks! Plus these fit in our anchor locker next to the propane locker.
These super siphons work fabulously. We purchased a set of two and use one exclusively for diesel and the other for water. We store them in clearly marked ziploc bags to make sure we don’t mix them up. It’s amazing how fast they can empty a jerry can without making a mess! Be sure you get the siphons with GLASS balls in the working end.
Yes, we know that you can pull an impeller with pliers. But after watching a pro wrestle with ours (we were getting a lesson) using pliers and then switching to an impeller puller when the pliers didn’t work we decided that this was a tool we wanted onboard. Plus it reduces the chance of tearing the impeller blades and losing bits into the cooling system. While we only use this device once a year, our fellow sailors have appreciated that we have one to loan when they encounter sticky or even deteriorating impellers. Note: there are different sizes – make sure you get one that fits your boat.
Sometimes you come across something that is so simple in design but amazingly functional that you wonder why everyone doesn’t have one. We came across these amazingly powerful little flashlights at the Duluth Pack Store. We bought one, then another, and another. They’re perfect for putting in your pocket, your car, bag, etc. I’ve since found them on Amazon – Blocklite LED Mini Flashlight.
In preparing Gaviidae for sale, Mike Gozzard recommended a 3M cleaner/wax for the deck. The before/after was amazing with the deck actually looking white rather than a hazy, yellow. Since you can’t use a polisher on the non-skid surfaces, it is an arm workout. On the flat areas, I actually did the final polishing with my feet doing a mean twist! You can find this on Amazon – 3M Marine Restorer and Wax.