I never dreamed GPS navigation would be so easy from my days of plastic sextant, Zenith TransOceanic radio and a Timex watch. Gone are the frustrating days of waiting hours for a break in overcast skies to take a sextant shot. While on ocean passages we continually run a small Garmin fixed-mount GPS under the hard dodger, carry paper charts for everywhere we sail, and plot our position every three to six hours on a small-scale paper chart.
The Bahamas are often viewed as the Holy Grail of East Coast cruising due to their beauty and proximity to the Florida coast. Although they appear tantalizingly close (particularly when viewed on those nautical chart-themed placemats down at the Oyster Shack), make no mistake about it: A cruise to the Bahamas is an open-water passage that demands both attention to detail and proper safety precautions. Planning and executing a successful cruise to the Bahamas can be an extremely rewarding experience, one that provides ample opportunity to test preparedness of both boat and crew, while offering a reasonably do-able taste of bluewater cruising.
Storage is a challenge on small boats, and my new-to-me Corsair Marine F-24 trimaran was particularly Spartan this regard. The skinny hulls provided minimum volume and the race-focused designer intentionally omitted proper lockers. A performance-oriented boat such as this must be kept light if she is to sail to her potential. But even day sailers and racers attract a certain amount of necessary clutter, sure as honey attracts flies. Something had to be done, and yet, as a new owner its tough to know what will best suit your needs and what the boat needs. Its even harder to cut the first hole. This project was 100 percent non-invasive.
Shortly before this issue went to print, Practical Sailor learned that Irgarol, a pesticide commonly used as a boosting agent in antifouling paints, is in short supply in the United States. Although we have not fully investigated the ramifications of this news for boat owners, it seems likely that the supply of paints containing this pesticide will be exhausted sometime this year.
Among mushroom-types, the Nicro PowerVent with interchangeable fans for intake and exhaust gives 24-hour operation.
Even the best laid-out boat interior has areas of wasted space begging to be utilized. Right Track Designs storage system puts that dead space to use. Right Tracks system, distributed by Sailing Angles Inc., comprises removable storage bags and tracks to hang them on. The zippered bags come in standard and custom styles and fabrics, ranging from laminated sail cloth or clear PVC plastic (so you can see the bags contents) to mesh fabrics for wet gear.
If you're going to sail you'll be doing some stitching-no two ways about it. That doesn't mean you have to go overboard with sail repair tools. Don't jump into the $100 do-everything kit. Start with a modest kit, adding tools and materials only as your skills grow and projects require them. Chances are, you already have most of what you need in your other supply lockers or tool boxes.