In this month’s blog, I’d like to share some of the most important equipment onboard Jibsea that we find most useful while living and cruising full time on our monohull sailboat.
We’re not going to talk about equipment such instruments that read wind, depth or speed etc., nor the usual household items on a sailboat like a fridge or freezer. I’ll be sharing the components that we personally feel are the most valuable while being constantly on the move and living off the grid.
Ours is from Seawater Pro. Without being able to turn salt water into drinkable fresh water, we’d be hunting down where to fill our water tank every 4-9 days which would make some of our destinations impossible to reach. We’d literally be cruising based on routing where we can next refill our water tank, which isn’t the way we prefer to explore! There are many cruisers out there that don’t have a watermaker and can make their water supply last as long as long as needed, but here on Jibsea we have a small tank. We also choose to live life on anchor 99% of the time, so we very rarely enter marinas where one could fill up on water. Rinsing the boat down after a salty sail, rinsing our bodies off after dive off the transom, doing laundry, dishes and take nightly showers are all day to day tasks that eat up quite a bit of water and very quickly. Our Seawater Pro Watermaker is invaluable.
Our next essential item. You can never have too much, however it is important to ensure that the house battery bank is also large enough for the energy one intends on using, so they do go hand in hand. Solar is the absolute best way to keep our batteries topped up and keep us out there in remote locations for longer. Once the system installation is complete, the power is free! It keeps us from wasting excess money on fossil fuels running a generator or the motor. The trick is to create a system the best suites your needs. For example our 640 watt system works great for us in the sunny Caribbean but once we crossed the Atlantic and headed north, our set up was no longer ideal with the lack of sunshine throughout the day. We knew that being in this climate was only temporary and we’d be heading to sunnier destinations soon enough.
Something that I couldn’t imagine sailing long distances without it. Since it’s only Steph and I, our autopilot is truly like an additional crew member that doesn’t require a break nor to be fed…other than electricity that is. From what I can recall, I have only had hand steer for about five hours while crossing the entire North Atlantic. If you don’t have an autopilot onboard, you’re really a champion!
I thought when we first had our full enclosure installed, that I’d be taking it down to enjoy the sunshine at every opportunity. However, it’s been the complete opposite. Sitting in the cockpit for at times the entire day, we definitely prefer to be as protected as possible. On a smoking hot day, shade is our best friend. In miserable weather and sailing conditions, it allows us to remain dry and comfortable on our voyage, which keeps the morale up in more challenging times.
This should seem like an obvious one but I mean, a good one, even oversized if possible. When our lives literally hang on by a couple links and a hunk of metal laying on the sea floor day in and day out, we want some peace of mind that we can sleep throughout the night in all conditions. We’ve been in perfectly calm anchorages with no bad weather in sight, when suddenly are awoken by in excess of 50 knot winds and massive seas funnelling into the bay, turning us onto a lee shore. Having trust in our anchor is peace of mind.
DINGHY & MOTOR:
The is our main means of transportation when hopping off Jibsea and it is essentially ‘the car’. Its main purpose is to get us from Jibsea to shore safely. We also use our dinghy and outboard motor while when we go on long distance excursions on the water and it has even served as an auxiliary motor to the mothership when needed! (See episode Number 81 on our YouTube channel to see exactly what we mean)
This makes our list because as full time cruisers, our home and many belongings travel with us, It’s nice to heel less and sail more efficiently when the wind pipes up and with where we’ve been sailing, it does quite a bit!
This just makes the cut as I find it to be more annoying than it’s worth while at anchor. It really came into its own for our Atlantic crossing and I couldn’t imagine not having it. It always points into the wind when sailing (meaning it doesn’t spin out like it does while we are at anchor) yielding consistent generation of power. On average, the power the wind generated enough power to offset the power consumption of our electronics that were in use 24/7. This helped immensely while sailing from west to east especially, as our sails would shade the sun from receiving solar energy for half of each day.
AIS, Automatic Identification System.
Not a must if sailing the east coast of the USA or the Caribbean in my opinion, since t is possible to sail for shorter periods of time and make smaller hops on most occasions. However, it makes the list when crossing an Ocean. It acts like another set of eyes in the blue oblivion or the darkest of nights ensuring that we are visible to large commercial ships and other vessels in the vicinity.
There are endless cool gadgets and equipment that one can purchase for a yacht but these are our basic must haves for full time cruising. I’m sure the longer we are out here, the longer this list will grow, but for now, we’re quite happy with what we have for off grid living and sustaining ourselves out here on the big blue!
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