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We've changed the basic systems that Felicity came with significantly and added several pieces of cruising equipment. This page provides information on how she is currently configured and provides a 10,000-mile report card on the following topics:

Anchoring | BBQ | Canvas | Cockpit shower | Cushions | Dinghy | Electrical | Electronics
Engine | Fans | Galley | Hatches | Head | Heater | Lights | Propeller | Refrigeration | Rigging
Safety | Sails | Self-steering | Steering | Storage | Tanks | Washdown pump | Water system | Watermaker

anchoring

The boat came with a 35 lb CQR anchor with 250' of 5/16" ACCO high-test all-chain rode controlled by a Lofrans 1000-watt Cayman 88 electric windlass. A 220' length of 1/2" 3-strand secondary anchor rode was also on board. We replaced the 5/16" chain as the existing chain had a few rusty links. We built a chain snubber with two lengths of 1/2" 3-strand nylon, an ABI chain grabber (part #1044SS) and 1/2" bow eyes. We added 50' of 5/16" high-test chain plus 350' of 5/16" New England Megabraid as our secondary anchor rode and use the previous secondary rode for our stern anchor. We upsized our primary anchor to a 45 lb CQR and still carry the 35 lb CQR as our secondary anchor. We added a 22 lb high-strength Danforth on rail mounts for our stern anchor and also carry a Fortress FX-16 collapsible anchor as a spare.

Report Card:
12/01:
The Lofrans is worth it's weight in gold. It hasn't needed anything and works as designed. Our old 35 lb CQR would have been adequate but the extra weight of the 45 lb anchor helps our peace-of-mind in marginal anchoring conditions. We changed our primary snubber from a single line and chain hook to the two-line system almost immediately as our boat sailed around too much on the single line. The double line does rub on the brightwork and we'll be adding stainless or bronze protection in New Zealand. We'll also be adding stainless plates where the rode touches the brightwork on the bowsprit. Practical Sailor says the Spade anchor is great and friends on another boat who used it agree - next time we'd likely choose that anchor and carry a CQR as a spare. The Bruce also has a good reputation but doesn't fit well on our bowsprit.

10/03: We added stainless rub strakes to the bow to protect the varnish from the snubber. However, we found that when we switched to ablative bottom paint this year, the snubber promptly removed the paint from the bow. We switched back to a single line snubber this year and other than a bad lead that we need to provide chafe protection from, we've been happy with this setup. When we switch back to hard bottom paint, we'll switch back to the two line snubber.

07/07: With half of our anchor chain rather rusty, we treated Felicity to a new arsenal of 5/16" high-test chain.
 

barbeque grill

The boat came with a Magma barbeque grill attached to the stern rail with a regulator for portable propane bottles. It also came with a hose to lead directly from our large propane bottles to the grill.

Report Card:
12/01:
We used the grill occasionally and found it useful for cooking and not getting the galley hot. We left Mexico with six portable bottles and arrived in New Zealand with one remaining. The regulator is aluminum and corroded inside the stainless sleeve, thus requiring replacement (thanks Drew!). We didn't use the propane bottle hose as the o-ring had deteriorated. We've since learned that this is also quite dangerous to have a high-pressure hose leading to the grill.

4/02: Added a tee after our solenoid and attached a shut-off valve, 10' of propane hose and a low-pressure regulator. This allows us to use our primary propane bottles safely.
 

canvas

We replaced the mainsail cover and added staysail and trysail storage bags. We had a cockpit awning and boat awning made in Seattle as well as port covers and lee cloths for the main salon. The dodger was only a four years old and in good condition.

Report Card:
12/01:
It was smart to have the mainsail cover made after the new mainsail was done. Our cockpit awning is average and the boat awning is poor. We should have had these items made in Mexico where they know about the sun and have seen and made many variations instead of in Seattle where these items are never needed. The lee cloths work well but should have been sized to allow us to crawl out from the end of the settee. We rarely use the port light covers but will now that we're in a live-aboard marina. The dodger has gotten quite a bit of wear and the seams are starting to go. We'll look to replace the dodger and redesign our cockpit and boat awnings in New Zealand.

12/02: We replaced the dodger and boat awning and added a semi-permanent bimini and foredeck awning. The work was all done by the Boat Cover Company in Auckland. Our new dodger/bimini is a virtual copy of the Trish Schattauer design on Layla. The awnings were designed by the vendor as we had seen their work on larger boats and were quite impressed. All of the work is of quite good quality though it has taken more than nine months to complete in between all their mega yacht work (due to the America's Cup). 
 

cockpit shower

We added a Scandvik hot/cold pressure water control and retractable shower head in the cockpit before leaving San Diego.

Report Card:
12/01:
Once we reached Cabo we didn't use the interior shower again until Opua, New Zealand. On our small boat without a separate shower stall, we found that it was too hot below to shower and then wipe down the head. The exterior shower worked very well and was additionally useful for washing off dive/snorkel gear and doing laundry.
 

cushions

We replaced the v-berth cushion with a custom Handcraft Mattress foam mattress and custom-fitted sheets. The quarter berth cushion was replaced with a short nav seat cushion to increase storage. The rest of the cushions are original.

Report Card:
12/01:
We're glad we replaced the v-berth mattress as sleeping on a standard foam mattress would be difficult when doing it day after day. But we'd spend more time researching options next time and possibly opt for a stiffer mattress. The cushions in the main salon are now showing their age - they look fine but the foam is wearing out, especially on the port side where we sleep when underway. We plan to replace these in New Zealand.

12/02: Yeah! We have new cushions in the main salon. The Boat Cover Company in Auckland made them for us using a beige ultrasuede with high-quality Elephant foam that should last us a good while. We're not sure we did the right thing getting a light color for our cushions, but the ultrasuede should at least clean well.
 

dinghy

We didn't put much thought into what dinghy or engine to carry with us. We knew we wanted a Hypalon dinghy that could store small and Yamaha outboards seemed to have a good reputation among cruisers. With that knowledge in hand we descended on a boat show and came away with a 9' 6" Achilles with an inflatable floor, a Yamaha 5hp 2-stroke outboard and a Nova Lift I outboard motor lift.

Report Card:
12/01:
Our choices were ok but we've learned a lot. We'd choose the Achilles LSI-96 again but would like for it to have bigger tubes and non-degrading tow rings and oar locks (the rubber breaks down in the sun). The inflatable floor had a factory defect and they replaced it for us in San Francisco and we've been happy with it since. However, there is no service for Achilles in New Zealand so we'll be repairing the tow rings and oar locks ourselves. The Yamaha 5 has worked ok but needs a tune-up after 18 months of service. However, it is underpowered and we'll be looking to upgrade to a Yamaha 8hp 2-stroke before leaving again.

The advice we'd give to future cruisers is to buy the biggest and fastest dinghy you can afford and also be able to store on board. Bigger tube size keeps you drier. A RIB is preferable for many reasons if you have room to store it. 2-stroke engines are much easier to find parts for and service than 4-strokes. Hypalon lasts the longest in the sun but covers can be made from Sunbrella to protect any dinghy. Yamahas seem to be the most popular among locals but you see all the popular brands out here. Buy the biggest engine that the dinghy you choose supports and carry spare parts including a prop, impeller, spark plugs, fuel filters and lower unit oil.

3/03: We purchased an 8hp Yamaha 2-stroke short-shaft outboard after servicing our 5hp. The 8hp is a two cylinder and is smoother running - it should also give us the power we need to plane. The dinghy is in for repair right now - in addition to the two rings and oar locks, the floor is getting some glue to hold the piece of hypalon on that surrounds the keel valve.

5/03: Discovered that the Achilles pressure gauge had corroded from the inside out. Upon removing the gauge, the plastic disintegrated as well. We'll pay more attention to keep it out of the UV and to rinse thoroughly with fresh water if it gets salt water on it.

8/03: The inflatable floor developed two leaks. One on the bottom where a nail from the dock found its way on board and the other around the fuel tank tie-down. We ran out of glue for Hypalon and have followed the advise of others and used super glue. Hopefully that will hold until Australia!

10/03: The super glue worked almost too well but unfortunately, I did the patch wrong. After expending many calories pulling off the original tie-down and my super-glued patch, I replaced the whole thing with a single large patch using PVC glue we found in Port Vila. This has held for the rest of the season, though with a couple of other very small leaks only at the highest pressure, I think we will replace the floor.
 

electrical

We carry six 6-volt Trojan J250 lead-acid batteries wired in parallel and series to achieve a single 750-amp 12-volt house bank. Three of the batteries are stored under the quarter-berth and three are stored on a custom shelf behind the engine and under the steering pedestal. One 12-volt 100-amp lead-acid engine starting battery is stored in the port-side lazarette and is connected to our battery switch as bank #2.

Our primary charging system when cruising is a Balmar 100-amp alternator and is supplemented by two 55-watt Siemens solar panels on sunny days and an Aquair 100 towing generator on passages (convertible to wind generator at anchor).

For AC power and dockside charging we use a Heart Interface 1000-watt inverter. The entire system is managed by a Heart Interface Link 2000-R battery monitor which controls the inverter, battery charger and Heart alternator regulator.

In New Zealand, we added a portable transformer from TSL to convert dockside power to 110v. This transformer can be used throughout the rest of the world by changing the input plug.

Report Card:
12/01:
We're happy with our electrical system. The Heart inverter and Link-2000R monitoring system have worked without problems and battery monitoring is simple and accurate. We're glad we have a large capacity of power and would recommend at least 600 amps for any cruising boat that uses refrigeration. Our two maintenance items include topping up the water in the batteries regularly and rebuilding the Balmar alternator. In fact, the Balmar alternator is the only item we're not completely happy with. The diodes were burned out when we bought the boat and we had it rebuilt by Balmar. The diodes burned out again in Mexico and we rebuilt it ourselves. They burned out again in Papeete (possibly due to not pressing the diodes in fully) and we replaced it with our new spare. The new spare is has been working without issue. We'll have the alternator rebuilt in NZ.

We should have thought ahead and wired in support for 220-240v power during the refit. Doing it now seems overwhelming as we'd have to offload a lot of gear to gain access to the places we'd install wiring, switches and the transformer. We'll consider doing this if we offload the boat someday for other reasons.

8/03: The batteries and/or the battery monitoring system is showing its age as the amp hours consumed does not appear to be tracking correctly any more. We are planning on replacing the batteries in Australia and will look to install an identical set as we've been happy with their performance to date.

10/03: For some reason, the batteries are now performing as they used to. They only started acting weird after we did a 2.5 hour equalization in Auckland (our first since leaving Seattle). When we're reconnected to shore power, we'll run a load test to determine current capacity. Also, to update the note above, we're still using the new spare alternator we installed in Papeete without any problems. We also had the original Balmar repaired in Auckland and now carry that as our spare.

07/07: At nearly ten years of age, our Trojans served us well, but were due for replacement. All house batteries were replaced with new Trojans and we also replaced our starting battery.
 

electronics

The boat came with basic but outdated electronics including depth, speed, VHF, Loran, radar and a first-generation GPS. We eventually replaced all of the electronics (except the autopilot - see Self Steering) after replacing the failing Furuno radar in Mexico. The following electronics are currently in use:

In addition, we carry a Toshiba Tecra 8100 laptop with electronic charting software and a backup Dell Inspiron 3800 laptop. We have a Samsung 17" LCD monitor/TV for watching DVDs from the laptop. For music we have an Alpine in-dash AM/FM/CD player with a 6-disc CD changer.

Report Card:
12/01:
Electronics are finicky and even choosing top-of-the-line products doesn't preclude one from problems. However, we've had pretty good luck in the first 18 months of service of all-new gear. We like our old Furuno radar better than the new Raytheon but service in Mexico was non-existent and surprisingly replacement was easier than repair. The ICOM M710-RT is an excellent radio and is simple and very reliable for daily email and cruising net check-ins. Our ICOM VHF burned out on high power in Mexico and we purchased an identical spare while it was fixed. A waterproof handheld is essential but we still work hard to keep it dry. We've come to prefer the Furuno weatherfax over PC-based weatherfax as it's easy to program and normally doesn't require attention to receive faxes.

Our Toshiba has been great and after expensive repairs from a saltwater dousing continues to work fine. We feel that Toshiba service and warranty repair is very good. We bought the Dell as a spare after our saltwater experience with the Toshiba, as email is our primary means of keeping in touch with family and friends. The Dell has been the worst laptop we've ever worked with and service has been a nightmare. We bought the LCD panel to watch movies as we couldn't both see the laptop screen. We've since found a place to mount the laptop where we can see it fine and the LCD panel doesn't see much use. The Alpine stereo system works well but we wish we knew about European tuning before buying a stereo - we can't receive FM broadcasts outside of North America. MP3s are also big now and it would be nice to have support for that in our stereo.

6/02: Added a permanently mounted docking station in a waterproof locker for our Tecra. We now use the LCD monitor with a Logitech cordless keyboard/mouse. We'll add a smaller 15" LCD as the 17" is proving too large on our small boat.

10/02: Samsung 152T 15" LCD was added for the nav station.

5/03: Discovered that Raytheon provides a "Plus" update for the RL70 radar control head. This adds MARPA capabilities and HSB2. The unit needs to be sent to either the UK or US for service though, so we'll look at doing this from Australia. After much thought and debate, we're also thinking of switching to C-MAP charts on the radar as our primary charts on board. However, since this season is less than six months long and we don't know how long we'll stay in Australia, we'll take a fresh look at technology changes before leaving from there.
 

engine

A freshwater-cooled Yanmar 3GM30F diesel engine came with the boat. The standard 55-amp Hitachi alternator had been changed to a 100-amp Balmar during the electrical upgrade shortly before our purchase. We replaced the single Racor fuel filter with a more-accessible dual Racor filter system and added a Qwik-Drain oil change pump. The shaft is protected with a Norscot shaft seal. We added an exhaust shut-off valve to close in heavy seas.

Report Card:
12/01:
We've added close to 1,000 hours to the engine in 18 months and 10,000 miles of cruising and the engine continues to run strong at 2,500 original hours. We replaced the mixing elbow in Mexico when the welds broke down (a spare we didn't have) and cleaned the cooling system and adjusted the valves before leaving Mexico. The Norscott has worked great and after a scare in Seattle when the hose clamps came loose, we normally check these when changing the oil. We haven't found a need to close off the exhaust port yet, even in the spreader-height seas we saw off the California coast.

8/02: We had Power and Marine, the local Yanmar dealer, rebuild the injectors. One proved sticky which could be the reason we had started to get a bit of black smoke recently. They reported that the engine appeared strong.

3/03: We replaced all cooling water hoses due to age and the fact that we were also replacing the hot water heater. While doing this, we found one frost plug which was weeping and needed replacement. The instrument panel also was aging and cracking due to a sticky engine stop cable. The cable and panel were replaced.

8/03: This season we've seen the engine heat up more than before and as a result, we've lowered the RPM we run at. We've checked every part of the cooling system and also just replaced the fresh water cooling pump and thermostat. We'll see if that improves things, but initial testing at the mooring doesn't appear to show any improvement. We also learned that our secondary fuel filter should not be left with standing fuel for long periods of time as the filter clogged rather quickly when we began to use it.
 

fans

We removed two oscillating fans that sounded like Cessnas and added six Hella Turbo fans. The Hellas are known for quiet operation and low-amp draw with effective air movement. We added fans in the nav station, galley, two in the main salon and two in the v-berth.

Report Card:
12/01:
The fans have worked great. The locking knob has worked itself loose a couple of times which has resulted in a hanging fan and broken electrical connection (very thin wire), but the fans live up to their reputation of being quiet and drawing a low amount of power. Putting fans everywhere was, in hindsight, very smart.

4/03: Replaced one v-berth fan and relocated the galley fan as they were becoming loud. All fans are being fitted with a plug to enable moving noisy fans to less-used areas before replacing.
 

galley

The galley is well laid out and needed little. We added a custom spice rack to make spices more accessible and add storage space. The annoying knobs on the bronze port got tennis balls installed (we haven't hit our head there again). A light was added above the stove. We replaced the faucet and fresh/salt manual pump outlets and added a Seagull water filter and dish soap dispenser.

Report Card:
12/01:
The spice rack is awesome, reports Cathy. The light above the stove proved to be of low quality and the switch broke - we replaced it with a similar but hopefully higher quality light in New Zealand. The Price Pfister kitchen faucet was overkill - we hardly ever pull the faucet out and use the sprayer. The Seagull filter is excellent and the water we drink from the watermaker and store in our tanks tastes like bottled water. The soap dispenser does get used, but filling it regularly seems to be an issue and the small soap bottle comes out sometimes. The sink drains rusted out due to the boat sitting 3" lower than normal (now on it's designed waterline). These were replace in Tahiti but we need a more permanent solution.

3/03: The kitchen faucet developed issues due to crud from the decomposing hot water heater. Parts were not available in New Zealand for Price Pfister and as the faucet developed some corrosion issues, we decided to replace it with a Grohe faucet which is sold worldwide. The galley sink drains and custom stainless fittings were replaced and a Sealand T12 waste pump was installed to evacuate the sink overboard. Sound insulation was also installed to deaden the pump noise.
 

hatches

Our boat came with two stainless steel hatches, manufacturer unknown (possibly Manship). The main salon hatch leaked in heavy rain and the latches on the forward hatch were falling apart. We decided to replace the hatches with Bomar cast Almag (Aluminum /Magnesium) reinforced hatches. The new hatches use thick Lexan and have structural cross-bracing to add support.

Report Card:
12/01:
We're not as happy with the Bomar hatches as we thought we'd be. The castings have imperfections in them, the handle latches need rather frequent adjustment, the stainless bolts corrode in the Aluminum and the handles are tough to operate. That said, the hatches don't leak when secured correctly and they did fit our existing deck cutouts fairly well. We don't know of a better hatch, but would look at the Hood ones more closely and see if extra supports could have been added. We also should have done more investigation on fixing our old hatches.
 

head

We outsourced the replacement of the head before leaving and had a Lavac installed. The Lavac uses a standard Henderson MK5 bilge pump and operates on a suction principle thus eliminating the complex pump found on other heads. It is a dead-simple system and long-timer cruisers speak highly of the system. The system is plumbed so that we can use the same pump to empty the holding tank as well. We also installed a Tankwatch I holding tank monitor for the holding tank that lights up a light when the tank is nearly full.

Report Card:
12/01:
While we haven't had to rebuild the head, the Lavac does have a couple of annoying traits. First, more physical pumping is necessary as the incoming water needs to be drawn in via suction which takes 5-8 pumps to develop. Second, after pumping the seat is wet and needs to be wiped down. Would we install it again? Maybe not. Other friends have had no problem with standard high-quality heads (like the Raritan PHII). Maintenance of the hoses seems more time-intensive than the head itself. We continually forget to put vinegar in regularly and the result is that the hoses calcify over time. At some point, the hoses reduce in size to a point that they become unusable - one friend removed his hoses in French Polynesia and beat them on the deck to remove the build up. Yuck. Reminder to self: USE VINEGAR WEEKLY! The holding tank didn't see any use the tropics but for times we do use it, the Tank Monitor works fine.

3/03: We replaced all the head hose and one Jabsco Y-Valve that had a broken handle. The Henderson pump was also rebuilt. Calcification was EVERYWHERE! It was the cause of the Y-Valve failure and explains why the head has not worked as well recently. We will develop a vinegar program and follow it from now on. We will also likely clean the hoses every 12-18 months as routine maintenance and exercise the Y-Valves at least monthly. We also discovered that the Groco bronze anti-siphon valve was blocked at the vent. The consumable rubber/stainless vent insert was both hardened and sealed shut. Cleaning and lubricating it helped some but due to the rubber being hard, it didn't close effectively and proceeded to leak seawater. A new replacement component was installed and it works fine. The bonus is that the Lavac head seat now does not get wet during flushing.
 

heater

The boat came with an Espar D3LC forced-air diesel heater that the previous owner had recently installed. We used the heater quite a bit in Seattle.

Report Card:
12/01:
We used the heater a couple of times in Mexico but otherwise it hasn't been used in the tropics. When we made it to New Zealand, we removed the exhaust plug, turned on the fuel supply and it fired up immediately. The fuel booster pump gave out though, perhaps due to a saltwater dousing on the trip down. We replaced that and we're looking forward to more good service. Note that we haven't seen Espar represented in New Zealand, but Boat Electric in Seattle provides excellent worldwide service.

3/03: We used the heater this winter in New Zealand a lot. Towards the end of winter, the heater started to smoke a little on startup and shutdown. The glow plug and screen were replaced and the heater now has no issues with smoke.
 

lights

All of our navigation lights are standard Aqua Signal. At the masthead we have an Aquasignal tricolor/anchor/strobe combination. The tricolor and anchor lights have been replaced with low-draw LED lights from Deep Creek Design.

Report Card:
12/01:
The LED tricolor and anchor lights have worked great for us and draw .3 and .1 amps respectively. Deep Creek Design seems to be putting their revenues back into product design because newer versions we've seen are brighter than ours and still draw the same amount of power. Note that visible range as compared with standard bulbs is decreased. But for an anchor light, we don't see this as an issue. Deep Creek Design also gets kudos for great service - our friends on Velella needed a replacement in Bora Bora and it was Fed-Ex'd to them for only the cost of shipping.

Many cruisers opt for a deck-level anchor light that also lights the cockpit; while this doesn't follow U.S. regulations, it does help visibility in an anchorage and a lighted cockpit adds extra security.

5/03: Discovered during our pre-passage check that the port bow light was not working due to the inside components being corroded away. The original bronze screws were stripped and the light needed to be replaced. The new Series 25 lights have stainless screws.

6/03: We found that our tri-color light casing was coming apart and the anchor light was dimming. Both were returned for service and evidently will be repaired with charge under the five-year warranty.
 

propeller

We replaced the original fixed 3-blade prop with a reversible, feathering 3-blade 17" Max-Prop from PYI in the hope that we could back the boat up easier as well as increase sailing performance.

Report Card:
12/01:
The prop has worked fine though getting the pitch set correctly has been an issue. The prop may be oversized for our boat (our friends on a Panda 40 carry the same size prop which works well for them). Our backing skills have improved and the Max-Prop no doubt helps us. We don't notice a marked improvement in sailing performance. For the high cost of the prop and installation, we would be hesitant about replacing an already-proven system again.

3/03: Greased the prop as normal maintenance. After several consultations with PYI, a local prop shop and Bob Perry, we decided against cutting our prop down in size. We'll consider this again if and when we repower. Note that greasing the prop significantly reduced vibration that had appeared late in our previous cruising season.

8/03: The anti-fouling spray that was applied in March continues to work great. We still have no growth on our prop even after several months in the tropics. I believe the name of this professionally applied product is "Prop Speed."

10/03: The Prop Speed applicant is still working great and we only had minor growth on the edges of the prop blades. It also appears that this applicant electrically isolates the prop from the seawater as our zinc is now lasting much longer.

04/07: Greased the prop when we hauled out for bottom paint, waxing, and stainless polishing.
 

refrigeration

We carry the original Adler-Barbour 12v refrigeration that had been on the boat for twelve years. It worked great in Seattle and was efficient but we wondered if it would be over-taxed in tropical climates and consume a lot more power. The compressor is stored in the lazarette and we have a vertical evaporator plate that provides a small freezer section.

Report Card:
12/01:
After heavy debate on whether to replace this aging system, we decided to keep it. We're glad too - it has worked flawlessly and even on blistering hot days doesn't draw more than 75 amps (60 is more normal). We do not have the water-cooled option and feel that for the added cooling it may add, it also adds electrical consumption and a corrosion and maintenance item that doesn't justify it's addition. However, a friend reports that instead of seawater he circulates fresh water from a tank and net energy usage is lower so perhaps our perceptions are inaccurate. We should carry a spare control module (after hearing of two failures on our Pacific crossing) and should have the system recharged when efficiency degrades. When necessary, we'll likely replace the system with another Adler-Barbour system but will also consider options that work well for friends including the Isotherm holding plate systems and Frigoboat, whose Keel Cooler design is intriguing.

5/03: Replaced the rubber seal under the ice box lids. Also installed lid hinges.

8/03: The fridge packed it in. After several tests, we concluded that the compressor had failed. We initially were going to go without refrigeration until Australia, but then figured we could replace it fast enough that it wouldn't be too much hassle. After some quick research and discussions with other cruisers we replaced the until with the Adler Barbour Super Cold Machine with the larger vertical evaporator bin. We will look to add the plumbing for the water cooled condenser in the future and are using only the air cooled one right now. With the larger evaporator, the unit draws slightly more amps. When we make it to Australia, we'll do some power tests and report the results here. We'll also explore air ducting and water cooling options more.

Some thoughts from our research:

  1. Adler Barbour does use the new Dan Foss compressor but the adjustable speed is preset based on the condenser/thermostat. We had hoped they would employ a technique more like Frigoboat that adjusts the speed depending on the cooling characteristics of the installation (e.g. highest speed when charging batteries or reloading box, most efficient speed for maintaining box temp).
  2. The Super Cold Machine includes both an air-cooled and a water-cooled condenser. The Capri 50-SSC was the closest Frigoboat option but was only air cooled. Ideally, I would have liked to have a combination that uses the air cooled in combination with the Frigoboat keel-cooled condenser, thereby enabling the system to work when hauled out and ensuring the benefits of water cooling without the hassles of a water-cooled condenser and associated plumbing.
  3. The downsides with water-cooled condensers include weak pumps that other cruisers say have short life spans and the possibility of clogging. Therefore, the pump should only be enabled when you're on the boat and monitoring the system. The Super Cold Machine does not require the water cooled plumbing to be installed and works identically to the Cold Machine when not installed/enabled.
  4. Using a larger evaporator bin gives us more freezer space and maximizes the surface area that is capable of removing heat. However, we've been told that the system will work best with the freezer kept full of frozen food. The larger evaporator requires higher current draw from the compressor. We'll report later regarding our actual energy usage.

Note that we have found that the new Super Cold Machine introduces noise into our electrical system when it is running. This interferes with weatherfax reception and SSB reception. If any readers have successfully dealt with this issue, please write us and let us know what you've done. For now, we just turn it off for the SSB and hope we remember to turn it back on.
 

rigging

The boat came to us with original standing rigging (including a Furlex furler for the jib and a Harken furler for the staysail) and well-used running rigging. We decided to do a complete overhaul of the rigging in anticipation of a circumnavigation. Practically all of our purchases were made through Rigging Only and they provided excellent service with extremely competitive prices.

We updated the standing rigging extensively, including:

  • Upsized the original 1/4" stainless rigging with 9/32" stainless 316 Loos rigging wire with swages on the top and Sta-Lok eyes on the bottom. Whisker stays and bobstay were upsized to 9/32" Loos dyform wire for additional strength.
  • Replaced the Furlex furler with a Schaefer 2100 as the old furler wasn't easy to operate, required greasing and we couldn't find replacement parts easily.
  • Removed the Harken furler in preparation for a hanked-on staysail which all the books said was the optimal choice for heavy weather.
  • Replaced non-self-tailing mast winches with two Lewmar self-tailing winches
  • Replaced all mainsail blocks with Schaefer 8-series stainless ball-bearing blocks. Foot blocks and jib blocks were also replaced with Schaefer blocks and Schaefer snatch blocks were added.
  • Added a 7/8" stainless track on the mast for the trysail (deck to 2' above spreaders)
  • Added a Forespar 12-22' telescoping pole with mast track/car
  • Added Antal halyard line clutches
  • Added Navtec hydralic backstay adjuster (manual ones would conflict with SSB antenna)

We completely replaced the running rigging with New England Ropes line. We chose Sta-Set for jib lines, Sta-Set X for main sheet and spinnaker halyard, and V-100 for main and jib halyards.

Report Card:
12/01:
We made a lot of changes with our rigging and this was not inexpensive. The running and standing rigging replacement was essential, but the other gear replaced or added was optional. We're happy that the mainsheet is easy to adjust now. The Navtec backstay adjuster is a piece of gear that we've considered removing - we've bumped it accidentally and let the tension off in big seas, which is dangerous. Not being racers, we also don't adjust it as we should. In addition, it seems to be losing tension if not touched for a week or so. We're not sure what is causing this.

Removing the staysail furler was also a potential mistake. We don't use the staysail as much as we did before and the bag sometimes interferes with anchoring. But then again, we haven't been in conditions yet that warrant the use of the storm staysail.

5/03: Installed new sheaves in the center traveler car. Original replacements for Nicro Fico are available from Rig Rite. We also have determined that the Navtec has an issue maintaining moderate pressure for more than 5-10 days (depending on starting pressure). As there is no external fluid leakage, we figure it might be a leak in the high/low pressure control valve. The NZ Navtec rep would not warranty the unit as it was purchased in the US so for now, we'll live with it as the issue is only a minor annoyance.
 

safety

We took part in Practical Sailor's liferaft testing in January, 2000 and based on that experience purchased a valise-packed Winslow Ocean Rescue liferaft for superior quality, light weight and excellent survival pack contents. We carry a 36" Galerider drogue, a 15' Paratech sea anchor and a 12' BUORD parachute that has been reinforced by Victor Shane for use as a sea anchor. Our ditch kit is contained in a red floating case from Landfall Navigation. Our standard flare kit has been augmented with Pains Wessex parachute flares. A manually-deployed NAT 406 GPIRB is stored below the nav station and an ACR 406 EPIRB is stored in the liferaft. We've installed a MOM-8A man overboard module and a Lifesling on the stern rail. Aloft we carry both Blipper and Mobri radar reflectors and reflective tape applied to both sides of the top of the mast. We use high-strength webbing for our side-deck jackliines.

Report Card:
12/01:
The webbing jacklines worked well for most of the trip. We made a decision to replace them each year but have seen little degradation, though we usually bring them inside after passages. However, on the trip from Tonga to New Zealand one end of a jackline came undone, cause unknown. We'll be switching to lifeline cable attached with positive locking shackles. On some boats this can be a poor choice as the cable will roll underfoot, however we believe it will be out of the way on Felicity and two similar boats have liked this system very much.

Fortunately, we can't comment on any personal experience with the rest of our safety gear. After many discussions with cruisers who have made different decisions, we're still happy with the choices we've made. Our only disappointment is that Winslow was to have secured a New Zealand service center within six months of our purchase - 18 months later this is still work in progress which means shipping our raft back to Florida for servicing (not cheap).

10/02: Winslow picked up the tab for shipping our liferaft to Adelaide, Australia for service at CHC Helicopters. Tony Hall, the primary contact at CHC, was a joy to work with and I have no doubt the job was done professionally. Kudus to Winslow for keeping their promise - we hope to see them offer a more comprehensive service network over the next couple of years as this is the only thing that holds us back from recommending them wholly to future cruisers.

5/03: Decided to purchase new webbing jack lines instead of switching to lifeline cable. We may later decide to move to cable, but Safety at Sea in Auckland gave us some good ideas to correct our webbing attachment. Essentially, we'll connect the forward end to a cleat using the provided loop through the cleat and back over - like a dock line. The aft end has a D-ring  which we'll connect to a cleat using several rounds of 3mm Spectra line secured with a "Monitor" knot.
 

sails

The sails were the original Neil Pryde sails supplied with the boat. The mainsail was in below average condition and the jib and staysail were in above average condition. We could have added stitching to the jibs and made do with them for a season or two. But our plans included covering more than 10,000 miles in our first 18 months of cruising, much of this far away from quality sail makers. We made the very expensive decision to replace the full sail inventory with local high-quality sail maker Schattauer Sails. Our new sails should last us an estimated seven years of active cruising. Our inventory includes:

  • Full-batten mainsail with two deep reefs
  • 90% high-clewed Yankee on a Schaefer 2100 furler
  • Staysail, hanked on and stored in jib bag
  • Storm trysail, bright orange, stored on separate track in quick-release bag
  • Storm staysail, bright orange, stored below in quarter-berth
  • Asymmetric cruising spinnaker, 1.5 ounce, in ATN sleeve, stored below in quarter-berth

Report Card:
12/01:
The sail quality has stood up well. We've had minor chafe on the mainsail where the full battens rub against the lower shrouds when running downwind but otherwise the sails are as good as new. The 90% Yankee was chosen as a good-sized working jib and the clew is forward of the forward lower shroud when beating. This removes the possibility of chafe on the jib but the 90% size may be a little small for going to weather in up to 12 knots of wind. We feel that increasing this to 110% would provide better light wind performance without making the sail unusable in 15-30 knot winds. Friends who also added a 130% genoa shipped it home and haven't missed it and we haven't found much need for one. The spinnaker gets little use and takes up a lot of space on our small boat. We hear it's smart to have but we can't yet say we're happy to have parted with $2335 for the sail and about $600 for the ATN sock, halyard, control lines and masthead block.

3/03: The sails have some mildew that has accumulated from sitting too long at the dock. All the canvas cover snaps had to be lubricated to get to the sails (we know, we should be sailing more!). We'll look into having the sails professionally cleaned in Australia.

10/03: Here are some further thoughts regarding a spinnaker. First, for a double-handed crew, leaving the spinnaker up at night is often not a viable option in anything but settled light weather. In our experience crossing the Pacific, this has happened only once. In many (but not all) of our discussions with fellow cruisers, the female in the crew would not be comfortable taking the spinnaker down on the foredeck at night in a squall. Second, the wind ranges and sailing angles it is most usable for have rarely occurred for us and when they do are of somewhat short duration. At the upper end of the spinnaker wind range, we find that a poled out yankee and single-reefed main does just as well and is much easier to reef. Although we have yet to see a Code Zero sail in use on a cruising boat of less than 40 feet, they seem to make a lot more sense to us as the sail can be furled from the cockpit in a squall, the sail (with it's wire luff and removable furling drum) can be stored below when not on passage, and is usable in a much wider sailing angle.
 

self-steering

The boat came with an Autohelm 6000 autopilot with a type-1 linear drive. We chose to keep this system as it seemed like it was sized correctly and it worked fine and provided redundancy. A new Monitor self-steering windvane was also added for long passages where we would be sailing and trying to conserve electrical consumption.

Report Card:
12/01:
This system has worked very well for us. We needed to re-cut the keyway in the rudder post arm for the autopilot after it chewed itself up on our way from Seattle to San Francisco and we added a set screw to keep it in place. The autopilot has proven to be correctly sized (design spec is 24,000 lbs - we're 22,000 lbs loaded). The Monitor is an amazing piece of gear and we are constantly amazed as we watch it steer us down wave after wave.

3/03: The outside control head for the ST-6000 has a crack and is allowing moisture into the head. This has been repaired with epoxy. A Sunbrella cover was also made to try to reduce UV exposure.

5/03: The Monitor control line has been replaced and extended farther into the cockpit. Placing the control line in a location that is easily accessible by crew makes it much easier at sea.

10/03: One steering line was replaced due to chafe for our passage between Vanuatu and Australia. We'll replace both lines in Australia.
 

steering

The boat came with a Manship pedestal steering system with a backup tiller. The quadrant had minor rust appearing on it which we removed with a wire brush and then applied Rustoleum paint. The steering cable was in good repair but we replaced it anyway and carry the old one as a spare. During replacement, we also found that the clevis pins on one set of pulleys were bronze and had been worn through at least 25%. Those were replaced with stainless clevis pins as the other two pulleys had. The rudder packing was replaced with Teflon packing.

Report Card:
12/01:
The system has worked great. We oil the cable periodically and check the tension. We feared that the bearings might wear more with the use of the Monitor self-steering but we haven't seen this.
 

storage

We converted our one hanging closet to bulk storage by adding a shelf in the middle. We added "baby lee cloths" to the shelves in the v-berth and quarter-berth. The full quarter-berth cushion was replaced with a navigation seat cushion to maximize storage space in the quarter-berth (aka the Garage). Supports for a dive tank were glassed into the wet locker.

Report Card:
12/01:
We're happy with all the modifications we made. In New Zealand we'll be adding hinges to the cabinets behind the main salon settees to ease access. We'll also explore ways to hinge the refrigerator lids to keep them from moving around in a seaway.

5/03: Hinges and latches have been added to settee cabinets and hinges have been added to the refrigerator lids. We've also waterproofed the lazarette lids as salt water has entered during passage. This should have been done in Seattle but we (and several friends) never thought of this.
 

tanks

Our boat has two stainless water tanks (90 gallons total) located under the salon settees and a cast iron fuel tank (35 gallons) above the keel under the floorboards. We cleaned the water tanks before leaving Seattle and had the fuel tank professionally cleaned. We added VDO tank gauges for each tank. The diesel tank sender is the tube-type from VDO and the water tank senders are a capacitor-driven tube-type (don't remember the manufacturer) which eliminates the problematic float found on most water tank senders.

Report Card:
12/01:
We haven't had any problems with our tanks. A friend who used the same fuel polisher in Seattle needed to open his fuel tank in Mexico and found that the gaskets did not seal properly when bolted down for a second time (which we had been warned about). We'll be adding a spare set of gaskets in New Zealand. Once calibrated, the senders and gauges have worked flawlessly. They do consume some power and we'll be adding a switch for them. The gauges do not jump around and are quite accurate even when underway.

5/03: Cleaned the fuel tanks and found significant buildup of contaminants. Installed new gaskets (Buna-N is referred to as nitrile rubber here in NZ). Several new gaskets have been cut as spares.

10/03: The starboard water tank sender has stopped working. We will investigate repairing/replacing this in Australia
 

washdown pump

We added a Flojet washdown pump with both fresh and saltwater supplies. The outlet is by the bowsprit and we have a detachable hose that is connected when we use the pump.

Report Card:
12/01:
We have rarely used the system in the sandy anchorages we've been visiting so it's hard to justify putting it in. In the future we might just live with an outlet from the fresh water system installed in the cockpit. The pump is identical to our water pressure pump so we expect it to fail soon (see below).
 

water pressure

We replaced our standard PAR water pump with a high-pressure Flojet pump to reduce noise and increase pressure.

Report Card:
12/01:
Not happy. The Flojet pump has been fully rebuilt twice inside a 12-month period due to a central part being made of mild steel and rusting out. We've been quite happy with the Spectra watermaker Shurflo pumps and have changed our preference to Shurflo pumps after reviewing their design and talking with many happy owners. This will be replaced in New Zealand. We'll also add an inline filter to keep any particles out of the pump and faucet.

9/02: Added a Shurflo pump with inline filter.

3/03: Noise is similar to the Flojet. We've added sound insulation and have suspended the pump with tie wraps attached to eye straps. This has decreased sound somewhat.
 

watermaker

Before leaving, we debated on the merits of having a watermaker on board. In the end, we installed a Spectra 380c system. This system had only been on the market for a few short years but had developed a reputation for being highly energy efficient and backed by a company that focused on customer support. These two selling points helped us to accept the high price of the system. We chose the larger 380c over the 200c as the only difference is the addition of an extra pump and pump cooling fins and fans. This extra pump provides redundancy as well as extra output when power is not an issue (e.g. when motoring).

Report Card:
12/01: The decision to add a watermaker has proven smart. Since leaving Seattle we have never filled the tanks from dock water except when in a marina for more than a month. The water quality is high and the power is not usually a problem for the Spectra. Normal maintenance consists of cleaning the sea strainer and pre-filter periodically. We're happy with the Spectra but have had minor issues. Perhaps the largest issue was with cracked Clark Pump end-cap fittings which Spectra thinks was the result of using the old SC-1 pickling solution which has plagued the company with service issues. The cracked fittings caused our production to go down and the bilge to collect seawater for several months - but the system continued to produce water just fine. We didn't experience the outstanding support that Spectra was reputed to have delivered in it's early days, but we did eventually receive the correct parts under warranty when we made it to New Zealand. Spectra fixed the SC-1 issue quickly and we would trust our watermaker decision to Spectra again.

Special mention should be made for PUR as their customers have received excellent support while cruising. PUR systems (as of 2000) are much less efficient but for cruisers looking to supplement on-shore water gathering with a less-expensive watermaker, PUR seems like the way to go. Many cruisers carry PUR watermakers.

5/03: Installed new pump heads that we had received from Spectra in 12/01. This has increased our output back to original specifications. However, it has not significantly changed the salinity of the output. We're seeing 460ppm with one pump running and this was less than 220ppm when new. Still, the water tastes great and we'll see if the salinity numbers improve with use this season and possibly a re-calibration of our meter.

8/03: Our salinity worsened quickly after departing from New Zealand and the water became undrinkable close to Fiji. Spectra was initially very helpful in troubleshooting but then became difficult to work with. On their recommendation, we replaced our feed pumps but that didn't significantly change performance. We fixed leaking end caps on the membrane as well. Against their recommendation, we decided to replace the membrane as well. This has fixed our salinity issue though production is lower than it should be. With new feed pumps and a new membrane, the only piece left to change is the Clark Pump. We'll pull that out and return it to Spectra when we get to Australia and have it tested/rebuilt before leaving again.

With this latest incident, our opinion of Spectra has declined to average. The system is efficient and the engineering is quite good (with the exception of the older style plastic end caps that didn't use o-rings). However, we have not experienced the great customer support that we've heard of from others and would recommend forming a support relationship with a reputable dealer before leaving for far-off ports.
 

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