Owning a sailboat can on its own be an overwhelming task; from finding a secure spot, to keeping it safe and seaworthy – it’s a bloody long road, requiring lots of work, time, money and nerves. Now, if you want to get your boat properly ready for sailing, or even more so for long time cruising, you are entering a new form of logistical nightmare. There is so much equipment, most of which are insanely expensive with all of it promoted as essential, lifesaving, necessary, comfortable etc. This makes it extremely hard to decide what is actually needed. Obviously everything depends on your boat, your ambitions etc. But still, the list is endless and an complete list doesn’t exist, its all based on personal preferences and financial limitations. We however, went down the slippery path creating such a list and a video on YouTube. It’s incomplete but updatable, it’s neither perfect nor useless. It will hopefully provide you some inspiration and be a useful guide.
Make sure you are prepared for the worst, while hoping for the best. Here are a few things you should have :
- Life vests – life lines
- Life raft, especially on longer passages and ocean crossing
- Flash lights (Head torches, water proof )
- Epirp & AIS PLB
- First aid kit (Including various medication, ex. antibiotics, painkillers etc.)
- Fire blanket and extinguishers
- Smoke alarm, gas alarm
- AIS Transmitter-receiver
Navigating a sailboat can be quite simple at times, but doing it with safety and elegance is a whole different story. Here are a few things that might help you tackle it.
- Binoculars, yes spotting landmarks, risks from afar can be a lifesaver.
- Compass, always necessary.
- Maps and navigation tools. If correct you will have both paper and electronic, if like us just electronic charts on your phone and tablet are fine, make sure though to have them in multiple devices for any case 😉
- Apps for anchoring – Navionics, No foreign land etc… are great for planning ahead and finding shelter.
- Pilot books, although above apps and various forums can provide you with most info, they require internet and rely on peoples personal opinion and willingness to help. While a good pilot book should, in theory, provide more professional and objective information, it does however come at a cost.
- Sextant. Who are we kidding, nobody needs such a complicated and expensive tool aboard, if satellite positioning fails, you might wanna stay lost in open seas, avoiding some sort of apocalypse… But hey if you have it, it’s probably a great brain trainer to actually find your positions from the stars, must be oddly satisfying too.
* Ps. One of our lovely followers provided us with His really good lesson plan on Sextant use with us and all of you, if interested give it a look HERE.
TOOLS AND SPARE PARTS
The more the merrier, right ?
Tools and spare parts will not only save you from expensive bills and technicians, they might save you and your boat altogether. So make sure you have what you need, but not much and not too shitty, otherwise you might run out of space for provisions, or clothes, or your girlfriend/partner.
- Basic tools: Wrenches, pliers, saw, spanners, keys etc.
- Electric multi-meter – don’t go without
- Cables, fuses, wires, soldering iron
- Battery driven tools, Oscillating multi tool (cutting, sanding etc), Screwdriver, Angle grinder
- Screws, nuts and bolts
- Epoxy, Polyester and fiberglass, will safe you if thinks go south
- Marine sealant, Butyl tape, fast epoxy, gasket sealer.
- Oil and Diesel filters – especially diesel as they might clock due to diesel pest
- Spare Diesel jerry can to bypass the fuel system or in case you run out
- Motor oil
- Marine grease, rudder, shaft etc.
- Spare Impeller for raw water
- Shackles etc.
- Dyneema, much stronger than any steel cable, it might safe your ass if one brakes, allowing you to secure your rigging.
- Ropes, fenders etc. You always need them the more the better and safer.
- Anchor, a good main anchor and at least 50m of chain + the option to extend with rope if necessary + a spare anchor or maybe 2 for any case
You wanna stay comfortable; dry when it’s wet, warm when it’s cold and naked when it’s hot… Again, brands do their best to offer clothes for all conditions and climates, specialized for sailors and therefore pricey. Unless you are crewing for the Americas Cup or sailing constantly in boisterous conditions, most likely you don’t need all of that, you should however invest in the following.
- Boots, most likely sailing boots as they provide good grip on deck, no need for super fancy ones, they should just keep you feet dry.
- Water tight trousers (dungarees), here you could improvise and use your ski or snowboarding pants as well, or use your sailing trousers for ski or snowboarding…whatever works for you!
- Jacket, again any watertight long jacket can work, a sailing jacket will however be best.
- Gloves, good garden gloves will help with ropes and chain, winter gloves will help with the cold.
- Wool clothes, wool, especially if from a sustainable source – if that’s even possible is a great way to stay warm and comfy.
- Comfy clothes for all the long days at sea.
Perhaps getting your vessel seaworthy and well equipped is a mission in itself.
- Reliable autopilot.
- Wind instrument.
- Wind vane – nice to have, especially if crossing oceans.
- Solar panels – no way around that one.
- Sufficient battery storage.
- Good reliable sails, remember you are on a sailboat.
- Lithium generator, an independed storage unit, sort of a big power bank, provides both 12v and inverted AC current, some include an MPPT solar charger, can be great for extra power and emergency backup, could also help top batteries on longer passages or cloudy days – we are still trying to find an affordable one 😉