Cruising is tough on a boat because it is subjected to extremes for days on end.  And per Murphy’s Law, if it’s going to break, it will break out at sea.

When you are safely tied to a dock with West Marine just down the road, nothing ever breaks even if you go to Catalina Island for a weekend, nothing breaks. This could be because you select a pleasant weekend to go,  however, with cruising you don’t get to select pleasant weather for the cruise, you just have to cope with whatever comes along – within reason of course.

So by the time I reached La Paz there was a host of stuff I found had either broken, or I just had to have.



WIFI WINDVANE $400 + $–(labor)
imageMy boat has never had a windvane and the WestMarine Weather Station doesn’t appear to give the correct wind speed. So I dont know how hard it’s blowing, or the direction from which the wind is blowing. I have rigged some telltales that are vaguely helpful but they do not make for very accurate sail setting on my part. Usually I step out from under the dodger and watch the wind generator to gauge wind speed and direction.
Clearly this is an unacceptable solution to a sailor.
I have looked at windvanes before but they all involved wiring down the mast, and wiring through the salon, to the Nav station. But now SailTimer have developed a wifi windvane that transmits to a smartphone or tablet. No wiring involved!  So I ordered one. They are still in manufacture so they will only ship the units in March or April. Meanwhile I will have to continue guessing the wind speed.


I don’t have a sander. I always use sandpaper and sweat to sand any surface smooth. I bought the neatest sander with a baggy that catches the dust, and lots of sandpaper for any kind of roughness or smoothness desired.


RIGGING TENSION GAUGE. $97 + $– (labor)

I noticed that one of the lower shrouds on the port side is looser than it should be. I bought the gauge to tension up the stays. Of course I have no idea of how to actually do this but I am confident that some friendly sailor does know, and can teach me.


12V FUEL PUMP. $18 + $–(labor)
imageWhenever I get air in the fuel system (as a result of badly guesstimating the remainder of fuel in one of the tanks), I land up with air in my fuel system that has to be bled. Currently the fuel pump is manual and involves lying prone on the cockpit floor and reaching down the side of a very heated engine, to manually pump the fuel into the system. After that begging-for-a-burn exercise, we still have to bleed off the air on a heated engine. All in all, it is an unhappy situation to be in.
I am hoping that the new fuel tank meters/gauges will accurately indicate the level of diesel in my tanks which should eliminate the need to bleed the system as a result of air getting in. However, if I mess up, then this little fuel pump replaces me sticking my arm down the side of a furiously hot engine to manually pump fuel through through the system.


LIQUID TRANSFER PUMPS. $24 for 2 pumps
imageI have 3 x 5 gallon diesel containers that weigh a ton, at least, they weigh a ton for puny girl-muscles. Honestly, when I get to Heaven one day I am going to complain about the fact that women get child-bearing muscles that have limited use, while men get muscles bristling from every bone. My scrawny grandson has more strength in his skinny little arms than I have in my whole body!
So I have to find a way to move the fuel from the container to the tank without heaving the container over the side and balancing it near the diesel fuel opening, where it stands a good chance of dropping into the sea.
Hopefully these pumps will do the trick. They come with 3ft tubing, which should easily reach the tank opening.
I bought 2 pumps – one for my diesel containers and one for my gasoline container.


1100 GPH BILGE PUMP. $115 + $–(labor)
I have a bilge pump in my engine room and another in the salon, however, their floats seem to be broken because I have to manually operate the bilge pumps. And this only happens when I happen to peek in the bilge and spot water. Obviously this is a less than desirable situation, so I bought the fully automatic 12V bilge pump to add to the engine room. At least now when I hear it kick off, I I’ll be alerted to water being inside the boat, instead of staying outside the boat where water is meant to be.


My cooler boxes in the cockpit sit on non-slip material which is looking really gross. I decided to put down some dri-deck pieces instead and thereby elevate the coolers off the cockpit floor. Plus it will look neater than the grungy non-slip stuff I have down now.



I know this isn’t strictly boat maintenance, but I use my GoPro all the time and it’s old battery was not holding its charge. Hopefully a new battery manages better.


MACE $12
With all the stories that abound regarding pirates boarding cruising yachts, I decided to buy a pepper spray. The container is a bright pink color which apparently men find disarming – right up until I zap them with a blast to the eyes. I hope I never have to use it.


I am finding that my legs are not getting as much exercise as I would like. Most of the work sailing a boat is upper body muscles – hauling the mainsail up, picking up heavy containers, trimming the sails. The only time I use my legs, besides walking, is to brace myself. So while in Big 5 I decided to buy leg weights so that I force my muscles to work with every step. While I was about it bought 1lb weights for my wrists to strengthen my arm muscles.


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