There are many books out there that go into many of the details and preparations prior to venturing offshore on a sailboat. Lynn and Larry Pardee are the pioneers in this area having circumnavigated the world 3 times in boats smaller than 30 feet. While these are unbelievable feats of stamina and navigational skill as well as sailing skills especially because they accomplished this without the use of an engine or any modern navigational or communications equipment, most people will agree that “doing it the old fashioned way” is much more difficult and uncomfortable than taking advantage of today’s advances in technology which can make it much easier for the cruising sailor to venture out in relative comfort and safety using modern navigation, communication and other marine equipment which makes it more feasible for a couple or even a single person to venture offshore. For the purpose of keeping this article as short and simple as possible, we won’t go into the advances in GPS and satellite communication which have obviously made it possible to navigate more accurately and stay informed of weather changes, therefore, eliminating almost entirely, the fear of the unknown when voyaging.
We will, however, go into comfort and convenience at sea and while visiting faraway places which may not, for example, have clean water which you can trust in putting into your water tank. In the past, these iron men and women went weeks and even months without a shower and had to walk miles just to fill up a 5-gallon water jug to take back to the boat. Sometimes, these titans of the cruising world might spend half their time just trying to get to water or adjusting their trip to fit their water capacity. This can become old quite quickly, especially (with all due respect to the Pardees ), when there are much better alternatives available today which were not even invented or available at the time they went around the world. All cruisers now days owe the many strides in this industry to these early pioneers, they raised the bar and made it seem possible that a regular couple could learn to sail, navigate, maintain their boat and work while cruising and seeing the world so by no means are we disrespecting or poking fun at the way they did it. On the contrary, we only want to bring in a more practical approach to doing this, given the today’s technological advances.
A great, now well accepted, piece of equipment on board is the water maker which will allow you the freedom to make fresh, drinkable water anytime so there is no need to fill up your water tank with water that may be contaminated or at the very least not as pure in the different stops along your journey. This also allows for the previously unheard of the comfort of taking small showers onboard while at sea making everyone onboard cleaner and “happier” especially female crew members. Advances in clean energy production such as solar panels, wind generators, battery chargers, charge controllers and inverters can further enhance comfort onboard because with a good battery bank and a well-designed hybrid system of energy production, you can run all your electrical marine equipment and make fresh water without running your engine. This is luxury cruising in comparison to what heroes like the Pardees accomplished but then again the important thing is to go. The average age of today’s cruising sailor is between 50 and 75 years old so the physical demands of this very active lifestyle can be lessened by the use of these advances, so If you must make a few adjustments to make sure everyone on board including yourself lives relatively comfortable while onboard, so be it.
Whichever way you choose to go is fine, as long as you get out there but if you feel that making some adjustments on your boat will keep your entire crew happier and going longer, check out www.seapeopledepot.com.