Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tips and Tricks from some other World Cruisers...

Hey everyone....
As Scott and I inch closer and closer to turning our dream into a reality, we learn that there is so much to do with so little time!  We also want to chronicle the entire preparation of this trip so that others can see how something like this evolves ('cause we don't know either! And there is no "Dummies Guide to Sailing around the World"!) So, I continuously scour the internet for tips and tricks from other sailors who have lived or are living our are some great, practical tips from Scott, Mary, Timothy and Finn Malone of the fine yacht "Whisperer". 
  • Before setting sail, think about grab and go food. Cheese and crackers, peanut butter and crackers, anything so the cook does not have to be depended on. I get sea sick and it takes about 3-5 days before I feel like cooking. I often will cook a big roast, or something that can be used for quick sandwiches. I have everything in baggie ready to grab. Hmmmm...this one shouldn't be a problem, we live off finger foods!  However, not sure if I'll be cooking a roast at sea.  In fact, I'm very certain I will not.
  • Take US stamps, I wrote letters put stamps on them and handed them to tourists from the US to mail for me when they got home. Cheaper, and faster. People loved mailing them for me. Great advice!! I have learned in my many travels abroad that too often postcards and letters don't make it home in a timely matter, if at all!  And hey - lets not forget, a penny saved is a penny earned and we're going to need every penny we have for this trip!
  • We took $500 in ones and 5's stashed away. The debit card is the best!! It is taken in every small country- better than American Express(which we had and paid for- many countries would not even take it) In addition we had a Visa and Master Card. But debit was the one used most. We would pull into a country and go to the machine- get what we thought would be just enough to get us through, countries will not take back their money unless it's a big amount and you never get what you paid for it and they don't take back any coins.  Cash and carry! 
  • Get a boat stamp! Some officials want you to have one. Cheap and easy to have made. I don't even know what this is - so it's GREAT - here I come! I can only guess they do NOT mean a personal zed mailing stamp with our boat's picture on it...
  • Guest book, many boats have a scrape book/guest book for others they meet to write a message or sign in .It's great fun. Many Yacht clubs will ask you to fill out a page as well, great art project for the kids to get involved.Guest books are great logs of good times and a great way to chronicle experiences in a simple way.  We have one for our family boat - and it goes back years and years!
  • Boat cards, everyone exchanges them, cruisers will know you by your boat name, not your name and will want to keep in contact. I bought a card holder and as we meet boats put the cards in order and wrote on the back when we meet- we are still in contact with most of them. Blogs make that much easier now. Free boat cards at you can pay a little more and get your boat photo on it- the cards we liked the best had the type of boat on them. Vista-print, here we come!  See, this is the kind of stuff we would NEVER think of - but what a great idea! 
  • Don't worry about the pressure cooker- if you aren't using it now you won't use it sailing- you will cook just like you do now. Do you need to save fuel now- it's cheap, you can get it in all countries. Uh...what is a pressure cooker? (JK) But, yeah - my cooking skills are limited...We plan on working on easy, healthy recipes for at sea and the cooking bit is what I am least excited about.  But I am very excited to learn! 
  • I did not label, varnish, oil, Vaseline any cans of food. I did buy 6 months of extra food- on board at all times, just in case something happened. Every inch of the boat had stores of food. Food is easy to get here, cheap and better to carry than once you leave because you have a car. Provisioning is going to be VERY important...but "6 months of food in case something happened"!?!? YIKES! 
  • REMOVE ALL CARDBOARD FROM PACKAGES IN OTHER COUNTRIES!!!!! Do this at the store!!!!!!! People will look at you funny-- DO IT!!!!! No rats and bugs in our boat! Apparently roaches and creepy crawlies in developing countries lay their eggs in cardboard so best to NEVER LET IT TOUCH YOUR BOAT...infested boats (I hear and read) are a NIGHTMARE and cruisers should do everything in their power to prevent them...When I was sailing in Patagonia a mouse made it's way to the food stores by way of the dock lines and it was "all hands on deck" to make sure he was GONE.  Rest in peace little mouse. 
  • GET ROACH KILLER STUFF NOW- gross as it is you will get them, so be ready to act fast. Roaches. Ick. Hey, we're not in this for the glamor of it though!
  • Stainless welding rod on board, 6 or so, a must-- many countries can weld but don't have the rods. This would have been handy when I lived in Africa and my steering column broke and it took 3 days to find a village with a welding rod to haphazardly weld it back... that's another story completely, yeah, this one is close to my heart.
  • Nylons shorts for everyone- they wear nicely, wash quickly. You will be hotter than ever before, and the cost of laundry is unreal- I did it in the cockpit, nylon washes with little water dries quickly. Shouldn't be a problem...Scott and I have lots and lots of sailing swag!
  • Spare parts- lots of, you'll never get them cheaper than here and they are easy to get. Word. 
  • Take email addresses for all major part suppliers- much cheaper than the phone call home for the spare part and I assure you you will be calling home for parts.
    When buying parts now, see if the part has any substitutes, or other part numbers. Many countries do not use our part number system but have the same item- just under another number. Again, great stuff that we might not have considered. 
  • Extra long swage-less rigging terminals- would be great but we don't have them for all of our rigging.  This sort of goes along with the previous suggestion of spare everything... 
  • Don't forget the crew, its fun to have surprise packages for all on board. Simple finger puzzles, a candy bar, jokes, cartoons, a book about birds- wrapped & given for a special occasions- first rainy day at sea, crossing the equator, stuck in the doldrums, have fun, be creative. We are pretty creative between the two of us...seen as how neither of us can sit still for very long I'm sure we'll come up with all sorts of creative ways to pass the time.. 
  • MP3 player- I have the SanDisk because it uses an AAA battery which was important to me. This is a no-brainer.
  • Wildlife books. We enjoy keeping a record of what we see on the water and in the air. It was wonderful having resources to identify the creatures.Also a no-brainer. 
We'll keep you posted on the other lessons we learn along this way...this is going to be a journey TO a journey...we're learning, slowly but surely!  Thanks for the support!


Last Paradise said...

Hey! Cool blog- not sure if you look at old posts for comments (I don't)... anyways, I don't agree with the pressure cooker advice! I NEVER used a PC on land, and I use it just about every meal on the boat- it is absolutely, hands down the best investment we made (next to the auto pilot?) Especially useful in rough seas, which there will be sometimes! I'll give you pointers on how to use it too if you want! Cheers and happy sailing :)

Anonymous said...

stock up on cheep booze for the gulf it is invalubal for trading with others we got 24 lobsters for 2 gallons of cheep boose form cuban fisher men. but still have a few case of the good stuff for your self or the law

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