Sail Pending is currently pretty well-equipped for Charter boat. She has 4 private staterooms (bedrooms), 4 heads (bathrooms), a fully equipped galley (kitchen) with a stove top, oven, microwave, refrigerator, freezer and all the other modern appliances anyone would need for a weeks vacation in paradise.
But, there is a big difference between being well equipped for a week vacation in the Virgin Islands where the islands are, at the most, a mile or two apart and being well equipped for a 14-16 month voyage between islands that are 20 – 75 miles apart.
Sail Pending is currently equipped to Sail in areas like the Virgin islands, where the islands are all within line of site.
As we expand our cruising area we need to think about long term sailing and being out at sea for several hours and sailing overnight. We may even choose to do larger passages where we will be at sea for several days at a time. Our first “big” (at least big to us) crossing will be from the BVI’s (Virgin Gorda) to St. Martin, and this passage will be done with most of the passage completed overnight.
There are several additions that we are adding as soon as the charter season is over.
1.) Solar Panels – The electrical System on Sail Pending is pretty complex. There are 5 batteries and an inverter which turns the 12 volt battery system (like in a car) into a 110 AC volt system for the outlets (the outlets are normal 3-hole plugs that we all have in our homes). The way the batteries are currently charged is if the engines are running or if we are running the generator. Everything on the boat, except for the Air Conditioning can be run off of the batteries, but when the batteries get low and we have to start an engine or start the generator to charge them. The generator uses about 1/2 a gallon of fuel an hour, and with fuel at +$4.00 a gallon in the Caribbean we want to avoid using fuel as much as possible. So, We are adding five (5), 100 Watt each solar panels to charge our batteries without having to start a fuel burning engine. During the Day the solar panels will fully charge our batteries. It will take approximately 2 panels to create enough electric to run our refrigerator and freezer for 24 hours and the other three will be additional to add extra charge to the batteries.
We will be using the wind to propel us from island to island, and the sun to charge our batteries. We are planning on using very little fuel.
2.) A Water Maker – Water is also very expensive in the islands. You won’t hear us complaining that the Rum and Beer are cheaper than the water, but we still need clean water for drinking, washing and bathing. We are adding a desalination unit with a filter for drinking water, so we will be able to turn salt water from the Sea into fresh, clean, drinking water at rate of about 15 gallons an hour. We will be able to keep our 80 gallon water tank full. Currently, we have to pull into a marina and pay to fill it up about about every 7-10 days.
(So, think about this… 3 of us use ONLY about 10 gallons of water total per day while living on the boat. A typical person living in the United States will use 25-40 gallons of water while taking a 10 minute shower!!)
3.) A I S – Automatic Identification System. This is an automatic tracking system used on large vessels world-wide. The system electrically exchanges data with other vessels, so even though you can not see another vessel with your bare eyes you will be able to know what type of vessel it is and its currently position, course and speed. A boat of our size is NOT required to have AIS, but we are adding it as additional safety equipment.
4.) Radar – When you have AIS, you can only see other boats equipped with AIS. AIS is only required on boats of 300 gross tons or more. But, there are a lot of smaller boats out there that are not equipped with AIS, so we will also have Radar on Sail Pending, so we will be able to know where these boats are with out being able to see them visually, as well.
In short, AIS will keep very large ships from running into us and Radar should keep us from running into any smaller boats.
We will also have other Smaller, Personal safety equipment on the boat, such as; life-raft, life jackets, ditch bag, Satellite Phone and EPIRB.