Getting Ready to Head Off

We’d planned this trip for about three years, and every bit of time was needed to prepare the boat and ourselves.  But that meant a new boat. Our beautiful 32 ft Ericson was a joy but we needed a bigger boat which would take us offshore cruising.......... and that was New Horizons, a Cavalier 37 -  Thanks to Richard and Merren who reluctantly parted with her. New Horizons is a veteran of several  Sydney-Hobarts, including the infamous 1998 race. More importantly she had cruised the Pacific with Richard and Merren so she knows the way.

But then we added a few things. The sail inventory was expanded with a cutter rig with staysail and furler, new mainsail, new genoa, and reaching spinnaker on a furler. To the existing electonics we added a new chart plotter at the helm and an AIS transponder to monitor shipping and let them know that we were there. This complemented the charting software - Passage Plus - on the Macs and a handheld GPS.

We replaced many of the halyards and sheets and added a boom brake to keep that under control.

Of course we couldnt get far without the dinghy and outboard and a crane to lower the outboard to the dinghy, as long as that didnt interfere with the BBQ which came with its extra gas bottle.

The new safety gear included the 6 person liferaft, the new EPIRB and 2 Personal Locator Beacons, 5 new lifejackets with tethers and harnesses and a floating handheld VHF radio.

The 3 house and 1 start battery were all replaced with AGM batteries and, to help with the power management, all the navigation lights were replaced with LEDs and so were the interior lights.

And then there was pulling her out of the water to scrub her bottom and to add the new feathering prop and the replacement depth sounder which had suddenly given up the ghost.

Then there was the upholstery and that was only the half of it; but it's too disturbing to go on adding this up!

But soon things started to look pretty ship shape.

So we sold the house and moved aboard in March 2011. We had set a departure date of 11/11/11 and we found we needed the 6 months living aboard to work out where to store everything in ways which were accessible and which matched our pattern of living aboard.

Of course it also meant lots of training for us...... Radio licences, Safety at Sea, Navigation, Diesel Maintenance, Day Skipper, Weather, ........ Michael even did a Celestial Navigation course in a bizarre flight of fancy and learnt only that the early navigators were extraordinary people and that we must have good backups for all our navigation electronics. The stars would not be getting us home!

Eventually we were ready to leave our berth at Brighton and head for Docklands where we were making some final preparation

© Michael White 2013