Q&A – #86

Say Cpt Woody, when you were on Trinidad did you see many large (55-65 LOD ~ 50-55 LWL) steel boats? I sure be lookin but not findin’ nothin’ ya know? Just curious if I’ve left a stone unturned there.

There were a ton of neglected cruising boats for sale there in the boat yards. Tania and I weren’t looking for bigger boats though so I don’t remember seeing one. Frances at Dynamite Brokerage was very helpful and seemed to represent every boat on the island. They have a good website with pics: www.yachtworld.com/dynamitebrokerage. Tania ended up getting her boat in St. Maarten and she found others for sail, er, for sale in the Dominican Republic.

Hey Woody, I love the winch wench, best idea since sliced cheese. Is there any way you can make them bigger? I drink the big bottles of Gatorade and they don’t fit. A slot for a coffee mug would be cool also. Second, I just got my first boat, a Pearson 35, 1981, and everyone (people that work at the marina) tells me not to drink the water from the tanks. I plan on doing a lot of coastal cruising in this boat and carrying 2 weeks of bottled water sounds like a real pain in the butt. When I look in the tanks they look clean. How do I make these tanks useable for drinking/cooking water? Thanks, Gary T. Orr s/v OSPREY

Gary, thanks for the ideas for the Winch Wench! For those of you that are waiting for a new model to come out, there won’t be one in the foreseeable future. Buy the original! (And get me back out cruising!) For coffee, or other temperature sensitive beverages like boat brewed Bavarian lager, you can use those handleless travel (car) cups.

I agree that you should be able to drink water out of your tanks. Is the marina staff worried about your tanks or their dock water? How does the water taste (from both)? Are your tanks made of some material that is breaking down and causing the water problem? If not, and your problem is normal water tank growth, then there are a couple of things you can try. I would start by thoroughly cleaning out the tank. Stuff grows on the inside and accumulates at the bottom of water tanks so get an arm and a rag inside if you can. Suck it dry with a shop vac. Rinse thoroughly, too much bleach is bad for you and bleach is bad for rubber hoses and pump fittings.

To keep growth from coming back cruisers use maintenance doses of Bleach or Iodine. I’m no expert on tank treatment so I’ve consulted a couple – experts that is. Nigel Calder, in his indispensable compendium of cruising gospel – Cruising Handbook, says you can treat your tanks with unscented, household Bleach (the normal 5% solution of sodium hypochlorite kind). He suggests 10 teaspoons (1.67 ounces) per 100 gallons and twice that for cloudy or questionable water. Open the fill so that the fumes can vent.

Beth Leonard in her book Voyager’s Handbook talks about using four to five ounces of bleach per 100 gallons. Careful if you have aluminum tanks, bleach eats aluminum. She also recommends a charcoal filter for drinking water.

Iodine kills stuff that bleach can leave behind. 5 milliliters (.17 ounces) for 5 gallons Nigel says. For iodine to do its thing he suggests you leave it in the tank for 15 hours. I use iodine instead of bleach to clean my plastic brew containers. It doesn’t leave a taste like bleach (a tip I got from a reader).

Woody, Very much enjoy your articles and Lats and Atts mag. My wife, Linda and I recently retired and moved to St. Thomas. We have taken a basic keel boat course in SF and want to continue with our lessons with the aim to be able to charter a boat to use here in the islands or…maybe buy one eventually. There are several schools here in St. Thomas or Tortola. Do you have an opinion on one? The only one we checked out so far is Blue Water Sailing School. They offer a 7 day ASA101 Basic Sailing, ASA103 Basic Coastal Cruising and ASA104 Bareboat Chartering combined course. Price $1595 inclusive per person. What do you think?
Michael Hantman

Living in a sailing paradise? I would say that you would definitely want to know how to sail. Yes, the ASA (American Sailing Association) is probably the biggest sailing instruction program in the States. I was once an ASA instructor (for a company with the same name). I suppose you could get anyone to teach you to sail but an ASA certification would be recognized all over. If you are going to be sailing boats of all sizes for the rest of your life (a fate which you are now doomed, living in a sailing mecca) than the 101-104 program you found is a lot of training for the money. I don’t know what you’ve got going down there (Google would tell us) but US Sailing and the J-World programs are also well recognized.

Another option (read: short cut), if you are only interested in chartering, would be to go straight to chartering. Most companies (Lats uses Sunsail) will put a skipper aboard to teach you what you need to know. If you don’t know anything, you can take one of their skippered charters where you share the boat with other couples and a skipper and chef look after you. That’s high end (I’ve only experienced this option through the brochure). It’s more likely that you will opt for chartering your own smaller boat and paying the daily rate for a company skipper. Depending on how qualified you are you could have him/her aboard for a day or two or the whole week. Skippers cost ’round $150 a day plus food.

Posted on the Lats Bull Board by: CAELESTIS
I hope this is not too far off the subject, but I noticed the Lost Soul draws just over eight feet. My boat does as well. I am wondering how much (other than the Bahamas) it limits your cruising?

I think that the stability and sailability you get from the deeper keel makes it worth it. With a deeper keel you’ll learn to pay more attention to tides and charts, and when necessary, you’ll want to put someone in the rig or on the bow to look out for the odd bomby (Ozzie for coral head). I cruised on Lost Soul through the relatively shallow Bahamas. We had to stay to the middle and could only pull into certain places but I felt like we got a thorough look at the island chain, and had some fun along the way. There were a couple places in Mexico that we found the bottom but I attribute that to playful indifference.

Most Pacific cruising destinations you don’t worry about depth much. I know that things are different on the East Coast and especially on the ICW (where I’ve left my mark on three occasions – it’s unnatural running all day through buoys!). While anchored in Darwin, where the shallow water extends far offshore, Low Key and I learned all about tide tables and how to work with them. I was re-parking every few days in order to keep that couple inches of water below the keel, all in order to keep the dinghy ride to a reasonable distance. After the Indian Ocean tsunami it occurred to me that my penchant for parking close to shore would have gotten me in trouble that day. With a deeper keel you’ll learn to be more careful in the shallows but your offshore work, especially upwind, will be more fun.


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