Watching our friends Nancy and Rob take off in Shindig for their world cruising adventure last weekend inspired us to get moving on getting Cool Change ready!
So, October 1st or not, we have started buying for our long term cruising. How exciting! One of our first major purchases is our refrigeration system. We currently only have an
ice box. After extensive research, we have decided on the Isotherm ASU SP Refrigeration System. It uses less energy than any other system on the market, is quieter because there is no fan, and takes up less space on the boat. Energy and space are premium commodities for us. It cools by means of a thru-hull so there is no need for a fan, resulting in a smaller footprint for the compressor. We believe this compressor will fit under the head sink. That would be perfect. We bought it now because we are scheduled for a bottom job in a couple of weeks and wanted to take advantage of the haul-out to replace this thru-hull. At the same time, we will replace one or two other thru-hulls and add a dripless shaft seal.
Cindy has been holding off on a number of comfort and convenience items until we knew we were keeping Cool Change, so now she is ecstatic with the fun of getting all those things. The first thing she ordered was Bottomsider cockpit cushions. Finally. And then a matching plate set made for a boat with sticky bottoms. And then, a cockpit table. We also had Tap Plastics cut us some green plastic window shades that we will adhere to the port lights with small velcro patches. These are just some of the minor dressings that make the boat so much more livable!
Rick in the meantime has been researching power requirements. He has decided that we need 450 amps of battery power, and found that in just two, very expensive and heavy batteries that will fit nicely into our only decent-sized cockpit lazerette. He is planning the installation now, along with increasing the size of the alternator. We are both exploring solar and wind power. Although we won’t install the water maker until closer to our departure date, it takes up so much room that we are planning now for where all its parts will go.
We put together a list of every major category of things we need to do and set forth a schedule to get it mostly done in the next 18 months or so. It seems daunting now, but I think it will go smoother than it seems. After Rick finishes the electrical upgrade, we will purchase the windlass and ground tackle. Rick will install the electrical wiring and then we will hire KKMI to do the deck work to attach the windlass in place. We hope to have all of this done by February, 2013, since they are all necessary for us to use Cool Change as our “tag boat” to complete our Coastal Passage Making certification.
After that, our next major task is scheduled to be our cockpit configuration to accommodate a wind generator, solar panels, a bimini, dinghy davits and a wind vane self-steering system. We may need an arch built. We will definitely need some design help on that effort. Close behind is a complete overhaul of our standing and running rigging systems. The mast may have to come down. Tied to that effort is the replacement of our main sail and perhaps the purchase of additional sails, like a genaker, and all the rigging that goes with that.
Next will be the upgrade of our electronics and communications systems, including new radar, a chartplotter, AIS, new instruments, an SSB, and anything else we need in the electronics realm.
By January, 2014, we hope to have all of these things accomplished. We will still have some minor plumbing changes to implement, seals and latches and bedding improvements to make, an engine overhaul and autopilot check, and the water maker to install, along with probably dozens of little jobs, but mostly we hope to take 2014 to test all of our new systems thoroughly and get to know them before we cast off the dock lines in September!