Hey Captain!

Hey Captain Paul what is your favorite piece of gear you had on the boat?

Hmmm. This is a tough one because so much of the gear was shit. Kidding, most of it was OK else we would have given up much earlier. I come from a career of fixing machines so I didn’t freak out too much when something broke. There was plenty of whining but not much freaking out….except for leaking heads. You’re allowed to freak out about that shit. How did people with a background in finance or muffin baking maintain an old boat? This always baffled me. It’s like learning to play guitar before youtube videos were around. How can this be possible?


How many times did Deb think, “We’re fucked.” but then Captain Skinny Legs pulls off a quick repair. I think I should have received some bonus points…or something. 😏

The first piece of top gear that comes to mind is the Mantus anchor. I called it my sleeping pill because it never failed us once it was set properly and it was easy to set. We started with a CQR and a Claw which both came with the boat. The CQR was worthless except in pure mud. I hated it and it departed pretty quickly once we hit Florida. The Claw was pretty good. We kept it as a backup. We had a Claw on our old boat and it worked just fine.

Virgin Mantus
A well used anchor.

The Claw earned its stay when in the Delaware river a barge dragged down on us during a tide change in heavy current. The current pulled the barge out but we held fast and unfortunately the barge was coming right at us. The tugboat Captain called us in the wee hours to let us know that even though he fired up the engines that it would be real close and we should be prepared to cut anchor. Hell of a start to cruising. He stopped with 75 ft to spare while I had a knife ready to lose all my chain and rode. Good times! I think I tied a line and a fender to the chain but I can’t remember. Not sure if I was that smart back then.

We were going to buy the Rocna but it was reported that some were breaking in half on people so we went with the Mantus. Rocna got better but mentally I never recovered from that news. It’s like the Ford Pinto. Yea a few exploded upon impact but they’re better now. We had 65 lbs of lovely pointy scooping metal hanging off the bow and I slept really well at night unless the French were anchored nearby. Hell we even made it through a Derecho in 80 plus knots and didn’t budge while everyone around us changed locations. I think I actually kissed that anchor at one point.

We were a little light on chain as I went with the 5/16 high strength versus the everyday heavy chain. I needed to save some weight up front. I was a little nervous at first but it was a perfect set up as we never did drag after being set and the water on the deck always drained to the stern. We had high confidence that the boat would always be where we left it after a full day ashore.

Coming in at number two would have to be the Honda Generator 2000. We used this primarily for the watermaker but every now and then we topped up the batteries with this little wonder machine. Pretty much ran smooth until we sent it to a mechanic for a tune up and then she ran a little rough afterward but never failed. 

Honda 2000. This is not where we stored it. I just couldn’t find a pic of it in action at the stern.

I always felt deprived because we did not have an inboard diesel generator but so many of our friends had problems with them that I’m glad we kept it simple. Still, felt kind of trashy with the little red Honda on the stern rail.

With the laundry on the lifelines, the generator running and me scratching my butt with a beer in my hand I bet we looked very yacht club unworthy but hey, we were just a pair of Sperry’s, Mount Gay Rum hat and a North Sails shirt away from fitting in.  🤔

Another benefit of the Honda was the extra space in the engine room. No diesel genny meant a big old spot was available for storage or getting your body in there. This really came in handy for the guys who were in there draining our accounts of cash and working on the engine. You know, that’s where my repair talent was diminished. I was hesitant to do too much with that Yanmar engine besides basic stuff. I was afraid I’d fuck it up. Mostly everything else can be replaced easily but this was a critical piece of equipment in a low budget boat. Experts, or people I could take to court were required for work on the Yanny.

Does the Yanmar engine count as gear? I don’t know but I will say it’s the best. I think I mentioned that in a previous post where I disparaged all other makes and model of engines and boats making lots of friends in the process. I was surprised that there were no comments from sailors who swore by their old crappy engines, calling me a know nothing prick. I was very disappointed.

I’ll cover one more piece of gear and then take a break. My middle finger hurts. The one I sliced open with a vegetable peeler. That wound healed in time for me to burn the same digit on a pan I was taking out of an oven. Burned it bad. It’s still red and sore and my guitar playing is suffering but in a week I should be fine. I probably should have left the blister alone but it’s like bubble wrap, I just had to pop it.

The next piece of gear on the best list is our watermaker. Yes it was a total pain in the ass at times and I had my roundabouts with the creator of this unit but overall it was a performer and probably kept us out there longer than we would have lasted had we not had it or went with something else.

Cruise RO 30 gallon per hour water making system was a life saver. We ran this unit every two days for about an hour. It was powered by the Honda Generator along with some boat volts. We were never without fresh water and we had plenty of it. Heaven compared to schlepping it from a broken faucet next to a bar.

When we received the unit and tested it the first time it leaked. One of the membrane tubes spewed water. I was instructed to take it apart and change seals. When I pulled it apart it was full of grime. I asked why I got a used unit and was told I was an asshole for saying that but the one tube was a different color (older style) and smelled and had a leak. Tell me again why I’m the asshole? I eventually got a new membrane for free but not until we were done with the first season of cruising.

We had some other boost pump issues and received a bad jabsco pump that was not their fault but I bought it from them so hey, new pump pal. Even though we seemed to get the shaft on this unit, it worked well and the Cruise RO dude did help us out even if we thought of eachother as assholes. They do reply pretty quickly and can help you troubleshoot. So despite the initial problems we thought this was a great system. Long hot showers baby! Amazing how hot showers still feel good even in the tropics.

I had these components spread out all over the boat.

There were some fun moments with the watermaker. Once we filled a tank and then some when the top of the fill tube had come loose from the fitting and the water flowed into a cabinet at 30 gallons/hr for a little while. “Is that tank ever going to fill?”

Once we had an issue with the brine discharge and I put the discharge hose out a port to drain overboard. I thought I had it secured but when we started the unit the hose slipped back into the cabin and whipped around like a deranged snake and sprayed brine all over me and the aft cabin. Ah, such fond memories of the cruising life.

OK, I have to go now. Need to trim some of this dead skin from my finger. I think today is apartment cleaning day. Joy. No! It’s been postponed for christmas cookie baking day. Otherwise known as Why the hell did I eat all those fking cookies day.

Next post is titled, ‘Who’s your Captain?”



2 thoughts on “Hey Captain!

  1. Well I’m totally surprised Paul. I thought for sure you would say the most important piece of equipment would be an unbreakable beer mug.

    Liked by 1 person

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