Racing across the Pacific requires a level of preparation fair weather sailors don’t need to consider.  There is no AAA for oceangoing yachts.  If something breaks, you fix it yourself.  If you find you need something, you’d better have thought to bring it along.  The Coast Guard won’t come and get you in the middle of the ocean, and if you find yourself adrift in a life raft, you’ll have to keep yourself alive and sane until a passing vessel can get to you.  Fortunately, lots of folks have done this race successfully, and the SHTP Race Committee has guidelines for safety and preparation.  As far as I know, there hasn’t yet been a tragedy in the event.  I plan to not be the first.
Dodger:  I gave this a lot of thought, and decided not install one.  This was tough, because one of my kids builds them for a living.  Seems like every cruiser you see has a dodger.  I’ve sailed a lot of miles, some of them in brutal weather.  A dodger might be nice, but my boat is pretty small and a permanent dodger would occupy too much room.  The only time I can stand up straight in the cabin is with my head sticking out of the companionway slider!  All I really need is a removable spray hood so I can sit on the companionway step during especially cold or wet weather.  I’ll have him build me something like that, something I can put up quickly only when I need it.
Update 4/16/14!  Some recent work:
Built in 1981

This old water tank was nasty. It came out to make room for a new battery bank.  I won’t miss it.  We’d never used it, and it still contained water the previous owner had added.





Off to the rubbish bin

No amount of bleach-cleaning and sanitizing could have made me drink from this.  Off to the dumpster!  I have 28 gallons of fresh water in four portable tanks, so I’m good to go.

Needs a cleaning

Tank is out, bilge needs a scrubbing.










This is the through-hull for the sink drain. I’ve never used it, so I closed it and capped it off.
















The new 6 volt golf cart batteries are well-secured.  Those wood frames are epoxied to the hull.  It’s very stout.













The 75 AH Optima backup battery is fused at the positive terminal.










So is the 232 AH golf cart bank.











Optima backup, battened down and secure.  Bilge is clean!

Test fitting the new panel

Test fitting the new 12 volt DC panel.  I’d built this in my kitchen, and was pleasantly surprised when everything fit as I had designed it.  Just goes to show that even non-engineering types, like me, can succeed if they go slowly, think things through, and measure a lot.


Making the connections.  Everything is well-organized and labeled.  I’d tested it at home with two 6 volt lantern batteries wired in series to simulate a battery bank.  It was easier to sort things out in my kitchen than it would have been on the boat.  When I hooked up the real battery, it all worked as planned.  Woohoo!


Everything fits and works.

head protection

This pool noodle isn’t especially attractive, but I’ve banged my head on those exposed genoa track nuts so many times that I don’t care. It works. A reader suggested it. Great idea! You can see the rewiring in progress.


All the new wiring is run through this conduit. All potential chafe points were located and treated. If I ever have a wiring problem now, I don’t have to remove that trim piece to chase it down.  The port side looks similar.  Very tidy.


Found these plastic razor blades. They are great scrapers. I wish I could remember where I picked them up.



At the dock

Had to get out of the boat for a bit. I have a name graphic for the transom. Need to get that applied. I’ve had the boat for seven years . . .




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