Prepping for Shake Down - wifi, dinghies and safety netting, oh my.

At least I guess that's what you'd call it - a shake down sail?  We have 3.5 weeks in December that are FREE!  Free of work, free of school, free of any obligations.  We are heading South!

We don't really have a plan.  I figure with that long we can spend 1 week sailing South - looking for sun, and then redetermine from there.  I want to have plenty of time to get back - in case weather doesn't cooperate, etc, before work starts back up for both of us and school starts back up for me.  But I'm really looking forward to getting out and sailing - just the two of us,and our little weenies.

In the meantime, we're in prep mode!  We've got the safety netting up for the dogs and it's working nicely.  We picked up a 2nd dog life jacket, so we no longer have to choose which dog gets to live when we go for a sail. And we brought the dinghy to the dock and the motor is working - so we're mobile!  Davits have been ordered (from two different companies! Oops.  Got that straightened out though) and will be installed asap.
Safety netting has been installed around the cockpit to keep the dogs from sliding off when we're heeling.

Not only is the engine here, but we've also got it mounted in its home on the stern.
I've started some very basic provisioning (just threw a couple of extra items in the cart when I was at Sam's the other day...)  Here are some more prep items I'd like to accomplish in the very near future:
  • A wifi booster - still have no clue which one to go with, but need to get it ordered/installed/learn to use it soon!
  • Get the proper lightbulb for the anchor light - I was up the mast this past Sunday to install one, but it turns out to be the wrong one.  Mark has ordered the correct one, in LED form, and I'll get on back up the mast as soon as it arrives.  I also need to check out the steaming light to see which bulb it uses, as it is out as well.  (we run an LED up the halyard when we anchor, y'all, we don't just float around all invisible.)~~~~ update here - the crazy looking LED light finally made it from Singapore.  Too bad that it, too, is the wrong type of bulb.  Another (proper) bulb has been ordered...
  • We'd like to get a hand held VHF and need to get some binoculars
  • Serious provisioning.  This is a test run, so I want to practice provisioning for longer stints.  While we will have easily accessible stores along the ICW, relative to being out in the ocean, I want to see if I can provision without needing to count on the stores.  But it will be nice to know they're there for backup!
  • The chart plotter may or may not be dead.  It went out yesterday mid-sail, but Mark seems to have revived it.  Looks like maybe a corroded wire...  Hard to believe, right?  Corrosion on a boat.  Thinking of getting the Navionics app for my phone as a backup.  I did not like sailing around without our chart plotter - at least we were in home waters and know the channel/sand bars here.
  • Sleeping bags!  Holy smokes it got cold here Friday night.  Apparently these crazy Canadians brought their native weather with them.  We have a heater, but won't have the luxury at anchor, so we'll need to bring along a couple of our sleeping bags, just in case. 
We are heading to the boat show in Miami in February, so we want to only purchase the necessities for now.  We want to see what's out there before we make any big purchases.  I'm thinking we can get so much more for the money, technologically, than could be had when the current systems were purchased in 2007.  We'd like to have AIS and radar before we shove off the dock for good.  And after we noticed our crazy water consumption this week, maybe a water maker!  We're working on our consumption rates, as well, but we'll see how that goes.  No clue yet where to stick a water maker on this sucker.

Any thoughts/experiences/opinions/suggestions, etc?


  1. I´m excited for all your preparations, and very hopeful that the booster will be secured and you´ll be proficient users so we can keep up with all the fun you'll be having in December! yaaaaay!!!

    1. Me too!
      When do YOU get your internet back...?

  2. When purchasing your electronics (radio and AIS, etc.) you may want to look at Hodges Marine. Mark is really really really cheap and always shops for the lowest price. I see more boxes and charges from Hodges than anyone else. They are based in Florida and because of your location, most shipments will arrive next day - no tax. Here is the link to their site: http://www.hodgesmarine.com/

    We highly recommend an AIS type B (transmits and receives).

    As for the water maker - do not add this until you are really ready to cruise full time. We have 2 onboard. They are a pain in the you-know-what. They must be run on a regular basis - every 2 weeks. To run them you need to be in clean salt-water (offshore). The more they are run, the better they work. If they sit for more than 3-4 weeks they should be pickled with chemicals. The process is nasty and the chemicals are highly poisonous. And, then comes the task of removing the chemicals when you are ready to use it again.

    FYI - we are hogs with fresh water and use about 40 gallons per day. A water maker for us was a must have.

    Mark said he would send you the Wi-Fi booster information.

    All the best,

    Mark and Cindy
    s/v Cream Puff

    1. Thanks so much, Cindy! That's great information. I had no idea you have to run the water maker so often - I will definitely hold off on that installation. It gives me time to shop around for a good price - and location in this boat. Speaking of good prices, I'm off to check out that website link :)

  3. Three and half weeks free in December?!! Wow, that's awesome! How hard was that safety net install? We havent' done that for our pup, but considering it. -Kim

    1. Hey Kim!
      The safety net is currently just around the stern of the boat and is installed with UV resistant zip ties - easy peasy. But if we put it around the rest of the boat (likely when we start ocean passages) the lifelines will be run through the netting. Mark actually ordered it from a sporting goods online store with our specific measurements. Entire boat worth, plus a little, for well under $100.

    2. Also looking for lifeline netting for the pooches. What's the website you found yours at? I'm having a tough time finding anything other than the WM kind. Its a must before we leave FL.
      S/V Mary Christine

    3. Hey Jody!
      Mark ordered the netting from On Deck Sports. com He gave them custom measurements and they made it to order. We haven't had it up long, but it seems to be doing the job. Haven't lost a wiener yet!

    4. Haha awesome!! Thanks Jennifer i'll check it out :)


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