Equipment that worked for us

Last updated 1/25/98.

Anchor gear: We lived on the hook so we placed a very high emphasis on our ground tackle. Even though we are only a moderate displacement 35 ft. boat, we carry 300 ft. of ACCO (made in US) 3/8 in. High Test chain as our primary anchor rode with two 3 strand nylon snubber lines led to each side of the bow. Primary anchor is a 35 lb. CQR which has worked just perfectly for us as our "all time, every time" anchor. Our stern hook is a 22 lb. Danforth Deep Set High Tensile anchor with 30 ft. of 3/8 in. HT chain and 250 ft. of 1/2 in. line. We have only needed to use this anchor 4 or 5 times but it sets and holds like grim death. In fact, EVERY time we have used it, we have had to dive on it to dig it out which means we only use it when we absolutely have to. Our third anchor is a 50 lb. stainless steel copy of the Danforth type which was made in Taiwan and came with the boat when she was new. We have only used this anchor a couple of times (hurricane Lester was one) and don't want to trust it too much. An ABI single speed, double action, bronze and SS manual windlass has worked just great for the entire time we have owned 'Horizon' but we will be replacing it with an IDEAL electric windlass for our next cruise (my back needs a break). We also intend to rebuild the bow roller assembly to be able to ship a 45 lb. CQR as our "new" primary anchor.

Water maker: 'Horizon' is short on water tankage (2 Vetus bladders that lasted 9 years) totaling only about 60 gallons so a good water maker was essential for us. We have a Village Marine NF-200 engine driven system that supplied ALL our water for the first 2 years and about 90% of all our water needs after that. We can't say enough good things about the model we have. The NF-200 (No Frills) makes 8.3 gal/hr, is run by the engine with a CAT model 237 pump, and came as a modular system so we could tuck the bits and pieces where space was available. There are no fancy automatic tasters with solenoid valves to break down, it comes with all SS fittings and valves, a bullet proof pressure regulator, an oil dampened high pressure gauge, and raw feed water and product water flow gauges. Aside from a chaffed high pressure feed hose and 2 cracked end caps on the pressure vessel, we did not have ANY problems with the system. The only time we took on outside water was in harbors with water so obviously dirty and oily that we didn't feel safe using the water maker. Hint: to keep from having chaffed high pressure hoses, feed them through a thick wall plastic hose of the same length. This gives the high pressure hose a smooth curved surface to pulsate against and helps contain the water if a puncture does occur.

Power generation: 'Horizon' has several ways to make power to keep the refrigerator cold, the radios on, lights for reading, and everything else needed when you don't have a power cord connected to a dock. First off are the 2 Prevailer 4D gel cell batteries that store our power. These have been just great for us and we were relieved to learn recently that Boat US is now importing the same German manufactured Prevailer batteries we have grown to love but had disappeared from the market soon after we bought ours. We have 2 Arco (now Seimens) M-55 solar panels totalling 106 Watts mounted on a horizontal shelf above the self steering wind vane and behind the backstay. These supplied about 45 amp/hrs a day in the sunny climates we experienced. We also have a home built wind generator we hoist in the fore-triangle that makes up to 15 amps depending on wind speed. But the most reliable method of generating power however, was our Power Line 150 Amp alternator with a Cruising Equipment SAR-12 smart regulator. Although one of the least expensive brands, we found the Power Line alternator puts out a reliable and continuous 120 Amps during the "bulk" charge cycle. We averaged about 1.5 hours engine running time every 3 days to keep the batteries topped up and to make water for the next 3 days. We will be replacing our 8 year old Prevailers with two 8D batteries (Prevailers naturally) and will be relocating them from the engine compartment to the keel to lower our CG and keep the batteries cooler. Note: the combination of the high output alternator and the water maker meant that the engine had about an 8-10 hp load which kept the engine temp up and made for a much happier Volvo.

Refrigeration: The first thing we purchased when we bought 'Horizon' 10 years ago was an Adler Gobbler (Barbour) Cold Machine. In that entire 10 years, we have not had to touch that unit once! We are now gutting the refrigerator and re-building it with real insulation (it currently has a very spotty 2 inches of insulation) since we would like to reduce the 60 amp/hrs per day power consumption and would like to cure the "sweating" teak on the opposite side of the bulkhead. Although now would be a good time to change to a different refrigeration system, we are going to replace our existing Cold Machine with a new Cold Machine but with a large vertical freezer this time. Sounds stupid when all the ads and cruising articles say "engine driven or holding plate systems are the only way to go", doesn't it? We found during our cruise that the only people with ice cubes in their drinks were those of us with Cold Machines! We like ice for our drinks. And we don't want to be forced to run our engine 45 minutes EVERY morning and 45 minutes EVERY night to keep the fridge cold. Plus, power curves from battery manufacturers show that batteries like a 5 amp load for 30 minutes of every hour better than a 15 amp load for 10 minutes of every hour.

Miscellaneous: We have a Compact Food Saver vacuum sealer which we use not only to keep food sealed (and thus fresh longer) but also to seal spare parts, special tools, and even clothes. We would wrap oily rags around bulkier objects such as the spare starter before sealing to keep sharp edges from puncturing the plastic vacuum bag. We are redesigning our hanging locker with shelves that will easily stack the Rubber Maid 2.2 gallon rectangular containers (the kind you can burp) that we tend to keep EVERYTHING in. These make it much easier to not only keep things organized but also keeps them drier. Since the humidity is so high in the tropics, we also keep all our video tapes and floppy discs in those containers with desiccant inside to keep the mold and mildew problem down.