A lot of people move onto a boat and feel liberated to get rid of their “stuff.” The Burnetts felt that for about fifteen minutes. Even though they got rid of a lot of stuff and live on a boat now, the Burnetts would never be confused with minimalist Luddite ascetics. They are just too good at acquiring and using suitable technology to make life easier. To paraphrase our friend Laurent from Just Catamarans in Ft. Lauderdale: “I have never seen a boat so overloaded.” You see, there is a certain modern, luxurious joy in using something that you selected only after hours of reading reviews online and finding that yes, indeed, this thing is awesome, and doesn’t it make life so much easier? Budget aside, some cruisers enjoy looking to the past and its simpler lifestyle, which is admirable, but know that there are other cruisers (the Burnetts) who look to the future and embrace complexity, as long as it makes life better. So, since they are waiting out a blow and doing boring, non-photogenic boat maintenance these days, Mel has composed a list of the “stuff” that they acquired for the boat that has proven its worth over time.
Pricey luxuries (compared to alternatives), but worth it:
- Burley cart for grocery trips. You can pull it behind a folding bike, but more often we just push it while walking. Storing it is no fun, but it fits in our port forepeak once broken down. We reinforced the bottom with plywood. While in use, expect middle-aged women to look for a baby and leave disappointed.
- Dometic fridge/freezer. Our boat fridge is too small. Probably the biggest flaw in our boat, next to the cheap carpentry fixtures. Tommy is growing!
- West Marine dock box, for storing outdoor stuff in the aft cockpit. It just fits there.
- Scuba hookah, for fun (this was AWESOME in Bonaire!) and for cleaning the boat bottom and fouled props offshore.
- Outdoor blankets. The plastic side faces outward and protects the kids from spray if they sleep in the aft cockpit when we go offshore. Cosy!
- New swim ladder. The old swim ladder would swing under the boat when you would try to use it. The new swim ladder is rigid and won’t swing under in rough seas, like when you need to clear a fouled prop offshore.
- Our icemaker. This allows us to make ice “on demand” and frees up our freezer from having to carry giant bags of ice. Americans love their ice! This takes up a lot of room. It broke after one year, though – it stops and says the ice bin is full when it isn’t. Fortunately you can manually restart it, but it’s a pain.
- The Iridium Pilot satellite phone and internet. There is a delay of a few seconds when speaking on it and the internet is slow and expensive, but it is perfect for viewing PredictWind on the laptop. It has been reliable, solid, and makes us feel better when hundreds of miles from shore. Mel uses it to upload her offshore blog posts from the middle of the Atlantic, so everyone can almost barf along with her.
- PredictWind. Sure, there are cheaper and free weather programs and apps. But PredictWind was the most accurate for us in the Med, and it allowed us to survive rough weather in the Atlantic. Totally worth it.
Cheap and clever:
- Cuisinart Deluxe Griddler. We use it for bacon, hamburgers, pancakes, everything. It even comes with an algae scraper! (I think it’s actually meant to clean the grill, but it made a great algae scraper before we bought those plastic putty knife thingies.) I see there is an “Elite” version now. Oooo!
- The all-plastic clothespins we bought in Colombia. They hold up in high winds! Couldn’t find similar ones online – they all have metal clasps, which eventually corrode.
- Our clothespin bag and plastic clothesline. We can dry clothes under the awning over our aft cockpit in the rain, and plastic clothesline doesn’t rust.
- Armor-All Utility Vacuum. A lot of people have Dyson handhelds and love them, but this vac has survived being tossed around the boat in rough seas many times. Hmmmm….Mel should probably secure it better.
- Drybags: Ocean Lion for heavy duty stuff and SeaLine for softer things, as even the edge of a cardboard box can chafe a hole in the SeaLines. But they are more flexible. Dry bags allow us to store things in the bilge, once we put up netting to keep stuff away from the seacocks.
- These scrubbies. Found them on the awesome Boat Galley website. I did not find them so useful for scrubbing pots, but rather they make great exfoliating washcloths in the shower and don’t mildew!
- These closed-cell foam seat pads, for comfort while working on the engine, and extra padding while doing yoga!
- Small paintbrushes. They are great for pulling cat hair out of small cracks when used along with the utility vac.
- Griipa shower hooks. They stick well to our fiberglass shower and bathroom walls and are great for hanging wet suits and towels.
- Scotch Extreme Mounting Velcro, the kind that holds up to 10 pounds. This is the only stuff we have found that sticks reliably to our laminate – we mount pictures with it. This is almost impossible to find outside of the States.
- Command Broom & Mop Gripper We have brooms and mops mounted behind the owner’s bathroom door. Haven’t fallen off yet!
- Absorber shammies. Almost everyone knows about these, but they are still awesome! We clean all acrylic surfaces with these, and they are also handy at addressing hatch leaks!
- A year’s supply of sunscreen, because it is super expensive everywhere. Bought it in bulk. Mel undershot the amount the first year and ran out of their favorite spray sunscreen (the spray mechanism coats really well) in 7 months.
Some Leopard-48-specific perks:
- Our cockpit enclosure. Makes a watch in bad wind and weather bearable. Handmade out of Ft. Lauderdale by Merle Stewart designs.
- Our cockpit cushions. They are made of a fancy foam that dries quickly but isn’t closed-cell. We also replaced the hard padding on the helm seat with something squishier and yet tougher. This literally saved our ass! Another Merle Stewart design.
- We paid a carpenter to extend our counterspace by putting a roof over the hallway in the guest hull. It’s hard to describe, but we can fit 6 appliances on that thing!
- Extra wall racks in the kitchen. We put in an extra spice rack and also bought a similar rack to hold sunscreen and sunglasses right by the door to the aft cockpit – handy!
- A drawer pull for our pullout kitchen trash bin drawer. Oddly, it didn’t come with one. Before that, we were jerking the sliding drawer off of its tracks.
- A taller kitchen trash can that fits in the trash bin drawer (we tossed the lid).
- Various vacuum-sealed Oxo storage containers that fit perfectly in the storage areas in the saloon floor.
And that, my dears, is why The Amazing Marvin isn’t quite making his polars!