I have not had time to post lately. We are still in the process of preparing to cruise. There is a lot left to do and time seems to be flying by. I am currently involved in a project for grandchildren...a kind of indoor gym / play set for their playroom. It is not boat stuff but I will post a picture when it is complete. I have been ordering items needed for cruising. Today I ordered a Life Sling that I hope we never have to use. It hangs on your rail and is deployed in the event someone falls overboard. I also ordered personal tethers as well as jack lines, all safety equipment designed to keep us safely in the boat. I still need to order chart books as a back up to the Garmin Chart plotter that I received last week.
I have been reading a lot about A.I.S. which helps with collision avoidance. A.I.S. stands for Automated Identification System. Since we will at times be in heavy traffic areas...shipping lanes...it would be good to know what other boats are in the area, which direction they are headed, and how fast the are going. A.I.S. gives you all that information.. Unfortunately it is expensive. Although I am trying to keep expenses low, I do not want to compromise where safety is concerned. I will order the AIS transmitter as well as the receiver, and do a blog post on it once installed. I believe all commercial ships over a certain size are required to be on the system.
A good thing to remember when buying a boat is that there are things you will want to do...upgrades...addition of equipment, most of which are expensive. Try to purchase a boat that enables you to have cash left over for improvements and additions. It is true that all boats are a compromise, as well as the equipment/systems installed. I had planned to upgrade where safety is concerned.
Things still left to do:
Purchase and install A.I.S.
Make a decision on a radar upgrade. The existing radar unit is old (1996) and you have to go to the navigation station to read it.
Install a new engine coolant hose. The existing hose has a bubble in it...noticed at the time of the survey.
Re-position the existing solar panel so it is better balanced and more secure on the frame above the dinghy davits
Install the new solar panel I purchased giving us a 140 watt panel in addition to the 135watt panel that came with the boat. Solar panels are getting less expensive, and will help keep our batteries charged. We want to be as self sufficient as possible. This will enable us to anchor at times and avoid costs associated with marinas. I bought the same model panel so the dimensions would be the same. It is rated 5 watts higher than the older model that came with the boat.
Finalize the federal documentation on the boat...The US Coast Guard and The Department Homeland Security are running behind because of cutbacks...not sure this is a great place for cutbacks.
Buy a dinghy and a motor ...anyone have a nice used one for sale?
Install CO2 detector in the cabin of Serenity.
Get familiar with the chart plotter.
Wax the deck of Serenity.
Check into solar vents for the cabin of the boat to help circulate air.
Get the quarter berth cushions recovered. The previous owner supplied the material which matches the rest of the cushions.
Get used to no air conditioning, having no permanent address, and changing scenery!
Do something to soften the bed in the v-berth.
So far I have been very pleased with Serenity. Although there are improvements to be made, she as well as her systems were in pretty good shape for a twenty one year old boat. The next decision...do we get a life raft and an EPIRB? We really want to be safe...but not so safe that we can't afford to cruise. I guess there is truth to the statement...go small...go cheap...go now.