Some of the equipment we use has been brilliant, some a disappointment if not a disaster! Hopefully what follows will assist those contemplating a similar adventure.
Communications within EU
Roaming in Europe now easy with any UK mobile provider. The trick os to get a “plan” that privides you sufficent Gigabytes - 8 a month works well for us. For £15 a month you can a sim card with unlimited phone calls (to a mobile) and unlimited texts along with 8 Gigs of data. Calls to land lines and numbers outside the EU are best made by Skype or similar. The “Hotspot” facility provides wifi all over the boat.
Travel Guide in the Greek Islands
In addition to the conventional travel guides we have purchased all 20 volumes of McGilchrist’s Greek Islands. They have given us an excellent insight to the history of the islands along with practical information - www.networkbooks.biz
Outboard Motor - Torqeedo
Quite brilliant but expensive. Torqeedo is an electric outboard powered by a new generation of light weight battery. The advantages over conventional 2 and 4 stroke petrol outboards include light weight and reliability - that is to say female friendly. You recharge them from 240 volts ashore (or shore power) or boat inverter, or with 12 volts from ships’ batteries or PV panels. We have a second battery and a dedicated PV panel. The PV panel is the quickest way to recharge!
Sea Wolf Capstan/Windlass
Our Simpson Lawrence Seawolf was on its last legs but I was reluctant to replace it as it draws so little current. Any replacement would require hefty cables run forward through the boat. Fortunately I found John McMasters in Paisley who reconditioned our Seawolf. Now with a new gypsy to match the 10 mm chain we have a functioning Windlass at half the price of a replacement.
We have found the ability to see ahead underwater invaluable. The Sonar, a refined depth gauge, looks 7.5 degrees either side of ahead - so you can see the anchor chain ahead of the boat and the anchor as it comes up (or down). More important you can see the reef ahead rising to meet you before it does!! You will need to make a hole in bottom of the hull to accommodate the transducer - make sure it is in a protected area (alongside the keel) as you don’t want the transducer swept off by a net! Power consumption minimal. Every boat should have one!!!
Range Finder - Longridge Pin Point
Anchoring in confined spaces is a nightmare - just how close is that boat, might we swing into that rock? This range finder, developed for golfers, will give you a laser range from 4 to 400 meters. We are constantly surprised to find that there is often more room than we think. The only facility missing is the ability to read the range at night - you need to take the range and then find a light background to read it off - a minor inconvenience then not many play golf at night!
Energy Saving Kettle
Basically a conventional kettle with a copper skirt and coil attached to the base. It does save energy in that the water boils quicker that a conventional kettle. But very soon the kettle starts depositing black soot or rust or both. The energy consumed cleaning up after it far outweighs the advantages of saving a few calories of gas. While seeking a conventional replacement the copper skirt and coil obligingly fell off to leave us with the desired kettle - soot and rust free.
Excell SD260 Tender
After 6 years our Tomihatsu tender had had enough - it was leaking from a seam and the hull material was becoming sticky to the touch. Never mind it had done well.
The Excell replacement had large tubes, a class c coastal waters category and importantly seams guaranteed for 5 years. We wanted a blue one and the salesman suggested that we buy a cover to protect it in the Mediterranean. We bought the cover and “Excellent Blue” began its cosseted career with us. It was never towed, and was provided with dedicated fenders and covered whenever practicable. Within a year of commissioning it repaid our care with three seam leaks around one of its tail cones. Now we read the small print of the guarantee - the tender must be returned to the UK for assessment and repair. Quite impractical, what is worse the manufacturer shows no interest in providing advice for a temporary repair or a local location for a more permanent repair.