Preparations for Long Range Cruising on Furthur

With a September departure date looming, the long list of projects for Furthur is steadily being shortened, then added to, and shortened again. The refits and upgrades fall into several categories; replacement of existing system and additions of new systems.

Starting with a haul out at Lake Union Yacht Center, I replaced the stock rudder with the new Articulating Rudder designed and manufactured by Bayview Edison Engineering. With nearly 10,000 miles of following seas lying ahead, the Articulating Rudder’s enhanced steering capabilities were very attractive not to mention the extraordinary handling improvement. Also while out of the water, I replaced the smaller 6 square foot Wesmar Stabilizer fins with the larger7.5 square foot fins, giving more stability at slow ocean crossing speeds. Wanting improved performance and less power drain from the freezer, the Grunnert system was replaced by the much smaller, more efficient Frigaboat freezer system. I hauled off a dock cart full of gear and replaced it with a shoe box full of gear. The thinner plates gave me a 20% increase in freezer space. The, now DC, power usage is much lower and the freezer is colder. There is no longer a worry about the water pump pumping as the Frigaboat system uses a small keep cooler. I can maintain 10 degrees Fahrenheit with a less than four amp intermittent draw.

Along with the new improvements, I also did a thorough inspection of through hulls, shaft, prop and hull while replacing the zincs and a fresh coat of bottom paint.

Now back in the water, the work moved topsides. As I have always carried an over sized anchor- more a case of what we had on hand than preference- I now upgraded the windlass and added 200′ more chain to the main anchor. I am also upgrading the secondary anchor system. To keep from spilling the salsa while at anchor, I added the new Forespar “Roll X” flopper stopper system.

I will next replace all of the now five year old batteries and upgrade the house system to North Star batteries. A thorough electrical, plumbing, and mechanical inspection is being planned along with developing a substantial spare parts list. Ironically, the most expensive upgrade and purchases I am doing will, God willing, never be used.

To obtain “get home” capabilities I am replacing the 8kw Northern Lights generator with a 12kw model to push Wesmar APU hydraulic get home system. I am also working on an auxiliary sail rig to add to the propulsion in following seas and give just a bit more to the get home capabilities. Trying to prepare for all emergencies, I have an extensive medical kit that is being added to by a doctor friend. To keep afloat I added an emergency fiberglass repair kit and wood plugs for all through hulls.

If all that fails, I am having my Winslow life raft repacked. A substantial “abandon ship bag” is being prepared with small hand held water maker, EPIRB fishing kit with spear gun, a wide assortment of signals, food, first aid kit and “if you need it, you will be glad you have it” stuff. As my electronics are now four years old- light years in the electronics game- I am upgrading my computers and added a second column for backup. An AIS will be added with the ability to turn the transmitter off, a handy option in the Puget Sound land of shipping lanes.

A quick call to my good friend Jon Troxell at Bellingham Chart Printers and I have all of the paper charts, electronic charts and needed cruising books ordered. Yikes, where will I put them?

I posted on the FUBAR forum stating I knew plenty about bears and eagles but needed help with Mexican local knowledge. The most resounding advice I got was to pack a second and much smaller dinghy. I ordered a roll up hypalon Walker Bay boat from Alki Beach Inflatable Boat Company along with a new 2.5hp outboard. I will add wheels to ease dragging the boat up the sandy beaches and tying to the palm trees. MMM sandy beaches and palm trees here I come!