Repairs and Upgrades

I made several major improvements prior to setting off. Many were planned; others were not. Remember the lightning strike of 2008? Well, on one extremely cold rainy winter morning I checked the boat , and as I stared at a puddle of water on the galley sole and wondered where it came from, a drop of water hit my face. Looking up, I saw a big crack in the port side deadlight, a 7 foot long rigid glass non-opening port running along the cabin side. Oh great, two and half months to departure, and a major, unplanned repair now on the books. Frustration and disappointment ran rampant for a few days as I sought a suitable solution. I called Beneteau first, then every marine port manufacturer I could locate. Ultimately, I used a custom port manufacturer located right in Sarasota, Florida, a small privately owned company called Waterway Systems, who agreed to work with me and my schedule to do whatever needed to be done. And the end result

New Deadlights
New Deadlights

All my other preparations were planned improvements or upgrades to the boat based on past experience. We got completely soaked one day riding back to the Angel in our Achilles Hi- pressure air floor dinghy with its 6 hp four-stroke Tohatsu. Loaded down the two of us, Joy’s scooter, and groceries, the dinghy just could not overcome the wind and waves in Georgetown harbor. We decided that day to start looking for another dinghy, and those pieces came together perfectly. We sold the Achilles and motor one day, and bought a Caribe10 foot RIB with an 18 hp Nissan two-stroke motor a few days later from a good friend at BYC, Carl Trembecki. What an unbelievable improvement. We have yet to get wet in this dinghy in any of the conditions we have encountered, even screaming along at 18 knots! Yep, that fast. Oh, and the dinghy chaps and motor cover, I made those to protect the Hypalon tubes. I added dinghy davits purchased from Martek, a Clearwater, FL company, and the davits make daily launching and retrieving the dinghy easier. We still lash the dinghy to the foredeck when heading offshore, but for island hopping, you can’t beat the davits.  
Caribe 10 foot Dinghy with New Chaps
Caribe 10 foot Dinghy with New Chaps

A major improvement was the addition of a permanently installed external weather-proof hi-power Wi-Fi antennae. As Joy will tell you, I conducted a great deal of research prior to making this purchase, but I am very pleased with my decision to deal with Island Time PC. This antennae will reach out well over two miles and find every available signal. I added a 12-volt powered wireless router that Joy loves because she can use her laptop to browse the web, send emails, or even chat on Facebook while I work at my computer. What could be better than having everyone happy? You can find all the equipment and this photo of my installation on Island Time PC’s website.
High Power Wi-Fi Antennae
High Power Wi-Fi Antennae

Installation and configuration were straightforward, and Bob at Island Time PC was readily available to answer any questions along the way. This is a great company I can highly recommend.
New Ocean-Aire Sunscreens / Sunshades
New Ocean-Aire Sunscreens / Sunshades

We decided to replace our aging hatch shades with Ocean Aire Sunscreens. Though somewhat pricey, these screen/shade combination units work exceptionally well. The system uses an air tight channel and slide, a fine mesh fabric for the screens, and a total black out shade for night time in a marina. We chose the Beige color and found it to be a near perfect match to the egg shell white head liner. Again, we highly recommend this upgrade and cannot begin to tell you how much easier our life is with this equipment.

Begin the Cruise