This weekend was the Strictly Sail Pacific Boat show in Oakland. Jeni and I have been coming here every year for about the last 6 years, but this year was different. We finally have a boat! The vendor booths now seem meaningful as we actually have some specific items in desperate need of purchase. Also, the training seminars we chose to attend were based more around the concept of upgrading our existing systems, rather than sitting in a dark room watching the vacation slide shows of someone who’s already “been there, done that.”. We ended up buying ticket for 3 out of the 4 days!! Nope. Now it’s getting serious.
Some of the seminars we attended involved Self Steering (wind vanes and what-not), Outfitting Above and Below Deck (handy little tricks for making life aboard more comfortable), Power Management (batteries, and hybrid/electric propulsion), and Introduction to Synthetic Rigging (using modern rope instead of wire to hold up the mast). We also stole some good ideas (iPhone photos) from a few of the boats we walked on (mainly electrical systems, above-deck rigging, and refrigeration).
Speaking of refrigeration, the boat show is a great time to score some pretty sweet deals from the vendors. Since we already knew going into the purchase of Ramble On that she had no viable means of cold storage, we bit the bullet and dropped a stack of Ben Franklins on a new Frigoboat 12 volt DC constant cycling refrigeration system.
Several factors ultimately influenced our choice of manufacturer, but first and foremost was energy efficiency. When we eventually disconnect from shore power and go on our extended cruise (hopefully sooner rather than later), we still want to keep food cold/frozen and we don’t want to have to run the engine for an hour once or twice a day to do so. We want something that a fairly modest battery bank and a solar/wind generator charging system can keep up with. Second was that Frigoboat evaporator plate system came highly recommended for it’s cooling capacity and energy efficiency in Nigel Calder’s book The Boatowner’s Mechanical & Electrical Handbook, and third, Practical Sailor gave it “Two Thnapths Up” (not really, but a high-five to you if you can identify the source of that quote). Seriously though, here’s the link if you’re interested in reading their comparison on DIY ice box conversion kits (I read it at least six times so far).
As for “stealing ideas from other boats”, we walked on a beautiful forty-something foot Tartan Saturday early morning before the crowds got huge and found a bunch of neat things we’d like to incorporate on our own boat. As we were heading back up the companionway to leave the boat the owner/broker/salesman/whatever-he-is stationed on the boat asked us how we liked the boat, and could he sell us one?
“No, we already have a boat but thanks.”
“Really? What kind of boat?”
“1977 Tayana 37.”
“Oooooh, nice boat.”