Today, we will continue to talk about the things you want to get done before you set sail? We’ll cover another list and give you some ideas, but remember, everybody’s boat and lists are a little different. First it was the list of what you need to do before you cast off, including prepping the boat AND preparing the crew! Another list is the “nice to have items”. Here’s a sample of the kinds of things we will be talking about:
“Nice to Have” Items:
Slap Stoppers – For those who sleep in an aft cabin, these are bra-like devices with internal foam strips to tie under the transom. They miraculously break up waves that would otherwise slap the transom all night, robbing you of sleep.
Water Makers – Nice to have but they’re expensive, a big power draw and probably the most labor intensive item on a boat. Bottled water, though sometimes a pain to transport to the boat, is readily available in Mexico. That is less true in Central America but you can usually manage to catch enough rain there so water is not a problem.
Full Cockpit Enclosures – Though we list these under “nice to have”, many actually regard them as essential. Nights at sea can be cold, even if not foggy. When foggy, they’re unbearable and parts of Mexico have a lot of fog.
Solar Panels – We suggest that even boats with gensets have an alternative/back-up way of generating power and, costing nothing to operate, we believe solar panels to be the best choice.
Know Your Boat and Crew – you’ll want to know you can get along with and rely on your crew. Don’t assume they’ll learn how to sail or run the boat along the way. Their skill level will remain pretty much the same as when you first leave the home dock. The same is true of the boat’s owners. Be sure, for example, that everyone is comfortable with watches, overnight passages, etc., before you cut the dock lines. Inexperienced crew can be more trouble than they’re worth.
If you use a seasick medication try it out first on dry land and see what your reaction is going to be with it!! Talk with other cruisers and find out what they use. There are some good ones that you can get on-line!
Zip lock bags of various sizes are great, even for encasing tools, t-shirts and things you will discover along the way. They will help protect things in the Mexican humidity. Buy lots of just the cheaper house brands which work just fine. Get some of the really big ones, the suitcase sized ones, for storing sheets, clothes and other bulky items because you can squeeze all the air out and bulky items will take up less room.
Don’t forget dinghy wheels! As you can see the type of wheels most used are the LARGE ones. The small ones may work on hard-packed sand, but you will be unhappy with them when you hit anything else, and not all beaches are hard-packed smooth sand. Lots of beaches are made up of pebbles, small rocks and large rocks, with just enough sand to get in your sandals.
TP and paper towels – Bring what you need for a little while, but it’s all available in MX. It may not be the same quality, but it’s ok. The last several years Big Box stores have popped up in all the bigger cities, but so far no Trader Joe’s.
Also take dark chocolate and good coffee.
Wine – you’ll find nice, enjoyable wines, (some Mexican, lots from “Down Under” & South America).
Solar showers: Fill one each morning and put it on the deck to warm; at night hook it up through the hatch in your shower. It will save lots of water while adjusting the shower temperature, and you won’t have to run the engine or water heater for a shower!
Take backpacks, boat bags, and sturdy grocery bags to carry your groceries when in Mexico.
Lots of things will come natural to you if you have spent any time sailing, camping, hiking or doing other outdoor activities. You will get lots of ideas from other sailors at dinghy raft-ups, but don’t forget to get those dinghy wheels.