Equipment List

I have thrown together a list of stuff we carry. I expect that this will prove boring to most of you but I include it as a reference. I have read a lot of these cruising log web pages and have often wondered what type of anchor the boat was using after it performed poorly or well. There is so much boating stuff out there and we are probably carrying much more then we need, hopefully this section will help others decide what works and what didn’t. I hope to provide comments as to how these worked and which I could recommend as time goes on. Some of the stuff here was used on an earlier trip and has been removed. Thought I would leave comments so you can hear what didn’t work as well.

Ground Tackle 

60 lb. CQR type made by Danforth I have come to trust this anchor.  I have modified it to allow for tandem anchoring and I use it with a 25lb Danforth deepset in challenging conditions.  If I was to replace this anchor I’m pretty sure I would go for a Rocna.
Fortress FX-55 Big monster. Got it on ebay. Should be good in a storm and when we leave the boat unattended.  As of now it’s only been wet three times.  Twice dropped over the side before a storm and raised up without ever coming under load and once to provide an attachment point to winch a boat off the shore.
45 lb. Horizontal Claw basically a Bruce (removed) Just mounted it at the bow as a second hook only used it once when we needed 2 hooks off the bow to keep our swing small in a very small cove. The next day the lines were so twisted recovery posed a real problem. Won’t do it again without the stern anchor to keep the boat from spinning. (generally didn’t hold well, it is now part of a mooring) wish I had never bought it.
25 lb. Danforth Deepset Stern anchor. Good choice as it is light enough to dingy out and recover. And as a stern anchor it isn’t expected to reset (a problem with danforths). Also works extremely well in tandem with the CQR. I use this setup in storms and when the CQR won’t grab the bottom.
150’ 3/8” HT chain  Actually the metric equivalent.  Came from France, I bought it from a catamaran who needed to shed some weigh
30 lb folding Northhill This is a folding anchor designed by John Northrop for flying boats.  It has the problem of having a fluke up just wanting to be snagged by the rode if you swing on current but I love this anchor for it’s beauty (really anchors can be beautiful) and history, besides it really holds.  I’ve used it as a kedge and secondary storm anchor.  Easy to carry in the dinghy or stow on board.  Grabs all bottoms I’ve tried it on.  Would be my best rock anchor.
300’ ¾” nylon line Backs up the main anchor chain. Bitter end of this line is available through it’s own hause pipe to make it available as a second anchor line.
300’ 5/8” nylon line New and stowed in duffel bag in lazaret
250’ ½” nylon line Used with stern anchor with about 25 feet of of 3/8 Proof chain I had hanging around.
8 lb danforth  Use this tiny thing as a stern anchor to hold the bow into the waves when the wind and waves are from a different direction.  Easy to set/recover and has the advantage of pulling out if the wind comes up in a storm.  One doesn’t want to be anchored broadside to big winds.
Ideal windlass Easily rebuildable with parts available anywhere
3 25# lead kellets equiped with carabiners to connect to anchor chain when more holding is necessary. Makes me sleep very well when I can drop some more chain with one of these connected to it during a blow.
Nifty self-adjusting anchor marker float I put together. Hard to explain but works great. Start with a ‘beaner then 1/4 inch line through a float then to a big lead fishing sinker. Always floats right over the anchor. Had a panga driver snag the thing once in the night. He just cut himself free and went on his way. I found all the parts and spliced the line. Still works fine but I only use it where there is less trafic lately.


Yanmar 4JH5e I finally replaced the 4-108 with this a couple of years ago.  Starts really easily and has a good amount of power to move Temptress.  Quieter and uses less fuel as well.
Tahatsu 9.8 outboard Lightest weight 4 stroke available
Shaft lock (removed) With a two blade propeller really lowers drag. I don’t like this device. It isn’t built well but I have seen no others available. The device isn’t supported well in the long run and I can’t recommend it.
Syn-Tef dripless shaft packing Been using it for years. Very happy.


Alumicraft 12 foot with 7.5 foot oars After years of building my own plywood and glass dinghys I decided to give aluminum boats a try.  I’m now sold on them.  Almost as good as the ones I build but much easier.  Just find one on craigslist that has sat in some old guys garage for years and buy it for a song.  So much better then an inflatable raft.  This is a boat.  Weights about 125 lbs.
12’ Porta-Boat with 8 foot oars (removed) Stable and nearly indestructible, goes 12 knots powered with our 4hp outboard with two on board. All of the aluminum rivets have rotted out but I just replace them. The plastic that holds the transom on failed (newer models use a more substantial connector there but the seats aren’t as good). I made sunbrella covers for the seats. All in all we LOVE this little boat and HIGHLY recommend it. (after about 12 years of heavy use it started to get old and flexable. Also could’t stand up to the big 4 stroke outboard.)
Inflatable Kayak (removed) This boat can handle much larger surf then the porta-boat so we can land safely when the surf closes the beach to most other little boats.


DBC 4 man life raft Hope to never find out
ACR’s little EPIRB Also hope to never use it
PUR’s little Survivor 06 watermaker Again don’t want to use it
Sea anchor Old army drop shute 30’ vented
Series droge (removed) Started using this as a second rocker stopper when things get REAL rough
First Aid kit Necessary.
Tasco Offshore 36 Binoculars

(fogged up inside after 20 years)

We like these a lot. Cheep enough to not worry much about but execllent optics. A Fujicon would be better but for the money I would spend a bit more and get a stabilized high power pair
Cheap Tasco Binoculars Don’t use these much. Keep for loaning to untrustworthy crew but we haven’t taken on any since the Puget Sound.
Cheap night vision scope (removed) and replaced with another. Part of our escape plan. When you anchor ANYPLACE you need an escape plan to know how to get out if the weather comes up. The night vision scope allows us to see boats and buoys in the dark if a night time arrival of departure is needed. We have used it, along with radar, when arriving in Cabo San Lucas in the middle of a dark night to find an anchoring spot. We also used it leaving Isla Isabella at night to check if any fishing nets and buoys were in the way (they do not show on radar!). I always take compass bearings on the way out and have this available for nighttime departures. Nowhere as good as the expensive ITT versions but just fine in real world applications. Highly recommended. (gave up the ghost after a few years in storage, replaced)

Navigation Gear

Garmin handheld GPSs I like Garmin GPSs and I really like their charts.  I use mostly handheld units with internal batteries, then plug them into the computer and ships power.  Nice to know they can run on their own of other systems go down.  I have a bunch of old ones, they never die just get replaced by a nicer one every few years.
Davis Mark 15 Sextant Stays in the cupboard.
Lots of Chart CD’s Of course paper charts as well. We have used these exclusively since San Francisco. We no longer even look at the paper charts. This means leaving the computer running most of the time we are at sea but we have no problem with power.

Radios and Electronics

Icom IC-M1 Handheld VHF (removed) Not at all happy with it. The batteries die in short order.  No one with an ICOM radio was happy for long.  When they fail (and ICOMS do fail a lot) they have to be sent back to ICOM and it’s difficult to do without them or get them back when out of the US.
BaoFeng UV-5RA Handheld VHF radios upgraded with Nagoya NA-701 antennas Great radio and CHEAP.  I can’t say enough good things about this one.  It’s a HAM radio but can be programmed to be a regular Marine VHF.  I have mine set up with all the marine channels and two HAM channels (one UHF and one VHF) that we can switch to when we want privacy.
Ships VHF Great radio  (I’m in the states writing this). We use a mast head mounted 8 foot antenna and we get exceptional reception. Like more then 200 miles routinely.
Kenwood TS-570D HAM  Great choice for a Ham Radio
SCS Pactor III TNC If you want Pactor SCS is really the only choice.  Works great!
Furuno 851 Radar I wasn’t going to get this as I figured we wouldn’t see much fog outside the Puget Sound. But I changed my mind. Well I am glad. This is our #1 nighttime watch keeper. Its alarm lets us know when a boat enters the watch area we specify around the boat. Works great. I wouldn’t recommend a smaller unit though (this one is 4kw and 24″ radome). The little 1kw units don’t see small fishing boats without radar reflectors at all. And Mexico is full of them. This unit, having an LCD display, uses less power then CRT models and can be mounted in the cockpit which we find very important for night crossings.
Custom Radar mount with crane Designed this a few years ago. Very happy with how it turned out.
Autohelm depth sounder LCD failed on the first one but when replaced has worked very well.
Navico speed, wind, compass Navico products leak and are all but unsupported. Company was bought out by Simerand and is probably even moore poorly supported. These displays look great but are so poorly manufactured and supported I would like to warn everyone from using them. Problem with instruments is once you buy one you are locked into the same company because they all link together. I would suggest NMEA instruments as you would be more likely to be able to mix devices.
Navico Ocean pilot Steers fine, actually quite well, but supported poorly and had many manufacturing errors.
Octopus hydraulic ram Does the job. Very reliable but is much too loud. If I had it to do over again I would look seriously into a linear actuated device.
Ships computer I build my own based on mini-ITX motherboards.  I go for low power consumption and the current main computer will run with it’s monitor on less then 2.5 amps at 12v DC.  Plenty of computer power to navigate and play HD movies.
Personal Laptops Emily and I both have laptops of course.  I seldom use mine.  She runs a business from her’s.
EKEN H9R 4k waterproof camera A better and way cheaper version of a GO-Pro.  Just got it but it looks great and has every option you can imagine and came with every add on you can imagine of under $70us
GoPro Hero II Needs a LOT of light to take good images.  More then is available underwater even in the Bahamas.

Sailing Equipment

Cape Horn windvane We can no longer get it to steer well. I ordered a longer oar from Cape Horn and haven’t had much luck since. I will probably have to cut off a bit of oar. Really like the company and think the unit is the best choice for a lot of boats.
Magma Rocker Stopper YOU NEED A ROCKER STOPPER if you are going to be on Pacific, you will want one most everywhere else eventually. This seems to be the best one.


Fully Batten Main Lots of roach to make up for the missing mizzen
Storm tri-sail Hopefully it will stay in the bag. Bought it used (but unused) and will probably sell it in the same condition. Never buy a new tri-sail if you can find a used one that fits as no one actually wears the things out.
Stay sail I almost never use it.
High footed 110% Heavy working sail. Carried on the roller furler. I switch to this when I head up wind.
Light 160% Also carried on the roller furler. Makes the boat really move. We sail more them must boats. We have sailed by boats that were motorsailing several times. Cruising means traveling long distances and it is important to be able to move your boat at hull speed in most wind conditions. We use this sail poled out and can move very well down wind in a wide range of wind conditions (rolling if necessary). We move best directly down wind with this sail on a long pole and the 25′ main boom prevented forward.
1.5 ounce spinnaker with a sally (removed) Probably too heavy as we will never fly it in heavy air and a lighter one would fly better in light air. We do so well with the pulled out 160 that we haven’t taken it out of the bag on this trip. It is too much work for a lazy crew of two. Again wish we didn’t bring it. (just didn’t use it last time.)

Cruising Comfort Gear

refrigerator Unit I build myself based on Danfoss’ BD-50 compressor.  I built the evaporator myself from copper sheeting and 3/16 copper tubing.
Hella Turbo fans Use very little power and are quiet. We use them over the bunks. Eventually got noisy after 20 years of use.
Caframo 747 fans Move a lot of air and are relatively quiet. We use these on the main cabin. Reasonably priced and last forever.  This is all I buy now.
Spectra watermaker Very expensive but only choice of you want to live without a generator. We rely on sun and wind for all of our power requirements. I’m glad I have it but wouldn’t buy another due to the price. I would build my own system to make water off the engine. Supprised to hear this from such an alternative energy guy? Well you use then engine enough to warrent it and you can make so much water in an hour it just might be the way to go.
Hukka Diving system based on a 12v compressor. Most of the sport diving in Mexico is shallow enough that you don’t need air. But the thing is great for cleaning the bottom of the boat. When it got really hot in the Sea of Cortez last summer I found the water about 20 feet down to be really cool and just sat on the bottom for a while to beat the heat.  I built this one out of a Puma 12v compressor.
Fab-all diesel stove Probably not to be used again ‘til we get out of the tropics
Force 10 propane heater (used in sauna room) Probably never use the sauna again but makes a good tool storage room. Leaving the sauna door open heats the aft cabin quickly.
Boom Gallows I built a boom gallows a few years ago. I have really come to appreciate it over the years, as it makes taking down the mainsail safer by controlling our heavy boom. In addition, it is the perfect place to hang chair hammocks.
Bean bag chairs I sewed a pair of beanbag chairs for the cockpit. These are very comfortable, especially to snuggle up during night sails.
Chair Hammocks We hang a pair of hammocks from the boom gallows. Most coveted seat on the boat.
On demand water heater You have to watch these things for CO but I really like mine. Hot water when you want it and lots of it.
Dodger with Bimini For protection while sailing.
Mast to backstay sun awning. We designed and build this awning, I am a bit proud of how it turned out. It is a lifting structure and simply tightens itself up when the wind blows. We have had it up in 50-knot winds with no problems. It is made of the nylon that hot air balloons are made from and fold into a small package. — after about 3 years of service the light material failed. We built a new one out of Sunbrella of the same design and are using that one now. Still folds up small enough. (Looking a bit warn and stained but still holding up well)
barbecue This is a money saver for a boat.  This company makes very expensive BBQs based on their catalytic burners.  This little stainless unit is a loss leader for them to get you hooked on their products.  For $50us you get a fabulous BBQ that holds up well in a marine environment.
Force 10 5 burner propane stove I finally gave up on my old beloved shipmate stove.  It was just too hard to find parts to fit it that were of high quality.  Camper stoves parts are crap.  I choose this one because it was the closest to fitting the hole my old stove left.  It is crazy expensive (over $2,000us discount) but it is really nice.


6  L-16 AGM batteries Nothing like a BIG set of batteries.
Group 27 flooded battery Starter battery
Optima sub group 24 AGM Windlass battery fed off the starter battery with 6 gage wire.  Provides the kick the windlass needs in a small light package.
Voltage sensitive relay Saves remembering to switch in the starter bank when the engine is running.  “Marine Battery bank combiners” are really just Voltage sensitive relays with a MUCH higher price tag.
Balmar 105 amp alternator
Spare 60 amp Delco alternator
Temptress Wind Generator Built it myself. 7.5 foot blade. Much more efficient and durable then anything on the market now. I might just go into production.
solar panels, 1 60 watt, 2 165 watt, 2 120 watt and 2 100 watt flexibles that lay on deck. Solar is so easy.  They just work.
Chinese MPPT solar regulators The one I use seems to be really durable and has lots of instrumentation.