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Friday, September 30, 2011

Sailboat upgrades

Wednesday I loaded up my sailboat’s rudder assembly and hauled over to my friend’s place in Maine. My buddy Max has been working on a nice new ash tiller for my sailboat. I’ve wanted to replace the old one ever since I got the sailboat. The previous owner replaced the tiller with a carved up piece of 2X4. It’s not very pretty, and a bit on short side to boot.

Max’s tiller is a thing of beauty. We did some fine tuning and fitted it to the rest of the rudder assembly. Then we took it back off so he could apply another 7 coats of marine varnish. Max has a single minded attention to detail that I lack. While the varnish on new tiller is drying, I’ll get one more week out of the old one. Can’t miss any nice sailing days this late in the season.

Yes, it’s late in the boating season up here in northern New Hampshire. Many people have already put their boats away until next summer. That’s not for me. When I do put my boat away, it’ll be only until January when I’ll haul it down to Florida for more sailing.

I am taking advantage of some end of season sales. Our Lake Champlain trip showed us the need for another big anchor. In a tight anchorage, we deployed both a bow and stern anchor. The smaller one dragged a bit, so it’s getting replaced with heftier ground tackle. The small anchor will get demoted to a “lunch anchor.” That’s a small easily deployed anchor used for a short period of time, like a lunch break, where perfect holding isn’t a big deal.

Another lesson learned from our frequent sailing is the need for a solar panel. The boat’s outboard charges up the battery, but we use the motor as little as possible. During the last month of sailing, I don’t think I’ve used the motor for a full ten minutes. Our electrical usage is small, but it does add up over time. A solar panel will keep the battery topped off.

I’m keeping an eye out for a cheap but good hand held VHS radio. With the number of sale catalogs flooding my mailbox, it won’t be long before I find one for the right price.

My sailboat, while loads of fun, is also an emergency bug out vehicle. If I ever need to get somewhere by water, the boat will be squared away. Now matter what your bug out vehicle is, frequent use will point out areas for improvement better than anything.



  1. New tiller? pics or it didn't happen!

  2. Once you get a solar panel, you will be pretty much self sufficient.

  3. Leane, oh yea of little faith. Ask Max for pics, as it's getting more varnish.

    Dizzy: that's the idea.