Valuable Cruising Items

Two items that I thought we wouldn't need but now greatly enjoy having are a generator and an outboard. A portable generator makes cruising so much more care free. You can run the fridge, and leave the lights on a few hours longer without worrying about the batteries. Without the generator, I would look at the weather to see if we could keep our lights on or if we had to shut the fridge down. We only had solar panels and relied heavily on the weather to provide us the power needed to sustain our battery banks. A week of cloudy skies meant a depleted electrical system and a nightmare to recharge. 

Now, I don't worry anymore. All I do is wait to see if the sun will come out. If the batteries get a bit low, I fire up the generator and charge everything back up! 

The other indispensable item we now carry is an outboard motor for the dinghy. For seven months, I have been rowing us to shore. It was slow but it did work. We timed our land adventures by the tides, only traveling when the current was slack or in a favorable direction. We would anchor close to shore to minimize the distance needed to row, but there were still times when I would have to row us over a mile to make landfall. 

The outboard has changed all of this! It lets us chug along at a slow speed while not getting exhausted. Our little outboard is only 2hp, enough to push our 7 foot dinghy at hull speed (3.5 knots). Not setting any speed records, but it also doesn't burn much fuel in the process. 

Now, a popular size outboard is the 9,9hp and 15hp. Both of these will push your dinghy along at a remarkable speed, but they have one major flaw to them: weight. A large outboard is heavy, and will require a lifting mechanism to get it on and off the dinghy. Our small 2hp outboard is so light that Maddie can lift it with two hands, and I can easily carry it with one hand! Going small might not be very flashy, but it gives you the convenience you are looking for without the burden of heavy machinery.