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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

OPBs

Other Peoples Boats
Many heartfelt thanks to our friends Larry, Diane and Ron, who invited the Admiral and I for ten days aboard Capt. Ron's sailboat in the BVI. We got a taste of the 'dark side' on Ron's spacious Robertson & Caine Leopard 4500 Catamaran.
And easy 8-9 knots in a moderate breeze. And thats without tryin'

Now you might say, what does this have to do with a building a boat? Well, you could say we 'helped' Ron give a shakedown of the newly installed Yanmar engines.
Seabbatical, a Robertson & Caine Leopard 4500
But to be honest, our contribution pretty much involved standing around with some sort of beverage in hand between snorkel, dive, restaurant and bar excursions.

The trip was essentially a circumnavigation of Tortola with most of the time spent on the outer islands. Highlights were The Baths, Bitter End and Norman Island, but the best bits were Anegada and Jost Van Dyke.
Soggy Dollar Bar, Jost Van Dyke

Our Track
Its always inspirational be aboard OPBs. A chance to gain new ideas and see how they did X, Y, and Z. Here are some immediate takeaways if you plan on sailing your boat down in these latitudes:

Ventilation! Ventilation Ventilation!
  • Opening deck hatches and dorades: With the warm humid air, even a little air moving through the boat makes things pleasant.
  • Cockpit Awnings and Shades- You definitely need some sort of sun protection over the cockpit. The sun eats through even the best Sunbrella canvas after a few years. So something that can be easily deployed would be good. If you can have the awning deployed even while sailing, all the better.
  • Fans- small DC fans strategically placed around the boat can make a big difference. Especially in the staterooms.
  • General dampness control - Any way you can control the dampness in cabins, lockers, etc. Do it! Everything, at some point, will get damp.

Other Things

  • Side Access refrigerator (separate from Icebox)- I had gone back and forth on this, but I am now convinced , the galley cook that I am, the convenience of a side door access refrigerator is a must. This would be in addition a separate top reach in ice box/freezer.
  • Lots of galley counter space- however you can gain it.
And now for the plug...

If you are considering a bareboat charter in the BVI, we highly recommend Seabbatical. The boats are in great condition and well equipped.
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