While we idle in the slow season, now is an excellent opportunity for you to make some upgrades to your boat that might have become worn down after being exercised all summer. Whether you’re cruising with family, friends, or solo, making sure everyone on board is safe and comfortable are the top priorities for any cruiser, and these four upgrades to your boat can provide both.
Most sailboats over 30 feet are fitted with an anchor windlass system, but many are outdated or underpowered. Having a properly sized electric anchor windlass installed on your boat can vastly improve your cruising experience and give you the confidence to explore more remote anchorages. In addition, having faith in a reliable anchoring system means you can spend time anchored in deeper waters or uninhabited anchorages without worrying about the strenuous process of deploying and retrieving the anchor from the seabed floor. An electric anchor windlass also allows you to use a heavier anchor and larger diameter or more chain than you are willing to lift with a manual or under-sized windlass. This makes resting at anchor safer and more secure and provides peace of mind when you leave the boat anchored to go ashore and explore.
Having the proper lighting in the living quarters of your boat is essential to making it feel like home when you’re cruising for long periods or if you’re anchored and just hanging out.
Whether it’s the right light in your favorite reading nook, under-cabinet lights in the galley so you can see what you’re doing, or a bright utility light in the engine compartment so you can do maintenance without holding a flashlight, proper lighting specific to each area of the boat is an integral part of having a safe and enjoyable time while living aboard or cruising.
There are various fixtures to consider, including downlights, courtesy lights, reading lights, wall lights, chart table lights, flexible rope or tape lighting and more.
Battery Monitoring and Charging:
When cruising for weeks at a time and voyaging to new anchorages, moorings, and slips, managing the various power sources on board is paramount to making your trip run smoothly and safely. There are several options on the market with a complete range of battery chargers, solar chargers, inverters, converters, and monitoring systems. Always check your batteries before heading out, especially if you have not used your sailboat during the off-season months.
Bow and Stern Thrusters:
Suppose you’ve ever maneuvered a sailboat in a tight anchorage or marina. In that case, you know that the bow and stern thrusters to spin the boat any way you need can be a precious asset to have onboard, particularly in windy conditions or strong currents.
Whether your thruster model is for electrical or hydraulic power, make sure it includes traditional tunnel thrusters, external thrusters, and retractable thrusters.
You can also upgrade to a full range of proportional-speed DC-powered thrusters. The advantage of using a proportional speed thruster is that it allows you to oversize the thruster for your boat to have the necessary thrust to maneuver in high-wind or high-current conditions. Still, you don’t have to use all that power the entire time when using proportional control.