The other day while sitting, thinking – dangerous, I’m well aware, I asked Melody what five things she would never leave the dock without. Of course her list had eight things on it and I’m supposed to excuse that over sight because she’s a girl and always over packs. Why should this be any different? So, I’m going to post my five items I would be hard pressed to do without and then we’ll have the “Honorable Mention” items for miss over-sized bag-lady… Melody.
Now I contemplated putting these in some sort of order, counting down from 5 to 1 and then I thought about an ascending order and you know… I’m just going to list them. After all, this isn’t a game show and you’ll win nothing at the end. It’s just one of those things that I think about when I’m not pulling my hair out over the other one-hundred and ten thousand things that run through the gerbil wheel that is my brain.
That said, these are in no particular order:
This is our Garmin 441 Chartplotter. It’s the best $400.00 I’ve ever spent. Some said the 4 would be too small a screen and to go with the 541. At the time the 541 was almost $700.00 and we couldn’t do it. This is NMEA 2000 compatible and can be synched to AIS and weather radar. And THAT is my only complaint about this unit. The antenna for the for the weather radar is $600.00. The similar Lowrance unit prices their antenna at $100.00! The water-proof SD card slot and Bluechart G2 options are great. If you’re not going all out on the mack-daddy, big-boy radar / AIS system, you won’t go wrong with one of these.
This is Man-Ray our 45 lb. Mantus anchor. I have a whole post devoted this bad boy and I would never leave the dock without it. We took a chance on Mantus since I had reservations about the bolts but I will tell you, I’ve been stunned by how this thing performs. We anchored in several spots with other boats who could not get their anchors to set. We dropped anchor, let her fall back on her own to the breeze and take up taught. Then after a few minutes we’d back her down. Set. Every. Time. We had 25 knot winds, reversing currents… She never failed. Worth every penny.
What can I say about WADIE, named after Walt and Edie, two of the sweetest people we’ve ever met. They sold her to us last summer in Rock Hall. We were broke… as we seem to always be and they made us a great deal. She leaks air and we need to pump her up one or twice a week but we don’t mind. The 1996 5 hp Mercury starts on the first pull and between getting Jet to shore for his business and us to the markets, docks, laundry and in some cases from 30 miles off-shore, she is the best damn dinghy ever. If you plan on anchoring out, you just can’t travel without one.
Even with the Garmin, I’d never do any kind of boat travel without the paper charts. That’s just a no brainer. I think most people feel the same about this but I’m amazed at how many guys I know who rely on nothing but their GPS / Chartplotter units. I’ve had batteries fail so I need to know I can get there without power. As for the guide books, they have just become really good assets to read about different trouble spots, inlets and currents. If you do the ICW, I wouldn’t try it without one. They also offer great insight on anchorages, restaurants, places to take pets, etc. Again… worth the money.
This is also a no brainer. Internet / Laptop. We travel with a Verizon Jetpack 4G hotspot and since Mel works from the boat, it’s imperative that we remain connected. Of course when we go off-shore, we are not connected and that’s when she takes vacation or we do short runs over the weekend. As we came up the ICW, Mel would be researching anchorages on Active Captain. You might as well chunk in Passage Weather and my iPhone as well. Let’s just say “connectivity”! We simply could not have broken our land-ties without this modern technology. It really is awesome.
Last but not least. Our $24.00 piece of heaven…our AeroPress coffee maker. If you have never had a cup of Illy espresso through this little gadget, you are missing out. We have an old stainless percolator coffee pot that we took the innards out of and use to boil water. It’s ugly, dented, scalding hot to the touch and I LOVE it. When we got underway every morning, it was sunrise. Mel would fire up the coffee pot and I could smell it all the way out in the cockpit. She’d add some almond milk and hand me my mug of happiness. It’s my fondest memory on the trip, it really is. I love my AeroPress.
Now, the Honorable Mention Items for Ms. Puckett. She (rightly so) said she’d never want to do this without a dodger and bimini, her Kindle Fire and her books and her foulies. Even though our bimini leaks like a sieve, it does provide shade. I agree with her on all these but I… was trying to follow the rules.* So much for that!
*If you’ve made it this far, and if you go back and count, you’ll see that Chris did not follow the rules… as his must-have list has not 5 items, but 6. (cough cough). ♥ melody
**We’ve included links to some of these items on Amazon. We do receive a very small percentage of any sales made via these links, should you choose to make a purchase.