On Saturday the 4th of August 2018 at approximately 7 am Team ITIKI left the dock at La Rochelle and started our adventures. One year on and ITIKI has taken us 4,378nm, through 12 countries* and 2 continents. We had pretty much everything we needed to get going, and in any case France was closed for summer holidays so what you see is what you get! Like any boat and any home there are always things to add, tweaks and modifications – these have become known as “boat jobs” and certainly serve to keep skippers’ hands and minds busy on those “slower” days. You really need to live on your boat and experience your cruising lifestyle to find out what sort of additions you might like to ensure a more comfortable and safer cruising experience.
Other cruisers as well as FP gurus such as Cote Mar have offered ideas and inspiration for numerous essential as well as “nice to have” items; here are the top 5 items we added after leaving La Rochelle.
1. Solar Panels – We did actually come close to getting these fitted in La Rochelle, however with summer holidays fast approaching the stainless frame was clearly not going to happen. All of the wiring and controllers were done by Uchimata and we had the panels and frame fitted in Marina di Ragusa, Sicily, at the end of the season. The final touch, inserting the fuse, was done in Tunisia. Not having solar panels was challenging but fortunately we had a generator and we certainly learned about being prudent with and managing power on board. Click here to read more about our solar panel saga.
2. Dock water system – So you come in to a marina or town quay, hook up to shore power, hose the boat down with town water but have to use your precious tank water (now exclusively desal) to shower or do a load of washing. Hmmm…. When we were in Hammamet, we had our favourite engineer, the inimitable Mike Turner, install a dock water system for us. This means we now take the hose and plug the dock water directly into ITIKI’s plumbing system. The water goes via a couple of different filters installed in the port engine bay, with another in-line filter under the sink (1 or 5 micron filter options, so we can safely drink it). Now washing and showering in a dock or marina doesn’t touch our precious tank water!
3. Helm comfort is certainly important and the helm seat is the most utilised one on the boat. We have added a removable back-rest cushion to the helm so that the skipper can sit back and relax and not worry about losing a loose cushion overboard. Did I see this on the “New 45”, good idea FP! Also as the weather warms up we remove the clears around the helm station but then you lose the shade and the skipper gets a baking. So rather than hanging a sarong around the bimini we added a rear sunscreen that fits into the existing zippers. Happy skipper, happy crew!
4. BBQ stand – of course we had a BBQ from day 1, a Webber Baby Q that we organised in La Rochelle. It was christened crossing the Bay of Biscay however its “resting place” on the starboard stern area was not working out too well. For a start the lid would not stay open unaided, and the whole arrangement risked going in the drink if we hit a rogue wave. With rod holder, a fish cleaning tray, stainless steel and some good old-fashioned ingenuity, Mike and Keith developed a unique BBQ holder which, like the BBQ stows away neatly when not in use. Problem solved! Oh and if we ever do catch a fish, it does double as a fish cleaning tray when moved to the Starboard side (near the deck shower!)
* Countries ITIKI has visited: France, Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, Italy, Tunisia, Malta, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Greece
Lynda is slowly getting used to the transition from working to not working and racing to cruising.