On the 27th July, exactly 1 year ago, we moved on board ITIKI and she became our home. While we were still in the dock at La Rochelle for another week, we were officially “living aboard”. So how has she shaped up as a mobile home? Setting up a boat from scratch can be confusing, and a boat that you will be living on for most of the year is even more challenging. The list of “options” is long and daunting, and how do you know which ones to get factory fitted, which ones to do ex-factory and which ones to sort out yourselves? Although having had a Lipari gave us a bit of a head start, it was never set up for full-time cruising so that aspect was a big unknown. We asked a lot of questions to other cruisers and are eternally grateful for their generosity, sharing their time and knowledge. Nod from MultiHull Solutions, our dealer, was a great help of course and we nutted out a lot of things over a curry and a couple of beers in Sydney. So looking at ITIKI a year on what are our top five, “big ticket” inclusions that we feel are “must haves” from day one, for a comfortable cruising life (in order of priority!)
1. Washing Machine – bet you weren't expecting that... but YES this has been continually voted the best item on the boat! A full sized, 7kg Bosch front loader. The price on the options list has been long forgotten, although I do cringe with guilt when I see ladies (and yes it is always ladies) posing the question on FB forums as to where the nearest laundry is located on <insert name of tiny village on remote Greek island>…
2. Anchor – Our 37kg Ultra anchor with 100m of 10mm high tensile chain. We have always slept well with this baby holding us in place. Of course anchoring technique plays a big part too and it can take time to learn your own boat-anchor combination but a good anchor is worth its weight in, well, stainless steel!
3. Watermaker (or desalinator to be more precise) – we organised our own and had it sent over to La Rochelle. The Australian made Rainmain® 240V watermaker does 120L per hour and has served us very well over our cruising time so far. Although it is considered a “portable” system, we have plumbed it into the boat and wired it to the mains circuit. We can run it on the generator, which means we don't need to go into a marina or town quay in search of water. The water tastes great and is now the only water that goes into our tanks, so no chance of limescale issues.
4. Generator – we opted for the Northern lights 4.5kVA generator which was fitted by Uchimata. After initial teething problems with the RPM setting and power frequency were sorted, this little beastie, a favourite with commercial fishing boats, hasn’t missed a beat. It was a godsend in our first season as we did not have solar panels fitted. We now use it to run the water-maker and washing machine, as well as the reverse cycle aircon if we are not on shore power.
5. The Parasailor – what a weapon! On a racing yacht you are constantly trimming the spinnaker to get the maximum performance so what is not to love about a spinnaker that really does look after itself while you have a BBQ! We are still having fun learning to get the most out of this sail, the minimum windspeeds for launch and the best wind angles, and it continues to amaze us. We can get boatspeeds of 50-70% of true wind speed, no need to unzip the mainsail bag and we look pretty hot with it flying! Not to say that we don’t love our gennaker of course, but every parent is allowed a favourite child aren’t they…?
If you asked me a year ago what my “top 5” list would be, I expect it probably would have been a different story. For all the research and planning, talking to and comparing with others, you don’t really know for sure until you get out there and find your own way of cruising. Thats all part of the fun!
Lynda is slowly getting used to the transition from working to not working and racing to cruising.