I bought a SM this Spring and intend to set off for a few years when I retire early in a year. What essential jobs should be done while it is easy to get equipment and qualified installers, before departing? I am "hands on", so when underway wish to do as much as possible myself, but before I go I have professionals available.
I spoke to Gilles from Karin Team in St Raphael, South France. He recons that 2 "must haves" for a long trip are:
1) a second bilge pump, already installed and plumbed in, in the engine room, ready to be switched over to replace a failed pump.
2) a spare "drive unit" for the autopilot (not a complete second autopilot). Just a few screws and 2 wires required to swap it in.
Any comments on that?
I will renew the 8 batteries (one pair already failed) to AGM 125Ah giving 500Ah 24V. I intend to upgrade the solar panels, nominally 3X100W but one failed, to 2X Panasonic N330 giving 660W (2.1m wide by 1.59m long). So with the excess power I could run the 1.8kw inverter more often to cook (induction hotplate) and make water. Having read hundreds of articles here, I intend to install a fresh water anchor chain wash and forward deck hose connection (also because excess solar power means excess fresh water).
I will clean the 20 year old water tanks annually with the methods (chlorox for a few days) described in this forum, and install a Seagull or similar water filter with separate faucet for drinking water peace of mind.
I will buy spares for the Onan and Volvo for say 3 years in advance (oil filters, belts, impellors ... anything else?).
I do not intend to replace the 20 year old standing rigging. It looks OK. Is this sensible? She did sail extensively for a couple of years, but at least for the last 8 years was only occasionally day sailed. (I removed the plastic covers from all of them so the rain washes them.) Do you tension the standing rigging yourselves and if so, what brand of tensiometer do you use?
Switching all nav lights to LED, deck lights to LEDS, and interior lights too. I'll also install extra LEDs in the cockpit.
I will install a new canister liferaft built into the guardrails, as neither my wife nor I are particularily strong. For the same reason I got rid of the heavy 4 stroke outboard with the intention of replacing it with a lighter one, eg 2 stroke ... what do you suggest? It must be light and easy to start. I was advised against electric outboards.
One spare Gilles also suggested is a motor, in case eg the outhaul motor fails (ie cleaning the carbon dust does not fix it). Have these motors ever failed beyond repair?
In terms of electronics I already bought a computer with Maxsea. But I would somehow also like to have a screen in the cockpit. How do you guys set that up (eg wifi or hdmi cable from the computer) or do you find chartplotters better?
The SM I have has no storm sail and no way of rigging one provided so far. I was thinking of simply attaching the storm jib head to a spare halyard from the top of the mast and the storm jib foot to the center cleat; would that be sufficient?
Is 80m chain sufficient? I have a Spade S140 anchor and the second anchor (with 8m chain) is a 60lbs CQR (unfortunately). Do you ever actually need to use 2 anchors? Should I replace the CQR?
Oh, and clean the diesel tank.
SM 151, Travel Bug
St Raphael, France
(I am 1000km away)