About The Boat

Sea Trek is a Mariner 40 Ketch designed by Clair Oberly and built in the Tayana yard in Taiwan. Her keel was laid late in 1978, she was finished in 1979 and shipped to the United States and commissioned by her first owner in 1980. She is a very traditional, heavy displacement (15 tons) extremely well built offshore cruiser. We purchased her in March of 1992 of moved aboard almost immediately. The previous owner had not abused her but also had not used her much. The equipment list was short so we pretty much started from scratch. She has a lot of teak on deck to keep us busy and a beautiful all teak interior.

Short trips on the Chesapeake Bay showed us the basics we would need. Our first weekend brought about our first addition. Bringing up the anchor from some muddy bottoms encouraged us to immediately install a good wash down system on the foredeck. The basic electronics such as speed, depth and wind instruments came very soon after. She had a VHF but it was old and also was replaced. Our first cruising plans were to head down the ICW to the Bahamas for an initial shakedown. Creature comforts as well as safety equipment took priority. The previous owner believed that the only way to cook on a boat was with an electric skillet and a microwave. He had a large microwave gimbaled in where a stove should go. We made the decision right from the beginning to do all of the installations ourselves as long as it did not endanger the safety and integrity of the vessel. Our first major project was a three burner propane stove with an oven. That meant we needed to completely install the entire propane system. This and all following installs were done according to all manufacturers and AYBS standards of safety and gave us a head start on repairs should something break.

We tried different types of dinghies from the hard rowing type to our final decision for a rigid hull inflatable. One of our friends came walking down the dock one day with a pair of beautiful stainless steel dinghy davits they had just remove from their boat. They ask us if we wanted them and before he finished asking I had them off his shoulder and sitting in our cockpit. The dinghy has almost never spent an night in the water since then.

Other than the normal and required safety equipment we were still pretty basic. But those creature comforts are what makes a cruising experience a pleasant one or a camping trip on the water. We installed a power inverter to run our small appliances and tools as opposed to a generator. We decided we could always change this later on. We never did. New cushions and blinds on the ports had the boat looking much more homey. With the inverter and more electronics we knew we would need a better source to keep the batteries up. Initially we installed a Four Winds wind generator as a starting point. It kept up on that first Bahamas trip but as we added over the years we also added three 85 watt solar panels.

That first cruise taught us a lot. We needed a good source for weather when not available through VHF or TV. At first a small transistor SSB receiver hooked to our laptop got us weatherfax and text weather forecasts. As our cruising expanded we joined all of our fellow cruisers with a SSB which of course did much more than our tiny receiver. Even later Susan received her ham license and we added ham radio to our communications. The 406 epirbs came into their own and we added those. A liferaft was next since we knew longer offshore passages were on the horizon. Over the years we have added new full batten sails to replace the originals. Our Perkins 4-108 proved to be woefully under powered for the boat so a new Yanmar took a big bite out of the cruising kitty. We have added a microwave, DVD/VHS recorder and player and a new LCD HD TV. Our original outdated autopilot did not survive that first trip down the ICW so we installed a heavy duty below decks hydraulic pilot that was designed for boats up to 75 feet and it has paid for itself over and over. One lesson we learned right off was not to buy cheap, ask others that have been out there and always go bigger than you think you will need.

On this last trip we replaced the canvas bimini and dodger with a hardtop that I designed from aluminum frame and Starboard, with a clear Lexan windshield. This has been a fantastic improvement. It allows us to completely enclose the cockpit like a pilothouse and gives us a good place to mount some of the solar panels. A plus lets me climb on top of it to deal with the mizzen. Radar, dual GPS units, a chartplotter, a new stereo set up and just recently a new central AC/Heat unit rounds out just some of the improvements we made along the way, The AC only runs when plugged into the dock by the way. We also found that a watermaker was much needed after that first trip. These are only some of the upgrades we have done. She has custom non skid decks, electric windlass, custom seats on the foredeck and in the cockpit and the list goes on and on.

We carry 78 gallons of fuel which gives us a cruising range under power of about 400 miles. We carry additional plastic jugs on deck with extra fuel for long passages or when in areas where fuel stops are few and far apart. Our water tank hold 100 gallons and can be refilled endlessly from the watermaker. Our draft is 6 feet and although sometimes a bit of a concern, it has not kept us form any cruising grounds. Over the years we have AwlGripped the boat form the waterline to the masthead. She has never experienced the problems many Tawain boats have had with leaks and deck problems. Perhaps that is due to our diligent maintenance or testimony to her solid construction.

To us she is the perfect cruising liveaboard and although she is unlike the new modern "cruisers" with 5 cabins that sleep 12 and can entertain 16 at dinner she is for us, very comfortable, and not too overwhelming should something happen and perhaps only one of us would need to get her home. Her solid construction give us that feeling of safety and well being no matter what the conditions. She has kept us safe and sane through 15 named storms, a few offshore gales and just a bunch of crappy weather. Don't know if you can tell but we kinda like our boat. Fair Winds

Ice Cream Stops Along the ICW

By Susan Landry, Published in September 2012 Issue Cruising World Magazine.

How many of you will admit to planning your overnight stops along the ICW to coincide with your favorite ice cream shop? I know there are more than just the two of us who think about that creamy, delicious cone waiting at our next favorite stop. After cruising up and down the ICW for almost 20 years, we have definitely found some yummy temptations.

But first, some interesting ice cream tidbits. Although the Chinese have been making flavored ices well before the birth of Christ, the Italians and French claim to have made the first containing milk or cream in the 1600s. Ice cream’s first mentions in U.S. history were around 1700.

Also, have you ever wondered why the ice cream you get in parlors is so much tastier than anything you ever find at the supermarket? That is because many of those creamy concoctions never see the inside of a grocery store. Ice cream manufacturers, such as Greenwood in Georgia and Working Cow in Florida, produce their ice creams only for restaurants and parlors. But now, down to the business of identifying those special places to feed your cravings.


Distributed by the Office of Investigations and Analysis: Http://marineinvestigations.us

October 4, 2012 Alert 3-12
Washington, DC

The Coast Guard has become aware of certain Mustang Survival Inflatable PFDs with Hammar MA1 hydrostatic (HIT) inflation systems which may not inflate and require a new re-arm kit to properly  inflate by manual or automatic activation. This safety alert identifies which products are affected. Certain inflatable PDFs may be subject to delayed or non-inflations. To determine if you are impacted please follow the instructions below.

USCG Approval Mustang Product
N/A MA7214 HIT inflatable re-arm kit
N/A MA7218 HIT inflatable re-arm kit for LIFT
160.076/8611/0 MD0450 Inflatable Vest PFD with LIFT
160.076/5204/0 MD0451 Inflatable Vest PFD with LIFT (no harness)
160.076/5201/0 MD3183 Deluxe Inflatable PFD with HIT
160.076/8608/0 MD3184 Deluxe Inflatable PFD with HIT (with harness)
160.076/5300/0 MD3188 Inflatable Work Vest/PFD with HIT
160.053/116/0 MD3188 Inflatable Work Vest/PFD with HIT

If you have a re-arm kit MA7214 or MA7218 you need only to check the lot number on the CO2 cylinder label. If your CO2 cylinder is marked with lot numbers 404121 or 404122 please contact Mustang Survival’s customer service group at the number below.

If you have a PFD listed above refer to the sewn-in approval label to determine if it was “Made in Canada” and the “MFG DATE” is April or May 2012. If so, you will need to check the lot numbers of the CO2 cylinder. The CO2 cylinder lot number is visible through the yellow bladder fabric. Manually unpack your PFD by opening the zippers and unfolding your PFD. Find the CO2 cylinder that is attached to the round inflator within the yellow bladder. Press the yellow bladder fabric against the cylinder to read the label to view the lot number through the fabric. If your CO2 cylinder is marked with lot numbers 404121 or 404122, please contact Mustang Survival’s customer service group for instructions and to arrange for a replacement inflator assembly.

All other CO2 cylinder lot numbers are satisfactory. Repack your PFD so it is ready for use per the instruction manual. Mustang Survival Customer Service Group: 1-800-526-0532

Additional information is available at www.mustangsurvival.com/HIT. Please note the following photographs.

Distributed by the Office of Investigations and Analysis: Http://marineinvestigations.us To subscribe: Kenneth.W.Olsen@uscg.mil

Photograph showing view of lot number through fabric. Lot number on cylinder label.

This Safety Alert is provided for informational purposes and does not relieve any foreign or domestic requirement. Developed by the Lifesaving and Fire Safety Division, United States Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington, DC. For additional information contact Mr. Martin Jackson at Martin.L.Jackson@uscg.mil.

Can You Sink A Boat For Lack Of A One Dollar Bolt??

I suppose theoretically it's possible. But can you really repair a 30-year-old radar unit for $30.00? I am here to tell you that you absolutely can, if the problem is the same as ours. Not long ago, I fired up our Raytheon RL70 radar unit and it all started fine. Once it was going, however, the beam was doing the sweeps, but there were no targets on the display. An internal self diagnostic showed everything was working okay, but obviously it wasn't. This unit is long past its manufacturing date and it's highly doubtful if Raymarine will even fix these any more or if it's worth it. So trying a few things couldn't hurt.

What Do You Do When You Get To The Bahamas?

Is It Really Better In The Bahamas??
This is a follow to our post, What Cruisers Want To Know About The Bahamas.

You've done all of your homework. You've picked the perfect weather window. You were in awe as the dark blue of the Gulf Stream gave way to the crystal clear, but shallow waters of the Bahamas Banks. The feel of accomplishment just can't be describe. You have arrived, so now what? The answer is almost as endless as the Island chain itself.

Wifi On The Boat Part 3

 We posted this on our Trawler Beach House blog and wanted to add it here for follow up info...

It has been a while since we have posted any additional information on our highly successful WiFi set up on the boat. To really see how we have arrived at this point, you need to go back and read our previous posts starting with Part 1 and then  Part 2. Our original WiFi set up worked great right up until the day we took it down and switched over to this new system. We have been using this for some time now, but I am just getting around to posting the how to and our results to date. The reason for the change was nothing more than seeing what was new and trying out this system because we have had a lot of positive feedback from other boaters. Our experience has been very positive although not quite the "wow" we expected.

The Gentlemans Guide to Passages South, By Bruce Van Sant

Now available.

We received an email from Bruce a week ago to let us know that he has the 10th Edition of his book out and that it would be available soon. Older copies have been offered on Ebay for as much as $800.00, which we find totally ridiculous. If anyone is looking to purchase the new 10th Edition, you can get it here for $29.95. This will be his absolutely last update. Bruce's website can be found here.

 The 10th and last Edition of the popular directions for sailing south
to the Bahamas and the Caribbean

For more than twenty years Van Sant repeatedly surveyed nearly 200 anchorages between Florida and South America. He racked up well over 80,000 sea miles doing it, mostly single-handed. Why? You’ll find some interesting answers in his book of stories, Margarita Cat, but essentially, he did it because he liked doing it.
Sailing up and down the chain of islands so much and so often, he got to looking for shorter and easier ways to navigate between each link in the chain, and he kept refining detailed nav plans for every leg.
He has systematically taken the thorns out of the route they used to call the Thorny Path. For example, he exploits the calming effects on wind and sea which result from land cooling on each side of an inter-island passage. Applying his many methods, both sail and power can make safe, comfortable and pleasant progress even against normally impenetrable trade winds and seas.
Passages South offers an illustrated manual of instruction for specific passages and harbors down islands as well as a cruising guide for the Greater Antilles islands of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico. It has sailed aboard tens of thousands of boats passaging between the Americas. It should sail with you too.
About the Author During his 40 years of cruising the world, Van Sant worked as a consultant systems engineer as well as weriting and speaking in Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, picking up six languages along the way. He settled into cruising the myriad islands between Florida and South America. Read more about his adventures in his book MARGARITA CAT.

Available at www.ThornlessPath.com and nautical outlets

Mustang Survival IPFD Recall

We have been users of the Mustang Inflatable Vests for many years and have been very satisfied with them. But we have recently been made aware of a recall due to a problem that might keep them from fully inflating. Here is the official recall notice...

Moeller Marine Product Review

Over the years we have often used Moeller Marine products, also sold under Tempo, and found them to be of fairly decent quality. But our most recent purchases have changed our opinion considerably. Here on the Beach House site we often post the specific product we are working with and links to where it can be found. When we use a product we like, it gets a good mention and we will often recommend it to others. But when we find a product we consider of poor quality we feel just as obligated to let others know of our experience. Three recent products made by Moeller have made our "Never Again" list. 

Plotting Your Course

In September of 1987, I sailed my 30-foot Hughes Columbia sailboat south to Little River, South Carolina. After a few days of waiting weather, I exited the Little River Inlet and pointed the bow towards Bermuda, some 1,000 miles away. To find that small speck in the middle of the Atlantic, I had the most up-to-date navigational instruments of the time. They consisted of a compass, VHF radio, a sextant with complete tables, paper charts and a radio direction finder. Seven and a half days later, I tuned the RDF to the radio signal for St. Georges Harbor and my feelings of accomplishment were beyond explanation.

Our New Outboard Lift And Back Saver.

During our cruise along the south coast of Cuba several years ago, I did a really dumb thing. We were Med-moored to the dock at Santiago, next to our friend's Vagabond 47 and there was a bit of swell running in the harbor. We both decided to set out an anchor from our bow to keep us from banging together and used our dinghy to do just that. I sat in the dinghy with our CQR 45 and about 50 feet of 3/8 BBB chain in my lap ready to deploy the anchor, and that is when it happened.

Is It Really Hard To Install A Single Side Band Radio?

First, a complete disclosure. I have installed a dozen or more SSB radios as a service technician over the years. But my first two installations were on our own boat and I started with no previous knowledge and only the manufacturers manual. To make matters worse, we had no internet to do any research on and most installers would have us believe that there was some kind of magic and mystery to installing an HF radio. We quickly found out that was not the case, and installing one of these radios was no more difficult than installing any other piece of equipment. Eighteen years later, we are installing the most current Icom offering, the 802, on Beach House in preparation for future cruising. And once again, it was not all that difficult.

NOAA Encourages Boaters to Get Up-to-Date Nautical Charts

NOAA charts available free online and through “print-on-demand” service

Nearly 13 million registered boaters in the U.S. are priming to hit the water. As part of their preparations, boaters need to make sure that they have the latest NOAA nautical charts on hand to avoid groundings or accidents while navigating along the coast. With modern technological advancements, obtaining the latest chart is easier — and more important — than ever.

“Sailing the oceans and Great Lakes doesn’t have to be a voyage into the vast unknown of ages past,” explained Capt. John Lowell, director of NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey. “Obtaining the latest charts that provide increasingly precise depths and up-to-date navigational features can be as easy as clicking a link on a website.”

Coast Guard Urges EPIRB Owners To Upgrade

May 20, 2011 Advisory 02-11
Take the Search out of Search and Rescue

Upgrade to GPS enhanced EPIRBs

When Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB) are activated in emergency situations the system transmits vessel identification information to rescuers. Traditional EPIRBs rely on satellite Doppler Shift to identify the distress location. There are a wide variety of Coast Guard approved EPIRBs on the market but many do not have the most up-to-date feature: the ability to transmit the EPIRB’s GPS location.

What Cruisers Want To Know About The Bahamas

This is not usually the time of year most cruisers think about going to the Bahamas. But this is the time of year that a few adventurous cruisers know the anchorages will be a whole lot less crowded and the marinas will be offering deals. What got me thinking about the Bahamas was a presentation that Susan and I recently gave to the MTOA (Marine Trawler Owners Association) in Stuart Florida for their Southern Rendezvous. This year the Rendezvous was held at the Hutchinson Island Marriott Beach Resort & Marina. MTOA functions are well-attended and this one was no exception. The presentation covered some of the important questions that cruisers heading over for the first time ask.