To: ALL Interested Parties
SMELLIN da ROSES, Part 1-Learnings.
TWO Js V - Judy and John Gill
GREAT LOOP CRUISE LEARNINGS - Part 1
We have learned many things since being on the cruise, namely:
TRAVELING WITH ANOTHER BOAT:
It is fun to have another boat to cruise with, but from our experiences, we would limit it to just one or possibly two - there is sometimes a problem getting dock or wall space for two or more boats. One needs to do more preplanning for where you are going to spend the night. For many of the systems (Rideau and Trent-Severn) where it is both less expensive to stay at a pier at the locks we recommend the purchase both a seasonal mooring pass and a seasonal locking pass. Our strategy and cruising style was modified slightly in order to leave at 8:30-9:00 AM and then plan on stopping by Noon to 1:30 PM each day (before many boaters wish to quit for the day). The strategy worked well, and we were lucky, and only once had to go on to the next lock in order to find space for both boats. Also be sure that you are compatible with likes and dislikes, cruising stamina, finances, eating out, food likes (if you plan to share meals), etc.
Don't expect to see Twin 30 AMP electric, or 50 AMP service much after leaving the East Coast. Be prepared with multiple splitters - a Single 30 AMP to Twin 30 AMP Splitter and a 50 AMP to Twin 30 AMP Splitter. Carry at least two 75 ft. power cords and one or two extra 50 ft. cords. Purchase two 15 AMP Male to 30 AMP Female Adapter plugs. Purchase at least one 30 AMP Male to 15 AMP Female Adapter (in case you need to run a conventional extension cord). If you can find or make a Twin 15 AMP Male to a single 30 AMP Female Splitter it will be most useful when you run into a 15 or 20 AMP Duplex outlet. Get into the habit of tying your electric cords to the power stantions when you plug in. That way they can not fall out, be accidentally bumped out, or removed!
Carry at least 125-150 ft. of water hose and include several Y fittings and adapters, plus extra hose washers. Lugging bottled water can be tiring, take up space and add extra weight. We installed a Nature Pure water purifier in addition to our normal Raycor sediment and charcoal filter to provide us with pure bottled water quality for drinking and cooking (one of our best investments) -- cost from Camper's World is $200 for the unit and $54 per cartridge which filters 500 gallons. Other boaters we know have installed a Reverse Osmosis system which works well if there is sufficient water pressure. Carry several extra filter cartridges - the brand you use, may not be available when you need them. Purchase water pressure reducers to go between the water spicket and your hose. Many of the marinas use city water with pressure as high as 70 to 90 pounds which can blow up your hose or worse blow out your boats water system and sink your boat. Dont rely on your boats reducer.
If you have the space for and are into it, bring along a bread machine. You can generally find bread of some type as long as it is soft and white! If you like rye, whole wheat or French style - well you will be disappointed a lot.
We have made very good use of our IBM computer with Nobeltec software (Chart View) and Maptec and the Canadian charts hooked up to the Garmin hand held GPS. The system makes navigation a joy and well worth the investment in piece of mind (still need paper charts and/or chart books and guide books). Buy all of them, because they have phone numbers which you can call ahead for reservations, and each one provides a different view of an area.
Learn how to clean your engine, air conditioner and generator fresh water strainers as part of your engine checks for coolant and oil levels. This is normal routine on the Rideau and Trent-Severn. If you do not have Perko Strainers - consider making the change before leaving because they are easy to work with.
COMMUNICATIONS WITH HOME:
We have found that the Verizon cell phone and AOL on our lap top computers makes sending and receiving email and photo's fairly easy as long as you have a Digital Cell Phone signal. The longest time that we only had an Analog signal (no Digital) was about 4 or 5 days.
The only mistake we made with regarding supplies was that we took along what we considered a basic pantry of items from home. There are several things that we have not used. We feel that the better method, outside of having your basic food items, is to buy according to planned menu's on a weekly basis. If you do not have a full refrigerator with a freezer, we would recommend purchase of an auxiliary AC/DC portable freezer. Ten to 14 days of meals is ideal unless you like to eat out a lot - more than once or twice a week.
We were very fortunate that the boat we were traveling with had a washer and dryer on board. However, marinas did not always have the twin 30 AMP or 50 AMP 220 Volt electric power needed to run the dryer. If you do not have a washer/dryer, take a couple of rolls of both US and Canadian quarters with you. In addition, take some type of folding, rolling cart that can tote both clothes to the marina laundry facilities and grocery store.
We have found that it is best to keep beer, sodas, iced tea, etc. in a cooler rather than take up refrigerator space (buy the best cooler you can afford, keep inside the cabin and buy block ice whenever possible). TupperWare has ice cube trays with covered lids which allow you to freeze ice cubes in the refrigerator/freezer when under way without spilling.
Carry spare parts for everything. You can generally find a good mechanic and if you have engine manuals and parts, you can get repairs made or make them yourself. We haven't seen a Boat/US, West Marina or Boater's World store half the size of those in the Chesapeake Bay area.
MAIL FROM HOME:
Get a Federal Express account before you leave. It is the only way to go when having mail forwarded to you in Canada. Also helpful when ordering a spare part to be sent to a marina in a hurry. Somewhat expensive, but well worth it.
BEDDING AND SLEEPING:
We had a custom innerspring mattress made for our boat. It was a very good decision - more comfortable than a foam rubber mattress and also cooler on hot summer nights. In addition, you will want to have a couple of 12 volt or D-cell battery fans. Another item we saw and will add to our boat is a large square or rectangle piece of Yacht Acrylic (canvas) with grommets on the corners attached to bungee cords for over the top of the hatch over our bed (to prevent dew and/or light rain from getting things wet when the hatch is open). If you have a solar fan in your hatch, all the better. Also dont forget to have good screens for all your hatches.
John and Judy Gill
TWO JS V, a 36 ft. Carver Mariner
Home Port: Sassafras Harbor Marina, Georgetown, MD