With the COVID19 crisis dominating our thoughts and screen time, I thought I would write a post that had absolutely nothing to do with the virus. I couldn’t think what to write about until I remembered a conversation we had with some cruisers a while back where we were all discussing some of our ‘must haves’ on board. We all had a couple of unique ones but most of us agreed on about 10 – so listed below in no particular order of preference are my favourite things….
I have not added the obvious big luxuries like watermaker and washing machines but the small things that made our lives much more comfortable
1. Stainless steel coffee plunger
We did have a Nespresso machine on board but I didn’t like using the pods so we gave it away and started using a coffee plunger. We managed to break 4 glass ones as they would fly off the galley under rough seas and so we bought a stainless steel one and love it. It keeps the coffee hot, can’t break and even when it has flown across the saloon it doesn’t even dent.
2. Silicone bakeware.
Cheap and cheerful, colourful and light weight. These baking dishes don’t even rust. Invaluable on a boat.
3. Big ice block maker
How we love our ice block makers. They make huge ice blocks which take ages to melt in the tropical heat. Everyone comments on them and we always get some when we go home to Australia to give away.
In Thailand we found our ‘snail’ It’s a 12v mosquito zapper. We plug it in every night, it gives off a blue light which attracts the mozzies then has a fan which sucks them into the zapper. We lie in bed and often hear ‘zzzap, zzzap,’ and we know that we won’t get bitten that night. It was one of the best investments we have made especially as we have lived in places like Africa which are rife with malaria.
5. Beach Table
I actually bought our table in Bunnings before we left and when we go to a beach for cruising drinks, we take our table and put the drinks and nibbles on it. Its been very successful and so many people want one. It saves sand getting into everything and acts as a stand for the music. It folds down and has its own carrier bag and is not much bigger than a folding chair.
6. Turkish towels
I have about eight of these and use them every day. Sometimes as seat covers or tablecloths but mostly as towels to take to the beach as they squash down to nothing in a bag. They can be sarongs or wind /sun breakers. They are so versatile.
7. Plastic egg boxes
In all the places we have been expect for the Med we have needed these plastic egg cartons to buy our eggs with. In the traditional markets in Asia, India and Africa they have no cardboard or plastic cartons, just sometimes a cardboard tray. We don’t like bringing cardboard onto the boat anyway as it harbours cockroach eggs so I always take my own egg cartons.
8. Can Crusher
Sadly ours has now died and we are on the hunt for another. It was very useful, saving space in the rubbish and it was fun to crush the cans.
9. Tactic boxes
Another Bunnings brilliant buy. All different sizes and shapes, these fabulous boxes can be used for so many storage ideas on the boat. They have removable sections to make different size compartments so they can be used for literally anything. I use them for my first aid box, nuts and bolts, stationery, tapes, tools, chargers and plugs etc etc. They are hard wearing, waterproof and light.
I bought my yoghurt maker to make my own yoghurt while doing long sea crossings but have used it many other times. In Greece their yoghurt was the best so I have not made any for a few months but it is lovely to have fresh homemade yoghurt on board especially in places where you can’t buy it like Sudan. I always get friends and family to bring me out some sachets of yoghurt when they visit.
I didn’t want a pressure cooker on board but we found this one in Jordan and we have found it really useful. It’s winter now and cold and I can make a chicken stew in 10 mins, soups in 5 mins and it makes enough for two meals. It uses so little gas as well. A very useful addition to my galley.
I left Australia with 1 hard drive full of movies and now have 6!! We cruisers always swap movies and series and there is always something you have not watched. They take up practically no room and we literally have enough entertainment value to last our whole journey. We now have Netflix and Spotify as well so we are completely spoilt for choice. I also save all our photos and videos onto the hard drives in case the laptop crashes.
Ian loves his kindle, which saves us carrying lots of books. I still tend to read books and swap with other cruisers but Ian swears by his kindle. One day I might join the modern world and get my own.
14. Latex mattress
I purchased this just before we left and have never regretted it. A good night’s sleep is invaluable on board especially during long ocean crossings when you are having just a few hours sleep at a time. Sleeping only a couple of inches from the water, with all the creeks and squeaks coming from the lines and the knowledge that you have got to go back on watch again soon, means having a very comfortable bed becomes a necessity.
There are probably many more ‘must have’ items for cruising which make our life more comfortable – it’s certainly easier now to cruise with modern technology than 30 years ago. The electronics now are cheap and versatile – most people back-up their chartplotter with extra charts on an i-pad, in fact we dont even have a chartplotter and cruise solely with our 2 i-pads. We also have a different set of charts on our laptop which also runs our AIS – the invaluable Automatic Identification System that shows us nearly all the boats around us, their direction, speed, destination, flag, size and type of boat. The little local fishing boats don’t carry AIS so we still have to keep a careful watch for them. Nowadays we are permanently in touch with family either via mobile phone or sat phone. I don’t think I would have been nearly so keen to sail the world in the 70’s!