Charmaine Smith Ladd's


(Advice, Tips & Tricks)

Got a question?  Ask Charmaine!

                   Message Board          Salmon Guinea

Topics covered:  Anchoring Rights in Jeopardy; Bedding: Keeping Things & You Dry Aboard -  Cooking Aboard: Slick Tricks the Perfect Omelet - Customs: U.S. Local Boaters Option (LBO) Program - Lighting: Interior/Exterior LEDs - Head/Holding Tank - Marine (Heads) Toilets: Groco KH-Series & How to  Instruct Landlubbers to Use The Head - Neutralizing  Head/Holding Tank Odors: Vinegar & Baking Soda is the Miracle & Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Solution -  Pets Aboard: Do You or Don't You  Selecting Boat Size: How Do You Know What is Right for You - Shade: Interior/Exterior  - Stainless Steel Water Tanks: Keeping Them Fresh & Clean - Radar Reflectors - Wind Generators K.I.S.S.    

From: Ann or Mel
Date: 9/29/2007 10:48:08 AM
Subject: what else?...the boat
Hi there,
Thank you for your great website!  You are really providing a wonderful service.
I don't know how deluged you are with questions, but here's a couple of ours in case you have time to answer... are the "toe rails" on 36's bolted or screwed on?  We're hoping to purchase an '82 and the rail needs to be rebedded and we're trying to figure out how we'll need to go about removing it.  Also, the specs you have listed are for the '84, right?  It lists keel as 5'6" and the one we're looking at has a 6'2" modified fin keel.  Were there two keel options?
As you probably know, the only other site that has anything about Lancer's seems to be offline, so you're probably getting lots of inquiries.
Thanks for any help you can give us and thanks again for providing such a fun to look at and informative site!
Fair winds,
Ann Wallace

I wrote Ann in detail about the Lancer 36s and the toerail.  But I didn't save my reply!!  In a nutshell, the toerails on these beauties rarely leak.  The leak is more often due to a stanchion base or inadequate bedding surrounding a toerail drain.  The bedding compounds they used back in the day (70s, 80s) can deteriorate over time.  In that event, the only solution is to take the toerails off, clean the surfaces, then reseat the toe rail in one of the many fabulous bedding compounds we have today.  Make sure to dip each screw into either silicon or other protectant before adhering them into place.


About my recommendation of Museum Putty:

Charmaine, my wife ordered some of that stuff and it really works! I was so happy not having to drill holes! She loves the interior of your boat. We enjoy the site and your tips. We are heading east in December for the Keys and beyond aboard Satori our Westsail 32. Hope to meet you someday.

Ken and Debra

From: Emily Smith
Date: 04/23/07 16:24:39
To: Charmaine
Subject: Re: So good to hear from you!

Hi Charmaine!

Hope you're doing well.  Just a quick question for you this time, contrary to my usual long-windedness:  Did you and Bill do a sea trial when you were contemplating purchasing September Sea?  I know that you were novice sailors at the time, so wondered if you did this, and if so, how did it work; i.e., did the broker or seller come with you, did he do most/all of the sailing, etc....?

I am a little nervous about a sea trial since we are still in the novice category as well, despite all the classes we have taken.  We are looking at a variety of boats online just to see what is out there, but haven't actually gone to see any of them yet.  We're planning to wait until after our class May 19-20 since we'll be on an IP 44 then and will no doubt learn more about what we want and don't want in a boat.  About the only thing we think we're settled on at this point is a monohull over a multihull.  :-)

Fair winds, and thank you!

Emily in NC


----- Original Message -----
From: Charmaine
To: Emily Smith
Sent: Monday, April 23, 2007 5:50 PM
Subject: Re: So good to hear from you!

Hey Emily!
Glad to hear all is well with you and yours.
Your questions are excellent ones.  Once you find a boat you really think you're interested in (after going to forums online and finding out the pros and cons of the boat's make, model and year)... and if you're still interested... then have a
surveyor of your choice (do NOT ask the broker to recommend one, you'll get his nephew!) do a quick survey of systems aboard and the hull, deck, rigging.  If you still
are liking the boat (most sellers will have a recent survey but trust me, it's from a surveyor that represents them).  Anyway, compare notes.  You'll find that if they left many things out from their survey and your surveyor finds such, you may want to move along... you're not dealing with honest sellers.
Once you have found a boat that suits your surveyor's requirements (there's always something that needs to be added or tended to... that just helps you lower their asking
price) you're ready for sea trials.
I strong suggest you hire a USCG certified Captain who comes highly recommended (either on the internet or word of mouth).  He or She will take the boat out with you and
your husband, your broker, and your surveyor.  That's when everything will be looked at to see if all systems are working properly and will give you a good idea of how she sails.  Be sure the Captain shows you the ease or difficulties with reefing, and sailing on all points of sail (to windward, beam reach, etc.).
I'm sure your head is swimming... LOL.  Just look up the things I've mentioned and you will get the picture.  You may be novices, but you don't have to be uninformed.
Let me know if I can be of further help.
Big Hugs
P.S. On my way out the door... rushed this one out to you.

From Emily:

Hello Charmaine!

I hope this note finds you well and that life on September Sea has been continuing to be as fulfilling as before!  I am currently reading your "Charmainisms" page, and have already gleaned some helpful tips!
The past few months have been a real whirlwind (exciting but exhausting!) for us, and I am finally finding a minute to fill you in.  As you can see from the subject line, we bought a boat!  We had been watching boats for months on Yachtworld coming up for sale in NC, and in late June, one popped up that really caught our fancy, a Catalina 30.  Mind you, we had not even considered Catalinas before this point, thinking we needed to look at bluewater, offshore cruisers (like Pacific Seacraft and that ilk).  But we gradually came around to thinking that our primary cruising grounds for a long time would be the East coast, Florida, Gulf coast, and Bahamas, and that a smaller (easier to handle, less expensive) well-built and well-maintained production boat with a shoal draft would suit us just fine for years, while being more comfortable and liveable than a blue-water, offshore boat with a narrower beam and deeper draft.  We can always go bigger and bluewater-capable later if we so desire, but we may never even get to that point (or want to), so why not buy something now that actually suits our present needs and skills?
There was just something about this Catalina 30, lots of things actually, that appealed to us.  The 3'10" draft (wing keel), the storage and layout, the fact that C30s have large interiors for their LOA (they are often compared to 34-foot boats of other makes), the very good condition it was in, the convenient location (Oriental NC), and the price was far less than other boats we had originally considered.  We also had a handful of other boats to look at in the same geographic area - an Endeavor 33, Hunter 30, Freedom 30 (gorgeous boat), and an O'Day 35, but once we'd been on each boat, the Catalina 30, Logos, was the one, Barry and both agreed.
We got an excellent, thorough survey that turned up lots of little things but no deal-breakers, and the broker, who had bought the boat a few months earlier and done a lot of maintenance on it, captained the sea trial, so all my worries about that were unfounded.  He had a few of the survey repairs done that were needed right away, and we found a nice marina.  We then went down and signed all the papers last Thursday, making Logos officially ours!
We sailed her up to her new slip, several hours away by boat (tacking all the way) (only 10 miles by car!), and got her settled in.  We spent all of Labor Day weekend on her, getting settled in, discovering her systems (she came with great manuals for nearly everything onboard -- the original owners had taken great care of her!)  We have a huge list of projects we want to do to make her even more liveable and cruise-worthy (adding extra batteries, for instance).  Fortunately, Barry loves tinkering and is super handy with electronics and systems, so he is in heaven!  And I just love that she is like a little water-front condo that I can fix up to make comfortable for us - a nice little nest! 
The small, rural marina we chose (  is quiet and peaceful with great bird life, and we so enjoyed eating all our meals in the cockpit and having the breezes blow through.  We took nice sails on Saturday and Sunday, and she handles great.  Sunday was VERY breezy (15-25 knots) with larger waves than we have ever encountered in our classes (3-5 ft) and whitecaps on the Neuse River, but she sailed well under main alone.  Learning how to dock and back out of the slip with a minimum of bumping are our biggest challenges at the moment!
I haven't gotten our latest photos from the weekend posted on my blog yet, but I do have a few from the survey if you'd care to take a look:
I am still working, so she'll be a weekend getaway for now.  We'll also take some week-long cruises on her next year, when I have more vacation.  I used most of this year's vacation in sailing classes or going back and forth to the coast during the buying process.  Eventually when I quit working, our current plan is to split our year between cruising on Logos and living in a small cabin in the NC mountains that we hope to build in the next couple of years and sell the larger home we live in now in central NC.
Hope you're doing well!
Emily in NC 

From: Julie Grm

Date: 08/07/05 08:01:11
Subject: [Raritan Waste Treatment System
> >Is anyone familiar with the Raritan Waste Treatment System?  We have to
> >replace our holding tank and were thinking of purchasing the Raritan.  We
> >are planning on living aboard for the next few years and sailing south.
> >Does anyone have this system and how do you like it?  Thanks
> >
> >
> >Julie Grm
> >Tartan 37
Hi Julie.  Raritan Engineering offers many waste system treatment
products: PuraSan, LlectraSan (which both can use  RE's Hold n' Treat product) and Managerm.  Not sure which product you are considering.
Charmaine Aboard s/v September Sea
"Life's a Gift... Unwrap It!" - C~

I swear Charmaine, I have been reading this list (Sailnet's Livaboard Forum) for quite some time and you are one of the most helpful people to everyone that I have seen.  Thank you.



Question: Help!  How can I keep my bunk bedding dry?

The best defense against soggy bedding is to keep the damp out of your boat in the first place.  First, I'd suggest you take a look at your headliner and inside very locker and cabinet aboard.  Insulate, Insulate, Insulate!  Keeping the boat dry by not allowing condensation to get a foothold is, in my book, Numero Uno in the fight against boat dampness.
On days when it's more foggy than not, I don't open my portlights.  My hatches are opened but they have bonnets over them to allow air to flow but keep dampness out.  The bonnets are perfect for the times when a light rain is falling and you don't notice it until it begins to get heavier.  No rain gets inside the bonnets unless the wind is blowing 15 knots or more.  During extended rainy periods
I take one bonnet and turn it backwards so that the opening is facing aft.  That allows me to leave that hatch open even when it's pouring rain.  You'd be surprised the amount of air that circulates below by way of that backwards hatch... it has been a real blessing to have those bonnets.
So many people don't realize how damp a boat can become inside just by allowing the evening and morning dew to settle within.  So you can imagine how damp things can get when it sprinkles off and on inside your boat.  Those little sprinkles add up big time.

 "Dad wet all the beds in the boat this time."


When making your bed in the mornings, during damp times, you may want to bag your dry bedding in a waterproof bag.  Add a dryer softener sheet or two to keep them smelling fresh.  Prop up your mattress when you're not using it (but only after getting in there and bleaching out any mold spores hiding beneath it).  After you've bleached it and know you're not harboring a mold lab, sometimes when you make the bed with the bedding on... just don't tuck in the sheets (head, end, sides).  Let it breathe.  If you fold back the areas normally tucked in... your bed still looks like its made.
I use big plastic doormats under all mattresses aboard.  They are about rectangular about 3 x 2 and an inch thick.  The mats have huge holes in them   When put beneath mattresses you allow air to continue to flow, which thwarts dampness.
Fans will also help keep your boat and bedding dry.  It is so important to have fans running at all times -- not only during damp weather -- but at least one fan in living areas running a minimum of a few hours per day.  Mine run all the time, but not everyone has ample electricity to do so.


"Rusty the Raincloud" 

He's just waiting to rain inside your boat.


Another trick I do is to not open enclosed cabins to the dampness at all.  Just run a fan in there and open the cabin only when it's time for bed.  You'll be amazed at how cool and dry your cabin will be because you've kept the weather's detrimental elements out.  You can also try using your lifelines to clip a piece of canvas between the lines and your portlight frame.  The canvas acts as an awning to keep excessive sunlight, light to moderate rain, and morning and evening dew out.
Another trick I use is to turn my oven on when things have gotten too damp.  Just open the oven door while the boat is closed up, go out in the cockpit and let the oven dry your boat out.  Reverse cycle heat doesn't work because it is a moist heat.  My alcohol oven puts out a dry heat and works miracles with removing dampness.
We have central air conditioning and that will work too to remove dampness.  I prefer drying things out with heat   In the five years which I've lived aboard I have only had to dry things out three times.  Each time I was in the Everglades during a hurricane.  Not too shabby!
A little precaution will go a long way.  When you go in to grab a bag of ice... close your hatches and portlights (windows).  Where we live in the Keys, it can be sun shiny all day... and then boom... five minutes of pouring rain.  I see the boats that have the most mildew because I see their owners rushing out in the thunderstorm to close their hatches.  TOO LATE.

Don't forget to close the portlights when you leave the boat!


Hope some of this can help ya.  I'm in the Abacos Out Islands of the Bahamas right now... and I'm dry, dry, dry...  Being wet only when I choose to be is a very important factor in my level of comfort aboard.  No landlubber would stand for her or his bed being placed under a leaking roof.  No boater should either.
You can do this my friend!  My evening cocktail tonight I'll be sure to toast to you obtaining a dry bed in which to sleep.  It's not difficult.  You just have to play detective and find out where the dampness is getting in... take the necessary precautions -- and be diligent about keeping dampness out.
All the Best,
Aboard s/v September Sea in the Abacos, Bahamas
"Life's a Gift... Unwrap It!" - C~



My new favorite "toy" aboard is a battery operated, heavy-based, stand alone lamp that is marine grade and uses LEDs.  One charge operates the lamp for 80 hours.  It's excellent in every way.  We have two of them and use them exclusively when out on the hook: lights up the whole boat if we wish.  All without draining our ship's battery bank... which means more power to watch yet another movie!  (You can see the lamps on this site at: The Boat)

The lamps are the creation of Reynold Steckley: his website:   He does not have this NEW lamp on the website yet, but you can see it at our website under "The Boat," there's a thumbnail that shows the lamp sitting atop our refrigerator.  They run about $130 -- but that includes a smart charger, battery, everything you need for trouble-free operation.  Thousands and thousands of hours of illumination.  The lamp also makes an excellent cockpit lamp.  So easy to just pick up and take with you or set where you are... on deck, wherever.  This is an incredible product.  Mr. Steckley is also a liveaboard [his boat, m/v Erika can be seen in the latest issue of "Living Aboard Magazine," article on "Smorgasboat in Boot Key Harbor," m/v Erika is seen along the seawall of Dockside as the Smorgasboat heads from our canal to the open Harbor.  You can't miss it, it's a restored Trumpe about 80 feet long].
Contact information:  Stecktronics: 5409 Overseas Highway, #276, Marathon, FL 33050   (757) 880-8980 or email him at:
We also replaced our mast light with one from Stecktronics:
"You do not have to change your current switch or mast wiring. Simply make sure your masthead has correct polarity, and wire in the light. Now, when you turn the switch on once the light is automatic. On at dusk, and off at daylight. But, turn it on twice and leave it on, the unit is on manual and will require you shut it off. Three flips of the switch equal slow flash. Four flips equal fast flash. Five flips and the unit will flash SOS until turned off. With an LED wafer and no controller, consumption is 80 milliamps. Add a controller and the draw goes up less than 3 milliamps. Daylight consumption in the automatic mode is less than 3 milliamps, about what an electric wristwatch draws. A single wafer with a controller wafer attached sells for $82.00, part number 1274M-ST."
We LOVE our lamps and our mast light.  Just wonderful products.  Mr. Steckley stands behind his work 100%.  You won't be disappointed.
Charmaine Aboard s/v September Sea
"Life's a Gift... Unwrap It!" - C~

BOAT ODOR (Holding Tank): 

Question: My head stinks to high heaven.  What can I do to get the smell to go away?  The smell is really bad under the cabinet where the hoses are.  The whole boat stinks!

E. Walker, Boston, MA

 I'd recommend replacing all hoses as others have said.  Be sure to replace all fittings as well.  By doing so, you'll rid the boat of a number of obnoxious odors emanating from the head.  I've learned not to use any kind of hose that breathes.  Some sanitation hoses breathe and what they breathe blows out into the boat when you flush.
Use the white sanitation hose with the slick exterior... no odors come through it.  In five years you may want to replace it again, but maybe not if you flush with fresh water.  It's a pain, I know... but by never allowing saltwater (and its myriad of microscopic critters) inside a holding tank you'll find you'll effectively reduce many odors from starting. 
If you use saltwater to flush you should have the tank pumped out every few days.  That's the only way I know of keeping those odors at bay.  A while back I put up one of my tips on how to make sure you've totally cleared the bowl of any voids: blue food coloring in water or a wee amount of blue tank deodorizer (some of them smell very nice - like OZIUM spray) and have it in a spray bottle next  
to the toilet.  Spray a couple sprays when flushing until the water in the bowl is no longer green but either blue or clear.  It's a sure way to know the bowl is properly flushed.  If you don't leave anything behind... your bowl and hoses will stay fresher longer.  Fresh as wildflowers!

Also, after saltwater flushing, add a cup of fresh water to the bowl.  When you add the fresh water be sure to add it at the highest part of the bowl so the fresh water will flush any bacteria remaining on the sides. 
Some people use bleach to an excess when cleaning their toilets.  Then they flush it all into the holding tank!  Not a good idea.  Often times the bleach mixes with the gunk, critters, and deodorizers already in the tank and that's a mix that will definitely produce that sickening sweet worse-than-a-skunk-on-fire odor that makes your hair stand on end. 
I clean my bowl and tank with vinegar and baking soda.  It works to keep both smelling fresh.  Right before and after a pump out I do the baking soda and vinegar thing.  That combination will also  
clear your hoses of calcium buildup.  A friend of mine use to take her hoses off and beat them on the docks to break up the calcium.   Of course I told her anytime you go to the trouble of taking your hoses off... replace them!  Ha!  She was very happy to find out about what vinegar and baking soda can do for her problem.  She thanks me to this day!

Holding tanks also need to be vented.  We have cross-ventilation, a vent from the tank and out on both port and starboard sides of the boat's exterior.  We also use a solar fan to vent the air pocket areas around the actual holding tank.
I can't stand odors.  The items above sure work for me!

Charmaine Aboard s/v September Sea  "Life's a Gift... Unwrap It!" - C~


Follow-Up Question:

Hi Charmaine,
How do mix up your concoction?

Hi JD.

I use one of the little boxes of baking soda, the kind you would put in your refrigerator, and one quart of vinegar. Put 1/2 quart in the toilet and sprinkle the entire contents of the little box of baking soda over it. Then pour in the other 1/2 quart of the vinegar.  It will fizz and bubble and churn... and that's what you want!  Wait five minutes and pull the toilet handle once. Wait five minutes as it bubbles and well, you know... keep doing this with the handle every five minutes (longer doesn't hurt) until all the baking soda and vinegar are gone. This will serve to clear your pipes of gunk and calcium buildup. You can either have it pump overboard or into your holding tank (I prefer the holding tank because it keeps working in there too!).


Vinegar and baking soda will also clear your sink drain and pipes. Close the thru-hull and use an 8th of the concoction above. It will let you know when it's done because it stops fizzing.  Open the thru-hull and you're liable to hear the drain blowout as its released... no harm done. Follow that up with one teapot of boiling water. Your sink drains will smell clean and fresh.

Hope this helps!


Aboard s/v September Sea
"Life's a Gift... Unwrap It!" - C~


Thank you! I'm off to give it a whirl today.

Aboard Serendipity motoring through the Block Island Sound


Worked great! Thanks Charmaine. I really prefer to use natural remedies than dumping chemicals down toilets and sinks.

Thanks for the good advice,
Aboard Serendipity on the hook in Port Jefferson Harbor, NY

"Charmainism #1"



"I have been much too busy living life to its fullest to know anything other than the enjoyment of every single moment, no matter how difficult any one moment may be.  I try to find the positive in every single thing, every single day.  Maybe I'm wrong to perceive "being bored" as a negative.  However, doing so has kept me from ever experiencing it."

- Charmaine Smith Ladd Aboard s/v September Sea (August 2005)

"Life's a Gift... Unwrap It!" - C~



That is a classic wonderful statement.  If more people had this attitude, this world would be a much happier and well adjusted place.  Thank you...

Bob W.
Venice, FL


Question: How do you go about telling guests onboard how to use your marine toilet?

The answers on this subject were pretty much the same (i.e., "open valves, shut valves, pump xxx number of times, "don't put anything in the toilet you haven't eaten..." then flush, pump, open valve, shut valve... "  WHEW!!  My head was spinning! 


My response to those with the long list of Do's and Don'ts for company aboard:

Goodness. Still doing that routine? 

We have a Groco marine toilet. No valves to open or close. 
When our vessel was manufactured (1984), a stainless plate with precise instructions for using the Groco toilet was riveted on the wall at {seated} eye level.  The only thing the plate doesn't say is "There's a container behind the toilet with a supply of free-standing brown paper bags and zip lock baggies." The waste can is under the sink. Pretty easy. In five years, no one has had a problem with the "system" yet. 
I'd recommend having something made up that has instructions.  It works for us, and you don't have to pull anyone aside to explain.  If it's someone with a bladder like mine... you might get wet while  
I do also enforce the "sit down" rule. It's the most sanitary way to use a toilet on land as well. Men usually start to understand this the first time they have to clean the bathroom. I mean really! I've yet  
to hear any complaints afterwards that the water in the bowl is too cold.
Charmaine Aboard s/v September Sea
 "Life's a Gift... Unwrap It!" - C~


Follow-up Question:


i agree, sitting on the head toilet for all sexes and purposes is most civilized, but no valves to open? what kind of marine toilet is that? chemical? but you still have to pump out eventually anyway, right?

Joseph L., New Zealand


Hi there Joseph,

It's always good to hear from you.
The Groco toilet is a marvel.  It can be installed above or below the water line a foot pedal controls the amount of flush water you use.  Pressing the foot pedal adds water and when the pedal is released it automatically shuts the water inlet off.  Thus, no valves or hand wheels to open or close!
Another thing I love about the Groco K-Series marine toilets is that they have an optional electric flush (just press the switch) or pumped manually.  When guest are aboard they simply push the
button and it works on its own (all they have to do is step on the pedal to add water).  Again, you don't have to worry about them forgetting to close a valve because when the foot pedal is
released it shuts off the water supply.
I only activate the electric switch when children (or adults that freak out at the thought of using a marine toilet) are aboard; or when I'm at a marina and electricity is in high supply.  When
out and about, the electricity used is a small price to pay for making the toilet landlubber-friendly.  LOL.  The flush is directed via a Y-valve and you can direct the contents either into the holding tank or directly outside (when in waters that allow such).  Folks aboard don't make that decision, as it's locked over to the appropriate outlet.
The Groco uses no chemicals.  It uses water via a foot pedal (either salt or fresh {set up via a Y-valve so you can choose which} but you know by now that I recommend fresh water for that which goes into the holding tank.  That said, yes, you do have to pump out the holding tank at some point.
When we're out sailing and anchoring, we usually take a trip outside protected waters and empty the holding tank where it's legal to do so.
Flushing is very simple whether using the electric button or manual (hand) pump.  For serious use, I highly recommend lining the toilet with a few single sheets of toilet paper before use (makes for very simple clean up as everything leaves the bowl while remaining inside the lining and not on the
toilet bowl walls).
I can't stress the ease of using this toilet.  It also is made in a manner that holds up to heavy daily use (five years straight as liveaboards)   I know many liveaboards who use the marina bathrooms as often as possible.  That's just not necessary if your boat's toilet is a good one (and you have
an adequately-sized holding tank).
We have overhauled our Groco twice (you can buy the overhaul kits from Groco, we always have a spare kit aboard).  The kit simply replaces rubber parts (gasket, seals, joker valve, flapper
and {plastic} piston rings).  I do flush a wee bit of cooking oil in it every few months if I detect the flush getting cumbersome (the oil helps keep the rubber parts from drying out after my baking soda
and vinegar treatments).  Baking soda and vinegar rid your pipes of calcium build up, which can be a cause of easy clogging.
Our Groco K-Series toilet has operated trouble-free since 1984.  That sure says something to me about its value.  It is expensive compared to most marine toilets... but the others can't do what the Groco does... so, in my book, the Groco K-Series is most definitely worth the investment.
You can learn all you ever wanted to know about Groco marine toilets at the link below (you'll need Adobe to read the second link which is a .pdf file):
Hope this helps!
Aboard s/v September Sea
"Life's a Gift... Unwrap It!" - C~

BOAT SHADE (Exterior):

Question: How can I keep my boat cooler in the summer.  I have seen people with those Tree Awnings on them.  Are they the best way to get shade on deck?

K. Johnson, Titusville, FL

They are a good product.  But you can have shade with less expense.  What I suggest, you can't use the entire boat deck surface for sitting in the shade or sitting there protected from rain.  But if that's okay with you, like we who are at marinas (or even on moorings) and want to protect our boats from the sun, even as we live aboard, thought you might like to read what we've done for September Sea.
We use screens.. landscape screens.  The screens you may have seen normally used for shading outdoor plants for sale at businesses.  They're heavy duty and the mesh-like netting is very fine.  We had them made so we could tie them across the boat, from port to starboard, to the lifelines.  They shade the boat beautifully and let in air (and rain for keeping the boat a whole lot less grimy while in the marina.  They are very easy to put up and take down, as we go out sailing often.
We have six different sections, cut and made for six areas of the boat.  With grommet holes you can use those tiny little bungees from Home Depot that look like hair ties.  Or, as we do in the area where we get off the boat, we had weights put in the hem which allows the screen to overhang the lifelines.  It's very easy to move it so you can get off the boat.  Once off the boat and on the finger pier, it's very easy to just place the weighted screen back over the lifeline.  By using a weighted hem, the more the screen can hang over the lifelines and downward... insures shade coverage for the boat's deck areas on each side.
The other good thing about the screens is that any bird droppings are caught and can be hosed right off the screens and off the boat.  The bimini area, where we pass under to exit our boat for land, the screens can be zipped into the port and starboard edges of the bimini (or simply have a screen cut to go all the way over the top of the bimini as you would the boom) and tied (or weighted down and hung over) to the top lifeline.  That keeps the screens up high enough so we an walk under it with ease. 


Picture: September Sea in full screen gear at Manjack Cay, Abacos Bahamas.


Using screens, they allow shade for the entire deck of the boat, no matter where the sun may be positioned in relation to the vessel.  Most shade awnings, being hung so high up, allow areas for the sun to penetrate beneath the edges of the awning throughout the day (especially from the east and west). 
The screens are very flexible and hatches can be opened beneath them just as you usually do.   They also stand up to wind because the wind just goes through them, hardly any resistance at all.
What I love about using the screens most of all, is that they are so easy to put up and take down.   We leave for a sail and we take them down in a matter of two minutes and they're stowed neatly in a cockpit locker (they don't take up much room either).  Get to an anchorage and back up they go to protect the boat while out and about.  For quick trips to the anchor locker, there is minimal inconvenience, as they can be detached from the lifelines very quickly and temporarily.
The stern of our boat faces west in the evenings.  So we have one large screen that covers the stern from atop the bimini down to the stainless rails.  Complete coverage without being in the dark; and though you can see through them perfectly as you are on the boat, it's not quite as easy to see IN from outside the boat.  The shades therefore, allow you a bit more privacy as you sit in your cockpit.  (Very nice after snorkeling, undressing and enjoying a quick shower in the cockpit.  Believe me, I looked at this boat from every angle to ensure my big behind was not going to be seen!)
Just thought you all might like to hear a different way of acquiring shade for you and your vessel.

You can see our screens up by clicking on the thumbnail above to enlarge it.

Charmaine Aboard s/v September Sea
"Life's a Gift... Unwrap It!" - C~


BOAT SHADE (Interior):

Question:  I checked out your website.   very impressive.  You've given me some great ideas for fixing up Calypso.  Like those peek-a-boo shades.  Where did you find those?  Thanks for sharing. 

T. Smith, Boulder, CO s/v Calypso

Peek-a-Booo Blinds


I had used dish towels to cover the portlights when we first moved aboard.  My friend Peggy introduced me to Peek-a-Boo Blinds.  Mind you, be very careful when typing it in on a search... I found all the PEEK-A-BOO anyone would ever CARE to find!  Ha!  Have mercy, it was a regular Twat Fest... if you'll excuse my French.  (Is twat French?).  LOL  Where's Josephine Baker when you need her to clarify something like this?!  ANYway... click the link for more info about Peek-a-Booo Blinds.

(I promise... nothing there to make ya blush!  Just put three O's in Peek-a-Booo.  I learned from my mistakes!!)

Pictures Above left: Peek-a-Booo blind for starboard side fixed bow portlight in Salon

Above Middle: Salon Peek-A-Booo Blind when open; Above Right: Peek-A-Booo Blind when shut.

Below, Starboard Salon & Galley (before installing Peek-a-Booo blinds).  Martha would be proud! 


I highly recommend Peek-a-Booo blinds.

Charmaine Aboard s/v September Sea

"Life's a Gift... Unwrap It!" - C~

"Charmainism #2"

"Life's  a gift...  (so) unwrap it!"

                                                   - Charmaine Smith Ladd (January 2003)


Often times your boat chooses you, if it's near your price range (LOL).  Otherwise, my main point is that linear footage is not always indicative of lack of (or ample) space.  Our 36-foot sloop is much larger than a 32-footer, and I don't mean only by 4 feet in length.  Everything is bigger; wider; taller (freeboard); as a boat's length increases, so does everything else, exponentially.

Also, center cockpit boats can offer tons of space even in the smaller sizes due to the higher freeboard (meaning lots of headroom below decks), and usually a nice large aft cabin.  Many CC boats have two heads, one adjoining the V-berth and community space, and the other in the Owner's Sleeping Cabin.  Great example for impressive space per linear foot are the Scylla Swallowcraft boats.  Go to Yachtworld and look around, find the boats that show most all the angles and areas of the boat.  But there's always a trade-off: center cockpits, in general, do not sail as well on any points of sail as their counterpart (aft-cockpit boats). 
For those who haven't seen the differences in space, all boats of the same linear footage are not created equal.  There are 40-footers I've been on that don't have the "open" spaces on my 36-footer.  So besides length, it's make, model, CC or not, and many other yada yada yadas.
The thing here is to try and offer people who may not know exactly what they want -- a manner of weeding out and narrowing down, realistically, the right boat for their respective needs.  Judy's needs are pretty clear with a claustrophobic mate (however, I too am claustrophobic [got hives inside an elevator!], yet have learned ways to accommodate myself.  I actually sleep in our Owner's cabin, which I thought would be an impossibility in my lifetime.  (We have a king-sized convertible bed in the salon, that was my security blanket for six months.  I took the door off the hinges in the Owner's cabin and would go in there and read... before I knew it I'd be cat napping... you get the idea).  The door's back on its hinges and I'm very comfortable in there now.
The trick is to try to keep an open-mind with regard to size, as so many people find they buy boats larger than they really needed (cause they didn't know what they needed).  Hopefully, with a thread such as this one, it will give pause to some who think they too could never live aboard "anything less than 40 feet."  My husband was one of those people... didn't take long before he was seeing things differently.  I suppose he felt that if I (Miss Claustrophobic) could handle it... so could he.  He's 6'2 and loves our boat just the way it is and is so thankful I got him to consider looking at smaller vessels.  (You know, the "What's the harm in looking?" routine.)
So my advice to anyone who is looking for their perfect boat, and has never owned one... to think practically.  If you've never lived aboard or owned a boat, you have to start somewhere... so take baby steps and do extensive research on boats and their sizes (and layouts, yes... VERY important). Some boats look large until you step onboard and realize the boat is chopped up into cramped, stuffy, downright no-sleepin'-tonight cabins and lacking in salon bench length.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

When you think you have found what you want, see if you can find another one like it to charter for a few days.  Even with one or two other people on board, it will give you a sense of what it's like on a boat that size.  Don't like it, try another layout or model.  Then work your way to finding the boat that fits your comfort level.  But don't forget that with more boat comes more everything else... including headaches.  That's the way it is with anything. 

In all reality, there is usually no perfect boat.  Just the boat you temporarily made "perfect" for your immediate needs at the time.  That usually means another boat in the future somewhere after ya figure out exactly what all the boat's purposes are to fulfill.  Besides, the prices are better buying a boat loaded with all that you need for big crossings, rather than to retrofit it all into another boat.  You'll come out ahead if all that stuff is already there (and not ten years old!).
By way of simply being human beings, we have a tendency to want more more more instead of less less less.  A true sense of Freedom is my number one goal for this lifestyle; and this boat has afforded me such.  In that regard: September Sea is truly the perfect boat for us.. now.  <wink>  (But we started small..... so..) IF the need arises for a larger boat, we're so much more educated now than when we made our first purchase; and have a lot of sailing experience and crossings under our belt.).  Baby steps.  We did by taking baby steps; and so can anyone else. 
Hopefully, as we've all pretty much agreed on this List, your boat will find you.  Let's just say I think it's advantageous to try to increase the odds of it being the right choice by making a decision based on education, not emotion.  "Dreamboats" are often... well, like in life: not necessarily "reality" boats.
Charmaine Aboard s/v September Sea
"Life's a Gift... Unwrap It!" - C~



Question: Should I get a cat aboard and if I do are they hard to take care of?  Or what else should I be thinking about regarding a cat on the boat.

I can't imagine going through all those considerations for an animal.  Check that... I can imagine because I've done it myself.. but that was on land not aboard.  It would be one thing if you

already had a pet when moving aboard -- but you're talking about taking on a pet after you've moved aboard and into a life which offers much more freedom than life on shore. 
Cats seem to do fine because I never see them.  LOL  Those on the hook say the cats are pretty cool about it.  However, two friends of mine went to Belize recently (as crew aboard another's boat).
The cat they had found them.  A stray they allowed to stay.  But with the trip coming up they tried to find someone who would keep the cat for them.  NOT!  Or maybe give to... another NOT!  So they
put the cat up for adoption at the local ASPCA.  When they returned from Belize a month later... the cat was still there.  So they adopted again their own cat!
My daughter lives in an apartment.  She insisted on getting a dog. I told her a puppy is like a baby in many ways.  She didn't listen. Now she has an 8-month old Baby Huey in her apartment that sits
in a cage all day because she hasn't been home long enough to properly train the poor animal.  She is a busy young woman... too busy to have the attention to give to an attention-needing animal.
She regrets her decision.
Children have to sometimes learn things for themselves.  But we're adults here... having an animal aboard when you have the choice to or not -- one might want to look at what it is about
this life aboard that we really love.  My number one is the FREEDOM it allows me.
Animals are an enormous responsibility.  With responsibility for others coming first before we can "Go and Do"... equates to "whatever-happened-to-spontaneity;" you lose an awfully big
chunk of that FREEDOM we so cherish afforded by our alternative lifestyle.
A dear friend has a parakeet.  The parakeet swings on his perch, located outside the boat.  Many people have come up to my friend and ask him how he keeps the parakeet so happy... even
when it is outside in 90+ degree heat.  Sometimes they seem very annoyed... like they can't wait to radio the ASPCA.
It's terribly funny... because while he's explaining his secrets for "Parakeet Happiness," they usually begin to notice the parakeet never really moves... or does it?  Nope.  It's just swinging with
the wind and the motion of the moored boat.  The parakeet isn't real, just a stuffed toy that looks incredibly realistic.  So yes, my friend has a pet aboard... and his type of pet is probably the only
kind of pet I'd ever consider bringing aboard.
I simply love my freedom far too much to bog it down with other considerations before I do this or that or can go here or there.

Charmaine Aboard s/v September Sea

"Life's a Gift... Unwrap It!" - C~



Question: How and what do you use to clean a water tank.  My water has taken on a very nasty smell.  My water tank is made of stainless.

H. Davis, Orlando, FL

For me, nothing works like chlorine bleach to clean my stainless freshwater tank.  When you consider how slimy a swimming pool can get when left to the elements... they don't clean them up with vinegar.  Shock the water tank just as you would shock a swimming pool.  Let it sit overnight and slosh around.  Remove all filters from your faucets and let it run out.  All the gunk will run out and you'll have a clean and bacteria-free water tank.  Depending on how bad the gunk is, you may have to repeat the process until all the gunk is gone.
After the shock treatment, always add a bit of bleach (1 capful to 30 gals.) when you add water to the tank.  By routinely doing so, you're not likely to have to shock it ever again.
Hope this helps!
Aboard s/v September Sea
"Life's a Gift... Unwrap It!" - C~


"Charmainism #3"

Sometimes, just sittin' back and watchin' the action is way more fun than participatin'.

                               - Charmaine Smith Ladd (August 2005)


The fact remains that most on this and other lists have enjoyed so many, many topics.  It's not like it's the same topic all the time.  We vary greatly.  I do think it's quite interesting that thread responses have picked up greatly.  Fantastic!Each of us follow and respond to the threads of which we have interest.
I must agree with Goodwin on this one.  If you don't wish to read a particular subject (which is the case whether it is politics or breast feeding) then delete it.  That's the key here... so delete what you're not interested in and don't berate others for that which they have interest.
After all, it is a live-aboard forum.  You're sitting in the coffee shop and don't like the conversation.... no problem.  Just go across the room and bring up a conversation of your own.


Why are these people reading the topics they don't like?  Instead of sitting back and seething, don't follow the threads with political topics.  Rather, bring up another topic of your own and follow that thread.  It's that simple.  If you think you're going to find another list that never has this problem, you've really got your head in the sand.  The best way to deal with it is don't expect a "liveaboard" list to have strict parameters.  Be respectful of the importance of some topics to others, even though you personally don't like the subject.  Very, very simple.
If you are getting more out of this list by way of information, then you will stay.  Otherwise, you will go.  You would think a list of this type, with quite intelligent adults, wouldn't go through the merry-go-round of this very sophomoric "Oh my Gosh!  You can't say that on this list;" "We're not here for this, I don't wanna read that;" or some flock like: "I'm leaving 'cause you guys are talking about SEX!"  Sounds silly, don't it?  Yeah... I said "Don't it sound silly."
It is.

Charmaine Aboard s/v September Sea

"Life's a Gift... Unwrap It!" - C~

August 13, 2005
Charmaine, one of these days, I am finally going to meet you, and give you a big hug, just for the hell of it.  A lot of what you say on here (Sailnet forums, etc.), the first thing that hits my mind is I wish I said that
Chris Coates


"You mean all this time we couda been friends?"

Question: Do you have a copier, scanner aboard?  I hear about having to have copies of this and that for immigration.
Thanks, Cheri'
Soon to be live a aboard


Hi there Cheri,

We operate a software business aboard.  Having a copier, scanner, fax, satellite phone, etc. comes in to use often for us.  Bear in mind these items take up valuable space aboard.  If it weren't for our business, I wouldn't necessarily have them (all but the satellite phone.. that, I'd keep).

As far as papers needed for customs, whether here or abroad, we always have those ready to go before they're needed.  If you make up packets beforehand (make ten copies of everything) you'll find you won't need any thing else in between trips.  The information doesn't change (e.g., HIN [Hull Identification Number {found on the transom}] of your boat, passport numbers of all persons aboard, State registration #, and your U.S. Customs Sticker # (renewed annually, just like a State registration) available through the U.S. Customs Department. 
You will want to look into the Local Boaters' Option (LBO) program.  It's offered by U.S. Customs for boaters who frequently travel abroad.  When you come back into the U.S. you call Customs.  You'll give them your LBO number.  The number identifies you and your boat.  You give them a list of passengers and their Passport numbers.  Having an LBO usually keeps you from having to check into U.S. Customs in person.  It identifies you immediately, which helps expedite the process of clearing back into the U.S.
To enroll in the LBO you will make an appointment with any U.S. Customs office.  You and your spouse should have your own independent LBO registration numbers.  Make sure you take all documentation they need (they'll tell you what to bring with you).
Being registered via the LBO Program really helps to cut through much of the red tape when clearing back into the U.S. 
Hope this helps!
Big Hugs, 
Aboard s/v September Sea
"Life's a Gift... Unwrap It!" - C~

Thanks for the advice, we had already been told about the LBO, but didn't know what the initials stood for and where to apply, so as usual, your help is appreciated.   Cheri




Take a 2-quart (or larger) pot and fill it 1/3 with water.  Make the omelets as instructed below while you wait for the water to boil.


I use quart-sized zip lock baggies.  You'll need one baggie per omelet.  I stand them up in a bowl and crack the appropriate number of eggs into each baggie.  Usually, a two-egg omelet is all the omelet you want.  Add to the baggies the appropriate ingredients.

The beauty of this is that each baggie holds a separate omelet so the ingredients and size can be different for each omelet.  Perhaps one person would prefer a one-egg, bacon bits, red pepper, and swiss cheese omelet; someone else wants a two-egg omelet with mushrooms, tomato bits, cheddar cheese and no salt.  You get the idea.   (When making more than two omelets, I use a black marker to distinguish one from the other.  Be sure to mark it high up -- at the zipper -- so the boiling water won't ruin it.

After all ingredients and seasonings are added, add a small bit of butter to each and zip the baggies.  Pick up each baggie (one at a time) and gently knead with your hands.  Knead just enough to mix up the white and yolk, and the remaining ingredients.  If you have too much air in the baggie you won't be able to knead the ingredients.  You don't have to get all the air out before cooking.

Place the baggies into the pot of boiling water.  Stand them up, side by side.  Leave the zip lock tops UP.  In about 15 minutes you'll have perfect omelets.  You can tell when they're done because the UP side of the omelet is not runny.

Carefully remove the omelet baggies from the pot.  They'll stand up until you're ready to put them on a plate.  To serve, unzip the baggie and turn the omelet upside down over a plate.  It will slide out perfectly.

You can also put salsa in its own baggie and it can be heating in the same pot.  There are many sauces you can use... even salad dressings can be heated this way for pouring over omelets.

Clean up is so simple.  There's no pot or skillet to clean.  AND you use the hot water you cooked the omelets in to wash the breakfast dishes!  Just what I love... more time for coffee!

Try one... once you do it, you'll never cook an omelet any other way!

Baggie cooking is also great for re-heating leftovers.  It works so simply, is convenient and innovative enough that even landlubbers love it!  No one likes to scrub sticky skillets!



Permanent Address while Cruising?

Can You Vote?

Subject: Re: St. Brendan's Isle Mail Forwarding/Handling (was) Re: [livaboard] residency
You don't have to have a land based residence in which you live in order to vote, pay taxes, etc.  For we who live aboard, ya simply need to declare your legal residence --which can be any mail forwarding service which offers such services -- to be your legal domicile (such as St. Brendan's Isle).  You merely have to fill out a "Declaration of Domicile" and file it.
The forwarding service sends you all your mail, wherever you wish them to do so.  They will change the forwarding anytime you wish, to yet another place; it's what they do.  That same address (the mail service) is my LEGAL address...  Therefore, my driver's license, tax forms, credit cards, etc. all go to my legal address.  It makes no difference
that it is a mail forwarding service and I don't have a living room or couch at their address... LOL.  When you fill out the legal documents (the mail forwarding service will
provide the documents if needed), you'll see there's even a place for you to declare you live aboard.
Uh huh.  And it sure is a convenience to we who need it! Sometimes things do go the way of the sailor.  LOL
Charmaine Aboard s/v September Sea
"Life's a Gift... Unwrap It!" - C~  

Mold & Mildew - Keeping them Out!!

I manage to keep our boat dry by doing a number of things.  In our 36' footer we have six (now eight) fans.  They run all the time.  The other thing I do is to close all overhead hatches BEFORE the evening dew starts dropping inside the boat.  I open all the portlights and with all the fans running we have plenty of fresh, dry air. I do not open the overhead hatches until after the morning dew is gone.
On the rare occasion that moisture has crept into the boat and things are damp (like the floor or floor rugs are your first good indicator) I close the boat up and turn on the oven, leaving the oven door open.  If it's warm outside, while I'm drying out the boat's interior, I have a drink in the cockpit (with a fan out there too!).  The hot, dry heat of the oven dries out the entire boat in ten minutes.
Never have had to use a dehumidifier or any gadget to keep the boat dry, other than

(1) having excellent air circulation via fans;

(2) closing hatches to keep moisture [dew] out of the boat, and
(3) drying the boat out using the oven when need be.

Hope this helps!

Charmaine Aboard s/v September Sea
"Life's a Gift... Unwrap It!" - C~


QUESTION: now that i've done some research and seen some independent tests, i think, short of going the length to get an active reflector, i would opt for a common 6.25" davis-type octahedral ball reflector that is foldable.
Question is, is there a way to mount it (say on the flag lines?) so that i can raise it if i want and lower it if there is too much windage in a blow?  or must it be safely rigged on one of the stays?
thanks. jl, new zealand


Hi Joseph,
Just make sure you hang it at the proper angle. 
We tried it on our flag line and found the lines are far too close together. The reflector chafed the flag line in no time.
But you could rig a pulley system that works like a flag line... just make sure the lines are spread far enough apart.
Ours is the foldable metal type bought from Waste Marine.  It's hung from a spare halyard, using a down haul.  
It is difficult for us to get the exact angle the manufacturer recommends.  But it's close enough as we've radioed  
others to make sure they've picked us up on their radar.
We find it very easy to put up and take down.
Hope this helps!
Charmaine Aboard s/v September Sea
"Life's a Gift... Unwrap It!" - C~

"Charmainism #4:"

"You don't have to lose a loved one twice.  Many just want to not talk again about those lost because it seems too painful to bear at the time.  However, in reality, by excluding them you run the risk of losing them a second time and perhaps altogether. - Charmaine Smith Ladd (May 2005)

Seasickness aka Motion Sickness

From: Chris Coates
Sent: Wednesday, July 05, 2006 6:22 AM
OK guys, I have got a question on being sea sick.  My daughter and I went kayaking yesterday near Kailua, according to our guide the water was smooth.  Well, not for me. I won't go into any detail, I will just say I got sick a few times.  How bad is sea sickness when you sail, and what do most folks do to get rid of it,  and how long does
it last before you get your sea legs?

Good to hear from ya Chris!! 
Sorry ya got seasick, but it does happen to some...  some get over it, others always have somewhat of a problem.  I would recommend you take Dramamine one hour before going out on the water.  Try one tablet first and see how it works for you... if it is lacking, try taking two the next time.
Gingersnaps are excellent for staving off seasickness.  We always have them on the boat when we have guests.  The harder the snaps, the better they sit with your stomach.  Also, don't eat a full meal before going out, try small meals instead... crackers, hard biscuits, and ginger ale seem to help many. 
I've never been seasick, though there was one time in rough seas I felt a bit queasy.  The ginger snaps and warm ginger ale worked for me! 
As far as sea legs go... some are much more susceptible to that "reeling" feeling after they've been out and come back to land.  You can always spot them as they navigate the finger piers, swaying from side to side.  LOL
Keeping your eyes on the land while out helps a lot.  The bottom line is to just relax, if something is gonna happen let it... and don't fear it.  Anxiety is often a trigger for seasickness.
Hope this helps!
Charmaine Aboard s/v September Sea
"Life's a Gift... Unwrap It!" - C~

In a message dated 7/5/2006 2:43:21 P.M. Central Standard Time, writes:
I've never been seasick, though there was one time in rough seas
I felt a bit queasy. 

Response from my pal Gregg on s/v Neverland:

Hi, Charmaine!

Your answer reminds me of a quote attributed to that great explorer and pioneer, Daniel Boone. When asked if he had ever been lost, Boone replied: "Nope. But once for three days, I was a mite bewildered."
As for you, Chris, Charmaine is lucky. Depending on conditions and length of exposure, almost everyone can experience degrees of motion (sea) sickness. All the remedies mentioned by the list work for some; none work for all. You just have to experiment. I'd start with an anti-motion pill first (prior to going out then during). Taking care what you eat and drink before going out as well. Shy away from alcohol and spicy or hard to digest foods. The saltines, ginger ale (snaps) also do work for some. So does the pressure point wrist band. Looking to the horizon or fixing on a landmark helps some people. On my boat, I've found that putting the victim to work steering or managing sail trim helps (keep the mind off the queasiness).
Chris' problem is undoubtedly exacerbated by his boat of choice. Because I kayak as well as sail, I know that the kayak is even more one with the water than a cruising sailboat. It reacts to every wave, dip, trench, crest thrown at it. Bobbing around like a cork does tend to fool the inner ear.
Like Charmaine, I've never been "officially" seasick, even though I've been with many boat buddies when they decided to "feed the fish". However, also like Charmaine I once was cruising in rough weather when the entire family except for my youngest son and I turned green and not with envy. I had great fun kidding them about their condition until I sat down to dinner. One look at the food sliding about the table and I had to push it away. Never got sick but like Daniel Boone, I was a might bewildered. As for the youngest son, he ate hardy and never experience any motion sickness whatsoever. A few months later, in a relatively calm sea, he experienced the dreaded motion sickness. Okay in the rough; not so okay in the calm. Go figure.
Good luck, Chris.

Hey Gregg, always good to hear from you. 
You're right, call me Danielle Boone.  LOL
Our daughter will get seasick if she thinks she is... but once she's in the water she's perfectly fine.  Many times I distract her and get her doing something on deck... but staying on deck, or in the cockpit, and NOT below decks... before she knows it, she's been out all day and didn't get sick at all.
Of course that's not for everyone... but anxiety is a big part.  Too, some have a very sensitive equilibrium... Chris surely is not alone in getting sick while in a kayak.  Those things are tough to balance... LOL
Charmaine Aboard s/v September Sea
"Life's a Gift... Unwrap It!" - C~  

Televisions/Flat Screens Aboard

Question: I'm in the market for a flat screen TV for my boat.  How can I mount it and keep it in place while sailing?

Hello there,

Most everyone here knows we sail a LOT.  Our 17" flat screen television is held to the wall by its arm extension mount and when sailing, held in place by using two cup hooks and one super strong bungee (one that doesn't have much stretch).
One cup hook is placed to the right (when facing it) of the tv and the other cup hook is centered beneath where the tv screen positions itself when the wall mount is fully extended against the wall.
Thread the bungee tightly through the wall mounting bracket and attach the hooked ends of the bungees to the cup hooks on the wall.  It works as a push-me pull-you type of restrainer.  The more the tv tries to move the tighter it is held in place.  The tv does not move even when under sail and heeled 30 degrees.
Yeeee Hawwww!
All the Best,
Aboard s/v September Sea in the Abacos, Bahamas
"Life's a Gift... Unwrap It!" - C~

Wind Generators

After spending months reading about and comparing different brands of wind generators with one another, we decided to buy a K.I.S.S. wind generator.  It is manufactured in Trinidad.

We purchased our from Hotwire Enterprises.

Mike and Sherry Edwards, aboard Gemini catamaran "Believe," asked me if we bought the pole and mount from Hotwire or K.I.S.S.  We told them we decided to save some money and do both ourselves.  Our correspondence to Mike and Sherry (below) describes how we did it:

Hi Mike and Sherry,

We got the pole from Bobcat Metal Products here in Marathon.  Ours is 2" schedule 20 aluminum, 10 ft. tall.  We had it powder coated at Excel Products, also in Marathon (up by Walgreens).

The pole doesn't have to be that tall... in hindsight, it's a bit of a pain when trying to secure it for long term or severe winds.  I'd recommend a shorter pole, perhaps 8 ft. (as long as no one can get hurt by the blades when standing beneath). 

We chose 1" stainless for the struts.  That also can be obtained, at the best price we know of around here, at Bobcat's.  You can also make your own struts out of aluminum.

The mounting base and the strut hardware (including the rubber anti-vibration bases) we bought as a kit from EMarine Inc.  You can look them up on the web:
We really like the K.I.S.S. wind generator.  It's quiet and doesn't vibrate all over the boat.  It may not put on its dancing shoes below 15 knots... but at 15+ it will surprise you with its output.  The numbers are exactly as the manufacturers boast!  Nice when that happens!  Doug Billings, a Canadian who lives in Trinidad designs and builds each of his K.I.S.S. generators.
An added benefit of the K.I.S.S. is that you can buy parts for it at any bicycle shop.
Contact: KISS Energy Systems, Tropical Marine Complex, Chaguaramas, Trinidad, West Indies; Phone and fax: 868-634-4929.
Hope this helps!
Aboard s/v September Sea
"Life's a Gift... Unwrap It!" - C~                    


Hi Charmaine,

I ordered and received my KISS from Hotwire in Tarpon Springs and yes, their mounting kit does NOT  have rubber vibration isolators so thanks for the info on Emarine - I just ordered my mounting kit today.
Thanks again,
s/v Believe

"Charmainism #5:"

"Some say if Florida doesn't want their boating dollars... they'll go somewhere else.  If this ridiculous ruse {the FWC-EPA Pilot Program} is given the green light, our entire Nation's coast-line waters are in jeopardy of becoming strictly pay-to-play... and then there'll be no else places to go!" - Charmaine Smith Ladd,

Feb. 2009

Charmainism #6:

Paradise is relative. The islanders want to get to the city, the city people want to get to the suburbs, the suburbans want to move to the country, and the country folks are just wishing things would stay the same. The bottom line is paradise is within you, no matter where you may be.

May 2010

Charmainism #7:

 If you're constantly sweatin' the small stuff, you're gonna need a strong deodorant or people will smell you coming!

July 2010

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