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Boat Show 2008: Fresh Acquisitions

Consumer-oriented boat shows don't hold a lot of interest for me these days: the kind of voyaging we are planning demands the type of gear more commonly found on fishing boats and the smaller sort of commercial vessels than Lake Ontario recreational boats.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. I do get a little sniffy, however, when I see new boats classed as "ocean-capable" with few of the seaworthy attributes and design touches I think essential for potentially heavy weather situations. And the boat show wants every weekend warrior to think that his slick-looking bar with a keel can cross oceans. The good news? It probably can. The bad news? He probably can't. He'll break his skull getting thrown across the condo-like cabin, or get washed over the insufficiently high lifelines, or simply get battered into submission because light boats get whipped around in big seas.

So I go these days to get bargains on stuff I was already going to buy, but mostly to talk to the vendors and installers with whom I need to develop relationships in order to not only book them to do work I can't, but to have nice secure feelings about that work, and about the products I've researched with, I hope, a measure of diligence and discernment.

Anyway, here's a couple of new items arriving before spring launch:

It's a Honda 2 HP four-stroke, all of 28 pounds in weigh. My wife, who is height-challenged, can hoist it in one hand, and it should be enough to move out nesting dinghy (see below) and the new-to-us PortaBote. Add a lifting sling for insurance, and getting it on and off should be much easier than the current 9.9 two-stroke, which is great for planing the Zodiac RIB we aren't taking, but is overkill (and over-spec) for both tenders.

This is a gas-powered generator that, at 42 pounds, is "luggable" to shore and easily lashed on deck. After wind, solar and alternator, it's a way to charge the batteries should all else fail, and if the inverter fails (or I am wanting to dedicate "ship's amps" elsewhere, like to refrigeration, I can use this on deck to power hand tools, paint sprayers, power washers, or to charge isolated stuff like the windlass battery (see electrical schematic below).

Anyway, I got half off on the delivery, and I look forward to using the gas generator on board after the engine's out for service (thanks to Mazda fancier John Ousterhout for providing missing pieces of the "is it a Mazda or a Perkins?" debate) in order to power stuff where running an extension cord is problematic (like the currently power-free forepeak that requires a full repainting before I hook up AC and DC circuits).

That's all for now. Next up: how to haul a small diesel from the bowels of a big boat in the dead of winter.

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