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What Wouldnt You Go To Sea Without?

By The Ithaka - Published September 09, 2005 - Viewed 1342 times

What Wouldn't You Go To Sea Without?

- Juana deBoyce, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

From Bernadette: I write this in our third month of cruising, so it's a little too early to tell yet what those things would be for us. But I will share with you a list of things that a friend of mine thinks are invaluable for living aboard. Betsy Gooding worked as managing editor of Cruising World, took off with her partner and completed an impressive five-year circumnavigation in a 38-footer, then came back to CW as the magazine's executive editor. (She also wrote the excellent - and hair-raising -- adventure book Sitting Ducks about her experiences in the Caribbean.) Betsy gave Douglas and me a most generous gift the night of our Cruising World going-away party: an Ithaka Bag of Tricks. Here's a list of some of the invaluable items Betsy and her husband VG put in this canvas bag, as well as Betsy's explanations for how to use some of them. Now that we're aboard, we've already realized the wisdom and experience behind these items, as many have come in handy. Take a look at this list from a real pro:

  • Loc-Tite - A must for certain engine bolts and critical rigging nuts high aloft where there's vibration
  • An offshore trolling rig, including wine cork, needle-nose pliers, nail clippers, extra squid lure, two bronze crimps, instructions on killing fish, filleting knife, and a bottle of vodka (A splash in the gills knocks out the fish. Then clean it immediately)
  • Pastry cloth, rolling pin, and Betsy's recipe for flour tortillas
  • Oxalic Acid Dilute as directed. It takes away yellow waterline, and removes stubborn rust from gel coat and paint
  • Whink Gets rust stains out of fabric
  • Never Dull
  • Bay leaves Put a few in all your dry goods - rice, pasta, flour, grains - to keep out weevils and moths
  • Cuban cockroach and rat trap (a six-inch-long rat trap!) and a jar of peanut butter they can't resist
  • Bronze wire brush with slim-taper file For repairing buggered threads on bolts
  • Nicholson round bastard file
  • Liquid Wrench
  • Clorox Removes heavy fouling (grass and barnacles) from dinghy bottoms. Also purify water with 1 1/3 teaspoons to every 10 gallons. Don't add to water already chlorinated.
  • X-14 mildew stain remover
  • Screw extractor and drill set
  • Extension mirror For accessing things you can't see
  • Calipers, metric and English
  • Ronsonal Lighter Fluid Removes gummy stuff, sticker glue, masking tape glue. Also a good spot cleaner for fabrics, but not safe for plastics.
  • Freezer bags of all sizes
  • Scotchbright never-rust steel wool pads
  • Marvel Mystery Oil
  • Joy The best soap for dishes. Even sudses in salt water. Disperses oil/gasoline slick in the bilge, dinghy or on the surface of the sea.
  • Plastic one-way shut-off for hose
  • Clear Contac Paper Great for waterproofing book jackets and charts. Good for making temporary or emergency plaques in engine room, first-aid locker, cockpit…
  • Mini Rayvac flashlight with clip
  • Cable ties Cinches up coils of hose, electrical cords. Use instead of seizing wire to temporarily secure shackle pin.
  • Mace
  • Stanley mini hacksaw For cutting those hard-to-get-at things
  • Heavy Weather Survival Kit (earplugs!) When the wind is shrieking and you can't relax enough to sleep off watch, pour yourself a vodka cocktail from the fish kit and plug in a pair of these. ZZZZZZ…
Of course Betsy never intended this as any kind of complete published list. She'd be the first to tell you that it's idiosyncratic. It was just her thoughtful way of remembering many of those neat little tricks of the trade that she learned from hard-won experience while out there cruising herself. Now if we could only figure out a way to pack Betsy herself aboard to answer all our questions as we go along!

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