What makes life easier on Changes

Thursday, September 26

MonkeyFist has a topic about what makes things easier to live on a boat. We went down to the Bahamas the winter of 2010-2011 with only a canvas Bimini to protect us. Phil had updated the boat, but we learned so much and have made even more upgrades that I wanted to share makes living on Changes much easier this time.

Phil made a hard dodger and Bimini and we made the “windshield” with a smile zipper. This has really improved our comfort while cruising. With the go-between, we are warmer, dryer as the wave sit the windows and not us. It’s amazing how much wind is kept off us when on passages and when we are relaxing in the cockpit. We have also been able to collect water that runs off the track connecting the go-between to the back of the dodger.

20130926-222659.jpg With the side panel of window materials, our cockpit is like a second room for is, which is important when living on a 34′ sailboat.

Phil has also made a new table for our salon with removable fiddle, so when playing cards or just eating supper, we don’t have the pressure from the edge of the fiddle on our arms.


We covered the cushions in the salon, and using new high density foam has a made a world of difference in comfort sitting and sleeping on the settee during passages. I also bought a back support cushion and it’s help a lot in preventing upper back pain when sitting.


We have a new VHF radio with a AIS receiver so knowing when the big ships are going has taken out the guess-work of determining if we need to take evasive action to be out of their way.


In the galley, I have bought a Pampered Chef baking stone cookie sheet which I have in the oven. Last trip I would open the door to the oven and all the heat would come out. Now with my baking stone, my oven stays an even temperature. I put my pans directly on the stone. My biscuits and brownies came out perfect! Don’t mind the stone getting darker, it’s part of its character and expected.


Having enough electricity on a boat is always an issue as well as being able to see at might. Once you are further south, the sunsets close to 530-6pm so there is a lot of time spent when it’s dark. I know that there are many cruisers that have only one light on at night to save electricity, but I can’t do that and with our two new 140 watt solar panels and our LED lighting, I don’t have to. Our latest edition to our LED lighting is LED reading lights. We each have one so now when I’m knitting a darker yarn or reading, I don’t have to put on a flashlight head lamp to see. We even have FEWER light on. On a cloud free day, we have surplus electricity so I can run the inverter during the day to charge some batteries and the batteries are STILL topped off. We continue to not have the inverter running once the sun has set. Now we don’t have to run the engine for 1-2 hours every day to top off the batteries and we don’t need a generator we don’t have room on the boat for. I know those who don’t live on a boat don’t even think about electricity but we think about it all the time.


I have to say that I love our Caframo 12V hard-wired in fans. We have had it up to 100 degrees F on the boat, while that is too hot, 84 F is comfortable with the fans running. We have 6: one for each of us on the bulkhead over our heads in the V-berth, one for each in the salon, one for the Quarterberth that can be rotated to keep the cook cool and the last for the Galley. We have found that the fan in the galley when turned down towards the refrigerator helps to defrost the freezer in about 15 min. Phil’s fan when pointed towards the companionway hatch and is on high pushes the heat from the stove out of the boat. A real bonus when someone cooks as much as I do! In the V-Berth, I’m in the lee of the breeze from the forward hatch, so beIng able to reach up and turn on the fan has helped me to be able to sleep better even if it’s in the 80’s on the hot summer nights.


We bought iPads that have wi-fi and Verizon cellular data for use on the boat and we love them!! We use iNavX for charting. If you aren’t on watch and wonder where you are, just check the chart on the iPad. Wonder how much distance it is to somewhere? Put in some waypoints and add a route! Need to see the broader picture beside what’s on the GPS? Look at the charts on the iPad. We also use it for weather, downloading books, blogging, taking pictures, keeping in touch with family with FaceTime, Skype or email. What to know where to go? Easy use a map app. Where is the closest grocery store or laundry and how to get there – Apple maps. Need to sign forms and return them? Yup there is an app for that. I also use mine for knitting and reading and playing puzzles, keeping track of budget and mileage while traveling. Phil keeps track of his stocks, pays bills and plays Solitaire. This time we’ve found that there are less WiFi hotspots available. Even though we have the BadBoy wifi antenna booster we haven’t found as many wifi signals to use so having the cellular data has been crucial. I just wished that I had gotten the 64 GB model and recommend if you are planning on buying one to pay the extra $200 for the 64 GB model. Later you will be glad you did.


6 thoughts on “What makes life easier on Changes

  1. You guys are truly hardcore. As I close in on 20,000 nautical miles this calendar year I think about what I live on and what you do. I could not be inshore/docked/anchored without a genset and hvac. Too cold winters in the Bahamas without heat and too warm anytime in the Carib without a/c. And the space! My cabin on the cat I am on now is bigger than your hull. No doubt I will be working on these till I drop, because my budget alternative is Manana! Live the dream…


    • I enjoyed your comments. As I think about it, I wouldn’t enjoy pushing my boat as hard as I could when transporting to get from one place to another without being able to stop along the way to enjoy where I was, even if I was warm enough when it’s cold and cool enough when it’s hot. Meeting the people along the way is what makes this lifestyle worth the sacrifices in space and the I inconveniences along the way worth it. Lorraine

      Sent from my iPad. Lorraine Dolsen S/V Changes



  2. Everything looks really nice! The hard dodger and enclosure had to really change the comfort level. I’m a big fan of AIS as well. Seems that nearly all commercial vessels have it (all except those trawlers!)


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