That which we discovered from our very first cruising boat

This article had been additionally posted in 48° North (July 2015) – a great, free cruising magazine for the Pacific Northwest, as well as on Pacific Sailors, Verena Kellner’s web log.

It’s been almost a year since we offered Camille and we’re just starting to consider our next watercraft. We’ve possessed a good break however the sea is calling.

CAMILLE, 2001 Hunter 380.

Whenever we were motorboat shopping before we purchased Camille, we’d some ideas on which we desired out of a ship but did not have special make or model at heart. We looked at from 30 yr old blue-water boats to unique fin keels.

This time around we all know the make and model we want to buy. We’re just waiting to for the right motorboat (in other words., previous owner) in the future along.

Camille finished up being kind of a training boat to determine that which we really wanted out of a cruising boat. Works out there are some things we are going to maybe not compromise on as time goes by. We’ve had time to mirror and made a summary of what we discovered.


We bought Camille at rock-bottom cost as the past owner had fallen on some misfortune and had to short-sell. This allowed us to make extensive upgrades but still come out even when we sold Camille two years later (more about our cruising expenses here). She was very well cared for and now we proceeded babying the girl. Her hull seemed whiter and shinier than many near-new ships.

We didn’t affix anything completely by making holes in lumber or made any “weird” adjustments. All this put into the resale value.


We made sure buying a boat under 10 years old. Older ships often require of TLC and repairs. They require new rigging, new sails, new electronics, new hoses, etc.

We offered Camille right when we had been just starting to consider the need to change several major systems. The following motorboat will have to be even more youthful so we could keep the woman longer and stay well informed inside her integrity.


For the first cruising ship, Camille, at 38 legs, was an ideal size; and in the long term we have no plans of going any further.


In the belated 80’s, once I was in my teenagers, my moms and dads and I sailed from Germany to Ca sans watermaker (more on that journey right here). We used saltwater for nearly everything and I don’t like the feel of dried sodium on my skin or just what it will to costly gear.

When Mike and I also purchased Camille I knew i’d not go anywhere without a watermaker. We added a 110V high-output watermaker to Camille (more on that here). It was great having a great deal of water but every 3rd or 4th time we had to be controlled by an extremely loud water-pump for 3-4 hours to fill our tanks. We additionally must run a portable fuel generator to power the 110V pump.

Watermaker pumps and filters.

We don’t like having gas aboard (we have been also considering an electric motor for the following dinghy) therefore the scent from the exhaust regarding the generator isn’t really pleasant – as well as dangerous. We will certainly have watermaker on our next boat however it should be running on whether diesel generator and/or sunlight.


We kept the Ipad within binnacle while underway

Fleetingly before leaving the usa we purchased an iPad with the Navionics navigation app. Since we also had two iPhones plus hand-held GPS we’d many backups to your chart plotter.

I published extensively about using our iPad versus the chart-plotter right here (regarding the ladies & Cruising website)

We had to change the GPS antenna on the chart-plotter twice. The first antenna had been fading inside and out as soon as we bought the motorboat. The next antenna which we had purchased from some guy from the dock failed a year later on. Reading the discussion boards this seems to be a known issue with older Raymarine GPS antennas (ours ended up being seven yrs . old). We contacted Raymarine plus they just told us to buy the newest model which needed a pricey converter. Happy we had the backup GPS devices!

Camille arrived loaded with a radar which we had been really happy to possess when we encountered thick fog off the coastline of Baja. A definite must have on our next ship.

We included a brand new VHF with AIS receiver that is just another layer in assuring we don’t get too close to other boats. Next time we’d love an AIS transceiver but neither is crucial have actually. The boats that broadcast an AIS sign are well lit. It’s the small ships without lights we must be worried about. And absolutely nothing replaces good traditional view keeping.

LED Lights

After trying a variety of brands of interior Light-emitting Diode lights we finally went with Imtra LED lights the cabin lights. Most LED lights give off a bluish/cold hue which makes me consider a cafeteria. The Imtra lights had been the warmest color I could find and kept the cabin feeling cozy.

We also changed the navigation lights to Light-emitting Diode. It was especially ideal for the anchor light. Many ships use the cheap solar garden lights as anchor lights to truly save on electricity. This is simply not appropriate and makes them quite difficult to see.

A genuine anchor light (towards the top of the mast, in which it belongs) will illuminate water for very long distances and makes it easy to identify a boat. Entering an anchorage later at night discover many boats poorly lit can be extremely dangerous. Please, purchase an Light-emitting Diode anchor light!


It was one thing we always knew we wanted in a cruising watercraft and ended up being quite high regarding the must-have list.

CAMILLE’s swim step.

Camille’s swim-step had been huge. Great for showering and rinsing off after spending some time in the ocean. And since we did not have a separate shower stall we always had to shower out-of-doors. A bath stall was in fact high on my must-have list but we understand now that i might not want to introduce that much dampness (in other words., mildew) into the cabin regularly anyway.

The swim-step is also great in marinas. If the ship is backed as a slide you can easily step on / off. A great deal safer than rickety actions to climb up up the medial side. Maybe I’m simply clumsy but I have fallen between the dock therefore the ship for a couple of boats — once almost splitting my head open on a concrete dock.


Opening ports and hatches.

Camille had 16 opening ports including three large hatches forward. We’d one of those wind-scoops to funnel the breeze in to the cabin but really only used it once or twice as it didn’t actually make much of a difference. For windless nights we had four powerful cabin fans (more on those below).


We bought a relatively inexpensive WiFi booster to get free WiFi signals from coast. We never felt the necessity for a costly device that’s completely affixed high-up within the mast. By simply sticking it out of the screen within an anchorage we often found an available signal. The same business now also makes a patio version, which we anticipate buying later on.

  • Lines led aft into cockpit
  • Huge galley that also had spaces to wedge into in big seas
  • Arch for tourist keeps the cockpit clear of lines
  • Electric winch (Mike loves to go aloft)
  • Vacuflush head (no stink!)
  • Solar panel systems
  • Many easy to get at storage
  • Have a look at our list of Favorite Gear

As soon as we purchased Camille we bought an almost barebones boat.

CAMILLE, whenever we purchased the lady in north park.

We included solar, bimini, watermaker, dinghy, outboard, liferaft, anchors, anchor-chain, and a lot of safety gear and spares. We spent over $20,000 as well as nearly 90 days installing and updating.

Having everything new had been a major bonus nevertheless the installs took lots of our time that we might have invested cruising. We don’t have actually unlimited time to cruise since we still have to work, so we ought to enjoy every minute of our time down.


We often stood our night-watches in security regarding the dodger, particularly if it in fact was a cool evening, utilizing the iPad to help keep a watch on progress.

The situation using this location was that the instruments had been regarding binnacle. In the event that auto-pilot stopped or the AIS alarmed or we’d to help keep a really close attention on radar we’d to stay when driving – subjected to sun and rain.

We discovered that a night-time watch keeper is happiest underneath the dodger and that it would be beneficial to involve some important electronic shows visible from that protected position.

The following watercraft will be needing a far more convenient location for the tool panel or repeaters within the dodger or at nav desk.


We’d one VHF radio during the helm also several handhelds. Most popular cruising grounds have actually VHF “cruisers’ nets” inside mornings to exchange information and items. Enough time of this net frequently coincided with breakfast preparations aboard Camille so we tried utilizing among the hand-held VHFs but could not pick up elements of the discussion. Unless we had been appropriate at the heart of the cruising grounds we had to make use of the high-powered VHF at helm to pay attention in.

Having another, high-powered VHF into the cabin would gave been outstanding addition. Not to mention having a back-up radio that’s not exposed to sun and rain.


Charging the battery pack with solar panel systems.

We added 300 watts of solar to Camille but there was clearly no space for a second battery pack. Our one Group-4D battery had not been enough to power everything we had a need to run. The refrigerator was a power-hog inside hot Mexican sun. Throughout the day we had been making more electricity than we could keep and also at night the battery pack couldn’t match need.


The autopilot on Camille wasn’t sufficient once she was completely loaded with cruising gear. It absolutely was rated for 24,000 pounds of displacement – Camille displaced about 16,000 pounds empty. Add water, diesel and gear therefore reach the restriction quickly. In largish following seas or if it must create a lot of modifications the autopilot drive stopped and needed to be reset. We looked at purchasing the stronger model but might have had to replace the chart-plotter at precisely the same time resulting in many ship bucks (one watercraft dollar = US$1,000.)

We had investigated adding a self-steering wind-vane to Camille but since we were perhaps not considering any major ocean crossings the expense would have been prohibitive.


Camille was extremely loud. In a rolly anchorage the creaking drove me personally nuts. I possibly could maybe not rest. I ripped apart lockers looking the foundation. We included little bits of material between areas that were rubbing. It constantly came back. Under sail we’re able to not merely take pleasure in the sound associated with waves slapping the hull since the creaking drowned it out.

Under energy the noise was a whole lot worse. Because of the engine positioned appropriate beneath the stairs the motor droned on however cabin and in the aft cabin. The only real place that was somewhat peaceful had been the V-berth which can be more comparable to riding a roller-coast as soon as the seas kick up.


Camille had fundamental, thin foam cushions in her bunks. We have to have just gone ahead and purchased a customized folding marine mattress. Rather we purchased the Froli sleep system and much more foam – almost spending up to for the real mattress. We’d no moisture dilemmas but had been never really really comfortable.

The next time we’ll simply get a genuine mattress straight away.


i’d like to be able to keep an eye out the windows while doing dishes or sitting inside saloon.

My biggest problem about our watercraft had been that i possibly could not see out from the windows.

It felt like staying in a opening. Mike is very somewhat taller than I am and surely could see out from the windows while taking a stand. The boat had been very bright and airy because of big windows on deck in the hot sun we often had to keep all of the windows and hatches covered.

I’d like to be able to look out the windows while doing dishes or sitting in the saloon. This indicates silly to visit a large number of (hard-earned) kilometers to stare on walls when right exterior is a breath-taking anchorage.


The 6-step companionway made the cabin feel really disconnected from the cockpit.

At anchor it was merely a inconvenience but at sea it in fact was a pain being forced to fall and rise the stairs holding food or drinks – one item at any given time. We longed for lots more of a “porch” where the cockpit is definitely an extension associated with cabin.

6-step companionway.

Deck Color

The two-tone deck color highlighted the huge difference in heat representation in hot sunlight.

Camille’s deck was two-toned. The main walking-areas had been painted light grey and everything else ended up being white.

If I hadn’t experienced it for myself I would personally perhaps not believe the difference that made. I could perhaps not walk on grey areas on hot, sunny times because they would burn off my legs. The white areas felt simply warm. I will just imagine just how much cooler the inner might have been with white decks.

Sunbrella covers for many hatches along with mesh covers for big deck windows.

Cabin Fans

We purchased four 2-speed Caframo cabin fans. After twelve months of fairly light duty they became very noisy and were slinging black colored dirt.

My parents, that currently cruising Mexico, have already been making use of these Hella fans on their boat for quite some time plus they are quiet and low-maintenance.

Dinghy Davits

Although we will never make any passages having a dinghy within the davits for a mono-hull, having davits at anchor would have been a great addition to Camille. Most evenings we left the dinghy within the water plus it would either rub from the hull or we would bother about it getting stolen. Whenever wind kicked up we’d to pull it on deck although not until we heaved the outboard on deck. It was always a large production that may are avoided with davits.


Regardless if the next motorboat won’t have all the options we wish, we can constantly include them. The fundamental layout of the motorboat, but can’t be changed.

We will make certain the motorboat doesn’t creak, your beds are adequate to be comfortable and that the motorboat makes united states feel safe.

We can’t wait to get cruising once again!

About Verena Kellner

Mike and Verena came across after university, while working aboard a NOAA hydrographic research vessel in Alaska, gathering data to update nautical maps. They later on moved to Portland, Oregon and worked for a hydrographic firm that kept them traveling all around the United States and working aboard boats and ships.

In 2008, they both got our 100 ton captain’s licenses, as well as in 2011 quit their jobs, bought a sailboat (s/v Camille) and went sailing in Mexico for two years. They in the course of time made the Baja Bash back up to California, sold the boat and spent summer time 2014 working and playing in Alaska. These are typically back in the lower 48, making more nautical charts, traveling in their mini van, and saving up because of their next adventure.

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