Captains Log

Fitting Out Essentials |

When we bought Lime’n five years ago, our intent was to sail the boat south to the Bahamas and Caribbean from Newport R.I. for four or five seasons and then assess what to do next. With 10 to 15,000 miles of cruising and passagemaking as part of the plan, we knew we needed to make sure that the 12 year-old boat—a Jeanneau 45.2—was fitted out for the job. Here are the essentials that we undertook to make the boat seaworthy to our specifications.

Sails & Rig: The first winter we took the rig completely apart, brought the standing rigging home and went over every inch of the wire and swagings with graphite powder and a powerful magnifying glass. We were looking for cracks, broken strands and barber poling from corrosion inside the swages. We checked every joint and set screw in the Profurl roller furling. And two years later we replaced the main boom’s gooseneck. That first year we bought a new mainsail and genoa and three years later we upgraded to a new laminated headsail that added five degrees and almost a knot of upwind performance.

Engine & Systems: We had the transmission rebuilt, the engine’s valves adjusted, replaced the shaft seal and cutlass bearing and installed a folding Gori propeller. Over the period we owned the boat we upgraded the gel cell batteries, added a wind generator and solar panel and switched all of the lights onboard to LEDs. In these upgrades, the only one we reversed was the wind generator. It blew up and we chose to remove it instead of repair it. The fridge was running poorly with low voltage from the main panel so we wired it through its own fuse, increased the wire gauge and shortened the wire run; this vastly improved the voltage running to the compressor and performance.

Safety: We added a recently certified life raft, an EPIRB, two personal locator beacons, ditch kit and a complete SOLAS flare kit. We upgraded the main VHF at the chart table to one with DSC and mounted the antenna at the top of the mast for optimum range; the old VHF was remounted in the cockpit where the on watch could use it quickly; its antenna was mounted on the radar tower aft where it would work if the rig came down. The decks were fitted with jacklines and the crew with PFD-harnesses and tethers. Since we would be anchoring a lot, we added a 20 kilo Bruce anchor and 200 feet of new high test chain. The huge Lofrans windlass was serviced and worked perfectly.

Navigation: The boat came with good and complete electronics, including a chartplotter, radar, autopilot and sailing instruments. When we had to replace the system after a lightning strike, we added a second chartplotter at the chart table and AIS. The boat came with a HAM radio that we enjoyed for weather forecasts.

Comfort: We didn’t have much to do here but we chose to have the dinette cushions replaced and covered with Ultra Suede. We disconnected the AC since we wouldn’t be using shore power and installed high quality plastic fans in all cabins. We had form fitted sheets made by a friend and splurged on two sets.

Over the last five years, we have sailed Lime’n 15,000 miles or more without a hiccup. Fitting out carefully and thoroughly is what lies behind safe and successful cruises. Check out our annual Guide to Fitting Out that starts on page 60.


Author: Blue Water Sailing