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Favorite Things

Every boat drifting around the seven seas accumulates a handful of items that make life afloat better. Here's our list, in no particular order...

The Nina Machine

This is a manual chopper/blender, gift from Nina, hence the name. It's actually a Chef'n. The geared lid lets you pull a cord, like starting a lawnmower. A few pulls, and you have terrific gazpacho, guacamole, pico de gallo, hummus, or other delights.

Big plastic bags

I ordered these giant zip-lock-type bags in bulk on the internet. They are heavy mil, 13 inches by 20 inches. Our laptops easily fit inside. I also store clothing, fabric and food in them. Mildew is rampant in the tropics, so these keep things dry, even against the hull. I also found some small zippered open mesh bags in the dollar stores - great for all the bits for cell phones, cameras and electronics.

Yogurt Maker

I crossed the Pacific without one, hating to dedicate the space for the large "cooker", but finally broke down in New Zealand and got the Easy Yo kit. I buy ready-made mixes, add water to fill the 1 liter container. Then boil more water to half-fill the large container and place the smaller container inside. Voila, 12 hours later I have yummy yogurt. I especially enjoy the Greek (natural unsweetened) which I can use in lieu of sour cream.


Don't leave home without it! On our first trip my sister threw me a one-woman tupperware party. This time I bought the pieces on eBay. I haven't found any substitute that works better at keeping salt, sugar and starches dry (and bug-free) in humid climates.

Dymo Labeller

Definitely not a necessity, but great for labelling bins and tools. In each country we get SIMM cards for our unlocked phones. Can't recall all those numbers! So we print small labels and stick them on the computer or other handy places where we need to recall numbers. Dave also labels equipment on the boat, wires inside the panel box, and the ubiquitous chargers for all the small electronics. We also use black or silver Sharpie pens to label plastic and fabric.

Shopping bags

You'll need to take your own bags to the market in many Pacific countries. You'll want to anyway, once you see the rafts of plastic debris afloat in many anchorages! These sturdy bags are primo - more expensive but worth it in my opinion. Reisenthal, found on the internet.

Sailrite Sewing Machine

Okay, I have a love-hate relationship with my Sailrite. It is cheaply made, wants to rust, heavy as a two-man rock, and either works beautifully or like a goat. If it were lighter, I would have tossed it overboard long ago. Yet we have covers, bags, awnings, and I can do most sail repairs, punching through heavy layers.

The Toys

Dave would argue these are necessities, not toys. We have an iPod, loaded with music, an iPod Touch loaded with games and language lessons, and MP3 players, loaded with audiobooks. The audiobooks are downloaded over the internet for free from our home library. The music is welcome anytime, but the books are priceless on night watches. The hours fly by, and the on-watch person can often give the off-watch 6 hours of sleep. Keeps us awake and alert, and doesn't impact night vision like a paper or ebook.

Folding bikes

Ours are full-size Montague mountain bikes. I had to make separate bags for each wheel and the folding frame. Dismantled, they fit under the cabin floor. We go months and countries without using them, then dig them out and are very glad we have them. They increase our range of travel, especially in hot climates. Not a necessity, but very nice to have.

Inflatable Kayak

We got the 2-man West Marine one. It lives in its bag under the dinghy on the foredeck on passages. When coastal cruising, we inflate it and keep it on deck. Both of us enjoy long solo paddles, a chance to quietly explore interesting anchorages. It is also a second car, when one of us has the dinghy.


Our folding handcart gets a workout, hauling laundry and propane bottles, and cases of provisions. Dave made a removable axle from PVC pipe to keep the wheels from collaspsing under load.

Dinghy Wheels

These don't work perfectly on all beaches. You need packed sand or they can dig in a be a liability. But when we time a surf landing right, we can hop out and pull our heavy dighy and motor up the beach before the next wave.

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