Sailing across the coral-rich Pacific these last two years, these closed-toe , lug-soled, water ready and steady sandals are something we rely on frequently, whether it’s wading near or on shore of all these coral atolls, or using them for sturdy footing in our dinghy. We figured out that standing in our dinghy, holding on to the front painter (rope) and taking the waves with our legs, is much easier on our backs, necks, and the rest of our bodies. The aluminum bottom can get slippery when wet, and our keen sandals do the best job gripping and keeping us standing.
#1: underwater cameras – Olympus Tough T4 (discontinued but you can still by it refurbished) and as it has higher megapixels than the T5 takes sharper photos) or the new T5 ($449)
Our little Olympus Tough T4 underwater camera is an outstanding performer, on land and in the ocean. Often I’ll take it with me when I want a camera that might get splashed even if I’m not in the water. It’s preset “scene” settings are excellent for sunsets and other conditions.
By moving the Olympus’ dial to the underwater setting, the colors are superb! Better than our GoPro, even with color filters added, and even better than our expensive Canon with its filter. I’ve taken the Olympus down to 50+ feet with no problem. It shoots pictures and video, has a much stronger zoom than our Sony RX100IV at 1/3 the cost.
#2. Iridium GO!
We view sailing life as life before iridium and life after. Before, when we sailed on passage we brought in weather faxes laboriously at preset times of the day (or night). And our communications with friends and family consisted of short messages on our delorme explorer device.Now with the iridium GO! we have the ability to send and receive emails, texts up to 1000 characters, get news and weather, make phone calls, and even access the web (albeit very slowly). The unlimited data plan at $125 a month covers as much usage as we have the patience for.
When Ellen and I were biking along the beach outside of Rome we started a game of name the ten most used items on Golden Glow. Of course items like silverware and boat shoes get a real work out, but what about the non-obvious sailor’s gear we use everyday? In memory of the last days of Dave Letterman, here you have it:
TOP TEN “most-used” sailor’s gear on Golden Glow:
Golden Glows TOP TEN “most (ab)used” sailor’s gear on the boat:
#10: Beach Towels: yes the good old beach towel gets a real workout when you are showering 2-5 times a day and going into the ocean many times that amount. (I know kind of a let down after the helicopter mini-sub combo, but this is #10). Golden Glow has a “No wet bodies inside the cockpit or salon” rule so towels get a lot of use on Golden Glow…we discovered that all beach towels are not alike and like this one best for its thick, plush velour softness, size, durability and holding its bright color.
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy was right all along.
#9: The watertight holder for money, ID and credit cards. These are perfect for taking on swims to shore so you have some dry cash for the beach bars or if you spend all the cash at the beach bar you still have a credit card to take the water taxi back to the boat. No swimming-under-the-influence. This sailor’s gear is good for boat cards too.
#8 The Aero Press Coffee maker. quick, simple and very easy to clean. Limiting coffee grounds in the sink is worth it alone. With the near boiling water in the tap, it is a very fast and tasty cup of coffee.
#7: Transom Shower: ok this one is really like silverware on most cruising boats, such an obvious part of daily life, but really, I would rather eat with my hands than not have that shower. It spreads joy.
#6 USB charge ports all over the boat. These get used multiple times a day by various devices. From phones, to pads to cameras to portable speakers to lime wires. Something seems to always be charging in one of these ports. Maybe this is not really ‘sailor’s gear’, more like sailor’s gear support. But the phones, pads and cameras get a lot of use too. (we converted the boat’s standard 12v cigarette lighter ports to dual USB’s using this device)
#5: Our cool solar lights are used for reading, leaving a light on in the cockpit when we are on shore at night, and even for lighting the inside of the boat at night they are so bright. (Hat tip to Escapade for the LUCI.) We keep 4 charged up all the time. Some are multi color, some all white and even have one with external light for using while walking on shore. Best of all: LUCI’s give you light with no drain on the house battery bank. If you set the LUCI in the cockpit so it gets direct sun for part of the day, it stores enough charge for light from dusk to well past midnight.
#4: The hard rubber dowel for rolling out our backs and neck. This little portable chiropractor in the form of a fat stick elongates and straightens the back and neck bones with wicked efficiency. I roll on this almost daily to keep my spinal column in shape for the occasional contortion demanded by living on a boat. You know the situation: re-wiring that forward locker bilge, requiring a year training with a circus prior to the lowering yourself into the hole. Balanced Body rollers are the answer to sailor’s contortion.
#3: These waterproof backpacks hold all our papers and electronics when we go ashore. They are well made so you can swim with them into shore if needed, and are great for dinghying, paddleboarding or kayaking too. Definitely most-used sailor’s gear. We bought ours at the boat show and a portion of the cost of Ellen’s pink one supported breast cancer research. The backpack is also sold on Amazon.
#2: Our super duper insulated drink cups that keep things really cold or really hot for a long long time. These are most used on sailing trips warm or cold climates. We have 6 on board and use them daily for coffee and iced tea. I also use them to keep a beer cold on those *rare* occasions that I drink beer. We love the 24oz and 16oz Contigo. Added bonus no more spilling drinks when a wave hits the boat.
The #1 most-used sailor’s gear on Golden Glow:
#1 Our RogueWAVE and NetGear combo on 12VDC for wireless on the boat. The NetGear N750 Dual Band Wi-Fi Gigabit Router (WNDR4300) is the best compromise between features and low passive amp draw for us. We leave this system on 24/7 when in port. The NetGear N750 has an external hard drive port that we have hooked to a terabyte drive with hundreds of movies so any device on the network can stream movies. But the internet access is the key: dual band with 4 total antennas linking us to the rogue wave. We get good range, but have been known to troll a new bay or harbor looking for strongest signal prior to dropping the hook. Sandy bottom or strong internet signal, now that is a dilemma.
- Canon G15 and the FantaSea underwater housing: most used photograpic sailor’s gear
- Our heavy and expensive, but worth every penny, cooks evenly,and completely non-stick, titanium cookware
- Battery Rechargers for our Mobile Devices
- Our “marriage savers” – Sena bluetooth headphones that allow us to communicate without shouting the length of the boat or from deck to dock.
- Jam Box or Echo music speaker
- Rechargeable LED Lenser headlamps with High, Dim, Red and zoom
- Costa Del Mar sunglasses and Cablz so you don’t lose them.
- hats, sun-protective clothing and sunblock!
- Eye Masks for catching 40-winks after a night watch
- non-skid hot pads we use everywhere to keep iphones and cocktails from sliding around while underway
- Kneepads & plastic gloves Ellen’s personal cannot-live-without items for boat work
Most of all, you have to start with the Number One best live-aboard couples catamaran for blue ocean sailing around the world! Thank you Antares for making the best sailboat in the world!