Home
Up
Ventana is for Sale
Seamanship
Mediterranean
Red Sea
No. Indian Ocean
So. Indian Ocean
Pacific Log
Atlantic Ocean
Caribbean Log
Cruising Notes
Travels
Ports 1996-2011
Frequent Questions
Sailor's Weather
Logs 1996-2001
Outfitting A Boat
Ads & Articles
Contact Us
Table of Contents
Related Links

Boat Modifications   Major Systems   Anchors   Communications   Electrical  
 Engine   Plumbing   Refrigeration   Sails and Rigging   Cockpit   Deck Gear  
 Interior   Navigation Station   Safety Gear   Spares   Stowage  

Boat Modifications

Very few sailboats from the factory come equipped ready to sail away. If your destinations are across oceans rather than across the bay that is especially true. In our case we had a 30 page list of additions, modifications and spare parts to get Ventana ready for cruising. Outfitting a boat is similar to remodeling a home and the process is called "commissioning."  For us it took 4 hectic months with ourselves and a crew first tearing Ventana apart to install gear and run wires everywhere and eventually putting it all back together again.

The gear we installed on Ventana and the changes we made were the result of our previous 6 years of work producing videotapes and television programs specifically on sailing. This work gave us the opportunity to spend nearly 800 days on the water testing various boats, gear and systems.  What we chose  for Ventana was a result of those experiences. 

We also produced a videotape showing exactly what we put on Ventana  and the how and why. It covers everything from choosing a proper cruising sailboat to outfitting for ocean passages.  For more information on  how we outfitted Ventana the videotape is available. Click here for information on the videotape
"Outfitting the Ideal Cruising Sailboat."

To see photos and read about Ventana's Systems click these links

Major Systems    Anchors    Communications    Electrical

Engine    Plumbing    Refrigeration    Sails and Rigging

To see photos and read about other modifications click these links

      Deck Gear     Cockpit     Interior      Navigation Station   
 Safety Gear     Spares Carried      Stowage  

 

Buying Gear -- The Good the Bad and the Ugly

Before any of us spends thousand of dollars on gear we of course want to know how it will last and how the manufacturer deals with warranty problems.  One fact of life for sailors is that since the market is relatively small we are often the beta testers for new products which may or may not stand the test of time.  While we believe most companies try to build good products and stand behind them the truth is some do not. The watch word is "caveat emptor" or buyer beware. 

We believe companies deserve their reputations be they good or bad so the following is a list of companies that have stood out for one reason or another.  This list generally represents the experiences of not just ourselves but the hundreds of other cruisers with whom we have discussed "boat stuff".

The Good- companies that deliver exceptional products and service.

bullet

Harken

bullet

Ample Power

bullet

North Sails

bullet

Island Packet

bullet

Edson

bullet

West Marine- usually very good

bullet

Hella - OK product great customer service

bullet

Rparts- great service

The Bad- companies that either have frequent product problems or bad customer service .  Or the ugly-  bad products and bad service.  We advise you to stay away from all of the companies listed below.  

bullet

 Autohelm/Raytheon- A dozen years ago Autohelm was known for fantastic customer   service.  Today their product quality control is down and customer service is very poor. 

bullet

Balmar- lots of product problems and bad customer service

bullet

Glacier Bay - good product but TERRIBLE customer service (click here for more info)

bullet

International Marine Insurance- Al Golden and his son Gary-  these people are dishonest and incompetent.  See the insurance nightmare below. 

bullet

Oceanics Dive equipment- every piece of their gear we have ever owned has failed- always far from repairs.

bullet

Safevision Prescription Scuba masks- terrible product and dishonest company.

bullet

Sitex- bad products and bad customer service

bullet

SGC- lots of product problems but very good customer service

bullet

Brownies scuba gear- the worst company we have ever encountered; do not deal with them under any circumstances

bullet

Viking Life rafts- bad products and bad customer service

Insurance Nightmare- We had been customers of International Marine Insurance (Al and Gary Golden) for several years and trusted them.  However a few years ago we sent in our premium and they in fact did not purchase insurance with our money.  We ended up going through the Panama Canal and crossing the entire Pacific thinking we were insured when we were not.  An accident would have left us homeless, boatless and with a nearly quarter million dollar loss.

 At first the Golden's tried to hide the fraud from us and even when the fraud was brought to light the Golden's blamed others and refused to return all our money.   Finally we had to sue them.  They tried numerous legal tricks and delays, but eventually we prevailed in court in Maryland and our money was returned.   If we had incurred a loss during that time it is doubtful they would have ever been able to pay us.  We strongly urge cruisers to avoid IMIS or International Marine Insurance Services and Al and Gary Golden.

 

 

Back to Top.

Webmaster- Rob Dubin                             copyright 2003-2012   Rob  Dubin               Page Last updated 12/16/2012