“If you can dream it, you can do it”

Nr 42. Our 10 favorite boat upgrades

We have been in Stavoren harbor for 3 weeks and have started to descend to the South of the Netherlands in the next 3 weeks. When you are in a harbor for a longer period of time (say at least 1 week), you have time to do repairs to your boat and also do some upgrades. Earlier we wrote about 10 repairs we have done since we bought the Lagoon catamaran in June 2019. This is a blog about our 10 favorite upgrades that we added to our boat last 2,5 years since the catamaran left the Lagoon factory in France:

  1. Solar panels/Lithium batteries/Victron inverter/generator

To generate power, you need to have more than 1 system to avoid the risk of running out of power on your boat. When we are in a harbor we can use the electricity over there, but when we are anchoring or sailing, we also need power. So we need to be self sufficient when it comes to our power supply. That’s why we have installed solar panels. Read more about how we did this: https://catamaranhorizon.com/self-sufficient-with-solar-panels/.

And on a boat, it is smart to have redundancy, that means you always have 2 different solutions for each need. Besides the solar panels, we have a generator on board, so we can produce power if the solar panels don’t work.

2. Diesel heater

With the solar panels and generator we can produce power, for instance for the electric heaters we have on board. Especially during the winter months, it’s great to have heat on board. We talked about redundancy earlier: the generator uses gasoline, we also wanted a diesel powered system to generate heat. That’s why  we installed a Webasto diesel heater. It has vents throughout the boat for a cosy distribution of the heat through the living departments of the boat. 

3. Water maker and waterfilter system

Besides power for electricity and heat, it’s also essential to have fresh water on board. There is a fresh water tank integrated in the boat which can contain 600 liters of fresh water. Usually we fill up the water tank when we are in a  harbor. Gilles has installed a water filter system with 3 filters to make sure that incoming fresh water from a harbor is really clean. The first filter blocks all the floating debris in the water, the next filter blocks any heavy metals and the last filter blocks all chloride and bacteria that might be in the water. Even in Northern European harbors, you can’t always rely on the fresh water that you put into your tank: the waterhoses of the harbor are sometimes not used for a longer period of time or have been lying in the heat which can create algae or legionella.

During longer sail trips (think about crossing the Atlantic ocean during  3  weeks), you are in need of more than 600 liter fresh water (to cook, drink, clean, wash, etc) and you can’t ‘refuel’ water, because there are no harbors. So we have installed a water maker to make fresh water out of salt water. More about how a water maker works and the water maker parts we shipped over from Florida and installed ourselves: https://catamaranhorizon.com/self-sufficient-with-solar-panels/

4. Self tacking jib

We have adapted the jib system to a self tacking jib with a snatch block and 2 lines to make the movement of the jib more controllable and adjustable without having to leave the helm. The system that came with the catamaran made us walk outside on deck to manually adjust the position of the jib. It’s more safe and comfortable to control all sails and lines from the helm position.

5. Wifi

Essential these days is to have wifi onboard: to be connected to internet to check your mail, Google, watch TV. And in my case give online training during our world travel! What we use as hardware and software to have a good wifi connection, read our blog about staying online on a sailboat:  https://catamaranhorizon.com/nr-40-online-training-from-the-catamaran/

6. Dishwasher 

In the 2 years that we were in the Netherlands  preparing for our world trip (June 2019 to May 2021), we have had many friends and family onboard for a day of sailing. And also 24 business groups, who wanted a training onboard with their team or a staff meeting (https://experttrainers.nl/trainingen-op-het-water/). Gilles and I are a 2 people crew and providing drinks, lunch and dinner for 12 guests on board, made us work hard doing the dishes to have all the plates, cups and cutlery ready in time for the next round of food and drinks! So we have installed a dish washer on board, which uses only 6 liters of water and 29 minutes to run and have everything ready for the guests in time!

7. Washer and dryer 

In the harbor you have usually service buildings where you can take a shower, do the dishes and have your clothes washed. We like to have all of that on board, so we can be self sufficient, especially during longer sailing trips. That’s why we bought a washer and dryer combination, so we can have our clothes clean whenever we want.

8. Lounge deck and sundeck cushions

During sunny days, it’s  nice to have places on board where you can sit outside to read, chat and enjoy the sun. So we have bought cushions that you can attach on deck to sit comfortable while sailing, without the cushions ending up in the water. And the cushions can also be taken inside the boat when the weather is not sunny. The cushions are made of sunbrella, it’s a special  material that is great for outdoors, because it is water- and dirt repellent and UV protected.

9. Terrace heater

A very recent upgrade is our terrace heater! When sitting outside, it can get chilly during evenings. We have a tent that encloses our outside area, but the temperature sometimes can be low. The electric heaters warm up the air, but a terrace heater is a radiant heater, so cooler breezes don’t effect this kind of heat. The heater also works very quickly.

10. E-bike and E-step

When using the metaphor of the catamaran being our house now, the e-bike and e-step onboard are like a car to us. They are essential to have transport on land when you have arrived in a harbor or on an island. Without the e-bike and e-step, we wouldn’t have seen as much of a country as we have now! They both have a radius of 60 kilometers, so we can cycle and step about 3 hours without charging. Usually it’s enough to do sightseeing in the area, but we sometimes make trips further away from the boat, and then we bring the chargers with us. During lunch in a restaurant we recharge the batteries of the e-bike and e-step outside the restaurant and we are ready to continue our sightseeing! We also use the e-bike and e-step to do groceries or buy equipment from sailing shops. With our backpacks it’s more comfortable to take things with us.