Frequently Asked Questions

The following are a few questions that landlubbers and cruisers ask us about the cruising lifestyle and my vessel Malua.

What equipment works is covered in Equipment.

What do you miss most?
Denny would say her garden while I would say my woodworking tools

What is the best piece of equipment on board?
Without a doubt it is the auto helm because I say in the equipment section after a few hour helming it get boring and one turns it over to a machine which can do the job better than any human.  One has to design it right and get the correct equipment but having said that the auto helm makes passage making a pleasure.  Our Robertson auto helm attached to the Whitlock drive unit is the greatest.

How do you store your food? 
In the Pacific the freezer was a great asset because there are few places one can provision and having a freezer gives you the ability to eat meat months after leaving port. I the Med one wants to purchase the local produce and therefore a freezer is just and added bonus but I must say it keeps we away from shops which I hate. markets are OK but supermarkets I cant handle. 

What about water? 
Thunderstorm are great sources of water all over the world. The spring and autumn in the Med. Marinas have water but it is not always suitable to drink. I dont even put it inmy tanks. Small harbours have water or the local populus which you can put into container and take to the boat. Many people pay for bottled water but we refuse to do that. We have a 1 micron filter on the water tank so that will filter most sediment. The alternative is a desalinator which we have but havent used in a few seasons.

Do you have an AC generator to charge and run electrical appliances? 
No AC generators are noisey, use fuel and you cant store the energy. We have a small diesel engine that has a large 150 amp alternator which charges the batteries and gives power via an inverter to the microwave. We also have 1000amp hour of batteries. All computers, disks, CD and small battery chargers are 12 volt.

How do you deal with your waste? 
Human waste goes into a holding tank to be pumped out while way off shore. Garbage is separated into decomposable which follows the human waste while the plastic, tins and glass go into bags and deposited on land to go into the toxic land fills of the world

What fuel do you use in your cooker? 
Gas is the best. Butane or propane it does not seem to matter. What is more important is the type of regulator your cooker or stove requires. You can change the size of the jets but with each regulator puts out a different pressure.  I have stuck with the Oz regulator and changed the fitting to suit a Camping Gaz bottle or my stainless steel tanks made in Australia. The Camping Gaz are available all through the EU in marinas and in some in turkey. It is therefore my fall back position.

One can make an adaptor from the local bottle to suit your boat bottle and them decant from the local bottle into your boat bottle.  It should only be done on shore but works well. You usually do not match bottle size for bottle therefore either yours is not full or you loose some. We use both systems and have only once run out of gas so we used the emergancy camping canester from the grab bag.

What is good anchoring etechette? 
The following is based upon a British view of the lore of the sea which is not subscriibed to by the rest of the world who believe they wrote the lore and any variation does not apply to them. I have taken the lore and made many observation in numerious anchorages the national generalisations are not all my own and do not reflect a nation as a whole but not being able to establish either the profession, sea or land qualifification it is easy to ascribe national charateristics to the sailors based upon the flag flying from the stern of the vessel.
On entering an empty bay or cove choose an anchor spot with suitable depth for your draft of vessel, let out any amount of chain from 3 to 7 times the depth depending on the current and expected wind. Ensure that there is sufficient swing room if the wind is to change, factor in known weather forcasts then go below to enjoy the tranquility of your new environment.
You will be roused from below by the sound of chain running out into the deep. If the sound is low then it will be a large vessel if sreeching and high it may also be a large vessel but the weight of chain light. If this is the case beware. If you are anchored in say 15 meters of water and the noise was of short duration again beware because they are not following the 3 to 7 rule. If the vessel is French be assured the chain noise will be loud not because it is a large chain but because it will be right next to your vessel. The French anchor like they park their cars, nose to tail and very very close. On pointing this out to the French skipper he will tell you to calm down, then insist he does not understand. You will point out that Paris is no longer the prime meridian and Englidh is the liga franca of the sea. No amount of jesticulating either on his part or yours will get the vessel to move except ... when you bring out your sea water anchor cleaning hose and direct it at the open companionway. With a puff of smoke they will be off.
Now if the vessel flys a red, yellow and black ensign either in a horizontal or vertical mode there will be six large males standing on the deck. The fellow at the bow is the ex-engineer and has been assign the mechanical task of operating the windlass. Next to the side stay will be the ex-media director issuing updates as to where the vessel should stop. Ignore both. At the wheel will be the designated captain (note I do not use the terms Master or cockswain) This person drives the vessel like a well known star insigniad brand of truck. Watch this person. Along side him is the real danger. Known in company terms as the "uninformed decision maker". Decisions are made based upon how close the vessel can be to the nearest pub/restaurant and not on any knowledge of the lore of the sea or sailing exxperience. Just when you think they will anchor down wind of you, the decision maker will indicate by point a position right next to your bow. Where upon the chain of command will come into play and the anchor man will let go the anchor and the vessel will come to rest along side your vessel. If you are lucky on your stern quarter but fear not they will have half the scope and will be on your bow when the wind veers.
Now if the vessel entering the bay has a red ensign it will sail to a spot astern of you quietly drop the anchor and no amount of friendly waveing will get the least reaction.Alternatively they will anchor at the head of the bay with the lest distance to row to the shore.
Americans will drop two anchor while all around then have only one and will spend the time adjusting the fenders as the rest of the world swings in harmony but the USA is out of step.
The Canadians, Kiwis and Aussies will anchor appropriatly and will ask if you woud like to come over for a drink as soon as they can find the bottle opener.
My strategy adopted after much ranting and abuse is if someone is too close or a danger to you, up your anchor, move further out to sea or find another bay. You wont teach the lore of the sea in one afternoon.