planning, planning, planning:

  • To achieve this outcome, we drew up mini-goals three-years ago which led us to remodelling a few areas of our custom Lagoon L400. The overall goal was to be self-sufficient in the South Pacific.
  • There are heavy duty expenses and the reason we had a 3-year plan and didn't blindly rush out to sea under-prepared.
  • At the pointy end of the planning, finer details such as 'maintenance packs' (packeted spares ready for various components) and spares are being sourced, but where do you stop?
  • proactive maintenance 2020
    lithium batteries, Isotherm freezer & Bushman fridge, 1.9KW LG solar, new saildrives, new inverter/charger and upgraded 12vDC systems and panels. Our webpage detail...
  • proactive maintenance 2021
    square top main, genoa and screecher, canvas covers & turret clears, new watermaker, electronic water pressure controller, water tank locker tweak. Our webpage detail...
  • proactive maintenance 2022/23
    Raymarine multifunction display, doppler radar and anemometer, new Gori propellers, antifoul, new skin fittings, new cockpit cushions, mast stepped and a new yacht Survey. Our webpage detail...

The 3-year plan

Bringing this all together, looks a lot harder than it actually was. The reason being that we had time on our side. Mixed in here, we still managed two 5-month trips into the Coral Sea as well.

Documented process and procedures

Don't scoff at this as it proves its weight-in-gold when it comes to Insurance. Thinking smarter, not harder, easily allows you to jot down pointers in the early stages and during the 3-year plan stage. Bring this all together, as it will be required.

Jot down 'how you change a propeller', 'where are all the circuit breakers?', 'how to change a battery'. And for your crew's sake how to do things simply.

Can your crew take you (an incapacitated person due to a fall) to safety.

This link will take you to our final document that we call the CREW MANUAL.

Fresh water and its management

We were lucky in that our yacht already had 600lt water capacity. This water needs to be EASILY separated in some way near the tanks to provide water redundancy.

Should a pipe or pump fail,  you need an alternative and a ball-valve separating the tanks is a quick and easy way to provide this.

Remote areas require the ability to make your own water. Relying on remote area top-up is fraught with challenges. Water-making needs to be no-nonsense with sufficient planned power storage to suit.

We changed our water maker for this reason.

Insurance (personal and vessel)

There are four areas that need to be considered:
- Yacht Insurance cover for local waters,
- Yacht Insurance cover for International waters,
- Personal Medical Insurance cover, and
- Personal Offshore Medical Insurance.

The first three are self explanatory. Personal Offshore Medical Insurance however is an odd one. Fine print in standard medical insurance will not cover a person who is injured on a private vessel in international waters and seeks medical assistance once on land.

Evacuation in international waters is another excluded from Personal Medical Insurance.

Power and it's management

We took the bold move early in the plan to go solar as much as we could. To then feed this into a large lithium battery bank to drive 95% of the equipment on board.

The power system needed to be all of one brand, limiting to the mixing of units and then controlled electronically with a backup.

Should solar fail, we increased the size of the alternators as a backup.

This however comes at a price, a hefty price. 3-years on, everything is working 100%.

- We have NO FIXED LPG at all.
- We have NO GENERATOR, and

Food storage and its management

Food storage is broken into four areas:
- Frozen,
- Refrigerated,
- Dry Goods, and
- Fresh goods.

In the power planning stages, sufficient battery power must be set aside to drive these appliances, plus 30%.

Why? Because these appliances are going to be working very hard opening and closing two or three times a day in some hot places.

We have a good quality external esky used for drinks and water. We stock of an evening and by morning the temperature is down to 16-20 degrees celsius.

Consideration, what if refrigeration fails?

Proactive Maintenance

Major components were installed early in the three year plan in an effort to use them and ensure reliable service.

To date this has worked well, except for the TV.

We now know the quirks of the various bits and have backup fixes should things start to go pear-shaped.

We have done three offshore passages, all 2-3 weeks at a time and the systems worked flawlessly.

We are however, very proactive with our maintenance and replace consumables on a regular basis as per our home-made schedule.

hard work's over:

  • Joining the Down Under Rally - Go-East Rally. This rally is one of three over a 5-months period. The GO EAST Rally provides support from Australia to New Caledonia, the N2V Rally - New Caledonia to Vanuatu and Go West Rally - Vanuatu to Australia (a total rally period of 20-25 days of the 5-months offshore).
  • Getting crew trained and into the OFFSHORE mindset. Passage making requires a different way of thinking and has different challenges. This is where a CREW MANUAL comes in very handy.
  • 3 years ago, mini-goals were set. From an Insurance perspective and your own piece-of-mind, all these mini-goals are now brought together to reap the reward and sail away.
  • maintenance service packs
    These 'packs' are zip-locked bags that contain all the consumables, plus gloves and a note on the required tools. Read more...
  • theory course considerations
    Some of these courses are not mandatory, others are. It depends on what you feel comfortable with (or without), Insurance requirements, rally requirements etc. Read more ...
  • electronic & paper navigation 
    It is up to the captain, complying with any requirements to carry these documents. As an example, rally organisers may have this as an entry requirement, such as Downunder Rallies Read more...