GARY FRETZ: Ahoy, mates! This is your host, Gary Fretz. And our show is about “Yachts: The Perfect Escape Vehicle”. As I have said before, you might be wondering why yachts make the best escape solution. Well, it is because you can find liveaboard yachts for $15, 000, $15 million, and everywhere in between. They serve as your home and they provide inexpensive transportation around the world.
For a transcript of this podcast, click "read more" below.
Yes, it’s possible to sail around the world for next to nothing using windpower. And if you would like to know how to do that just stay tuned.
On the last show we were talking about getting off the grid and we were talking about electronics in particular. The last time I went cruising I had a cellular phone and I had an air cord which allowed me to get on the internet. And it was great because I could run my business stay in touch and these electronic devices were inexpensive and it was really a great thing to have.
[NOTE: Technology progresses quickly so the information in this section is a bit out of date. Check out our updated communications at sea article.]
Today, we have with us Michel Benarrosh who just got back from cruising the BVI. And he was telling me that when he was there he had full internet access there. And how did you do that? What’s that about?
MICHEL BENARROSH: Well, it is pretty simple. We rented a router…actually a modem not a router…a modem from one of the local cell phone providers which the deal was offered by the charter company that we got the boat from. And we were able to get full speed, nonstop internet connection during the entire charter maybe the small exception on one spot. But other than that even in the middle of the Drake Channel, we were having full connection streaming music from the internet via an iPhone.
So it is not very cheap. It cost about $30 a day. But it includes the machine and unlimited data and connection. And so you can have Wi-Fi all over the boat after setting up the modem. Pretty simple.
GARY: Nice it’s great to hear that technology is getting cheaper and better as time goes on. You know people have asked me how do we get TV you know we got to see our TV.And I have heard some cruisers use a direct TV satellite dish and others get these KVH systems that I guess are gyro-balanced or something where they can be used all the time.
Stephen, can you tell me about that?
STEPHEN COCKCROFT: If you want to use a standard dish, you can’t really use it on a boat. You need to have it on a static…you know a lot of people at live-in marinas screw them on the wooden pilings. But there are units that they sell now, TracVision is one of them. It is a satellite dish in a dome that you stick up on your mast or on a mast somewhere on the back of the boat. And this picks up satellite TV and then you have a transponder that picks it up.
But even in the Bahamas now if you go to these marinas, a lot of them have cable TV. So it is getting easier and easier and you know. What I have on my boat is just a little black box and we were in Fort Lauderdale. And that plugs into my TV antenna and changes the signal to digital and I can watch all the local channels. So I am totally off the grid. I am watching free TV and I don’t pay one cent for it. And I got the Super bowl and I got all the games going up to the super bowl and the new and everything that I need to see so there are a lot of ways to treat the TV thing.
GARY: I also heard about this new device that just came out it looks sort of like a laptop and it is called a Hughes Broadband Satellite IP terminal. And it can be placed anywhere like outside on the boat. I mean it can be hit by salt spray or whatever, and it can take it. These are used in remote areas in and around the world and on offshore vessels. And I think it is about $3,000 and you can see TV on it, you can get internet on it. Probably will be going to be $2,000 in the another year, you know, if prices keep going down the way they do.
Along the lines of talking about what we recommend to have on your boat outside. Why don’t you talk about Bimini tops and protection around the cockpit?
STEPHEN: Well Bimini tops, there are lots of schools of thoughts. I like solid tops because if you got the canvas ones they tend to leak at the stitching, etc. The most important thing is you know in the tropics you need shade and you need protection from rain and when you are under way you need protection from spray. So a good spray dodger which is like a plastic wind shield with canvas that protects you from spray coming from the bow of the boat. And then, of course, you just want good shade be it solid or be it canvas. Many schools of thought and I think everyone is probably, you know, right. There isn’t a bad way to do it.
The other thing, obviously, on a boat is you want to make sure you got good deck gear. The boat is a sailboat, so you don’t want to skimp on your deck gear. You want to have good winches. I recommend you have at least one good winch on a boat that can probably reach everyplace you need to, you know, sheets, hauling the main up etc., etc. So, good deck gear is very important and of course good protection at the helm because you often find that you end up sailing in the rain.
Reducing Maintenance on a Boat
GARY: Along the lines of minimum maintenance, a lot of yachts have bright work. That means, you know, teak trim and other wood on the outside. It requires a lot of work to maintain and keep it looking nice, what you look for in a maintenance free boat.
ESTELLE COCKCROFT: Gary, you know these things are all really pretty and wonderful to look at. But you don’t want to buy a boat and spend the rest of your time trying to maintain this boat. So go for fiberglass as much as you can. It is a quick wash down and a polish once a year and you are good to go.
We have seen people in the anchorage sitting there all day long varnishing teak, you know, polishing this, cleaning that. And it just gets overwhelming in the end.
STEPHEN: You know the whole issue is to have as much time as you can to enjoy your surroundings and not be a slave to the boat. So I am always cognizant of how much maintenance is required on a boat.
GARY: We are going to take a short break and we will be right back. You are listening to “Yachts: The Perfect Escape Vehicle".