Tag Archives: #cruising

Non-negotiables on Kool Kat

A follower of our blog asked me about ideas for space saving when travelling in a caravan and after recently reading Windtraveler’s post Ten Simple (and inexpensive) products we Love on our boat, I got to thinking about the products I use that are a must-have, non-negotiable item on Kool Kat. By the way, if you haven’t tapped into Brittany’s blog before and you want to put a smile on your face, do yourself a favour and check it out here. She, Scott and their three little poppets lead an amazing life.

So, getting back to non-negotiables, I got to thinking and I got to talking to other cruisers in the sailing sisterhood, and this is what I came up with.

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No 1: Totally in agreement with Brittany, and many others, that the ‘Turkish’ towel is brilliant! It takes up no room, is light, dries quickly and is super versatile, morphing from a towel into a sarong/pareo into a beach blanket! There are many versions available but my favourite is Hammamas which we bought in Australia. Other cruisers I know who swear by them bought their towels in the US or in St Maarten. What I like about the Hammamas is that mine has softened up beautifully over time and they have a huge range of colours.

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Hammamas Turkish Towels

No 2: Second on my list is Silicone bakeware. Cruising provides many opportunities to ponder one’s navel, even on a 3-hr crossing, and one thing I have discovered is I love to cook. Hold your horses, I need to be more specific here! I love creating healthy, SIMPLE, food and I’m not into creaming butter and sugar or sifting flour six times! I like it pretty damn easy, particularly as I’m in a cosy (read small) environment. Okay, monohull girls, I know I’ve got it pretty good but everything is relative! Anyway, I don’t like having to clean up a big mess afterwards either and this is where my silicone products shine (well, not really as silicone is quite dull).

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Silicone bakeware: muffin tray, loaf pan and baking sheet.

Last year I bought, through Amazon, a silicone 12-muffin tray and two silicone baking sheets. Then on one of the French islands I spied a silicone loaf pan. All I can say is that I use these four items at least once a week. They are light and flexible which makes them easy to store and they are an absolute bonus when it comes to cleaning! Check out my previous post about using the muffin tray and the baking sheets and pay particular attention to my advice about what to look for when buying silicone products as there are varying standards. Some people worry that they don’t brown the food but my experience is the opposite except on one occasion and you’ll see why when you read the post.

No 3: Before we set out on this adventure I read an article about one item women cruisers seriously valued and the TEFAL Ingenio saucepans came up a few times. I set about trying to find them in Australia only to find out they weren’t available. Long story short, I was able to get a set and they have been one of our best purchases. Our set is made up of 3 pots; stainless steel inside and out, 3 glass lids with silicone edges, removable pot handle, removable lid handle and three plastic lids. The beauty of them is that they take up much less space than regular pans with attached handles, I can see through the glass lid as food is cooking and I can reseal with a plastic lid for storage of leftovers in the fridge or freezer. They are easy to clean and the large one is plenty big enough for pasta and soups. Check out my Galley Series post to see one being used to cook callaloo soup/fritters.

I have prepared a short video showing how easy it is to affix and remove the handles.

No. 4: Brittany refers to a flexible chopping board and I’m thinking I might get one of those too but I do like my Joseph Joseph chopping boards. This isn’t actually a non-negotiable but I do really like them. I have a small white one and a larger green one. The bit I find really handy is the lip on one side which catches runaway liquids and, on a boat, they runaway alot! The boards are reversible, meaning the lip is on both sides and one side also has several prongs to secure whatever it is you are carving. They work really well.

Slant on board catches juices in lip.
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Reverse side with prongs to prevent slipping.

No. 5: Moving away from the galley, another excellent purchase we made was the hose we use for washdown. I read an article on the Boat Galley blog about the XHose Pro and we decided to lash out and pay a little more when we needed to replace ours. It has been so worth it! It takes up very little space as it retracts when not in use and expands when filled with water. It is light, easy to manoeuvre, covers a large area, packs away in a small space and we love it!

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This is expanded with water and remains easy to take anywhere on the boat.
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This is deflated with no water in the hose and it just fits really easily.

The above items are all purchases Mal and I made but we were fortunate enough to have alot of equipment left on our boat by the previous owners; thanks John and Linda. It’s a running joke with our friends that when someone asks us where we bought something, eg: dinghy ladder, we reply ‘it came with the boat’ much to their chagrin!

No. 6: Yes, the dinghy ladder! It is an invaluable aid when you are exhausted from snorkelling and you need to drag yourself back up out of the water and into the dinghy. Without a ladder it can be like watching a whale beach itself, only not as gracefully! The ladder ‘that came with the boat’ is called “Up-n-out” by Scandia Marine Products; it is sturdy and collapses into a small bag for storage.

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Ladder extended.

No. 7: The Tervis tumblers ‘that came with the boat’ have been a godsend in the sometimes sticky but always hot Caribbean weather.  We have both the tall and the short and they keep those deliciously refreshing G&Ts we are so fond of, beautifully cold!

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Gin and Tonics in our Tervis tumblers at the end of the day!

So, there we have it, some serious non-negotiables and some must-haves when cruising. What are your non-negotiables?

Cheers, Sue and Mal.


Nelson’s Dockyard

Having waved au revoir to my sister on the 27th December we sailed the next day from Deshaies on Guadeloupe to Falmouth Harbour on Antigua. The sailing was good with Kool Kat averaging 7 knts over the 44.5 nm, taking us just under 6 hrs. We had some 17 knt squalls and I felt a little under the weather but nothing I couldn’t handle 🙂

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We dropped the hook and immediately joined friends from S/Vs Slow Waltz and Serenade in a walk to Shirley Heights, which affords beautiful views over English and Falmouth Harbours as well as boasting the best vantage point for sunsets. Shirley Heights is a military complex which houses many buildings including an old Signal Station. History states flags were flown by day and guns used at night to convey messages to Fort George in St John’s, over 10kms away. Sunday is party night at Shirley Heights with bands playing, bbqs cooking and drinks flowing, so we joined hundreds of cruise ship participants and danced the night away! We even sang and danced to Men At Work’s “A Land Downunder”!

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View over English (foreground) and Falmouth Harbours from Shirley Heights
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L-R: Jo & Gregg from Serenade, Guillaume & Gwen from Slow Waltz amongst hundreds of cruise ship tourists.
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The 1st of two bands for the night, a tin-pan band.

Like many Caribbean islands, Antigua, since first discovered in 1492 by Christopher Columbus, has been colonised by the Spanish, French, Dutch and most recently, the English. The end of WWII marked the beginning of the road to independence, with  independence finally gained in 1981. The English Harbour Dockyard, more commonly known as Nelson’s Dockyard, is a major Caribbean yachting centre. It has been restored to house businesses, restaurants and hotels and is a hive of activity. The Lord Nelson sailing vessel, pictured below, was purpose-built to enable able-bodied and physically disabled people to sail together.

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Sail lofts at Nelson’s Dockyard. (Aussies note the gumtree!)
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The Engineers’ Offices now used as a modern hotel.
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S/V Lord Nelson

The next day our good friends, Dalynn & Glenn from s/v Amoray, arrived in port and we went hiking with them and their guests, Reed and Cathy. It was a beautiful hike from Falmouth to English Harbour and ended at Fort Berkeley near Nelson’s Dockyard.

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Love these tree roots embedded in stonework at Fort Berkeley

I had to include one photo of the many super yachts here in Antigua. Air is 81m long, 11m wide, has 21 crew and, of course, comes with her own personal helicopter. She’s currently available for charter at 750,000 Euros/week, that’s approximately $1,089,900AU PER WEEK! If you’d like to check out more before booking her, click here.

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Super yacht, Air, with personal chopper.

We ended the year on a high, with friends. We started the night on s/v Nightwatch, courtesy of Mary and Ralph, and then moved to Kool Kat to watch the fireworks from our trampoline. Kool Kat’s dance floor got a good workout and the singing was heard across the anchorage right into the wee hours of the morning! It was a great night and we shared it with Serenade (Jo and Gregg), Nahanni River (Wendy and Doug), Amoray (Dalynn and Glen), Nightwatch (Mary and Ralph) and Slow Waltz (Gwen and Guillaume)!

Happy New Year to you all and we hope your 2015 is full of happiness and joy! Sue & Mal.