Prep Part Two - Equipping the Ship (July 1, 2018)

At this moment, Seefalke looks like she has been prepped for surgery. She has practically been sliced down the middle with all her innards exposed, ready for dissection. The 43-foot, Dutch-designed ketch was built in 1974. And while extraordinarily seaworthy, she was in desperate need of some updating and retrofitting in preparation for our 6,000 nm journey from The Baltic Sea to Bon Secour Bay.

The bottom has been protected with anti-fouling paint, and now electricians are busy replacing, reorganizing, and rerouting all the wires throughout the entire vessel to get her ready for a few organ transplants.

We were sold on using a Hydrovane wind pilot, but the mechanics couldn’t find a good place to install it. So we are using that budget for a new plotter/auto pilot. This will allow us to power the steering with energy created by the wind and we will consume significantly less energy than the antique auto pilot we currently have.

While Seefalke is already open, we are taking this opportunity to install a data bus system. This way, if and when in the future we want to install or replace old gauges or other devices we can easily integrate them with this globally standard unit. They can all communicate with each other no matter the brand or country of origin. We can use our tablets to remotely control the ship. We will be able to check things like the battery or tank levels, charts, and auto-pilot headings from the tablet.

Maik’s navigation station now has an entire library of paper charts (see photo) and these are just for the first half of the trip.

We have taken two van loads of supplies to Stralsund, and we’ve also “borrowed” all the appropriate and usable equipment from our 24-foot Flying Tramp, Toja. She won’t be in the water this year at all, so we were able to borrow some tools, life vests, a slightly-in-need-of-patching dinghy, and other safety equipment. Maik spent last weekend emptying out all the lockers and reorganizing all the supplies. He was able to make some serious decisions about things we will need and things we won’t need. On a vessel like this for a journey like this, we need to make practical use of every single square inch of space we can possibly get, and only use those precious inches for the things that are absolutely essential. While restocking the lockers, he has used his engineering skills to create a very detailed inventory of each locker. Hopefully, we can find all these essentials quickly when we need them (that is . . . if I can crack his top secret ninja Excel spreadsheet code).