Tag Archives: Pandora

Newport and the America’s Cup Trials

On Friday I visited Newport with a friend and had a great time watching the trials for the America’s Cup.  These boats are not the same ones that will race for the cup itself as they are around 45′ long and the cup boats will be over 70′ long.  Don’t ask me why they will dump these boats and go to longer ones.  It’s too complicated to keep track of these guys and all their rule changes.

Back to Newport.  I have to say that they have done a terrific job of making the cup a more compelling spectator sport with this new venue.  They have been staging “trials” in a number of locations world wide with the current races in Newport over several days.   The course is a very short one, perhaps a mile long and a half mile wide with the entire course within easy viewing of shore.  To see these boats shoot by at some 20kts is really a sight to behold.  Some lament the demise of the old style monohull but to me, the cup races are a lot more exciting now.  And, if you are lucky, you might even see one capsize as happened on the first day of racing.  Call this the water equivalent of NASCAR racing perhaps.

The first thing that we saw as we headed over to Fort Adams, the viewing area, from the Newport Yacht Club was the boats on moorings getting ready.  They are really high tech machines.  I expect that the tenders themselves cost more than Pandora, my SAGA 43.   The boats, especially the American boats from Oracle, look even more “nasty” in black carbon fiber.

There was plenty to look at with sponsors all around.  One of the major sponsors is Red Bull energy drink.  Very appropriate given the frenetic nature of sailing these boats.  Nice vehicle.Plenty of potential consumers to see the displays.  In spite of so many folks crammed together, it was easy to get a spot with a good view. Once on the course these boats really show their stuff. Hulls flying in a very modest breeze.   This boat is from France.  Prada looks great as one would expect.  Very stylish but not as sleek as Oracle in her black paint. While most of the races were match, meaning two boats racing at a given time, the final race of the day was a fleet race.  What a mob scene, with all the boats starting at once.  And to make it more exciting for the crowd, the start had them all headed directly for the crowd and tacking just off the breakwater.  What a great sight.  Amazingly, they didn’t hit each other.After tacking so close they all headed off toward the first mark. After the races the boats headed back to their moorings in the harbor.  I was struck by the contrast of the current boats verses one of the classic 12 meters that used to race for the Cup, in wood no less.   Just a little different wouldn’t you say?One thing for sure is that the current approach to the Cup will reach many more than past races that had become somewhat marginalized in most people’s minds I expect.  This video is an example of the “showmanship” that has become a part of this event.  A great approach for the “Youtube generation” in my mind.

And for a moment of “I was there”, here are highlights, in a somewhat longer format, of the day of racing that I enjoyed.   It does look great in this refined presentation with terrific graphics, but being there was even more fun.   And, the crowds were pretty amazing.

After the races we headed back to the New York Yacht Club for a beer and to hear a talk by Gary Jobsen, well known sailor and the commentator for the race series.   Glad to have friends like Ken that belong to such great clubs.   Besides, getting in the club launch allowed us to avoid waiting in line for an hour with all the “regular folks”.  Not bad.  We heard Jobsen speak in the white tent on the water just below the “club house”.   Club house?  That seems like a funny term for such a grant building.   Very nice indeed. On Saturday Ken and I headed to Mystic to see the Wooden Boat Show, a great event at Mystic Seaport although very different with the smell of tar instead of the gleam of carbon fiber.  More to come on that soon.

Pandora launched at last, free at last and a visit to Watch Hill

Finally, after delays for reasons, some good and some not so good, Pandora finally hit the water (gently) last week in Norwalk CT.  For reasons of economy, I have kept her in a yard that is a bit off the beaten path (RE: on the other side of the 95 bridge in Norwalk) for a number of years now.  That doesn’t sound like a big deal except that the bridge has a vertical clearance of 61′ at high water while Pandora’s mast is 63′ plus gear, antennas and the like.  Yes, not a big difference but that two plus feet makes a smashing lot of difference if we were to hit the bridge.

Well, the answer is to pass under the bridge at low tide. Duhh…  With 7′ of tide in Western LI Sound, that’s not a biggie, it just takes a bit of planning.   And, there are two other bridges that must open prior to even getting to the “short” bridge.  HOWEVER, the day prior to the launch, the yard owner stopped by to tell me that there was work being done on the 95 highway bridge and that there was a scaffolding under the mid span, where I needed to pass under, that restricted the vertical height to 62′ at LOW TIDE.  Not good.

After much back and forth, the 95-bridge-worker-men agreed that they would pull up the cables that were in the way at mid span to be sure that there would be enough vertical height for me to pass under.  Well, that sounded reasonable, at the 11th hour,  so it seemed that we were ready.

Before getting back to the bridge issue, let me digress to mention a bit about the unconventional crane that launched Pandora.  It’s an 80 ton capacity behemoth, painted a lovely color of red.  To me it seemed better suited to be the main character in a children’s book than the workhorse in a boat yard.  And, I have to say that watching her be picked up gave me a pause.   Yikes, it looked precarious.

Whew!!!  So far, so good.  

In the water and without a scratch.  Oh yea, I should mention that at low tide, this area is just a mud flat so she had to go in at the tippy top of high tide.

Anyway, Pandora ended up in the water without incident and on Friday morning, to coincide with  dead low we were off.  Oh yea, we almost weren’t off as Pandora was hard aground in the mud.  It wasn’t until after much back and forth along with enthusiastic pushing from three yard guys that we were able to power off.  Never a dull moment.   So off to the bridge we went.

As we approached the bridge we could see that some of the cables were not pulled up fully so my helper/crew gesticulated wildly for me to head more to the left where the cables seemed a bit higher.   Indeed, it was VERY, VERY CLOSE as the VHF antenna, the highest part of gear on the top of the mast, plinked from cable to cable as we passed under the bridge ever-soo-slooowly.  My heart was just pounding, as I had visions of all my gear being sheared off of the top of the mast, but we made it.  After that fun was over we passed through two more bridges, a Metro North train bridge that required an appointment with dispatch and eight guys to open it.  I have to believe that moving through that bridge cost over $1,000 in labor.  Amazing!  After those two bridges calling the Norwalk bridge tender to get the third bridge to open was a piece of cake.  No issues there.  Finally, out in the harbor and on our way.

There’s no doubt that we will have plenty of practice with bridges as we head down the ICW this fall.  More to come on that.  Perhaps I should drop a tape from the top of the mast to confirm exactly how tall the rig is.  Yea, a good idea.

Our run from Norwalk took us up to Mystic where Pandora will be for about a month prior to moving her to Wickford RI and on to Maine.   The weekend also included a wonderful rendezvous with fellow Corinthians at the Watch Hill Yacht Club.  What a great way to start the season aboard Pandora.  And, yes, we even were able to sail for a few hours.  It was a picture perfect day out on LI Sound.

After a night in Mystic aboard  we headed to Watch Hill and our rendezvous at the Watch Hill Yacht Club.  The yacht club has a great view of the harbor to the west.  Here’s the entrance.  The entire clubhouse is out on pilings, above the water.   Access to this wonderful place is just another reason that being a member of The Corinthians is a good idea.

On Sunday morning, I stopped at the Ocean House, a wonderful resort up on the hill overlooking the ocean and harbor, for coffee and a leisurely read of the NY Times.  How decadent.

What a grand entrance.   The Ocean House was designed to look very much like the grand structure that it replaced.  A wonderful piece of work.  Brenda and I will be visiting for lunch in a few weeks.   Dinner would be terrific, I am sure, but it’s a bit out of our price range.  We can also afford to indulge in a cup of coffee on the veranda.

Can you imagine a more serene spot to have coffee while listening to the surf?  Not me.

Oh Muffy, you must join us for a round of croquet out on the lawn. Some of the locals, you know, Muffy and her pals,  have money to spend and the taste to do it with style.  How about this beauty?

Watch Hill is surely one of our favorite places and will be on the list again in a week or so.   Life is good.

The wild horses, houses and a cemetary in Beaufort. Only the horses are wild though.

Yes, it’s Sunday and we are still waiting on Beryl to move away so we can head north.  While the winds are down, the seas are still pretty rough off of Hatteras and our Monday morning departure is still looking good.  While winds are low enough for us to leave late today instead of in the morning, it won’t make a big difference in our arrival date so Monday morning it is and giving the waves a bit more time to calm down will make for a much more enjoyable ride up the coast.

Another unique feature , and source of local pride, of Beaufort is the wild horses that live on the barrier island having arrived with the early Spanish explorers some 400 years ago.  What a contrast it is to sit on board The Abby and look the short distance over the harbor to see horses grazing at the water’s edge. Yesterday afternoon I went for a walk and enjoyed passing through the well kept neighborhoods and shady streets.   As I have mentioned before, the homes are well maintained, and there’s not a whiff of vinyl siding or “mini mansion stucco” to be found.  If the condition of the homes is any indication, it’s also a great place to be a painter, or sell white paint.  Every home is white.  Perhaps it’s to stay cool.   And, lots of nice front porches, a throwback to the days before air conditioning.Some of the gardens are really nice.  What a great spot to relax and read the paper on a Sunday morning, or later in the day, with an “adult beverage”.It was also fun to wander among the headstones in this cemetery.  Many of the graves were from the civil war and the live oaks were clearly not planted yesterday.  Lots of stories here, I am sure. Very peaceful.

Nice views in every direction.

Plenty or churches to choose from but our crew decided to attend a service on the water, at the town dock, provided by the Intracoastal Waterfolk Ministry who had dropped off a flier at our boat on Saturday.  It was a nice service with about 30 in attendance in a nice shady spot on the water.  Seeing the wild horses in the distance certainly set the tone.  During one of the hymns there was a bird chirping in the tree over my head that was even more enthusiastic than the congregation.

The service was at the public landing which was very nice with a big sign welcoming all to visit Beaufort.

I have really enjoyed our visit here and look forward to visiting with Brenda in November on our way south.  However, it’s my hope that our visit won’t be sandwiched between two tropical storms or worse.   We will also likely be anchored out in the harbor with the little people.  Not a bad place to be.  Besides, we will be a lot closer to the wild horses of Beaufort.


Where’s Pandora? Perhaps better to say where’s Bob?

For some months I have been looking for a service that will allow me to provide real time location information here on where Pandora is at any given point.  This will be particularly valuable when Brenda and I head south in the fall so that family and friends can follow us as we make our way south for the winter.   Of course, the natural question that some to mind is “why would we want to follow your trip?”.  Well, that’s simple, because you can…

There are a number of services available that will track progress and I settled on a unit called SPOT.  This is a nifty device that’s just a few inches long and sends a signal to low orbiting satellites to keep tabs on where the unit is at any given time.  With an update every 10 minutes when it’s turned on, it’s an amazingly simple way to keep in touch.  This is an amazingly affordable service and you can click here to learn more about this remarkable device.  Even more interesting is this overview of how the unit works.  As simple as the device looks, it’s part of a system that looks REALLY COMPLICATED and EXPENSIVE.

This video gives a good overview of the tracking function.  What an awesome gadget!!!

“Spot” will be aboard Pandora most of the time but for now it will be with me as I head this coming week for Nassau Bahamas to help my friend Bob bring back his South African Islander 56′The Abby, to Norwalk CT.  At least, that’s where I think we are going.  Not sure as the boat spends a lot of time in Newport.  Well, I guess that will learn more when I head there on Tuesday.  I know Bob from my years as a member of the Norwalk Yacht Club and also as member of The Corinthians.

There will be a total of four of us on this trip and we expect to leave on the 18th or 19th of May and will arrive at some point late the following week.   As I understand it, we will head out into the Gulf Stream and ride it north.  This will allow us to make the trip as quickly as possible given the fact that the “stream” moves north at several knots which will give us a boost in speed as we head up the coast.

Anyway, back to the issue of tracking our progress.  With SPOT aboard, there will be a real time record of our progress as we head north.   I won’t turn the unit on until we leave the harbor except briefly when I get to Nassau to post an initial position on my SPOT page.  You will have to pan out on the map to get a better feel for where we are as the link defaults to a close up view.

It should be fun and I hope that you will enjoy “ride” with me.

More to come.

The wild life aboard Pandora and a Mother’s day greeting.

Even though Pandora is still on the hard in Norwalk CT, she’s still a hopping place for some.   In this case, the feathered kind.  When I went forward the other day to check out the anchor windlass I was surprised by a Ground Dove that had built her nest under the cover.  I was loath to interfere but had to attend to the anchor so unfortunately, disturbed her.   It was amazing just how brave she was and only flew away when I carefully prodded her with my outstretched finger on her back.   However, I did have to give her a poke as I really needed to lower the anchor to the ground for some work I was doing.  Most important is that the windless makes quite a racket, something that would surely have sent her “over the edge”.  I wanted her to fly away but not forever.She did make a run for it and I quickly snapped a photo of the egg while she was away.   I came back a few days later and she was still there but this time I kept a respectful distance.

With Mother’s day less than a week away I certainly don’t’ want to be accused of being tough on mothers.  Besides,  my own mom might get the wrong idea about me.

Pandora has proven to be a great home for me and Brenda and it seems fitting to have another family living aboard while she is on the hard.

Let’s hope that the chicks fly the coop by early June when Pandora gets launched.   So, how fast to doves grow?  For their sake, they had better be quick about it.

While life goes on aboard Pandora, I am headed to Freeport Bahamas this coming Tuesday to help a friend bring his boat back to CT.  It should be a great trip and I am sure that some fun posts will come from the journey.

More to come and soon I hope.

Finally in Essex and getting back to normal

It’s been a long few months with the last several weeks of interminable delays in getting out of our home in NJ with septic and roofing problems and a buyer who wouldn’t close until it was fixed. In any event, with that project finally completed with the help of professional plumbers and roofers like Knipp Roofing services, we finally moved last Thursday and are now in our new home here in Essex CT.

In spite of being here we are anything but settled with many boxes still left to unpack.   I would have liked to have posted in sooner but there hasn’t been anything to talk about besides wishing that I was doing something on Pandora to get her ready to launch in late May.

However, this Wednesday I expect to head down to Norwalk to spend several days getting her ready for the season.  There remains much to complete including the wiring connections on the watermaker, installing the wi-fi and working on the cockpit enclosure.  Yikes, the list remains long.

In spite of it all, I was able to spend a bit of time out on the CT river in Essex last week when our son Christopher visited from NYC for the weekend.  He and I took the guide boat that I spoke of in my last post out for a run on the river.   It was pretty breezy but warm and sunny and we had a great time.  Along the way he took these photos of a pair of osprey’s landing on their nest.  As there were chicks/eggs in the nest, they were aggressively protecting the nest from our intrusion.  Great shots.  He’s a gifted photographer and has the patience to get the right shot.   Not sure which this is, male or female. 

Just take a look at those pointy talons.  I’d hate to be on the receiving end when they are out fishing.

I also think that it’s a good thing that ospreys don’t have 20′ wingspans or sailing would be a bit less fun.  “Hey, there’s a nice juicy human that we can feed our chicks.   No, be my guest, you go first.  Here Bobby, Bobby!!

Hmm, that was a bit random… Never mind.

I guess that will have to suffice for now as I am up to my elbows in boxes and unpacking. I can’t wait for things to settle down so I can get back to serious stuff like sailing.

Wish me luck.

Return of a classic for the Pandora clan

Prior to sailing big boats (larger just actually, not BIG like the .001% boys), Brenda and I traveled for vacation to Lake Clear in the Adirondacks as I had with my parents for many years.   During the many summers at Lake Clear, near Saranac, I fell in love with the sweet lines of the classic Adirondack Guide Boat, a style of pulling boat designed for hunting guides to take their customers (sports) out on the lakes in the area to hunt and fish.  It was important for me to find a good boat supply store who are reliable and provide quality products. Due to the fact that the many lakes were close to one another and yet required frequent portages or “carries” where the guide would have to carry the boat from one lake some distance over land to the next launch area, these boats had to be very light so that they were manageable and easy to handle.   While traditionally built out of wood, many of the modern day versions of these boats are built in kevlar, again to ensure that they are as light as possible.

Years ago, nearly 30 actually, I purchased a bare kevlar hull of a 16′ guide boat and finished it myself.  The decks, fore and aft, and side rails are made of  a combination of cherry, ash and walnut and the seats are caned.  I even got ash blanks and made my own 8′  oars or sweeps, to match the design.  The hull shape was taken from a wonderful boat Ghost built by a well known boat builder, Durant back in the 1800s and now in the collection of the Adirondack Museum in Tupper Lake which can be found, who would have ever guessed, in the Adirondacks.

Once we got into cruising Long Island Sound, the guide boat went into storage hung up high in my parent’s garage and for the last few years jammed under our front porch.  As our new home is just one mile from the Connecticut River, we will once again be able to use our guide boat and for the first time since our boys were toddlers.   Now our boys are 26 and 28 years old so it’s been a lot of years since the boat has touched water.

As you can imagine, after so many years in storage, the guide boat was pretty nasty looking as is witnessed by this shot.  The under porch storage was very tight and while protected from much of the weather, it was a pretty humid place.  Fortunately, the wood chucks that live under the porch hadn’t “chucked wood” or damaged the boat in any way.  I did find some leaves tucked up under one of the decks that looked like a comfortable nest, perhaps for some mice.

Pretty nasty but there is beauty in there somewhere.After a bit of scrubbing, beauty…  Actually, a lot of elbow grease on this baby.

As I mentioned, walnut and cherry decks.  Oh,  if it wasn’t clear, this wasn’t a kit, just a bare hull and a pile of locally purchased lumber.  Not bad for a beginner.  I must have been in my late 20s when I finished her.  Amazingly, the varnish hasn’t been touched in all the subsequent years.  Nice when you can keep a boat out of the weather.

No, I didn’t weave the cane seats.  They are machine woven.  CHEATER, CHEATER!!!  Yes, don’t be too tough on me, we all make compromises.   I was even able to fine hardware true to the original design of Ghost.  It’s great to have nice hardware on a great boat.  GOD is in the details as is the case in all of life. What amazing lines this boat has.  She really moves through the water.

One thing that this boat has in common with our SAGA 43 Pandora, is a fine entry.   They both move through the water very easily. Straight on you can really see how this boat would track on the water.  Like a knife…Fine, really fine…No, I won’t be distracted from Pandora this summer but what better way to kill a few hours on the CT River than aboard a classic guide boat.   There’s even a caned seat back (alas, packed for the move and not shown) for  Brenda to lounge against, parasol in hand as we head out on the river.

Perhaps we will want to avoid the whole “dead deer in the bottom of the boat thing” as is in the case here.

No, and I am confident that Brenda will be good deal more attractive and a lot less smelly than the guy who is a passenger in this classic photo from Guide Boats.com.  There’s a lot of great information here on the history of this unique North American craft.

In about a week we will be moving out of our NJ home and will be able to begin enjoying this great boat again after what seems like a lifetime ago.  So much to look forward to.


A new way to enjoy your boat! Keel walking? Are you kidding me?

I just love the ways that the big boys use their boats.  What better way to make more room for passengers (well dressed of course) than spending a bit of time standing on the keel.

This is Hugo Boss, one of the big ocean racers and that’s Alex Thomson, the leader of that sailing group.  He’s not even 40 year and is no sailing slouch as he owns the world record for a 24 hour run in a monohull at some 500 miles at an average speed of over 20 knots, that’s nearly 25 MPH.  Not bad. Pandora? The fastest I have had her at a sustained speed is just a tad over 10 knots, and it was only in spurts over a several hour period. Normally, Pandora pokes along at a respectable 7 knots.

Who would even think of standing on a keel? I fear that my older son Rob would.  Actually, he’s climbing, and camping, on Mount Washington this weekend.  Isn’t it winter?

It’s worth checking out the Hugo Boss racing site.  What an awesome boat!!!  And, you have to love the shades on Alex.  I wonder if he likes his martinis shaken, not stirred?

However, if you think that it’s all fun and games, this video shows the boat at speed.  Not sure the keel walk would work in these conditions.

I wonder if Brenda would enjoy such a sail?  Perhaps not.  As I used to say in my, shall we say mere youth, “don’t get my wet”.

Would it help if I painted Pandora Black?

Oh, and by the way, the reason that the keel on Hugo Boss is painted international orange is so that if the boat  looses it’s mast and turns turtle the rescue folks can see it better in the storm.   Not sure that the black hull would show up all that well.   Hmm…

Yes!!! More time on Pandora coming up!

I have really struggled over the last month to come up with new ideas to post as I have been house bound getting our home “staged”,shown, sold and then packed and ready to vacate by the, what is now set as a late March closing.  Add to that a need to find somewhere to live.   Don’t you just hate that home base thing? It seems that we do have a land base to escape to as living on a boat full time probably wouldn’t be a good idea for us.

Actually, as I believe I have noted in past posts, friends of ours that maintain a land home and also spend a good deal of time aboard cruising, have said that keeping a shore base to visit for as much time as needed, is a good way to keep on happily cruising for many years.  It seems that while many couples chuck it all and move aboard for years of cruising bliss, a much safer bet for the long term is to split time ashore and afloat.  There are plenty of boats for sale in “paradise” abandoned after living aboard for a few years.

Well, I have often ordered “surf and turf” so applying that approach to living seems about right for us.  Besides, I am fond of Brenda and she would not be a happy camper on a boat full time.   They say that you can rationalize anything and for me the “split thing” sounds about right.  Besides, I am having trouble visualizing Pandora with a table saw, bench jointer, band saw…   You get the picture.  Add to that 5 looms and a gourmet kitchen aboard and, well, it’s not happening.

That’s fine.  And, while moderation isn’t my strong suit, it is definitely the best path right now.

So, Bob, how’s the sale of your home in NJ going?  Thank you for asking.

It’s proceeding well and the closing is scheduled for late March.  Oh, yes, we made an offer on that property in Essex that I wrote about the other day and, after a bit of back and forth, we settled on terms and will likely move in late March or early April.   Wish us luck.

So, what’s this have to do with summer sailing and what about “more time on Pandora!”?

The home that we have chosen is in very nice shape so I won’t be all stressed with a renovation and can focus on some fun sailing this coming season.  In particular, I expect that to be able to squeeze in a short trip to Maine to participate in the Corinthians Summer Cruise.  That should be fun and an opportunity to have a few buddies accompany me for the trip as Brenda will be hanging out with her weaving friends while I am away.    We agreed that as she’s about to be away on Pandora for most of the time between September and April that she would not be going to Maine this summer.  That’s not to say that we won’t be doing some nice trips aboard together prior to our departure, just not the Maine run.

Now all I have to do is to get packing so that I can find time to install Pandora’s new watermaker and to address the myriad items that always come up when preparing for the coming season.   I won’t bore you with a rag list of “to-dos” as there will, no doubt, be many posts going into nauseating detail on each step along the way.

As I mentioned, our new home will be in Essex CT, a place that we have visited many times.  We have visited Essex many times and have cruised the CT River often.  On one visit we headed all the way up to the Goodspeed Opera House and got a number of wonderful shots along the way.

The bank of the river is lovely and very green.

Wonderful old homes all along the way.

Not many tacky ones at all.  This one is a particular favorite.  What a site!

And, of course, the famous Gillette Castle.  Tacky perhaps but so “theatrical”.  About right or it’s first owner.

And, the historic Goodspeed Opera house.   Actually a very short ride from our new home in Essex.

Of course, water isn’t the only way to get around these parts.  This small plane was fun to watch as the pilot practiced landing and taking off on the river.

We will also be close to Mystic CT as it’s so close to Essex so I’ll close with a bit about  Mystic Seaport, a spot that we hope to spend more time in now that we will be living nearby.

One of our favorite things to do is an evening cruise aboard Sabino, a lovely steam ferry that has it’s home port at the seaport.  I took this photo one evening last summer when Brenda and I were cruising around for one of usual cocktail cruises in our dink.

But wait, there’s more.  How about a fun video of Sabino’s 100th anniversary at the seaport?

Perhaps a good way to close is with a shot of a “beginning”, breakfast aboard Pandora.  Yes, a bit out of kilter, but hey, blame the photographer.  Beginnings?  Make that “new beginnings”.  Yes, there will be lots of these for me and Brenda this year. I can’t wait!!!  Now, on to packing.  Ugg…


So, how much would you pay for a gallon of water?

As we prepare Pandora for our trip south I am reminded once again of the adage, “when Momma be happy, EVERYBODY be happy!” As I have said many times, it’s all about keeping Brenda happy and aboard with me.  These words are particularly true today as it’s her birthday.  Yes, January 15th is a day that you too should have in your calendar.  However, that’s another story and this post is about the cost of water.

More importantly, just how much would you pay for a gallon of water?    That question certainly has many answers all of which depend on your state of mind.   Questions such as… how thirsty are you, do you need a bath, or would it be a good idea if the person you are with down below took a bath?  Need to wash dishes?  Clothes? Each of these weighty concerns relate heavily to keeping Brenda, and to a lesser extent me happy aboard Pandora.

As we prepare Pandora for our upcoming strip to the Bahamas a big issue for us is one of having adequate water aboard.  Perhaps better put, the value of a gallon of water depends on how much you carry aboard and in our case, it’s about 125 gallons.  This seems like a lot but if you have to work hard, or travel great distances, to get more it’s a big deal.

Aboard Pandora we have two water tanks and we have documented that we tend to use about 15 gallons of water per day.  That means with reasonable usage we can fill up about once every 8-10 days, perhaps every two weeks if we were to really conserve.

A great solution to the water supply problem is to install an RO unit, and that’s what we’ve decided to do.  As I noted in a past post, we chose a Spectra unit and I will begin installing it in the next few weeks.   Setting aside cost, this is one complex unit.  Besides the obvious technology that makes the system work,  there are a LOT OF PARTS.  This sucker is complicated.   The instructions that came with it urged me to do a complete inventory upon delivery.  Here you go, a complete inventory…

Yes, it does look like it would be expensive.  But, more importantly,  back to the question about cost.  When you purchase a 12oz bottle of “designer” water for $2.00, that translates to roughly $20.00 per gallon.   Put it that way and it makes a $4.00 per gallon gasoline seem like a bargain and perhaps it is.

So, how much is a gallon of water worth?  In the Bahamas you can purchase water for about $.25/gal but that assumes that you can bring the boat to the dock or are willing to schlep the water by the bucket full from shore in your dink, something that I did last summer in Maine multiple times per week.   Given the cost of the unit I purchased it will take nearly 25,000 gallons of water to break even on making verses purchasing water.  At 15 gal per day it will take 1,600 days to use that much water.   Since we will be aboard Pandora for about 180 days in 2012, that means that we will break even on the purchase in about 10 years.  But wait, there’s more…

These calculations don’t even count the cost of maintenance of the unit or the cost of the energy to run it, not an insignificant amount.

So, how much would you pay for a gallon of water?  If you compare the RO unit and the cost of those bottled waters that you get, I will actually break even on the unit in 3,000 gallons.  However, I find it hard to imagine pouring countless 12oz bottles of water over my head to rinse off after a hot day.  Decadent you say?

Perhaps better put is to repeat J.P. Morgan’s quip when asked how much it cost to maintain his yacht when he said,  “If you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it”  Can I afford to use RO water aboard Pandora?   Who knows, but it’s safe to say “when Momma be happy…”

The value of a happy wife with that “just showered feeling”?  Bring it on.