Forum Questions 1

1.    Question One; recently there was a poll taken on another Yahoo group. It asks if a boater would prefer to sleep on board or onshore while cruising. Could we have your comments on this question?

We would generally say that we prefer to sleep onboard. There are no bugs, fewer people, and less rules to contend with. It also gets tiring to set up your camping gear each night on a long trip. On the other hand, you do realize that in LITTLE CRUISER we do actually stay "on shore" much of the time since we usually anchor in shallow water where we dry out on the tide ;)

2.    How much food supplies can Little Cruiser hold and where is it stored? Also, where and when (How often)do you restock? Are you using a fresh water distiller during you Bahama trips?

Water can be found at some of the islands through several sources. At the more developed islands R.O. (Reverse Osmosis/desalinator) and spring water can be bought. Then there is the possibility of getting water from a well or a cistern. Finally, you can fill your tanks from a passing rain storm, which isn't that often in the winter time, or you can make you own with a desalinator. Here is what we did on our last trip. First, we filled up in Florida. Then we topped off with R.O. water at the BIMINI BLUE WATER Marina in Bimini . Next, we got well water almost everywhere in Andros. (Andros supplies much of the water for Nassau via daily water barges). In Nassau we had to buy bottled water. In the Exumas we got R.O. water in Staniel Cay, well water at Shroud Cay, and bottled water in Georgetown. At Little San Salvador we got water from a passing rain storm, and at Cat Island we got well water. The only times we made R.O. water ourselves was when we were very isolated up Stafford creek in Andros. As you can see we did not use our manual R.O. unit much. However, if we had an electric onewe probably would have used it more out of shear convenience. Incidently, well water was free, R.O. water was around 50 to 60 cents a gallon and spring water was upwards of a dollar a gallon. Lastly, we used some salt water when cooking things like spaghetti.

3.    Question no #3, what kind of electronics do you have on board? Is that a series of solar panels in one of the photos of Little Cruiser? Do you use LED's lights for anchor lights, and are they required in the Bahamas? What type of cabin lighting do you use for reading at night?

We carry all kinds of electronics on board Little Cruiser, but non of them are essential to the functioning of the boat. We have two GPS, two VHF hand held radios, one Ham/Short wave radio,one 2" color LCD television andtwo CD/MP3 players. Incidently, both Mindy and I have our Amateur radio licences, KE4BHJ and KE4BHK. /C6A is added when we transmit in the Bahamas. All of the electronics are powered by one or two gel cells (depending on what we can get) which are charged by a bank of three Solarex 10 watt panels. As for lighting, we use home-made white led lights for reading and anchor lights, and we use cheap and easily replaceable vanity lights for general illumination. For more detailed information on all of thesesubjects please refer to our Equipment  pages.

4.    Do you use your GPS for navigation and do the Bahamas have established waypoints? Have you had luck locating charts that are compatable with GPS?

We rely on GPS when we are in the Bahamas; however, our eyes and our charts are equally as important. What we appreciate most about GPS is that it not only tells you where we are, but it also gives usu other information like speed, track, bearing, VMG (velocity made good) and ETA. This information is especially important when we are in a small boat with limited instrumentaton to begin with and we are out of sight of land. As for charts, we use the BBA Chart Kit region 9, which is for the Bahamas. Major harbors, land marks and navigational markers have GPS points listed. However, one has to remember that there aren't a great number of navigational aids in the Bahamas. In addition, we also use "The Yachtmans Guide to the Bahamas," which provides lots of information on local regulations, pertinent navigational directions and places of interest. Though these two books have proven sufficient for us, many other cruisers find it handy to have guides for specific regions of the Bahamas. Two popular books are the "The Exumas Guide" by Stephen Pavlidis and the "Cruising Guide to the Abacos and the Northern Bahamas" by Darrel Wyatt. There are many other publications on the Bahamas that can also provide important information on planning your trip.

5.    Thanks for the information on the GPS. I guess most members are interested in how well Little Cruiser sails. And how it sails in rough weather. Could you give us a idea of how it sails? I am sure it is not fast as it is loaded for cruising. Curious...has it every been knocked on it beam ends?

Little Cruiser is remarkably fast for her size, and she has been able to keep up with larger cruising boats of up to 25 feet in length on most passages. This is because of several reasons. The first of which is that LC is never overloaded like so many other smaller
cruising sailboats. Matt designed LC to reach her proper cruising trim only after all the stores were aboard, and these stores provide most of the ballast. In addition, the boat is quite narrow, around 4'7", and it is easily driven with her powerful lug rig. Obviously, her fastest point of sail is off the wind (> 5 knots), but up wind she is capable of speeds of up to 4.8 knots in the right conditions. In addition, her low center of gravity and stiff hull shape, make it possible to sail to windward even in quite strong winds. Generally, LC averages around 4.5 knots on most passages under sail, and 5 knots is to be expected under power.

LC handles rough water better than one would imagine for such a small boat, and we've never felt threatened even in seas of 10 –12 feet. Because of her flat bottom she is capable of surfing rather quickly down large waves, and this can be quite exhilarating at times. Though LC has never been knocked down on her beam ends, it still could occur under the right conditions. I've heard of this happening twice in Matt boat's. The first was in the 16' catboat, TERRAPIN, when she was struck by a violent squall offshore in the Gulf of Maine. Apparently, the mast prevented the boat from going over further, and Matt's was able to right Terrapin and continue on his way. The other time was in SWAMP THING when Matt was rolled over completely in the Gulf Stream one stormy night. As I understand it, he was standing on the deck signaling his presence to a passing ship, when a large breaking wave that was disturbed by the ship's passage hit SWAMP THING. As the boat heeled over sharply, Matt grabbed the up hill toe rail, and pulled his craft on top of him. If he had been inside, he most likely would not have had any trouble coping with the conditions. In his eyes, it wasn't too big of a deal since he easily righted the boat, and he went on to cruise the Bahamas without further mishaps. All in all, we've never been unhappy about LC's performance, and other sailors are constantly impressed by her speed and her seaworthiness.