After all the commotion that came from our list of 5 Must Have Cruiser Items That Actually Sucked, it is only fair to share a few of the things that we actually liked. In truth, there are so many more things that we did like than didn’t. I’d even go so far as to say there were a few that we loved. For our first A Few of our Favorite Things I thought we’d start with things that are a collection of the best cruising items under $20. When it comes to sailing, things are rarely inexpensive, so let’s begin this series on a positive note!
1 Sunglasses Cablz: These magic products have saved my precious sunnies on countless occasions. This particular model is extremely lightweight and you don’t even realize they are on. They also don’t cost much (even in the notoriously expensive Bahamas) and you’ll soon get used to the convenience of being able to simply take off your glasses and let them hang around your neck. You can also keep your glasses out of harm’s (AKA Jason’s way) by hanging them totally “out of the way” on a window latch (which you will then get yelled at for leaving them in the worst place on the boat).
2 Boxed Wine: Boxed Wine is definitely one of the best uses of a twenty I can think of. Four bottles of red wine in one convenient box is pure happiness. Read our reviews of the best we found.
3 Velcro Ties: These things are genius. Seriously. They are like zip ties, but reusable. We’ve used them to keep electronic cords organized (I’m a bit OCD about this), stuck a few strips together in order to attach a broom to our towel rack and keep it out of the way (above), and even used them to organize our wiring (the original reason we bought them).
4 Rescue Tape: This stuff has saved the day on more than one occasion. Rescue tape is a self-fusing silicon repair tape that is pure magic. We’ve used it to stop a fuel leak in a busted fitting until we could get a replacement, seal off our dinghy pump hose so we could put air in our leaking dinghy, and have even used it to insulate a few wires here and there. We have multiple rolls on our boat and always make sure to keep one in our dinghy tool kit.
5 Thrift Store Wet Suits: One great thing about Florida is the abundance of wet suits. In a climate that is scorching and humid 99.9% of the time, they just don’t seem to be needed there. People buy them with high hopes of diving into the depths of their winter until they realize they can just hold out a week and it will be hot again. So, the wet suits get tossed into the donation pile. Every thrift store we went to had multiple suits to choose from, and in all different styles – full, shorts, just sleeves. I ended up with just sleeves while Jason had a shorts/short sleeve style. Let me tell you, these wet suits came in handy every time we went diving in the Northern Bahamas.
6 Carabineers: These have so many uses on a boat! Not only are they perfect when climbing your mast, they come in handy in so many other ways. We’ve successfully managed not to let our dinghy come untied from our boat by ‘bineering our dinghy directly to Chance, hang garbage bags on our companion way handholds and attach our solar shower to the boom/mast/arch/wherever we feel like showering. I’m sure we’ve even managed to use it to attach a water bottle to a backpack a time or two. Get the locking kind so you don’t have to worry about your dinghy coming loose in the middle of the night.
Note: these are just the opinions of two scrappy cruisers and chances are there are a lot of you out there who have had different experiences and will hate all the things we love. Cruising styles are extremely personal. Be sure to tell us about it in the comments below!