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The Sailboat Cruiser ~ Your Monthly Newsletter, Issue #70 for December 2021
December 11, 2021

The Sailboat Cruiser

The Sailboat Cruiser is the free monthly (OK, monthly-ish) newsletter of and sets out to bring you the news, views and general musings of the writer - Dick McClary, a sailboat cruiser and creator/owner of

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The Sailboat Cruiser #70
December 2021

What's in This Issue:

Let me start off with a brief 'Thank You' to all of you who took part in last month's mini-survey regarding the page-speed of Without exception you all reported that this was now extremely quick.

Some found the vertical list of 'Share' buttons at the lefthand side of the screen an irritant - particularly when viewed on a smart phone. But just below the list there's a small grey triangle. Just click it and the list will vanish.

Unsurprisingly there were few fans of the adverts, but sadly they are necessary to contribute to the costs of keeping afloat. However, I'm investigating ways of making them less intrusive, so you should see a reduction in these in the coming weeks.

But before we get any further into this newsletter, I'd like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year - and stay safe!

Back in the Caribbean!

June 2020 saw us leaving our sailboat 'Alacazam' ashore in Grenada, while we gratefully hopped aboard a UK Government sponsored evacuation flight to London. Now, after 18 months of Covid-enforced absence, we're back!

Sailboats don't like being abandoned for long periods - particularly in tropical climates - so we climbed aboard with some trepidation. But we need not have worried; Alacazam was exactly as we left her, with no mould, mildew or colonies of assorted insects. This, we smugly felt, was largely due to our extensive lay-up procedures. Of course, there's plenty to do before we launch, but there's a very real chance that 'Alacazam' will get her bottom wet in the next few days.

However, as we all know the Covid threat hasn't gone away. Inter-island travel is subject to being fully vaccinated with negative PCR tests necessary before leaving one island nation and arriving at another. At around $150 per test this would take a serious bite out of our cruising budget were we to cruise throughout the Windward & Leeward Islands as we would normally do.

Consequently, with Grenada at the southern end of the Windward Islands, we plan to limit our cruise to these islands and I wouldn't be surprised if we don't venture further north than Bequia, a particularly charming island off the southern end of St Vincent.

But hey, we're not looking for sympathy...

The Windward Islands of the Caribbean

Having just said what our current cruising plans are, perhaps I should expand a little on the Windward Islands, which extend from the French Island of Martinique in the north to Grenada at the southern end of the island chain, ie:


St Lucia;

St Vincent & the Grenadines, comprising

  • St Vincent,
  • Bequia,
  • Mustique,
  • Canouan,
  • Mayreau,
  • Tobago Cays,
  • Petit St Vincent
  • Union Island;

Grenada, which includes

  • Carriacou
  • Petit Martinique.
Intrigued? Read more about Island Hopping through the Windward Islands of the Caribbean...

Lithium Batteries & Insurance Concerns

12v Lithium batteries are becoming a popular choice for cruising and liveaboard sailors for four key reasons:
  • Compared to traditional batteries - like sealed lead-acid, gel, and AGM batteries - lithium batteries are much lighter;

  • Lithium batteries will have significantly more total energy capacity than traditional batteries.

  • They accept charge much faster and more readily than traditional batteries making them ideal for solar and wind charging;

  • They're maintenance free and last a lot longer than traditional batteries before needing replacement.
Of course, there's a cost penalty otherwise it would be a total no-brainer - we'd all have them.

Except for one other issue - there have been instances of them bursting into flame, or even exploding.

But I read an alarming post recently in social media - yes, I know, sad isn't it - that one sailboat owner had replaced his existing AGMs with a 12v lithium house bank and had informed his insurance company accordingly - who promptly cancelled his policy!

I spoke to the Managing Director of a prominent marine insurance company, who explained to me that the fire/explosion risk associated with lithium batteries was linked to the efficacy of the installation, and any installation carried out by an amateur was a cause of concern.

He went on to say that his company would have no issues with a lithium battery bank installed during the manufacture of a new production boat, or one installed by a suitably qualified and experienced marine electrical engineer.

So, my advice to any boatowner thinking of replacing a traditional battery bank with a lithium bank is to speak to your insurance company about your plans first - and don't even think about doing the work yourself unless you are a suitably qualified and experienced marine electrical engineer!

And if you're buying a used boat which has a lithium battery bank, get it properly checked out before parting with any cash.

One Hand For Yourself, One Hand For the Ship

Ignore this old adage at your peril - or sooner or later you'll come a cropper.

Because we cruising sailors spend much of our life on the ocean – which is constantly shifting beneath our feet – balance at sea is an ever-present problem.

Our regular guest writer Dr Michael Martin Cohen tells us that we all have a personal balancing ability, and the older we get the more likely we are to be afflicted with a declining level of it.

And as someone for whom putting a sock on one foot involves a lot of hopping around on the other, even on a solid non-moving floor, I can confirm he tells no lies.

But for we sock-hoppers, all is not lost - we can take steps (sorry) to improve things - and the good doctor tells us how...

Take a Look at Our eBooks!

But here's a tip - If you're thinking of looking at a secondhand sailboat, or just want to be aware of what to look for - and when to walk away no matter what - then you really ought to take a look at The Boat Buyer's Bundle...

This Month's Mystery Boat

Well, that was a disappointment. Last month's Mystery Boat completely flummoxed all of you. There was just one suggestion, and that was from Robin, who thought it looked a lot like his own S2 11.0a.

But after an online search for pics of other S2s like Robin's, I don't think it is one because:

  • The coachroof windows are not the same shape;

  • The grab rail on the S2 is continuous but in two parts on the mystery boat;

  • The cockpit coamings are dissimilar;

  • The coachroof on the mystery boat extends further onto the foredeck than on the S2.

So, I'm leaving it running for another month in the hope that at least one of you has a flash of inspiration.

I'd like to know what she is too...

Any ideas anyone?

If so, please let me know by clicking here...

And remember, the first person to convince me of the correct identification of the boat, gets a free eBook of their choice!

Cruising Boats for Sale

We provide a free platform for owners (but not brokers) to advertise their sailboats for sale on our website. These are the latest submissions:

The full list of monohulls and multihulls currently for sale can be seen at cruising-sailboats-for-sale.

Used Sailing Gear & Equipment

It's always worth taking a look at what visitors to are getting rid of. Remember that one man's junk is another man's gold!

Among other items this month, we have:

  • Guy Cotton Foul Weather Gear;
  • Carbon Fiber Spinnaker Pole & Two UK Sails;
  • Beneteau 423 Interior Cushion Set;
  • 2-Burner Pressurized Kerosene Gimballed Stove/Oven;
  • B&G Electronics;
  • Simrad SiriusXM Marine Satellite Weather/Audio Receiver with Shakespeare Antenna;
  • Lowrance SonicHub2 Marine Audio Server;
  • Monitor Windvane Self-Steering Gear;
  • Dyer Dhow Midget Sailing Dinghy;
  • Canvas Boat Cover;
  • Manual Anchor Windlass.

Take a look at these and all the other stuff at used cruising gear for sale...

And finally...

If you know anyone who might be interested in the contents of this newsletter, please forward it to them. It's not secret!

And this newsletter can be a two-way thing. If you've read anything you'd like to comment on, or perhaps there's an event you'd like to see announced in a future newsletter, then please let me know.

See you next month!

Dick McClary

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