Very few sailboats from the factory come equipped ready to sail away. If your destinations are across oceans rather than across the bay that is especially true. In our case we had a 30 page list of additions, modifications and spare parts to get Ventana ready for cruising. Outfitting a boat is similar to remodeling a home and the process is called "commissioning." For us it took 4 hectic months with ourselves and a crew first tearing Ventana apart to install gear and run wires everywhere and eventually putting it all back together again.
The gear we installed on Ventana and the changes we made were the result of our previous 6 years of work producing videotapes and television programs specifically on sailing. This work gave us the opportunity to spend nearly 800 days on the water testing various boats, gear and systems. What we chose for Ventana was a result of those experiences.
We also produced a videotape showing exactly what we put on Ventana and
the how and why. It covers everything from choosing a proper cruising sailboat to outfitting
for ocean passages. For more information on how we outfitted Ventana
the videotape is available. Click here for
information on the videotape
To see photos and read about Ventana's Systems click these links
To see photos and read about other modifications click these links
Deck Gear Cockpit Interior Navigation Station
Safety Gear Spares Carried Stowage
Buying Gear -- The Good the Bad and the Ugly
Before any of us spends thousand of dollars on gear we of course want to know how it will last and how the manufacturer deals with warranty problems. One fact of life for sailors is that since the market is relatively small we are often the beta testers for new products which may or may not stand the test of time. While we believe most companies try to build good products and stand behind them the truth is some do not. The watch word is "caveat emptor" or buyer beware.
We believe companies deserve their reputations be they good or bad so the following is a list of companies that have stood out for one reason or another. This list generally represents the experiences of not just ourselves but the hundreds of other cruisers with whom we have discussed "boat stuff".
The Good- companies that deliver exceptional products and service.
The Bad- companies that either have frequent product problems or bad customer service . Or the ugly- bad products and bad service. We advise you to stay away from all of the companies listed below.
Insurance Nightmare- We had been customers of International Marine Insurance (Al and Gary Golden) for several years and trusted them. However a few years ago we sent in our premium and they in fact did not purchase insurance with our money. We ended up going through the Panama Canal and crossing the entire Pacific thinking we were insured when we were not. An accident would have left us homeless, boatless and with a nearly quarter million dollar loss.
At first the Golden's tried to hide the fraud from us and even when the fraud was brought to light the Golden's blamed others and refused to return all our money. Finally we had to sue them. They tried numerous legal tricks and delays, but eventually we prevailed in court in Maryland and our money was returned. If we had incurred a loss during that time it is doubtful they would have ever been able to pay us. We strongly urge cruisers to avoid IMIS or International Marine Insurance Services and Al and Gary Golden.
Webmaster- Rob Dubin © copyright 2003-2012 Rob Dubin Page Last updated 12/16/2012