Our opinion is that our sailboat is the perfect liveaboard bug-out sailboat... for us.
And that's really the main point, this is what we consider perfect. You may look at our choices and go with the exact opposite. So there may be no perfect boat for everyone, but here's the choices we made and why.
Motorboat or Sailboat
Without a question, motorboats are faster. But they require fuel. You have a choice of gasoline or diesel. Never choose gasoline on a boat! Gasoline is explosive, and very dangerous. Diesel is a very safe fuel, and will give you more miles as well.
Today, fuel is expensive. Tomorrow, it may not be available.
There will always be wind, and it's free.
Monohull or Multihull
This arguement has been raging for years, and likely will be for many more. Our primary reasons for choosing a multihull are:
- Faster sailing. Other than into the wind, multihulls are faster than monohulls. This means you can cover more miles each day, and you can outrun storms better.
- Less draft. With two (or three) hulls you do not need a large keel sticking deep in the water to stay right side up. This means we can go places that a monohull can't go.
- More comfort. Sailing flat is much more comfortable than sailing heeled over.
- Safety. Multihulls, because they do not have several tons of ballast, are lighter than water. That means if you should punch a hole and fill with water, you will still float. I have seen catamarans that have sat bouncing on a reef for a week. Looking into the hulls there was no floor, you looked straight down into the ocean. But they still floated.
For these reasons we went with a catamaran. You can read more about the benefits of multihulls at this link.
Usually price and your money will determine the size of your boat. But if you are lucky enough to be able to afford anything, then you have to select the size that is right for you.
Boats will always be smaller than a house on land. But the bigger boat has many benefits over smaller vessels.
- Longer boats are faster than shorter boats. Due to the way waves form from the bow, a boat will have a hull speed that is very difficult to exceed. The longer the boats waterline (Length at WaterLine = LWL) the faster that hull speed is.
- The larger the interior, the more space there is. This means more private cabins, more living space, and more separation from each occupant. Remember, this is not a weekend away where everyone can sleep in the living room. When living aboard you will want the same things you look for in a house. Private rooms away from the noise of the living area, a decent kitchen, and at least two heads (toilets).
- Larger, heavier boats, behave better in rough water than smaller lighter boats.
So you may think, "I'll just get a 50 meter boat". The drawbacks to larger boats are:
- Cost. Both the cost to purchase as well as the cost to maintain increases exponentially. Double the size is likely to cost four times the amount.
- Complexity. Larger boats need larger pieces of euipment, and more of it. Maintaining some of this equipment gets very complicated.
- Crew. The larger the vessel, the more crew you will need. And that means more space is needed, and more food, and more crew to look after the crew... it's a never ending cycle.
You should be able to handle your vessel, under most conditions, by yourself.
For us, there is myself (57M) and my wife (52F). That means that I should be able to sail the boat by myself in nearly all condition. Should I be incapacitated, my wife must be able to sail the vessel to the nearest help.
This limits the size of the vessel to about 15 meters (50 feet). It is possible, with electric winches, and power assist devices for a single person to handle a boat that is more than 15m, but it is not advisable. If you should lose power and have to do everything manually, you need to be able to do it.
Saildrive versus Direct Drive
A sail drive allows the engine to be placed further aft, while still having the propellor in front of the rudder.
While they have a lot of benefits, they have several drawbacks in a bug-out boat.
- They can only be serviced by pulling the boat out of the water.
- From what I have been told (and I may be mistaken) they are lubricated when the engine powers them. This means when the engine is off, there is no lubrication, which is why you are told to put them in gear to prevent the propellor from free-spinning.
- The casing for saildrives is usually made from aluminum. Should you have a stray current in your boat, or not enough zincs, this could result in corrosion of the saildrive housing and failure of the unit. A 5 to 8 centimeter stainless steel drive shaft would need a great deal of corrosion before it failed.
Since we were replacing our engines with electric motors (we'll get to that below) we needed to be able to have the water turn our propellors, and that then turn the motors. Without lubrication, this would not be good.
We opted for a boat that had a direct drive (aka shaft drive). This means the engine turns the propellor shaft, and that shaft goes out through the hull.
With a direct drive, all servicable parts are located inside the hull. This means you can perform maintenance and repairs with the boat still in the water.
It also means that with the correct propellor installed, we can generate electricity while sailing.
Fixed, Folding & Feathering. Choosing the Right Propeller
Fixed bladed propellors are simple, and inexpensive. As long as you get the correct size, then you can't go wrong.
Folding propellers are a little more complicated, and must be kept clean to work. Barnacles in the gears can prevent them from opening and closing properly. When there is no power to them, the moving water causes the blades to fold back, allowing for less drag. When under power the centrifugal force on the blades causes them to spring outwards, allowing the propellor to work.
The most expensive, and most complicated, is the feathering propeller. This type of propeller comes in two forms, automatic and adjustable. When strictly under sail, the blades would be aligned to the boat, and act like knife blades slicing through the water with no drag. When under power, they would be rotated to act like propeller blades.
An automatic feathering propeller works similar to a folding propeller, in that the drive shaft rotating causes them to turn into position. The adjustable feathering propellerhas a control rod that causes the blades to rotate to the desired position.
We opted for the adjustable feathering propeller. This gave us the best bite when under power (similar to a fixed prop), and zero drag when under sail. Since we have electric motors, these propellors allow us to slowly rotate the blades so that the water moving passed them spins the drive shaft. This turns the electric motors, which then function as electric generators.
Before we finish with propellers, this is a good time to mention line cutters. In a normal liveaboard, putting line cutters on your propellers is a nice insurance policy. They are easier to fit them at your next haul-out than having to dive to clear a fouled prop. In a post-disaster scenario, they can mean the difference between life and death.
One thing to keep in mind is that fouling may not be accidental. In fact, we carry lines on each stern intentionally ready to throw overboard to foul the propeller of anyone chasing us.
Diesel Engines or Electric Motors
There is a lot to be said in favour of diesel engines. They are usually strong, reliable, and long-lasting. They are fairly simple machines, and tend to run well. Diesel fuel is very energy dense. Kilogram to kilogram, there is little better storage of energy than diesel fuel.
The drawbacks are the price of the fuel, and for a bug-out boat, the availability of fuel. If things turn bad, finding fuel may be very difficult.
There are two other things to consider in a bug-out boat with diesel fuel.
First is the noise. While relatively quiet above the surface, the sound does travel and can be heard for some distance. Underwater, the sound travels a great distance.
Second is the smell. Diesel exhaust smell can travel, and alert people to your presence.
Both of these could alert a person to your presence, and anyone watching would certainly see that you have started your engines.
Diesel engines work best at one speed. Unlike a car engine that has a wide range of speed, diesels work best when under load at their optimal RPM. Going slower wastes fuel and causes the engine to get dirty, while going faster causes excessive fuel usage and wear.
While on the subject of diesel engines, this is a good time to mention fuel polishers. Diesel engines are very reliable, but one thing that will stop them dead is dirty fuel.
Fuel polishing equipment effectively removes various contaminants from the fuel. At it's most basic, a fuel polisher is a very fine fuel filter, with a pump to move the fuel. Not only does it remove solids, but water as well. They will usually be set up with a series of valves and hoses connected to all your fuel tanks. This allows you to draw fuel from any tank, filter it, and direct the output to another tank.
Having a fuel polisher is very important, especially if you will be purchasing fuel from some out-of-the-way locations where there may be water or other contaminents in the fuel.
Electric motors are silent, both above the surface and below.
They produce zero exhaust, and so no smell.
They can go from off to full speed in a second, with out the need to "start" the engine.
The drawback is that at current time, battery storage is limited, thereby greatly limiting the range.
With the right propellor, they can generate electricity while you are under sail. We have managed to generate over 6kw from our two motors.
We opted for a hybrid solution.
When we purchased our catamaran it was equipped with a pair of 60 hp diesel engines. There was also two gensets. I forget their exact size but I think there was a 6kw and a 15kw.
We pulled out the two diesel drive engines and installed two 20kw electric drive motors.
We installed a 29kwh battery bank consisting of 8 x SimpliPhi LiFePO4 48v 75Ah batteries. This allows us to travel about 30 nautical miles at 9.4 knots. At reduced speed we can travel considerably further. If the sun is shining on our solar panels, that could extend indefinitely.
We pulled out the two gensets and installed a pair of 20 kW Polar Power diesel DC generators. These units always run at the optimal speed for their engine, so always get the best power and fuel conservation. With 800 liters of diesel fuel onboard, we can travel in excess of 1,000 nautical miles (or run our air conditioners for a month).
Of course, when the wind blows we don't need the motors.
We have a computer controlled charging system onboard. To make certain that our batteries are not damaged, when they drop below 20% (about 5kwh) one of the diesel generators will automatically kick in to bring the batteries up to 80% (about 1 hour). The final charge from 80 to 100% comes from the solar panels. The charging system program can be over-ridden to allow us to charge, or not, as we choose. We could allow the batteries to drain to 0% (never do that!), or we could allow the generators to charge the batteries to 100%. The default settings are simply that, default. It's what the boat will do on it's own without any intervention.
Solar panels are cheap, and getting cheaper. They are silent, with no noise or vibration. They are completely reliable with very little that can break or go wrong. They work best in direct sun, but also work in partial sun, or even with light overcast. If you have the space for them, add them. Then find more space, and add more.
Depending upon where you will be travelling, wind turbines may be beneficial. I have found them to be expensive, and not very efficient. Even in the Caribbean where there's "always" 15 knots of wind, I found minimal output from our wind generator. Dollar for dollar, the solar panels will give you more power than a wind gen. Now, if you've run out of space for more solar panels, then a wind gen may be your only option.
If you have electric motors, then you should absolutely opt for hydro-generation.
Without electric motors, you still have options of adding a hydro-generator on a drop-down leg.
If you have diesel engines with a direct drive, then I have also seen electric generators installed with a belt drive from the drive shaft. The generator would be smaller, but it may be a good alternative to going without.
Of course, hydro generators only work while you are sailing, and not while at anchor.
On our boat we put in 4 arrays of solar panels, with three 380 watt panels in each array. Each array has it's own charge controller. Our twelve panels give us a total of 4560 watts. This means we could go from empty batteries to full batteries in one day.
As previously mentioned, our electric motors can be hydro generators while under sail.
While sailing a good breeze on sunny days, we have been able to go from our safe minimum (20% charge) to 100% full in under 3 hours.
You're not going to be very happy without water. Besides needing it to drink, you will find that a good source of fresh water really does make a huge difference in your level of comfort.
It is possible to shower in salt water, with a final fresh water rinse. Likewise, you can wash dishes with salt water and do a final fresh water rinse. If you simply do not have enough fresh water, you may not have a choice.
But you should plan on having plenty of fresh water. It is better to have too much, than too little. You should have at least 15 to 20 liters per day for each person.
The simplest and least expensive is simply adding a rain catcher to your boat. In the Caribbean there is usually plenty of rain. Let the first few minutes of rain rinse off your rain catcher to remove dust and salt, then catch the remaining.
We have a 25 m² rain catcher built into our cockpit cover. It produces 250 L per cm of rain. That enough for a family of four for four days.
If you have the money, a watermaker is essential. They are expensive, but in my opinion, worth every dollar.
There is a wide range of options for watermakers. You can get units that are 12 volt, 120 (or 240) volt, gas powered, or units that run off your diesel drive engine.
DC Electric (12 volt)
Usually producing less water per hour than other types, they have the benefit of being able to run from your batteries, thereby running 24 hours a day.
One drawback from some of these units is the noise. Due to 12 volt motors not being very powerful, these tend to work like piston pumps to increase the pressure. This can cause a “ker-thunk, ker-thunk, ker-thunk” noise pattern. When installed on an interior bulkhead, the bulkhead can become a soundboard to amplify the noise. If you are purchasing a boat with a 12 volt unit installed, turn it on and lay quietly in every bed to see if it is tolerable. Remember, that a mild disturbance on the day you are looking at a boat, will turn into a major annoyance when it’s nonstop night and day.
There are 12 volt DC units that do not use a piston pump, and can be very quiet. They tend to be the most expensive option. A good unit, with proper installation, can be nearly silent.
AC Electric (120/240 volt)
Units running off what is typically called “mains electric” can produce copious volumes in a relatively short period. With a strong battery bank and inverter, they can be very effective.
These units are usually the quietest, and least expensive.
There are units that have their own gas engine to run the high pressure pump. Like the AC powered units they can produce a lot of water in a relatively short timeframe.
The downsides are that they are noisier than electric units, and you must have gasoline on board. Gas engines should never be run inside the boat, meaning you have to carry the unit outside to run it.
If gasoline becomes expensive, or scarce, it could seriously affect your ability to create water.
These units run off the drive belt of your diesel propulsion engines. Since they are powered by the drive belt, they can not produce as much water as units with their own gas engine, or AC powered units.
Additionally, you have to run your engine for a few hours to produce water. On the other hand, if you run your engines every few days anyway, then this unit is giving you “free” water.
Since the unit does not have it’s own engine, it is lighter than the other types.
If diesel becomes expensive, or scarce, it could seriously affect your ability to create water.
We installed a 12 volt Spectra Ventura 200c watermaker. It silently produces up to 750 L per day. That would be enough water for 40 to 50 people. That means that in the future, we have the ability to sell (or trade) fresh drinking water.
Currently, we only run the watermaker for a short time each day when the battery bank approaches full charge. As mentioned above, it's automated to come on as the batteries reach 95% if the sun is shining or we're sailing and generating electricity.
Our water is stored in 6 x 250 liter poly tanks under salon floor. This gives us 1500 liters of fresh water, or 75 to 100 person-days.
Masts & Sails
If you are purchasing a used boat, or a factory built boat, then you do not have a choice of your masts and rigs. However, if you are looking to purchase, you can always set your sights on your desired layout, and seek that out.
The other option is to have your boat custom built for you.
Most modern boats use Bermuda rigs. As such, you will find lots of places that can create new sails, or repair existing ones, and if you ever bring on crew they are likely to know how the sails work best.
Most boats that are under 20 meters in length will be single masted, although boats older than 30 or 40 years you can find plenty of ketch and yawl layouts.
Ketchs and Yawls both have benefits when at anchor, as they allow you to partially raise your mizzen sail, which will act as a windvane and keep the bow pointed into the wind. This can be especially helpful in an anchorage where the tide can swing you around.
If you look at older boats from the 1800s and earlier, they were all multi-masted and multi-sailed. I have seen boats of these designs flying 15 sails or more. The reason these older vessels had multiple sails is twofold. First, the material needed to create single large sails was not available. Second was manpower. In order to manipulate large sails needs a lot of manpower.
Modern sailboats have better winches allowing a single person to handle a 40 footer. Add to that powered winches, and a single person can handle a 60 footer or more.
If our boat was simply a live-aboard retirement vessel, than a single mast would be fine. If one of our powered winches fails, we order a replacement. However we are looking for a boat that can survive the end of the world. In a post-disaster world, it may not be possible to simply order a new powered winch. As such, smaller sails, and shorter masts were the way to go.
We selected a two-masted schooner. To be precise, a staysail schooner. With two shorter masts we can fly as much sail as a typical Bermuda Sloop, but each sail is smaller and easier to handle.
We have electric winches for controlling the sails, however the sails are still able to be managed by hand winching if need be.
All our primary sails are roller furling sails. Starting from the bow we have a jib, and inside that, a fore staysail. Behind the foremast we have a triangular fisherman on a roller (I've also heard this called a tri-sail... I don't know the correct name). Attached to the front of main mast is the main staysail, on a roller.
Lastly, behind the main mast is the main sail, fitted on an in-boom roller.
Some would argue that the main mast, if it's going to be a roller, should use in-mast furling. I have heard of problems with them, especially if caught in the wind, that they can jam. Should you have a sail out and it jams and can't be put away, this could lead to a very dangerous situation. Our choice of in-boom furling eliminates this issue. Even with a roller failure while the sail is deployed, we can drop the main halyard and tie down the sail.
While all the other sails are stowed on their rollers, and can be let out without having to haul them up, the main sail does need to be raised to deploy it. This is the heaviest work should the power winches fail. I can still do it... I just would prefer not to.
At the very front is a removable bowsprit. When attached we have a choice of a hank-on flying jib, or our gennaker. This removable sail has a sock to douse it before removing it. This is the only sail we have that requires two people to handle it's deployment and recovery. It's a great down-wind sail.
There are as many opinions about anchors as there are anchors. The ones you choose will depend mostly upon your intended sailing areas.
However, it is best to have two different types of anchors. But having a secondary anchor is pointless if you're never going to use it.
Changing anchors is a major pain, and you're not likely to do it. If you have to go and grab a 50kg anchor from your locker, disconnect your primary anchor, and attach the secondary, then go and stow your primary anchor, you are likely to not bother.
That is why we opted for 2 anchors, both on their own anchor rollers, and two windlasses. We can choose to use either anchor just as easily and effectively. Having a second windlass and second length of chain is expensive, but a good plan.
It also serves as a backup if your windlass should fail. On our first boat we had a windlass fail with our anchor dropped in 50 meters of water, and learned how vital it is that you have a way to retrieve your anchor. The day it happened to us we had a pair of guys in their 20's aboard and they hand-hauled the anchor back up. It was a tough job for them... I don't think I would have managed alone.
That is why our current boat has twin anchor systems each with their own windlass.
Having a kedge anchor, ready to deploy on the back of the boat is also helpful. While it can be used to prevent swinging, our primary use of our kedge is when we are beaching the boat. Having an anchor on a strong line at the back is great for winching the boat back into deeper water.
Most monohulls shorter than 50' will have their engines under the stairway, while most over 70' will have an engine room.
Most catamarans under 40' will have their engines under the rear beds, and over 45' will have their own engine rooms.
Having engines under the stairs is very difficult to work on.
Having engines under beds is noisy and smelly, and difficult to work on (though usually not as bad as under stairs).
When possible, having engine rooms is preferable. They are usually roomier and easier to work in. They allow you to store oil and spare filters and parts where they will be needed. They are usually better soundproofed. They can also be used for other machinery such as generators, heat/air units, watermakers, and such.
Whether you have engine rooms, or just compartments, you must be able to service your engine inside and out of the weather. This is mandatory!
I have seen quite a few boats that have taken one cabin near the engines and removed the bed and converted it into a workshop, complete with drill press, welder, and even a lathe. This is something you should consider. While we opted against this, it is a good idea, especially if you are handy.
On a monohull, your galley will always be in the hull. And so it should be. With monohulls rocking side to side, the lower the galley is, the less rocking there is.
In a catamaran, you have the option of having the galley down in the hull, or up in the salon. We have found that there is less motion sickness when cooking underway, if your galley is in the salon. This also helps with there being plent of natural light from the large windows. Finally, having the galley in the salon allows conversation between the cook and the rest of the crew.
As you travel on your sailboat, you will see that nearly every boat has a RIB (rigid inflatable boat). And when you talk to people who have been sailing a while and ask them what their first failure is, it's always the RIB. And what did they do? They went out and purchased a new RIB. And then complained about it.
The material used in RIBs simply does not hold up in the tropical sun. As a result, RIBs have a lifespan of up to 5 years or so. That can be extended somewhat by adding "chaps". This is a UV resistant fabric that covers the inflatable tubes to protect them from the harsh sun.
The alternative is to get a tender that is not an inflatable. For the few people who choose this route, they usually go with aluminum rowboats. Aluminum boats can mark and damage your sailboat when (not if, but when) you bump them. This is the primary reason people select RIBs as they do little damage when bumped against your hull. Aluminum boats will also sink if they get swamped by a stray wave. Again, that's a matter of when, not if, because it will happen.
But there are lightweight fiberglass boats available. These boats will float even when swamped, and they have a built-in rub rail to prevent damaging your sailboat hull. They are unsinkable, have more storage space than similar sized RIB, and will last forever.
The Automatic Identification System (AIS) is an automatic tracking system that uses transceivers on boats and ships. AIS information supplements marine radar, which continues to be the primary method of collision avoidance for water transport.
Information provided by AIS equipment, such as unique identification, position, course, and speed, can be displayed on a screen or an electronic chart display and information system (ECDIS). AIS is intended to assist a vessel's watchstanding officers and allow maritime authorities to track and monitor vessel movements. AIS integrates a standardized VHF transceiver with a positioning system such as a Global Positioning System receiver, with other electronic navigation sensors, such as a gyrocompass or rate of turn indicator. Vessels fitted with AIS transceivers can be tracked by AIS base stations located along coast lines or, when out of range of terrestrial networks, through a growing number of satellites that are fitted with special AIS receivers which are capable of deconflicting a large number of signatures.
The International Maritime Organization's International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea requires AIS to be fitted aboard international voyaging ships with 300 or more gross tonnage (GT), and all passenger ships regardless of size.
On private yachts, AIS is optional, but highly recommended. You have the option of fitting an AIS receiver, or an AIS transciever.
There are online AIS trackers available at https://www.marinetraffic.com and https://www.vesselfinder.com. On both sites, clicking on a vessel will pull up information about the vessel and it's current travels.
A transceiver will both receive signals and transmit signals. This allows you to be seen from some distance, and allows large vessels to change course should you be under sail. I have had numerous encounters with ships, even large tankers, who have diverted their heading when they see me under sail. While this is the rule, it is still a strange sight to see a 1/2 km long vessel weighing hundreds of tons, change course because of my little 15m sailboat. Their propeller blades are bigger than my whole boat.
While transceivers are highly recommended, they can have their drawbacks. Primarily, they not only allow ships to know where you are, but everyone, including some who may have bad intentions.
A receiver will only receive signals, not transmit any. In our opinion, it is the minimum that you should be fitted with. It receives information from other vessels, in particular, large ships, and displays their position and path on your chart plotter. This allows you to see where they are, and more importantly, where they are going to be. If you only have a receiver it is prudent for you to give way to the larger vessels, as they simply may not see where you are or where you're going.
We have two complete AIS systems onboard. At the top of our mast is a VHF antenna, connected to an AIS transciever. This unit has a power switch that allows us to turn it off, and thereby "go dark". If we are ever in an area where we wish to remain unseen, the unit is switched off.
Our other unit is an AIS receiver that only receives signals. This allows us to continue monitoring nearby vessels without broadcasting our position.
Hull material. Wood, steel, aluminum or plastic.
Like anchors, there are people who swear that their selection of hull material is the best. I have my opinions (and I swear that my selection of hull material is the best!), and will present them here. These opinions are based on a boat for a post-disaster world.
The arguments in favour of wood are that it's a renewable resource, and would be repairable at nearly any shoreline.
The arguments against are:
- it must be treated constantly
- it is always going to leak a bit
- repair takes skilled persons
- in tropical climates you'll get wood-worms, which will eat your hull through.
For those who do not know that there are cement boats, it can come as quite a shock. While your first thoughts may be that cement doesn't float, well neither does steel.
It's difficult to assess cement boats as most are home-built. For any type of home-built boat, it's the skill and quality of the build that determines its value. And that is not something you will find out until the vessel fails. Hopefully that's a long way off, and not when you hit a slightly larger than average wave.
I never seriously explored the option, so I can't comment much.
I would presume that if you built it yourself, you'd be able to repair it as well.
Steel boats are strong. They can survive an impact with most floating debris, and can be beached on sand or even gravel without damage.
They are fairly easy to repair with a welder, as long as you have spare steel.
The biggest failure is that they must be protected from the salt water. They need constant painting to make certain that they don't corrode.
They are also rather heavy.
While lighter than steel, it's otherwise very similar.
Not quite as strong in a collision, nor for beaching, but still fairly rugged.
Welding is possible, but a little more difficult than steel. Again, you need to have a source for aluminum to repair.
Like steel, must be protected from the salt water and needs constant painting to make certain that they don't corrode.
Often mislabelled as "fiberglass", the boats are actually GRP, or Glass Reinforced Plastic. There's also carbon fiber, which would be FRP.
Plastic boats have many benefits over the other materials.
- easy to repair. You don't need a lot of skill to repair GRP, just the knowledge and patience to do the job right
- does not need as much maintenance. While having a good bottom paint will inhibit marine growth, your boat won't dissolve below you if you fail to paint it.
- very light. So light that if you get a multi-hull without a weighted keel, they will float even when holed and full of water.
- repair supplies of resin and cloth are quite light and you can carry a good supply for future repairs
Drawbacks include that they are not as strong as metal boats. Hitting a reef can do major damage, while a metal boat may be able to escape. But then again, should both boats get holed the metal one will sink, while a GRP catamaran would remain afloat.
Probably the biggest danger for GRP boats is a collision at sea with debris, like a shipping container. If you're on a cat it won't sink, but you may still need to be rescued from it. While a GRP monohull that hits a floating sea-can will soon be on it's way to visit Davy Jones.
FRP (carbon-fiber) carries all the same traits as GRP, but it's lighter, and stronger than GRP. I have heard it's more difficult to work with and requires greater skill, but I'm sure you could learn it if you had a FRP boat.
If it's not already clear, we went with GRP. FRP would have been nice and we would have done that if we were having the boat built from scratch. However, we used an existing hull to build our boat, so we looked for GRP and found a great one.
Here's list of other points I'll be adding and explaining further shortly.
- extra autopilot (mechanical unit)
- SSB radio
- All lines to helm (including lazyjacks)