What to expect on Toodle-oo!
Laurie and I are looking forward to your visiting us aboard ‘Toodle-oo!’ and while this document may seem rather over the top, it’s the consensus of a number of experienced cruising couples that providing a briefing document can make for smoother sailing when living within confined quarters – even if it is amongst the most idyllic setting! Harmony doesn’t happen by accident.
Toodle-oo! is now our home – and as such, we need to give some instructions to our guests, so that the boat’s complex but somewhat fragile systems are respected and maintained, and everyone’s safety is kept in mind.
Our plans to have you join the boat during its travels are just that – plans. When making a lengthy passage to a new location, we will wait for suitable conditions – and this can often be several days and sometimes weeks. We will call or email you when we have a firm date of departure (usually the day before or the day of departure), and therefore when we expect to be at the location we have agreed to meet. We will also try to update our position daily on the blog – which will give a clearer picture of arrival time (http://www.sailblogs.com/member/toodle-oo/). We would recommend that you do not firm up travel plans until we have finalized our passage plan.
It is highly likely that we will not be exactly at a given rendezvous point on a given date due to the vagaries of the winds, tides and happenstance. Therefore you must understand that if we arrive late, that it falls to you to either travel to where we are, or follow an alternate plan/accommodation until we arrive.
Toodle-oo!’s guest cabin is the aft berth on the starboard side of the boat. It is not a large berth and we request that our guests maintain all their belongings in the storage that is available in that berth – which is restricted to two cupboards with sliding doors. Remember the dress code aboard is casual – no need for lots of clothes. There is limited stowage space under your bunk also – where you could place infrequently used items – or your luggage. Luggage absolutely must be soft and foldable, with no wheels that can scratch the deck. Some storage space within the guest cabin will be used for boat necessities.
Toilet & Shower Facilities
Toodle-oo! has only one head and shower stall. It is small. The head is manually operated. We will conduct ‘Toilet Training’ at the beginning of your stay in an attempt to eliminate the occurrence of blockages and leaks – which can be seriously embarrassing and difficult to remedy!
Please keep all personal toiletry items in your cabin, not in the head. Please dry off after showering as best you can within the head so that the boat does not get unduly wet.
When we are at a location where there are toilet and shower facilities ashore, please make every effort to use them. Our head can store just 20 gallons of waste and typically, emptying it requires either a fee or a three mile excursion offshore to empty the tank.
We have a 13 gallon hot water tank that is heated only by the engine – or by electricity when at a dock (rare). If we have not run the engine for some time, it is likely that only cold showers will be available – unless everyone uses the hot water in the most sparing manner. (On the other hand, the captain doesn’t much care for cold showers, so all will suffer the engine being run for an hour, just to heat water.)
Water is also limited – our total water capacity is 200 gallons – not much when 4 adults are consuming for a week… (for reference, normal ‘on land’ showers consume between 25 & 40 gallons of hot water!)
The boat is run on 12VDC from a series of batteries. The batteries are charged by the solar panels, a wind turbine and through use of the engine and/or generator. To limit the use of the noisy engine or generator, please be miserly in your use of power – turn off all lights not immediately required, unplug all chargers when not absolutely required (a charger consumes power even when it is not actively charging.)
Food and Preparation
We have the essentials, but ask our guests to participate in buying food that will be consumed aboard. When eating aboard, please share in the duties – cooking, grilling, washing and drying! Clearing up after dinner and putting everything away is important – so that we don’t congest the small galley area.
If you have specific food requests or food allergies, please let us know ahead of time – maybe we can get necessary ingredients in ahead of time.
We have a propane stove with oven and a propane barbecue and like to think that if he were aboard, Chef Ramsey would be able to cook pretty much anything aboard Toodle-oo! that he could in his own kitchen!
Safety – both yours and the boat’s – is paramount. I will give a safety briefing at the beginning of your visit once you are settled and rested. It will include showing locations of medical supplies, fire extinguishers, seacocks and through-hulls(and why you need to know!), operation of life vest, use of harness (if an offshore trip is planned) and what to do in the event that someone accidentally goes overboard. We will also review two basic sailing knots (bowline and hitch) and how to securely cleat off a line.
When we set off on our first sail, we’ll go through a number of tacks and jibes until everyone is comfortable about how everything operates and what to expect.
How much you participate in the sailing activity is largely up to you and your level of experience. If you want to do more, please make that known to us – otherwise Laurie and I will largely sail the boat as if you were not present. We actively encourage participation, but if you don’t speak up, we’ll settle into our normal routines. If an overnight passage is involved, we will establish a watch routine according to ability and willingness!
You should know that sailing is often described as 9/10ths boredom with 1/10th terror intermingled. During those tense times, it is vitally important that the crew communicate clearly and effectively. This is often misinterpreted as shouting! Please do not be offended! Instead, participate in the clear and effective communication methodology that works best for you – though try to avoid anything physical!
The boat has a WiFi booster aboard which allows us to obtain a WiFi signal aboard. We normally only latch on to free sources which are not always available. Pay as you go opportunities (at your expense) often exist should you have the need.
What to Bring
- Non-marking, non-skid boat shoes are essential. If you arrive without these, you will not be allowed to participate until you have bought a pair! While on the boat we much prefer people to wear shoes (as opposed to going barefoot) as serious injuries can occur to bare feet. There are numerous obstacles on the floor of a boat that are sharp and immovable! (If you go off the boat wearing your boat shoes, please make sure they are clean when you step back onto the boat. We prefer a boat-only set of shoes if at all possible.)
- Comfortable off-boat shoes – we like to explore the ports we arrive at and hope to hike or bike where possible. If you will be coming to a mountainous area and want to hike, bring appropriate gear.
- Dive shoes if you are joining us where you may encounter rocky shores or coral.
- Synthetic clothing dries much faster than cotton. With limited space, it’s likely that you will not have sufficient space for a full complement of clothing – therefore necessitating a wash day. Washers and dryers can normally be found ashore – and synthetics mean you waste less time dealing with washing – and small’s can be washed aboard if needs be! Please plan to only dry clothes outside – away from wooden surfaces down below.
- We have synthetic towels and bedding aboard for your use but feel free if you prefer to bring your own.
- The boat’s spare life vests are bulky. If you have your own life vest and are more comfortable bringing it, please do.
- Swim costume
- Suitable sailing jacket. Suitable according to the season and location – it should be windproof and waterproof. Waterproof trousers can also come in very handy.
- Sunscreen, Hat, Sunglasses on a lanyard
- Pocket knife
- Camera (and binoculars?)
- Good weather!
- Seasickness medications such as Dramamine if you need (some will be aboard)
- Sailing gloves if you have them
The only time we might request limiting alcohol consumption is during a multiday passage. Otherwise, please bring along your favorite tipple!
If you have questions, please ask them – preferably ahead of time. However if while on board you don’t understand a particular item or activity, it may be a matter of safety so don’t hesitate to ask! The only bad question is the one you don’t ask.
This all sounds so serious, but we truly try to keep everything as lighthearted as possible for everyone’s enjoyment.